Congressional Committees Chapter 5 Section 4
Section 4 Purposes of Committees • The committee system serves three important purposes: • It allows members of Congress to divide their work among many smaller groups. • Committees select which of the bills introduced into Congress are to receive further consideration. • By holding public hearings and investigations, committees help the public learn about key problems facing the nation.
Section 4 Kinds of Committees • Congress has four kinds of committees: • Standing committeesare permanent groups that oversee bills that deal with certain kinds of issues. • Subcommitteesspecialize in a subcategory of its standing committee’s responsibilities. Standing Committees of Congress
Section 4 Kinds of Committees (cont.) • Select committees are temporary committees that study one specific issue and report their findings to the Senate or the House. • Joint committees are committees that are made up of members from both the House and the Senate. • Conference committeesare temporary committees that are set up when the House and Senate have passed different versions of a bill.
Section 4 Choosing Committee Members • In the House and Senate the parties must assign members to the standing committees. • Each member can serve on only limited number of standing committees and subcommittees. • The chairpersons of the standing committees make key decisions about the work of committees and manage floor debates that take place on bills that come from their committees.
Section 4 Choosing Committee Members (cont.) • The seniority system is the unwritten rule that implies that the majority party member with the longest uninterrupted service on a committee is the appointed leader of the committee.