Appropriations Subcommittee Structure: History of Changes from 1920 to 2013 Page: 2 of 16
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
Appropriations Subcommittee Structure: History of Changes from 1920 to 2013
This report details the evolution of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees'
subcommittee structure from the 1920s to the present. In 1920, the House adopted a change in its
rules to consolidate jurisdiction over all appropriations in the Appropriations Committee. After
the enactment of the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, the House reorganized its
Appropriations Committee by establishing for the first time a set of subcommittees to consider
appropriations bills based on the administrative organization of the executive branch. The Senate
followed suit in 1922, and the two chambers have continued under that basic organizational
approach since that time.
The evolution of the modern Appropriations subcommittee structure can be divided into four eras.
The first era, stretching roughly from the initial reorganization in the 1920s until the end of the
Second World War, was marked by stability. Most of the changes in Appropriations structure
resulted from combining bills (e.g., the Treasury Department bill with the Post Office Department
bill beginning in 1924), although one new bill (and subcommittee) was created when the
appropriations bill for the Department of Labor was split off from the Departments of State,
Justice, Commerce, and Labor bill in 1939.
The second era, from the end of the Second World War through 1970, saw multiple changes.
During this period, Congress attempted to keep pace with executive branch reorganization (e.g.,
creation of subcommittees to consider appropriations for the new Departments of Defense in
1947 and Transportation in 1967), and changing national priorities (e.g., creation of a separate
appropriations bill, and later subcommittee, for foreign operations).
The third era, from 1971 through 2003, was marked by a renewed stability. While some
appropriations subcommittees were renamed to reflect changes in agency and departmental status,
these changes did not represent major shifts in jurisdiction.
In the fourth era, since 2003, there have been major changes in organization involving nearly
every subcommittee. In 2003, both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees merged
their subcommittees on Transportation and Treasury and created a new subcommittee to consider
appropriations for the newly created Department of Homeland Security. In 2005, both chambers
undertook major reorganizations, eliminating three subcommittees in the House and one in the
Senate. This reorganization, however, left the two chambers with differing subcommittee
jurisdictions. In 2007 the two Appropriations Committees reorganized again to reestablish parallel
During the first session of the 110t Congress (2007), the House created the Select Intelligence
Oversight Panel of the appropriations committee to oversee spending on federal intelligence
activities. This panel was eliminated in 2011, at the beginning of the 112th Congress.
This report will be updated to reflect any changes in Appropriations subcommittee structure.
Congressional Research Service
Here’s what’s next.
This report can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Tools / Downloads
Get a copy of this page or view the extracted text.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Report.
Appropriations Subcommittee Structure: History of Changes from 1920 to 2013, report, February 5, 2013; Washington D.C.. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc819296/m1/2/: accessed April 19, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.