Home > B3 and B4 > The Unknown World Of Congress

The Unknown World Of Congress

Example of Congressional Comittee

Although we have studied a variety of topics, only one has truly stuck with me and has brought me to question the politics of our time.  Before enrolling into this class I believed I knew how the government worked, and everything that there was to know about government; especially Congress.  From the elementary classes which briefly touched on the matter I knew the superficial basics of what congress is and how it works.  Then, coming into this year when we first stepped into the new unit about congress it was like someone slapped me in the head and took all my lunch money; it seemed that the whole foundation of politics which I had gained was thrown right out the window.  Reading the paper which Woodrow Wilson and other articles helping to explain this new modern concept of congress helped my knowledge of the system  very much muddled brain to lay a new foundation and develop a starting point for my newly developed view of Congress and how our government actually works today.

Though I was quite confused of how Congress truly worked in the midst of my congressional exploration, I soon became enthralled with the idea of how our system actual works and functions and wanted to know more.  While Woodrow Wilson laid down a strong foundation for my new thoughts upon the new Congress I was still slightly confused on the matter of what a committee was at its core value.  A congressional committee is a sub- organization of Congress which handles individual matters rather than that of the whole congress.  Secondly I was somewhat confused on how these committees worked, and why the way they worked was so controversial.  Congressional committees in essence look after ongoing government operations, and offers their view and how they should approach the situation to the main body; Congress.  The controversy behind the Congressional committees is similar to that of the classic high school rebel, who is “gonna do he wants, when he wants!”  Congressional Committees work harder and provide more input into their own committee rather than focusing on ideas which would benefit the country.  Rather than providing input to the congress as whole and actually discussing ideas with the rest of the members of congress, they merely talk about the issues which they believe are important to their committees.  Woodrow Wilson stated it beautiful saying, “… it is not far from the truth to say that Congress in session is Congress on public exhibition, whilst Congress in its committee rooms is Congress at work.”  Congress at its core is merely a façade of our amusement.  The real work happens behind closed doors, in the committee offices.

But this is merely a small matter in the world of controversy.  The big story here is that of “bill with holding.”  On the way to the White House bills pass through dozens of peoples’ hands, and some of these hands are those of Committees.  Bills are assigned to a specific committee for the distinct purposes.  In most cases the bill has a role which the committee plays a role in.  The problem comes to when the bill actual reaches the committee heads.  When a bill reaches the committee, the committees will consider the impact of the bill and weigh cost and benefits.  If the bill is approved then they will move it on, but the reality is that a majority of the bills never make it out of committees.  It is said that the bills, “died in committee.”  I believe that this is a huge injustice which simply slides under the radar.  The purpose of our form of government is a government for the people, therefore every bill should have the chance to make it at least to the floor of congress in order for proper evaluation of all peers can take place.  If we lose these simple principles where have the values of our times gone?  Where have our values of Democracy gone?

  1. May 5, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Nice effort! Three thoughts:

    1) I’m curious as to what you really mean when you write, “Congressional Committees work harder and provide more input into their own committee” – this is unclear; though I sense that you’re trying to say something important!

    2) Wikipedia and About.com?!? Your sources leave much to be desired…

    3) Is it reasonable for every bill to have a hearing on the floor of the House/Senate? Can you imagine how many bills/how much time and effort that would take? Congress works according to a principle called ‘specialization’ – members specialize in particular policy areas and develop expertise; meantime, they trust their colleagues’ expertise on matters of policy outside their areas…

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