Lesson Plan

Congressional Committees and the Legislative Process

U.S. Capitol dome
Photo caption

U.S. Capitol dome.

This lesson plan introduces students to the pivotal role that Congressional committees play in the legislative process, focusing on how their own Congressional representatives influence legislation through their committee appointments. Students begin by reviewing the stages of the legislative process, then learn how committees and subcommittees help determine the outcome of this process by deciding which bills the full Congress will consider and by shaping the legislation upon which votes are finally cast. With this background, students research the committee and subcommittee assignments of their Congressional representatives, then divide into small groups to prepare class reports on the jurisdictions of these different committees and their representatives' special responsibilities on each one. Finally, students consider why representation on these specific committees might be important to the people of their state or community, and examine how the committee system reflects some of the basic principles of American federalism.

Guiding Questions

No Guiding Questions

Learning Objectives

To understand the legislative process of the United States Congress

To examine the role that Congressional committees play in this process

To learn how one's Congressional representatives can influence legislation through their specific committee assignments

To consider how representation on specific Congressional committees can be important to state or community interests