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Why does Congress use a Committee System?

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Congress deals with too many things for individual Members of Congress to debate everything, and so many things are non-controversial that they don't need much time or debate. Every year a member will vote about 600 times on dozens of issues. It's impossible for any one person to know every issue in the detail that is necessary to make an informed decision. The Committee System helps members specialize in certain areas and gain expertise, while still allowing the entire House or Senate to work its will.
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Congress deals with too many things for individual Members of Congress to debate everything, and so many things are non-controversial that they don’t need much time or debate. Every year a member will vote about 600 times on dozens of issues. It’s impossible for any one person to know every issue in the detail that is necessary to make an informed decision. The Committee System helps members specialize in certain areas and gain expertise, while still allowing the entire House or Senate to work its will.
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Since Congress deals with a broad variety of different issues, it is impossible for all work to be done on either the House or Senate floor. Therefore, throughout history, committees have been created to address particular issues. Today, there are 21 permanent committees in the House of Representatives and 15 in the Senate. The main purpose of these committees is to collect information through hearings and investigations, and draft legislation which is then reported out for consideration by the entire chamber. more
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BUSH DOGS Sign-up for Updates from Open Left & the Bush Dog Campaign From failing to stop the war to expanding Bush's wiretapping authority, the swing vote of conservative Democrats in the House are forming an effective conservative majority that is enabling President Bush to govern as he wishes. This Bush Dog campaign has both short-term and long-term goals. In the short term, we aim to help progressives win the next fights in Congress over FISA and Iraq. Over the long-term, this is part of a broader effort that touches on the core of the purpose of Open Left: building a progressive governing majority. more
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