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Congressional Committees. Standing committees Select committees Joint Committees Conference Committees.

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Presentation on theme: "Congressional Committees. Standing committees Select committees Joint Committees Conference Committees."— Presentation transcript:

1 Congressional Committees

2 Standing committees Select committees Joint Committees Conference Committees

3 Congressional Committees 104 th congress (1995-1996) Contract with America Reduced number of committees in both houses 103 rd congress-252 committees 84 th congress (1955-1956) 242 committees

4 Post 1995 reform Total committees- 198 House went from 22 to 19 standing committees Went from 115 sub committees to 84

5 Post 1995 reform Senate Maintained the 17 committees Reduced the number of sub committees from 86 to 68

6 Party in committee The majority party maintains the majority of the seats in each committee The majority party determines the chair of the committee ( HR-6 year limit) Ratio is roughly the same as the total congressional house

7 Standing Committees Most important- Propose legislation by reporting a bill out to the full house or senate House members serve on two committees An exception is if one is on an exclusive committee Each Senator may serve on two major and one minor committee

8 Senate Standing Committees Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Appropriations Armed Services Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Budget Commerce, Science, and Transportation Energy and Natural Resources Environment and Public Works Finance Foreign Relations Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Judiciary Rules and Administration Small Business and Entrepreneurship Veterans' Affairs House Standing Committees Agriculture Appropriations Armed Services Budget Education and Labor Energy and Commerce Financial Services Foreign Affairs Homeland Security House Administration Judiciary Natural Resources Oversight and Government Reform Rules Science and Technology Small Business Standards of Official Conduct Transportation and Infrastructure Veterans' Affairs Ways and Means Specialization in Congress

9 What do standing committees do? Step 1: Hold hearings to gain information on bills being considered by the committee Step 2: Debate, amend, and rewrite bills that have been sent to their committee (this is known as a “markup” session) Step 3: Vote on bills (a majority vote is needed for the bill to be approved by committee)

10 Exclusive Committees House of Reps Limit a representative to one committee membership Exclusive committees Appropriations Rules Ways and Means

11 Committee rules House Chair elected by secret ballot in party caucus No member chairs more than one committee All committees with more than 20 members must have 4 subcommittees Increase committee and personal staffs Committee meetings public unless members vote it closed.

12 Committee Rules Senate Committee meetings public unless members vote to close them Committee chairs selected by secret ballot at the request of 1/5 th of the party Committees to have larger staffs

13 Congressional Staffs In 1998 average representatives had 17 staffers and senators had 40. 103 rd congress- 10,000 personal staffers 3000 more employed with congressional committees 3000 more employed in congressional research agencies Largest growing part of bureaucracy

14 Congressional Staff Personal staffer duty- Answering mail Handling problems Mailing newsletters Meeting with constituents 1/3 of staff is local Task is to get votes

15 Congressional Staff Most members of Congress have one local office Half have two or more Incumbent hard to beat because of this

16 Congressional Staff Washington staff members Read 6000 bills, aid in the enactment of 600 laws per year Write bills Negotiate agreements Organize hearings

17 Congressional Staff Write questions for members to ask witnesses Draft reports Meet with lobbyists and administrators Meet with mass media Promote bosses Find and promote legislation

18 Staff Agencies Agencies that work for Congress as a whole Gives Congress specialized knowledge

19 Congressional Research Service Congressional Research Service (CRS) Part of the Library of Congress Employs over 900 people Answers questions for Congress members Over ¼ million questions per year Politically neutral Keeps track of major bill status Gives summaries of all bills- stored electronically

20 General Accounting Office General Accounting Office (GAO) Routine financial audits Investigates agencies and policies Makes recommendations on all aspects of government

21 GAO Comptroller General- head of agency Appointed by the President Serves 15 year term GAO employs 5000 people Some members permanently assigned to work with committees

22 Congressional Budget Office Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Created in 1974 Advises Congress on the possible economic effects of spending programs Provides information on the cost of proposed legislation Prepares analysis of President’s budget and economic projections Aids Congress in budget debates

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