Legislative Committees

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Legislative Committees

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

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