United States Senate Committee on Appropriations: Wikis


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The U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations is a standing committee of the United States Senate. It has jurisdiction over all discretionary spending legislation in the Senate.

the entrance to the Senate Appropriations Committee in the United States Capitol

The Senate Appropriations Committee is the largest committee in the U.S. Senate, consisting of 30 members. Its role is defined by the U.S. Constitution, which requires "appropriations made by law" prior to the expenditure of any money from the Treasury, and is therefore one of the most powerful committees in the Senate.[1] The committee was first organized on March 6, 1867, when power over appropriations was taken out of the hands of the Finance Committee.[2]

The chairman of the Appropriations Committee has enormous power to bring home special projects (sometimes referred to as "pork barrel spending") for his or her state as well as having the final say on other Senator's appropriation requests.[3] For example, in fiscal year 2005 per capita federal spending in Alaska, the home state of then-Chairman Ted Stevens, is $12,000, double the national average. Alaska has 11,772 special earmarked projects for a combined cost of $15,780,623,000. This represents about 4% of the overall spending in the $388 billion Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2005 passed by Congress.[4]


The appropriations process

Former Committee Chairman Robert Byrd (D-WV, far right) shakes hands with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates while Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT, center right) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) look on. The hearing was held to discuss further funding for the War in Iraq.

The federal budget is divided into two main categories: discretionary spending and mandatory spending. Each appropriations subcommittee develops a draft appropriations bill covering each agency under its jurisdiction based on the Congressional Budget Resolution, which is drafted by an analogous Senate Budget committee. Each subcommittee must adhere to the spending limits set by the budget resolution and allocations set by the full Appropriations Committee, though the full Senate may vote to waive those limits if 60 senators vote to do so. The committee also reviews supplemental spending bills (covering unforeseen or emergency expenses not previously budgeted).

Each appropriations bill must be passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president prior to the start of the federal fiscal year, October 1. If that target is not met, as has been common in recent years, the committee drafts a continuing resolution, which is then approved by Congress and signed by the President to keep the federal government operating until the individual bills are approved.

Members, 111th Congress

The Committee is currently chaired by Democrat Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, and the Ranking Minority Member is Republican Thad Cochran, of Mississippi. Robert Byrd had said that he would voluntarily step down effective January 6, 2009, at which time Inouye became chairman.

Majority Minority

Source: 2009 Congressional Record, Vol. 155, Page S5168


Committee reorganization during the 110th Congress

At the outset of the 110th Congress, Chairman Robert Byrd and Chairman Dave Obey, his counterpart on the House Appropriations Committee, developed a committee reorganization plan that provided for common subcommittee structures between both houses, a move that the both chairmen hope will allow Congress to "complete action on each of the government funding on time for the first time since 1994."[5][6] The subcommittees were last overhauled between the 107th and 108th Congresses, after the creation of the Subcommittee on Homeland Security and again during the 109th Congress, when the number of subcommittees was reduced from 13 to 12.

A key part of the new subcommittee organization was the establishment of a new Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, which consolidates funding for the Treasury Department, the United States federal judiciary, and the District of Columbia. These functions were previously handled by two separate Senate subcommittees.


Subcommittees of the US Senate Committee on Appropriations
Subcommittee Chair Ranking Member
Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Herb Kohl (D-WI) Sam Brownback (R-KS)
Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) Richard Shelby (R-AL)
Defense Daniel Inouye (D-HI) Thad Cochran (R-MS)
Energy and Water Development Byron Dorgan (D-ND) Bob Bennett (R-UT)
Financial Services and General Government Dick Durbin (D-IL) Susan Collins (R-ME)
Homeland Security Robert Byrd (D-WV) George Voinovich (R-OH)
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Tom Harkin (D-IA) TBD
Legislative Branch Ben Nelson (D-NE) Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Tim Johnson (D-SD) Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)
State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Patrick Leahy (D-VT) Judd Gregg (R-NH)
Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Patty Murray (D-WA) Kit Bond (R-MO)

Chairmen of the Appropriations Committee, 1867-present

Name Party State Years
  Lot M. Morrill Republican Maine 1867–1869
  William P. Fessenden Republican Maine 1869
  Lot M. Morrill Republican Maine 1869–1871
  Cornelius Cole Republican California 1871–1873
  Lot M. Morrill Republican Maine 1873–1876
  William Windom Republican Minnesota 1876–1879
  Henry G. Davis Democratic West Virginia 1879–1881
  William B. Allison Republican Iowa 1881–1893
  Francis M. Cockrell Democratic Missouri 1893–1895
  William B. Allison Republican Iowa 1895–1908
  Eugene Hale Republican Maine 1908–1911
  Francis E. Warren Republican Wyoming 1913–1919
  Thomas S. Martin Democratic Virginia 1913–1919
  Francis E. Warren Republican Wyoming 1919–1929
  Wesley L. Jones Republican Washington 1929–1932
  Frederick Hale Republican Maine 1932–1933
  Carter Glass Democratic Virginia 1933–1946
  Kenneth D. McKellar Democratic Tennessee 1946–1947
  Styles Bridges Republican New Hampshire 1947–1949
  Kenneth D. McKellar Democratic Tennessee 1949–1953
  Styles Bridges Republican New Hampshire 1953–1955
  Carl Hayden Democratic Arizona 1955–1969
  Richard B. Russell Jr. Democratic Georgia 1969–1971
  Allen J. Ellender Democratic Louisiana 1971–1972
  John L. McClellan Democratic Arkansas 1972–1977
  Warren G. Magnuson Democratic Washington 1977–1981
  Mark O. Hatfield Republican Oregon 1981–1987
  John C. Stennis Democratic Mississippi 1987–1989
  Robert C. Byrd Democratic West Virginia 1989–1995
  Mark O. Hatfield Republican Oregon 1995–1997
  Theodore F. Stevens Republican Alaska 1997–2001
  Robert C. Byrd Democratic West Virginia 2001
  Theodore F. Stevens Republican Alaska 2001
  Robert C. Byrd Democratic West Virginia 2001–2003
  Theodore F. Stevens Republican Alaska 2003–2005
  W. Thad Cochran Republican Mississippi 2005–2007
  Robert C. Byrd Democratic West Virginia 2007–2009
  Daniel K. Inouye Democratic Hawaii 2009–Present


  1. ^  "Overview of the Committee's role". U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations. http://appropriations.senate.gov/jurisdiction/jurisdiction.htm. Retrieved October 14 2005.  
  2. ^  "Creation of the Senate Committee on Appropriations". U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations. http://appropriations.senate.gov/commhistory/commhistory.htm. Retrieved October 14 2005.  
  3. ^  Courtney Mabeus. "Buying Leadership". Capital Eye. http://www.capitaleye.org/inside.asp?ID=146. Retrieved October 14 2005.  
  4. ^  Rosenbaum, David E. (9 February 2005). "Call it Pork or Necessity, but Alaska Comes Out Far Above the Rest in Spending". New York Times. http://www.cepr.net/err/nytimesarticles/call_pork_11_29.htm.  
  5. ^  "Senate, House Appropriations Set Subcommittee Plans for New Congress". U.S. House Committee on Appropriations. http://appropriations.house.gov/News/pr_070104.shtml. Retrieved January 27 2007.  
  6. ^  "Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Rosters Set". National Thoroughbred Racing Association. http://www.ntra.com/content.aspx?type=pac&style=red&id=22762. Retrieved January 27 2007.  

Further reading

See also

External links


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