Providing a comprehensive examination of the origins, development, and status of committees and committee systems in both the House and Senate, this edition carries on the book's tradition of comprehensive coverage, empirical richness, and theoretical relevance in its discussion of these essential and distinguishing features of our national legislature. While the second edition focused on the “post-reform” committee systems, addressed the shifts in the internal distribution of power, and hinted at the forces that had already begun to undermine the power of committees, this edition updates that analysis and looks at the reforms that evolvied under the Republicans. It offers complete coverage of the rules and structural changes to the House and Senate committee systems. It extends its discussion of committee power and influence in the context of the “Contract with America,” Republican reforms, and the inter-party warfare on Capitol Hill.

Committees in Congress

Committees in congress

On January 4, 1995, the U.S. House of Representatives met under Republican control for the first time in forty years. During the course of the day, into the evening, and on past midnight, the new Republican majority eliminated three committees, altered committee jurisdictions, cut committee and subcommittee staff, lowered existing limits on subcommittee membership, restricted the practice of proxy voting, and established term limits for committee and subcommittee chairs. These changes—and there were others—marked the most dramatic alteration in the House committee system in two decades. That same day saw the U.S. Senate meet under Republican control for the first time since 1986. The Senate, with fixed rules spanning from one Congress to the next, quietly went about the business ...

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