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Organization and Committees of Congress

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110 th Congress. Organization and Committees of Congress. U.S. Representatives. Serve only their districts More homogenous constituencies Less inclined to compromise Frequent re-elections 20% from “marginal districts” 6 committee assignments. U.S. Senators. Serve their entire state

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u s representatives
U.S. Representatives
  • Serve only their districts
  • More homogenous constituencies
  • Less inclined to compromise
  • Frequent re-elections
  • 20% from “marginal districts”
  • 6 committee assignments
u s senators
U.S. Senators
  • Serve their entire state
  • More heterogeneous constituencies
  • Therefore, more inclined to compromise
  • 35% from “marginal districts”
  • 10 committee assignments
committes
Committes
  • Officers
  • Committees
      • Standing
      • Select
      • Joint
  • Staffs chosen by chairs
importance of committees
Importance of Committees
  • Most of the work in Congress gets completed in committees.
  • Committees are the workshops of Congress.
formation of committees
Formation of Committees
  • House:
    • Policy Committee selects standing committees and chairs
    • Speaker nominates Rules Committee.
  • Senate:
    • Steering Committee selects standing committees and chairs
    • Majority Leader nominates Steering Committee
    • Majority Leader appoints Select Committees
standing committees
Standing Committees
  • Permanent status
  • Fixed membership
  • Officers from majority

party

duties of standing committees
Duties of Standing Committees
  • Divide into subcommittees
  • Receive proposals for bills
  • Receive bills on basis of subject matter
  • Kill most proposals
  • Process some into official bills
  • Base hierarchies on seniority on this committee
house standing committees
House Standing Committees
  • Internat’l Relations
  • Judiciary
  • Resources
  • Rules
  • Science
  • Small Business
  • Standards of

Official Conduct

  • Transportation and

Infrastructure

  • Ways and Means
  • Agriculture
  • Appropriations
  • Armed Services
  • Budget
  • Education and the Workforce
  • Energy and Commerce
  • Financial Services
  • Gov’t Reform
  • House Admin.
senate standing committees
Senate Standing Committees
  • Finance Committee
  • Foreign Relations
  • Committee
  • Governmental Affairs
  • Committee
  • Judiciary Committee
  • Health, Education,
  • Labor and Pensions
  • Committee
  • Rules & Administration
  • Small Business
  • Veterans Affairs
  • Agriculture, Nutrition, Forestry
  • Appropriations
  • Armed Services
  • Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs
  • Budget Committee
  • Commerce, Science & Transportation
  • Energy and Natural Resources
  • Environment & Public Works
budget committees
Budget Committees
  • Appropriations: How will U.S. spend money to fund government agencies and programs?
  • Budget: How can we build a budget that balances requests from all agencies?
  • Ways and Means: How will we raise funds to pay for agencies and programs? Tax issue
select committees
Select Committees
  • Intelligence (only and Senate House committees that work behind closed doors)
rules committee
Rules Committee
  • Decides order in which bills come up for a vote
  • Determines specific rules governing length of debate
  • Determines if bills can be amended from floor
house senate joint committees
House/Senate Joint Committees
  • Economic
  • Library
  • Printing
  • Taxation
  • Conference Committees

(Closed to public)

committee chairpersons
Committee Chairpersons
  • Select subcommittee members
  • Appoint committee staffs (2000 total)
  • (Powers diluted in last decades
    • Many subcommittees
    • Each members has his/her staff
  • Help determine hearing schedules
senate
Senate
  • Officers
  • Committees
      • Standing
      • Select
      • Joint
  • Staffs of the Senators
budget committees1
Budget Committees:
  • Appropriations: How will we spend money raised by taxes & other sources
  • Budget: How will money be allotted between agencies and programs?
  • Finance: How will we fund programs?
both houses personal staffs
Both Houses: Personal Staffs
  • 1930
    • House 870
    • Senate 280
  • 1993
    • House 7,400
    • Senate 4,138
  • Work in Home State and D.C. Offices
both houses staff agencies
Both Houses: Staff Agencies
  • Congressional Research Service (CRS)

(Performs research for legislators)

  • General Accounting Office (GAO)

(Congress can investigate financial and administrative affairs of any federal program/agency)

  • Congressional Budget Office (CBO)

(Assess the economic implications and likely cost of proposed federal programs)

both houses caucuses
Both Houses: Caucuses
  • Groups of members who share certain
    • Opinions
    • Interests
    • Social Characteristics
  • Strategize to advance certain causes
reforms
Reforms (?)
  • 104th Congress, led by Newt Gingrich,
    • eliminated 25 of 115 House subcommittees
    • Gave committee chairs more power over subcommittees
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