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Senate Creates Permanent Committees

Judiciary Committee, 1937

For its first quarter century, the Senate relied on three- to five-member temporary (or select) committees to sift and refine legislative proposals. The emergency conditions of the War of 1812 accelerated the transition from temporary to permanent committees by highlighting the importance of legislative continuity and expertise. On December 10, 1816, the Senate took the final step and formally converted 11 major select panels into permanent “standing” committees.