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Congressional Committees

Congressional Committees

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Congressional Committees

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  1. CongressionalCommittees

  2. Whatis a CongressionalCommittee? • A group of representatives or senators assigned to become experts in a particular policy area • Each rep or senator sits on more than one committee • Leadership assigns members to committees • Seniority • Personal expertise • Political need

  3. Standing Committees • Partisan committee with members from each party • Consider legislation within their policy area • Most subdivided into subcommittees, which are focused on a particular sub-policy area • How many committees are in the House? Senate?

  4. Standing Committees • Who serves on these committees? • In house, only house members • In senate, only senate members • How many people serve on committees? • In House, smallest committee has 10 members (Standards of Official Conduct) while largest has73 (Transportation) • In Senate, smallest has 15 (Indian Affairs) while largest has 30 (Appropriations) • How long do they last? Permanent committees

  5. Joint Committees • Serve either a temporary or permanent purpose • Some act in an investigative role, issuing periodic reports (ex – Joint Economic Committee) • Others perform / oversee more routine, non-partisan duties (ex – Joint Cmmte on Printing or Library) • Never a legislative committee

  6. Joint Committees • How many are there? Four • Who serves on these committees? • BOTH house and senate members • How long do they last? • Permanent (Existing cmmtes) • Temporary (Joint Committee on Atomic Energy: 1945-77) From Joint Economic Committee Website (link here)

  7. Select (Special) Committees • Panels set up for a specific purpose, usually for a limited time • Must be renewed each Congress, unless a “permanent select cmmte” • Most are formed to investigate a current matter (ex – Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities”) (Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming)

  8. Select (Special) Committees • How many are there? Varies – currently six • Who serves on these committees? • House OR Senate members, but not both • How long do they last? • Usually until they issue a report • OR when Congress ends (unless permanent select)

  9. Rules Committee • “Traffic Cop” of House • Unique to House • Process • After bill leaves a standing committee • Rules Committee sets the “rules” for floor debate (time of debate on bill; allow amendments; etc)

  10. Rules Committee • Who serves on the Rules Committee? • Appointed by Speaker, Minority Leader • Gives lots of power to Speaker • How many are there? One • How long does it last? Permanent