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Enactment of a Law

Senate Committee Consideration

Senate committees are appointed by resolution at the beginning of each Congress, with power to continue and act until their successors are appointed. All Senate committees are created by the Senate. At present, Senate committees include 16 standing committees, three select committees, and one special committee. Standing committees are charged to report by bill or otherwise on matters within a defined jurisdiction and generally to study and review, on a comprehensive basis, certain matters relating thereto. Select and special committees have varying powers and obligations, and increasingly have been given legislative jurisdiction. In current practice, the committee chairman is a member of the majority party. He or she is chosen by order of the Senate, and is usually, but not always, the senior Member in point of service of the majority Members of the committee.

Senate Members may also serve, along with House Members, on joint committees, whose duties and responsibilities are set forth in the respective resolutions or laws creating them. There are currently four joint committees of the Congress. Conference committees, appointed when there is disagreement to a measure after passage by both Houses, are composed of Members of both the Senate and House, like joint committees, but votes in a conference committee are not as a body, but as two delegations.

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