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The Senate Appropriations Committee first formed in March of 1867 in order to reduce the labor hours needed for the combined tasks of tax writing and appropriations. The Senate Appropriations Committee has jurisdiction over all spending legislation in the U.S. Here are some quick facts about the committee:

      • There are a total of 30 members on the Senate Appropriations Committee; 16 Republicans and 14 Democrats.
      • There are 12 subcommittees, each assigned a unique category ranging from Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies to Defense.
      • Senator Thad Cochran from Mississippi is the Chairman of the Committee.
      • Barbara A. Mikulski is the Vice Chairman of the Committee. She was the first woman to ever be appointed to this position (Dec. 2012).
      • Anyone can attend the committee hearings, but only if it is an open hearing, which is the majority of the time.
      • The Senate Appropriations Committee is the largest committee in the U.S. Senate.
      • When the country is in a crisis and needs emergency expenses, the Senate Appropriations Committee can pass supplemental spending bills in order to alleviate the crisis.
      • Each subcommittee must operate within the budget that the full committee states, but this can be waived if enough votes are collected in order to increase the budget.
      • All hearings can be watched and listened to through the webcasts that are uploaded to the Senate Appropriations Committee website: http://www.appropriations.senate.gov.
      • The State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Subcommittee deals with situations similar to what The Borgen Project deals with. Programs like the Peace Corps, the African Development Foundation, the United States Agency for International Development and more are found in this subcommittee.

Erik Nelson

Sources: Committee on Appropriations 1, Committee on Appropriations 2, Committee on Appropriations 3, Thad Cochran
Photo: Flickr