Committees

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Caroline Cook Period 4
In the congressional committee system, committees are divided by specialization. This means that members of Congress in those committees will be experts on the specific policy; such as agriculture and transportation. These committees are divided into even smaller subcommittees, which increases specialization. Specialization allows for more attention to be made over legislation. It will often take longer for bills to make it out of the committees because they are scrutinized over and reviewed by policy experts. The new bills typically go to subcommittees first, they are marked up, and then the bill is presented to the whole body. This ensures that the best bills are being passed. Specialization also increases the need to develop more experts in specific policy fields, so that there may be several committees and subcommittees appointed to it. Logrolling often occurs in congressional committees; this is when legislative members trade votes in order to get their interests and legislation passed. Members make a deal to vote for one another’s policy as long as the favor is returned. When members bargain votes, this speeds up the process of legislation, because it helps to create a majority winner. This allows more legislation to be passed, and ultimately expands the scope of the government. Party representation on committees means that committees are proportionally representative of the chamber as a whole. The majority party has a better chance of controlling legislation and pushing their party’s agenda. This can also help determine the leadership of the committee, because the majority party is in charge of naming the committee chairs. Legislation will be placed based on the views of the majority party, because the committee chair will be able to determine what bills will be passed on to the floor for debate, and which ones to be killed. Party leadership in congress can influence the legislative process because party leaders are the ones to...
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