Committees decide which bills and resolutions move forward to consideration by the House or Senate as a whole. Committee chairs have enormous influence over this process.
#protip: To track upcoming committee meetings, check out Congress.gov’s committee meetings calendar .
Committee meetings each weekday over the last year. Darker is more meetings.
Agriculture, nutrition, and forestry, appropriations, armed services, banking, housing, and urban affairs, commerce, science, and transportation, energy and natural resources, environment and public works, foreign relations, health, education, labor, and pensions, homeland security and governmental affairs, indian affairs, intelligence, rules and administration, small business and entrepreneurship, united states senate caucus on international narcotics control, veterans' affairs, house committees, agriculture, education and the workforce, energy and commerce, financial services, foreign affairs, homeland security, house administration, house select subcommittee on the coronavirus pandemic, house select subcommittee on the weaponization of the federal government, natural resources, oversight and accountability, science, space, and technology, small business, strategic competition between the united states and the chinese communist party, transportation and infrastructure, ways and means, joint committees.
The joint committees are made up of both senators and representatives. They typically have an oversight or policy role but no legislative duties.
Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
Joint Committee on Printing
Joint Committee on Taxation
Joint Committee on the Library
Joint Economic Committee
While the Joint Committees on Printing and the Library have nominal responsibility for oversight of the Government Publishing Office and the Library of Congress, respectively, the committees are essentially defunct and oversight takes place within the majority party leadership of each chamber.
We’re on mastodon.
We are excited to now be on Mastodon, a social network developed by and for its users, as well as TikTok.
Follow us at @[email protected] or @govtrack.us on TikTok !
We are also still on Instagram at @govtrack.us posting 60-second video summaries of legislation in Congress.
Join GovTrack’s Advisory Community
We’re looking to learn more about who uses GovTrack and what features you find helpful or think could be improved. If you can, please take a few minutes to help us improve GovTrack for users like you.
Start by telling us more about yourself:
We hope to make GovTrack more useful to policy professionals like you. Please sign up for our advisory group to be a part of making GovTrack a better tool for what you do.
Young Americans have historically been the least involved in politics, despite the huge consequences policies can have on them. By joining our advisory group, you can help us make GovTrack more useful and engaging to young voters like you.
Our mission is to empower every American with the tools to understand and impact Congress. We hope that with your input we can make GovTrack more accessible to minority and disadvantaged communities who we may currently struggle to reach. Please join our advisory group to let us know what more we can do.
We love educating Americans about how their government works too! Please help us make GovTrack better address the needs of educators by joining our advisory group.
Would you like to join our advisory group to work with us on the future of GovTrack?
Email address where we can reach you:
Thank you for joining the GovTrack Advisory Community! We’ll be in touch.
There’s never been a better time for civic engagement.
You’ve cast your vote. Now what? Join 10 million other Americans using GovTrack to learn about and contact your representative and senators and track what Congress is doing each day.
And starting in 2019 we’ll be tracking Congress’s oversight investigations of the executive branch.
You’re more than a vote, so support GovTrack today with a tip of any amount:
One-Time Tip or Monthly Support
Or keep using GovTrack for free! Our public interest mission means we will never put our service behind a paywall.
GovTrack.us is taking a new focus on civic education
Help us develop the tools to bring real-time legislative data into the classroom.
If you’ve visited a bill page on GovTrack.us recently, you may have noticed a new “study guide” tab located just below the bill title. This is part of a new project to develop better tools for bringing real-time legislative data into the classroom. We hope to enable educators to build lesson plans centered around any bill or vote in Congress, even those as recent as yesterday.
We’re looking for feedback from educators about how GovTrack can be used and improved for your classroom. If you teach United States government and would like to speak with us about bringing legislative data into your classroom, please reach out!
Get Email Updates from Ballotpedia
First Name *
Please complete the Captcha above
Ballotpedia on Facebook
Share this page
Ballotpedia on Twitter
List of committees in the united states congress.
This page lists the committees of the 118th United States Congress .
U.s. senate, joint committees.
- United States Congress
- 118th Congress
- Pages using DynamicPageList3 parser function
- Unique congress pages
- One-off pages, active
Ballotpedia features 418,913 encyclopedic articles written and curated by our professional staff of editors, writers, and researchers. Click here to contact our editorial staff or report an error . For media inquiries, contact us here . Please donate here to support our continued expansion.
Information about voting
- What's on my ballot?
- Where do I vote?
- How do I register to vote?
- How do I request a ballot?
- When do I vote?
- When are polls open?
- Who Represents Me?
- 2023 Elections
- State executives
- State legislatures
- Ballot measures
- State judges
- Municipal officials
- School boards
- 2024 Presidential election
- 2024 Presidential candidates
- 2024 Congressional elections
- 2024 State executive elections
- 2024 State legislative elections
- 2024 State judge elections
- 2024 Local elections
- 2024 Ballot measures
- Election legislation tracking
- Endorsements in school board elections
- State Trifectas
- State Triplexes
- Pivot Counties
- State Supreme Court Partisanship
- Conflicts in school board elections, 2021-2022
- Polling indexes
- Administrative State
- Criminal justice policy
- Education policy
- Environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) policy
- Unemployment insurance
- Work requirements
- Policy in the states
Information for candidates
- Ballotpedia's Candidate Survey
- How do I run for office?
- How do I update a page?
- Election results
- Send us candidate contact info
- Donate to Ballotpedia
- Report an error
- Ballotpedia Podcast
- Ballotpedia Boutique
- Media inquiries
- Premium Research Services
- Biden Administration
- Recall elections
- Ballotpedia News
- Preview your ballot
- Upcoming elections
- 2023 Statewide primary dates
- 2023 Filing deadlines
- Special Congressional elections (2023-2024)
- 2023 State executive elections
- 2023 State legislative elections
- 2023 Local elections
- 2023 Ballot measures
- 2022 Wave elections
- 2022 Congressional margins of victory
- 2022 Congressional Competitiveness Report
- State Executive Competitiveness Report, 2022
- State government trifectas in 2022
- State Legislative Competitiveness Report, 2022
- State judicial elections, 2022
- Partisanship in 2022 United States local elections
- Trends in 2022 ballot measures
- Cabinet officials
- Executive orders and actions
- Key legislation
- Judicial nominations
- White House senior staff
- U.S. President
- U.S. Congress
- U.S. Supreme Court
- Federal courts
- State government
- Municipal government
- Election policy
- Running for office
- Ballotpedia's weekly podcast
- About Ballotpedia
- Editorial independence
- Job opportunities
- News and events
- White House
- Health Care
- Heard on the Hill
- Fintech Beat
- Political Theater
- Capitol Ink
- Roll Call e-Edition
Guide to House committee chairs for 118th Congress
Glenn Thompson , a Pennsylvania Republican in his eighth term, assumes the top Agriculture Committee post as the panel prepares to write a 2023 farm bill to set multiyear policy for agriculture, nutrition, conservation and other programs. The current five-year bill expires Sept. 30.
The Agriculture Committee is likely to debate the agriculture industry’s role in climate change policy. Thompson has expressed skepticism about the Biden administration incorporating climate policies in existing farm bill conservation programs and advancing new climate pilot programs.
However, Thompson successfully tacked on to the fiscal 2023 omnibus spending packag the text of his bill to allow the Agriculture Department to accept private contributions for private-public partnership accounts that could be used for climate and other projects under the Natural Resource Conservation Service.
David Scott , D-Ga., the panel’s former chairman, will continue in his party’s top slot as ranking member.
Texas Republican Kay Granger takes the helm at Appropriations during a tumultuous time for her party, driven by a near-universal desire to cut federal spending, but less agreement on exactly what to cut.
First elected in 1996, Granger became the first woman to lead her party on the powerful spending panel in 2019. Her Fort Worth-area district is home to military installations and defense contractors like Lockheed Martin Corp. She has repeatedly made clear that defense won’t bear the burden of any spending cuts that Speaker Kevin McCarthy , R-Calif., agreed to in exchange for conservatives’ support.
Other Republicans quickly came out with similar statements, making it clear that domestic programs are likely to shoulder the brunt of any budget cuts. But it’s unclear that such austere fiscal 2024 appropriations bills can even pass the House, let alone the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Rosa DeLauro , D-Conn., will continue as the top Appropriations Democrat in this Congress.
Mike D. Rogers , R-Ala., will chair the Armed Services Committee.
Rogers backs growth in the U.S. defense budget to deter Russia, China and other potential foes. He will also oversee an assault this year on what Republicans term the Pentagon’s “woke” social agenda, and the committee will help lead a House GOP probe of the problematic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021.
Rogers has represented his eastern Alabama district for two decades. He was the Armed Services Committee’s ranking member in the 117th Congress, and once chaired its Strategic Forces panel. Eastern Alabama is home to several major Army and Air Force installations, and the aerospace and aviation hub of Huntsville is not far to the north.
Adam Smith of Washington remains the panel’s top Democrat.
Jodey C. Arrington , a Texas Republican now in his fourth term, won the Budget gavel after winning a three-way competition that played out before the steering committee on Monday.
Arrington’s already well acquainted with fiscal issues from his time serving on the Ways and Means Committee, which oversees tax policy and swaths of federal spending. He’ll have his hands full trying to unify the fractious GOP Conference around a budget resolution that can be adopted on a party-line vote, with just four votes to spare. But he’s also touted his work across the aisle to try to impose some fiscal discipline.
After winning the Budget slot late Monday, Arrington in a statement invoked James Madison’s admonition that “public debt is a public curse,” and at $31 trillion and counting, is exponentially greater than any of the Founding Fathers could have envisioned. “It will take a team effort across the GOP Conference and across the aisle to restore fiscal responsibility and reverse the curse,” Arrington said.
Brendan F. Boyle , D-Pa., will be the panel’s ranking member after the retirement of former Chairman John Yarmuth , D-Ky.
Education and the Workforce
The GOP Conference backed Virginia Foxx of North Carolina to chair the Committee on Education and the Workforce, returning her to a position she held from 2017 to 2019.
“To officials in the Biden administration: think about investing in a parking space on Capitol Hill — you will be here often,” she said Monday in a statement after winning the Republican Steering Committee’s nomination, fighting off a challenge by Tim Walberg of Michigan.
Scrutiny of President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness program, currently tied up in the courts, will be a top priority, Foxx said.
Robert C. Scott of Virginia is the panel’s top Democrat.
Energy and Commerce
Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington will chair the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee after two years serving as ranking member.
She’s expected to focus first on energy policy, as Republicans seek to lower gas prices and counter Biden’s energy and economic agenda.
But the health care list is also long. Rodgers has pledged to drill down on the nation’s fentanyl crisis — an issue that also doubles as fodder for Republicans’ promise to secure the southern border and hold Big Tech companies’ feet to the fire.
Republicans also hope to boost their ongoing COVID-19 investigations with the additional power that comes with committee gavels. Ending the public health emergency, reversing worker mandates related to testing and vaccination, finding the origins of the virus, investigating fraud in pandemic aid programs and conducting oversight of the Biden administration’s pandemic-related decisions are all on the agenda.
Former Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. , D-N.J., will be ranking member.
Michael Guest , R-Miss., has the been the acting ranking member on Ethics, though McCarthy hasn’t made any announcements yet regarding his picks for the panel.
Democrats named Susan Wild of Pennsylvania as the new ranking member on Ethics, which could have its hands full right out of the gate investigating the circumstances around the election of Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., among other topics.
The GOP Conference backed Patrick T. McHenry of North Carolina, a key negotiator behind the deal to secure the speakership for McCarthy, to lead the House Financial Services Committee.
“I’m excited to get back to my policy bag,” McHenry said toward the end of speaker negotiations. “I mean, that’s what this whole week has been about, is getting on with the business.”
McHenry, who will take over the panel after four years as ranking member, has vowed to ramp up oversight of banking and market regulators, pursue legislation to protect consumer financial data protections, make it easier to raise capital and establish a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies.
Maxine Waters , D-Calif., stays on as ranking member.
Michael McCaul , R-Texas, has been selected as the next chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
McCaul was outspoken during last week’s speaker election floor drama about wanting to get started with committee work, including a planned investigation of the Biden administration’s chaotic exit from Afghanistan, as well as issues related to Russia and China as panel priorities in the 118th Congress.
The panel also is expected to debate U.S. aid to Ukraine, a top target of conservatives.
Gregory W. Meeks , D-N.Y., is ranking member.
Tennessee Republican Mark E. Green will lead the House Homeland Security Committee, which oversees the third-largest government agency, after winning a contested race Monday at the steering panel. He cited priorities of countering weapons of mass destruction and issues related to the U.S.-Mexico border.
A member of the Freedom Caucus and a veteran and physician, Green emphasized his “breadth of experience,” including in health care, as making him uniquely qualified to lead the panel. Green is a former Army physician who later founded an emergency medical staffing company.
Green will lead efforts to oversee the sprawling department’s myriad duties, including border security, cybersecurity, counterterrorism and emergency response preparedness.
Bennie Thompson of Mississippi remains the panel’s top Democrat.
Leadership of the committee that manages the House’s daily operations, various ancillary agencies like the Library of Congress, Capitol security and the U.S. Capitol Police as well as federal election law is up to McCarthy himself, rather than the steering panel.
Since former Rep. Rodney Davis , R-Ill., lost his primary last year, there remains a vacuum at the top that’s expected to filled by one of two candidates: Wisconsin’s Bryan Steil or Georgia’s Barry Loudermilk .
Steil has been viewed by some as the favorite since McCarthy tapped him to lead his “Restoring the People’s House” transition team for the 118th Congress, which focused on making the chamber more accessible to the public. But McCarthy, just coming off a weeklong battle to be elected speaker, hasn’t yet publicly signaled his intentions.
Joseph D. Morelle of New York will be the panel’s top Democrat, succeeding California’s Zoe Lofgren .
Another speaker-appointed role, the Intelligence chair slot hasn’t been made official yet. But it doesn’t appear that Rep. Michael R. Turner , R-Ohio, who’s been ranking member for the past year, has any competition for it.
First elected in 2002, Turner is the third-most senior Republican on the Armed Services Committee and has served on the Intelligence panel since 2015. He represents Ohio’s 10th District, an Air Force-heavy area that is home to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
As ranking member of the Intelligence panel, Turner touted the expansion of intelligence operations at Wright-Patterson under his watch. He is also a staunch China hawk.
It’s not yet clear who’ll be ranking member on the committee; McCarthy has pledged to boot Rep. Adam B. Schiff , D-Calif., the former chairman, off the panel altogether.
Ohio Republican Jim Jordan will lead the Judiciary Committee, which oversees the Justice Department and a wide array of issues related to crime, policing, internet and tech companies, immigration, border policy and more.
The former college wrestling coach has taken a lead role in his party on oversight of the Biden administration and said the committee’s work would be vigorous and aggressive. He has remained one of Trump’s fiercest allies, who has widely panned Biden’s policies on the U.S.-Mexico border and the economy.
Jordan has said Republicans plan to focus on “problems which have all happened in the past two years,” including migrant crossings at the southern border and what he calls the weaponization of the government and the Justice Department against citizens.
The panel’s former chair, Jerrold Nadler of New York, will be ranking member in this Congress.
House Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman , R-Ark., said that under his leadership the committee will focus on “responsible stewardship of the incredible natural resources we’ve been given.”
Westerman will lead the committee after one term as its ranking member, having taken over the top Republican spot in 2021.
A licensed forester and engineer prior to entering politics, he has leaned on his experience and pointed to forestry as a possible area for bipartisan consensus. A frequent critic of both the administration and the current federal permitting process, he has called for the government to support greater development of oil, gas and mineral resources on public lands.
Arizona Democrat Raúl M. Grijalva will continue to lead his party on Natural Resources as ranking member.
Oversight and Accountability
Kentucky GOP Rep. James R. Comer ‘s quick rise up the House Republican ranks has landed him the chairmanship of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee in the new Congress.
A McCarthy ally, Comer is vowing to investigate a list of issues related to Biden, his family and his administration.
“I mean, when you hear more stories about outrageous activities that the Biden family’s engaged in, you have to ask yourself, where is Joe Biden on this? Why doesn’t he have the decency to rein the family in?” he told Fox News on Dec. 9. “Their business is influence peddling.” No Biden has been charged with criminal wrongdoing.
Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin is the top Democrat on the committee.
Sometimes referred to as the “speaker’s committee,” each of its majority members, including its chair, is hand-picked by McCarthy.
The speaker hasn’t yet named the panel’s full GOP roster — which conservatives expect to populate in part with Freedom Caucus members — but on Tuesday he officially tapped Tom Cole , R-Okla., to move over from the ranking member slot to the chair.
Rules derives its power from its key role in setting the terms of floor debate, deciding which amendments can be offered, how long debate will last, which points of order can be waived and so forth. Any bill with any controversy attached to it has to go through Rules, which can modify legislation with all manner of last-minute fixes to win votes.
The panel’s top Democrat remains Jim McGovern of Massachusetts.
Science, Space and Technology
Frank D. Lucas , R-Okla., is taking over the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, which oversees science agencies and federal research.
Lucas describes the panel, which has jurisdiction over NASA, the National Science Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as well as digital technology like artificial intelligence, as a committee of the future due to its focus on emerging issues.
“America has long been the global leader because of our commitment to innovative, fundamental research and our ability to leverage public-private partnerships,” Lucas said. “It will be our job on the Committee to ensure the U.S. stays at the cutting edge of science and technology by supporting and protecting American research.”
Lofgren is the panel’s new top Democrat, replacing former Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas, who retired after the 117th Congress.
New Small Business Chairman Roger Williams says he will draw on his decades as a car dealer “to be the voice of Main Street America” as the panel digs into regulations issued by the Biden administration.
Williams, R-Texas, said he plans to take on rules he considers costly and burdensome. He seems unlikely to use the committee to scrutinize the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, a lending program to help businesses retain workers during COVID-19 shutdowns.
Government watchdogs say there is evidence of fraud and lax lending standards. Williams received at least $1 million in 2020 for his auto business, money that he said helped to save many jobs.
Nydia M. Velázquez of New York will continue in her role as the panel’s top Democrat.
Transportation and Infrastructure
Sam Graves , R-Mo., will lead the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the 118th Congress. Graves, who has led Republicans on the panel as ranking member since 2018, ran uncontested and secured the Steering Committee’s favor soon after the November midterms when Republicans won control.
He’s set to focus on oversight of the Biden administration’s implementation of the 2021 infrastructure law, as well as Federal Aviation Administration and Pipeline Safety and Hazardous Materials Administration reauthorization bills.
Graves replaces former Rep. Peter A. DeFazio , D-Ore., who retired, as chairman. The Democratic Caucus elected Rep. Rick Larsen , D-Wash., as ranking member of the infrastructure panel in December.
Mike Bost , R-Ill., will continue to serve as top Republican on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Bost, a veteran himself who has also held jobs as a firefighter and a truck driver, has served on the committee since coming to Congress in 2015.
Bost says he’s “committed to ensuring full transparency for veterans and taxpayers so that [veterans] have access to the care, support, and services they have earned and to lead fulfilling lives as civilians.”
He initially opposed 2022 legislation to establish a costly new benefit program for veterans suffering illnesses due to toxic exposure, such as open burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. But he came around and ultimately backed the final version negotiated with the Senate.
The previous chairman, Mark Takano , D-Calif., will move over to Bost’s old ranking member slot.
Ways and Means
Jason Smith , R-Mo., won a three-way race on Monday to become the next chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, with jurisdiction over tax and trade policy, Medicare, Social Security and other entitlement programs and the statutory debt ceiling that the Treasury is set to hit later this year.
Smith is pledging more of a working-class tone at Ways and Means and a populist-tinged trade policy in line with Trump’s approach to China, for instance. He’s also gearing up for the coming battle over federal spending, while at the same time seeking extensions of Trump’s signature tax cuts.
Smith, who was the top Republican on the Budget panel in the last Congress, will be the youngest-ever Ways and Means chairman.
His Democratic counterpart is Richard E. Neal of Massachusetts, who’d been Ways and Means chairman since 2019.
Peter Cohn, Ellyn Ferguson, Aidan Quigley, John M. Donnelly, Paul M. Krawzak, Lindsey McPherson, Caitlin Reilly, Lauren Clason, Herb Jackson, Benjamin J. Hulac, David Jordan, Valerie Yurk, John T. Bennett, Suzanne Monyak, Mark Satter, Laura Weiss and Michael Macagnone contributed to this report.
Northeast Corridor gets $16 billion amid Amtrak fight
Sharp objects … and objections — Congressional Hits and Misses
Photos of the week ending November 3, 2023
Tommy Tuberville is just the face of a ‘broken’ confirmation process, critics say
Rep. Owens weighs intercepting a House Appropriations seat
Johnson: House GOP looking at new twist to stopgap funds fight
- Lesson Plans
- Teacher's Guides
- Media Resources
Congressional Committees and the Legislative Process
U.S. Capitol dome.
Library of Congress
This lesson plan introduces students to the pivotal role that Congressional committees play in the legislative process, focusing on how their own Congressional representatives influence legislation through their committee appointments. Students begin by reviewing the stages of the legislative process, then learn how committees and subcommittees help determine the outcome of this process by deciding which bills the full Congress will consider and by shaping the legislation upon which votes are finally cast. With this background, students research the committee and subcommittee assignments of their Congressional representatives, then divide into small groups to prepare class reports on the jurisdictions of these different committees and their representatives' special responsibilities on each one. Finally, students consider why representation on these specific committees might be important to the people of their state or community, and examine how the committee system reflects some of the basic principles of American federalism.
What role do Committees play during the legislative process?
How is Committee membership determined?
What role do Committees play with regard to oversight and checks and balances?
Analyze the legislative process of the United States Congress by focusing on the role of Committees.
Evaluate how Congressional representatives can influence legislation through their specific committee assignments.
Evaluate how Committees uphold the Constitutional responsibilities of the Legislative Branch.
Lesson Plan Details
NCSS.D2.His.1.9-12. Evaluate how historical events and developments were shaped by unique circumstances of time and place as well as broader historical contexts.
NCSS.D2.His.2.9-12. Analyze change and continuity in historical eras.
NCSS.D2.His.3.9-12. Use questions generated about individuals and groups to assess how the significance of their actions changes over time and is shaped by the historical context.
NCSS.D2.His.12.9-12. Use questions generated about multiple historical sources to pursue further inquiry and investigate additional sources.
NCSS.D2.His.14.9-12. Analyze multiple and complex causes and effects of events in the past.
NCSS.D2.His.15.9-12. Distinguish between long-term causes and triggering events in developing a historical argument.
NCSS.D2.His.16.9-12. Integrate evidence from multiple relevant historical sources and interpretations into a reasoned argument about the past.
Begin this lesson by guiding students through the basic process by which a bill becomes law in the United States Congress. The Schoolhouse Rock cartoon "I'm Just a Bill" below provides a look at the process and can be accompanied by a flow-chart diagram of this process.
A detailed explanation of the legislative process is available through EDSITEment at the CongressLink website. At the website homepage, click "Table of Contents" in the lefthand menu, then look under the heading, "Know Your Congress" for the link to How Our Laws Are Made , which describes lawmaking from the House of Representatives' point of view.
For a corresponding description from the Senate's perspective, look under the "Know Your Congress" heading for the link to "Information about Congress," then select "... The Legislative Process," and click " ... Enactment of a Law ." CongressLink also provides access to a more succinct account of the legislative process: on the "Table of Contents" page, scroll down and click "Related Web Sites," then scroll down again and click THOMAS , a congressional information website maintained by the Library of Congress. Click "About the U.S. Congress" and select "About the U.S. Congress" from the list that follows for a chapter from the U.S. Government Manual that includes this outline of the process:
- When a bill ... is introduced in the House, [it is assigned] to the House committee having jurisdiction.
- If favorably considered, it is reported to the House either in its original form or with recommended amendments.
- If ... passed by the House, it is messaged to the Senate and referred to the committee having jurisdiction.
- In the Senate committee the bill, if favorably considered, may be reported in the form it is received from the House, or with recommended amendments.
- The approved bill ... is reported to the Senate and, if passed by that body, returned to the House.
- If one body does not accept the amendments to a bill by the other body, a conference committee comprised of Members of both bodies is usually appointed to effect a compromise.
- When the bill ... is finally approved by both Houses, it is signed by the Speaker ... and the Vice President ... and is presented to the President.
- Once the President's signature is affixed, the measure becomes a law. If the President vetoes the bill, it cannot become law unless it is re-passed by a two-thirds vote of both Houses.
Point out to students the important role that Congressional committees play in this process. Public attention usually focuses on the debate over legislation that occurs on the floor of the House and Senate, but in order for a bill to reach the floor on either side, it must first be approved by a committee, which can also amend the bill to reflect its views on the underlying issue. Congressional committees, in other words, largely control the legislative process by deciding which bills come to a vote and by framing the language of each bill before it is debated.
Provide students with background on the organization and operation of Congressional committees, using resources available through the U.S. Congress website. A schedule of Congressional committee hearings can be used to identify topics currently under consideration.
- Although committees are not mentioned in the Constitution, Congress has used committees to manage its business since its first meetings in 1789.
- Committees enable Congress to divide responsibility for its many tasks, including legislation, oversight, and internal administration, and thereby cope effectively with the great number and complexity of the issues placed before it.
- There are today approximately 200 Congressional committees and subcommittees in the House and Senate, each of which is responsible for considering all matters that fall within its jurisdiction.
- Congress has three types of committees: (1) Standing Committees are permanent panels with jurisdiction over broad policy areas (e.g., Agriculture, Foreign Relations) or areas of continuing legislative concern (e.g., Appropriations, Rules); (2) Select Committees are temporary or permanent panels created to consider a specific issue that lies outside the jurisdiction of other committees or that demands special attention (e.g., campaign contributions); (3) Joint Committees are panels formed by the House and Senate together, usually to investigate some common concern rather than to consider legislation, although joint committees known as Conference Committees are formed to resolve differences between House and Senate versions of a specific measure.
- Many committees divide their work among subcommittees, upon which a limited number of the committee members serve. Subcommittees are responsible for specific areas within the committee's jurisdiction and report their work on a bill to the full committee, which must approve it before reporting the bill to its branch of Congress.
- Party leaders determine the size of each committee, which average about 40 members in the House and about 18 members in the Senate, and determine the proportion of majority and minority committee members. The majority party always has more seats on a committee and one of its members chairs the committee. Each party also determines committee assignments for its members, observing rules that have been adopted to limit the number and type of committees and subcommittees upon which one member can serve.
- Each committee's chairperson has authority over its operation. He or she usually sets the committee's agenda, decides when to take or delay action, presides at most committee meetings, and controls the committee's operating budget. Subcommittee chairpersons exercise similar authority over their smaller panels, subject to approval by the committee chair.
- The work of Congressional committees begins when a bill that has been introduced to the House or Senate is referred to the committee for consideration. Most committees take up only a small percentage of the bills referred to them; those upon which the committee takes no action are said to "die in committee." The committee's first step in considering a bill is usually to ask for written comment by the executive agency that will be responsible for administering it should it become law. Next, the committee will usually hold hearings to gather opinions from outside experts and concerned citizens. If the committee decides to move forward with the bill, it will meet to frame and amend the measure through a process called markup. Finally, when the committee has voted to approve the bill, it will report the measure to its branch of Congress, usually with a written report explaining why the measure should be passed.
- Once a bill comes to the floor of the House or Senate, the committee that reported it is usually responsible for guiding it through debate and securing its passage. This can involve working out parliamentary strategies, responding to questions raised by colleagues, and building coalitions of support. Likewise, if the House and Senate pass different versions of a bill, the committees that reported each version will take the lead in working out a compromise through a conference committee.
Activity 1. Research the committees and subcommittees
Begin by viewing the Library of Congress video on Congressional Committees . Have students research the committees and subcommittees upon which their Congressional representatives serve, using library resources or the resources available through the U.S. Congress website.
- To help students find out who your Congressional representatives are, use the U.S. Congress website to search by state.
- Click on the name of each representative for a profile, including a photograph, which lists the representative's committee assignments.
- The U.S. Congress website page provides information pertaining to sponsored and cosponsored legislation, member websites, and allows users to track legislation.
- To find out which committees and subcommittees a representative serves on, use the U.S. Congress Committee Reports page .
- For an overview of Congressional committees and their jurisdictions, use the U.S. Congress Committee Reports page .
Congressional Committee Activity:
Divide the class into small groups and have each group prepare a report on one of the committees (or subcommittees) upon which one of your Congressional representatives serves, including the size of the committee, its jurisdiction, and whether your representative has a leadership post on the committee. Encourage students to include as well information about legislation currently before the committee. They can find this information using library resources or through the U.S. Congress Committee Reports page .
After students present their reports, discuss how committee assignments can affect a Congressional representative's ability to effectively represent his or her constituents.
- Do your representatives have seats on committees with jurisdiction over issues that have special importance for your state or community? If so, how might their presence on these committees help assure that Congress takes action on questions of local interest?
- Do your representatives have seats on committees with jurisdiction over important legislative activities, such as budget-making or appropriations? If so, how might their presence on these powerful committees help assure that your community's views receive careful Congressional consideration?
After exploring these questions, have students debate the extent to which a Congressional representative's committee vote may be more influential than his or her vote on the floor of the House or Senate. Which vote has more impact on legislation? In this regard, have students consider President Woodrow Wilson's observation that "Congress in session is Congress on public exhibition, whilst Congress in its committee-rooms is Congress at work."
Activity 2. How do Congressional committees reflects some of the fundamental principles of federalism?
Conclude by having students consider how the structure and function of Congressional committees reflects some of the fundamental principles of federalism. For a broad discussion of federalism, have students read The Federalist No. 39 , in which James Madison highlights the Constitution's provisions for a federal, as distinguished from a national, form of government.
Have students imagine, for example, that they are members of a Congressional committee that is considering a bill with special importance for the people of your community.
- How would they balance their responsibilities to their constituents with their responsibilities to the nation as a whole?
- To what extent is this a question each Congressional representative must answer individually?
- To what extent is it a question that the mechanisms of our government answer through the legislative process?
Related on EDSITEment
Commemorating constitution day, a day for the constitution, balancing three branches at once: our system of checks and balances.
118th Congress Begins
Representative Kevin McCarthy was elected Speaker of the House. He will preside over the chamber for the next two years. Photo by Ike Hayman.
Representative Hakeem Jeffries was elected Minority Leader, becoming the first Black person to lead a major political party in Congress. Photo by Ike Hayman.
440 lawmakers, including 74 new freshmen Members, were sworn in on January 7, 2023. Photo by Ike Hayman.
Members were sworn into office on January 7, 2023
Members-elect were sworn in as Members of the U.S. House of Representatives for the 118th Congress.
Early Saturday morning, on January 7, 2023, Representative Kevin McCarthy (CA-20) was elected Speaker of the House. He will preside over the chamber for the next two years.
"As Speaker of the House, my ultimate responsibility is not to my party, my conference, or even our Congress. My responsibility — our responsibility — is to our country," Speaker McCarthy told the chamber.
Representative Steve Scalise (LA-01) was elected Majority Leader. Representative Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08) was elected Minority Leader, becoming the first Black person to lead a major political party in Congress.
After his remarks, Speaker McCarthy then swore in the rest of the lawmakers, including 74 new freshman Members.
More details about the Members of the House of Representatives are available from the Clerk of the House . Find your representative and learn more about visiting the Capitol .
Educate your inbox
Subscribe to Here’s the Deal, our politics newsletter for analysis you won’t find anywhere else.
Thank you. Please check your inbox to confirm.
Farnoush Amiri, Associated Press Farnoush Amiri, Associated Press
Leave your feedback
- Copy URL https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/house-considers-censures-against-rashida-tlaib-and-marjorie-taylor-greene-over-inflammatory-rhetoric
House rejects effort to censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib over the Palestinian-American’s rhetoric about Israel
WASHINGTON (AP) — The House late Wednesday rejected an effort to censure Democratic Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, scrapping a Republican attempt to condemn the only Palestinian-American in Congress over her recent rhetoric around the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.
A measure to move forward with a censure resolution of Tlaib, a punishment one step below expulsion from the House, was dismissed with broad bipartisan support as both parties raised concerns about violating First Amendment rights.
A Democratic effort to in turn censure Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., who had sponsored the Tlaib resolution, was called off in response.
The scheduled votes were among the House’s first acts of business after a nearly monthlong gridlock caused by the removal of Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California as speaker.
READ MORE: Muslim and Jewish civil rights group report increase in harassment during Israel-Hamas war
The agenda of retribution reflects the growing divisiveness of the House, where severe forms of punishment that had long been viewed as an option of last resort, to be triggered only for the most egregious wrongdoing, are quickly becoming routine, often wielded in strikingly partisan ways. While the censure itself carries no practical effect, it leaves a historic footnote that marks a lawmaker’s career.
Greene introduced a censure resolution last week against Tlaib, one of two Muslims in Congress. The resolution accuses Tlaib of “antisemitic activity” after she voiced concern over America’s continued role in supplying arms to Israel as it engages in a bloody battle with Hamas following Hamas’ deadly Oct. 7 surprise attack.
Greene also falsely accused Tlaib of “leading an insurrection” in the Capitol complex when she participated in a pro-Gaza rally organized by Jewish advocacy groups last month.
Tlaib called Greene’s resolution “unhinged” and said it’s “deeply Islamophobic and attacks peaceful Jewish anti-war advocates.”
In response to Greene’s resolution, House Democrats, led by Rep. Becca Balint of Vermont, introduced a resolution censuring Greene for what they called her record of “racist rhetoric and conspiracy theories.” Balint said Greene’s resolution to censure Tlaib “is an overt Islamophobic attack on the only Palestinian-American member of Congress.”
Greene has not commented on the resolution to censure her but criticized the dozens of Republicans who voted against moving the Tlaib measure forward.
The vote on Wednesday evening comes as the chamber returns to normal legislative business for the first time in weeks. The abrupt ouster of McCarthy on Oct. 4 brought the House to a standstill, pausing legislative work on the floor, as Republicans struggled over who should replace him.
Now that Speaker Mike Johnson is in charge of the House, following his election to the top position last week, he inherits one of the problems that often afflicted McCarthy: difficulty controlling what happens on the House floor.
Both of the censure resolutions are “privileged,” which is a procedural tool lawmakers can use to bypass leadership and committees and force votes in the House. The stigma around privileged resolutions has eroded, leading more lawmakers to deploy the tactic.
READ MORE: Former Republican strategist raises alarms about GOP in ‘The Conspiracy to End America’
A group of Republicans from New York, for instance, is set to force a separate vote on whether to expel indicted Rep. George Santos from the House. Santos, a fellow New York Republican, is facing federal prosecution on several charges and has pleaded not guilty.
If the resolutions had passed, Greene and Tlaib would have joined a small but growing group of lawmakers who have been censured in the last 20 years.
In June, Republicans voted to censure Democrat Adam Schiff of California for comments he made several years ago about investigations into then-President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia. When the House was under Democratic control, Republican Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona was censured in 2021 for tweeting an animated video that depicted him striking Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York with a sword. And Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel of New York was censured in 2010 over serious financial and campaign misconduct.
The House in recent years has also sought to punish members for their words and actions by removing them from their respective committee assignments.
Earlier this year, the House stripped Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, who’s the other Muslim member of Congress, from her committee assignment on Foreign Affairs for her rhetoric about Israel. And in 2021, Democrats in the majority punished Greene, holding a vote that stripped her of all of her committee assignments for spreading hateful and violent conspiracy theories.
Support Provided By: Learn more
A Dime Saved
Marjorie Taylor Greene Faces Censure Vote Initiated by House Democrat
Posted: October 28, 2023 | Last updated: October 28, 2023
In a bold move, first-term Democratic Representative Becca Balint from Vermont took action to push for a vote on her resolution to censure Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia. This decision was partly in response to Greene’s earlier attempt to force a vote to censure Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
Balint’s move, which occurred on Thursday, introduced a privileged resolution that provides the House with a mere two legislative days to deliberate on it when the chamber convenes next Wednesday.
Accusing Johnson of attempting to curtail her rights as a gay American, Balint didn’t hold back her criticism. This came in the wake of Johnson’s known opposition to same-sex marriage.
The chances of a direct vote on the resolution in the House seemed slim. Instead, it was more likely that a procedural move would be made to table it, effectively extinguishing the resolution’s prospects. When asked whether she had discussed the resolution with any Republicans, Balint didn’t mince words, asserting, “If they can’t vote for it, they have no moral compass.”
Balint’s resolution raised multiple concerns regarding Greene’s actions. These included Greene’s visit to inmates involved in the January 6th events in a Washington jail, her reference to it as the “patriot wing,” her characterization of Muslim members of Congress as the “Jihad Squad,” and her appearance at a white nationalist event (although she later disavowed any knowledge of its affiliation with white nationalism and condemned its leader). The resolution also cited Greene’s comparison of COVID-19 vaccinations to Nazi practices against Jewish people, among other grievances.
Stripped of committee assignments
In 2021, Greene faced consequences when she was stripped of her committee assignments shortly after taking office. This action was taken as a response to her involvement with conspiracy theories and her endorsement of a Facebook comment advocating for the assassination of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a fact highlighted in Balint’s resolution.
This resolution, initially brought forth in July, comprises a lengthy list of approximately 40 grievances directed at Greene. Many of these grievances meticulously document her controversial statements, complete with the dates on which she uttered them. Among these, the most recent incident involved Greene displaying images of Hunter Biden during a House hearing.
Following her action on the House floor on Thursday, Balint vehemently criticized the newly appointed Speaker, Mike Johnson of Louisiana, and Greene. Earlier in the day, Greene had invoked a privileged motion to compel a vote on censuring Tlaib, alleging “antisemitic activity” and “sympathizing with terrorist organizations.”
Balint passionately declared, “The fact that on the very first day of his leadership, he lets Marjorie Taylor Greene bring to the floor a resolution that is riddled with lies and falsehoods on my colleague — it won’t stand.” She continued by addressing Greene’s actions, saying, “This woman, Marjorie Taylor Greene — it seems to be her only purpose is to sic Americans after other Americans, to fend more hatred, to fan more dissension and fear-mongering. We have got to have a bottom here.”
As for Greene’s response to the resolution introduced back in July, her office remained silent when contacted for comment. However, Greene had previously dismissed it with disdain, implying political motivations behind it. She stated, “I don’t know who this freshman Democrat is. They must have terrible fundraising numbers because they’re pulling some ridiculous stunt. Looks like four pages of slander because I looked at the first few lines and I was like, ‘That’s not even true.'”
It’s worth noting that while Greene has faced previous reprimands from House Democrats, she has yet to be officially censured by the House.
Trump Throws His Own Son Under The Bus In Effort To Evade Jail Time
Donald Trump has dragged many people down a bad path with him, landing many of his cronies, colleagues, and underlings into legal trouble with him. Unfortunately for them, it seems their loyalty to him isn’t being repaid.
Even his own children are being thrown under the bus while Trump looks to save his skin.
Trump Throws His Own Son Under the Bus in Effort To Evade Jail Time
Alleged Bribery Scheme Could Be The Nail In The Coffin For Trump
Is this the end for Former President Trump? Have we uncovered the final nail in the coffin?
Former President Donald Trump has not been having the best of luck lately. With his recent indictment, his legal troubles counting to mount.
Alleged Bribery Scheme Could Be the Nail in the Coffin for Trump
AOC Claps Back At Marjorie Taylor Greene On TWITTER, “In Case You Forgot, We Sit On The Same Committee”
Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez,(D-NY), known as AOC, and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), known as MTG, sit on opposite sides of the aisle, and they are both known for being outspoken for their particular political parties.
AOC Claps Back at Marjorie Taylor Greene on TWITTER, “In Case You Forgot, We Sit on the Same Committee”
Trump Brags About Not Testifying In January 6th Investigation, “What Are The CONSEQUENCES?”
Former President Trump took to Truth Social to brag about not having to testify in the January 6th investigation.
Trump Brags About Not Testifying in January 6th Investigation, “What Are the CONSEQUENCES?”
MAGA “Family-Values” Congresswoman Lauren Boebert Files For Divorce From Her Husband
Lauren Boebert, one of the U.S. Representatives for Colorado, who has become notorious for her right-wing rhetoric and her MAGA allegiances, has filed for divorce from her husband. They have been married for almost two decades and have four children.
MAGA “Family-Values” Congresswoman Lauren Boebert Files for Divorce From Her Husband
This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved .
More for You
35 Easy Appetizer Recipes Ready in 15 Minutes
2023 MLB Gold Glove winners: Anthony Volpe makes Yankees history, Adolis García among three Rangers to win
Toyota, Ford, and Jeep among 2.1 million vehicles recalled: Check car recalls here
Satellite Photos Show Aftermath of Strike on Russian Black Sea Ship
Rocks From Mars Are Hitting Earth, And Something Is Odd About Their Age
Bill Ackman is now calling on Harvard to issue suspensions and disciplinary actions for both antisemitic and pro-Palestinian actions on campus
60 Crave-Worthy Recipes with Crescent Rolls
Shohei Ohtani free agency: Ranking all 30 possible landing spots as Rangers join Dodgers, Mets in top five
Most Americans believe they’d be better off financially, U.S. would be kept out of war if Trump reelected
Woman identified as State Department employee accuses Biden admin of being 'complicit' in Israel 'genocide'
Here’s the average net worth of Americans by age. How do you stack up?
Hear what Queen Rania of Jordan said about Hamas and the ‘root cause’ of the conflict
Lauren Boebert Responds to AR-15 Gun Ban
MLB rumors: Mets expecting Craig Counsell's decision soon as team tries to fill managerial vacancy
An Ohio-class submarine, possibly equipped with ballistic missiles, has arrived in the Mediterranean
'Your anger against the truth is reprehensible': Christie lashes out at MAGA crowd after being booed
VA Death Benefits for Spouse: What does a spouse get when a Veteran dies?
Ex-law enforcement officials warn Biden's menthol cigarette ban could 'create a vacuum' for Mexican cartels
Marijuana use raises risk of heart attack, heart failure and stroke, studies say
Saints' Taysom Hill accomplishes something no player has done in over 66 years during win over Bears
Something went wrong. Wait a moment and try again.
Morning Rundown: Trump to testify in fraud trial, Israel says troops have cut Gaza in half, and eight ways to slow your biological aging
Senate Democrats launch effort to bypass Tommy Tuberville's hold on military promotions
WASHINGTON — A group of Senate Democrats is aiming to sidestep an Alabama Republican's blockade on hundreds of high-level military promotions by allowing the Senate to vote on all the nominees at once.
A resolution crafted by Democrats and independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona would use a Senate tool to bypass Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., who for months has prevented a quick vote on more than 300 top-level military promotions in protest of the Defense Department’s abortion travel policy.
The measure — spearheaded by Democratic Sens. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Sinema — is not technically a rules change. Instead, it’s a temporary process change that would only be in effect through the end of next year. It also includes an exception for members of the joint chiefs and combatant commanders, positions which typically involve individual floor votes in the Senate due to their importance.
“This is a suspension of the rules technically,” Reed, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, told NBC News. “We have to move forward," he added, noting that military personnel were being left "in limbo" amid the Ukraine war and the Israel-Hamas conflict.
The proposed resolution comes as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has pressed to advance a vote on three of President Joe Biden’s nominees, including the Marine Corps’ second-in-command, Lt. Gen. Christopher Mahoney, the chief of naval operations and the Air Force chief of staff.
Schumer called Mahoney's appointment "urgent," after the Marine Corps’ commandant, Gen. Eric Smith, was hospitalized due to a medical emergency over the weekend.
On Wednesday, Schumer told reporters he will call for moving forward with Reed’s resolution.
“What happened with the Marine commandant just showed many people how dangerous what Tuberville is doing is. And so, I will call for a resolution on the floor to allow us to vote on all these people at once,” Schumer said.
The resolution would have to go through the Senate Rules Committee. It would also require 60 votes to pass on the Senate floor. No Senate Republicans have come out and said explicitly that they would support such a move.
“I don’t want to, let’s just put it like that,” Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, told NBC News on Wednesday. “I do not want to, and I think that we need to take every avenue possible to avoid it. And then let’s take every avenue first and then we’ll debate the next move.”
Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, told reporters that military personnel were “being punished over policies that they they have no hand in."
Sullivan, a former Marine, added that "even if they got confirmed" they "would have no ability to change" those policies.
“That these guys are woke? It’s bull----. Such bull----,” he said. “These are warriors."
In a notable intraparty escalation, Republicans on Wednesday went to the floor for the first time to try and unanimously approve a group of high-level military promotions, a tactic that Tuberville has objected to. The move mirrors attempts Senate Democrats have made in past months to try and do the same, and marks a significant shift for Tuberville’s Republican colleagues who, until Wednesday, had not publicly rebuffed his holds on the Senate floor.
“One of the things that I can’t understand is if you require our military to be subordinate to the people above them in the civilian world, why would you punish them for something they’ve got nothing to do with,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said on the Senate floor before attempting to confirm a promotion for Maj. Gen. Laura Lenderman.
Tuberville objected to the attempt, saying, “If senators want to vote on these nominees one by one, I’m all in. I’m happy to do that. But I will keep my hold in place until the Pentagon follows the law or the Democrats change the law.”
“You’ve just denied this lady a promotion. You did that,” Graham responded.
The floor fight between Tuberville and his GOP colleagues lasted about four-and-a-half hours, with Tuberville objecting to each of the 60 military nominations brought to the floor.
Tuberville, who tried to force a vote on Mahoney , said Republicans voting to circumvent his holds would be “suicide for some of them.”
“They’ve gotta vote for their constituents, they don’t vote for themselves,” Tuberville told NBC News before the floor fight. “See, I don’t understand that. I mean, you’re either pro-life or you're not, and so if they vote against this it’s gonna be suicide for some of them. Let them do it.”
The change to the procedures for the military promotions sought by Senate Democrats would need the support of nine Senate Republicans if all 51 senators who align with Democrats support it. Some Republicans are skittish on changing the rules, even if they support the end result.
“I’m always really circumspect about changing the rules here for a specific situation," Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, told NBC News.
Murkowski said that a "failure" to process the nominations bears an impact on national security and preparedness.
"I think it impacts morale," she added. “And at a time when we call on our military to do so much, I don’t want to unduly degrade their situation. So I’d like to see a resolve to this.”
Tuberville’s holds do not prohibit the promotions from being taken up for a vote, but it slows down the process significantly for each of the nominees.
Democrats have largely dismissed calls from Republicans to consider the promotions one-by-one, arguing that such a process is untenable and that the Senate should follow what has been a customary process of approving the promotions in batches.
Frank Thorp V is a producer and off-air reporter covering Congress for NBC News, managing coverage of the Senate.
Julie Tsirkin is a correspondent covering Capitol Hill.
Kate Santaliz is a researcher for NBC News’ Capitol Hill team.
Zoë Richards is the evening politics reporter for NBC News.