Parliamentary Committees

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Parliamentary Committees


in bourgeois states, auxiliary bodies created by parliament (either separate committees drawn from each chamber or joint parliamentary committees, which are drawn from both chambers). Most bills, draft resolutions, and other acts adopted by parliaments are submitted for consideration to legislative parliamentary committees, which play a very important role in legislation. Depending on their term of office, the subjects under their jurisdiction, and the extent of their competency, legislative parliamentary committees are classified as standing (that is, meeting throughout a parliament’s term of office), temporary, or specialized. In most bourgeois states, such as the USA, France, Italy, the Federal Republic of Germany, and Finland, parliaments form standing legislative committees which, as a rule, specialize in certain areas, including the economy, agriculture, finances, foreign affairs, and the military. Temporary committees, which are usually nonspecialized, are created to consider a concrete question. However, the House of Commons in Great Britain forms a number of permanent, nonspecialized parliamentary committees (committees A, B, C, D, and so forth).

In the USA, Italy, and other states legislative committees have very broad powers over bills submitted for their consideration. Thus, in fact, the parliamentary committee may replace a chamber of parliament, inasmuch as the committee is given real legislative power, whereas the chamber only confirms the committee’s decision. The creation of parliamentary committees with such broad powers significantly encroaches on the legislative rights and competency of the parliament. This phenomenon is characteristic of the developing crisis of bourgeois parliamentarianism. Parliamentary committees are formed in accordance with regulations. Formally, they are elected, but in fact, they are appointed. The party balance that exists in the parliament is maintained in the committees.

Special investigative parliamentary committees have become common in the bourgeois states. They carry out the special instructions of the chamber or investigate the activity of executive bodies, public organizations, and enterprises. Committees of the entire chamber are formed in some countries in order to simplify parliamentary procedure. Examples include the Committee of the Entire House on the State of the Union (the House of Representatives in the USA) and the Ways and Means Committee (the House of Commons in Great Britain). These committees include all the deputies of the chamber but work under the leadership of their own chairmen and not under the chairman of the chamber.

In the socialist states the higher bodies of state power form committees on various branches of the administration.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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