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committee,

one or more persons appointed or elected to consider, report on, or take action on a particular matter. Because of the advantages of a division of labor, legislative committees of various kinds have assumed much of the work of legislatures in many nations. Standing committees are appointed in both houses of the U.S. Congress at the beginning of every session to deal with bills in the different specific classes. Important congressional committees include ways and means; appropriations; commerce; armed services; foreign relations; and judiciary. The number, but not the scope, of the committees was much reduced in 1946. Since then there has been a large increase in the number of subcommittees, which have become steadily more important.

Members of committees are in effect elected by caucuses of the two major parties in Congress; the majority party is given the chairmanship and majority on each committee, and chairmanships, as well as membership on important committees, are influenced by seniority, but seniority is no longer the sole deciding factor and others may override it. The presiding officer of either house may appoint special committees, including those of investigation, which have the power to summon witnesses and compel the submission of evidence. The presiding officers also appoint committees of conference to obtain agreement between the two houses on the content of bills of the same general character. The U.S. legislative committee system conducts most congressional business through its powers of scrutiny and investigation of government departments.

In France the constitution of the Fifth Republic permits each legislative chamber to have no more than six standing committees. Because these committees are large, unofficial committees have formed that do much of the real work of examining bills. As in the U.S. government, these committees are quite powerful because of their ability to delay legislation. In Great Britain devices such as committees of the whole are used in the consideration of money bills and there are large standing committees of the House of Commons, but committees have not been very important in the British legislature. Recently attempts have been made to form specialized committees.

Bibliography

See L. A. Froman, The Congressional Process (1967); G. Goodwin, Jr., The Little Legislatures (1970); Congressional Quarterly, Guide to Congress (3d ed. 1982).

References in periodicals archive ?
We need to extend maybe the metro, the road infrastructure to the site and doing a lot on the site itself," the head of Dubai's Supreme Fiscal Committee said.
Dubai is financially sound and is capable to pay," Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, the chairman of Dubai's Supreme Fiscal Committee, told Zawya Dow Jones yesterday.
Dubai's economy has been improving over the last two years and there is growth in every business sector, said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, the head of the emirate's Supreme Fiscal Committee, on Monday.
has been Vice-President of the CFE for the last four years and has been involved in its activities as a member of its general assembly, council and fiscal committee since 1994.
Shaibani, who is also head of Dubai's Rulers Court and a member of the emirate's Supreme Fiscal Committee, said Investment Corporation of Dubai had no plans to offload businesses.
Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of the Dubai Supreme Fiscal Committee and member of the board of Investment Corporation of Dubai said, 'We are confident that the signing of the MOU marks a first step in a mutually beneficial relationship between our organisations to share experiences and explore opportunities.
Dubai Supreme Fiscal Committee speaking at the Dubai Economic Outlook 2012 presentation on the 15th of February, a number of underperforming sectors would
Summary: The Dubai government will continue to support state-linked entities, the chairman of its Supreme Fiscal Committee said on Wednesday, two weeks after it walked away from debt talks at Dubai Group.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Dubai's Supreme Fiscal Committee, confirmed that Dubai's government- related companies would not restructure the debts due in 2012.
Sheikh Ahmed is also chairman of Emirates airline, of debt-ridden conglomerate Dubai World and of the Supreme Fiscal Committee of Dubai.
Summary: Dubai, bracing for heavy debt redemptions, plans to cut state spending by 20 to 25 percent until 2013 to narrow its funding gap, a member of the emirate's Supreme Fiscal Committee was quoted as telling a newspaper.
Dubai World is now on a sound financial footing," Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, chairman of Dubai Supreme Fiscal Committee, told a news conference.