Committees of the United States Senate facts for kids

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Senate budget committee
The Senate Committee on Budget (c. 1997-2001)

Much of the work of the United States Senate is done in committees, or groups of about 15 Senators. Each committee deals with a certain subject, such as farming or roads. In general, most laws start in a committee before they are voted on by the Senate. Also, when the Senate wants to ask the President or another important person questions, they usually do it in a committee.

This is a complete list of U.S. congressional committees (standing committees and select or special committees) that are currently operating in the United States Senate. Senators can be a member of more than one committee.

Standing committees

As of 2017, there are 88 subsidiary bodies of the US Senate: 16 standing committees with 67 subcommittees, and 5 non-standing committees.

Committee Chairman Ranking Member
Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Pat Roberts (R-KS) Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
  Commodities, Risk Management and Trade John Boozman (R-AR) Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
Conservation, Forestry and Natural Resources Steve Daines (R-MT) Michael Bennet (D-CO)
Livestock, Marketing and Agriculture Security David Perdue (R-GA) Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Rural Development and Energy Joni Ernst (R-IA) Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
Nutrition, Specialty Crops and Agricultural Research Luther Strange (R-AL) Bob Casey, Jr. (D-PA)
Appropriations Thad Cochran (R-MS) Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
  Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies John Hoeven (R-ND) Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Richard Shelby (R-AL) Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Defense Thad Cochran (R-MS) Dick Durbin (D-IL)
Energy and Water Development Lamar Alexander (R-TN) Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Financial Services and General Government Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) Chris Coons (D-DE)
Homeland Security John Boozman (R-AK) Jon Tester (D-MT)
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) Tom Udall (D-NM)
Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Roy Blunt (R-MO) Patty Murray (D-WA)
Legislative Branch James Lankford (R-OK) Chris Murphy (D-CT)
Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Jerry Moran (R-KS) Brian Schatz (D-HI)
State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Lindsey Graham (R-SC) Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Susan Collins (R-ME) Jack Reed (D-RI)
Armed Services John McCain (R-AZ) Jack Reed (D-RI)
Airland Tom Cotton (R-AR) Angus King (I-ME)
Cybersecurity Mike Rounds (R-SD) Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Emerging Threats and Capabilities Joni Ernst (R-IA) Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
Personnel Thom Tillis (R-NC) Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Readiness and Management Support Jim Inhofe (R-OK) Tim Kaine (D-VA)
Seapower Roger Wicker (R-MS) Mazie Hirono (D-HI)
Strategic Forces Deb Fischer (R-NE) Joe Donnelly (D-IN)
Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Mike Crapo (R-ID) Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
  Economic Policy Tom Cotton (R-AR) Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection Pat Toomey (R-PA) Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Housing, Transportation, and Community Development Tim Scott (R-SC) Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
National Security and International Trade and Finance Ben Sasse (R-NE) Joe Donnelly (D-IN)
Securities, Insurance, and Investment Dean Heller (R-NV) Mark Warner (D-VA)
Budget Mike Enzi (R-WY) Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Commerce, Science, and Transportation John Thune (R-SD) Bill Nelson (D-FL)
  Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security Roy Blunt (R-MO) Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet Roger Wicker (R-MS) Brian Schatz (D-HI)
Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance and Data Security Jerry Moran (R-KS) Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard Dan Sullivan (R-AK) Gary Peters (D-MI)
Space, Science and Competitiveness Ted Cruz (R-TX) Ed Markey (D-MA)
Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security Deb Fischer (R-NE) Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Energy and Natural Resources Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
  Energy Cory Gardner (R-CO) Joe Manchin (D-WV)
National Parks Steve Daines (R-MT) Mazie Hirono (D-HI)
Public Lands, Forests and Mining Mike Lee (R-UT) Ron Wyden (D-OR)
Water and Power Jeff Flake (R-AZ) Angus King (I-ME)
Environment and Public Works John Barrasso (R-WY) Tom Carper (D-DE)
Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
Fisheries, Water and Wildlife John Boozman (R-AR) Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
Superfund, Waste Management and Regulatory Oversight Mike Rounds (R-SD) Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Transportation and Infrastructure Jim Inhofe (R-OK) Ben Cardin (D-DE)
Finance Orrin Hatch (R-UT) Ron Wyden (D-OR)
  Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure Dean Heller (R-NV) Michael Bennet (D-CO)
Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Growth Tim Scott (R-SC) Ron Wyden (D-OR)
Health Care Pat Toomey (R-PA) Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness John Cornyn (R-TX) Bob Casey, Jr. (D-PA)
Social Security, Pensions, and Family Policy Bill Cassidy (R-LA) Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Taxation and IRS Oversight Rob Portman (R-OH) Mark Warner (D-VA)
Foreign Relations Bob Corker (R-TN) Ben Cardin (D-MD)
  Africa and Global Health Policy Jeff Flake (R-AZ) Cory Booker (D-NJ)
East Asia, The Pacific and International Cybersecurity Policy Cory Gardner (R-CO) Edward Markey (D-MA)
Europe and Regional Security Cooperation Ron Johnson (R-WI) Christopher Murphy (D-CT)
International Development, Multilateral Institutions and International Economic, Energy and Environmental Policy Todd Young (R-IN) Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism Jim Risch (R-ID) Tim Kaine (D-VA)
State Department and USAID Management, International Operations and Bilateral International Development Johnny Isakson (R-GA) Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights and Global Women's Issues Marco Rubio (R-FL) Bob Menendez (D-NJ)
Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Lamar Alexander (R-TN) Patty Murray (D-WA)
  Subcommittee on Children and Families Rand Paul (R-KY) Bob Casey, Jr. (D-PA)
Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety Johnny Isakson (R-GA) Al Franken (D-MN)
Subcommittee on Primary Health and Retirement Security Mike Enzi (R-WY) Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Ron Johnson (R-WI) Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management Rand Paul (R-KY) Gary Peters (D-MI)
Investigations (Permanent) Rob Portman (R-OH) Tom Carper (D-DE)
Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management James Lankford (R-OK) Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
Judiciary Chuck Grassley (R-IA) Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
  Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights Mike Lee (R-UT) Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Border Security and Immigration John Cornyn (R-TX) Dick Durbin (D-IL)
The Constitution Ted Cruz (R-TX) Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
Crime and Terrorism Lindsey Graham (R-SC) Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts Ben Sasse (R-NE) Chris Coons (D-DE)
Privacy, Technology and the Law Jeff Flake (R-AZ) Al Franken (D-MN)
Rules and Administration Richard Shelby (R-AL) Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Small Business and Entrepreneurship Jim Risch (R-ID) Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Veterans' Affairs Johnny Isakson (R-GA) Jon Tester (D-MT)

Special, select, and other committees of the U.S. Senate

There are five non-standing, select, or special committees, which are treated similarly to standing committees.

Committee Chair Vice Chair
Indian Affairs John Hoeven (R-ND) Tom Udall (D-NM)
Ethics (Select) Johnny Isakson (R-GA) Chris Coons (D-DE)
Intelligence (Select) Richard Burr (R-NC) Mark Warner (D-VA)
Aging (Special) Susan Collins (R-ME) Bob Casey (D-PA)
International Narcotics Control Chuck Grassley (R-IA) Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)

Committee classes

Senate committees are divided, according to relative importance, into three categories: Class A, Class B, and Class C. Individual Senators are in general limited to service on two Class A committees and one Class B committee. Assignment to Class C committees is made without reference to a member's service on any other panels.

Standing committees

Standing committees are permanent bodies with specific responsibilities spelled out in the Senate's rules. Twelve of the sixteen current standing committees are Class A panels. They are Agriculture; Appropriations; Armed Services; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; Commerce, Science, and Transportation; Energy and Natural Resources; Environment and Public Works; Finance; Foreign Relations; Governmental Affairs; Judiciary; and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

There are four Class B standing committees: Budget; Rules and Administration; Small Business; and Veterans' Affairs. There are currently no Class C standing committees.

Other, select and special committees

Other (i.e., Indian Affairs), select and special committees are ranked as Class B or Class C committees. They are created for clearly specified purposes. There are currently two Class B committees: the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Special Committee on Aging, and two Class C committees: the Committee on Indian Affairs and the Select Committee on Ethics.

Joint committees

Joint Committees are used for purposes of legislative and administrative coordination. At present there are four: the Joint Economic Committee (Class B), the Joint Committee on the Library (Class C), the Joint Committee on Printing (Class C), and the Joint Committee on Taxation (Class C).


Standing committees in the Senate have their jurisdiction set by three primary sources: Senate Rules, ad hoc Senate Resolutions, and Senate Resolutions related to committee funding. To see an overview of the jurisdictions of standing committees in the Senate, see Standing Rules of the United States Senate, Rule XXV.

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