Congressional committees with members from both the House and the Senate. Organized to facilitate the flow of legislation. Bills must pass in identical form in each chamber. Conference committee Ad hoc committees, made up of members of both the Senate and the House, set up to reconcile differences in the provisions of bills. Created as needed. Members selected by Speaker and Senate Majority Leader. Consulting with chairs of committee that originally considered bill. Sometimes with minority leaders. Important: Bills reported by them to the House or Senate must be voted up or down; no new amendments allowed; changes made can be very important. Committee Chairs and Ranking Members Seniority the principle that one attains a position on the basis of length of service. Chair of the Committee (majority party senior) Ranking minority member the highest-ranking member of the minority party on a congressional committee (minority party senior) After 1974: House (after 1974) secret ballot among party members for election of chairs. House (today) majority party leader chooses. Senate Seniority Committee chairs, once protected by seniority, now must be attentive to party leadership in each house.
More power in party leadership in each house. Protected by seniority before, now must be attentive to party leaders. Committee chairs most influential within committees Power to schedule meetings and organize the staffInfluence on committee’s agenda Influence on appointments to conference committeesDeference as most experienced members of committees. Rules and Norms in the House and Senate House members specialist in areas of policy Reciprocity Deferral by members of Congress to the judgment of the subject-matter specialist, mainly on minor technical bills.Previously deference to chairs/ranking members, now more to party leaders. Reciprocity more common in House. Senators fewer; more prestige, visibility and power (less reciprocity) Not unusual for a first term senator to introduce a major bill. House large size; more rule-bound: organize & hierarchical Leaders/majority party in the House have more power. Individuals have a harder time. Majority rule Senate open and fluid Less power in leaders Each senator = independent operator.
More attention to members of the minority Floor debate: SenateBills scheduled by unanimous consent of a committee business can be blocked by a single dissenter.