Who Is Steny Hoyer?

Steny Hoyer is the second-in-command in the US House of Representatives. Get to know the Congressman who implements the legislative agenda for the current House majority.
Steny Hoyer at a Census function.

Steny Hoyer at a Census function.

Who Is Steny Hoyer?

Steny Hoyer represents Maryland’s 5th Congressional District, and is the second-ranking Democratic member of the US House of Representatives. Hoyer is the House Majority Leader for the 116th Congress. He works as the strategic coordinator for the Democratic majority. He mobilizes the party vote for preferred legislation, and functions as the House liaison between Democratic members and leadership.

Hoyer was born in New York and raised in Mitchellville, Maryland. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland and his J.D. degree from Georgetown University Law Center.

From 1962-1966, Hoyer and the current Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi worked together as staff members for US Senator Daniel Brewster. In 1966, Hoyer was elected to the Maryland State Senate representing Prince George’s County. He was elected President of the Maryland State Senate in 1975.

How Long Has Steny Hoyer Been A Congressman?

Steny Hoyer was first elected to Congress in a special election on May 19, 1981. Defeating Audrey Scott, a well funded Republican, Hoyer won 56% of the vote. He was an underdog and earned the nickname “boy wonder.” Just a year later he won reelection with 80% of the vote.

A popular 35-year incumbent, Hoyer only dropped below a 60% reelection vote count in 1992 (53%), 1994 (56.9%) and 1996 (56.9%). In the 2018 midterm election, Hoyer defeated Republican opponent William Devine III with 70% of the vote.

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Which Committees Does Steny Hoyer Belong To?

Steny Hoyer was a member of the House Appropriations Committee from the time he was first elected, until he entered leadership ranks in 1987. He served on the Transportation, Treasury and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee as well as the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.

A centrist Democrat, Hoyer believes the work on these subcommittees accurately defines him as a “national leader on issues affecting Federal employees and retirees as well as a strong proponent of Federal law enforcement efforts.”

During his nearly four-decade tenure within the Democratic leadership, Hoyer served as Deputy Majority Whip from 1987 to 1989. He chaired the Democratic Caucus from 1991 to 1993 and subsequently oversaw the Joint Helsinki Commission from 1987 to 1989 and from 1991 to 1993.

Additional Leadership Positions:

  • Chief Candidate Recruiter for House Democrats, 1995 – 2000
  • Minority Whip, 2003 – 2007
  • House Majority Leader, 2007 – 2011
  • House Minority Whip, 2011 – 2019
  • House Majority Leader, 2019 Present

Steny Hoyer’s Record As The House Majority Leader In 2019

On October 16, 2019, Hoyer oversaw a bipartisan House vote to condemn President Trump’s troop pullout from Syria. Hoyer called the abrupt troop removal “shameful.” He said, “it just opened the door for ISIS to reclaim some power. Any terrorist attack they now take will be as a direct result of this.”

On October 31, 2019, the US House of Representatives voted to formalize an impeachment inquiry announced a few weeks earlier. Hoyer dismissed concerns that impeachment efforts by the Democrats would negatively affect them in the upcoming 2020 election cycle. Impeachment was “not a calculation about whether this is good for us politically or bad for us politically,” Hoyer said. “We have a duty to the country, to the American people, and to the Constitution of the United States.”

In mid-September Hoyer announced that he would bring a cannabis banking bill to the House floor for a vote. Recreational use of cannabis has been legalized in several US states, but is still illegal in the eyes of the federal government. Erring on the side of caution, banks will not open accounts for cannabis businesses. The Secure and Fair Banking Act passed the House of Representatives with a vote of 321-103. If signed into law, banks would be free to provide services to the legalized cannabis industry without fear of criminal or civil liability.

On October 1, 2019, the House passed a stopgap funding bill to keep the government open and avoid a shutdown. The bill would keep the government functioning until November 21 and passed by a vote of 301-123.

On April 25 Hoyer announced these legislative efforts for 2019:


  • HR-9, Climate Action Now Act
  • Emergency supplement to add $3 billion to appropriated disaster funding
  • The Equality Act
  • The Secure Act
  • Update of 2010 health care law to address prescription drug costs
  • Raise the Wage Act
  • American Dream and Promise Act of 2019
  • Consumers First Act

When Is Steny Hoyer Up For Re-election?

On April 28, 2020, Steny Hoyer will face two Democratic primary challengers. Mckayla Wilkes is a progressive Democrat running on a platform of the Green New Deal and Medicare for All. Briana Urbina, also a progressive, is focused on education, civil rights, criminal justice reform, and affordable housing. Both candidates were inspired by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s 2018 victory over the longtime incumbent, Joe Crowley. If Hoyer defeats both challengers, he will go up against Republican Lee Havis in the general election on November 3, 2020.

The Rantt Rundown

Steny Hoyer, a member of Congress for nearly 40 years, is the second-ranking member in the Democratic Caucus. Serving as the House Majority Leader, Hoyer works aggressively to whip up support for legislation that Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s brought to the floor for a vote. He’s a moderate Democrat, and may face a viable challenge from the progressive wing of the Democratic party in the 2020 primary election.

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Rantt 101 // House Majority Leader / Steny Hoyer