Reorganization of the Senate: Modern Reform Efforts
CRS Report for Congress
Reorganization of the Senate:
Modern Reform Effort s
Specialist o n the Congress
Ch ristopher M. Da vis
Analys ts in American Na tional Go ve rnment
Go ve rnment and Finance Division
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
Reorganization of the S enate: Modern Reform E fforts
Numerous reviews o f t he operations and s t r u c ture of the S enate h ave b een
conducted i n t he past 60 years. Three joint committees, t wo select committees, t wo
commissions, one study group, one standing committee, and p arty conferences have
studied various aspect s of t he Senate and its committee system.
The contemporary S enate i s p rimar ily a p roduct o f t wo major l aws and a
sign ificant overhaul o f S enate R ules. T he Legi slative R eorganiz ation Act of 1946,
am ong other t h i n gs, codified committee j urisdictions, s treamlined the committee
system , and instituted a professional committee s taffing struct ure. The Legislative
Reorganization Act of 1970 opened C ongress to public scrutiny, modified committee
and floor procedures, and enhanced Congress’s research and budget capabilities. The
w o rk o f the Tem porary S el ect Committee t o S tudy the S enat e C ommittee S ystem
(Stevenson Committee) resulted i n m aj or changes i n S enat e committee j urisdiction.
Other overhau l efforts h ad a n arrower s cope or were disregarded at t he time of
t h e a c t i vity. The work of the C ommission on the Operation of t he Senate (Culve r
Commission) focu s e d o n t he administrative s tructure of the S enat e. The S tudy
Gr o u p on Senate Practices and P rocedures (Pearson-Ribicoff Study Group) issued
a wide-ra nging s et of recommendations con cerning Senate Rules and procedures.
T h e Tem porary S el ect Committee t o S tudy the S enat e C ommittee S ystem (Quayl e
Committee) addressed committee assignments. The S enat e C ommittee on R ules and
Administ r a t i o n undertook a s tudy to improve Senate operations, and subsequently
reported a number o f p roposals o n j urisdic tional organization. The J oint Committee
on the Organization of C ongress (J COC) recommended altering as pect s of
congressional o rganiz ation and operations.
C h anges i n p a r t y c onference rul es and pract i ces have al so i n fl uenced t h e
cont em porary S enat e.
This report d iscusses efforts t o m odify S enate operations and s tructure since t he
1940s, i ncluding the o rigi n and makeup of the v arious reform entities, their
recommendations, and the consequences of those recommendations for t he Senate.
This report will be updated as events warrant.
For rel at ed i n form at i o n o n congressi onal reorganization efforts, see C R S R eport
RL31825, Reorganization o f t he House o f Representatives: Modern Reform Efforts,
by J udy Schneider, C hristopher M . Davis, and Betsy P almer.
In troduction ..................................................1
Legi slative R eorganiz ation Act of 1946, 79 th Congress (1945-1947) ......1
Recommendations Relating t o C ommittee J urisdictions ............2
Senate Committees ....................................2
House C ommittees .....................................3
Recommendations onJurisdictionandOversight .................4
Recommendations on OtherMatters ...........................5
Legi slative R eorganiz ation Act of 1970, 91 Congress (1969-1971) ......6
Recommendations Relating t o C ommittees ......................8
Recommendations Relating t o S taffing and Funding .............10
JointRecommendations That ApplytoBothChambers ...........11
Party R eforms, 9 2 nd -94th Congresses (1971-1975) ...................12th
Commission on the Operation of t he Senate, 94 Congress
(1975-1977) (Culver C ommission) ...........................12
Recommendations Relating t o C ommittee J urisdiction ............14
Recommendations on OtherMatters ..........................14
Organizationand AdministrationoftheSenate ..............14
Technology and Communication .........................15
Senators’ C ompensation, Fi nancial Disclosure, and
Fo resigh t, Oversigh t, and t he Utilization of S upport Agencies . . 15
Temporary S el ect Committee t o S tudy the S enat e C ommitteeth th
System, 94 and 9 5 Congresses (1975-1977 and 1977-1979)
(Stevenson Committee) ....................................16
Recommendations Relating t o C ommittee J urisdiction ............16
S. Res. 4, As Introduced by the S tevenson Committee ............16
S. Res. 4, As Reported by t he Committee on R ules and
S.Res.4,As AgreedTo ....................................21
Recommendations on Committee Assignments .................22
Recommendations on OtherMatters ..........................23
The S tudy Group on Senate Practices and P rocedures, 9 7th andth
98 Congresses (1981-1983 and 1983-1985) ...................23
Recommendations Relating t o C ommittee J urisdiction ............23
Recommendations on OtherMatters ..........................24
The Tem porary S el ect Committee t o S tudy the S enat e
Committee S ystem, 98th Congress (1983-1985)
(Quayl e C ommittee) .......................................25
Recommendations Relating t o C ommittee J urisdiction ............25
Recommendations Relating t o C ommittee Assignments ...........26
Recommendations on OtherMatters ..........................27
Report of t he Committee on R ules and Administration,th
100 Congress (1988 -1989) ................................27
J oint C ommittee on t he Organization of C ongress, 102nd andrd
103 Congresses (1991-1992 and 1993-1995) (J COC) ............27
Recommendations Relating t o C ommittee J urisdiction ............30
Recommendations Relating t o C ommittee Assignments ...........31
Recommendations on OtherMatters ..........................32
Budget Process .......................................33
Ethics andApplicationofLaws ..........................33
Prox ies and Committee Votes ...........................33
FloorProcedureand Scheduling .........................33
Staffing and S upport Agencies ..........................33
1995 Senate Republican W o rking Group, 104 th Congress (1995-1997) ...34
The authors w ish t o t hank M i chael K oempel for extensi ve review that
cont ri but ed t o t h e d evel opment o f t hi s r eport .
The authors also w is h t o t hank Patricia Johns Gr ant for assistance w ith the
production of t his r eport.
Reorganization of the Senate: Modern
R e form Efforts
Issues such as overlapping committee j urisdictions, s cheduling practices , or
i m b al anced workl o ads h ave p rom p t ed p eri o di c effort s t o reorgani z e t he S enat e. 1
S i nce t he S econd W o rld W ar, 1 0 d iffere n t reform efforts h ave b een launched, the
most recent i n 1995. Most major changes in rules and procedures have resulted from
landmark l egislation, including the 1946 and 1970 Legi slative R eorganiz ation Acts
and one sign ificant S enate reorganiz ation i n 1977. More incremental changes have
been the consequence of formal reorganization committees o r s t udy commissions,
s u ch as the Tem porary S el ect Committee t o S tudy the S enat e C ommittee S ys t e m
(commonly called t he Stevenson C ommittee) or the C ommission on the Operation
of the S enat e (commonly called t he C u l v er C o m m i ssion). Other attempts at self-
ex am i n at i on, such as t h e S t udy Group on S enat e P ract i ces and P rocedures (P earson-
Ribicoff Study Group), h ave generated reco mmendations on procedural issues, only
for t he Senate to disregard t hem. The p r i n c i p a l go al behind most of these reform
efforts i n t he Senate has been either to revise institutional rules and processes i n order
to increase efficiency or to broaden t he scope of participation i n t he decision-making
process, or to do both.
Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946, 79 th Congr ess
Creation. Congress es tablished t he J oint C ommittee on t he Organi z ation of
Congress with passage of H . C o n. Res. 18 on February 19, 1945. The j oint
committee was authorized to take testim ony and m ake recommendations about the
structure o f C ongress. The p anel was authoriz ed for t he two ye ars of the 7 9 th
Congress. The res olution called on t he joint committee t o “make a full and complete
study of the o rganiz ation and operati o n o f the C ongress,” and to “recommend
improvements i n s uch organization and operation with a view t oward s trengt hening
the C ongress, simplifyi ng its operations, improving its relationship with the other
b r an ches of the United S tates Government and enabling i t better t o m eet it s
responsibilities under t he Constitution.”
Me mbership. The j oint committee consisted o f 1 2 M embers, s ix from each
chamber, equally divided b y p arty. S enat or Robert M. La Fo llette J r., a P rogressive
from W isconsin who caucused with the R epublicans, chai red t he joint committee.
The v ice chair was House Democrat A.S. “Mike” M onroney, a R epresentative from
O k l a h o m a. In addition t o La Follette, S enat ors on t he committee were: Elbert D .
1 See a lso CRS Report RL31825, Reorganization of t he House of Representatives: Recent
Reform Efforts , April 1, 2003, by J udy Schneider, Christopher M . Davis, a nd Betsy Palme r.
Thomas (D-UT); C laude Pepper (D-FL) ; Richard R ussel l (D-GA); W al l ace W h i t e
(R-ME); and C. Wayl and Brooks (R-IL). Other House M embers on the committee
were: E ugene C ox (D-GA); T homas J . Lane (D-MA); E arl M ichener (R-MI); Everett
Dirksen (R -IL); and C harles P l umley (R -VT).
R e c o mmendations Relating to Committee J urisdictions. The j oi n t
committee hel d 39 hearings , t ook testimony from 102 witnesses over four months,
and i ssued its final report (H.Rept. 1675) on March 4 , 1946. The report called for a
series o f m a j o r c h anges to congressional operations. At t he core of the p lan was a
reorganization of t he House and Senate committee systems.
Senate Committees. In relation t o committees and t heir jurisdictions, t he
joint committee recommended t hat t he Senate’s 33 standing committees be
consolidat ed into 16 panels, with jurisdictions redrawn as s hown b elow:
! Agri cu l tu re a n d Fo restry: Formed from t he ex isting Agriculture
! Appropriations: Fo rmed from t he ex isting Appropriations
! Armed S ervi ces: Fo rmed from t he merger of the M ilitary Affairs
an d Nav al Affairs C ommittees .
! B a n k i n g an d C u rren cy: Formed from t h e ex isting Banking
! Claims : Formed by the ex i sting C laims Committee. To be
di ssol v ed when cl ai m s were t ransferred t o t he court s . 2
! Ci vi l S ervi ce: Formed from t he merger of the C ivil Service and the
Post Office and P ost R oads Committees , minus the post roads
! Di stri ct of Col u mb i a : Formed from t he ex isting District of
Columbia Committee. To be dissolved when D.C. res i d e n t s were
granted home rule. 3
! Expenditu res in th e E xecu tive Departments: Formed from t he
ex isting Ex penditures i n t he Ex ecutive Departments C ommittee.
! Finance: Formed from t he ex isting Finance Committee.
! Fo reign Relations: Formed from t he ex isting Forei gn Relations
! In teri or, Natu ral Resou rces an d Pu b l i c Work s : Formed from t he
m erger of t h e C om m er c e , Indi an Affai rs, In t eroceani c C anal s ,
Irrigation and Reclamation, Mines and Mining, P ublic Buildings and
Grounds, P ublic Lands and S urveys , and Territories and Insular
Affairs C ommittees . Also t o i nclude the post roads jurisdiction from
2 T itle IV of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 (P.L. 601, 79th Congress)
transferred adj udication of claims against the government t o t he Court of Claims, which i s
now the U.S. Court of Federal Claims .
3 President Harry S T ruman proposed gr anting home r ule t o t he residents of t he District of
Columbia during his presidency, but the f inal version of t he 1946 legi slation did not include
the P ost Office and P ost R oads Committee, w h i c h would be
! In te r s t a t e Commerce: Form ed from t he m erger of t h e Int erst at e
Commerce and the M anufact urers C ommittees .
! Judiciary: Fo rme d from t he merger of the J udiciary, Patents, and
Immigration C ommittees.
! Labor and Public Welfare: Form ed from t he ex i s t i n g Labor and
Education C ommittee and the S ocial S ecurity j u ri sdiction of t he
Fi nance C ommittee.
! Rules and Admi nistration of the S enate: Formed from t he merger
of the Audit and Control, Enrolled Bills, Library, P rinting, Privileges
and Elections, and Rules C ommittees.
! Veteran s ’ Af f a i rs: Formed from t he merger of the P ensions
Committee and the vet erans j urisdiction of t he Fi nance C ommittee.
House Committees. The j oint committee recommended t hat t he House’s 48
standing committees be reduced to 18, largel y t hrough consolidating t he jurisdictions
of ex isting committees . The 18 committees recommended i n t he report were:
! Agri cu l t u re: Formed from t he ex isting Agriculture Committee.
! Appropriations: Formed fro m the ex i sting Appropriations
! Armed S ervi ces: Fo rmed from t he merger o f t h e M ilitary Affairs
an d Nav al Affairs C ommittees .
! B a n k i n g an d C u rren cy: Fo rmed by the m erger o f t he Banking and
Currency and the C oinage, W ei ghts, and Meas ures Committees .
! Ci vi l S ervi ce: Fo rmed by the m erger o f t he Civil S ervice, Census,
Post Office and P os t R oads, and the District o f C olumbia
! Expenditu res i n th e E xecu tive Department: Fo rmed by the
ex isting Ex penditures i n t he Ex ecutive Department Committee.
! Fo rei gn Af f a i rs: Fo rmed by the ex i sting F o r ei gn Affairs
! House Administration: Fo rmed by t h e m e rger o f t he Accounts,
Disposal of Ex ecutive P apers, E n rolled Bills, Library, M em orials,
and P rinting C ommittees. The Committee o n t h e Election of
P resi d ent , Vi ce P res i d ent , and R epresent at i v es i n C ongress was
abolished. Three s eparat e Elections committees were abolished and
those responsibilities t ransferred t o t he House Administrat i on
! In terstate an d Forei gn Commerce: Formed by the ex i sting
Interstate and Forei gn Commerce C ommittee.
! Judiciary: Fo rmed from t he merger of the J udiciary, Patents,
Revision of the Laws, and Immigration a n d Naturalization
! Labor: Fo r m e d b y the m erger o f t he Labor and Education
! Mer c h an t Mari n e a n d Fi sh eri es: Formed from t he ex isting
Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee.
! Public Lands: Fo rmed by the m erger o f t he Public Lands,
Territories, Irrigation and R eclam ation, Mines and Mining, Insular
Affairs, an d Indian Affairs C ommittees .
! Public Works: Formed by the m erger of t he Fl ood Control, Public
Bu i l d i n gs and Grounds, R i v ers and Harbors, and Roads Committees.
! Ru les: Formed from t he ex isting R ules Committee.
! Un -Ameri can A cti v i ti es: Form ed from t he ex i s t i n g U n-Am eri can
Activities C ommittee.
! Veteran s ’ Af f a i rs: Fo rmed by the m erger o f t he Pensions, Invalid
Pensions, and World W ar Veterans’ Legislation C ommittees .
! Ways and Means: F o r m ed from t he ex i s t i n g W ays and Means
The C laims panel and the W ar Claims panel were t o b e abolished.4
Recommendations on Jur i sdiction and O ve rsight. The j oint
committee recommended t hat, for t he first time, t h e j u risdictions of each standing
co mmittee be written i nto t he rules of t he Senate and t he House. During openin g
debate on the S enate l egis l a tion t hat i ncorporated the j oint committee’s p roposal,
J oint C ommittee C hair La Follette described how jurisdictions had been determined
under S enate p ractices prior t o t he 1946 Act:
Under t he practice of t he Senate, t he j urisdiction of c ommittees has grown up in
part as a r esult of t heir names and in part because of the general field of
legi slation which they normally would cover. Committees have also acquired
j urisdiction simply because they have had t he power to initiate a particular piece
of legi slation, especially in a new field. As a r esult of t h i s p r a c t ice, the
j urisdictional lines between our committees are confused not only because they
overlap, but also bec a u s e o f the practice of having j urisdiction attach to a
particular committee i f by chance i t may have considered original legi slation i n
some new f ield. T hrough t he years, as the activities of t he Federal Government
have gr own i n s cope and complexity, t he result has been, naturally, t o complicate
an already complicated situation i nsofar as j urisdictional conflicts between the
present committees are concerned. It is in the hope of simplifyi ng that situation
and, insofar as possib l e , o f a nticipating and avoiding future conflicts of
j urisdiction t hat we have attempted i n t his measure t o spell out the j urisdiction
of the s tanding committees which we propose. 5
The j urisdictional d efinitions, according t o t he joint committee, “should
enumerat e t he activities covered and describe thei r s cope in terms of s ubject matter
of legi slation as wel l as t he administrative organization of t he Federal Government6
so that disputes over j urisdiction will be minimized or eliminat ed.”
4 T itle IV of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1940 (P.L. 601, 79th Cong.) transferred
adj udication of claims against the government t o t he Court of Claims, which i s now the U.S.
Court of Federal Cl aims .
5 Robert M. La Follette, “Or ganization of Congress,” r emarks i n Se nate, Congressional
Record, vol. 92, J une 5, 1946, pp. 6344-6345.
6 U.S. Congress, J oint Committee on t he Or ganization of Congress, O r g anization of t he
The j oint committee also recommended t hat committees ex erci se regular
oversight of those portions of the ex ecutive branch within thei r j urisdictions. As a
part of that oversight, t he panel recommended t hat each committee b e given authority
to issue s ubpoenas, and t o b egin investigations of the ex ecutive b ranch o n its own,
without advance p ermission of the full House o r S enate. Because of these
recommendations, which would empower standing committees , t he joint committee
al so called for a ban on the c reat i o n o f new speci al committees, particularly those
charged with conducting i nvestigations.
Recommendations on Othe r Ma tte rs . The committee also recommended
a s eries o f wide-ranging changes that were design ed to moderniz e C ongress. The
joint committee recommended:
! Limit House M em bers to one major committee assignment.
! Aut h o r i z e each standing committee t o h ire four “highly s killed”
professional s t a f f . The s taff were to be paid between $6,000 and
$8,000 a year and were t o work o n committee business only. The
panel also suggested that committees be authorized to em ploy up to
six clerical staff.
! Increas e pay for M em bers by 50% to $15,000 from $10,000, and
allow M em bers to participat e i n t he federal retirem ent s ys tem;
increas e s taff pay as well.
! Create p arty policy commi t t e e s in both chambers t hat would b e
authorized to hire staff and meet regularly with repres entatives of the7
ex ecut i v e b ranch.
! Establish t he position o f p ersonnel d irector, s elected by the l eaders
of the t wo chambers, who would s et up a s ys tem f or finding and
eval uating s taff for t he legi slative branch.
! Require lobbyists to regi ster with the govern ment and d isclose t he
sources of their funding.
! C reate a budget process for Congress that would requ i r e t h e
Appropriations and revenue committees in both chambers t o draft a
budget each year; p rohibit appropri a t i n g m ore t han estimated
recei pt s for a gi v en year unl ess C ongress al so passed an i ncrease i n
the national debt; authorize t he President t o reduce appropriations by
a uni form percent age i n al l p rogram s i f e x p endi t u res ex ceeded
! Prohibit t he introduction o f b ills to build specific b ridges and certain
other bills involving claims against t he United S tates.
! Set an annual adjournment d ate o f J une 30, with Members t o return
to Washingt o n fo r an autumn session; ex periment with schedules
that called for committees to conduct t heir work on certain days and
the House floor to conduct its work on different days .
! Limit conference reports to items in disagreem ent bet ween the t wo
Congress ,79th Cong., 2nd sess., H.Rept. 1675 (Washington: GPO, 1946), p. 5.
7 See CRS Report RL32015, Senate Policy Committees ,byColtonC.Campbell.
! Require the General Accounting Office to do an annual audit o f each
governm ent agency.
! Require hearings and m eetings of the Appropriations Committee t o
be open t o o ther Members o f C ongress, the p ress, and t he public.
Final Action. Senator La Follette drafted l egislation (S. 2177), which
incorporat ed the recommendations of the j oint committee. The S enat e passed t he bill
on J une 10, 1946, by a vote o f 49-16. During floor debate, S enators agreed by voice
vote not to creat e a n ew Veterans’ Affairs C ommittee. In stead , M em bers allowed t he
Fi nance C ommittee t o ret ai n j urisdiction over vet erans’ issues generally, pensions for
al l wars, governm ent -i ssued l i fe i nsurance for v et erans, a n d c o m pensat i o n o f
veterans. The new Labor and P ublic Welfare C ommittee would get jurisdiction over
vocational rehabilitation for veterans, vet erans’ hospitals and readjustment to ci vilian
life, and vet erans’ issues that had been handled by the P ensions Committee, which
would be abolished. (A Senate Veterans’ Affairs C ommittee was later creat ed as a
pa r t o f t h e 1970 Legi slative R eorganiz ation Act, which is discussed b elow.) The
legi slation was adopted by voice vote.
In the House, the bill sat at the Sp eak er’s t a ble for weeks while Members
negotiated its contents. On J uly 25, the House appro v e d an open rule for
consideration o f t he measure. The House p assed t he bill on the s ame d a y by a
division vote of 229-61 , a f t e r a dopting s ev eral amendments. It d eleted provisions
authorizing a top administrative aide for Member offices , and creating party policy
committees and a stenographic po o l for M em bers. The House also s truck all
provisions related t o t he proposed budget process. Fi nal l y, M e m bers voted to
increase t heir salary to $12,500 instead of the $15,000 recommended, but then also
authoriz ed an additional $2,500 for ex p enses for each Member.
The S enate adopted the revise d bill by voice vote t he nex t day, clearing t he
measure for the P resident. P resident HarryS TrumansigneditintolawonAugustth
Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970, 91 st Congr ess
Creation. The 1970 Legi slative R eorganiz ation Act was t he product o f m ore
than five years o f effort, from 1965 through 1970. It began with the creation o f a
J oint C ommittee on t he Organization of t he Congress in 1965 an d c oncluded with
legi slation reported out by the House R ules Committee i n 1970, which was based i n
large m easure o n t he recommendations of the j oint committee. As in 1946, the j oint
committ ee was charged with studying t he organization and operation of C ongress
with an eye t o m aking recommendations for improvement.
The 1965 J oint C ommittee on t he Organization o f t he Congress was created by
S. Con. Res. 2, which was agreed to by both chambers o n M arch 11, 1965. The
resolution s tated t hat t he joint committee was to “m ake a full and complete study of
the organization and operation of t he Congress of the United S tates a n d shal l
recommend improvements i n s uch organizat i o n and operation with a view t oward
strengthening t he Congress, simplifyi n g i t s operations, improving its relationship
with other b ranches o f t he United S tates Government and enabling i t better t o m eet
its responsibilities under t he Constitution.”
In the five years t h e reorganization effort took to make its way t o enactment,
institutional t ensions between the l egislative b ran c h and the ex ecutive branch
escalated. T he Vietnam W ar raised questions about the role each branch played in
war p o w e r s . Congress moved t o assert its ro le with passage, over t he Pres ident’s
veto, o f t he 1973 W ar P owers R esolution (P.L. 93-148). P resident Richard M . Nix on
also disagreed with Congress over s pending appropriated funds. The budget figh ts
contributed to passage of the 1974 Congressional Budget and Impoundment C ontrol
Act (P.L. 93-344), which created House and Senate Bu d g et C o mmittees and t he
Congressional Budget Office, and outlined a budget process for Congress to follow,
separate from t he ex ecutive b ranch. The 1970 Act o ccurred at t he begi nning of this
broad effo r t b y C o ngress to assert its authority over t he ex ecutive b ranch and to
i n crease i t s access t o i nform at i on.
The J oint Committ ee o n the Organization of t he Congress held 40 days of
hearings between May 1 0 and September 23, 1 965. It heard from 199 witnesses,
incl uding Members of C ongress, political scientists, and government offici al s. The
committee i ssued its final report (S. Rept. 1414) on J u ly 28, 1966. It contained s ome
120 recommended changes to the operation of C ongress, ranging from t hose affecting
the committee system to the imposition of fiscal controls to increases in staffing.
Legi slation was introduced in both chambers t hat year but saw no action . It w as
reintroduced in the S enate i n 1967 as S. 355. The S enate p assed t he bill by a vote o f
On April 22, 1969, Representative W illiam M. C olmer (D-MS), chair of the
House R ules Committee, appointed a s peci al five-member s ubcommittee t o review
congressional reorganiz ation p roposal s and make recommendations . T he Special
Subcommittee o n Legislative R eorganization was chai red by B.F. S isk (D-CA).
Other m em bers were: R ay J . Madden (D-IN); R i ch ard B olling (D-MO); H. Allen
Smith (R-CA); and Delbert L. Latta (R-OH). Mr. Madden resigned from the
subcommittee o n M ay 6 and was replaced by Representative J ohn Young (D-TX).
In 1969, the House R ules Committee’s S pecial Subco mmittee on Legislative
Reorganization hel d m eetings over several months. After compiling a draft of a bill,
the s peci al subcommittee i nstructed its staff t o hold a series of briefings for Members
to ex plain t he measure t o t hem. Those b ri efings were held on October 16, 17, 20, and
November, and December, the s pecial s ubcommittee h eld a series of hearings on its
draft bill, at which 44 people testified and 44 more submitted their views for the
record. The hearings were published i n a 453-page volume early in 1970. The s pecial
subcommittee revised its draft and reported a meas ure t o t he full House R ules
C o m mittee early in 1970. That panel reported t he measure, with amendment s , o n
May 1 2 (H.R. 17654, H.Rept. 91-1215).
The House b egan debate on the b i l l o n J u ly 13 and p assed it, amended, on
September 17, by a vote o f 326-19. The l egis lation went directly to the floor in the
Senate. The Senate passed t he bill, am ended, by a vote of 59-5 on O ct o ber 6. The
House concurred i n t he Senate amendments on October 8 , b y voice vote, sending the
meas ure t o t he White House. Pres ident Nix on signed the bill into law on Oct ober 26,
Me mbership. The o rigi nal 1965 joint committee consisted o f s ix Senators and
six R epresentatives , equally divided by party. S enat ors on t he committee were: A.S.
“ M ike” Monroney (D-OK); J ohn J . Sparkman (D-AL); Lee Metcalf (D-MT); Karl
E. Mundt (R-SD); C lifford P. Case (R-NJ ); and J . Cal e b B o ggs (R-DE). House
Members w ere: Ray J . M adden (D-IN ); J ack Brooks (D-TX); K en Hechler (D-W V );
Thomas B. C u rtis (R -MO); R obert P . Griffin (R -MI); and Durward G. Hall (R -MO).
Senator M onroney and Representative M adden co-chai red t he panel. W h en
Representative Griffin resigned from t he House i n 1966 to accept appointment to the
S enat e, h e w as repl aced by R epresent at i v e J am es C . C l evel and (R -NH).
Recommendati ons Re lati ng to Committees. Unlike t he 1946 Act, the
1970 Act focused more on rules governing committees than on the c o mmittee
struct ure itsel f. One o f t he co mplaints heard m ost frequently from M em bers at t h e
time was t hat committee chairs wielded too m uch power. M any of t he changes i n t he
proces s were des igned t o give great er voice to minority Members on committees and
to m a k e s u r e t h at a chair could not always override the wishes of a majority of the
The 1970 Legi slative R eorganiz ation Act was t he product o f a combination o f
processes. Fi rst, the 1965 joint committee i ssued a s et of recommendations, i n 1966,
f o r both t he Senate and t he House. The S enate p assed its version o f t hos e
recommendations on March 7 , 1967. The House t ook no action until creation o f t he
House R ules special subcommittee i n 1969. That Octob e r , t h e p anel issued its
version o f recommendations, b ased on the work o f t he 1965 joint committee and the
l egi slation p assed b y t he Senate. W hile the House s pecial subcommit t e e ’ s
recommendations deal t w i t h b o t h t he House and the S enat e, the s ubcommittee did
not m at eri al l y change t h e p rovi si ons of t h e reorgani z a t i o n a c t t h at t h e S enat e h ad
passed. The 1970 law was the d irect resu lt of the s pecial subcommittee’s work.
For both t he House and the S enate, the j oint committee recommended t hat each
committee establish a set of rules to govern its actions, m ake i t easier for a m aj ority
of a committee t o call a meeting without the approval of t he chai r , and allow
committee m em bers three days i n which t o file additional or minority views with
Senate Recommendations. Each s t anding committee would be required
to establish a regu lar m eeting d ay, not le ss than once a m onth, under t he proposal.
The S enate r e commendations called for changi ng Senate Rules t o empower a
maj o ri t y of a committee’s m em bers to cal l a meeting over t he objections of the
committee’s chair. C ommittee report s w o uld be required t o be filed within seven
days of committee action. And, al l busines s m eetings , ex cept t hose of t he
Appropriations Committee, would be open unless a majority of the committee voted
to close t hem. All h earings , again ex cept for Appropriations, would b e open unless
cl osed for n at i onal s ecuri t y reasons.
To help protect the rights of t he minority, S enat e committee m eetings would
have to be announced at l e a s t o n e w eek in advance. During at least one day o f a
hearing, the min o r i t y would have t he right t o cal l witnesses. And, if a committee
member announced during a business m eeting t hat h e o r s h e w a nted to have
dissenting o r s upplemental v iews included i n t he report o n t he matter o r m easure at
hand, the S enator would h ave t hree days in which t o d o s o.
Under t he proposal, floor co n s ideration o f a measure o r m atter would b e
prohi bi t ed unl ess t he accom p anyi ng report o n i t h ad been avai l abl e for at l east t hree
calendar days, though t he majority and minority leaders could agree to waive this
rule. Any Senate report would h a v e t o contain t he breakdown o n t he vote o n t he
motion t o report i f t here had b een a roll-cal l vote. The S enate p roposal also called
for broadcas ting committee m eetings , s ubject to rules t hat would be det ermined by
The s peci al subcommittee recommended t hat t he Senate agree t o b an general
prox y voting (but permit specific p rox i es), and t o require that each committee file a
single annual ex p ense report. Most Senate standing committees were to be reduced
in siz e, and, for future assignments, Senators were to be restricted to service o n t wo
major committees and one minor one. The proposal also restricted Senators to
serv i c e on only one of the following committees at a time: Appropriations, Armed
S ervi ces, Fi n ance, and Forei gn R el at i ons. In t he future, S enators could not hold m ore
than one chai rmanship, or m ore t han one subcommittee chairmanship on any major
committee. The S enat e was to rename its Banking an d C u rren c y C ommittee t he
Committee on Banking, Hous i n g, and Urban Affairs, and give i t j urisdiction over
urban affairs generally. During floor debate on the p roposal, t h e S e n ate created a
Committee o n Vet eran s’ Affairs with jurisdiction t ransferred from t hree other
House Recommendations. Each committee would adopt written rules,
which could not be inconsistent with House R ul es, and sel ect a regul ar m eet i n g d ay
to conduct its business, although additional m eetings could b e s cheduled at the
discretion o f t he chair. Li ke the S enate recommendations, t hose o f t he House would
allow a majority of a committee t o call a special meeting without the assent of t h e
committee chair, and a m aj ority of the minority party could cal l witnesses during at
least one day o f h earings . Hearings would b e announ c e d a t least one week in
advance, unless t he committee det ermined it could not meet this deadline, in which
case t he hearing d ate was to be “noticed” as s oon as possible i n t he Daily Digest of
the Congressional Record. The House R ules Committee was ex em pted. The speci al
subcommittee s aid t hat co mmittee reports should be filed w i t h i n s even days of a
request to do so by a m aj ority of the committee. This recommendation was matched
by a new policy t o allow t he Speaker to recognize a m em ber of a committee t o cal l
u p a bill on the floor if the R ules Committee had made it in order, even if t h e
Member was not the chair of the committee.
The s pecial subcommittee recommended t hat the minority should b e given three
days in which t o file their opinions for a commit t e e r e p o r t i f t hey “noticed” t heir
intent at the time of the committee m arkup. Reports would h ave t o b e available at
least three calendar days before House consideration of a bill. And, for
appropriations bills, printed committee hearings were al so to be available at l eas t
three days i n advance of t he floor action. The House R ules Committee was ex em pted
f r o m m any of t hese proposals. The s pecial subcommittee recommended t hat a
committee business m eeting o r h earing b e open t o t he public unless a majority of the
committee voted to close i t . O n each motion t o report, a committee would b e
required t o record the votes fo r a n d against t he motion and include the votes in its
The speci al subcommittee recommended t hat House committees al l o w t heir
hearings to be broadcast, via radio, t elevision, and s till photography, when authorized
by the m aj ority vote of a committee.
The speci al subcommittee recommended t hat committees b e allowed t o m eet
when the House was in session, unless t he House was debating a bill under t he five-
minute rule. Even then, five committees , R ules , A p p ropriations, Government
Operations, Internal S ecurity, and Standards o f Official Conduct, could m eet. And,
it called o n committees to provide an annual report o f t heir activities o f t he previous
year, ex cept for Appropriations, R ule s , H o u s e Administration, and S tandards of
The s peci al subcommittee recommended t hat, in the House, the reading of t he
Journal of the House o f Representatives of the United S tates be dispensed with and
that a vote o n t he Journal be non-debatable. This reco mmendation came i n response
t o t h e p ercei ved u s e o f t h e readi n g o f t he Journal , and votes on its approval, as
dilatory tactics by t he minority.
The House p arliamentarian, according t o t he recommendations, s hould p repare
and h ave p ri nt ed new com pi l at i ons of House p recedent s every fi v e years. A
condensed and up-to-date v ersion s hould b e p rinted at the b eginning of each
The s peci al subcommittee recommended t he creation of t he C a p i tol Guide
Service t o p rovide free, organi z ed public tours of t he Capitol.
Recommendations Relating to Staffing and Funding. Only if the t wo
party floor leaders agreed would committees be allowed t o s it while the S enat e was
in session. For both t he House and the S enat e, the s peci al subcommittee
recommended t hat conference procedures be changed t o requi re t h at bot h cham b ers
print conference reports, t hat conferees of both cham b e r s j o i ntly prepare an
ex planatory s tatement to accompany a conference report, and t hat d ebate time on a
conference report b e equally divided b et ween the m aj ority and minority parties.
The S enat e recommendations called for an authorization of t wo additional
professional s taff ai des f o r each standing committee, bringi ng the t otal to six . Of
those, the minority party was afforded t h e right to hire two. Senate staff s alary
m a x i m u m s were i n creased t o roughl y m at ch t h e H ouse m ax i m u m s . T he
recommendations called fo r a funding process for all committees, i n which each
committee was to file a s ingl e, annual fundi ng request for its work. If t he committee
ex ceeded i t s approved s pendi ng, i t woul d h ave t o ex p l ai n t o t h e S enat e why i t needed
The speci al subcommittee recommended a fundi ng process for House
commi t t e e s s i m ilar t o t he one for t he Senate panels: each committee was to file a
single, annual f unding request. If a committee ex ceeded i t s approved s pendi ng, i t
would h ave t o ex p lain to the House why it needed additional funding.
The number o f p rofessional s taff authoriz ed for each House committee would
b e i n creased to six from four, and committees would be authorized to hi re
consultan t s, subject to the approval of t he House Administration C ommittee. The
speci al subcommittee recommended t hat a majori t y o f a committee’s minority
members could h i r e t w o o f the s ix professional employees , and fill one of the s ix
cl erical positions, s ubject to approval of t he majority vote of a committee. Any s taff
member could be fired by a m aj ority vote of a committee. The C ommittees on
Standards o f O f f i cial Conduct and Appropr iations would b e ex empt from m any o f
these p roposed r u l e s. The s pecial subcommittee recommended t hat each House
Member be authoriz ed to hire an administrative assistant at p ay not to ex ceed $8,955
a year. T hi s recom m endat i o n w as desi gn ed t o match t he structure i n t he Senate,
whi ch al ready aut hori z ed a t op offi ce st aff m em ber.
Joint Recommendations That Apply to Both Chambers. The s peci al
subcommittee i n t he House recommended t hat C ongress set u p a budget process. As
a p art o f t hat p roposal, i t recommended t hat t he Appropriations Committees in both
chambers hold a hearing within 30 days of submission on the entire budget proposed
by the P resident. The speci al subcommittee called on t he Treas ury Department and
t h e Offi ce of Managem ent and Budget t o com e up wi t h uni form fi scal m easurem ent s
for p rograms and to supply committees, upon request, d etailed p rogram information
on government agenci es . The speci al subcommittee envisioned a bigger role for the
com p t rol l er general , t he head of t h e G eneral Account i n g O ffi ce. That offi ce woul d
provide anal ys is of ex isting program s and provide, t o committees , s taff ex pertise i n
doing cost-benefit anal ys is. The speci al subcommittee also called on t he P res ident
t o provi de fi ve years’ wort h o f d et ai l ed i nform at i o n for each program — t h e current
fi scal year and four succeedi n g ones.
The s peci al subcommittee also recommended t hat t he Legi slative R eference
Service, a division of t he Li brary of C ongress t h at was d esi gned t o p rovi de research
support t o l awmakers, b e renamed the C ongressional R esearch Service (CRS), and
its responsibilities be ex panded and redefined. The n ew CRS would b e authorized to
require governmen t a g encies to provide information, and could h ire t emporary
services of ex perts or consultants. The s peci al subcommittee recommended t hat t he
J oint C ommittee of C ongress on the Library be renamed t he J oint C ommittee on t he
Li brary and C ongressi onal R esearch t o m ake cl ear t h at t h i s panel w as t o oversee t h e
operations of CRS.
The speci al subcommittee recommended creation of a J oint C ommittee on Dat a
Processing to help coordinate the acquisition and use of computers and technology.
The committee was to consis t o f 1 2 M embers, s ix from each chamber, equally
divided b etween the m ajor ity and minority parties.
Th e s p ecial subcommittee also recommended t he abolition of t he J oint
Committee on Immigration and Nationality Policy.
Final Action. Several o f t he recommendations of the House s ubcommittee
were changed during floor considerati on. The House p rovided t hat t he minority was
to receive no less than one-third of committee s taff. Members also agreed to begi n
recordi n g how each Mem b er vot ed duri n g t el l er vot es 8 taken i n t he Committee of t he
W hol e, and t o a l l o w as few as 20 Mem b ers t o obt ai n a rol l -cal l vot e when i n
Committee of t he Whole. Fi nally, t he House s truck from t he bill the provision
creating a top administrative s taffer for Members’ personal offices .
The S enat e added a new Vet erans’ Affairs C ommittee t o its ro s t er. The final
bill es tablished a J oint C ommittee on C ongressional Operations, which was m ade up
of 10 members, five from each chamber; the committee was instructed to continue
to study the organization and operati ons of Congress and m a k e recommendations
about improvements. The c o mmittee was also to oversee the new Office of
P l acem ent and Offi ce of Managem ent , w hi ch were creat e d t o a s s i st Mem b ers i n
finding staff and provide help with office problems.
The House p assed t he Legi slative R e o r g aniz ation Act (H.R. 17654) on
September 17, 1970, by a vote o f 326-19. The S enate p assed t he bill, amended, on
October 6 , b y a vote o f 59-5. The House concurred i n t he Senate amendments on
Oct ober 8 , b y voi ce vot e, cl eari n g t he m eas ure for President Nix on, who s igned i t o n
October 2 6 (P.L. 91-510).
Party Reforms, 92nd -94th Congr esses (1971-1975)
In 1971, Senate Democrats voted to allow any Democratic Senator t o challenge
any nom i n at i o n by t he Steering C ommittee of a committee chair. S enat e
Republicans, at the s ame time, adopted a p r oposal that a S enator could b e t he ranking
member of only one standing committee.
In 1973, Senate Republicans d ecided to allow t h e i r top ranking committee
Members t o b e chosen without regard to seniority, and also adopted a p lan t o allow
Members o f each standing commi ttee t o elect the t op ranking Republican on that
committee, subject to the approval o f t he Republican Conference.
In 1975, Democrats voted to choose committee ch a i r s w i t hout regard to
seniority, and required t hat a secret ballot would b e u sed whenever one-fifth o f t heir
caucus d em anded i t .
Comm i s s i o n on the O per a ti on of the S enate, 94 th Congr ess
(1975-1977) (Culve r Commission)
Creation. The C ommission on the Operation o f t he Senate was created on J u ly
29, 1975, with the S enate’s p assage by voice vote o f S . R es. 2 27. The resolution
direct ed the newly-formed temporary commission to:
8 A t e l l e r vote i s a House voting procedure, that is used only i nfrequently. M embers cast
their votes by passing through a center aisle to b e counted by other M embers who are
appointed by t h e S p e a ke r . V ote t otals are announced, but not the vote of each indivi dual
... make a comprehensive and i mpartial s tudy of the organization and operation
of the United States Senate. Such study shall i nclude but not be limited t o 1. t he
functioning of Members, officers, and employees of the Senate i n t he light of the
responsibilities of the Senate in the areas of law-making, representation and
oversight; 2. conflicts in the progr ammi ng of business; 3. office accommodations
and f acilities; 4. information r esources; and 5. internal ma n a gement and
admi nistrative support str u c ture (including electronic and technical aids,
foresigh t capacity, accommodation f or and coverage by t he news media,
workload, l obbying, pay and allowances, and conflicts of interest).
The i dea of a commission to ex amine S enat e administrative operations was first
put forward i n t he Senate Democrati c C o nference by J ohn C. Culver (D-IA), a
Senator w h o w a s a ctive i n congressional reform efforts as a Member of the House
in the 93rd Congress’s S elect Committee o n C ommittees (commonly known as t he
Bo lling C ommittee, 1973-1975). Because of his central involvement in its creation,
the C ommission on the Operation of t h e S e n a t e is commonly called t he Culver
Commission even though S enator Culver did not serve o n t he panel.
In argu ing for passage of S. Res. 227, Senator C ulver ex p lained:
T here i s hardly a Senator i n t his body who does not sense t he need for a ssessing
and i mprovi ng the operations of the Senate ... T he growth i n t he scale of Senate
operations and s taffs, t he rising tide of t he workplace, the unresolved i ssues of
pay and all o w a n c e s , t he uncertain linkages t o new sources information and
technological suppo r t — t hese pertain t o all of us as we seek to fulfill our9
legi slative t asks.
Maj o ri t y Leader Mi ke Mansfi el d furt h er i ndi cat ed t h at t h e com m i ssi on woul d m ake:
... an impartial, independent, and comprehensive s tudy of the Senate’s
admi ni s t r a tive s tructure, machinery a nd practices ... T he c ommi ssion would ...
make specific r ecommendations with a view t o moderni zi n g and improving10
working conditions and methods and efficiency in the Senate.
Me mbership. The C ulver C ommission was composed of nine persons from
privat e life and two ex offici o commissioners who were officers or employees of the
Senate and who participated without voting. 11 Commissioners were appointed by the
president o f t he Senate upon the j oint recommendations of the m ajority and minority
Har o l d E . Hugh es, former Governor of Io wa and M ember o f t he U.S. Senate
from 1969 to 1975, was appointed commission chair. Archie R. Dykes, chancellor
of the University of Kansas, was named vice ch a i r . O t h er members were: Willard
L. Bo yd , president of the University of Iowa; R obert P. Huefner, director of the
9 Sen. J ohn C. Culver, r emarks in the Senate, Congressional Record, vol. 121, J uly 29, 1975,
10 Sen. Mike M a n s f i e l d, rema rks i n t he Senate, Congressional Record, vol. 121, J uly 29,
11 Ibid., p. 25653
Institute of Government at the University of Utah; J uanita M. Kreps, vice pres ident
of Duke University; C arl E. S anders, former Governor of Georgi a; William H. S cott,
managi ng partner i n t he firm of Peat, M arwick, and Mitchell; J . Mark Trice, former
secret ary of t he Senate; and Wilson W. Wyatt, former mayor of Louisville, Kentucky.
The t wo ex offi ci o m em bers of t h e com m i ssi on were Franci s R . V al eo, t hen s ecret ary
of t h e S enat e, and Geral d W . Frank, t h e adm i n i s t rat i v e assi st ant t o S enat or Mark O.
Recommendations Relating to Committee J urisdiction. The C ulver
Commission did not make recommendations regarding t he legi slative j urisdiction of
Senate committees. That t ask was delegated t o a concurrent committee (known as t he
“Stevenson Committee”) chaired b y S enator Adlai E . S tevenson III (D-IL). During
floor consideration o f S . R es. 227, Majority Leader Mansfield s tated:
The question of t he distribution of committee j urisdiction i s not included i n t he
purvi ew of the [ Culver] Commi ssion. T hat question i s already being dealt with
by the Rules Committee i n connection with consideration of Senate Resolution12
Li kewise, S . R es. 227 stated that the C ul ver C ommission’s s tudy should “not include
an examination of the jurisdictions of the committees of the Senate over subject
Senator C ulver i ndicat ed that committee j urisdictional reform was an important
aspect of overall Senate reform, and that the work o f t he Commission on the
Operation of t he Senate and t he work of the S tevenson Committee were rel at ed parts
of a l arger reform effort. During floor debate on S. Res. 227, he said:
A primary obligation we have also i s t o modernize and realine [ sic] committee
j urisdictions to meet our contemporary needs. If this mi ssion is also undertaken,th
then t h e Senate of t he 94 Congress can set s tandards of r esponsible reform13
which a re worthy of our National Bicentennial.
Re c o mme nda tion s o n O the r Ma tte rs . The commission’s final report,
filed o n December 31, 1976, made rec o m m e n d ations in five broad areas of S enate14
operation and administration.
Organization and Adminis tration of the Senate.
! Consolidate all administrative functions under a Senate
! Establish an administrative council to oversee Senate administration.
12 S e n . Mike Mansfield, remarks i n t he Senate, Congressional Record, vol. 121, J uly 29,
13 S e n . J o h n C. Culver, r emarks in the Senate, Congressional Record, vol. 121, J uly 29 ,
14 U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, Report on Se n a t e
Operations , S. Prt. 100-129, 100 th Cong., 2nd sess. (Washington: GPO 1988), pp. 14-17.
! Simplify t he system of committee budgeting and accounting.
! C onsol i d at e m anagem ent , assi gn m ent , and cont rol o f s p ace i n one
! Reform and m oderniz e t he Senate personnel s ys tem.
Us e of S enators’ Time.
! Desi gn at e s peci fi c d a ys each week for fl oor sessi ons onl y o r
committee work only.
! Devel o p a computerized scheduling system t o minimize m eeting
! Hol d an earl y organi z at i onal m eet i n g at t he out set o f each C ongress.
! Gi ve S enat o rs a m i n i m u m o f s i x w eeks each year i n whi ch t he
Senate is not in session, allo w i n g them to devote t heir attention t o
busi n ess b ack hom e.
Technology and Communication.
! Devel o p aut om at ed syst em s for general S enat e m anagem ent
functions, i ncl u ding in areas such as individual o ffice operations,
legi slative i nformation, and policy analysis.
! Broadcast S enat e p roceedi n gs l i v e v i a cl osed ci rcui t t el evi s i on.
! Hold daily formal news briefings o n S enate business for the m edia.
Senators’ Compensation, Financ ial Disclosure, and Code of Ethics.
! In crease S enators’ annual p ay.
! Eliminate honoraria income.
! Est abl i s h a cl ear and com prehensi ve code of ethics for t he Senate.
Foresight, O versight, a nd the Utilization of S upport Agencies.
! Committees should devote m ore time an d a ttention t o program
! The S enate s hould improve its overs ight of support agencies s uch as
the C ongressional Budget Office, General Accounting Office, and
C ongressi onal R esearch S ervi ce.
Final Action. W h ile few recommendations of the C ulver C ommission were
adopted at the time, m any h ave s ubseque ntly been implement ed , i ncluding a
simplified s ys tem for committee budgeting, modernization of t he Senate personnel
system , a form of centralized schedulin g o f m eetings through t he Daily Digest,
televised S enate p roceedings , and the adoption o f a comprehensive code of ethics.
Temporary Select Committee t o Study the S enate Committee
System, 94th and 9 5 th Congr esses (1975-1977 and 1977-1979)
(Steve nson Committee)
Creation. On March 31, 1976, the S enate adopted S. Res. 109, which p rovided
for a temporary Select Committee t o S tudy the S enat e C ommittee S ystem (commonly
called t he S t ev en son C ommittee). The central responsibility of the p anel was t o
eval uate Senate committee structure an d activities t o eliminat e overlapping
jurisdictions , s t r e n gt h e n l e gi s l a t i v e o v e r s i gh t , i n c r e a s e l e gi s l a t i v e o utput, and provide
a m ore equitable distribution of responsibility and workload a m o n g Senators and
Senate committees.15 Such reorganiz ation, Senator Adlai E. Stevenson, the p anel’s
chai r, st at ed, “dem o crat i z es t h e S enat e, rat i onal i z es j u ri sdi ct i o n and cut s far b ack on
multiple committee assignments, which pull and haul senators into time conflicts
every d ay.”16
Me mbership. The S tevenson Committee was composed of 12 Members
evenl y di vi ded b et ween Dem o crat s and R epublicans. Senator S tevenson (D-IL) was
i t s chai r; S enat o r Bi l l Brock (R -TN) w as i t s co-chai r. O t h er Mem b ers w ere: Frank
E. Moss (D-UT); Lee Metcalf (D-MT); Gayl ord Nelson (D-WI); Ll oyd Bensten (D-
TX); Lawton C h iles (D-FL); C lifford P . Hansen (R -W Y); Barry Goldwater (R -AZ);
Bob P ackwood (R -OR ); P ete V. Dom e n i c i (R -NM); and J esse Helms (R -NC ).
S enator Brock was d efeated for re-elec tion i n 1976 and was replaced as co-chair by
Senator P ackwood.
Recommendations Relating to Committee J urisdiction. The s el ect
committee held hearings in July and September 1976. It reported out it s
recommendations l a t e r t hat s ame year. C oncerns over j urisdictional
recommendations p r o m p t ed the S enat e R ules and Administration C ommittee t o
consider and m odify the s elect committee’s p roposal. Further change s were m ade
during t he Senate fl oor consideration.17
S. Res. 4, As Introduced by the S te ve nson Committee. S.Res.4was
introduced by Senator S tevenson on J anuary 4, 1977, the end product o f t he
temporary S el ect Committee t o S tudy the S enat e C ommittee S ystem.18 The
S t even s o n r e f o rm p lan called for ex tensive revisions to S enate Rule XXV,
es tablishi n g three cat egories of committees , referred t o as “A,” “B,” and “C ” for
assignment purposes , and limiting t he number of s ubcommittees on which S enat ors
could s erve, according t o t he new committee categories. It also called for redefining
15 Senate debate, Congressional Record, vol. 123, part 3 ( Feb. 4, 1977), p. 3671.
16 Quoted in Congress and the Nation , vol. v (Washington: Congressional Quarterly, Inc.,
17Judith A. Parris, “The Senate Reorganizes Its Committees, 1977,” Political Science
Quarterly, vol. 94, no. 2 ( Summe r 1979), p. 324.
18 T he r esolut i o n w a s essentially identical to S. Res. 586, submitted i n t he 94 th Congress
(1975-1977) by Senators Stevenson a nd Br ock a fter the T emporary Sel e c t Committee t o
St udy the Senate Committee System had made its report.
and consolidating committee j urisdictions in several broad, overlapping policy areas .
S p eci fi cal l y, t he pl an cal l ed for:
! Realigning the j urisdiction of S enat e committees.
! Merging t he 31 ex isting committees into 15 committees (14 s tanding
committees and one temporary sel ect committee).
! Giving ex panded duties and re sponsibilities t o commit t ees for
comprehensive policy oversight in major policy areas .
! Reducing t he number of committee and subcommittee assignments
! Limiting t he number of chairmanships a S enat or may hold.
! Est ablishing procedures for m ultiple referral of bills by motion t o
two or m ore committees .
! Authorizing j oint leadership appointment of ad hoc committees with
legi slative authority over “complex or new subject s” that “s traddle
the j urisdiction of permanent” panel s.
! Restricting committee and Senate scheduling procedures .19
The 1 5 committees proposed by the S tevenson Committee were:
! Agriculture and S mall Business
! Arm ed S ervi ces
! Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
! Commerce, Service, and Transportation
! Energy and N at ural R esources
! Environment and Public W orks
! Fi nance
! Foreign R el ations
! Governmental Affairs
! Hum an R esources
! J udi ci ary
! Rules, Administration, and S tandards
! Select Intelligence
Under t he proposed merger , all special, s elect, and joint committees, with the
ex ception of t he Select Intelligence Committee, al ong with four standing committees
(Di s t ri ct o f C ol um bi a, P o st Offi ce and C i v i l S ervi ce, Aeronaut i cal and S pace
Science, and Vet erans’ Affairs), would be eliminat ed.
The recommended reduction i n t h e n u m ber of committees to 15 from 31
required changes in committee j urisdiction. Eleven of the p roposed standing panels
19 U.S. Congress, Senate Temp o r ary Select Committee t o Study the Senate Committee
Syst em, Structure of t he Senate Committee System: Jurisdictions, Numbers, and Sizes, andth
Limitations on Memberships and Chairmanshi ps, Referral Procedures, and Scheduling,94nd
Cong., 2 sess., S. Rept. 94-1395 (Washington: GPO, 1976), p. 17.
were slat ed for change while three were rel ativel y unchanged. C ommittees in
parentheses b elow would l ose t heir juri sdictions under t he Stevenson p roposal:
! Agricu lture and Small B usiness: Ex isting j urisdiction f rom t he
Agriculture Committee and sm all business (Select Committee on
Smal l Business); small business j urisdiction (Banking Committee);
irrigation and reclamation and land use p lanning (Interior and Insular
Affairs C ommittee); regional economic development (Public Works
Committee); nutrition and human needs (Select Committee on
Nutrition and Human Need s); food from fresh waters an d t h e s e a
(Commerce); s chool lunch p rogram (Labor and P ublic W elfare).
! Armed S ervi ces: Ex isting Armed Services Committee j urisdiction,
with the addition of national s ecurity as pect s of atomic energy (J oint
Committee on Atomic Energy).
! Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs: Ex isting Banking
Committee j urisdiction, with ex port promotion (Commerce);
international financi al and m onetary organiz ations and foreign trade
promotion (Fo reign R elations); veterans’ housing (Veterans’
Affairs); all the j urisdiction o f t he J o int Defense Production
Committee; urban affairs, interna tional economic problems, and
economic growth (J oint Economic Committee).
! Budget: Ex i sting Budget Committee j urisd i ction, with economic
policy p riorities and economy i n government, annual econ o m ic
report, and report o n annual current services budget (J oint Economic
! Commerce, S ci en ce, an d T r a n s p o rtati o n : Ex isting C ommerce
Committee j urisdiction, with non -military aeronautical and space
sciences, and science, engi neering, a n d t echnology policy
(Aeronaut i cal S p a ce S ci ences); maintenance and operation o f t he
P anam a C a n al (Arm ed S ervi ces); urban m ass t ransit (Banking);
National S cience Foundation (Labor and P ublic W e l fare);
construction and maintenance of h ighways and high way s afety
(Public Works); consumer economics (J o int Economic Co mmittee);
consumer interests of t he el derly (Speci al Committee on Agi ng).
! E n ergy a n d Natu ral Resou rces: Ex isting j urisdiction of Int erior
and Insular Affairs, with solar heating and cooling (Aeronautical and
S p ace S ci ences); naval p et rol eum and o i l shal e reserves (Arm ed
Services); applications of ener gy conversion, conservat i o n and
research and d evel opm ent , and s ol ar energy (Banki ng); oi l and gas
production, distribution, outer c ontinental s helf lands, a nd deep
wat er port s (C om m erce); d eep wat er port s , h yd roel ect ri c power, and
coal production, distribution and utilization (Public Works); nuclear
energy development (J oint C ommittee on Atom i c Energy); energy
(J oint Economic Committee).
! Environmen t and Public Works: Ex isting j urisdiction from Public
W o rks C ommittee, with oceans, weather, and atmospheric activities,
fisheries, wildlife, coas tal z one management, outer continental s helf
l ands, o cean dum pi ng, s ol i d wast e, t o x i c s ubst ances, and pest i ci d es
(C om m erce); out er cont i n ent al s helf lands, fisheries, environmental
protection policy, water res ources , deep water port facilities, marine
wi l d l i fe s anct uari es, an d l a n d and w at er conservat i o n (In t eri or and
Insular Affairs); nuclear energy regulation (J oint C omm i ttee on
! Finance: Ex isting Finance Committee j urisdiction, with financial
policy (J oint Economic Committee).
! Governmental A f f a irs: Ex isting j urisdiction from Government
Operations Committee, with al l m eas ures relating t o t he District of
Columbia ex cept appropriations (District of C olumbia); acquisition
of land and buildings for embassies (Forei gn Relat i ons); insular
possessions of the United S tates ex cept revenue and appropriations
(Interior and Insular Affairs); l abor, economic, and soci al statistics
(Labor and P ubl i c W el fare); federal ci v i l s ervi ce, post al s ervi ce,
census, national archives, voter regi s t ration, federal employee
ret i rem ent , and federal em pl oyees and t hei r benefi t s (P ost O ffi ce and
Ci v i l S ervice); public buildings, federal buildings within DC,
Capitol and congressional buildings, and construction and
maintenance of S mithsonian, Library of Co n gress, and Botanical
Garden buildings (Public Works).
! H u ma n Resou rces: Ex isting Labor and P ublic Welfare j urisdiction,
with agri cu ltural colleges (Agriculture); overseas education of
civilian and military d e p e n d e n t s ( A r m e d S erv i ces ); N a t i v e A m e rican
educat i on, heal t h , s oci al s ervi ces and l oan p rogram s (In t eri or and
In sular Affairs); v eterans’ meas ures ex cept housing (Veterans’
Affairs); employm ent and retirem ent i ncome (Speci al Committee on
Aging); employm ent and unemploym ent i n t he United S tates (J oint
! Rules, Admi nistration and S tandards: Ex isting j urisdiction from
the R ules Committee, with rules, and complai nts and investigations
concerning improper conduct b y M embers, o fficers, or em ployees of
the S enate (Standards and Conduct); s tud y and recommendations
concerning congressional o rganiz ation and operation, identification
of judicial activities relating to the houses of Congress (J oint
Committee on C ongressional Operations); Li brary of C ongress
(J oint Committee on t he Li brary); Government Printing Office (J oint
Printing C ommittee).
W ith regard to other p rovisions, t he plan would:
! Divide committ ees into major and minor committees, limiting
Senators (ex cept for chair and a few with temporary “ gr a ndfather”
rights) t o s ervice on two m aj or (standing or cl as s A) committees and
one minor (sel ect or cl as s B) committee.
! Limit the number of s ubcommittee assignments, with S e nators
serving o n t wo sub c o mmittees on each major committee and one
minor committee and subcommittee.
! Limit Senators to one full committee chairmanship.
! Authorize party floor leaders t o m ake referrals of legi slation, jointly
or sequentially, i n whole or i n part, to two or m ore committees, with
! A u t h orize t he joint l eadership to review the performance of the
Senate committee s ys tem at t he close o f each Congress.
! In troduce computeriz ed scheduling o f m eetings .
! Pro h i b i t committees from m eeting after the conclusion of the first
two hours o f a d a i l y session or after 2 :00 p.m. (ex cept for the
Appropriations and Budget Committees , and conference
committees) without permission from t h e j o int l eadership or their
S. Res. 4, As Re porte d by the Committe e on Rules and
Administration. The S enat e R ules and Administration C ommittee began hearings
o n S . R es. 4 o n J anuary 5, 1977. Twenty days later, on J anuary 25, the committ ee
unanimously reported S . R es . 4. The Rules C ommittee m ade a number of changes
related t o committee j urisdiction i n t he original resolution. 20 Fi ve committees were
preserved: Veterans’ Affairs C ommittee, Select Committee on Small Business, Select
C o mmittee on Stand ards an d C onduct (renamed Ethics), J oint Economic C ommittee,
and J oint Committee on Tax ation. Thes e changes , i n t urn, prompted modifying t he
original resolution’s formula for committee assignments.21 The S enat e R ul es
Committee also voted to defer action on t he J oint C ommittee on t he Li brary and the
J oint C ommittee on P rinting, and t o establish a new t em porary S el ect Committee on
Indian Affairs t o rev iew n ati onal policy o n Indian affairs.
The R ules Committee also clarified certain jurisdictional references in S. Res.
4. W h ereas the S tevenson proposal would h ave c o n s o lidated most transportation
matters in the new Committee on C ommerce, Science, and Transportation, the R ules
Committ ee retained the s tatus quo. Hi gh way construction remained i n t he
E n v i ro n m ent and Public Works C ommittee; urban m as s t ransit stayed with the
Banking Committee; and m ost other transportation i ssues were assigned t o the22
Commerce C ommittee. The origi nal resolutio n a l s o s ought to consolidate all
environmental i ssues within the new Environment and P ublic Works C ommittee.
The R ules Committee reversed t he resolution t o ret ai n t he ex isting s ys tem, allowing
the C ommerce C o m mittee t o ret ai n its jurisdiction over coastal zone management
programs and m arine fisheries , and the l etting t he Agriculture Committee m ai ntai n
control of pes ticides .
One amendment offered during t he Rules C ommittee m arkup t o i ncreas e t he
total number of committees and subcommittees on which a Member could serve to
11 from eight (to t hree from t wo on each major committee and to two from one on
each minor committee) was approved b y voice vote. One objective was to assure an
equitable distribution of committee assignments among al l S enat ors, so that no
individual S enat or would be i nequitably overburdened or s erve on fewer committees
20U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, Committee System
Reorganization Amendments of 1977: Open Markup Sessions on S. Re s . 4 ,95th Cong., 1st
sess. (Washington, GPO, 1977).
21 U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Rules and Administ r a t i o n, Committee Systems
Reorganizations Amendments of 1977,95th Cong., 1st sess., S.Rept. 95-2 ( Washington: GPO,
22 Ib i d .
than others. S tevenson made an unsu ccessful motio n t o t able the amendment.23
Also, under an amendment s ponsored by Senator R obert P. Griffin (R-MI), the R ules
Committee, by a 5-4 vote, incl uded a provision authorizing t h e m i n o rity party t o
obtain, upon request, one-third of a committee’s funds, o ther than t h o s e u sed for
cent ral adm i n i s t rat i v e and cl eri cal purposes. T he Gri ffi n am endm ent al s o aut hori z ed
the j oint leadership to propose m ultiple referrals of bills by privileged m otion rather
t h an by unanimous consent. And, the R ules Committee reported t hat it, i n
consultation with the j oint leadership, would review t he operation of t he committee
system as well as the S tanding Rules of t he Senate and report any recommendations
at t h e cl o se of each C ongress.
Fi nally, t he Rules C ommittee d eleted the l eadership’s ability to propose, under
privileged procedure, ad hoc committees with authorizing j urisdictions.24 Members
of the R ules Committee were concerned t hat t he or i gi n al p r oposal to allow for
es tablishment of ad hoc committees to manage future unfores een legi slative i ssues
involving jurisdictional lines would encourage t he “proliferation o f additional,
temporary committees .”25
S. Res. 4, As Agreed To. On February 4, 1977, by a vote o f 89-1, the S enate
adopt ed S. Res. 4, which contained eight titles, dealing with committees,
jurisdictions, and sizes; committee assignments and chai rmanships; multiple
referrals; s cheduling; continuing review of the committee s ys tem; other amendments
to the S enat e’s s tanding rules; committee s taffs; and miscellaneous matters.
The full S enat e voted to retain the S peci al Committee on Agi ng, and to ex tend
the life of t he Select Committee on Nutritio n for the duration o f 1977. It rejected an26
effort to keep the P ost Office and C ivil Service C ommittee. As agreed t o , t he
resolution eliminated six committees (standing co mmittees on Space, Di st ri ct of
Columbia, and Post Office and C ivil Service; joint committees on Atomic Energy,
Congressional Operations, and De fens e P roduction), reducing t he number o f
committees to 25 from 31.
The r es p onsibilities of t hose panels abolished under t he resolution were
transferred t o other Senate committees as shown bel ow:
! J urisdiction of Aeronau t i cal and S pace Sciences Committee was
transferred t o t he Commerce C ommittee.
! J u risdiction of t he District of Columbia and P ost Office and C ivil
Service C o m m i ttees was t ransferred t o t he Committee on
23 Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report , “Senate Approves Committee Changes,” vol. 35,
Feb. 12, 1977, p. 3.
24 Parris, “T he Senate Reorga nize s,” p. 328.
25 See a l s o Committee Systems Reorganizing Amendments of 1977 ,p.4.
26Ib i d .
! J urisdiction of t he Select Nutrition C ommittee was transferred after
Dec. 31, 1977, to the Agriculture Committ ee, renamed the
Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Fores try.
! J urisdiction of t he J oint Atomic Energy Committee was transferred
to three committees : Armed S ervices , Energy and Natural
Resources, and Environment and Public W o rks.
! J urisdiction of t he J oint C ommittee on Defense Product i o n was
transferred t o a committee t o be det ermined by subsequen t
! J uris d i c t i on of the J oint Committee on C ongressional Operations
an d t he Select Committee t o S tudy the C ommittee S ystem was
transferred t o t he Rules C ommittee. 27
Other j urisdictional changes included:
! Responsibility for s chool lunch l egislation was transferred t o t he
Agriculture Committee from t he Human R es ources Co m mittee
(previously the Labor and P ublic Welfare C ommittee).
! Fo reign commerce and veterans’ housing p rograms under t he
Commerce and Veterans’ Affairs C ommittees were tran sferred t o t he
! Responsibility for n aval petroleum reserves and oil s hale reserves in
Alaska and for water power was t ransferred t o t h e E n e r gy and
Natural R es ources Committee from t he Armed S ervices and P ublic
Works C ommittees.
Recommendations on Committee Assignments.
! Limit each Senator (ex cept for a few with temporary “grandfather”
rights) t o no m ore t han t hree committees (two major or class A
committees and one minor or cl ass B committee).
! Limit each Senator t o n o m ore t han t hree subcommittees on each of
S e n a tor’s major committees (ex cluding the Appropriations
! Li mit each Senator t o n o m ore t han t wo subcommittees on ea c h
! Prohibit any Senator from holding more than two chairmanships at
the full committee or subcommittee l evel of major committees and
more than one on a minor committee.
In sum m ary, t he resol u t i o n est abl i s hed a syst em i n whi ch each S enat o r woul d
normally be assigned to: t wo cl as s A committees , s ix cl as s A subcommittees (three
p e r c o mmittee), one cl as s B committee, and t wo cl as s B subcommittees (two per
committee).28 It also would:
27 Congress and the Nation , vol. v, p. 885.
28 CRS, Title II of the Committee System Reorganization Amendments of 1977,S.Res.4, 9th
Congress, 1st Sess., by Walter K ravitz and J ohn R. Schaibley, Dec. 15, 1977.
! Prohibit a Senator from s e rving as chair o f m ore t han one full
committee at any one time.
! Prohibit a Senator from s erv i n g as chair o f m ore t han one
subcommittee o n each committee.
! Prohibit t he chai r of a major committee fro m s erv i ng as chai r of
more than one subcommittee on his or her m aj or committee and as
the chair of more than one sub committee on his or her minor
committee (effective t wo years after the res olution passed).
! Prohibit t he chai r of a minor committee from chai r i n g a
subcommittee on t hat committee and prohibit him or her from
chairing more than one of each of his o r h er m ajor committee’s
Recommendations on Othe r Ma tte rs .
! Provide the minority of each c o mmittee with one-third of each
committee’s s taff budget. (Committees were gi ven u p t o four years
to phase in this provision.)
! A u t h orize party floor leaders t o m ove multiple referrals of
legi slation w i t h instructions as well as prohibit a committee from
adding amendments outside its juri sdiction t o bills it reports without
the referral o f each amendment t o t he appropriate committee.
! Require the Rules Committee to establish a centralized computer
system to schedule t he meetings of Senate committees and
subcommit t e es, and to continue to review the committee system,
reporting its findings, every t wo years.
! Prohibit any committee from es t ablishing a s ubcommittee without
approval from t he full Senate.
! Permit committees and s ubcommittees to meet without special leave
up to the conclusion of the first two hours o f a Senate session or up
to 2:00 p.m., whichever was first, and allow t h e deadline t o b e
ex tended by t he joint l eadership.
The Study Gr oup on Senate Pr acti ces a n d P r ocedur es, 97 th
and 9 8 th Congr esses (1981-1983 and 1983-1985)
Creation. On May 11, 1982, the S enate adopted S. Res. 392, which p rovided
for t he creation o f t he study group on S e n a t e Practices and P rocedures (commonly
called t he Pearson-Ribicoff Study Group).
Me mbership. The s tudy group consisted o f former S enators J ames B. Pearson
(R -KS ) and A braham A. R i bicoff (D-C T).
Recommendations Relating to Committee J urisdiction. On April 5 ,
29CRS Report LT R 83-577, A Discussion of the Pearson- Ribicoff Study Group Report ,April
Regarding committee j urisdiction, the s tudy group recommended that the Senate
reduce t he number of s tanding committees to 1 2 o r 1 3 by merging s even standing,
select , and speci al committees . The panels slat ed for m erger were: Budget (functions
absorbed by Appropriations a n d Finance) ; Vet erans Affai rs (subsum ed by Arm ed
S ervi ces); S m a l l B u s i n ess (t aken over b y Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs);
S p eci al Agi n g (funct i ons i n t egrat ed i n t o Labor and H um an R esources); S el ect Et hi cs
(functions incorporat ed into Rul es and Administration); S el ect Indian Affairs
(functions put under E nergy and Natural R esources); and S elect In telligence
(subsumed by Appropriations, Armed Servi ces , and Fo reign Affairs). Additionally,
the s tudy group recommended t hat all joint committees (Economic, Library, P rinting,
and Tax ation) be terminat ed, with thei r functions taken over by s tanding committees
with the appropriate legi slative j urisdictions.30
Recommendations on Othe r Ma tte rs . Th e s tudy group also made
recommendations concerning Senate party l eadersh i p and agenda setting, cham ber
operations, and floor procedures, committee operations, and the congressional budget
process. Speci fically, t he committee recommended t he Senate:
! Adopt an annual agenda listing t he issues it will consider.
! C reat e a p erm anent presi d i n g o ffi cer.
! Consider controversial m atters no more than one time i n t h e s am e
! Reestablish certain abandoned procedures, s uch a s : morning
business and morning hour immediately following statements by the
party floor leaders; party-appointed Calendar C ommittees with the
responsibility of compiling i nformation from t heir colleagues as t o
their opposition to passing any bills on the call of the calendar;
perm i ssi on f o r a m o t i o n t o recess when t he S enat e has b ecom e
stal em at ed over particular bills or pending business; permission for
the p residing officer to count quorums.
! Tel evi se S enat e fl oor proceedi n gs .
! Require debate to be germane t o p ending business when considering
legi slation unless waived b y m otion o r unanimous consent.
! P l ace rest ri ct i ons on t h e l engt h o f d ebat e o f m ot i ons t o consi d er.
! P rohi bi t S enat ors (ex cept t he j o i n t l eadershi p and b i l l m angers) from
offering more than two amendments to be considered after cloture
is invoked, but permit the division o f a m e n d ments i f t hey contain
distinct propositions that can stand i ndependently of one another.
! R equi re germ aneness o f am endm e n t s a f t er a speci fi c p eri o d o f
! Require that al l amendments offered for printing have a capsule
resume at some place under t he title of the amendment s etting forth
a s tatement of its purpose, and t hat all major amendments be printed
30U.S. Congress, Senate, Report on Senate Operations, p. 27.
a d ay in advance o f t heir consideration unless o rdered otherwise b y
! Require major amendments, a s m odified, b e m ade available i n
written form t o all Senat o rs prior t o t he start of a vote, unless
unanimous consent t o t he contrary is granted.
! Disallow consideration of amendments when no further time is left
! C o n s ider eliminating t he “question of germaneness” with th e
ex ception of general appropriations bills.
! Prohibit all staff for subcommittees.
! Modify the budget process b y adopting a two-year budget and
appropriations cycl e, and abolishing the Budget Committee, shifting
its functions to a s ubcommittee comprising m em bers of the
Appropriations and Finance Committees .
! Refer any measure i nvolving p r o ced ure t o t he Rules C ommittee
before t h e S enat e act s o n i t .
! Minimize t he number of roll-cal l votes.
On May 9 , 1983, the S enate R ules and Administration C ommittee h eld a hearing
on the P earson-Ribicoff report. The S en ate t ook n o further formal action o n t he
study group’s p roposals.
The Te m p or ar y S el ect Commi ttee t o S tudy the S enate
Committee S ystem, 98th Congr ess (1983-1985) (Quayl e
Creation. The S enate p assed S . R es. 127 by voice vote o n J u n e 6 , 1984, to
establish t he Temporary S el ect Committee t o S tudy the S enat e C ommittee S ystem
(also known as t he Quayle Committee, for its chair, Senator Dan Q u ayl e (R-IN)).
The committee was charged with making a “thorough study of the S enat e committee
system” and reporting b ack options for improving it.
Me mbership. In addition t o S enat or Quayle, m em bers of the committee were:
C h arl es M cC . M at hi as J r. (R -MD); J a k e Garn (R -UT); M al col m W al l o p (R -W Y );
Bob Kasten (R -W I); W arren B. R udman (R -NH); W endell H. Ford (D-KY); R ussell
B. Long (D-LA); J ohn Melcher (D-MT); J . Be n n ett J ohnston (D-LA); Spark M .
Matsunaga (D-HI); and Alan J . Dix o n (D-IL).
Recommendations Relating to Co m m i ttee J urisdiction. The
committee called for sequential referral of l egislation reported out of one committee
that contai ned m atter i n t he jurisdiction of another committee. Under ex i sting S enat e
Rules, bill referral was based on which co mmittee had jurisdiction over t he
predominant s ubject of the bill:
T he Select Committee does not believe that it is possible t o draw such n e a t
j urisdictional lines that all matters within a bill will always fall within the
j urisdiction of a single committee. Subj ect areas inevitably o ve r l ap, and the
tendency f or bills to b e c o me l onger and more complex increases the difficulty
of vesting complete j urisdiction i n one committee. Sequential r eferral s eems t o31
be the appropriate procedure f or dealing with these j urisdictional overlaps.
The Quayl e C ommittee p roposed that if a committee reported out a b ill that
contai ned m at erial i n t he jurisdiction of another committee, that second committee
would get a s equential referral o f t he b ill upon request of its chair. The s e q u e n t i a l
referral would l ast for 30 calendar d ays, not including days when the S enate was not
The Quayl e panel al so recommended t hat a similar proces s b e f o l l owed for
appropriations bills. If an appropriations bill were reported t hat contai ned l egislative
provisions, t he committee with jurisdiction over t hat s ubject matter would be given
an opportunity for a sequential referral, though t he ti m e w o uld be limited t o five
days , not the 3 0 p roposed for o ther legi s l a t i o n . “It i s t he opinion of the S elect
Committee t hat, without this kind of provision, the t endency for appropriations bills
to become cl uttered with authorizing and other l egislation will continue to seriously
undermine t he jurisdiction of authorizing committees.”32
Recommendations Relating to Committe e As s i gnme n ts . Central t o
the sel ect committee’s plan was a reduction i n t he number of committee assignments
each Senator could h av e . T h e c ommitte e found that Senators had t oo many
co m mittee assignments. The report sai d: “It i s t he belief of our committee t h a t i f
Senators will agree t o reduce t heir committee assignments, our committees will be
be t t er able to perform their duties and the S enate as a whole will be taken m ore
seriously as a reliable and info rmed national policy-maker.”33
To this end, the p anel recommended t hat each Senator b e limited t o s ervice on
two of the “A” committees and one of the “B” committees, with no ex ceptions.
Ex isting rules at the time allowed s ome 55 ex ceptions to this restriction.
The Quayl e C ommittee t hen recommended t hat t he number of committee
assign ments available t o S enators b e d ecr eas ed. The total number of s lots on the “A”
committee would d rop t o 209 from 231; for “B” committees, t he total would go from
109 slots t o 97 s lots. The limits would be s trengt hened by limiting S enat ors t o nine
total positions on al l t he full committees and s ubcommittees to which t hey bel onged;
Appropriations Committee m em bers would be limited t o 11.
Senators would be limited to one full committee chair on one of their “A”
committees and one “A” subcommittee of all the “A” committees they served on.
For “B” committees, t he full committee chair could not chai r a subcommittee on t hat
panel. Fi nally, t he committee recommended t hat t he majority and minority leaders
not be counted when counting for a quorum during a business m eeting o n a vote t o
report a measure o r m atter.
31 U.S. Congress, Senate Temporary Select Committee t o Study t h e Senate Committee
Syst em, Report Together with Proposed Resolutions, S. Rept. 98-254, 98th Cong., 2nd sess.
(Washington: GPO, 1984), p. 11.
Recommendations on Othe r Ma tte rs . The co m m i ttee recommended
creating a J oint C ommittee on Intelligence and a temporary committee t o study a
t w o - ye a r b udget process. It al so recom m ended t hat d ebat e rul es i n t h e S enat e b e
changed s o t hat t here would b e a time limit on debate on motions to proceed and t o
create a n ew device that would enable t he Senate, with a 60-Member vote, to allow
only germane amendments to be offered t o l egislation.
Final Action. The Quayl e C ommittee m ad e i t s recommendations on
November 29, 1984. Senator Quayl e i ntr oduced the p anel’s rec o mmendations on
J anuary 3, 1985 (S. R es. 31), but the resolution s aw no action. During its committee
assign ment process i n 1985, the S enate did pare down s ome assign ments, reducing
the number of seat s on several committees, which Senator Quayl e repo r t e d l y sai d
was a “margi nal s uccess.... Anytime yo u take away 1 7 committee assign ments from
Repor t of t he Commi ttee on Rul es and Admi ni s tr ati on, 100 th
Congr ess (1988 -1989)
Pursuant to its responsibility under R ule XXV to study and report t o t he Senate
on the organization and operation of t he Senate, t he Senate Rules and Administration
Committee i n 1988 undertook a s tudy to improve Senate operations, and
subsequently reported a number o f p roposals for consideration. The c o mmittee
concluded that a jurisdictional reorganization of the Senate committee system was
unnecessary. It also det ermined that problem s with the committ ee system were
generally attributable to the l arge sizes of committees and t he increasing number of
assign ments t o each Senator. Accord ingl y, the committee recommended t hat t he
S enat e enforce t he rul es al r e a d y i n ex i st ence and resi s t ex cept i o n and wai v ers t o
assign ment rules.35
Joi nt Commi ttee on t he Or gani z a ti on of Congr ess, 102 nd and
Creation. The bicam eral J oint C ommittee on t he Organization of C ongress
(J COC) was created on Augu st 6, 1992, with the passage of H. Con. Res. 192. The
J C OC was m odeled after t h e congressional reform committees of the s am e nam e
established i n 1945 and 1965, and was intended t o address growing concern with the
effectivenes s and public perception of t he institution of C ongress.
Repres entative Lee H. Hamilton (D-IN), Repres entative Bill Gradison (R-OH),
Senator David L. Boren (D-OK), and Senator P et e V. Domenici ( R - N M ), j ointly
introduced H. Con. Res. 192 and S . C on. Res. 57 in their respective chambers o n J uly
34 J acqueline Calmes and Di ane Granat, “Senate Cuts Committee Slots; M embers Assigned
to Panels,” Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report , vol. 42, Feb. 23, 1984, pp. 348-349.
35 U.S. Congress, Committee on Rules and Administration, Report on S e n ate Operations
At the time, t here was a sense among Members t hat t he issues faci ng Congress
had changed considerably over a period of years, but the i nternal s tructures o f t he
institution h ad not kept pace. Many Member s ex p ressed i ncreasing frustration with
the workings o f C ongress, and a record num ber o f M embers chose t o retire i n t he
102 nd Congress, many citing t his frustration “as a contributing fact or” 36 in t heir
decision. Additionally, C ongress was b eset by a s tring of high-profile scandals that
hurt public opinion, begi nning in 1989 with the resignation of House S peaker J i m
W right (D-TX), and followed i n 1990 and 1991 by allegations that certain Senators
had improperly i nfluenced federal regul ato r s o n b ehalf o f campaign contributor
The l egislation t o create t he J C OC received little r e s ponse when it was
introduced in J u ly 1991, but the p roposal gained momentum as additional s candals
rel at i n g t o m anagem ent p robl em s at t he House Bank a n d t h e H ouse P ost Offi ce
recei ved wi d espread m edi a at t ent i o n and l ed t o t he resi gn at i o n o f t he House s ergeant
at arms and t he House postmaster. Against this backdrop, the public’s already
skeptical attitude about Congress deteri orated and public disapproval ratings of
Congress hit an all-time high of 77% in the summer o f 1992. Senator Boren focused
on this national m ood in remarks o n t he Senate floor, s aying:
As an institution, Congress is in trouble. T he American people have described
it as wasteful, i nefficient, and compromised by the way it finances its campaigns.
During this year’s congressional campaigns, t he American people have s ent a n
unmistaka ble message to Congress: If you r efuse t o s et your House i n order, we
will elect those who will do it for you ...[.] the l onger we delay t he reform of this37
troubled institution, we allow i t t o slip deeper into bureaucratic disarray.
H. Con. Res. 192 was approved o n J une 18, 1992, by a vote o f 412-4 i n t he
House and unanimously after one amendment i n t he Senate on J uly 30, 1992. The
Senate amendment b ar r e d t he joint committee from conducting business prior to
November 15, 1992, and was intended t o k eep the j oint c o m m i ttee free from t he
potential pressures of election-year politi cs . The House concurred i n t he Senate’s
amendment o n August 6 , 1992.
H. Con. Res. 192 directed th e j o i n t committee, before December 31, 1993, to
“make a full and complete s tudy of the o rganiz ation and operation o f t he Congress
and t o recom m end i m p rovem ent s whi ch w o u l d s t rengt hen t he effect i v eness o f t he
Congress, simplify its operations, impro ve its relationships with and oversight of
other b ranches o f t he Un ited S tates Government, a n d i m prove the orderly
consideration o f l egislation.” That br oad m andate echoed t hat o f t he 1946 and 1965
reform co mmittees . 38
36 U.S. Congress, J oint Committee on t he Or ganization of Congress, Organization of t he
Congress, Final Report of t he Joint Committee on t he Or ganization of t he Congress , 103rdst
Cong., 1 sess., S. Rept. 103-215, vol. ii, (Washington: GPO, 1993), p. 1.
37 Sen. Davi d L . B o r e n, r emarks in the Senate, Congressional Record, vol. 138, J uly 30,
38 Ibid., p. 20480.
The resolution speci fically direct ed the j oint committee t o i ssue a study that
incl uded an ex amination of:
. . . the organization and operation of each House of t he Congress, a n d t h e
structure of , a nd t he relationships between, t he va rious standing, s pecial, a nd
select committees of the Congress, the r elationship between the t wo Houses of
Congress, the r elationship between the Congress and t he executive branch of t he
Government, t he resources and worki ng tools available t o t he legi slative branch
as compared to those available t o t he executive branch; and t he responsibilities
of the l eadership, t heir ability to fulfill those r esponsibilities, and how that relates
to the ability of the Senate a n d t h e H o u se of Representatives to perform their39
legi slative f unctions.
The J oint Committee on t he Organization o f C ongress conducted an ex t ensive
information-gathering and policy-anal ys i s process. The j oint committee hel d s ix
months of hearings (from J anuary to J u ly 1, 1993) and o rganiz ed four symposiums
on specific o rganizational t opics (the committee s ys tem, staffing, t he budget process,
and l egi s l at i v e-ex ecut i v e rel at i ons) o f i nt erest t o p anel m em b ers.
The j oint committee hel d 36 hearings , t ook testimony from 243 witnesses —
133 House M embers, 3 7 S enators, 14 form er Mem b ers, 15 current and form er s t aff
members, and 4 4 outside ex perts. 40 In addition, the J COC conducted a two-day
retreat in J une 1993 at the U.S. Naval A cademy t o d iscuss reform options.
The j oint committee organized the m ost ex t ensive set o f opinion surveys of
M e m b e rs and congressional s taff ever undertaken by a b icameral reorganiz ation
committee. The committee’s hearings were televised on C -SPAN and rebroadcas t
frequently. In addition, the co-chairs and vice chairs s ent a letter and op-ed piece to
1,600 daily newspaper editors a s k i ng them to let t heir readers know the j oint
committee was interested in thei r views on congressional reform. 41
The j oint committee subsequen tly received m ore t han 1,000 letters from citiz ens42
written either in response t o t he op-ed or to the t elevised hearings . The committee
ex pired o n December 31, 1993, consistent with its enabling l egislation, after i ssuing
a report i n four parts m aking recommendations on ways to reform the i nstitution.
Me mbership. The J C O C consi s t ed o f 2 8 m em bers, 1 4 from each cham ber,
equally divided b etween Republicans a n d Democrats. That number i ncluded t he
majority and minorit y l ead ers of t he House and S enat e, w ho served as ex -offi ci o,
39 Ibid., p. 20480.
40 U.S. Congress, J oint Committee on t he Or ganization of Congress, Organization of t he
Congress, Final Report of t he House M embers of the J oint Committee on t he Or ganizationrd st
of the Congress , 103 Cong., 1 sess., H.Rept. 103-413, vol. i ( Washington: GPO, 1993),
41 House Committee on Ru l e s , O fficial Web site,
[http://www.house.gov/ rules/J ointComm.htm] , visited on Aug. 3, 2003.
42 U.S. Congress, J oint Committee on t he Or ganization of Congress, Organization of t he
Congress, Final Report of t he House M embers,p.4.
voting m em bers of the j oint committee. The j oint committee was made up of two
subcommittees , one in the S enat e and one on the House. Membership on the j oint
committee was determined by each chamber’s party l eaders.
Under its enabling l egislation, no recommendation could be m ade by t he joint
committee except upon a m ajority vote o f t he members representing each ho u s e ,
respectively. Any recommendation regardi ng the rules and p rocedures of one house
could only b e m ade and voted on by the m embers of the committee from t hat body.
The committee did not have the authority to report l egislation.
Senator David Bo ren and Representative Lee Hamil t o n w e r e appointed co-
chai rs of the J oint Committee on t he Organization of C ongress, and S enat or Pete
Domenici and R epresentative Bill Gradison were named vice chairs. Committee
Member Representative David Dreier (R-C A) was appointed to assume the duties o f
House vice chair when Repres entative Gradison resigned from t he House o n J anuary
31, 1993. Representative J ennifer Dunn (R-W A) was t hen appointed to fill the open
Other House M em bers of the j oint committee were: Wayne Allard (R-CO);
Bill Emerson (R -MO); S am Gejdenson (D-C T); E leanor H o l m es Norton (D-DC );
David Obey (D-W I); Gerald B.H. S o lomon (R-NY); J ohn M. S p ratt, J r. (D-S C ); Al
Swift (D-W A); and R obert S. W alker (R-PA) . S e n a t e M embers of the j oint
co mmittee were: William S . C ohen (R-ME); Wendell H. Ford (D-KY); N an cy L.
Kassebaum (R -KS ); T rent Lo tt (R -MS ); R ichard D. Lu gar (R -IN); David P ryor (D-
AR ); Harry R e i d (D-NV); P aul S . S arbanes (D-MD); J i m S asser (D-TN); and T ed
Recommendations Relating t o Committee J urisdiction. The J oint
Committee on the Organization of Congress conducted eight days of hearings
between April 2 0 and May 13, 1993, ex clusiv ely o n t he issue o f committee s tructure.
At thes e hearings , “jurisdictional questions were addressed m ore often than any other
theme ..[ ; ] . a number o f witnesses cautioned t hat j urisdictional changes would
engender a great deal of i n t ernal resi st ance that could possibly b ring down t he entire
reform package . ”43 Former Senator Adlai Stevenson, for ex ample, citing l essons
learned by t h e Stevenson C ommittee, cautioned against recommending broad
jurisdictional realignmen t s t h a t could endanger support for the J COC’s final work
The S en at e subcommittee of t he J C OC ultimately avoided advocating
wholes al e committee j urisdictional realignment. As Senators Kassebaum, C ohen,
Lott, and Lugar wrote i n additional views to the S enat e s ubcommittee report:
We believe that significant r estructuring of committee j urisdictions, t o bring the
two houses more nearly into line with each other and with the executive branch,
would do much t o c l a r i fy lines of responsibility, r educe wasteful overlap and
duplication of effort, and make the Congress more effective, more efficient and
43 U.S. Congress, J oint Committee on t he Or ganization of Congress, Organization of t he
Congress, Final Report , pp. 23-24.
more accountable. However, committee members concluded early in our work44
that producing an i deal report t hat would be dead on arrival benefitted no one.
The S enat e s ubcommittee opted instea d for recommending reforms t o t he
organiz ational s tr u c t u r e o f committees under R ule XXV, as well as suggesting
changes i n how Members were assigned to committees and limitations on committee
and subcommittee service.
All S enate and House j oint committees — E conomic, Library, Organization o f
Congress, Printing, and Tax ation — would b e abolished and their functions
transferred t o o ther entities. The functions of the J oint Economic Committee would
be transferred t o t he Senate Budget Committee; the J oint Li brary and J oint P rinting
Committees’ work would shift to the S enate Committee o n Rules and
Administration; and t he job of t he J o i n t Tax Committee would s hift to the
Congressional Budget Office. 45
Recommendations Relating to Committe e As s i gnme n ts . Under t heir
recommendations, four categories o f committ ees would b e established under S enate
Rule XXV — “Super A,” “A,” “B,” and “C.” Each Senator would be limited t o t wo
“A” co mmittee assignments: either one “S uper A” committee (Armed S ervices,
Appropriations, Finance, or Foreign R el ations) and one “A” committee (Agriculture,
Banking, C ommerce, Energy, Envir o n m ent, Governmental Affairs, J udiciary, or
Labor); or two “A” committees and one “B” commit t e e ( A ging, Budget , Indian
Affairs, Rules, Smal l Business, V e terans Affairs.) Assign ments o n t he Ethics and
Intelligence Committees would not count against t hes e co mmittee assignment46
44 U.S. Congress, J oint Committee on t he Or ganization of Congress, Organization of t he
Congress, Final Report of t he Senate M embers of the J oint Committee on t he Or ganizationrd st
of the Congress , 103 Cong., 1 sess., S.Rept. 103-215, vol. i, (Washington: GPO, 1993),
45 Ibid., p. 28.
46 U.S. Congress, J oint Committee on t he Or ganization of Congress, Organization of t he
Congress, Final Report of t he Senate M embers ,p.4.
The reco mmended s tructure is reflect ed in the chart below:
Super A: Senat ors A: Senat o rs m a y B : Senat ors m ay C: No limit on the
may s erve on no serve on t w o if serve on no m ore num ber Senat ors
more than one. they have no than one. may s erve on.
Appropriatio ns Agriculture, Ag i n g Ethics
Ar med Services Nutr itio n a nd Budget I ntelligence
Fi na nc e Fo restry I n d i a n Affa i r s
Fo r e ign Relatio ns B a nki ng, H o usi ng Rule s a nd
and Urban Affairs Ad mi ni str a tio n
C o mme r c e , S c i e n c e Small B usiness
and T r a nsp o r tatio n Veter a ns Affa ir s
Energy and Natur al
Reso ur ces
E nvi r o nme nt a nd
P ub lic W o r ks
G o ve r nme nt a l
Affa i r s
Labor and Human
Reso ur ces
“S uper A” and “A” committees , ex cept t he Appropriations Committee, would
have no more than three s ubcommittees . “B” committees would have no m ore t han
two subcommittees. S enators could b elong to two s ubcommittees per “A” committee,
ex cept Appropriations, and one subcommittee per “B” committee.
Senators could receive a waiver o f t hos e assignment limits only after obtaining
t h e p erm i ssi on of t h ei r p art y caucus and fol l o wi ng a recorded vot e o f t he ful l S enat e.
The S enate s ubcommittee also p roposed that the m ajority and minority leaders assign
Senators of thei r respective parties t o committees in keeping with rules established
If restrictions on committee m em bership caused a committee t o fal l bel ow half
its current size, t he Senate would h ave to vote on whether the committee s hould be
abolished. That provision was known as t he “de minimus” rule.
The S enat e subcommittee also recommended changes to Senate regular m eeting
days. “Super A” committees could m eet only on Tuesdays, “A” committees on
Wednesdays, and “B” committees on Thursdays. The Appro p riations Committee,
Budget Committee, and “C” Committees were ex em pt from t h o s e m eeting
requirements, and could m eet at any time.
Recommendations on Othe r Ma tte rs . The S enat e s ubco mmittee of t he
J C OC made a number o f o ther recommendations in areas outside jurisdictional47
reform. They included:
47 Ibid., pp. 7-22.
Budget P rocess. Moving to a t wo-year budget cycle. Under s uch a system,
the budget resolution and appropriations b ills wo u l d b e considered during t he first
year. Multi-year authorizations and oversight activities wo u l d t ake place in the
second year. By not having t o p a s s a n ew budget every year, t he subcommittee
argued, committees would have m ore time to review how laws are working, and the
ex ecutive b ranch would enjoy a m ore s tabl e budget environment. During the s econd
year, t he Budget Committee would focus on long-term planning by holding hearings
on problem areas identified by ov e rsight activities. The S enat e subcommittee also
included a provision that would require th e C ongressional Budget Office to prepare
quart erl y report s com p ari n g revenues, spending, and the d eficit for t he current fiscal
year with assumptions in the budget resolution. The S enate went o n t o clarify that
the s o-called “Byrd Rule,” which bars t he inclusion o f ex t raneous m a t t e r i n any
reconciliation l egislation considered in the S enat e, would be permanent and would
require three-fifths of al l S enat ors t o w ai ve.
Ethics and Application of La w s . Regarding t he ethics process and the
appl i cat i on of l aws t o C ongress, whereas the House s ubcommittee m ade s peci fic
recommendations for reform, the S enat e subcommittee did not, i nstead deferri ng
recommendations on those i ssues to Senate leadership task forces t h at were
est abl i s hed t o consi d er changes i n t hese areas.
ProxiesandCommiteeVotes.Under t he subcommittee’s
recommendations, prox i es could not be used in committee i f t hey would a ffect the
outcome of a vote. The records of S enat e committee attendance and voting would be
published s emiannually in the Congressional Record.
Floor P r o c e d u r e a n d Scheduling. The S enat e s ubcommittee recommended
that a m otion t o p roceed to consider a b ill could n o l onger be filibuste r e d . A f t er
cloture was invoked, a t hree-fifths vote woul d b e required t o overturn a ruling o f t he
chair, and quorum call time would count against t he Senator who suggested the
absence o f a quorum.
The s ubcommittee s uggested dispensing with the reading of conference reports
available one day p rior to consideration. It also sugge s ted t hat amendments
ex pressing the s ense of Congress or the S en ate require the cosponsorship of at least
Staffing and S upport Agencies. The S enate s ubcommittee p roposed that
the S enate cut its staff l evels i n p roportion t o t hose p roposed by the ex ecutive b ranch
in its National P erformance Review — approx imately 12% o v e r f i v e years. In
addition, Congress would h ave t o reimburse the ex ecutive b ranch and other agencies
such as t h e G eneral Account i n g O ffi ce for t he e x p e n s e s of st aff d et ai l ed t o t he
Senate. Unused funds from Senate office or committee accounts would not be
available for reprogramming. The s ec ret a ry o f the S enat e would be direct ed to
publishintheCongressional Record an annual list o f t hose o ffices using l es s t h a n
the amount the o ffices were budgeted for p ersonn el. Also, the p ermanent
authoriz ations for GAO, C BO, C R S , GP O, and OTA would b e repealed and replaced
wi t h aut hori z at i ons of ei gh t years i n l engt h.
Legislative-Executive Re lations. The Senat e subcommittee recommended
that during t he second session of Congress, GAO gi ve priority to c o n gr e ssional
request s for audi t s and eval u at i ons of ex ecut i v e b r a n ch p rogram s. The S enat e
subcommittee also m ade numerous speci fic s uggestions relat i ng t o improving the
efficiency of the p rinting o f congressional a n d government documents. It further
recommended t hat all standing committees prepare oversight agendas for the
programs under t heir jurisdictions.
Final Action. House and Senate Members i ntroduced separate legi slation on
February 3, 1994, embodying t he final recommen d a t i o n s of the J COC. These
packages became known as t he Legi slative R eorganiz ation Act of 1994 (H.R. 3801
and S . 1824, respectively).
S. 1824 was referred t o t he Senate Committee on R ules and Administration.
After a ser i es o f hearings , t he committee conducted m arkups and reported out S.
1824, amended, and t wo reform resolutions, one dealing with committees and one
dealing with floor procedure. The S enat e s ponsors o f S . 1824 subsequently made an
unsuccessful attempt t o attach an amendment embodying t he provisions of S. 1824
to the District of C olumbia Appropriations bill; however, t h i s effort was s topped
when a p o i n t o f order w as rai s ed and s ust a ined that it violated the C ongressional
Budget Act. The 103rd Congress (1993-1 995) adjourned without furt her
consideration of t he Senate bills.
H.R. 3801 w a s r eferred t o t he House C ommittees on Rules, House
Administration, and Government Operations. The 103rd Congress adjourned without
considering H.R. 3801. However, the Ho u s e d i d act on legi slation embodying t he
portion o f H.R. 3801 that would apply s everal worker safety and employm ent l aws
to Congress. On August 10, 1994, the House passed H.R. 4822, the C ongressional
Accountability A c t , b y a s u b stantial m argi n. The S enate d id not act on the
legi slation. In the final days of the C o n gress, the House enacted H. Res. 578,
legi slation t hat amended House R ules in a m anner s imilar, but not identical , t o H.R.
4822. The m ain d ifference b etween H . R . 4822 and H. R es. 578 was t hat t he
resolution did not allow for judici al review of em ployee complaints.
199 5 S enate Republ i can Wor k i ng G r oup, 104th Congr ess
Fo llowing the 1994 elections, i ncoming M ajority Leader Robert Dole (R-KS)
named a Republican working group to ex plore reform options. T he group was
headed by S enat o r P et e V. Dom eni ci (R -NM), who s erved as S enat e v i ce chai r of t h e
J o int C ommittee o n t he Organization o f C ongress, and S enator Connie M ack (R-FL).
Many of the p roposals m ade b y t he working group were based o n t he
recommendations of the J oint Committee on t he Organization of C ongress. Incl uded
were proposals t o reduce t he number o f s ubcommittees, clamp down o n ex cessive
committee assignments, curtai l p ro x y voting i n committee, cut s taff resources ,
i m p l ement a t wo-year budget and appropriations process, an d impose a two-hour
limit for debat e on m otions to bring up l egislation on t he Senate floor. The working
group proposed that its recommendations be pres ented t o t he Senate in three s eparate
measures: committee st r uct u re, s t a ffi ng, a dm i n i s t rat i on, and s upport agencies; budget
process; and floor procedure. The worki ng group plan was n ever considered by the
Senate, although s everal components were acted on.
Other i nitiatives affectin g t he Senate were implemented in 1995, although t hey
affect ed R epubl i can S enat o rs onl y. A R epubl i can C onference t ask force w as creat ed
to ex plore how party l oyalty am ong committee l eaders might be enhanced. S enat or
Connie M ack h e a d e d the effort. Other ta sk force m embers were Senators Rick
S antorum (R -P A), T rent Lo tt (R -MS ), Larry C raig (R -ID), Fred Thompson (R -TN),
J ohn Kyl (R-AZ), Don Nickles (R-OK), and Bo b P ackwood (R-OR).
The t ask force rel eased an ei gh t poi nt reform pl an t h at cal l ed for:
! Term limits for committee l eaders.
! A requirement that indicted committee l eaders relinquish thei r
! A provision that Senators leaving and then returning t o a committee
relinquish their s eniority on the p anel.
! A limit of one full or subcommittee l eadership post per Member,
ex cept for Appropriations.
! A p rovi si on al l o wi ng t h e R epubl i can l eader t o fi l l vacanci es on t o p
committees if two or m ore occurred s imultaneously.
! An am endm ent t o S enat e R ul es t h a t t h e p art y caucuses h ave s ol e
authority to select and rem ove committee l eaders.
! The establishment o f a Republ i c a n l egi slative agenda at the
begi nni ng of each C ongress.
! A provision that the R epublican leader nominat e each committee
l eader for confi rm at i o n b y t he ful l R epubl i can C onference.
The R epubl i can C onference passed a m odified version o f t he Mack p r o p o sal.
The t erms of Republican committee l eaders were limited t o six years as chair and six
years as ranking minority mem b er , a l t hough t he limits would not take effect until
1997. The p roposal that the R epublican leader nominate committee l eaders failed i n
favor of a Domenici substitute providing th at committee l eaders be sel ect ed by
Republican members o f t he panel and a vot e i n t he full Republican Conference, both
by secret ballot. Also agreed to was a proposal to limit the t erms of party l eaders t o
s i x years, wi t h t h e R epubl i can l eader and P resi dent pro t em pore ex em p t e d . T h e
conference also agreed to prohibit full committee chairs from heading
subcommittees , with the ex ception of Appropriations Committee chairs.