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What is the role of the committee chairmen in Congress and why has it been criticised?

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What is the role of the committee chairmen in Congress and why has it been criticised? Being a committee chairman is a leading role in the governmental structure hence why this position is always the focus of controversy. It is the norm and the tradition to appoint those who bask great experience and are seen as a senior figure. This tradition notion has been challenged in recent times, because it was perceived to reward longevity over merit and, because chairmen were almost guaranteed re-election, was thought to lead to political complacency and abuse of power. The speaker, Newt Gingrich, selected the congressmen who he believed to be most committed to the contract as the chairmen. ...read more.


The Constitution does not spell out the political role of the Speaker. As the office has developed historically, however, it has taken on a clearly partisan cast, very different from the speakership of most Westminster-style legislatures, such as the Speaker of the British House of Commons, which is meant to be scrupulously non-partisan. The Speaker in the United States is, by tradition, the head of the majority party in the House of Representatives, outranking the Majority Leader. However, despite having the right to vote, the Speaker usually does not participate in debate and rarely votes on the floor. The Speaker is responsible for ensuring that the House passes legislation supported by the majority party. In pursuing this goal, the Speaker may use his or her power to determine when each bill reaches the floor. ...read more.


On the other hand, when the Speaker and the President belong to opposite parties, the public role and influence of the Speaker tend to increase. The Speaker is the highest-ranking member of the opposition party and is normally the chief public opponent of the President's agenda. Recent examples include Tip O'Neill, who was a vocal opponent of President Ronald Reagan's domestic and defence policies; Newt Gingrich, who fought a bitter battle with President Bill Clinton for control of domestic policy; Nancy Pelosi, who clashed with President George W. Bush over domestic policy and the Iraq War. And Current Speaker John Boehner, who regularly clashes with President Barack Obama over budget issues as well as social issues such as defending the Defense of Marriage Act ...read more.

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