Congressional Committees: The Workhorse of Legislature

Most individuals with a general background knowledge of the United States Federal Government system are aware that in order for a bill to become a law, it must first pass a majority vote in Congress. There is, however, a very important step in the legislative process that sometimes goes unnoticed. The committee system of the legislation process ensures that the appropriate attention is given to each bill introduced to Congress. Each member of both chambers are assigned to committees and subcommittees, and are expected to become subject matter experts in their respective roles as committee members. The committee system is necessary in order to ensure that each piece of legislation receives the consideration that it deserves. Judy Schneider summarizes that, “Due to the high volume and complexity of its work, Congress divides its legislative, oversight, and internal administrative tasks among committees and subcommittees” (The Committee System in the U.S. Congress 1). It would be a daunting task for each member of Congress to personally review each piece of legislation that is introduced each year. The purpose of the committees is to review legislation, based on the committee’s area of responsibility, and determine whether or not the bill will go through for voting to the whole congress. There are four different types of congressional committees that serve to review legislation before a vote. The categories are standing, select, conference, and joint. Standing committees are both permanent and bicameral. The standing committee ensures that legislation which falls under a common or reoccurring category will always have a committee assigned to it. Select committees, on the other hand, focus on a specific issue, and are usually only ... ... middle of paper ... ...n the committee level. To summarize, the congressional committee system is a double-edged sword. It ensures that appropriate attention is given to each bill, but it can be easily corrupted by partisan influence. Surely, though, the advantages far outweigh the consequences. Committees are an integral part of the law-making process. They help to expedite the process of passing laws and ensure that only relevant issues are brought to the chambers of Congress for consideration. Works Cited Congressional Research Service. The Committee System in the U.S. Congress. By Judy Schneider. RS20794, 2 May 2003. Digital File. Congressional Research Service. Committee Types and Roles. By Valerie Heitshusen. Rept. no. 98-241, 10 Nov. 2010. Digital File. Dautrich, Kenneth, and David A. Yalof. The Enduring Democracy. 3rd ed. Manson: Cengage Learning, 2013. Print.
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