Senate Committee Hearings: Preparation

December 4, 2017 (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. 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 Decisions1

Witness Selection and Testimony2

Media Concerns

Final Preparations

Author Contact Information

[author name scrubbed], Specialist on Congress and the Legislative Process ([email address scrubbed], [phone number scrubbed])


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 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 98-336, Senate 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].