House Minority Whip
| House Minority Whip|
|Second highest-ranking individual in the minority party|
In both the House of Representatives and the Senate, the minority whip is the second highest-ranking individual in the minority party (the party with the lesser number of legislators in a legislative body), outranked only by the minority leader.
The whip position was created in the House of Representatives in 1897 by Republican Speaker Thomas Reed, who appointed James A. Tawney as the first whip. The first Democratic whip, Oscar Wilder Underwood, was appointed around 1900.
Both houses of Congress, the House of Representatives and Senate, have majority and minority whips. They in turn have subordinate "regional" whips. While members of Congress often vote along party lines, the influence of the whip is weaker than in the UK system. American politicians generally have considerably more freedom to diverge from the party line and vote according to their own or their constituency's conscience. One reason is that a considerable amount of money is raised by individual candidates. Furthermore, neither members of Congress, nor any other person, can be expelled from a political party, which are formed simply by open registration. In addition, because preselection of candidates for office is generally done through a primary election that is open to a wide number of voters, candidates who support their constituents' political positions, rather than those of their party leaders, cannot easily be rejected by their party due to a democratic mandate.
Because members of Congress cannot serve simultaneously in Executive Branch positions, a whip in the United States cannot bargain for votes by using potential promotion or demotion in a sitting administration as an inducement. There is, however, a highly structured committee system in both houses of Congress, and a whip may be able to offer promotion or threaten demotion within that system instead. In the House of Representatives, the influence of a single member individually is relatively small and therefore depends a great deal on the representative's seniority (i.e., in most cases, on the length of time they have held office).
Office Holders on Wikispooks
|Eric Cantor||3 January 2009||3 January 2011|
|Roy Blunt||3 January 2007||3 January 2009|
|Nancy Pelosi||15 January 2002||3 January 2003|
|Newt Gingrich||20 March 1989||3 January 1995|
|Dick Cheney||3 January 1989||20 March 1989|
|Trent Lott||3 January 1981||3 January 1989|