Senate Committees: Categories and Rules for Committee Assignments
Senate Committees: Categories and Rules
for Committee Assignments
Specialist on the Congress
Government and Finance Division
Senate Rule XXV and party conference rules address committee assignments.
Senate Rule XXV, paragraphs 2 and 3 establish categories of committees, popularly
referred to as “A,” “B,” and “C,” that condition assignment rules.
A COMMITTEESB COMMITTEESC COMMITTEES
Agriculture, Nutrition andBudgetSelect Ethics
Rules and AdministrationIndian Affairs
Small Business andJoint Taxation
(Joint Library and Joint
Banking, Housing and Veterans’ AffairsPrinting are not listed, but
Urban Affairs are treated as C
Special Agingcommittees for assignment
Commerce, Science and purposes)
TransportationJoint Economic Committee
Energy and Natural Resources
Environment and Public
Health, Education, Labor, and
Homeland Security and
A COMMITTEESB COMMITTEESC COMMITTEES
Number of Assignments: Senate Rule XXV, paragraph 4, places restrictions on
committee membership based on these categories.
!Each Senator shall serve on two committees, and no more than two, in
!Each Senator may serve on one committee, but no more than one, in
!Each Senator may serve on one or more committees in Class C.
Limitations on Assignments:
!Super “A” or “Big Four” Committees: Democratic and Republican
members are prohibited from serving on more than one among the
Committees on Appropriations, Armed Services, Finance, and Foreign
Relations pursuant to party rules.
!Republican members from the same state are prohibited from serving on
the same committee by Republican Conference rule. Democrats adhere
to the same prohibition, but by tradition.
!Intelligence Committee membership should include two Members each
from the Committees on Appropriations, Armed Services, Judiciary, and
!Chair and ranking member of the Armed Services Committee shall serve
as ex-officio non-voting members of the Intelligence Committee.
Exceptions to the rule restrictions, which are not uncommon, are called “waivers”
or “grandfathers”and are recommended by the pertinent party conference and then
officially authorized through Senate approval of a resolution affecting one or more
Limitations on Chairmanships: Republican Conference rules address limitations on
committee leadership positions for Republicans whether or not they are in the majority.
Democratic Conference rules may also address these limitations; however, their rules are
not publicly available.
!A chair/ranking member of an “A” committee may not serve as chair or
ranking member of any other committee, except the chair/ranking
member of the Finance Committee may chair the Joint Committee on
!A chair/ranking member of an “A” committee may not serve as
chair/ranking member of any subcommittees. Appropriations
subcommittee chairmanships are exempt.
!A chair/ranking member of a “non-A” committee may not serve as
chair/ranking member of any other committee, except the chair/ranking
member of the Rules and Administration Committee may chair the Joint
Printing or Joint Library Committee.
!A chair/ranking member of a “non-A” committee, excluding the Ethics
Committee, may not serve as chair/ranking member of more than one
subcommittee. Appropriations subcommittee chairmanships are not
!The chair/vice chair of the Ethics Committee may serve on no more than
two standing subcommittees.
!A Senator may not serve as chair/ranking member of more than two
!A Senator shall not serve more than six years as chair of any standing
committee, effective January 1997, plus six years as ranking member of
a committee. Once a Senator served six years chairing a committee, the
term would be over. However, if a Senator served six years as a ranking
minority member, the Senator could serve as chair if the party controls
Limitations on Chair and Party Leader Assignments:
!A chair or party leader may not select an “A” committee on their third
round committee selection.