Presentation on theme: "Congressional Committees"— Presentation transcript:
1 Congressional Committees Chapter 5.4Congressional CommitteesGovernment Mr. Biggs
2 Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Purpose of CommitteesBoth the House and Senate depend upon committees to effectively consider the thousands of bills that are proposed each session.The committee system serves several important purposes:It allows Congress to divide their workLawmakers can become specialists on issuesCommittees can weed through all billsIt allows for public hearings to keep people informedAl FrankenCommittee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP)Bill Gates
3 Kinds of Committees Standing Committees Subcommittees Congress has four kinds of committees:Standing CommitteesSelect CommitteesJoint CommitteesConference CommitteesStanding CommitteesStanding committees are permanent groups that oversee bills that deal with certain kinds of issues.They continue from one Congress to the next.The majority party in each house controls the standing committees and selects the chairperson.Senate committee on the budgetSubcommitteesMost standing committees have several subcommittees.Each subcommittee specializes in a subcategoryof its standing committee.They usually continue from one Congress to the next.MLB subcommittee of House Energy and Commerce
4 Select Committees Joint Committees Select committees are temporary committees that study one specific issue and report their findings.They are usually set up to last no more than one term of Congress.Joint CommitteesJoint committees are made up of members from both the House and the Senate and may be either temporary or permanent.They usually act as study groups with responsibility for reporting their findings back to the House and Senate.
5 Conference Committees No bill can be sent from Congress to the president until both houses have passed it in identical form.A conference committee is a temporary committee set up when the House and Senate have passed different versions of the same bill.Its job is to resolve the differences between the two versions of the bill.When the conference committee’s report (bill) reaches the floor of each house, it may not be amended.It must be accepted or rejected as a whole.
6 Choosing Committee Members A congressmen’s assignment to a committee can:Increase their chance of reelectionAllow them to influence national lawmakingExert influence over other members of CongressKey House committees are:Rules – Considerations and order of businessWays and Means – Chief tax writingJudiciary – Law, courts and judgesAppropriations – Allocates federal fundsKey Senate committees are:Foreign Relations – Leads foreign policyFinance – Bonds, customs and money
7 Assignment to Committees The political parties assign members to standing committees.Members may request a committee assignment.The Committee Chairperson’s RoleThe chairpersons of standing committees are some of the most powerful members of Congress because they:Determine when committees will be heldDecide when hearings will be conductedEstablish budgets and hire staffManage floor debatesThe Seniority SystemThe seniority system gives the member of the political party with the longest uninterrupted service on a particular committee the leadership of that committee.Criticisms of this system have resulted in a limit on how long a Chairperson can hold the position.