Resources for a Congressional Shake-up


As reports swirl about Members of Congress in transition, it’s the perfect time to delve further into the mechanisms of congressional authority. How are Members assigned to committees, to chairmanships, to status as ranking members? How are leadership positions determined? Has it always been that way? This is especially true of the US Senate, where even one chairmanship changing hands can have a domino effect across many other committees.

We’re watching as Waxman challenges Dingell, Cantor challenges Blunt, Lieberman faces a loss of a chairmanship, Emanuel leaves a leadership position, and any number of other congressional transitions-in-progress.

Here’s a rundown of some of the most relevant CRS reports on these topics, many of which have just been added to All embedded versions are from my account.

RS21165: House Standing Committee Chairs and Ranking Minority Members: Rules Governing Selection Procedures, December 27, 2006 (OpenCRS link)

RS20881: Party Leaders in the House: Election, Duties, and Responsibilities, December 08, 2006 (OpenCRS link)

RS20933: Senate Leadership Structure: Overview of Party Organization, December 07, 2006 (OpenCRS link)

RS20930: House Leadership Structure: Overview of Party Organization, July 10, 2003 (OpenCRS link)

RS20499: House Leadership: Whip Organization, February 12, 2002 (OpenCRS link)

RS20887: Senate Leadership: Whip Organization, December 07, 2006 (OpenCRS link)

RS20465: House Committee Organization and Process: A Brief Overview, April 21, 2008 (OpenCRS link)

RL30743: Committee Assignment Process in the U.S. Senate: Democratic and Republican Party Procedures, November 3, 2006 (OpenCRS link)

98-610 GOV: House Subcommittees: Assignment Process, May 11, 2007 (OpenCRS link)

98-367 GOV: House Committees: Assignment Process, February 25, 2008

98-183 GOV: Senate Committees: Categories and Rules for Committee Assignments, October 26, 2006 (OpenCRS link)

98-151 GOV: House Committees: Categories and Rules for Committee Assignments, March 20, 2008 (OpenCRS link)

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  • Hi Ruth,

    Thanks for the suggestion. We consider broad access to CRS reports to be one of our goals, and cover the issue in both the related chapter of the Open House Project report (1), and in our Transparency in Government Act(2).

    Hopefully the House and Senate will eventually act on our suggestions, so these resources can be publicly available en masse without the annoying lag you mention!



  • ruth fleischer

    Could you please start an effort to free up all CRS reports. I get what I can through Open CRS but it would be great to get all reports without a time lag. In addition, you should include a list of oversight and investigation hearings and reports from House and Senate committees. Some committees do a much better job than others making these available. Thanks,
    ruth fleischer

  • Daniel

    This is incredibly useful. Thank you.