United States Senate Committee on Appropriations

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Senate Appropriations Committee
Standing committee
Seal of the United States Senate.svg
United States Senate
118th Congress
FormedMarch 6, 1867
ChairPatty Murray (D)
Since February 2, 2023
Vice chairSusan Collins (R)
Since February 2, 2023
Seats29 members
Political partiesMajority (15)
  •   Democratic (15)
Minority (14)
Policy areasAppropriations bills, Discretionary spending, Rescission bills
Oversight authorityFederal government of the United States
House counterpartHouse Committee on Appropriations
Meeting place
304 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C., S-128 United States Capitol
Washington, D.C.

The United States Senate Committee on Appropriations is a standing committee of the United States Senate. It has jurisdiction over all discretionary spending legislation in the Senate.

The entrance to the Appropriations Committee Suite in the United States Capitol

The Senate Appropriations Committee is the largest committee in the U.S. Senate, with 30 members in the 117th Congress. Its role is defined by the U.S. Constitution, which requires "appropriations made by law" prior to the expenditure of any money from the Treasury, and the committee is therefore one of the most powerful committees in the Senate.[1] The committee was first organized on March 6, 1867, when power over appropriations was taken out of the hands of the Finance Committee.[2]

The chairman of the Appropriations Committee has enormous power to bring home special projects (sometimes referred to as "pork barrel spending") for their state as well as having the final say on other senators' appropriation requests.[3] For example, in fiscal year 2005 per capita federal spending in Alaska, the home state of then-Chairman Ted Stevens, was $12,000, double the national average. Alaska has 11,772 special earmarked projects for a combined cost of $15,780,623,000. This represents about four percent of the overall spending in the $388 billion Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2005 passed by Congress.[4]

From 2001 to 2021, every Senate Majority Leader has been a previous or concurrently-serving member of the Appropriations Committee: Tom Daschle (committee member, 1991–1999; majority leader, 2001–2003), Bill Frist (committee member, 1995–2002; majority leader, 2003–2007), Harry Reid (committee member, 1989–2006; majority leader, 2007–2015), Mitch McConnell (current committee member; majority leader, 2015–2021).

The appropriations process[edit]

Former Committee Chairman Robert Byrd (D-WV, far right) shakes hands with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates while Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT, center right) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) look on. The hearing was held to discuss further funding for the War in Iraq.
Ted Stevens was especially noted for his ability to use his Appropriations chairmanship to bring home federal dollars for the state of Alaska.

The federal budget is divided into two main categories: discretionary spending and mandatory spending. Each appropriations subcommittee develops a draft appropriations bill covering each agency under its jurisdiction based on the Congressional Budget Resolution, which is drafted by an analogous Senate Budget committee. Each subcommittee must adhere to the spending limits set by the budget resolution and allocations set by the full Appropriations Committee, though the full Senate may vote to waive those limits if 60 senators vote to do so. The committee also reviews supplemental spending bills (covering unforeseen or emergency expenses not previously budgeted).

Each appropriations bill must be passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president prior to the start of the federal fiscal year, October 1. If that target is not met, as has been common in recent years, the committee drafts a continuing resolution, which is then approved by Congress and signed by the president to keep the federal government operating until the individual bills are approved.


In accordance of Rule XXV of the United States Senate, all proposed legislation, messages, petitions, memorials, and other matters relating to the following subjects is referred to the Senate Committee on Appropriations:

  1. Appropriation of the revenue for the support of the Government, except as provided in subparagraph (e);
  2. Rescission of appropriations contained in appropriation Acts (referred to in section 105 of title 1, United States Code);
  3. The amount of new spending authority described in section 401(c)(2) (A) and (B) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 which is to be effective for a fiscal year; and,
  4. New spending authority described in section 401(c)(2)(C) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 provided in bills and resolutions referred to the committee under section 401(b)(2) of that Act (but subject to the provisions of section 401(b)(3) of that Act).[1]

Likewise, Article I, Section 9, Clause 7 of the United States Constitution, clearly vesting the power of the purse in Congress, states: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law...and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.”[1] This clause is the foundation for the congressional appropriations process and the fundamental source of the Senate Appropriations Committee's institutional power - as is the same with its counterpart in the lower house.[2] In other words, Article I, Section 9, Clause 7 of the United States Constitution charges the United States Congress with the legislative duty of controlling government spending separate from the executive branch of government - a significant check and balance in the American constitutional system.[3]

Members, 118th Congress[edit]

Majority[4] Minority[5]


Subcommittee[6] Chair Ranking Member
Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Martin Heinrich (D-NM) John Hoeven (R-ND)
Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) Jerry Moran (R-KS)
Defense Jon Tester (D-MT) Susan Collins (R-ME)
Energy and Water Development Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) John Kennedy (R-LA)
Financial Services and General Government Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) Bill Hagerty (R-TN)
Homeland Security Chris Murphy (D-CT) Katie Britt (R-AL)
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Jeff Merkley (D-OR) Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
Legislative Branch Jack Reed (D-RI) Deb Fischer (R-NE)
Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Patty Murray (D-WA) John Boozman (R-AR)
State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Chris Coons (D-DE) Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Brian Schatz (D-HI) Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS)

Committee reorganization during the 110th Congress[edit]

At the outset of the 110th Congress, Chairman Robert Byrd and Chairman Dave Obey, his counterpart on the House Appropriations Committee, developed a committee reorganization plan that provided for common subcommittee structures between both houses, a move that both the chairmen hope will allow Congress to "complete action on each of the government funding on time for the first time since 1994."[5][6] The subcommittees were last overhauled between the 107th and 108th Congresses, after the creation of the Subcommittee on Homeland Security and again during the 109th Congress, when the number of subcommittees was reduced from 13 to 12.

A key part of the new subcommittee organization was the establishment of a new Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, which consolidates funding for the Treasury Department, the United States federal judiciary, and the District of Columbia. These functions were previously handled by two separate Senate subcommittees.

Chairs and Vice Chairs, 1867–present[edit]

Vice Chairman Robert Byrd, Patrick Leahy & Chairman Ted Stevens meeting for FY98 Appropriations in 1997
Congress Chair Party State Vice Chair Party State
40th Lot Morrill Republican Maine Cornelius Cole Republican California
41st William Pitt Fessenden

until September 8, 1869

Republican Maine William Sprague IV Republican Rhode Island
Lot Morrill

from September 8, 1869

Republican Maine
42nd Cornelius Cole Republican California William Windom Republican Minnesota
43rd Lot Morrill

until July 7, 1876

Republican Maine William Allison Republican Iowa
44th Stephen W. Dorsey Democratic Arkansas
William Windom

from July 7, 1876

Republican Minnesota
45th Henry Davis Democratic West Virginia
46th Henry Davis Democratic West Virginia William Windom Republican Minnesota
47th William Allison Republican Iowa Henry Davis Democratic West Virginia
48th James B. Beck Democratic Kentucky
51st Francis Cockrell Democratic Missouri
53rd Francis Cockrell Democratic Missouri William Allison Republican Iowa
54th William Allison

until August 4, 1908

Republican Iowa Francis Cockrell Democratic Missouri


Henry Teller Democratic Colorado
Eugene Hale

from August 4, 1908

Republican Maine
61st Benjamin R. Tillman Democratic South Carolina
62nd Francis E. Warren Republican Wyoming
63rd Thomas S. Martin Democratic Virginia Francis E. Warren Republican Wyoming
66th Francis E. Warren

until November 24, 1929

Republican Wyoming Lee Overman Democratic North Carolina


71st William J. Harris Democratic Georgia
Wesley L. Jones

from November 24, 1929 until November 19, 1932

Republican Washington
Frederick Hale

from November 19, 1932

Republican Maine
73rd Carter Glass

until May 28, 1946

Democratic Virginia Frederick Hale Republican Maine
77th Gerald P. Nye Republican North Dakota
79th Styles Bridges Republican New Hampshire
Kenneth McKellar

from May 28, 1946

Democratic Tennessee
80th Styles Bridges Republican New Hampshire Kenneth McKellar Democratic Tennessee
81st Kenneth McKellar Democratic Tennessee Styles Bridges Republican New Hampshire
83rd Styles Bridges Republican New Hampshire Carl Hayden Democratic Arizona
84th Carl Hayden Democratic Arizona Styles Bridges

until November 26, 1961

Republican New Hampshire
Leverett Saltonstall

from November 26, 1961

Republican Massachusetts
90th Milton Young Republican North Dakota
91st Richard B. Russell Democratic Georgia
92nd Allen J. Ellender

until July 27, 1972

Democratic Louisiana
John L. McClellan

from July 27, 1972

Democratic Arkansas
95th Warren G. Magnuson Democratic Washington
97th Mark O. Hatfield Republican Oregon William Proxmire Democratic Wisconsin
98th John C. Stennis Democratic Mississippi
100th John C. Stennis Democratic Mississippi Mark O. Hatfield Republican Oregon
101st Robert C. Byrd Democratic West Virginia
104th Mark O. Hatfield Republican Oregon Robert C. Byrd Democratic West Virginia
105th Ted Stevens Republican Alaska
107th Robert C. Byrd

until January 20, 2001

Democratic West Virginia Ted Stevens

until January 20, 2001

Republican Alaska
Ted Stevens

from January 20, 2001 until June 6, 2001

Republican Alaska Robert C. Byrd

from January 20, 2001 until June 6, 2001

Democratic West Virginia
Robert C. Byrd

from June 6, 2001

Democratic West Virginia Ted Stevens

from June 6, 2001

Republican Alaska
108th Ted Stevens Republican Alaska Robert C. Byrd Democratic West Virginia
109th Thad Cochran Republican Mississippi
110th Robert C. Byrd Democratic West Virginia Thad Cochran Republican Mississippi
111th Daniel K. Inouye

until December 17, 2012

Democratic Hawaii
Barbara Mikulski

from December 17, 2012

Democratic Maryland
113th Richard Shelby Republican Alabama
114th Thad Cochran

until April 1, 2018

Republican Mississippi Barbara Mikulski Democratic Maryland
115th Patrick Leahy Democratic Vermont
Richard Shelby

from April 10, 2018

Republican Alabama
117th Patrick Leahy Democratic Vermont Richard Shelby Republican Alabama
118th Patty Murray Democratic Washington Susan Collins Republican Maine

Historical membership rosters[edit]

117th Congress[edit]

Majority Minority

116th Congress[edit]

Majority Minority

115th Congress[edit]

Majority Minority

Source :"U.S. Senate: Committee on Appropriations". Senate.gov. Retrieved April 11, 2018.

114th Congress[edit]

Majority Minority

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

113th Congress[edit]

Majority Minority


112th Congress[edit]

Majority Minority

111th Congress[edit]

Majority Minority

110th Congress[edit]

Majority Minority

109th Congress[edit]

Majority Minority

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b McGowan, Matthew (2008). "Senate Manual of the United States Senate" (PDF). United States Senate. pp. 26–27. Retrieved May 31, 2019. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ "The U.S. Constitution | Constitution Center". National Constitution Center – constitutioncenter.org.
  3. ^ Stith, Kate. "Article I, Section 9, Clause 7, United States Constitution: Appropriations Clause". National Constitution Center. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  4. ^ S.Res. 30 (118th Congress)
  5. ^ S.Res. 31 (118th Congress)
  6. ^ "Subcommittees | United States Senate Committee on Appropriations". U.S. Senate: Committee on Appropriations. March 4, 2023. Retrieved March 4, 2023.
  7. ^ "Committee Members | United States Senate Committee on Appropriations". www.appropriations.senate.gov.
  8. ^ "U.S. Senate: Committee on Appropriations". www.senate.gov. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
^ "Overview of the Committee's role". U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations. Archived from the original on October 13, 2005. Retrieved October 14, 2005.
^ "Creation of the Senate Committee on Appropriations". U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations. Archived from the original on September 27, 2005. Retrieved October 14, 2005.
^ Courtney Mabeus. "Buying Leadership". Capital Eye. Retrieved October 14, 2005.
^ Rosenbaum, David E. (February 9, 2005). "Call it Pork or Necessity, but Alaska Comes Out Far Above the Rest in Spending". New York Times.
^ "Senate, House Appropriations Set Subcommittee Plans for New Congress". U.S. House Committee on Appropriations. Archived from the original on January 31, 2007. Retrieved January 27, 2007.
^ "Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Rosters Set". National Thoroughbred Racing Association. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved January 27, 2007.
^ "Daniel Inouye Dies". Politico. Retrieved December 18, 2012.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]