United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs is the chief oversight committee of the United States Senate. It has jurisdiction over matters related to the Department of Homeland Security and other homeland security concerns, as well as the functioning of the government itself, including the National Archives, budget and accounting measures other than appropriations, the Census, the federal civil service, the affairs of the District of Columbia, and the United States Postal Service. The committee had been called the United States Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs before homeland security was added to its responsibilities in 2004.[1]The committee serves as the Senate's chief investigative and oversight committee. The chair of the committee is the only committee chair in the Senate with the power to issue subpoenas without a committee vote, though in practice, such unilateral subpoenas have rarely been issued in recent years.

History[edit]

While elements of the Committee can be traced back into the 19th century, its modern origins began with the creation of the Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Departments on April 18, 1921. The Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Department was renamed the Committee on Government Operations in 1952, which was reorganized as the Committee on Governmental Affairs in 1978. After passage of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorist Prevention Act of 2004, the Committee became the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and added homeland security to its jurisdiction.[2]

Of the five current subcommittees, the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations is the oldest and most storied, having been created at the same time as the Committee on Government Operations in 1952. The Subcommittee on the Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia was established after the creation of the Committee on Governmental Affairs in 1978. The Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services and International Security was created in 2003.

Two ad hoc subcommittees were established in January 2007 to reflect the Committee's expanded homeland security jurisdiction. They were the Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery and the Subcommitte on State, Local, and Private Sector Preparedness and Integration. The Subcommittee on Contracting was added in 2009. In 2011, the Disaster and State, Local, and Private Sector subcommittees were merged to form the Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery and Intergovernmental Affairs.

Over the years, the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and its predecessors have dealt with a number of important issues, including government accountability, Congressional ethics, regulatory affairs, and systems and information security. In 2003, after the Homeland Security Act of 2002 established the Department of Homeland Security, the Committee adopted primary oversight of the creation and subsequent policies, operations, and actions of the Department.

In the past decade, the committee has focused particularly on the Department of Homeland Security's ability to respond to a major catastrophe, such as Hurricane Katrina; the rise of homegrown terrorism in the United States; and the vulnerabilities of the nation's most critical networks, those operating systems upon which our national defense, economy, and way of life depend, such as the power grid, water treatment facilities, transportation and financial networks, nuclear reactors, and dams.[3]

In February 2014, Republican staffers of the committee leaked the passwords used to secure DHS systems.[4]

Members, 113th Congress[edit]

Majority Minority

Source: 2013 Congressional Record, Vol. 159, Page S296 to 297

Subcommittees[edit]

Subcommittee Chair Ranking Member
Investigations (Permanent) Carl Levin (D-MI) John McCain (R-AZ)
Financial and Contracting Oversight Claire McCaskill (D-MO) Ron Johnson (R-WI)
Efficiency and Effectiveness of Federal Programs and the Federal Workforce Jon Tester (D-MT) Rob Portman (R-OH)
Emergency Management, Intergovernmental Relations, and the District of Columbia Mark Begich (D-AK) Rand Paul (R-KY)

Chairmen[edit]

Committee on Expenditures in Executive Departments, 1921-1952[edit]

Committee on Government Operations, 1952-1977[edit]

Committee on Governmental Affairs, 1977-2005[edit]

Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, 2005-present[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs official website
  2. ^ U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs official website
  3. ^ U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs official website
  4. ^ Brown, Alex (4 February 2014). "The Incredibly Dumb Way the Government Is Guarding Top-Secret Data". www.nationaljournal.com. National Journal Group Inc. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 

External links[edit]