Senate Committee Hearings: Preparation

March 16, 2015 (98-489)

Committee hearings allow Senators an opportunity to gather information on—and draw attention to—legislation and issues within a committee's purview, conduct oversight of programs or agencies, and investigate allegations of wrongdoing.

This checklist identifies, primarily for staff, many of the tasks that need to be performed by a full committee and, in most cases, subcommittees in advance of a hearing.1 Some of the tasks are required by Senate or committee rules; others are common committee practice. Some tasks are usually the responsibility of the committee's majority staff, some are shared by majority and minority staff, and some are performed by a Senator's personal office staff.

Preliminary Decisions2

Witness Selection and Testimony3

Media Concerns

Final Preparations


This report was originally written by Richard C. Sachs, former specialist in American National Government at CRS, and was later updated by [author name scrubbed], former analyst on Congress and the Legislative Process at CRS. The author currently listed has updated this report and is available to answer questions on the subject.



For details on the hearing process and procedures, see archived CRS Report RL30548, Hearings in the U.S. Senate: A Guide for Preparation and Procedure.


For more detail on scheduling hearings, see CRS Report 98-337, Senate Committee Hearings: Scheduling and Notification, by [author name scrubbed].


For more detail on witness selection and testimony, see CRS Report 98-304, House Committee Hearings: Arranging Witnesses, by [author name scrubbed]; CRS Report 98-392, Senate Committee Hearings: Witness Testimony, by [author name scrubbed]; and CRS Report RS22649, Senate Committee Hearings: The "Minority Witness Rule", by [author name scrubbed].