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Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress (1993)

Romage2

Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress (1993)

Congress established this joint committee to review its organization and in particular the operations of its committees of the Congress.


Joint Committees – Historical Summary

A Description of Previous Joint Committees from the Testimony of Rep. David Dreier:

It is not unusual for Congress to create joint committees to inquire into significant matters of legislative organization and operations. By their very nature, joint panels bring together an array of legislative expertise and experience found in few other congressional settings. A table summarizing major joint committees established during the post-1946 era of Congress is attached to this testimony in Appendix A.

On three prior occasions, Congress has established bipartisan, bicameral panels to conduct comprehensive reviews of its operations. Among the topics considered by these joint panels were the committee system, floor deliberation and scheduling, and cooperation between the House and Senate. These reviews included:

(1) The 1945 Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress. The 1945 Joint Committee consisted of 12 members (six Senators and six Representatives, equally divided by party) and was formed to take testimony and make recommendations concerning the structure of congressional committees and other matters. The enormous changes underway at that time–Roosevelt’s New Deal policies and the emerging global role of the United States following World War II–precipitated interest in reviewing and strengthening the Congress. The joint committee held three months of hearings and reported nine months later with a wide-ranging list of 37 specific recommendations to improve the structure and efficiency of Congress, [1] many of which were incorporated into the 1946 Legislative Reorganization Act. [2]

(2) The 1965 Joint Committee on the Organization of the Congress. The 1965 Joint Committee also had 12 members (six Senators and six Representatives, equally divided by party). Its mandate was to make recommendations for strengthening congressional operations and improving Congress’ relationship with the other branches of government. After 40 hearings, the joint committee reported ten months later with 120 recommended changes for the operation of Congress. [3] Eventually, many of these proposals were included in the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970.[4]

(3) The 1993 Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress, on which I served as co-chairman, was composed of 28 members (14 from the Senate and 14 from the House, equally divided by party). It was formed, in part, to address concerns inside and outside the House and Senate about the effectiveness and public perception of Congress. The scope of its inquiry included: the organization and operation of each House of the Congress, and the structure of, and the relationships between, the various standing, special, and select committees of the Congress, the relationship between the two Houses of Congress, and * * * [other matters relating] to the ability of the Senate and the House of Representatives to perform their legislative activities. [5]

The 1993 joint committee held six months of hearings, organized four symposiums on relevant topics, collected extensive survey data from Members and staff, and reviewed over 1,000 letters from citizens written in response to an op-ed article by its co-chairs. Although the 103rd Congress did not act on the joint committee’s recommendations, many of its proposals were subsequently adopted by the Republican majority when they assumed control of the House of Representatives in the 104th Congress. [6]

In addition, the Congress created the Joint Study Committee on Budget Control in 1972. The Joint Study Committee reviewed congressional budgetary processes [7] and laid the groundwork for what eventually became the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974. [8]

1. H. Rept. 1675, 79th Congress, 2nd Session (1946).
2. Act of August 2, 1946, 60 Stat. 812.
3. S. Rept. 1414, 98th Congress, 2nd Session (1966).
4. Public Law 91-510, 84 Stat. 1140.
5. H. Con. Res. 192, 102nd Congress, 2nd Session (1992).
6. For the rules adopted at the start of the 104th Congress, see Congressional Record, Daily Edition, January 4, 1996, pp. H23-38.
7. H. Rept. No. 93-147, 93rd Congress, 1st session (1973).
8. Public Law 93-344, 88 Stat. 297.

U.S. Congress, House Rules Committee, Report to Accompany H. Con. Res. 190,H. Rept. 108-141108th Congress, 1st Session (Washington, D.C.: June 4, 2003), pp. 6-7.


References

Final Report of the Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress (December 1993) (House Web Link)

H. Con. Res. 192 (102nd Congress), To Establishing a Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress

H. Con. Res. 192 (102nd Congress), To Establish a Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress (6 Stat. 5196 (Statutes at Large))

Joint Committees on the Organization of Congress – A Short History (Congressional Institution) October 15, 2015


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