Legislative Committees

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Text of Legislative Committees

  • 1. Committees
    • What are committees used for in everyday life?What about in Congress?

2.

  • 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?

3.

  • Most of the legislative work of Congress occurs in Committees.

4.

  • 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

5.

  • Most bills receive their most thorough administration in these bodies; members of both bodies usually respect the recommendations that committees make.

6.

  • Committee Chair
      • The committee member of majority party with most seniority becomes chair

7.

  • Committee Chair Duties
      • They head standing committees in each chamber.This is important because of the bulk of the work is done in committees

8.

  • 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

9.

  • 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

10.

  • Numbers
      • Reps are on 1-2 Committees, Senators are on 3-4

11.

  • Committees sizes
    • 9-75 members in the House
    • 12-28 members in Senate

12.

  • 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

13.

  • Types of Committees
      • Standing
      • Select
      • Joint
      • Conference

14.

  • 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.
  • MEMBERS BECOME EXPERTS IN THIS AREA

Standing Committees 15.

  • 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

16.

  • Examples of important committees
  • HOUSE
    • Ways and Means
    • Appropriations
    • Armed Service
    • Judiciary

17.

  • 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

18.

  • SENATE
  • Foreign Relations
  • Appropriations
  • Finance
  • Judiciary
  • Armed Services
  • Banking, Housing, Urban Affairs

19.

  • Select Committees
    • AKA Special Committees
    • Panels set up for some specific purpose and most often for a limited time

20.

  • Examples include Watergate or Iran Contra

21.

  • Appointment to a special committee
      • Speaker or the President of the Senate appoint with the help of leadership in each party

22.

  • 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

23.

  • Random Information
      • Committees function by calling interested parties and expert witness who have some information to give

24.

  • Pigeonhole a bill -
      • Committees can vote a bill out to keep it from being considered in their house.

25.

  • Congressional Research Service (CRS)
      • Responds to congressional requests for information.Looks up facts and indicates arguments for and against, but DOES NOT RECOMMEND policy

26.

  • General Accounting Office (GAO)
      • Financial Audits of money spent by the executive branch.Investigatory agency

27.

  • 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

28.

  • 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 29. 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

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