What Does The GOP Conference Chair Do?

Rep. Liz Cheney appears poised to lose her party leadership role. But what does a Republican Conference chair actually do?

What Does The GOP Conference Chair Do?
J. Scott Applewhite / AP

In Congress, Democrats and Republicans have similar, but opposing, leadership structures.

The majority party elects the speaker of the House, who is the House’s top elected official and second-in-line to the presidency; a majority leader, who helps set the schedule; and a majority whip, who helps keep members in line on key votes.

The party out of power similarly elects a minority leader and a minority whip.

But the third-ranking leadership post has a different title depending on the party.

For Democrats, the position is known as caucus chair; for Republicans, conference chair.

“Think of the conference [chair] as the in-house communications consultant for the 212 Republican House members," explained Rick VanMeter, a former longtime Republican congressional aide who left Capitol Hill to start the media consulting firm Prevail Communications earlier this year. 

The chair of the House Republican Conference is responsible for the crafting and keeping Republican members of Congress on-message, and is elected -- or tossed out -- by secret ballot.

"Their goal is to have all the members saying the same thing at the same time," VanMeter told Newsy.

Republicans say presenting a united front is key to their chances of retaking the majority in the 2022 midterm elections next year.