Examine the roles of standing committees in Congress (10)

Standing committees are permanent policy specialist committees of Congress found in both the House and Senate. Within these committees, representatives perform the detailed work of Congress. These committees are made up in relation to party proportion in the chamber. The Senate has 16 standing committees and the House has 20.  The use of committees is much more influential in the US than the UK as the committee stage becomes before the first debate in the US, allowing it to die earlier in the stages than the UK. Woodrow Wilson claimed that “Congress in it’s committee rooms is Congress at work.”

Standing committees perform the committee stage of bills going through Congress. The committee stage is the powerhouse of Congress and decides whether a bill continues to the floor for debate or not. In the 113th Congress only 613 bills made it through this stage. The chairmen of these committees also hold a great power as they can ‘pigeonhole’ a bill, essentially ignoring a bill and not letting it continue through Congress. Committee’s can significantly amend a bill and leave it as a ‘shell bill’ which…


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