What Is a Committee?
A committee, in the context of the US Senate and the House of Representatives, is a subgroup of elected officials who take on specific tasks for a certain area of policy or governance. They, along with their subcommittees, consider bills and oversee agencies, programs, and activities in their specified area or jurisdiction. The Senate has 20 standing committees; the House has 21. Both chambers of Congress have additional joint and select committees. The chair of each committee and the majority of its members represent whichever party is the majority party in that chamber at the time. The minority party also has members assigned to the committee, and the leader of the minority side on the committee is called the Ranking Member. Each party assigns its members to committees, and each committee distributes its members among its subcommittees. Committees have staff, and advocates may meet with committee staff, in addition to meeting with the personal staff of their members of Congress. Leadership, members, and staff of the following committees should be considered priority members related to all early childhood advocacy efforts.