Power of Committee Chairman – The Pot Problem


The workings of US Congressional Committees often pose problems for students looking for examples – their work behind closed doors means it can be difficult to identify reasonable evidence. However this article regarding the potential legalisation of marijuana has one stellar line in it:

“Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said in an interview he hadn’t read the bill and that it would be months before it comes for a hearing — if ever.”

All of my students should be well aware of Sen. Grassley as our stock example for the importance of pleasing your state and being on the correct committee. In this instance however, the article is referring to his chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee and this shows pigeon-holing in action!

Obviously legalisation of marijuana is always going to be a sticky subject, and the article is well worth a read for the various conflicting factions within the Senate, which in itself is useful evidence of how Congress works. However this example of the power of committee chairman is extremely useful.