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Overview - 111th Congress (2009-2011)

Learning About The United States Congress


Updated February 16, 2009
The One Hundred Eleventh (111th) U.S. Congress -- the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives -- meets from 6 January 2009, to 3 January 2011.

It began during the last few weeks of President George W. Bush's administration, which ended with the inauguration of Barack Obama on 20 January 2009.

In the 4 November 2008, elections, the Democratic Party increased its majorities in both chambers. See Party In Power
  • Senate: 55 Democrats; 41 Republicans; 2 Independents - Illinois and Minnesota "vacant"
  • House: 256 Democrats; 175 Republicans

Congressional Leadership

  • President
    • Dick Cheney (R) from 6 January 2009 until 20 January 20 2009
    • Joe Biden (D) from 20 January 2009 until 3 January 2011
  • President pro tempore: Robert Byrd (D)
Majority (Democratic) leadership
  • Majority Leader and Democratic Conference Chairman:[3] Harry Reid
  • Assistant Majority Leader (Majority Whip): Richard Durbin
  • Democratic Conference Vice Chairman: Charles Schumer
  • Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman: Bob Menendez
  • Democratic Conference Secretary: Patty Murray
  • Democratic Policy Committee Chairman: Byron Dorgan
  • Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee Chair: Debbie Stabenow
  • Democratic Committee Outreach Chair: Jeff Bingaman
  • Democratic Rural Outreach Chair: Blanche Lincoln
  • Chief Deputy Whip: Barbara Boxer
  • Deputy Whips: Tom Carper, Bill Nelson, and Russ Feingold
Minority (Republican) leadership
  • Minority Leader: Mitch McConnell
  • Assistant Minority Leader (Minority Whip): Jon Kyl
  • Counselor to the Minority Leader: TBD
  • Republican Conference Chairman: Lamar Alexander
  • Republican Policy Committee Chairman: John Ensign
  • Republican Conference Vice Chair: John Thune
  • National Republican Senatorial Committeee Chair: John Cornyn
House of Representatives
  • Speaker of the United States House of Representatives: Nancy Pelosi
  • Assistant to the Speaker: Chris Van Hollen
Majority (Democratic) leadership
  • Majority Leader: Steny Hoyer
  • Majority Whip: Jim Clyburn
  • Senior Chief Deputy Majority Whip: TBD
  • Chief Deputy Majority Whips: TBD
  • Democratic Caucus Chairman: John Larson
  • Democratic Caucus Vice-Chairman: Xavier Becerra
  • Democratic Campaign Committee Chairman: Chris Van Hollen
  • Democratic Steering/Policy Committee Co-Chairs: George Miller and Rosa DeLauro
  • Organization, Study, and Review Chairman: Michael Capuano
Minority (Republican) leadership
  • Minority Leader: John Boehner
  • Minority Whip: Eric Cantor
  • Chief Deputy Minority Whip: TBD
  • Republican Conference Chair: Mike Pence
  • Republican Policy Committee Chairman: Thaddeus McCotter
  • Republican Conference Vice-Chair: Cathy McMorris-Rodgers
  • Republican Conference Secretary: John Carter
  • Republican Campaign Committee Chairman: Pete Sessions

Major Events

  • 6 January 2009 - First session begins
  • 8 January 2009 - Joint session to count the Electoral College votes of the 2008 Presidential election
  • 20 January 2009 - Inauguration of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden
  • ? January 2010 - Second session begins
  • 2 November 2010 - 2010 general elections

Changes In Membership

When a Senator or Representative resigns or dies in office, the seat is usually filled with a replacement. See How Are Senate Vacancies Filled?

Changes In Senate Membership
State Vacator Reason Replacement
Colorado Ken Salazar (D) To become Secretary of the Interior Michael Bennet
Delaware Joe Biden (D) To become vice president Ted Kaufman (D)
Illinois Barack Obama (D) To become president Roland Burris
New York Hillary Clinton (D) To become secretary of state Kirsten E. Gillibrand
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