United States Senate
|Formed||December 10, 1816|
|Chair|| Ron Wyden (D) |
Since February 3, 2021
|Ranking member|| Mike Crapo (R) |
Since February 3, 2021
|Political parties||Majority (14)|
|Policy areas||Children's Health Insurance Program, Customs, Deposit of public moneys, Duties, Federal trust funds, Healthcare finance, International trade, Mandatory spending, Medicare, Medicaid, National debt, Ports of entry, Public pensions, Revenue measures for territorial possessions, Revenue sharing, Social Security, Taxation, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Trade agreements, Unemployment insurance|
|Oversight authority||Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, Bureau of the Fiscal Service, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Department of the Treasury, Federal Employees Retirement System, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, Internal Revenue Service, Joint Committee on Taxation, Office of the United States Trade Representative, Social Security Administration, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, United States Customs and Border Protection|
|House counterpart||House Committee on Ways and Means|
| 304 Dirksen Senate Office Building |
The United States Senate Committee on Finance (or, less formally, Senate Finance Committee) is a standing committee of the United States Senate. The Committee concerns itself with matters relating to taxation and other revenue measures generally, and those relating to the insular possessions; bonded debt of the United States; customs, collection districts, and ports of entry and delivery; deposit of public moneys; general revenue sharing; health programs under the Social Security Act (notably Medicare and Medicaid) and health programs financed by a specific tax or trust fund; national social security; reciprocal trade agreements; tariff and import quotas, and related matters thereto; and the transportation of dutiable goods.It is considered to be one of the most powerful committees in Congress.
The Committee on Finance is one of the original committees established in the Senate. First created on December 11, 1815, as a select committee and known as the Committee on Finance and an [sic] Uniform National Currency, it was formed to alleviate economic issues arising from the War of 1812. On December 10, 1816 the Senate officially created the Committee on Finance as a standing committee. Originally, the Committee had power over tariffs, taxation, banking and currency issues and appropriations. Under this authority the committee played an influential role in the most heated topics of the era; including numerous tariffs issues and the Bank War.The committee was also influential in the creation of the Department of Interior in 1849. Under the Chairmanship of William Pitt Fessenden, the committee played a decisive role during the Civil War. Appropriating all funds for the war effort as well as raising enough funds to finance the war through tariffs and the nation's first income tax. Additionally, the committee produced the Legal Tender Act of 1862, the nation's first reliance on paper currency.
In 1865 the House of Representatives created an Appropriations Committee to relieve the burden from the Committee on Ways and Means. The Senate followed this example by forming the Senate Appropriations Committee in 1867.
Despite the loss of one of its signature duties the committee continued to play a prominent role in the major issues of the nation. The committee was at the center of the debate over the silver question in the latter half of the 19th Century. Passage of the Bland–Allison Act and the Sherman Silver Purchase Act were attempts to remedy the demand for silver, though the silver cause would eventually fail by the end of the century. , 157 U.S. 429 (1895) ruled the income tax as unconstitutional, since it was not based on apportionment. The fight for an income tax finally culminated with the Payne–Aldrich Tariff Act of 1909. In order to pass the new tariff Senate leaders, including Chairman Nelson Aldrich, allowed for a Constitutional Amendment to be passed. Four years later the 16th Amendment was officially ratified and in 1913 the nation's first peacetime income tax was instituted.The committee also continued to play a role in the debate over income taxes. The repeal of the Civil War income taxes in the 1870s would eventually be raised in 1894 with the passage of a new income tax law. The Supreme Court's decision in Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Co.
Around that same time the committee lost jurisdiction over banking and currency issues to the newly created Committee on Banking and Currency. The committee did gain jurisdiction over veterans’ benefits when it successfully passed the War Risk Insurance Act of 1917. The act shifted pensions from gratuities to benefits and which served as one of the first life insurance programs created under the federal government.
The Finance Committee continued to play an increasingly important role in the lives of the nation's veterans. The committee helped to consolidate the veteran bureaucracy by streamlining the various responsibilities into a Veterans' Bureau which ultimately would become the Veterans' Administration. In 1924 the committee passed a "Bonus Bill" for World War I veterans which compensated veterans of that war for their service.These series of increasing and providing better benefits for veterans reached a crescendo in 1944 with the passage of the Servicemen's Readjustment Act. Senator Bennett "Champ" Clark, who served as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Veterans, assured smooth sailing of the bill through the Senate. The bill not only ended the usual demands from returning veterans which had been seen in nearly every war America had participated in, but also provided the most generous benefits that veterans had ever received, including continuing education, loans and unemployment insurance.
Not all Finance Committee legislation was as well received as the G.I. Bill. At the beginning of the Great Depression the committee passed the Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act. The act greatly increased tariffs and had a negative effect on the nation's economy. Following traditional economic practices the members of the committee, including Chairman Reed Smoot, felt that protection of American businesses was required in order to buoy them during the dire economic times. The effort backfired and the economic situation worsened. The Smoot-Hawley Tariff would eventually be replaced by the Reciprocal Tariff Act of 1934 which authorized the President to negotiate trade agreements. This act not only set up the trade policy system as it exists today but also effectively transferred trade making policy from the Congress to the President.
The committee also played an important role in two major acts created under the New Deal. The committee received jurisdiction over the National Industrial Recovery Act because of tax code changes in the bill. The new bureaucracy was President Franklin D. Roosevelt's attempt to stimulate the economy and promote jobs for unemployed Americans while also regulating businesses. The National Recovery Administration would ultimately fail as it lost public support but the act served as a springboard to the Wagner Act and the National Labor Board.
Probably the single biggest, and by far one of the most lasting, piece of legislation enacted by the Finance Committee during the New Deal was the Social Security Act. Once again the committee received jurisdiction owing to the payroll taxes that would be enacted to pay for the new program. The act was the first effort by the federal government to provide benefits to the elderly and the unemployed. The act greatly enhanced the economic welfare of many elderly Americans.
In 1981, a Senate Resolution required the printing of the History of the Committee on Finance.
The role of the Committee on Finance is very similar to that of the House Committee on Ways and Means. The one exception in area of jurisdiction is that the Committee on Finance has jurisdiction over both Medicare and Medicaid, while the House Ways and Means Committee only has jurisdiction over Medicare. (The House Energy and Commerce Committee has jurisdiction over Medicaid.) The other difference in terms of power is that all revenue raising measures must originate in the House giving the Ways and Means Committee a slight edge in setting tax policy. In addition to having jurisdiction over legislation the Committee has extensive oversight powers. It has authority to investigate, review and evaluate existing laws, and the agencies that implement them.
In accordance of Rule XXV of the United States Senate, all proposed legislation, messages, petitions, memorials, and other matters relating to the following subjects is referred to the Senate Committee on Finance:
Given its broad remit with regards to taxation, mandatory spending, international trade, Social Security, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, interest on the national debt, and healthcare finance - including Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children's Health Insurance Program - the Senate Committee on Finance is arguably one of the most influential standing committees in either house of Congress.In consequence of its broad jurisdiction, a wide array of senators with differing policy interests seek membership on the Committee because of its role in setting fiscal policy, tax policy, trade policy, health policy, and social policy.
|Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure||Michael Bennet (D-CO)||James Lankford (R-OK)|
|Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Growth||Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)||Bill Cassidy (R-LA)|
|Health Care||Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)||Steve Daines (R-MT)|
|International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness||Tom Carper (D-DE)||John Cornyn (R-TX)|
|Social Security, Pensions, and Family Policy||Sherrod Brown (D-OH)||Todd Young (R-IN)|
|Taxation and IRS Oversight||Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)||John Thune (R-SD)|
|George W. Campbell||Democratic-Republican||Tennessee||1815–1818|
|John Wayles Eppes||Democratic-Republican||Virginia||1818–1819|
|Nathan Sanford||Democratic-Republican||New York||1819–1821|
|Silas Wright||Jacksonian||New York||1836–1841|
|Levi Woodbury||Democratic||New Hampshire||1845|
|John C. Calhoun||Democratic||South Carolina||1845–1846|
|Dixon H. Lewis||Democratic||Alabama||1846–1847|
|Charles G. Atherton||Democratic||New Hampshire||1847–1849|
|Daniel S. Dickinson||Democratic||New York||1849–1850|
|Robert M. T. Hunter||Democratic||Virginia||1850–1861|
|James A. Pearce||Democratic||Maryland||1861|
|William P. Fessenden||Republican||Maine||1861–1864|
|William P. Fessenden||Republican||Maine||1865–1867|
|Justin Smith Morrill||Republican||Vermont||1877–1879|
|Thomas F. Bayard, Sr.||Democratic||Delaware||1879–1881|
|Justin Smith Morrill||Republican||Vermont||1881–1893|
|Daniel W. Voorhees||Democratic||Indiana||1893–1895|
|Justin Smith Morrill||Republican||Vermont||1895–1898|
|Nelson W. Aldrich||Republican||Rhode Island||1898–1911|
|Furnifold M. Simmons||Democratic||North Carolina||1913–1919|
|Porter J. McCumber||Republican||North Dakota||1921–1923|
|Walter F. George||Democratic||Georgia||1941–1947|
|Eugene D. Millikin||Republican||Colorado||1947–1949|
|Walter F. George||Democratic||Georgia||1949–1953|
|Eugene D. Millikin||Republican||Colorado||1953–1955|
|Harry F. Byrd||Democratic||Virginia||1955–1965|
|Russell B. Long||Democratic||Louisiana||1965–1981|
|Daniel Patrick Moynihan||Democratic||New York||1993–1995|
|William V. Roth, Jr.||Republican||Delaware||1995–2001|
|Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure||Tim Scott (R-SC)||Michael Bennet (D-CO)|
|Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Growth||Bill Cassidy (R-LA)||Maggie Hassan (D-NH)|
|Health Care||Pat Toomey (R-PA)||Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)|
|International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness||John Cornyn (R-TX)||Bob Casey Jr. (D-PA)|
|Taxation and IRS Oversight||John Thune (R-SD)||Mark Warner (D-VA)|
|Social Security, Pensions, and Family Policy||Rob Portman (R-OH)||Sherrod Brown (D-OH)|
The Tariff Act of 1930, commonly known as the Smoot–Hawley Tariff or Hawley–Smoot Tariff, was a law that implemented protectionist trade policies in the United States. Sponsored by Senator Reed Smoot and Representative Willis C. Hawley, it was signed by President Herbert Hoover on June 17, 1930. The act raised US tariffs on over 20,000 imported goods.
Medicare is a national health insurance program in the United States, begun in 1966 under the Social Security Administration (SSA) and now administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). It primarily provides health insurance for Americans aged 65 and older, but also for some younger people with disability status as determined by the SSA, and people with end stage renal disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Russell Billiu Long was an American Democratic politician and United States Senator from Louisiana from 1948 until 1987. Because of his seniority, he advanced to chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, serving for fifteen years, from 1966 to 1981, during the implementation of President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society and War on Poverty programs. Long also served as Assistant Majority Leader from 1965 to 1969.
The Committee on Ways and Means is the chief tax-writing committee of the United States House of Representatives. The Committee has jurisdiction over all taxation, tariffs, and other revenue-raising measures, as well as a number of other programs including Social Security, unemployment benefits, Medicare, the enforcement of child support laws, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and foster care and adoption programs. Members of the Ways and Means Committee are not allowed to serve on any other House Committee unless they are granted a waiver from their party's congressional leadership. It has long been regarded as the most prestigious committee of the House of Representatives.
The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) – formerly known as the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) – is a program administered by the United States Department of Health and Human Services that provides matching funds to states for health insurance to families with children. The program was designed to cover uninsured children in families with incomes that are modest but too high to qualify for Medicaid. The program was passed into law as part of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, and the statutory authority for CHIP is under title XXI of the Social Security Act.
Willis David Gradison Jr. is an American politician from Ohio who served in the United States House of Representatives from 1975 to 1993.
The United States Senate Committee on the Budget was established by the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974. It is responsible for drafting Congress's annual budget plan and monitoring action on the budget for the Federal Government. The committee has jurisdiction over the Congressional Budget Office. The committee briefly operated as a special committee from 1919 to 1920 during the 66th Congress, before being made a standing committee in 1974.
The Social Security Amendments of 1965, Pub.L. 89–97, 79 Stat. 286, enacted July 30, 1965, was legislation in the United States whose most important provisions resulted in creation of two programs: Medicare and Medicaid. The legislation initially provided federal health insurance for the elderly and for financially challenged families.
A ways and means committee is a government body that is charged with reviewing and making recommendations for government budgets. Because the raising of revenue is vital to carrying out governmental operations, such a committee is tasked with finding the ways and means with which to raise that revenue.
The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) is a Committee of the U.S. Congress established under the Internal Revenue Code at 26 U.S.C. § 8001.
Tariffs have historically served a key role in the trade policy of the United States. Their purpose was to generate revenue for the federal government and to allow for import substitution industrialization by acting as a protective barrier around infant industries. They also aimed to reduce the trade deficit and the pressure of foreign competition. Tariffs were one of the pillars of the American System that allowed the rapid development and industrialization of the United States. The United States pursued a protectionist policy from the beginning of the 19th century until the middle of the 20th century. Between 1861 and 1933, they had one of the highest average tariff rates on manufactured imports in the world. However American agricultural and industrial were cheaper than rival products and the tariff had an impact primarily on wool products. After 1942 the U.S. promoted worldwide free trade.
The United States federal budget comprises the spending and revenues of the U.S. federal government. The budget is the financial representation of the priorities of the government, reflecting historical debates and competing economic philosophies. The government primarily spends on healthcare, retirement, and defense programs. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office provides extensive analysis of the budget and its economic effects. It has reported that large budget deficits over the next 30 years are projected to drive federal debt held by the public to unprecedented levels—from 98 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020 to 195 percent by 2050.
The United States federal budget is divided into three categories: mandatory spending, discretionary spending, and interest on debt. Also known as entitlement spending, in US fiscal policy, mandatory spending is government spending on certain programs that are required by law. Congress established mandatory programs under authorization laws. Congress legislates spending for mandatory programs outside of the annual appropriations bill process. Congress can only reduce the funding for programs by changing the authorization law itself. This requires a 60-vote majority in the Senate to pass. Discretionary spending on the other hand will not occur unless Congress acts each year to provide the funding through an appropriations bill.
The history of taxation in the USA begins with the colonial protest against British taxation policy in the 1760s, leading to the American Revolution. The independent nation collected taxes on imports ("tariffs"), whiskey, and on glass windows. States and localities collected poll taxes on voters and property taxes on land and commercial buildings. In addition, there were the state and federal excise taxes. State and federal inheritance taxes began after 1900, while the states began collecting sales taxes in the 1930s. The United States imposed income taxes briefly during the Civil War and the 1890s. In 1913, the 16th Amendment was ratified, permanently legalizing an income tax.
Taxation in Puerto Rico consists of taxes paid to the United States federal government and taxes paid to the Government of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Payment of taxes to the federal government, both personal and corporate, is done through the federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS), while payment of taxes to the Commonwealth government is done through the Puerto Rico Department of Treasury.
The 2012 United States federal budget was the budget to fund government operations for the fiscal year 2012, which lasted from October 1, 2011 through September 30, 2012. The original spending request was issued by President Barack Obama in February 2011. That April, the Republican-held House of Representatives announced a competing plan, The Path to Prosperity, emboldened by a major victory in the 2010 Congressional elections associated with the Tea Party movement. The budget plans were both intended to focus on deficit reduction, but differed in their changes to taxation, entitlement programs, defense spending, and research funding.
The 2013 United States federal budget is the budget to fund government operations for the fiscal year 2013, which is October 2012–September 2013. The original spending request was issued by President Barack Obama in February 2012.
Protective tariffs are tariffs that are enacted with the aim of protecting a domestic industry. They aim to make imported goods cost more than equivalent goods produced domestically, thereby causing sales of domestically produced goods to rise; supporting local industry. Tariffs are also imposed in order to raise government revenue, or to reduce an undesirable activity. Although a tariff can simultaneously protect domestic industry and earn government revenue, the goals of protection and revenue maximization suggest different tariff rates, entailing a tradeoff between the two aims.
Totalization agreements are international tax treaties that seek to eliminate dual taxation with regards to Social Security and Medicare taxes in the United States. These agreements are made in order to accommodate foreign workers who pay FICA taxes but receive no Social Security or Medicare benefits after reaching age 65. The agreements are made between the U.S. and other individual countries, and govern international taxpayers who earn money in the U.S. The goal of totalization agreements is to eliminate dual taxation on a foreigner's income made in the U.S. as well as provide proportional Social Security benefits for the same foreign workers. Issues considered to determine if a worker is covered under either Social Security and Medicare in the United States, or the social security system in a foreign country include where the worker resides and whether the employment in a foreign country is short-term or long-term. As of August 2017, the U.S. has 26 active totalization agreements.
The United States Senate Select Committee on the Tariff Regulation was a Select Committee for the U.S. Senate from February 25, 1823 until March 3, 1923. It is now a defunct congressional committee, having been consolidated into the Committee of Finance in 1923.