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Committee Reorganization


Since creating standing committees in 1816, the Senate has periodically adjusted the number of committees and their jurisdictions, both for greater efficiency and to address the changing needs of the federal government. The Senate streamlined its committee system in the 1920s, abolishing a large number of smaller, inactive committees and reducing the overall number to thirty three. The Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 further cut standing committees to fifteen, consolidated overlapping and conflicting jurisdictions, and established policy committees.  The Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970 limited the number of committees on which senators could serve. The last major reshuffling occurred in 1977 when the Temporary Select Committee to Study the Senate Committee System (named the "Stevenson Committee" for its chairman, Illinois Senator Adlai E. Stevenson III) did away with most select and joint committees and redrew jurisdictional lines.  Long-time Senate Parliamentarian Floyd Riddick discussed committee reforms and reorganizations of the 1970s in his oral history interview.