Ranking member

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In United States politics, a ranking member is the most senior member of a congressional or state legislative committee from the minority party.[1] On many committees the ranking minority member, along with the chairman, serve as ex officio members of all of the committee's subcommittees.

Both the United States Senate[2] and United States House of Representatives[3] use ranking members as part of their legislative structure.

When party control of a legislative chamber changes, a committee's ranking minority member is assured to become the next chairman of the committee, and vice versa.[citation needed]

Congressional usage

Four Senate committees refer to the ranking minority member as vice chairman. The following committees follow the chairman/vice chairman structure for the majority and minority parties.

Other Senate committees refer to the ranking minority members as ranking member.[4]

The House of Representatives does not use the term vice chairman for the ranking minority member, though some committees do have a vice-chairman position, usually assigned to a senior member of the majority party other than the chairman. House committees that follow this structure are:

Joint committees of the House and Senate operate in much the same way, with a chairman and vice-chairman from the majority party, alternating between a member of the House and a member of the Senate, and often two ranking members from both bodies.


  1. ^ "Politics Glossary: ranking member". Washington Post. Archived from the original on July 1, 2011.
  2. ^ https://www.senate.gov/reference/glossary_term/ranking_minority_member.htm
  3. ^ https://www.foxnews.com/politics/who-are-the-house-committee-chairs
  4. ^ "United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs: Home". Banking.senate.gov. Retrieved 2013-10-18.
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