Appropriations Subcommittee Structure: History of Changes from 1920-2005
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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This report details the evolution of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees subcommittee structure from the 1920s to the present. In 1920, the House adopted a change in its rules to consolidate jurisdiction over all appropriations in the Appropriations Committee. After the enactment of the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, the House reorganized its Appropriations Committee by establishing for the first time a set of subcommittees to consider appropriations bills based on the administrative organization of the executive branch. The Senate followed suit in 1922, and the two chambers have continued under that basic organizational approach since that time. The evolution of the modern Appropriations subcommittee structure can be divided into four eras. The first era, stretching roughly from the initial reorganization in the 1920s until the end of the Second World War, was marked by stability. Most of the changes in Appropriations structure resulted from combining bills, although one new bill and subcommittee was created when the appropriations bill for the Department of Labor was split off from the Departments of State, Justice, Commerce, and Labor bill in 1939. The second era, from the end of the Second World War through 1970, saw multiple changes. During this period, Congress attempted to keep pace with executive branch reorganization e.g., creation of subcommittees to consider appropriations for the new Departments of Defense in 1947 and Transportation in 1967, and changing national priorities e.g., creation of a separate appropriations bill, and later subcommittee, for foreign operations.The third era, from 1971 through 2003, was marked by a renewed stability. The structure of the Appropriations subcommittees in both chambers remained mostly unchanged until 2003. But since 2003, there have been major changes in organization involving nearly every subcommittee.
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