Committees of the U.S. Congress

By Timothy F. Mon, December 22, 2014

The United States Congress handles much of its work through the use of committees – panels of varying size, focus, rules, funding, and authority – made up of members of the Senate or the House of Representatives or, in the case of the four joint committees, both. In addition to these four joint committees, the twenty standing Senate committees and the twenty standing House committees, special or select committees may be convened, temporarily, for a specific topic or investigation. (Read more about the Senate and House committees at their respective websites.)

In addition to visiting the individual websites of each of the Congressional Committees, Committee Reports (along with other Congressional publications and legislation) can be found by searching on Congress.gov. One recent report which made big news was Senate Report 113-288, Report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence: Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program (known more broadly as the “CIA Torture Report”).  The report is available in full online; and while the Government Publications Department does not currently own a paper copy, those interested in print publications can order one from the Government Printing Office.

Also in the news recently were protests over the events in Ferguson, MO and elsewhere – and the police tactics used during those protests. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs conducted a hearing on the “Oversight of Federal Programs for Equipping State and Local Enforcement.” Available online is the full video of the hearing, along with written panel statements and witness testimonies.

Read more about Congressional Reports, Congressional Hearings, and other Congressional documents at the Government Printing Office’s Federal Digital System (FDsys), and visit the Government Publications Department (1901 Vine St.) to read other Congressional publications – such as the Congressional Record – in print.


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