Committee News

A committee is a group of people that has been appointed by an assembly to explore a particular matter in greater depth than what would be possible in the assembly itself. The assembly sends matters to committees as a way to explore them fully and provide a full report back to the assembly on the results of that investigation. Committees may be permanent or temporary, and their size and scope vary depending on the type of body they are a part of.

A well-managed committee benefits the function of the entire board. Well-managed committees are informed of meeting agendas in advance so that they arrive at the meetings prepared, having read the previous meeting’s minutes and being ready to discuss the items on the current agenda. They also remain focused and on-task for the duration of the meeting. This level of preparation and focus requires intentional planning and solutions.

As the week of 15 April progresses, Members will be working across a range of different committees and political groups. This will include several important committee meetings, votes and presentations.

The select committee to investigate the January 6 attack on the US Capitol will hold its first hearing on Thursday. The committee is seeking to have Capitol Police officers testify at the hearing. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has selected Democratic Representatives Bennie Thompson, Elaine Luria and Jamie Raskin to serve on the committee. The chair of the committee will be Rep. Cheney. Pelosi will appoint the other five members of the committee, with one being a Republican chosen in consultation with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Most legislative bodies, such as Parliament and state legislatures, use committees to examine bills before they are considered for approval by the assembly. The committees can examine a bill to understand its scope, identify any issues, and make recommendations. A bill is then sent to the assembly with a recommendation on whether or not it should be approved or otherwise amended.

When a bill is passed by the committee, the committee writes a House Report on it. The report includes a description of the purpose and scope of the bill, the methods used by the committee to evaluate it and any conclusions or recommendations reached. The House Report is then numbered, and the bill becomes law.

The committee is also tasked with preparing a briefing for the assembly on any matters that they have investigated and any recommendations that they have reached. The briefings are given to the assembly during the committee’s final meetings before the session ends.

Many committees will publish transcripts of their hearings, which contain all of the witness testimony as well as the question-and-answer portion. These are available on the committee’s website, through the Government Publishing Office govinfo website, or from a federal depository library. The transcripts will typically take months to publish and can be difficult to locate, so it is best to check the website frequently. If you have trouble finding a hearing transcript, contact the committee to request it.