Some elements of the traditional operations will remain the same. Hoyer plans to retain the normal structure of regional and at-large Whips elected across the Caucus. Their role, he said, will continue to be to "start" the actual whipping process, by providing the first counts to leadership.
And Hoyer suggested he will build on one aspect of the work of his predecessor Pelosi, by dividing up the work of his Chief Deputy Whips by legislative issue.
With Rep. Chet Edwards’ (Texas) announcement on Tuesday that he will step down as a Chief Deputy Whip to concentrate on legislative issues, the three new chief deputies will inflate the party’s complement of Chief Deputy Whips to eight, counting Lewis.
As a former candidate for Whip, Lewis was once a leadership rival of both Hoyer and Pelosi. Realizing he could not win, the Georgia lawmaker dropped out of that contest in 1999 and threw his support to Hoyer, who was himself defeated by Pelosi in October 2001.
Hoyer said that Lewis’ new leadership post will effectively make him Hoyer’s deputy, and will position him to take control of the whip operation when Hoyer is not able to be present for meetings or votes.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.