Finding Out What’s Going On With Your Congressional Committee
Committee News is a professional web site that provides members of Congress, committee staff, candidates for office, and others with timely information on upcoming events. They also publish an annual index of legislative action, along with links to individual hearings, floor speeches, and more. You can subscribe to their free newsletter, or view the RSS feed.
The Committee News site was started in 1998 and is operated by legislative service organizations dedicated to serving the U.S. public. It is not a campaign tool and was not originally designed as a source of information for the general public. Rather, it was created as a venue for political officials and committee members to coordinate information on upcoming events. This has expanded to become a valuable resource for citizens, journalists, think tanks, and outside groups interested in public policy and political action. While the thought behind publishing news of this nature may appear to be antithetical to the cause of informed citizenry, it is becoming very much the norm.
Members of Congress and committee staff are usually very busy people. They have many pressing deadlines that must be met, many of which are already months behind. To fill this need, news organizations have stepped in to publish this type of non-ideological information in a format that is convenient for committee members and disseminated widely within their respective communities. By doing so, the average citizen is able to keep up with the most recent happenings in their local community. News organizations such as Committee News regularly publish breaking news stories on politics and governance.
The fact that such news items are published online in their format makes it accessible to many members of the general public who would otherwise be unable to be in attendance at committee hearings or other meetings. These same individuals can also use this medium to keep informed about specific members of Congress, their staff, or other members of elected leadership. Reporters will be happy to write stories based on this material, which they often do on a regular basis.
The Committee News web site is also an excellent place for watchdog groups, citizen’s action groups, and social networking groups to highlight issues of concern. Groups can also help promote events that they wish to attend, such as town hall meetings. By putting forward news items on this site, these groups are spreading the word to communities that might not otherwise share their interests.
Committee News offers its subscribers a variety of subjects to choose from, including breaking news stories from local newspapers, cable television stations, radio stations, and websites such as Google. Subscribers are also permitted to submit short reports about topics of their choice. The resulting stories and articles are then published on the site. Other than the news section, the site also features other features such as an exercise program, calendar, recipes, and links to other helpful pages.