The decentralized structure of the congressional committee system started in adherence to the 1946 Legislative Reorganization Act though the use of committees is presence since the congress conducted its first meeting (Schnieder 1). The determination of the number of committee members as well as the ratio of majority to minority is often carried out by party leaders. Each party is also responsible in choosing the leader of each committee (Schnieder 2). The committees are classified largely according to their functions and activities they perform. These are the standing committees, select committees, and joint committees.
Standing committees are permanent panels which are created according to chamber rules which also list the jurisdiction of each. Due to their possession of legislative jurisdiction, these committees "consider bills and issues and recommend measures for consideration" (Schnieder 3). Standing committees perform the general duties of the congress such as monitoring issues and activities as well as consider the government's revenues, tax systems, budget, pension, industry subsidies, and other direct expenses.
The activities of select committees are dictated by ...
Because of the nature of their jobs, most select committees are often temporary and are dissolved when their tasks are accomplished.
Joint committees are comprised of members from the senate and house which are "permanent panels which conduct studies or perform housekeeping tasks rather than consider measures" (Schnieder 3). Compared to standing and select committees, joint committees' roles are rather less complicated.
Schnieder, Judy. "The Committee System in the US Congress." CRS Report for Congress. May 2003. 19 May 2008