House Committees: Categories and Rules for Committee Assignments
House Committees: Categories and Rules for
Specialist on the Congress
Government and Finance Division
Both House and party rules detail procedures for committee assignments. House
rules address the election and membership of committees, especially limitations on
membership. The Democratic Caucus and Republican Conference rules designate
categories of committees (shown below) and specify service limitations in addition to
those in the House rules.
Number of Assignments
!In general, no Member, Delegate or Resident Commissioner can serve on
more than two standing committees and four subcommittees of those
standing committees (House Rule X, clause 5(b)(2)(A)).
!Democrats and Republicans designate exclusive committees and
generally limit service to one such panel. Democratic Members of
exclusive committees cannot also serve on nonexclusive committees, but
they can serve on the Budget or House Administration Committee.
Further, Democratic Members who served on the Homeland Security
Committee in the 108th Congress are entitled to continue to serve on thatthth
committee during the 109 and 110 Congresses. Republican Members
assigned to the Rules Committee can take “leave with seniority” from
one standing committee to serve on Rules.
!Democrats and Republicans designate nonexclusive committees and limit
Members to service on two such panels, unless the House rules contain
Limitations on Assignments
!Service on the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct is exempt
from the two-committee limitation. Service is also limited to three
Congresses during any five successive Congresses. (House Rule X,
clause 5(a)(3)(B)). Democratic Caucus rules, however, limit service to
no more than three Congresses in any five.
!Budget Committee members are limited to no more than four Congresses
in any six successive Congresses (House Rule X, clause 5(a)(2)(B)).
Democratic Caucus rules limit members to no more than three
Congresses in any five. Members may serve for one additional Congress
as chair or ranking member if they assumed leadership in their fourth
term on the committee.
!Intelligence Committee members are limited to no more than four
Congresses in any period of six successive Congresses. There is no term
limit for Members selected to serve as chair and ranking member.
(House Rule X, clause 11). In addition, Democratic Caucus rules say
Members may not serve on more than one standing committee, although
they may take a leave of absence from service on another standing
committee to serve on the Intelligence Committee.
!“Any other exception to these limitations must be approved by the House
upon the recommendation of the respective party caucus or conference.”
(House Rule X, clause 5.)
Table 1. Categories of Committees
Ca tegory Democrats Republicans
Exclusive Appropriatio ns Appropriatio ns
Rule s Rule s
Ways and MeansWays and Means
Energy and Commerce (for MembersthEnergy and Commerce
first serving on the panel in the 104
Congress and subsequent Congresses)
Financial Services (for Members firstth
serving on the panel in the 109 and
No n-Exclusive Agr icultur e Agr icultur e
Armed ServicesArmed Services
Education and LaborEducation and Labor
Energy and Commerce (for members
who served on the panel before theth
Financial Services (for Members whothFinancial Services
served on the panel before the 109
Co ngr e ss)
Foreign AffairsForeign Affairs
Homeland SecurityHomeland Security
House AdministrationHouse Administration
J udiciary J ud iciary
Natural ResourcesNatural Resources
Oversight and Government ReformOversight and Government
Re fo r m
Science and TechnologyScience and Technology
Small BusinessSmall Business
Transportation and InfrastructureTransportation and Infrastructure
Veterans’ AffairsVeterans’ Affairs
ExemptStandards of Official Conduct; SelectSelect Intelligence; Standards of
Intelligence (not listed as such butOfficial Conduct
treated as exempt)
Source: Compiled by the author from her analysis of Democratic Caucus and Republican Conference rules.