Congressional caucus

A congressional caucus is a group of members of the United States Congress that meets to pursue common legislative objectives. Formally, caucuses are formed as congressional member organizations (CMOs) through the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate and governed under the rules of these chambers. In addition to the term caucus, they are sometimes called conferences (especially Republican ones), coalitions, study groups, task forces, or working groups.[1] Many other countries use the term "parliamentary group"; for example, the UK Parliament has an all-party parliamentary group.

Party caucuses and conferences in the United States Congress

The largest caucuses are the party caucuses and conferences in the United States Congress, which are the partisan caucuses comprising all members of one house from one party (either the Democrats or the Republicans). These are the House Democratic Caucus, House Republican Conference, Senate Democratic Caucus, and Senate Republican Conference.

The caucuses meet regularly in closed sessions to set legislative agendas, select committee members and chairs, and hold elections to choose various floor leaders. They also oversee the four Hill committees, political party committees that work to elect members of their own party to Congress.

Ideological conferences

Other caucuses are organized political factions with a common ideological orientation:

Caucus Membership in the House of Representatives
Congress CPC NDC BDC Democrats Republicans TG MSP RSC HFC Ref
114th 70 52 15 188 247 53 68 170 39 [2]

Racial and ethnic caucuses

Among the most visible caucuses are those composed of members sharing the same race or ethnic group. The most high profile of these represent people of color, but there are European American ethnic caucus, such as the Congressional Czech Caucus.

The Congressional Black Caucus for African-Americans has included members of both chambers. As of 2014, there were only two black senators, only one of whom joined as a member (elected in 2013, Senator Cory Booker (D–N.J.) is a member whereas Senator Tim Scott (R–S.C.), appointed in 2013 to fill the senate seat of Jim DeMint, is not). There are two Hispanic caucuses: The Congressional Hispanic Caucus, for Hispanic Democrats, and the Congressional Hispanic Conference, for Hispanic Republicans. Congressional Republicans formerly belonged to the Hispanic Caucus but later split off to form the Hispanic Conference. The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus represents members who are Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, but they are open to other members as well.

California representatives Judy Chu (D–Monterey Park) and David Valadao (R–Hanford) co-launched the bipartisan American Sikh Congressional Caucus to represent the interests of the American Sikh community. She cited violent crimes against Sikhs in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks as being a motivation for the initiation of the caucus. The caucus seeks to address issues such as military discrimination, violence and bullying of Sikhs and raise general awareness of Sikh and their contributions to the United States. Currently there are 42 members in the Caucus. In 2014, representative Patrick Meehan (R–Penn.) and John R. Garamendi (D–Calif.) also became Co-Chairs.[3]

Interest group caucuses

The most common caucuses consist of members united as an interest group. These are often bipartisan (comprising both Democrats and Republicans) and bicameral (comprising both Representatives and Senators). For example, the Congressional Bike Caucus works to promote cycling.


The House Committee on House Administration prescribes certain rules for Congressional Member Organizations (CMOs). Each Congress, CMOs must electronically register with the Committee on House Administration, providing the name of the caucus, a statement of purpose, the CMO officers, and the employee designated to work on issues related to the CMO.

The Committee on House Administration rules include:


See also

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