45 million 18-29 year olds will be eligible to vote in this year's presidential election, representing the largest potential voting bloc in the country. Learn more about the issues, register to vote and get involved with MTV's Power of 12. Today, we've got another "Jargon Buster" for you.
Congressional committee: a sub-organization within the US Congress, responsible for a specific issue, task or concern.
So there's Congress. It's big. It's made up of oodles of legislators making a huge range of decisions affecting our nation. Fortunately, not every member of Congress is responsible for knowing everything about everything. Phew. Instead, there are little groups within the whole that specialize in breaking down and understanding particular legal topics. After they've sifted through 'em, each committee can bring it to Congress at large for final decisions.
If you have a heart problem that might require surgery, you'd probably go to a surgeon, duh. But going to a brain surgeon might not do you much good. Fortunately, there are doctors who spend their whole lives perfecting heart surgery. That's who you'd visit. Makes sense, right?
Likewise, you'd want a band's drummer to stick to the drums, the bassist to stick to the bass in the name of sweet music.
Lawmakers in-the-know about agriculture might not be the folks to consult when it comes to armed forces. That's why we have the House Committee on Agriculture, the House Committee on Armed Forces, and lots of other mini-Congresses that then present particular bills to their peers, having already done the heart surgery ... or drumming ... or legal research, as it so happens.
FYI: If you hear the term "Joint Committee," it's referring to the few groups that combine Congressional Committees and Senate Committees (yes, there are Senate Committees, too). An example might be the Joint Economic Committee ... because some issues need all the expertise they can get.