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Congressional Committees: Jurisdiction and Referral

Following introduction in the House or Senate, a bill, resolution or other measure is normally referred to one or more committees in that body.

In the House, measures are referred by the Speaker primarily to one committee, with additional referrals to other committees that also maintain jurisdiction over the matter covered by that measure. The primary committee to which a measure is referred is called the “lead committee.”

For additional information see:

A document by the House Rules Committee that describes each “standing” House committee’s jurisdiction, which is based on the broad jurisdictional outlines provided by House Rule X and supplemental precedents and informal agreements among committees over the years.

Direct links to all 19 House standing committees, three House-Senate joint committees and two House select committees.

Short descriptions of House standing, select or special, and joint committees and the House Committee of the Whole.

In the Senate, measures generally are referred to a single committee based on “the subject matter which predominates.” However, by unanimous consent, the Senate may permit multiple referrals for measures that cross more than one committee’s jurisdictional boundaries. For additional information see:

Chapter XXV of The Standing Rules of the Senate, which establishes the legislative jurisdiction of the 16 Senate standing committees.

Direct links to all 16 Senate standing committees, four House-Senate joint committees and four Senate select, special or other committees.

A Senate document describing the types and classes of Senate committees, practices for committee appointments and service, etc.

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