Committee on Foreign Relations

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee was established in 1816 as one of the original ten standing committees of the Senate. Throughout its history, the committee has been instrumental in developing and influencing United States foreign policy, at different times supporting and opposing the policies of presidents and secretaries of state. Through these powers, the committee has helped shape foreign policy of broad significance, in matters of war and peace and international relations. Members of the committee have assisted in the negotiation of treaties, and at times have helped to defeat treaties they felt were not in the national interest. The committee also holds jurisdiction over all diplomatic nominations.

Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP)

The committee began in 1869 as the Committee on Education and in 1884 through the mid-1900s it was known as the Education and Labor Committee. In 1999, the committee officially became the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. The committee is composed of three subcommittees, which have a broad jurisdiction over our country's health care, education, employment and retirement policies. The HELP Committee jurisdiction encompasses most of the agencies, institutes, and programs of the Department of Health and Human Services; has primary jurisdiction over private retirement plans and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation through the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 and over railroad retirement; and most federal labor and employment laws. The committee is also committed to ensuring our country’s workforce is prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st Century through a lifetime of learning for our citizens.

Committee on Homeland Security & Government Affairs (HSGAC)

The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (HSGAC) is the chief oversight committee of the U.S. Senate. Over the years, HSGAC and its predecessors have dealt with a number of important issues, including government accountability, Congressional ethics, regulatory affairs, and systems and information security. In 2003, after the Homeland Security Act of 2002 established the Department of Homeland Security, the Committee adopted primary oversight of the creation and subsequent policies, operations, and actions of the Department. In this capacity, the committee has introduced and passed a number of bills to improve the Department of Homeland Security and ensure America’s safety, including the Homeland Security Act, implementation of the 9/11 Commission recommendations, the Katrina Investigations, and the National Intelligence Reform Act, which revamped the intelligence community and created the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in 2004.

Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship

On October 8, 1940, the Senate established the Special Committee to Study and Survey Problems of Small Business Enterprises. In 1950, its functions were transferred to the Select Committee on Small Business. The select committee was terminated in 1981, when it became the Committee on Small Business, a standing committee. In, 2001, the name of the committee was changed to the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. The committee is directed under the standing rules of the United States Senate to be referred all proposed legislation, messages, petitions, memorials, and other matters relating to the Small Business Administration (SBA). The committee also studies and surveys by means of research and investigation all problems of American small business enterprises, and report thereon from time to time.