What is the Whip?
With the new Congress comes a reshuffling of the leadership positions in the Republican and Democratic conferences. In both the House and the Senate, those in leadership roles hold significant sway over other members of their party.
Serving as second in command to the party leader is their whip, who is responsible for keeping party members in line when it comes time for votes on legislation.
To do so, they are responsible for gauging where each member stands on issues, and working with the rest of party leadership to ensure bills can get the support needed to pass before coming up for a vote.
The whip’s office will often issue daily voting recommendations to members on bills coming to the floor that day.
They’ll conduct head counts during roll call votes to check if every member has made it down to cast their vote.
The whip plays an important role in both chambers, but they are particularly important in the House of Representatives, where party conferences are larger and often more fractious.
In this upcoming divided Congress, where each party holds a narrow majority in one chamber, expect the whips to be key players in the legislative process.