Government affairs

Legislative Updates

Senate Republican Leadership in 116th Congress

Senate Republicans held their caucus elections today to determine who will lead them in the 116th Congress with modest revisions. Here is an update of who holds which positions and what their duties are.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will remain in his role next Congress and as the leader, he will set the Republican agenda, message, and strategy. The Majority Leader is effectively in charge of managing the Senate and therefore able to determine the vast majority of which bills will proceed to the floor for a full Senate vote. This powerful position is frequently the difference on how the government will be governed, regardless of the will of the people.

Through self-imposed six-year term limits, the position of Majority Whip will pass from John Cornyn (R-TX) to Sen. John Thune (R-SD), the current Chair of the Republican Conference. As Majority Whip, Sen. Thune will have primary duty of persuading members to support the Caucus position on votes and projecting support for the Caucus position.

The term-limits caused a chain reaction that has pushed leaders up one rung throughout the Caucus. Chair of the Republican Conference now goes to Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) who will be in charge of leading Senate Republican’s communications efforts.

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) will assume Barrasso’s prior job as Chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee. Sen. Blunt will now lead the policy-making arm of the Senate Republicans.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) was elected to serve as the Vice Chair of the Republican Conference and will work closely with Chair Barrasso. Sen. Ernst is the first woman to join Senate Republican leadership team in eight years.

Return to Legislative Updates


The free NALC apps for smartphones provide convenient access to tools and information about issues affecting active and retired letter carriers. Information on downloading and using the apps is in our apps section.