Congressional committees investigate national and international issues to draft, consider and recommend legislation for the full membership of the House or Senate. They also evaluate presidential nominations for executive and judicial positions and provide oversight of the federal government. A legislative committee may also hold public hearings and gather information from the government, the private sector and experts on a particular topic or subject matter. Committees can be a powerful tool for advancing policy ideas, but they can also serve as an important counterpoint to the views of the majority party.
After a yearlong investigation, the House panel that investigated the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection has made a number of findings in a lengthy report released Monday. It’s the culmination of several weeks of hearings and a wide-ranging set of recommendations to the Department of Justice, including criminal referrals targeting President Trump, his top aides and their associates for conspiracy to commit election fraud. The report also suggests Congress should bar the individuals involved from holding future office at any level of government.
The committee says there’s more than enough evidence to charge Trump and ally Eastman under a law that makes it a crime to conspire to defraud the United States. They would face up to five years in prison if convicted. The panel’s other major recommendation is that the Electoral College should be changed to clarify that the vice president’s role in certifying the winner of a presidential election is purely ceremonial. The panel’s chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, said he believes the president was aware of violence at the Capitol for more than three hours during the insurrection and that he could have done more to intervene.
Two weeks into the last Congress, Democrats under Speaker Nancy Pelosi voted to kick Greene off the two committees that she had served on. Now, two months into the new Congress and after a GOP takeover of the House, the panel that assigns committee assignments has recommended that Greene get her old assignments. She’ll return to the Homeland Security and Oversight and Accountability panels.
The panel has also recommended that far-right House Republicans like George Santos of Arizona and Paul Gosar of Colorado pick up committee assignments. The full House Republican conference must ratify the recommendation, but that’s generally considered to be a formality. Those assignments put them in line to work on committees that focus on immigration, border security and other domestic issues. The House Agriculture and Natural Resources committees are other popular picks for new members who want to dig into their areas of expertise.