The Senate Appropriations Committee is the largest committee in the U.S. Senate. Its role is defined by the U.S. Constitution, which requires "appropriations made by law" prior to the expenditure of any money from the Federal treasury. The Committee writes the legislation that allocates federal funds to the numerous government agencies, departments, and organizations on an annual basis. Twelve subcommittees are tasked with drafting legislation to allocate funds to government agencies within their jurisdictions. These subcommittees are responsible for reviewing the President's budget request, hearing testimony from government officials, and drafting the spending plans for the coming fiscal year. The Committee is also responsible for supplemental spending bills, which are sometimes needed in the middle of a fiscal year to compensate for emergency expenses.
The Committee is led by Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA). Under their leadership, the Committee is composed of three subcommittees, which have a broad jurisdiction over our country's health care, education, employment and retirement policies.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee was established in 1816 as one of the original ten standing committees of the Senate. Throughout its history, the committee has been instrumental in developing and influencing United States foreign policy, at different times supporting and opposing the policies of presidents and secretaries of state. The committee has considered, debated, and reported important treaties and legislation, ranging from the purchase of Alaska in 1867 to the establishment of the United Nations in 1945. It also holds jurisdiction over all diplomatic nominations. Through these powers, the committee has helped shape foreign policy of broad significance, in matters of war and peace and international relations. Members of the committee have assisted in the negotiation of treaties, and at times have helped to defeat treaties they felt were not in the national interest.
The Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee is dedicated to fostering dialogue between Senate Democrats and leaders from across the nation. Each year, the Steering Committee hosts numerous meetings with advocates, policy experts, and elected officials to discuss key priorities and enlist their help in the development of the Senate Democratic agenda. The Committee serves as a liaison between Senate Democratic offices, advocacy groups, and intergovernmental organizations. It is one of two Democratic Leadership Committees in the Senate and is chaired by Senator Amy Klobuchar (MN) and vice chaired by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (NH).