Congressional Committees Project
The Congressional Committees Project was started to facilitate participatory democracy by encouraging an informed citizenry through the advocacy of legislative transparency and the gathering of legislative information. More general information about our project can be found here.
Everyone is encouraged to contribute constructively; this project's potential lies largely in its collaborative nature. An explanation of how to help can be found on this page.
You can also join our mailing list and ask for assistance, or participate in the discussion.
Quod omnes tangit debet ab omnibus videri.
"What touches all must be visible by all." (Based on an ancient Roman law maxim.)
See What We Won, or Dkos Sends Out Its Eyes for further explanation (this is the first diary, getting things started). See Congressional Committees Project ... Please join us! to read a diary about how this project was launched on Sunday 11/12/2006.
What do I do now?
If you just joined and are not sure what to do, read our Help Getting Started page.
If you already signed up and understand the wiki organization, please help us move forward.
- Guidelines: First, check out our basic guidelines.
- General Knowledge: You may want to brush up on your understanding of how our legislature functions (written by the Congressional Research Service), or how committees function (pdf file). Also check the links section of this page for a pile of resources.
- Sources: Think about what sources you've identified as major places you can find information. We'd like to become a major source for committee information, so think about both the committees and also the issues. To that end, we should organize a Toolbox of well organized committee sources helpful for all committees, and also a space to discuss Collaboration with interest groups or daily kos users who have specialized information about issues.
- Recommendations: Please collect here your recommendations to the Democrats about the best practices of setting up committee websites.
- Epistemology: There has been a lot of discussion and writing about the limitations on our knowledge (epistemology) regarding committees. Here is a place to collect information about committee transparency.
- News: Consider adding especially notable news on Congressional Committees to our news links page.
House Standing Committees
|House Administration (discussion)||Karmsy, AlanF|
|Legislative and Budget Process (discussion)||celticshel-dKos|
|Rules and the Organization of the House (discussion)||jjellin|
|Science and Technology (discussion)||MsKitty|
|Energy and Environment (discussion)||simonf-dKos|
|Environment, Technology, and Standards (discussion)||Memophage|
|Research (discussion)||pb, TimeTogether|
|Space and Aeronautics (discussion)||WeatherDem|
|Standards of Official Conduct (discussion)||Expat Zuzzguzz-dkos|
Select Committees of the House of Representatives
|Hurricane Katrina (discussion)||Edrie, Annagram, gn1927, annan|
|Energy Independence and Global Warming (discussion)||kml|
Standing Committees of the Senate
|Armed Services (discussion)||4jkb4ia-dKos [provisional]|
|Emerging Threats and Capabilities (discussion)||unassigned|
|Readiness and Management Support (discussion)||unassigned|
|Strategic Forces (discussion)||unassigned|
|Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs (discussion)||planetcs-dKos|
|Economic Policy (discussion)||unassigned|
|Financial Institutions (discussion)||unassigned|
|Housing and Transportation (discussion)||unassigned|
|International Trade and Finance (discussion)||unassigned|
|Securities and Investment (discussion)||unassigned|
|Indian Affairs (discussion)||jjellin-dKos|
|Rules and Administration (discussion)||natchezms-dKosFree Spirit|
|Small Business and Entrepeneurship (discussion)||toys-dKos|
|Veterans' Affairs (discussion)||unassigned|
Special, Select, and Other Committees of the Senate
|Ethics (discussion)||celticshel-dKos, Klnb1019-dKos|
|Intelligence (discussion)||Bewert-dKos, Shockwave-dKos, gatordem-dKos, Schwellenbach-dKos|
|Aging (discussion)||Chance the gardener-dkos|
The Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, though not a committee, is the only official Senate caucus, established by law in 1985. They have held hearings in the past, though it appears the caucus had little activity during the 109th congress.
|Drug Caucus (discussion)||shipyardian-dKos|
Joint Congressional Committees
THOMAS, the official main point of access to the legislative information, where all bills can be viewed before their passage. There is a lot of other valuable information there too. This website may prove to be as big an asset as the committee's websites themselves. The advanced search page lets you search for a bill by committee. The daily digest describes what happened today on the floor of the House and Senate. Here is an easy to read guide to THOMAS.
THOMAS beta permits searching pending and previous legislation by topic or sponsor.
Govtrack - using automatic data collection from congressional websites, this website lets you track representatives, issues and bills. In some ways, it's easier to access than Thomas.
The Government Printing Office's (aka the GPO) Congressional Record Page. It contains The Daily Digest - the official record of the proceedings and debates of the United States Congress. Announcements of public committee hearings are posted here.
Federal Depository Library Program "Desktop." Established by Congress to "ensure that the American public has access to its Government's information."
Library of Congress search: searches U.S. historical and cultural collections (American Memory), Library of Congress Online Catalog, Prints & Photographs Online Catalog, Legislation and Congressional Activity through THOMAS, and the Library of Congress Web site.
The Federal Register location for publication of all sorts of Federal information.
THOMAS also offers Congressional floor schedules, committee hearing schedules, and legislative calendars, all indexed here.
How the Congress works
CRS Report: Congressional Oversight Manual (pdf) Details the processes of Congressional oversight, which is "generally considered a committee activity."
Suggested Areas for Oversight for the 110th Congress (11/17/2006). Report from Comptroller General, Government Accountability Office (formerly General Accounting Office).
How a bill becomes a law - a simple explanation of the legislative process.
How Our Laws Are Made - a rather involved explanation of the legislative process
Here is a detailed .pdf file prepared by the Congressional Resource office, entitled "The Committee System in the U.S. Congress." This is an excellent, if brief, official overview.
CRS Guide to the Legislative Process is a MUCH more detailed explation created by the Congressional Research Service.
House Practice from the GPO on Select and Joint Committees.
Committee Jurisdictions at a glance. (under construction)
CRS Guide: Finding Directory Information on Members and Committees. (PDF file)
House of Representatives
House Committees and subcomittees from wikipedia.
House Committee Assignments List of Representatives with Committee Assignments (for the 110th Congress)
House Rules and Manual for the 109th Congress (110th starts January 07). This is where the rules for committees start, and also where they get their charter from.
House Rules, Rule 10 organizes the committees and gives them their official identity and purpose. Look here for the official definition and purpose of your committee. The new version for the 110th congress should be available soon, after its passage.
The Clerk of the House website lists all House Committees and also their contact information.
Committee FAQ from the clerk of the house.
CRS Reports about the House. (Tons of official pdfs)
Senate Committee Assignments List of Members with Links to Committees (Current, that is Old)
Senate rules from the Senate Webpage (better copy).
Senate Rules, Chapter 25: this particular section defines standing committees of the Senate and their jurisdictions.
CapitolHearings.org Live audio of Senate Committee hearings provided by C-SPAN
This page of the Senate website explains that finding committee transcripts can be difficult. Their availability seems to be left largely up to the individual committees, and, when available, can probably be found in either: the committee or subcommittee webpage, the GPO website (Government Printing Office), or on THOMAS (the Library of Congress website.)
Senate Republican Conference Rules. (Rules for Republicans in the Senate) (109th Congress)
Congressional Quarterly offers Congressional news coverage. (subscription)
Lexis Nexis Congressional (subscription)
Capitol Hearings, a service provided by C-SPAN and Congressional Quarterly, lets you listen live to hearings as they occur. Also provides Senate hearing schedules.
Federal News Service provides transcripts to political events.
Article from The Hill on democrats' scrambling for committee assignments in the 110th congress.
Joshua Tauberer on xml and rdf formats.
The Democratic Party's Honest Leadership & Open Government Act would be a step in the right direction...
HR 4682 --one version of the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2006, from GovTrack.us. See especially section 504.
Transparency and Government Data Sites
Read the Bill .org advocates all legislation being posted online 72 hours before its consideration, in accordance with to H.RES 688 whose passage they advocate. Very close (but slightly stricter) than section 504 of The Honest Leadership and Open Government Act, which should be considered in January.
OMB watch, advocates of government transparency, writing on the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (S. 2590).
OMB Watch's Information and Access Program.
Congresspedia, a congress wiki affiliated with the Sunlight Foundation (has excellent committee news aggregated on the main page).
CREW, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
Follow the Money's PULSE, a statistical analysis of the effects of money on elections.
Models of Address and Salutation for proper formal salutation of elected officials.
Guide to locating federal bills ...We should write a better one.
Follow the Money's PULSE, a statistical analysis of the effects of money on elections.
Edgery's guide to calling Members of Congress.
How to link to THOMAS or GPO documents.