Committees and Caucuses
Both the House of Representatives and the Senate have various committees, comprised of certain members, which have jurisdiction over specific issue areas. These committees play an important role in the legislative process, and are often where legislation that comes before the House floor is initially sent for review. Among the different functions that these committees perform are holding hearings on particular issues, marking up bills that are referred to their attention, and overseeing agencies under their jurisdiction. There are 20 current standing committees in the House, and 20 committees in the Senate; the two sets of committees are related but each has their own guidelines, leading to significant differences between the panels of the two chambers.
Rep. Pitts serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He chairs the Subcommittee on Health and also serves on the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy.
The Health Subcommittee has jurisdiction over a wide variety of government health programs including public health and quarantine; hospital construction; mental health and research; biomedical programs and health protection in general, including public and private health insurance; food and drugs; and, drug abuse.
Throughout his career in Congress, Rep. Pitts has worked to protect human rights and promote freedom. Prior to joining the Energy and Commerce Committee, he served on the Foreign Affairs Committee. Rep. Pitts continues to serve on the Tom Lantos Human Right Commission and the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission).