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Congressional Committees

Page history last edited by Jacob Rosenblum 14 years, 2 months ago

     Committees are groups of privileged congressmen who assemble in groups to facilitate Congress's duties. For example, the Rules committee decides whether to and when to make bills be examined by Congress as a whole. Being on a committee is a gigantic boost for a congressman as it means that he is considered stable enough to be put in such a high-stakes position. To be on a committee, a congressman must be influential and have seniority as well as have a developed and loyal voter group. Committees have huge power over Congress. The aforementioned Rules committee evokes respect and fear from congressmen. A major critique of committees is that they de-democratize Congress. To give you an idea of the validity of this claim, here are examples of three committees. Keep in mind that some committees are for the House only, the Senate only, or both. 


Here's a list of Committees 

 Committees in the House 

Agriculture • Appropriations • Armed Services 

• Budget • Education and Labor

 • Energy and Commerce • Financial Services

 • Foreign Affairs •Homeland Security 

• House Administration • Judiciary •Natural Resources 

• Oversight and Government Reform • Rules 

• Science and Technology• 

Small Business •Standards of Official Conduct 

• Transportation and Infrastructure • Veterans' Affairs 

Ways and Means • Intelligence (Permanent Select) •

Energy Independence and Global Warming (Select) • (Whole)

Committees in the Senate

Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry • Appropriations • Armed Services • Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs •

Budget • Commerce, Science and Transportation • Energy and Natural Resources •Environment and Public Works • 

Finance • Foreign Relations • Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions • Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs •

Judiciary • Rules and Administration •Small Business and Entrepreneurship • Veterans' Affairs • Indian Affairs • Ethics (Select) • 

Intelligence (Select) • Aging (Special) • Narcotics Control (Caucus) 

 Committees in Both 

(Conference) • Economic • Inauguration • Library • Printing • Taxation


 There are Three types of Committees within Congress 


1.) Standing Committees.... 

-range from 6-50 elected officials. 

-are permanent establishments according to House Rule X and Senate Rule XXV

-have legislative jurisdiction, consider bills and tackle legislative problems. They also recommend action for the other members of congress to consider within their individual chambers.

-have the responsibility of looking after agencies, programs, and activities within their jurisdictions, and in some special cases in areas that cut across committee boundaries.

-propose funding for government programs.

Examples of Standing Committees

The Appropriations Committees recommend legislation to provide budget authority for federal agencies and projects.

The Budget Committees works to establish levels for total spending and revenue.



2.) Select Committees... 

-are appointed to perform a special function that is beyond the authority or capacity of a standing committee.

-are usually created by a resolution that outlines its duties and powers and the procedures for appointing members.

-are often investigative in nature, rather than legislative, though some select and special committees have the authority to draft and report legislation.

-generally expire on completion of its assigned duties, though they can be renewed. 

Examples of Select Committees 

Select Committee on the Energy Independence and Global Warming- Monitors and investigates all aspects of energy use, independence, and the consequences associated with energy usage. 


3.) Joint Committees...

-are permanent panels that include members from both the House and the Senate. 

-generally conduct studies or perform housekeeping tasks rather than consider measures.

-draft compromises between the positions of the two chambers, which are then submitted to the full House and Senate for approval. 

-are formed to resolve differences between competing measures present in the House and the Senate.


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