Jurisdiction and Rules

The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (HSGAC) is the Senate’s primary oversight committee with broad jurisdiction over government operations generally and the Department of Homeland Security in particular.

Its primary responsibilities are to study the efficiency, economy, and effectiveness of all agencies and departments of the federal government; evaluate the effects of laws enacted to reorganize the legislative and executive branches of government; and study the intergovernmental relationships between the U.S. and states and municipalities, and between the U.S. and international organizations of which the U.S. is a member.

The year after passage of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, the Committee’s name changed from the Governmental Affairs Committee to the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee as its jurisdiction expanded to include homeland security issues. In addition to governmental affairs, the Committee now oversees and receives legislation, messages, petitions, and memorials on all matters relating to the Department of Homeland Security, except for appropriations, the Coast Guard, the Transportation Security Administration, immigration, customs revenue, commercial operations, and trade.

Among the Committee’s governmental affairs responsibilities are the Archives of the United States, budgeting and accounting measures generally, government contracting, the Census and collection of statistics, Congressional organization, the federal Civil Service, government information, intergovernmental relations, the municipal affairs of the District of Columbia, the organization and management of U.S. nuclear export policy, the organization and reorganization of the executive branch, the Postal Service, and the status of officers and employees of the U.S., including their classification, compensation, and benefits. The Committee also receives and examines reports of the Comptroller General of the United States and submits recommendations to the Senate as it sees fit related to the subject matter of the reports.

The Committee has three subcommittees:

  • Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI)
  • Emerging Threats and Spending Oversight (ETSO)
  • Government Operations and Border Management (GOBM)

Please refer to the subcommittee pages for their specific jurisdictions.