The United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs is the chief oversight committee of the United States Senate. It has jurisdiction over matters related to the Department of Homeland Security and other homeland security concerns, as well as the functioning of the government itself, including the National Archives, budget and accounting measures other than appropriations, the Census, the federal civil service, the affairs of the District of Columbia and the United States Postal Service. It was called the United States Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs before homeland security was added to its responsibilities in 2004. It serves as the Senate's chief investigative and oversight committee. Its chair is the only Senate committee chair who can issue subpoenas without a committee vote.
United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Wikipedia
While elements of the Committee can be traced back into the 19th century, its modern origins began with the creation of the Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Departments on April 18, 1921. The Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Department was renamed the Committee on Government Operations in 1952, which was reorganized as the Committee on Governmental Affairs in 1978. After passage of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorist Prevention Act of 2004, the Committee became the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and added homeland security to its jurisdiction.
Of the five current subcommittees, the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations is the oldest and most storied, having been created at the same time as the Committee on Government Operations in 1952. The Subcommittee on the Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia was established after the creation of the Committee on Governmental Affairs in 1978. The Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services and International Security was created in 2003.
Two ad hoc subcommittees were established in January 2007 to reflect the Committee's expanded homeland security jurisdiction. They were the Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery and the Subcommitte on State, Local, and Private Sector Preparedness and Integration. The Subcommittee on Contracting was added in 2009. In 2011, the Disaster and State, Local, and Private Sector subcommittees were merged to form the Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery and Intergovernmental Affairs.
Over the years, the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and its predecessors have dealt with a number of important issues, including government accountability, Congressional ethics, regulatory affairs, and systems and information security. In 2003, after the Homeland Security Act of 2002 established the Department of Homeland Security, the Committee adopted primary oversight of the creation and subsequent policies, operations, and actions of the Department.
In the past decade, the committee has focused particularly on the Department of Homeland Security's ability to respond to a major catastrophe, such as Hurricane Katrina; the rise of homegrown terrorism in the United States; and the vulnerabilities of the nation's most critical networks, those operating systems upon which our national defense, economy, and way of life depend, such as the power grid, water treatment facilities, transportation and financial networks, nuclear reactors, and dams.
In February 2014, Republican staffers of the committee leaked the passwords used to secure DHS systems.
SourceMedill McCormick (R-Ill.) 1921-1925
David A. Reed (R-Pa.) 1925-1927
Frederic M. Sackett (R-Ky.) 1927-1930
Guy D. Goff (R-W.Va.) 1930-1931
Frederick Steiwer (R-Ore.) 1931-1933
J. Hamilton Lewis (D-Ill.) 1933-1939
Frederick Van Nuys (D-Ind.) 1939-1942
Lister Hill (D-Ala.) 1942-1947
George D. Aiken (R-Vt.) 1947-1949
John L. McClellan (D-Ark.) 1949-1952
John L. McClellan (D-Ark.) 1952-1953
Joseph R. McCarthy (R-Wis.) 1953-1955
John L. McClellan (D-Ark.) 1955-1972
Samuel J. Ervin Jr. (D-N.C.) 1972-1974
Abraham A. Ribicoff (D-Conn.) 1974-1977
Abraham A. Ribicoff (D-Conn.) 1977-1981
William V. Roth Jr. (R-Del.) 1981-1987
John H. Glenn Jr. (D-Ohio) 1987-1995
William V. Roth Jr. (R-Del.) 1995
Theodore F. Stevens (R-Alaska) 1995-1997
Fred D. Thompson (R-Tenn.) 1997-2001
Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) 2001
Fred D. Thompson (R-Tenn.) 2001
Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) 2001-2003
Susan M. Collins (R-Maine) 2003-2005
Susan M. Collins (R-Maine) 2005-2007
Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Connecticut.) 2007–2013
Tom Carper (D-Delaware) 2013–2015
Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) 2015-present