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Congressional Committees

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Congressional Committees

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  1. Congressional Committees

  2. Purpose • Allows members to split up their work among smaller groups • Select the few bills (out of many) that are to receive further consideration **Most bills never get beyond this • Hold public hearings and investigations

  3. Kinds of Committees • Standing Committees • Select Committees • Joint Committees • Conference Committees

  4. Standing Committees • Permanent groups to oversee bills that deal with certain kinds of issues • Agriculture, Armed Services, Budget, Appropriations, Veterans’ Affairs • Subcommittees: specialize in a subcategory of its standing committee’s responsibility • Ex. Ways and Means Committee • Health • Human Services • Social Security

  5. Appropriations Committee • Approval of government spending • Both Houses have 13 subcommittees to deal with spending • Both can review the budget of the same agencies • Every year each has a budget hearing where they must request $$ needed for operations

  6. Select Committees • Temporary committees that study one specific issue and report their findings back to the Senate or House • Matters of great public concern • Overlooked problems • Problems of Interest Groups

  7. Joint Committees • Made up of members from both the House and the Senate • Can be temporary or permanent • Examples: • Joint Economic Committee • Atomic Energy • Defense • Taxation • Deficit Spending

  8. Conference Committees • Temporary committee set up when the House and Senate have passed different versions of the same bill • Resolve the differences between the 2 bills by bargaining over each section of the bill • Final compromised bill is called a conference report • Goes to floor of House and Senate for acceptance

  9. Choosing Committee Members • Political parties assign members to the standing committees • Chairpersons of standing committees: Most powerful members of Congress • Make key decisions • Seniority system: gives the member of the majority party with the longest uninterrupted service on a particular committee the leadership of that committee