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Senate Leadership

Image of Mike Mansfield and Everett Dirksen, April 27, 1964

Although party floor leadership posts carry great responsibility, they provide few specific powers. Majority Leader Mike Mansfield once lamented, “I am neither a circus ring-master, the master of ceremonies of a Senate night club, a tamer of Senate lions, or a wheeler and dealer.” Instead, Senate party leaders serve as spokesmen for their party’s positions on the issues. Using a combination of individual skill, intelligence, and personality, and in consultation with committee chairmen, leaders can provide guidance and direction at critical junctures to keep legislation moving.