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Legislative Committees
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Legislative Committees






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    Legislative Committees Legislative Committees Presentation Transcript

    • Committees
      • What are committees used for in everyday life? What about in Congress?
      • Why do we need committees in the legislative branch?
          • Divide up the work that will be done
          • Congress receives a lot of bills (almost 10,000 a year)
          • How would they do it all by themselves?
      • Most of the legislative work of Congress occurs in Committees.
      • Who is in a committee?
          • Majority of each house holds all the committee chairman seats
          • The majority party will also hold a majority of the seats on each committee, effectively controlling all the business of a committee
      • Most bills receive their most thorough administration in these bodies; members of both bodies usually respect the recommendations that committees make.
      • Committee Chair
          • The committee member of majority party with most seniority becomes chair
      • Committee Chair Duties
          • They head standing committees in each chamber. This is important because of the bulk of the work is done in committees
      • Committee Chair Continued
          • Decide when committee will meet, which bills they will take up, whether they will hold public hearings, what witnesses to call
          • Manage the debate when the bill is called to the floor
      • Committee Assignments
          • Determined by House and Senate leadership and a caucus of the two parties
          • Members of Congress attempt to get on a committee that will allow them to do the most for their constituents
      • Numbers
          • Reps are on 1-2 Committees, Senators are on 3-4
      • Committees sizes
        • 9-75 members in the House
        • 12-28 members in Senate
      • Subcommittees
          • Often committees assign bills to smaller groups, subcommittees, for initial consideration
          • MOST WORK IS DONE HERE!!
          • Each subcommittee is responsible for a particular slice of the committees overall workload
      • Types of Committees
          • Standing
          • Select
          • Joint
          • Conference
      • Permanent committees in a legislative body to which bills in a specific subject matter area are concerned. These are the only ones that can propose legislation by reporting a bill out to the full House or Senate, with few exception.
      Standing Committees
      • Currently 20 in the House and 18 in Senate
      • Fate of most bills is decided in the various standing committees, not on the floor of either house
      • Most members try to win assignments on important committees
      • Examples of important committees
      • HOUSE
        • Ways and Means
        • Appropriations
        • Armed Service
        • Judiciary
      • International relations
      • House Rules Committee - traffic cop. Screens the bills, if it reaches the floor it has also cleared the House Rules Committee.
      • Place bill on the calendar, limit debate time, determine allowed amendments
      • SENATE
      • Foreign Relations
      • Appropriations
      • Finance
      • Judiciary
      • Armed Services
      • Banking, Housing, Urban Affairs
      • Select Committees
        • AKA Special Committees
        • Panels set up for some specific purpose and most often for a limited time
      • Examples include Watergate or Iran Contra
      • Appointment to a special committee
          • Speaker or the President of the Senate appoint with the help of leadership in each party
      • Joint Committees
          • A committee composed of members of both houses
          • Most are permanent and thus standing, but they can also be temporary/select
          • Usually used to communicate to the public or for investigations, but generally do not send bills to the floor
      • Random Information
          • Committees function by calling interested parties and expert witness who have some information to give
      • Pigeonhole a bill -
          • Committees can vote a bill out to keep it from being considered in their house.
      • Congressional Research Service (CRS)
          • Responds to congressional requests for information. Looks up facts and indicates arguments for and against, but DOES NOT RECOMMEND policy
      • General Accounting Office (GAO)
          • Financial Audits of money spent by the executive branch. Investigatory agency
      • Office of Technology Assessment (OTA)
          • Study and evaluate policies and programs with a significant use of or impact on technology
      • Congressional Budget Office
          • Advises Congress on the effects of spending and provides information about costs
      • Republican majority in the House of Representatives, elected in 1994, campaigned under a platform called the Contract with America
      • A blueprint for the first 100 days
      Contract with America
    • Pledged within the first 100 days:
      • Balance budget Amendment
      • Crime bill that funds police and prisons
      • Welfare reform
      • Strengthen parental rights in education and child support enforcement
      • Family tax cuts
      • Stronger national defense
      • Rise in Social Security earnings limit
      • Job creation and regulatory reform policies
      • Common sense legal reforms to stop frivolous lawsuits
      • A first ever vote on term limits for members of Congress