Senate Committee Party Ratios: 98th-114th Congresses

The party ratio in the Senate standing committees is the proportional number of members of each party caucus assigned to each committee. Determining committee sizes, ratios, and assignments are among the first actions taken after a general election and at the beginning of a Congress.

The standing rules of the Senate are silent on the subject of committee party ratios. The apportionment of committee seats results from discussions between majority and minority party leadership. In general, it has been the practice of the Senate to apportion committee seats to the majority and minority parties in a manner that corresponds closely to the party strength in the full chamber. Findings from this study indicate that the majority party ratios on committees roughly approximate the majority party strength in the Senate chamber, regardless of which party has been in control.

This report shows Senate committee party ratios for 17 Congresses, covering the period of the 98th Congress (1983-1985) through the 114th Congress (2015-2017).

Table 1 shows a comparison of majority party strength in the Senate chamber with total majority committee seats for the 98th Congress through the 114th Congress. Unfilled seats on committees (if so noted in the Secretary of the Senate’s lists or the Congressional Directory) are counted in individual and overall committee totals for consistency.

Tables 2-18 show the following for each of the 17 Congresses examined, by majority, minority, and Independents (where present):

Senate party breakdown and majority margin;

Total committee seats, majority and minority committee seats, and majority margin;

The standing and select committees (with legislative jurisdiction) as established and named in each Congress;

Committee seats allocated to the majority and minority parties, including Independents (where present), for each committee;

Majority-minority seat margin for each committee.

The committee ratios data for the 99th through 114th Congresses are taken from the official committee lists for each Congress issued by the Secretary of the Senate; the Congressional Directory is the source for the 98th Congress. The earliest editions of these primary documents are the sources for the data, although anomalies in some Congresses, such as a delay in seating a Senator due to a contested election, sometimes necessitated using later versions of the publications. Party strength in each Congress reflects numbers found in the Secretary’s lists and the Congressional Directory. Different versions of the Secretary’s list and the Congressional Directory, or the use of alternate sources or methodologies, could yield different results.

This report will be updated to reflect Senate committee party ratios in the 115th Congress.

Senate Committee Party Ratios: 98th-114th Congresses

December 7, 2015 (RL34752)
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Contents

Tables

Summary

The party ratio in the Senate standing committees is the proportional number of members of each party caucus assigned to each committee. Determining committee sizes, ratios, and assignments are among the first actions taken after a general election and at the beginning of a Congress.

The standing rules of the Senate are silent on the subject of committee party ratios. The apportionment of committee seats results from discussions between majority and minority party leadership. In general, it has been the practice of the Senate to apportion committee seats to the majority and minority parties in a manner that corresponds closely to the party strength in the full chamber. Findings from this study indicate that the majority party ratios on committees roughly approximate the majority party strength in the Senate chamber, regardless of which party has been in control.

This report shows Senate committee party ratios for 17 Congresses, covering the period of the 98th Congress (1983-1985) through the 114th Congress (2015-2017).

Table 1 shows a comparison of majority party strength in the Senate chamber with total majority committee seats for the 98th Congress through the 114th Congress. Unfilled seats on committees (if so noted in the Secretary of the Senate's lists or the Congressional Directory) are counted in individual and overall committee totals for consistency.

Tables 2-18 show the following for each of the 17 Congresses examined, by majority, minority, and Independents (where present):

  • Senate party breakdown and majority margin;
  • Total committee seats, majority and minority committee seats, and majority margin;
  • The standing and select committees (with legislative jurisdiction) as established and named in each Congress;
  • Committee seats allocated to the majority and minority parties, including Independents (where present), for each committee;
  • Majority-minority seat margin for each committee.

The committee ratios data for the 99th through 114th Congresses are taken from the official committee lists for each Congress issued by the Secretary of the Senate; the Congressional Directory is the source for the 98th Congress. The earliest editions of these primary documents are the sources for the data, although anomalies in some Congresses, such as a delay in seating a Senator due to a contested election, sometimes necessitated using later versions of the publications. Party strength in each Congress reflects numbers found in the Secretary's lists and the Congressional Directory. Different versions of the Secretary's list and the Congressional Directory, or the use of alternate sources or methodologies, could yield different results.

This report will be updated to reflect Senate committee party ratios in the 115th Congress.


Senate Committee Party Ratios: 98th-114th Congresses

Introduction

The party ratio in the Senate standing committees is the proportional number of members of each party caucus assigned to each committee. Determining sizes, ratios, and committee assignments are among the first actions taken after a general election and at the beginning of a Congress.

The standing rules of the Senate are silent on the subject of committee party ratios; the apportionment of committee seats results from discussions beginning in the early organization period between majority and minority party leadership.1 In general, the result of these discussions has been to apportion total committee seats to the majority and minority parties in a manner that corresponds to the party strength in the full chamber. A finding of this report indicates that the majority party ratios on committees roughly approximate the majority party strength in the Senate chamber, regardless of which party has been in control.

This report shows Senate committee party ratios for 17 Congresses, covering the period of the 98th Congress (1983-1985) through the 114th Congress (2015-2017). In addition to the standing committees, data on permanent select committees with legislative jurisdiction are also included. An additional table (Table 1) provides a comparison of majority party strength in the Senate chamber and total committee seats.

Sources and Method

The data presented in this report are drawn from the official committee assignment lists issued by the Secretary of the Senate, after assignments were made in each Congress.2 Data for the 107th Congress reflect committee ratios established after the Senate reorganization in June 2001 as a result of the end of power sharing.3 For the 99th through 114th Congresses, data on overall party strength in the Senate for each Congress were taken from the same lists.4 Overall party strength data for the 98th Congress were taken from the Congressional Directory. The data in this report are from the earliest available complete information of each Congress contained in these two primary documents.5

Table 1 shows a comparison of majority party strength in the Senate chamber with total majority committee seats for the 98th Congress (1983-1985) through the 114th Congress (2015-2017). Unfilled seats on committees (if so noted in the Secretaries' lists or the Congressional Directory) are counted in individual and overall committee totals for consistency.

Tables 2-18 show the following for each of the 17 Congresses examined, by majority, minority, and Independents (where present):

  • Senate party breakdown and majority margin
  • Total committee seats, majority and minority committee seats, and majority margin
  • The standing and select committees (with legislative jurisdiction) as established and named in each Congress
  • Committee seats allocated to the majority and minority parties, including Independents (where present), for each committee
  • Majority-minority seat margin for each committee.

Table 1. Comparison of Senate Majority Conference Members in Chamber and Committees: 98th -114th Congresses (1983-2017)

Congress

Majority Party

Majority Conference % of Senate Chamber

Majority Conference % Total Committee Seats

% Difference of Majority Conference Between Senate Chamber and Total Committee Seats

114th

Republican

54.0%

54.3%

0.3%

113th

Democrat

54.0%

53.5%

-0.5%

112th

Democrat

53.0%

53.7%

0.7%

111th

Democrat

60.0%

58.3%

-1.7%

110th

Democrat

51.0%

52.4%

1.4%

109th

Republican

55.0%

55.0%

0.0%

108th

Republican

51.0%

52.4%

1.4%

107th

Democrat

51.0%

52.4%

1.4%

106th

Republican

55.0%

55.2%

0.2%

105th

Republican

55.0%

55.2%

0.2%

104th

Republican

53.0%

54.4%

1.4%

103rd

Democrat

56.0%

55.8%

-0.2%

102nd

Democrat

57.0%

56.6%

-0.4%

101st

Democrat

55.0%

55.0%

0.0%

100th

Democrat

54.0%

54.8%

0.8%

99th

Republican

53.0%

53.8%

0.8%

98th

Republican

54.0%

54.7%

0.7%

Source: Data presented in this table are taken from Table 2 through Table 18; sources are cited for each table. Data in this table include Independents who caucused with the majority party. The second-to-last column presents the percentage of total committee seats for the majority conference.


Table 2. Senate Committee Party Ratios: 114th Congress (2015-2017)

 

Total

Distribution of Seats

Majority-Minority
Conference Seat Margin

 

 

Majority (R)

Minority (D)

Independent (I)

 

Total Senators

100

54

44

2

8

Total Committee Seats

376

204

162

10

32

Committees

Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

20

11

9

 

2

Appropriations

30

16

14

 

2

Armed Services

26

14

11

1

2

Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

22

12

10

 

2

Budget

22

12

8

2

2

Commerce, Science, and Transportation

24

13

11

 

2

Energy and Natural Resources

22

12

8

2

2

Environment and Public Works

20

11

8

1

2

Finance

26

14

12

 

2

Foreign Relations

19

10

9

 

1

Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

22

12

9

1

2

Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

16

9

7

 

2

Indian Affairs

14

8

6

 

2

Judiciary

20

11

9

 

2

Rules and Administration

18

10

7

1

2

Small Business and Entrepreneurship

19

10

9

 

1

Veterans' Affairs

15

8

6

1

1

Select Committee on Ethics

6

3

3

 

0

Select Committee on Intelligence

15

8

6

1

1

Source: The Senate of the United States Committee and Subcommittee Assignments for the One Hundred Fourteenth Congress, Prepared Under the Direction of Julie E. Adams, Secretary of the Senate, by John J. Merlino, Legislative Clerk, May 13, 2015 (Washington: GPO, 2015), S. Pub. 114-5.

Notes: Senators who caucused with the minority (Democrats): Senator Bernard Sanders, an Independent, and Senator Angus King, an Independent. Margins are calculated by adding these Senators' seats to the minority seats.

The Special Committee on Aging is the only other Senate committee to exist in the 114th Congress (exclusive of Senate assignments to joint committees). It has existed as a permanent committee since 1977. In the 114th Congress, it has total of 20 committee members, 11 Republicans, and 9 Democrats.

Table 3. Senate Committee Party Ratios: 113th Congress (2013-2015)

 

Total

Distribution of Seats

Majority-Minority
Conference Seat Margin

 

 

Majority (D)

Minority (R)

Independent (I)

 

Total Senators

100

52

46

2

8

Total Committee Seats

367

192

166

9

35

Committees

Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

20

11

9

 

2

Appropriations

30

16

14

 

2

Armed Services

26

13

12

1

2

Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

22

12

10

 

2

Budget

22

10

10

2

2

Commerce, Science, and Transportation

24

13

11

 

2

Energy and Natural Resources

22

11

10

1

2

Environment and Public Works

18

9

8

1

2

Finance

24

13

11

 

2

Foreign Relations

18

10

8

 

2

Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

22

11

10

1

2

Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

16

9

7

 

2

Indian Affairs

14

8

6

 

2

Judiciary

18

10

8

 

2

Rules and Administration

18

9

8

1

2

Small Business and Entrepreneurship

18

10

8

 

2

Veterans' Affairs

14

7

6

1

2

Select Committee on Ethics

6

3

3

 

0

Select Committee on Intelligence

15

7

7

1

1

Source: The Senate of the United States Committee and Subcommittee Assignments for the One Hundred Thirteenth Congress, Prepared Under the Direction of Nancy Erickson, Secretary of the Senate, by Kathleen Alvarez Tritak, Legislative Clerk, January 30, 2014 (Washington: GPO, 2014), S. Pub. 113-14.

Notes: Senators who caucused with the majority (Democrats): Senator Bernard Sanders, an Independent, and Senator Angus King, an Independent. Margins are calculated by adding these Senators' seats to the majority seats.

The Special Committee on Aging was the only other Senate committee to exist in the 113th Congress (exclusive of Senate assignments to joint committees). It has existed as a permanent committee since 1977. In the 113th Congress, it had total of 20 committee members, 11 Democrats, and 9 Republicans.

Table 4. Senate Committee Party Ratios: 112th Congress (2011-2013)

 

Total

Distribution of Seats

Majority-Minority
Conference Seat Margin

 

 

Majority (D)

Minority (R)

Indp.-Dem.

Indp.

 

Total Senators

100

51

47

1

1

6

Total Committee Seats

374

193

173

3

5

28

Committees

Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

21

11

10

 

 

1

Appropriations

30

16

14

 

 

2

Armed Services

26

13

12

1

 

2

Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

22

12

10

 

 

2

Budget

23

11

11

 

1

1

Commerce, Science, and Transportation

25

13

12

 

 

1

Energy and Natural Resources

22

11

10

 

1

2

Environment and Public Works

18

9

8

 

1

2

Finance

24

13

11

 

 

2

Foreign Relations

19

10

9

 

 

1

Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

22

11

10

 

1

2

Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

17

8

8

1

 

1

Indian Affairs

14

8

6

 

 

2

Judiciary

18

10

8

 

 

2

Rules and Administration

18

10

8

 

 

2

Small Business and Entrepreneurship

19

9

9

1

 

1

Veterans' Affairs

15

7

7

 

1

1

Select Committee on Ethics

6

3

3

 

 

0

Select Committee on Intelligence

15

8

7

 

 

1

Source: The Senate of the United States Committee and Subcommittee Assignments for the One Hundred Twelfth Congress, Prepared Under the Direction of Nancy Erickson, Secretary of the Senate, by Kathleen Alvarez Tritak, Legislative Clerk, April 8, 2011 (Washington: GPO, 2011), S. Pub. 112-6.

Notes: Senators who caucused with the majority (Democrats): Senator Joseph Lieberman, an Independent-Democrat, and Senator Bernard Sanders, an Independent. Margins are calculated by adding these Senators' seats to the majority seats.

The Special Committee on Aging was the only other Senate committee to exist in the 112th Congress (exclusive of Senate assignments to joint committees). It has existed as a permanent committee since 1977. In the 112th Congress, it has total of 21 committee members, 11 Democrats and 10 Republicans.

Table 5. Senate Committee Party Ratios: 111th Congress (2009-2011)

 

Total

Distribution of Seats

Majority-Minority
Conference Seat Margin

 

 

Majority (D)

Minority (R)

Indp.-Dem.

Indp.

 

Total Senators

100

58

40

1

1

20

Total Committee Seats

379

213

158

3

5

63

Committees

Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

21

12

9

 

 

3

Appropriations

30

18

12

 

 

6

Armed Services

26

14

11

1

 

4

Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

23

13

10

 

 

3

Budget

23

12

10

 

1

3

Commerce, Science, and Transportation

25

14

11

 

 

3

Energy and Natural Resources

23

12

10

 

1

3

Environment and Public Works

19

11

7

 

1

5

Finance

23

13

10

 

 

3

Foreign Relations

19

11

8

 

 

3

Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

23

12

10

 

1

3

Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

17

9

7

1

 

3

Indian Affairs

15

9

6

 

 

3

Judiciary

19

12

7

 

 

5

Rules and Administration

19

11

8

 

 

3

Small Business and Entrepreneurship

19

10

8

1

 

3

Veterans' Affairs

15

9

5

 

1

5

Select Committee on Ethics

6

3

3

 

 

0

Select Committee on Intelligence

14

8

6

 

 

2

Source: The Senate of the United States Committee and Subcommittee Assignments for the One Hundred Eleventh Congress, Prepared Under the Direction of Nancy Erickson, Secretary of the Senate, by Kathleen Alvarez Tritak, Legislative Clerk, October 19, 2009 (Washington: GPO, 2009), S. Pub. 111-13. (An earlier version dated June 3, 2009 (S. Pub. 111-9), listed 99 Senators while the result of the Minnesota election was not yet resolved.)

Notes: Data in this table reflect the results of a contested election. After the June 30, 2009, Minnesota State Supreme Court ruling, Senator Al Franken was sworn into office on July 7, 2009. Senator Arlen Specter changed his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat on April 30, 2009.

Senator Scott Brown was elected to the Senate in a January 19, 2010, special election, and was sworn into office on February 4, 2010. After that election, the party division changed to 57 (Democrats) and 41 (Republicans).

Senators who caucused with the majority (Democrats): Senator Joseph Lieberman, an Independent-Democrat, and Senator Bernard Sanders, an Independent. Margins are calculated by adding these Senators' seats to the majority seats.

Table 6. Senate Committee Party Ratios: 110th Congress (2007-2009)

 

Total

Distribution of Seats

Majority-Minority
Conference Seat Margin

 

 

Majority (D)

Minority (R)

Indp.-Dem.

Indp.

 

Total Senators

100

49

49

1

1

2

Total Committee Seats

372

186

177

4

5

18

Committees

Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

21

11

10

 

 

1

Appropriations

29

15

14

 

 

1

Armed Services

25

12

12

1

 

1

Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

21

11

10

 

 

1

Budget

23

11

11

 

1

1

Commerce, Science, and Transportation

23

12

11

 

 

1

Energy and Natural Resources

23

11

11

 

1

1

Environment and Public Works

19

8

9

1

1

1

Finance

21

11

10

 

 

1

Foreign Relations

21

11

10

 

 

1

Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

21

10

10

 

1

1

Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

17

8

8

1

 

1

Indian Affairs

15

8

7

 

 

1

Judiciary

19

10

9

 

 

1

Rules and Administration

19

10

9

 

 

1

Small Business and Entrepreneurship

19

9

9

1

 

1

Veterans' Affairs

15

7

7

 

1

1

Select Committee on Ethics

6

3

3

 

 

0

Select Committee on Intelligence

15

8

7

 

 

1

Source: The Senate of the United States Committee and Subcommittee Assignments for the One Hundred Tenth Congress, Prepared Under the Direction of Nancy Erickson, Secretary of the Senate, by David J. Tinsley, Legislative Clerk, April 2, 2007 (Washington: GPO, 2007), S. Pub. 110-5.

Note: Independent Members caucused with the majority (Democrats): Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut was reelected in 2006 as an Independent, and became an Independent-Democrat. Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont was elected as an Independent.

Table 7. Senate Committee Party Ratios: 109th Congress (2005-2007)

 

 

Distribution of Seats

Majority-Minority
Conference Seat Margin

 

Total

Majority (R)

Minority (D)

Indp.

 

Total Senators

100

55

44

1

10

Total Committee Seats

353

194

155

4

35

Committees

Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

20

11

9

 

2

Appropriations

28

15

13

 

2

Armed Services

24

13

11

 

2

Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

20

11

9

 

2

Budget

22

12

10

 

2

Commerce, Science, and Transportation

22

12

10

 

2

Energy and Natural Resources

22

12

10

 

2

Environment and Public Works

18

10

7

1

2

Finance

20

11

8

1

2

Foreign Relations

18

10

8

 

2

Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

20

11

8

1

2

Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

16

9

7

 

2

Indian Affairs

14

8

6

 

2

Judiciary

18

10

8

 

2

Rules and Administration

18

10

8

 

2

Small Business and Entrepreneurship

18

10

8

 

2

Veterans' Affairs

14

8

5

1

2

Select Committee on Ethics

6

3

3

 

0

Select Committee on Intelligence

15

8

7

 

1

Source: The Senate of the United States Committee and Subcommittee Assignments for the One Hundred Ninth Congress, Prepared Under the Direction of Emily J. Reynolds, Secretary of the Senate, by David J. Tinsley, Legislative Clerk, April 25, 2005 (Washington: GPO, 2005), S. Pub. 109-10.

Note: Senator James M. Jeffords, an Independent, caucused with the minority (Democrats).

Table 8. Senate Committee Party Ratios: 108th Congress (2003-2005)

 

 

Distribution of Seats

Majority-Minority
Conference Seat Margin

 

Total

Majority (R)

Minority (D)

Indp.

 

Total Senators

100

51

48

1

2

Total Committee Seats

372

195

173

4

18

Committees

Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

21

11

10

 

1

Appropriations

29

15

14

 

1

Armed Services

25

13

12

 

1

Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

21

11

10

 

1

Budget

23

12

11

 

1

Commerce, Science, and Transportation

23

12

11

 

1

Energy and Natural Resources

23

12

11

 

1

Environment and Public Works

19

10

8

1

1

Finance

21

11

9

1

1

Foreign Relations

19

10

9

 

1

Governmental Affairs

17

9

8

 

1

Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

21

11

9

1

1

Indian Affairs

15

8

7

 

1

Judiciary

19

10

9

 

1

Rules and Administration

19

10

9

 

1

Small Business and Entrepreneurship

19

10

9

 

1

Veterans' Affairs

15

8

6

1

1

Select Committee on Ethics

6

3

3

 

0

Select Committee on Intelligence

17

9

8

 

1

Source: The Senate of the United States Committee and Subcommittee Assignments for the One Hundred Eighth Congress, Prepared Under the Direction of Emily J. Reynolds, Secretary of the Senate, by David J. Tinsley, Legislative Clerk, March 31, 2003 (Washington: GPO, 2003), S. Pub. 108-5.

Note: Senator James M. Jeffords, an Independent, caucused with the minority (Democrats).

Table 9. Senate Committee Party Ratios: 107th Congress (2001-2003)

 

 

Distribution of Seats

Majority-Minority
Conference Seat Margin

 

Total

Majority (D)

Minority (R)

Indp.

 

Total Senators

100

50

49

1

2

Total Committee Seats

372

191

177

4

18

Committees

Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

21

11

10

 

1

Appropriations

29

15

14

 

1

Armed Services

25

13

12

 

1

Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

21

11

10

 

1

Budget

23

12

11

 

1

Commerce, Science, and Transportation

23

12

11

 

1

Energy and Natural Resources

23

12

11

 

1

Environment and Public Works

19

9

9

1

1

Finance

21

10

10

1

1

Foreign Relations

19

10

9

 

1

Governmental Affairs

17

9

8

 

1

Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

21

10

10

1

1

Indian Affairs

15

8

7

 

1

Judiciary

19

10

9

 

1

Rules and Administration

19

10

9

 

1

Small Business and Entrepreneurship

19

10

9

 

1

Veterans' Affairs

15

7

7

1

1

Select Committee on Ethics

6

3

3

 

0

Select Committee on Intelligence

17

9

8

 

1

Source: The Senate of the United States Committee and Subcommittee Assignments for the One Hundred Seventh Congress, Prepared Under the Direction of Jeri Thomson, Secretary of the Senate, by David J. Tinsley, Legislative Clerk, November 29, 2001 (Washington: GPO, 2001), S. Pub. 107-21.

Notes: This table reflects data compiled after the June 2001 end of power sharing. At the beginning of the 107th Congress, the Senate was divided equally between Republicans and Democrats. As a result, Democrats chaired all committees for the first 17 days of the session, and Republicans assumed the committee chairmanships following the inauguration of Vice President Richard Cheney, whose ability to break tie votes made it possible for Republicans to organize the Senate. S.Res. 8, an historic power-sharing agreement was presented by party leaders and agreed to on January 5, 2001. As a result of one Republican announcing his intention to become an Independent and switch party caucuses in May 2001, the Republicans were reduced to 49 seats and the Democrats, with 50 seats, gained control of the Senate in June 2001. A provision of S.Res. 120, agreed to on June 29, 2001, gave the majority a one seat advantage on every committee of the Senate (except for Ethics). The resolution further provided that no Senator would lose a committee seat by virtue of the resolution.

Senator James M. Jeffords changed party affiliation from Republican to Independent and caucused with Democrats effective June 6, 2001.

Table 10. Senate Committee Party Ratios: 106th Congress (1999-2001)

 

 

Distribution of Seats

Majority-Minority
Conference Seat Margin

 

Total

Majority (R)

Minority (D)

 

Total Senators

100

55

45

10

Total Committee Seats

339

187

152

35

Committees

Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

18

10

8

2

Appropriations

28

15

13

2

Armed Services

20

11

9

2

Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

20

11

9

2

Budget

22

12

10

2

Commerce, Science, and Transportation

20

11

9

2

Energy and Natural Resources

20

11

9

2

Environment and Public Works

18

10

8

2

Finance

20

11

9

2

Foreign Relations

18

10

8

2

Governmental Affairs

16

9

7

2

Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

18

10

8

2

Indian Affairs

14

8

6

2

Judiciary

18

10

8

2

Rules and Administration

16

9

7

2

Small Business

18

10

8

2

Veterans' Affairs

12

7

5

2

Select Committee on Ethics

6

3

3

0

Select Committee on Intelligence

17

9

8

1

Source: The Senate of the United States Committee and Subcommittee Assignments for the One Hundred Sixth Congress, Prepared Under the Direction of Gary Sisco, Secretary of the Senate, by David J. Tinsley, Legislative Clerk, March 29, 1999 (Washington: GPO, 1999), S. Pub. 106-3.

Table 11. Senate Committee Party Ratios: 105th Congress (1997-1999)

 

 

Distribution of Seats

Majority-Minority
Conference Seat Margin

 

Total

Majority (R)

Minority (D)

 

Total Senators

100

55

45

10

Total Committee Seats

337

186

151

35

Committees

Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

18

10

8

2

Appropriations

28

15

13

2

Armed Services

18

10

8

2

Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

18

10

8

2

Budget

22

12

10

2

Commerce, Science, and Transportation

20

11

9

2

Energy and Natural Resources

20

11

9

2

Environment and Public Works

18

10

8

2

Finance

20

11

9

2

Foreign Relations

18

10

8

2

Governmental Affairs

16

9

7

2

Labor and Human Resources

18

10

8

2

Indian Affairs

14

8

6

2

Judiciary

18

10

8

2

Rules and Administration

16

9

7

2

Small Business

18

10

8

2

Veterans' Affairs

12

7

5

2

Select Committee on Ethics

6

3

3

0

Select Committee on Intelligence

19

10

9

1

Source: The Senate of the United States Committee and Subcommittee Assignments for the One Hundred Fifth Congress, Prepared Under the Direction of Gary Sisco, Secretary of the Senate, by R. Scott Bates, Legislative Clerk, February 14, 1997 (Washington: GPO, 1997), S. Pub. 105-6. (An interim list was published dated Jan. 9, 1997, S. Pub. 3.)

Table 12. Senate Committee Party Ratios: 104th Congress (1995-1997)

 

 

Distribution of Seats

Majority-Minority
Conference Seat Margin

 

Total

Majority (R)

Minority (D)

 

Total Senators

100

53

47

6

Total Committee Seats

331

180

151

29

Committees

Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

17

9

8

1

Appropriations

28

15

13

2

Armed Services

21

11

10

1

Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

16

9

7

2

Budget

22

12

10

2

Commerce, Science, and Transportation

19

10

9

1

Energy and Natural Resources

18

10

8

2

Environment and Public Works

16

9

7

2

Finance

20

11

9

2

Foreign Relations

18

10

8

2

Governmental Affairs

15

8

7

1

Labor and Human Resources

16

9

7

2

Indian Affairs

17

9

8

1

Judiciary

18

10

8

2

Rules and Administration

16

9

7

2

Small Business

19

10

9

1

Veterans' Affairs

12

7

5

2

Select Committee on Ethics

6

3

3

0

Select Committee on Intelligence

17

9

8

1

Source: The Senate of the United States Committee and Subcommittee Assignments for the One Hundred Fourth Congress, Prepared Under the Direction of Sheila P. Burke, Secretary of the Senate, by R. Scott Bates, Legislative Clerk, February 27, 1995 (Washington: GPO, 1995), S. Pub. 104-6. (An incomplete interim list was published on January 25, 1995, S. Pub. 104-3.)

Note: Data reflect Senator Richard Shelby's party affiliation change from Democrat to Republican, a few days after the 1994 election, on November 9, 1994. Data do not reflect Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell's party affiliation change from Democrat to Republican on March 3, 1995, because it occurred after the February 27, 1995, publication was issued.

Table 13. Senate Committee Party Ratios: 103rd Congress (1993-1995)

 

 

Distribution of Seats

Majority-Minority
Conference Seat Margin

 

Total

Majority (D)

Minority (R)

 

Total Senators

100

56

44

12

Total Committee Seats

346

193

153

40

Committees

Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

18

10

8

2

Appropriations

29

16

13

3

Armed Services

22

12

10

2

Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

19

11

8

3

Budget

21

12

9

3

Commerce, Science, and Transportation

20

11

9

2

Energy and Natural Resources

20

11

9

2

Environment and Public Works

17

10

7

3

Finance

20

11

9

2

Foreign Relations

20

11

9

2

Governmental Affairs

14

8

6

2

Labor and Human Resources

17

10

7

3

Indian Affairs

18

10

8

2

Judiciary

18

10

8

2

Rules and Administration

16

9

7

2

Small Business

22

12

10

2

Veterans' Affairs

12

7

5

2

Select Committee on Ethics

6

3

3

0

Select Committee on Intelligence

17

9

8

1

Source: The Senate of the United States Committees and Subcommittees Assignments for the One Hundred Third Congress, Prepared Under the Direction of Walter J. Stewart, Secretary of the Senate, by R. Scott Bates, Legislative Clerk, Nov. 22, 1993 (Washington: GPO, 1993), S. Pub. 103-10. (Prior to this list, there were three interim committee lists: S. Pub. 103-1 (February 19, 1993), S. Pub. 103-3 (March 24, 1993), and S. Pub. 103-7 (July 20, 1993).)

Note: In 1984, the Select Committee on Indian Affairs became a permanent committee (S.Res. 127). Later, in 1993, the Select Committee on Indian Affairs was redesignated as the Committee on Indian Affairs (S.Res. 71).

Table 14. Senate Committee Party Ratios: 102nd Congress (1991-1993)

 

 

Distribution of Seats

Majority-Minority
Conference Seat Margin

 

Total

Majority (D)

Minority (R)

 

Total Senators

100

57

43

14

Total Committee Seats

332

188

144

44

Committees

Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

18

10

8

2

Appropriations

29

16

13

3

Armed Services

20

11

9

2

Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

21

12

9

3

Budget

21

12

9

3

Commerce, Science, and Transportation

20

11

9

2

Energy and Natural Resources

20

11

9

2

Environment and Public Works

17

10

7

3

Finance

19

11

8

3

Foreign Relations

19

11

8

3

Governmental Affairs

13

8

5

3

Labor and Human Resources

17

10

7

3

Judiciary

14

8

6

2

Rules and Administration

16

9

7

2

Small Business

19

11

8

3

Veterans' Affairs

12

7

5

2

Select Committee on Ethics

6

3

3

0

Select Committee on Indian Affairs

16

9

7

2

Select Committee on Intelligence

15

8

7

1

Source: List of Standing Committees and Subcommittees and Select and Special Committees and Committee Assignments and list of Senators by State of the Senate of the United States Together with Certain Joint Committees of the Congress for the One Hundred Second Congress, Prepared Under the Direction of Walter J. Stewart, Secretary of the Senate, by Barry J. Wolk, Director of Senate Printing Services, Sept. 23, 1991 (Washington: GPO, 1991), S. Pub. 102-9. (Two interim lists were issued: S. Pub. 102-3 (March 25, 1991) and S. Pub. 102-7 (June 21, 1991).)

Table 15. Senate Committee Party Ratios: 101st Congress (1989-1991)

 

 

Distribution of Seats

Majority-Minority
Conference Seat Margin

 

Total

Majority (D)

Minority (R)

 

Total Senators

100

55

45

10

Total Committee Seats

327

180

147

33

Committees

Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

19

10

9

1

Appropriations

29

16

13

3

Armed Services

20

11

9

2

Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

21

12

9

3

Budget

23

13

10

3

Commerce, Science, and Transportation

20

11

9

2

Energy and Natural Resources

19

10

9

1

Environment and Public Works

16

9

7

2

Finance

20

11

9

2

Foreign Relations

19

10

9

1

Governmental Affairs

14

8

6

2

Labor and Human Resources

16

9

7

2

Judiciary

14

8

6

2

Rules and Administration

16

9

7

2

Small Business

19

10

9

1

Veterans' Affairs

11

6

5

1

Select Committee on Ethics

6

3

3

0

Select Committee on Indian Affairs

10

6

4

2

Select Committee on Intelligence

15

8

7

1

Source: List of Standing Committees and Subcommittees and Subcommittees and Select and Special Committees and Committee Assignments and List of Senators by State of the Senate of the United States Together with Certain Joint Committees of the One Hundred First Congress, Prepared Under the Direction of Walter J. Stewart, Secretary of the Senate, by Barry J. Wolk, Director of Senate Printing Services, May 19, 1989 (Washington: GPO, 1989), S. Pub. 101-1. (An interim list was issued, S. Pub. 101-1 (March 15, 1989).)

Table 16. Senate Committee Party Ratios: 100th Congress (1987-1989)

 

 

Distribution of Seats

Majority-Minority
Conference Seat Margin

 

Total

Majority(D)

Minority (R)

 

Total Senators

100

54

46

8

Total Committee Seats

325

178

147

31

Committees

Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

19

10

9

1

Appropriations

29

16

13

3

Armed Services

20

11

9

2

Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

20

11

9

2

Budget

24

13

11

2

Commerce, Science, and Transportation

20

11

9

2

Energy and Natural Resources

19

10

9

1

Environment and Public Works

16

9

7

2

Finance

20

11

9

2

Foreign Relations

19

10

9

1

Governmental Affairs

14

8

6

2

Labor and Human Resources

16

9

7

2

Judiciary

14

8

6

2

Rules and Administration

16

9

7

2

Small Business

19

10

9

1

Veterans' Affairs

11

6

5

1

Select Committee on Ethics

6

3

3

0

Select Committee on Indian Affairs

8

5

3

2

Select Committee on Intelligence

15

8

7

1

Source: List of Standing Committees and Subcommittees and Subcommittees and Select and Special Committees and Committee Assignments and List of Senators by State of the Senate of the United States Together with Certain Joint Committees of the One Hundredth Congress, Prepared Under the Direction of Walter J. Stewart, Secretary of the Senate, by Barry J. Wolk, Director of Senate Printing Services, July 1, 1987 (Washington: GPO, 1987), S. Pub. 100-1.

Table 17. Senate Committee Party Ratios: 99th Congress (1985-1987)

 

 

Distribution of Seats

Majority-Minority
Conference Seat Margin

 

Total

Majority (R)

Minority (D)

 

Total Senators

100

53

47

6

Total Committee Seats

312

168

144

24

Committees

Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

17

9

8

1

Appropriations

29

15

14

1

Armed Services

19

10

9

1

Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

15

8

7

1

Budget

22

12

10

2

Commerce, Science, and Transportation

17

9

8

1

Energy and Natural Resources

18

10

8

2

Environment and Public Works

15

8

7

1

Finance

20

11

9

2

Foreign Relations

17

9

8

1

Governmental Affairs

13

7

6

1

Labor and Human Resources

16

9

7

2

Judiciary

18

10

8

2

Rules and Administration

15

8

7

1

Small Business

19

10

9

1

Veterans' Affairs

12

7

5

2

Select Committee on Ethics

6

3

3

0

Select Committee on Indian Affairs

9

5

4

1

Select Committee on Intelligence

15

8

7

1

Source: List of Standing Committees and Select and Special Committees and Committee Assignments and List of Senators by State of the Senate of the United States Together with Certain Joint Committees of the Congress for the Ninety-Ninth Congress (Preliminary), Prepared Under the Direction of Jo-Anne L. Coe, Secretary of the Senate, by Barry J. Wolk, Director of Senate Printing Services, April 1, 1985 (Washington: GPO, 1985), S. Pub. 99-2. (All the Secretary of the Senate committee lists in this Congress were marked preliminary. Later preliminary versions were S. Pub. 99-6 (May 1, 1985), S. Pub. 99-9 (October 1, 1985), and S. Pub. 99-15 (August 1, 1986).)

Table 18. Senate Committee Party Ratios: 98th Congress (1983-1985)

 

 

Distribution of Seats

Majority-Minority
Conference Seat Margin

 

Total

Majority (R)

Minority (D)

 

Total Senators

100

54

46

8

Total Committee Seats

320

175

145

30

Committees

Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

18

10

8

2

Appropriations

29

15

14

1

Armed Services

18

10

8

2

Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

18

10

8

2

Budget

22

12

10

2

Commerce, Science, and Transportation

17

9

8

1

Energy and Natural Resources

20

11

9

2

Environment and Public Works

16

9

7

2

Finance

20

11

9

2

Foreign Relations

17

9

8

1

Governmental Affairs

18

10

8

2

Judiciary

18

10

8

2

Labor and Human Resources

18

10

8

2

Rules and Administration

12

7

5

2

Small Business

19

10

9

1

Veterans' Affairs

12

7

5

2

Select Committee on Ethics

6

3

3

0

Select Committee on Indian Affairs

7

4

3

1

Select Committee on Intelligence

15

8

7

1

Source: Congressional Directory, 98th Cong., 1st sess. (Washington: GPO, 1983). Data are based on closing date for compiling Directory material, March 31, 1983.

Note: In 1984, the Select Committee on Indian Affairs was made a permanent committee of the Senate (S. Res. 127).

Author Contact Information

Matthew Eric Glassman, Analyst on the Congress ([email address scrubbed], [phone number scrubbed])
[author name scrubbed], Analyst in American National Government ([email address scrubbed], [phone number scrubbed])

Acknowledgments

Lorraine Tong was the original author of this report. The listed authors have updated the report and are available to respond to questions related to House/Senate Committee party ratios.

Footnotes

1.

Committee sizes appear in Senate Rule 25, but party leaders regularly negotiate other committee sizes as well as party ratios.

2.

Data are generally taken from the first official list prepared as a Senate publication, excluding lists marked "interim" or "preliminary," which may be incomplete, under the direction of the Secretary of the Senate. There were some anomalies during the period examined in this report. For example, most of the lists were issued in the spring of the first session of each Congress. In the 99th Congress, all the Secretary's lists were marked preliminary for the entire Congress. The dates of the publications are footnoted for each table. As will be noted, the 107th Congress was an exception due to the unusual circumstances of the equally divided Senate (see footnote 3). The 111th Congress was also an exception due to a contested election, which resulted in delaying for months the seating of one Senator.

3.

At the beginning of the 107th Congress, the Senate was divided equally between Republicans and Democrats. As a result, Democrats chaired all committees for the first 17 days of the session, and Republicans assumed the committee chairmanships following the inauguration of Vice President Richard Cheney. A power-sharing agreement, S.Res. 8, was presented by party leaders and agreed to on January 5, 2001. In June 2001, after one Republican announced his intention to become an Independent, and switch party caucuses, the Republicans were reduced to 49 seats and the Democrats, with 50 seats, gained control of the Senate. A provision of S.Res. 120, agreed to on June 29, 2001, gave the majority a one seat advantage on each Senate committee (except for the Ethics Committee). The resolution further provided that no Senator would lose a committee seat by virtue of the resolution. For more details, see CRS Report RL30881, Senate Organization in the 107th Congress: Agreements Reached in a Closely Divided Senate, by [author name scrubbed].

4.

Party division data cited in the Secretary's committees list may differ with party data published immediately following the November elections.

5.

Anomalies and caveats are appropriately noted in table footnotes. Use of other versions of the primary documents, and the use of alternate sources or methodologies, may yield different results. For example, data from other sources or time frames reflecting the number of Senators representing a particular party may change during a Congress, due to the death or resignation of a Senator, or as a consequence of a Senator changing party affiliation, and could yield another result.