Congresswoman Diana DeGette

Representing the First District of Colorado
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Chief Deputy Whip

What’s a Whip?

The term “whip” is derived from “whipper in”, a British term for the person who was responsible for keeping the foxhounds from leaving the pack during the hunt. It was first used by the Republican Party in Congress in 1897 when Speaker Thomas Reed appointed Representative James A. Tawney a whip to help him keep track of party Members. The first Democratic Whip was appointed in 1901, and an official whip organization was first extensively used in the 1930s.

Today, the party whips are responsible for mobilizing the party vote on important legislation before they come to the floor to be voted on. The whip also acts as a liaison between the Members and the Caucus, to help build strong support for the Democratic agenda. The current Minority Whip is Rep. Steny Hoyer who previously served as the Majority Leader from 2007 to 2011. Other members of the whip team include chief deputy whips, to help with the whip process. These individuals are appointed by Rep. Hoyer and are considered part of the House Leadership. For the 115th Congress the Chief Deputy Whips are:

U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, Senior Chief Deputy Whip

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas

U.S. Rep. Krysten Sinema of Arizona

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado

U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida

U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell of Alabama

U.S. Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont