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United States Senate Committee on Appropriations

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The United States Senate Committee on Appropriations is a standing committee of the United States Senate. It has jurisdiction over all discretionary spending legislation in the Senate.

The entrance to the Appropriations Committee Suite in the United States Capitol
The entrance to the Appropriations Committee Suite in the United States Capitol

The Senate Appropriations Committee is the largest committee in the U.S. Senate, with 31 members in the 115th Congress. Its role is defined by the U.S. Constitution, which requires "appropriations made by law" prior to the expenditure of any money from the Treasury, and is therefore, one of the most powerful committees in the Senate.[1] The committee was first organized on March 6, 1867, when power over appropriations was taken out of the hands of the Finance Committee.[2]

The chairman of the Appropriations Committee has enormous power to bring home special projects (sometimes referred to as "pork barrel spending") for his or her state as well as having the final say on other senators' appropriation requests.[3] For example, in fiscal year 2005 per capita federal spending in Alaska, the home state of then-Chairman Ted Stevens, was $12,000, double the national average. Alaska has 11,772 special earmarked projects for a combined cost of $15,780,623,000. This represents about four percent of the overall spending in the $388 billion Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2005 passed by Congress.[4]

Because of the power of this committee and the fact that senators represent entire states, not just parts of states, it is considered extremely difficult to unseat a member of this committee at an election - especially if he or she is a subcommittee chair, or "Cardinal". Since 1990, four members of this committee have gone on to serve as Senate Majority Leader for at least one session of Congress: Tom Daschle (committee member August 12, 1991 - December 10, 1999; Senate Majority Leader January 3–20, 2001 and June 6, 2001 - January 3, 2003), Bill Frist (committee member April 17, 1995 - December 29, 2002; Senate Majority Leader January 3, 2003 - January 3, 2007), Harry Reid (committee member August 13, 1989 - December 23, 2006; subcommittee chair March 15, 1991 - December 24, 1994 and June 11, 2001 - December 22, 2002; Senate Majority Leader January 3, 2007 - January 3, 2015), Mitch McConnell (Senate Majority Leader January 3, 2015 – present).

The appropriations process

Former Committee Chairman Robert Byrd (D-WV, far right) shakes hands with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates while Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT, center right) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) look on. The hearing was held to discuss further funding for the War in Iraq.
Former Committee Chairman Robert Byrd (D-WV, far right) shakes hands with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates while Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT, center right) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) look on. The hearing was held to discuss further funding for the War in Iraq.

The federal budget is divided into two main categories: discretionary spending and mandatory spending. Each appropriations subcommittee develops a draft appropriations bill covering each agency under its jurisdiction based on the Congressional Budget Resolution, which is drafted by an analogous Senate Budget committee. Each subcommittee must adhere to the spending limits set by the budget resolution and allocations set by the full Appropriations Committee, though the full Senate may vote to waive those limits if 60 senators vote to do so. The committee also reviews supplemental spending bills (covering unforeseen or emergency expenses not previously budgeted).

Each appropriations bill must be passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president prior to the start of the federal fiscal year, October 1. If that target is not met, as has been common in recent years, the committee drafts a continuing resolution, which is then approved by Congress and signed by the President to keep the federal government operating until the individual bills are approved.


In accordance of Rule XXV of the United States Senate, all proposed legislation, messages, petitions, memorials, and other matters relating to the following subjects is referred to the Senate Committee on Appropriations:

  1. Appropriation of the revenue for the support of the Government, except as provided in subparagraph (e);
  2. Rescission of appropriations contained in appropriation Acts (referred to in section 105 of title 1, United States Code);
  3. The amount of new spending authority described in section 401(c)(2) (A) and (B) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 which is to be effective for a fiscal year; and,
  4. New spending authority described in section 401(c)(2)(C) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 provided in bills and resolutions referred to the committee under section 401(b)(2) of that Act (but subject to the provisions of section 401(b)(3) of that Act).[1]

Likewise, Article I, Section 9, Clause 7 of the United States Constitution, clearly vesting the power of the purse in Congress, states: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law...and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.”[1] This clause is the foundation for the congressional appropriations process and the fundamental source of the Senate Appropriations Committee's institutional power - as is the same with its counterpart in the lower house.[2] In other words, Article I, Section 9, Clause 7 of the United States Constitution charges the United States Congress with the legislative duty of controlling government spending separate from the executive branch of government - a significant check and balance in the American constitutional system.[3]


116th Congress

Majority Minority

115th Congress

Majority Minority

Source :"U.S. Senate: Committee on Appropriations". Retrieved April 11, 2018.

114th Congress

Majority Minority

Source: 2013 Congressional Record, Vol. 159, Page S296

113th Congress

Majority Minority

Source :"U.S. Senate: Committee on Appropriations". Retrieved June 10, 2013.

112th Congress

Majority Minority


Subcommittee Chair Ranking Member
Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies John Hoeven (R-ND) Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
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)[5] 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)[6] 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)


Committee reorganization during the 110th Congress

At the outset of the 110th Congress, Chairman Robert Byrd and Chairman Dave Obey, his counterpart on the House Appropriations Committee, developed a committee reorganization plan that provided for common subcommittee structures between both houses, a move that the both chairmen hope will allow Congress to "complete action on each of the government funding on time for the first time since 1994."[5][6] The subcommittees were last overhauled between the 107th and 108th Congresses, after the creation of the Subcommittee on Homeland Security and again during the 109th Congress, when the number of subcommittees was reduced from 13 to 12.

A key part of the new subcommittee organization was the establishment of a new Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, which consolidates funding for the Treasury Department, the United States federal judiciary, and the District of Columbia. These functions were previously handled by two separate Senate subcommittees.

Chairmen and Chairwomen, 1867–present

Chairman Party State Years
Lot M. Morrill Republican Maine 1867–1869
William P. Fessenden Republican Maine 1869
Lot M. Morrill Republican Maine 1869–1871
Cornelius Cole Republican California 1871–1873
Lot M. Morrill Republican Maine 1873–1876
William Windom Republican Minnesota 1876–1879
Henry G. Davis Democratic West Virginia 1879–1881
William B. Allison Republican Iowa 1881–1893
Francis M. Cockrell Democratic Missouri 1893–1895
William B. Allison Republican Iowa 1895–1908
Eugene Hale Republican Maine 1908–1911
Francis E. Warren Republican Wyoming 1911–1913
Thomas S. Martin Democratic Virginia 1913–1919
Francis E. Warren Republican Wyoming 1919–1929
Wesley L. Jones Republican Washington 1929–1932
Frederick Hale Republican Maine 1932–1933
Carter Glass Democratic Virginia 1933–1946
Kenneth D. McKellar Democratic Tennessee 1946–1947
Styles Bridges Republican New Hampshire 1947–1949
Kenneth D. McKellar Democratic Tennessee 1949–1953
Styles Bridges Republican New Hampshire 1953–1955
Carl Hayden Democratic Arizona 1955–1969
Richard B. Russell Jr. Democratic Georgia 1969–1971
Allen J. Ellender Democratic Louisiana 1971–1972
John L. McClellan Democratic Arkansas 1972–1977
Warren G. Magnuson Democratic Washington 1977–1981
Mark O. Hatfield Republican Oregon 1981–1987
John C. Stennis Democratic Mississippi 1987–1989
Robert C. Byrd Democratic West Virginia 1989–1995
Mark O. Hatfield Republican Oregon 1995–1997
Theodore F. Stevens Republican Alaska 1997–2001
Robert C. Byrd Democratic West Virginia 2001
Theodore F. Stevens Republican Alaska 2001
Robert C. Byrd Democratic West Virginia 2001–2003
Theodore F. Stevens Republican Alaska 2003–2005
Thad Cochran Republican Mississippi 2005–2007
Robert C. Byrd Democratic West Virginia 2007–2009
Daniel K. Inouye Democratic Hawaii 2009–2012
Barbara Mikulski Democratic Maryland 2012-2015
Thad Cochran Republican Mississippi 2015–2018
Richard Shelby Republican Alabama 2018–present

See also


^ "Overview of the Committee's role". U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations. Archived from the original on October 13, 2005. Retrieved October 14, 2005.
^ "Creation of the Senate Committee on Appropriations". U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations. Archived from the original on September 27, 2005. Retrieved October 14, 2005.
^ Courtney Mabeus. "Buying Leadership". Capital Eye. Retrieved October 14, 2005.
^ Rosenbaum, David E. (February 9, 2005). "Call it Pork or Necessity, but Alaska Comes Out Far Above the Rest in Spending". New York Times.
^ "Senate, House Appropriations Set Subcommittee Plans for New Congress". U.S. House Committee on Appropriations. Archived from the original on January 31, 2007. Retrieved January 27, 2007.
^ "Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Rosters Set". National Thoroughbred Racing Association. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved January 27, 2007.
^ "Daniel Inouye Dies". Politico. Retrieved December 18, 2012.

Further reading

External links

This page was last edited on 21 January 2020, at 20:31
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