Experts Call Upon Senate to Stabilize Committee Staff

The Honorable Mitch McConnell, United States Senate
The Honorable Harry Reid, United States Senate
The Honorable John Cornyn, United States Senate
The Honorable Dick Durbin, United States Senate

October 18, 2016

Dear Majority Leader McConnell, Majority Whip Cornyn, Democratic Leader Reid, and Democratic Whip Durbin:

The United States Senate is an institution rooted in history and tradition. Its long serving members and staff are a repository of policy expertise that serve as a counterweight to an often over-assertive executive branch. We encourage the Senate to continue to implement its rule on committee staff, Rule XXVII, in a way that reinforces one of the Senate’s key strengths: its committees.

The Senate has approximately 900 committee staff. Senate Rule XXVII requires committee staff reflect the relative number of majority and minority members serving on the committee, with no fewer than 1/3 of the staff hired by the minority.[1] Starting in the 112th Congress, leadership agreed to a new funding approach for committees that reflects the party division of the Senate while recognizing the majority’s need for resources “commensurate with its responsibilities in administering the committee.”[2] In effect, committee resources are proportionally split between the parties in a way that reflects the composition of the chamber, with some additional funds available to the majority to manage each committee….(Read more at