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List of United States Senate committees

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is a complete list of U.S. congressional committees (standing committees and select or special committees) that are operating in the United States Senate. Senators can be a member of more than one committee.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ Congressional Committees: Crash Course Government and Politics #7
  • ✪ Congressional Elections: Crash Course Government and Politics #6
  • ✪ Congress: The Committee System
  • ✪ Congress for Dummies -- Article 1 of the Constitution
  • ✪ The Bicameral Congress: Crash Course Government and Politics #2


Hi, I'm Craig and this is Crash Course Government and Politics and today we're going to get down and dirty wallowing in the mud that is Congress. Okay, maybe that's a little unfair, but the workings of Congress are kind of arcane or byzantine or maybe let's just say extremely complex and confusing, like me, or Game of Thrones without the nudity. Some of the nudity, maybe. However, Congress is the most important branch, so it would probably behoove most Americans to know how it works. I'm going to try to explain. Be prepared to be behooved. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate are divided up into committees in order to make them more efficient. The committees you hear about most are the standing committees, which are relatively permanent and handle the day-to-day business of Congress. The House has 19 standing committees and the Senate 16. Congressmen and Senators serve on multiple committees. Each committee has a chairperson, or chair, who is the one who usually gets mentioned in the press, which is why you would know the name of the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee. Tell us in the comments if you do know, or tell us if you are on the committee, or just say hi. Congress creates special or select committees to deal with particular issues that are beyond the jurisdiction of standing committees. Some of them are temporary and some, like the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, are permanent. Some of them have only an advisory function which means they can't write laws. The Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming has only advisory authority which tells you pretty much all you need to know about Congress and climate change. There are joint committees made up of members of both houses. Most of them are standing committees and they don't do a lot although the joint Committee on the Library oversees the Library of Congress, without which we would not be able to use a lot of these pictures. Like that one, and that one, and ooh that one's my favorite. Other committees are conference committees, which are created to reconcile a bill when the House and Senate write different versions of it, but I'll talk about those later when we try to figure out how a bill becomes a law. So why does Congress have so many committees? The main reason is that it's more efficient to write legislation in a smaller group rather than a larger one. Congressional committees also allow Congressmen to develop expertise on certain topics. So a Congressperson from Iowa can get on an agriculture committee because that is an issue he presumably knows something about if he pays attention to his constituents. Or a Congressperson from Oklahoma could be on the Regulation of Wind Rolling Down the Plain Committee. Committees allow members of Congress to follows their own interests, so someone passionate about national defense can try to get on the armed services committee. Probably more important, serving on a committee is something that a Congressperson can claim credit for and use to build up his or her brand when it comes time for reelection. Congress also has committees for historical reasons. Congress is pretty tradish, which is what you say when you don't have time to say traditional. Anyway, it doesn't see much need to change a system that has worked, for the most part, since 1825. That doesn't mean that Congress hasn't tried to tweak the system. Let's talk about how committees actually work in the Thought Bubble. Any member of Congress can propose a bill, this is called proposal power, but it has to go to a committee first. Then to get to the rest of the House or Senate it has to be reported out of committee. The chair determines the agenda by choosing which issues get considered. In the House the Speaker refers bills to particular committees, but the committee chair has some discretion over whether or not to act on the bills. This power to control what ideas do or do not become bills is what political scientists call "Gatekeeping Authority", and it's a remarkably important power that we rarely ever think about, largely because when a bill doesn't make it on to the agenda, there's not much to write or talk about. The committee chairs also manage the actual process of writing a bill, which is called mark-up, and the vote on the bill in the committee itself. If a bill doesn't receive a majority of votes in the committee, it won't be reported out to the full House or Senate. In this case we say the bill "died in committee" and we have a small funeral on the National Mall. Nah we just put it in the shredder. Anyway, committee voting is kind of an efficient practice. If a bill can't command a majority in a small committee it doesn't have much chance in the floor of either house. Committees can kill bills by just not voting on them, but it is possible in the House to force them to vote by filing a discharge petition - this almost never happens. Gatekeeping Authority is Congress's most important power, but it also has oversight power, which is an after-the-fact authority to check up on how law is being implemented. Committees exercise oversight by assigning staff to scrutinize a particular law or policy and by holding hearings. Holding hearings is an excellent way to take a position on a particular issue. Thanks Thought Bubble. So those are the basics of how committees work, but I promised you we'd go beyond the basics, so here we go into the Realm of Congressional History. Since Congress started using committees they have made a number of changes, but the ones that have bent the Congress into its current shape occurred under the speakership of Newt Gingrich in 1994. Overall Gingrich increased the power of the Speaker, who was already pretty powerful. The number of subcommittees was reduced, and seniority rules in appointing chairs were changed. Before Gingrich or "BG" the chair of a committee was usually the longest serving member of the majority party, which for most of the 20th century was the Democrats. AG Congress, or Anno Gingrichy Congress, holds votes to choose the chairs. The Speaker has a lot of influence over who gets chosen on these votes, which happen more regularly because the Republicans also impose term limits on the committee chairs. Being able to offer chairmanships to loyal party members gives the Speaker a lot more influence over the committees themselves. The Speaker also increased his, or her - this is the first time we can say that, thanks Nancy Pelosi - power to refer bills to committee and act as gatekeeper. Gingrich also made changes to congressional staffing. But before we discuss the changes, let's spend a minute or two looking at Congressional staff in general. There are two types of congressional staff, the Staff Assistants that each Congressperson or Senator has to help her or him with the actual job of being a legislator, and the Staff Agencies that work for Congress as a whole. The staff of a Congressperson is incredibly important. Some staffers' job is to research and write legislation while others do case work, like responding to constituents' requests. Some staffers perform personal functions, like keeping track of a Congressperson's calendar, or most importantly making coffee - can we get a staffer in here? As Congresspeople spend more and more time raising money, more and more of the actual legislative work is done by staff. In addition to the individual staffers, Congress as a whole has specialized staff agencies that are supposed to be more independent. You may have heard of these agencies, or at least some of them. The Congressional Research Service is supposed to perform unbiased factual research for Congresspeople and their staff to help them in the process of writing the actual bills. The Government Accountability Office is a branch of Congress that can investigate the finances and administration of any government administrative office. The Congressional Budget Office assesses the likely costs and impact of legislation. When the CBO looks at the cost of a particular bill it's called "scoring the bill." The Congressional reforms after 1994 generally increased the number of individual staff and reduced the staff of the staff agencies. This means that more legislation comes out of the offices of individual Congresspeople. The last feature of Congress that I'm going to mention, briefly because their actual function and importance is nebulous, is the caucus system. These are caucuses in Congress, so don't confuse them with the caucuses that some states use to choose candidates for office, like the ones in Iowa. Caucuses are semi-formal groups of Congresspeople organized around particular identities or interests. Semi-formal in this case doesn't mean that they wear suits and ties, it means that they don't have official function in the legislative process. But you know what? Class it up a little - just try to look nice. The Congressional Black Caucus is made up of the African American members of the legislature. The Republican Study Group is the conservative caucus that meets to discuss conservative issues and develop legislative strategies. Since 2010 there is also a Tea Party caucus in Congress. There are also caucuses for very specific interests like the Bike Caucus that focuses on cycling. There should also be a Beard Caucus, shouldn't there? Is there a Beard Caucus Stan? No? What about an eagle punching caucus? The purpose of these caucuses is for like minded people to gather and discuss ideas. The caucuses can help members of Congress coordinate their efforts and also provide leadership opportunities for individual Congresspeople outside of the more formal structures of committees. There are a lot of terms and details to remember, but here's the big thing to take away: caucuses, congressional staff, and especially committees, all exist to make the process of lawmaking more efficient. In particular, committees and staff allow individual legislators to develop expertise; this is the theory anyway. Yes it's a theory. Committees also serve a political function of helping Congresspeople build an identity for voters that should help them get elected. In some ways this is just as important in the role in the process of making actual legislation. When Congress doesn't pass many laws, committee membership, or better yet, being a committee chair is one of the only ways that a Congressperson can distinguish him or herself. At least it gives you something more to learn about incumbents when you're making your voting choices. Thanks for watching. I'll see you next week. Crash Course is produced in association with PBS Digital Studios. Support for Crash Course US Government comes from Voqal. Voqal supports nonprofits that use technology and media to advance social equity. Learn more about their mission and initiatives at Crash Course is made with all of these lovely people. Thanks for watching. Staffer! Coffee! Please. Thank you.


Standing committees

As of 2017, there are 88 subsidiary bodies of the US Senate: 16 standing committees with 67 subcommittees, and five non-standing committees.

Committee Chair Ranking Member Refs
Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Pat Roberts (R-KS) Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) [1][2]
Commodities, Risk Management and Trade John Boozman (R-AR) Sherrod Brown (D-OH) [3]
Conservation, Forestry and Natural Resources Mike Braun (R-IN) Michael Bennet (D-CO)
Livestock, Marketing and Agriculture Security Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Nutrition, Agricultural Research and Specialty Crops Deb Fischer (R-NE) Bob Casey (D-PA)
Rural Development and Energy Joni Ernst (R-IA) Tina Smith (D-MN)
Appropriations Richard Shelby (R-AL) Patrick Leahy (D-VT) [1][2]
Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies John Hoeven (R-ND) Jeff Merkley (D-OR) [4]
Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Jerry Moran (R-KS) Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Defense Richard Shelby (R-AL) Dick Durbin (D-IL)
Energy and Water Development Lamar Alexander (R-TN) Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Financial Services and General Government John Kennedy (R-LA) Chris Coons (D-DE)
Homeland Security Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) Jon Tester (D-MT)
Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) Tom Udall (D-NM)
Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Roy Blunt (R-MO) Patty Murray (D-WA)
Legislative Branch Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) Chris Murphy (D-CT)
Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies John Boozman (R-AR) Brian Schatz (D-HI)
State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Lindsey Graham (R-SC) Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies Susan Collins (R-ME) Jack Reed (D-RI)
Armed Services Jim Inhofe (R-OK) Jack Reed (D-RI) [1][2]
Airland Tom Cotton (R-AR) Angus King (I-ME) [5]
Cybersecurity Mike Rounds (R-SD) Joe Manchin (D-WV)
Emerging Threats and Capabilities Joni Ernst (R-IA) Gary Peters (D-MI)
Personnel Thom Tillis (R-NC) Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Readiness and Management Support Dan Sullivan (R-AK) Tim Kaine (D-VA)
Seapower David Perdue (R-GA) Mazie Hirono (D-HI)
Strategic Forces Deb Fischer (R-NE) Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Mike Crapo (R-ID) Sherrod Brown (D-OH) [1][2]
Economic Policy Tom Cotton (R-AR) Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) [6]
Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection Tim Scott (R-SC) Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Housing, Transportation and Community Development David Perdue (R-GA) Bob Menendez (D-NJ)
National Security and International Trade and Finance Ben Sasse (R-NE) Mark Warner (D-VA)
Securities, Insurance and Investment Pat Toomey (R-PA) Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
Budget Mike Enzi (R-WY) Bernie Sanders (I-VT) [1][2]
Commerce, Science and Transportation Roger Wicker (R-MS) Maria Cantwell (D-WA) [1][2]
Aviation and Space Ted Cruz (R-TX) Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) [7]
Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet John Thune (R-SD) Brian Schatz (D-HI)
Manufacturing, Trade and Consumer Protection Jerry Moran (R-KS) Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
Science, Oceans, Fisheries and Weather Cory Gardner (R-CO) Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Security Dan Sullivan (R-AK) Ed Markey (D-MA)
Transportation and Safety Deb Fischer (R-NE) Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
Energy and Natural Resources Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) Joe Manchin (D-WV) [1][2]
Energy Bill Cassidy (R-LA) Martin Heinrich (D-NM) [8]
National Parks Steve Daines (R-MT) Angus King (I-ME)
Public Lands, Forests and Mining Mike Lee (R-UT) Ron Wyden (D-OR)
Water and Power Martha McSally (R-AZ) Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV)
Environment and Public Works John Barrasso (R-WY) Tom Carper (D-DE) [1][2]
Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Mike Braun (R-IN) Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) [9]
Fisheries, Water and Wildlife Kevin Cramer (R-ND) Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
Superfund, Waste Management and Regulatory Oversight Mike Rounds (R-SD) Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Transportation and Infrastructure Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) Ben Cardin (D-MD)
Finance Chuck Grassley (R-IA) Ron Wyden (D-OR) [1][2]
Energy, Natural Resources and Infrastructure Tim Scott (R-SC) Michael Bennet (D-CO) [10]
Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Growth Bill Cassidy (R-LA) Maggie Hassan (D-NH)
Health Care Pat Toomey (R-PA) Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
International Trade, Customs and Global Competitiveness John Cornyn (R-TX) Bob Casey (D-PA)
Social Security, Pensions and Family Policy Rob Portman (R-OH) Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Taxation and IRS Oversight John Thune (R-SD) Mark Warner (D-VA)
Foreign Relations Jim Risch (R-ID) Bob Menendez (D-NJ) [1][2]
Africa and Global Health Policy Lindsey Graham (R-SC) Tim Kaine (D-VA) [11]
East Asia, the Pacific and International Cybersecurity Policy Cory Gardner (R-CO) Ed Markey (D-MA)
Europe and Regional Security Cooperation Ron Johnson (R-WI) Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Multilateral International Development, Multilateral Institutions and International Economic, Energy and Environmental Policy Todd Young (R-IN) Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism Mitt Romney (R-UT) Chris Murphy (D-CT)
State Department and USAID Management, International Operations and Bilateral International Development Johnny Isakson (R-GA) Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights and Global Women's Issues Marco Rubio (R-FL) Ben Cardin (D-MD)
Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Lamar Alexander (R-TN) Patty Murray (D-WA) [1][2]
Children and Families Rand Paul (R-KY) Bob Casey (D-PA) [12]
Employment and Workplace Safety Johnny Isakson (R-GA) Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Primary Health and Retirement Security Mike Enzi (R-WY) Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Ron Johnson (R-WI) Gary Peters (D-MI) [1][2]
Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management Rand Paul (R-KY) Maggie Hassan (D-NH) [13]
Investigations (Permanent) Rob Portman (R-OH) Tom Carper (D-DE)
Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management James Lankford (R-OK) Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ)
Judiciary Lindsey Graham (R-SC) Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) [1][2]
Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights Mike Lee (R-UT) Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) [14]
Border Security and Immigration John Cornyn (R-TX) Dick Durbin (D-IL)
Constitution Ted Cruz (R-TX) Mazie Hirono (D-HI)
Crime and Terrorism Josh Hawley (R-MO) Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
Intellectual Property Thom Tillis (R-NC) Chris Coons (D-DE)
Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts Ben Sasse (R-NE) Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
Rules and Administration Roy Blunt (R-MO) Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) [1][2]
Small Business and Entrepreneurship Marco Rubio (R-FL) Ben Cardin (D-MD) [1][2]
Veterans' Affairs Johnny Isakson (R-GA) Jon Tester (D-MT) [1][2]

Non-standing committees

There are five non-standing, select, or special committees, which are treated similarly to standing committees.[15]

Committee Chair Ranking Member Refs
Aging (Special) Susan Collins (R-ME) Bob Casey (D-PA) [1][2]
Ethics (Select) Johnny Isakson (R-GA) Chris Coons (D-DE) [1][2]
Indian Affairs (Permanent Select) John Hoeven (R-ND) Tom Udall (D-NM) [1][2]
Intelligence (Select) Richard Burr (R-NC) Mark Warner (D-VA) [1][2]
International Narcotics Control (Permanent Caucus) John Cornyn (R-TX) Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) [16]

Committee classes

Senate committees are divided, according to relative importance, into three categories: Class A, Class B, and Class C. Individual Senators are in general limited to service on two Class A committees and one Class B committee. Assignment to Class C committees is made without reference to a member's service on any other panels.[17]

Standing committees

Standing committees are permanent bodies with specific responsibilities spelled out in the Senate's rules. Twelve of the sixteen current standing committees are Class A panels. They are Agriculture; Appropriations; Armed Services; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; Commerce, Science, and Transportation; Energy and Natural Resources; Environment and Public Works; Finance; Foreign Relations; Governmental Affairs; Judiciary; and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.[citation needed]

There are four Class B standing committees: Budget; Rules and Administration; Small Business; and Veterans' Affairs. There are currently no Class C standing committees.[citation needed]

Other, select and special committees

Other (i.e., Indian Affairs), select and special committees are ranked as Class B or Class C committees. They are created for clearly specified purposes. There are currently two Class B committees: the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Special Committee on Aging, and two Class C committees: the Select Committee on Indian Affairs and the Select Committee on Ethics.[citation needed]

Joint committees

Joint Committees are used for purposes of legislative and administrative coordination. At present there are four: the Joint Economic Committee (Class B), the Joint Committee on the Library (Class C), the Joint Committee on Printing (Class C), and the Joint Committee on Taxation (Class C).[citation needed]


Standing committees in the Senate have their jurisdiction set by three primary sources: Senate Rules, ad hoc Senate Resolutions, and Senate Resolutions related to committee funding. To see an overview of the jurisdictions of standing committees in the Senate, see Standing Rules of the United States Senate, Rule XXV.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t McConnell, Mitch (January 3, 2019). "Senate Republican Committee Assignments for the 116th Congress". Senate Republican Conference. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Schumer, Chuck (December 13, 2018). "Schumer Announces Senate Democratic Committee Memberships for the 116th Congress". Senate Democratic Caucus. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  3. ^ Roberts, Pat; Stabenow, Debbie (February 7, 2019). "Senate Agriculture Committee Announces Subcommittee Assignments for 116th Congress". Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  4. ^ Shelby, Dick; Leahy, Pat (January 14, 2019). "Shelby, Leahy Announce Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Rosters for 116th Congress". United States Senate Committee on Appropriations. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  5. ^ Inhofe, Jim; Reed, Jack (January 17, 2019). "Inhofe, Reed Announce Subcommittee Leadership, Membership". United States Senate Committee on Armed Services. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  6. ^ Crapo, Mike; Brown, Sherrod (January 18, 2019). "Chairman Crapo and Ranking Member Brown Announce Banking Subcommittee Assignments for the 116th Congress". United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  7. ^ Wicker, Roger; Cantwell, Maria (January 24, 2019). "Wicker and Cantwell Release Subcommittee Assignments". United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  8. ^ Murkowski, Lisa; Manchin, Joe (February 5, 2019). "ENR Committee Ratifies Subcommittee Rosters for 116th Congress". United States Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  9. ^ Barrasso, John; Carper, Tom (February 6, 2019). "Chairman Barrasso & Ranking Member Carper Announce Rosters of EPW Subcommittees". United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  10. ^ Grassley, Chuck; Wyden, Ron (January 31, 2019). "Grassley, Wyden Announce Expected Finance Committee Subcommittee Membership". United States Senate Committee on Finance. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  11. ^ Risch, Jim; Menendez, Bob (February 7, 2019). "Membership and Jurisdiction of Subcommittees" (PDF). United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  12. ^ Alexander, Lamar; Murray, Patty (January 16, 2019). "Alexander Announces Enzi, Isakson, Paul Will Serve as HELP Subcommittee Chairmen for the 116th Congress". United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  13. ^ Johnson, Ron; Peters, Gary (January 31, 2019). "Johnson, Peters Announce Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee Membership". United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  14. ^ Graham, Lindsey; Feinstein, Dianne (February 7, 2019). "Senate Judiciary Committee Announces Subcommittee Assignments". United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  15. ^ "Committees Home". United States Senate, at Retrieved November 2, 2011.
  16. ^ Cornyn, John (January 22, 2019). "Cornyn, Feinstein Appointed Chairs of Senate Narcotics Control Caucus". Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  17. ^ "Committee Assignment Process in the U.S. Senate: Democratic and Republican Party Procedures" (PDF). CRS Report for Congress. Congressional Research Service. Retrieved 18 April 2011.

See also

External links

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