Senate Committee on Rules and Administration

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The Senate Committee on Rules and Administration (also called the Senate Rules Committee) is responsible for the rules of the United States Senate, with administration of congressional buildings, and with credentials and qualifications of members of the Senate, including responsibility for dealing with contested elections.

The committee is not as powerful as its House counterpart, the House Committee on Rules: it does not set the terms of debate for individual legislative proposals, since the Senate has a tradition of open debate.

Some members of the committee are also ex officio members of the Joint Committee on Printing.

Members of the
Senate Committee on Rules and Administration,
111th Congress
Democrats: Republicans:


Committee activity

Jack Abramoff

On July 25, 2006, the Justice Department requested records from the committee to aid in its investigation of Jack Abramoff and his Capitol Hill contracts. In June 2006, Senate leaders unanimously agreed to a resolution which allowed the rules panel to submit any necessary documents to federal investigators regarding Abramoff and his dealings. [1]

FEC nominations

On June 13, 2007, the committee held a confirmation hearing for four nominees to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), including former Justice Department official Hans von Spakovsky. Democrats on the committee, including Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), heavily questioned Spakovsky over his role in supporting questionable voter-identification and redistricting plans while at the department's Civil Rights Division. Several Justice Department lawyers who worked under Spakovsky stated that he "[undermined] the Civil Rights Division's mandate to protect voting rights," in a letter to the committee. Nominees are traditionally appointed to the FEC in pairs: one Democrat, one Republican. If Democrats on the committee do not approve Spakovsky, a Republican, GOP members would most likely block one of the democratic nominees, which could create serious problems for the FEC as it enters the 2008 election cycle.[1]

Committee reported out all four FEC nominations without recommendation

On September 26, 2007, the committee voted to report out all four Federal Election Commission (FEC) nominations without recommendation. This was an unprecedented move done to accomodate the objections of Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) over Hans von Spakovsky. Von Spakovsky was installed on the FEC in early January, 2006 as a recess appointment, but the Senate has not confirmed him. Feinstein has repeatedly voiced concerns to his nomination and warned that she would oppose it. During the September 26 meeting Feinstein said she wanted to vote on each nominee separately as opposed to considering all four nominees together in one vote, as the committee has done previously. Republicans on the committee objected that such a move would break all known committee precedents on moving FEC nominations.

However, Feinstein said committee rules governing FEC nominations only allow for passing nominations that have unanimous consent, which she would prevent by her objection. After a half-hour of negotiations, Feinstein and ranking Republican Sen. Bob Bennet (Utah) agreed to pass all of the nomination without recommendation. Feinstein warned that she would continue to voice her concerns about von Spakovsky’s nomination on the Senate floor. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who backed up the Republican precedent objections, said that he would not tolerate an attempt to separate von Spakovsky’s nominations from the other three.[2]

Previous committee membership

110th Congress (2007-2008)

Members of the
Senate Committee on Rules and Administration,
110th Congress
Democrats: Republicans:

109th Congress (2005-2006)

Members of the
Senate Committee on Rules and Administration,
109th Congress
Democrats: Republicans:



Contact information

Committee Web site

  • Majority staff office - (202) 224-6352
  • Minority staff office - (202) 224-6351

Articles and Resources

Wikipedia also has an article on Senate Committee on Rules and Administration. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.

Sources

  1. Kenneth P. Vogel, "Senate Dems grill FEC nominee," The Politico, June 13, 2007.
  2. Susan Crabtree, “Senate Rules panel moves controversial FEC pick,” ‘’The Hill’’, September 26, 2007.

External articles

External resources