Committees in the 118th Congress – A Centralina Perspective
From Capitol Corner, February 2023, Centralina Regional Council
Thousands of bills are introduced in Congress each year. However, only a few hundred are ever considered by the full House or Senate. After bills are introduced, they are sent to a committee, where the hard work of writing legislation is done. There are 20 committees in the House of Representatives and 16 committees in the Senate, each with jurisdiction over a variety of bills, issues, agencies and programs.
Committees are the engines of Congress. Within their jurisdiction, they gather information, compare and evaluate legislative options, identify problems and propose solutions, and determine which bills to report to the full chamber for consideration. Most bills never make it out of Committee.
As the state’s congressional delegation changes, so does its participation in the various committees. With the retirement of U.S. Representative David Price, North Carolina will no longer hold a seat on the powerful Appropriations Committee. Though, North Carolina gains two Committee Chairs through the state’s now longest serving members, U.S. Representatives Patrick McHenry (R-NC-10) and Virginia Foxx (R-NC-5). As committee chairs, they set the legislative direction for their respective committees.
Representative McHenry chairs the House Financial Services Committee, which has jurisdiction over issues pertaining to the economy, the banking system, housing, insurance and securities and exchanges. He is already wielding his authority to reorganize the Committee with the addition of new Subcommittees and the elimination of others. Particularly notable is the creation of the Subcommittee on Digital Assets, Financial Technology and Inclusion to modernize the committee and consider new issues arising from the use of digital currencies.
Representative Foxx, whose district formerly included parts of the Centralina region, chairs the Committee on Education & the Workforce, which is charged with ensuring access to productive workplaces and quality education. The last time Representative Foxx chaired this committee, she led the effort to pass the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) in 2014. WIOA expired in 2020 and may again become one of her top priorities.
U.S. Representative Alma Adams (D-NC-12) no longer sits on the House Financial Services Committee but will instead focus on her work in the Education & the Workforce Committee and the Agriculture Committee. Reauthorization of the Farm Bill, which expires on September 30, is one of the few must-pass bills for this Congress and will be the top priority for the Agriculture Committee. The sprawling bill, likely to include roughly a half-trillion dollars in spending, will address a wide range of issues, from the crops farmers choose to grow to the kinds of food low-income families can afford. For the first time, the Farm Bill is expected to include a climate component.
U.S. Representative Jeff Jackson (D-NC-14) landed a seat on the Armed Services Committee, a nod to his military service and the important military installations in North Carolina. The Armed Services Committee has jurisdiction over National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), another one of the few annual must-pass bills in Congress. Representative Jackson will also serve on the Science, Space and Technology Committee.
U.S. Representative Dan Bishop (R-NC-8) continues to serve on the Homeland Security Committee where he now chairs the Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations and Accountability. The subcommittee has jurisdiction over the Department of Homeland Security operations, policies and programs. Representative Bishop also continues to serve on the Judiciary Committee.
In the Senate, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) vacated a seat on the Senate Armed Services Committee to join the Senate Finance Committee. This coveted position allows him the opportunity to influence the national agenda on matters relating to taxation, the national debt, trade agreements, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. He will also continue his work on the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction over public transportation among many other issues of interest to Centralina members, as well as his work on the Judiciary Committee.
Freshman U.S. Senator Ted Budd (R-NC) will replace Senator Tillis on the Senate Armed Services Committee, which has the same jurisdiction as its House counterpart as listed above. Senator Budd will also serve on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, the Health, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee (where former NC U.S. Richard Burr was Ranking Member in the last Congress), and the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee.