"The Senate imposes some general procedural requirements and prohibitions on its committees, but, in general, the Senate's rules allow each of its standing committees to decide how to conduct its business. Most of the chamber's requirements for committees are found in Senate Rule XXVI. Because the committees are agents of the Senate, they are obligated to comply with all Senate directives that apply to them. This report identifies and summarizes the provisions of the Senate's standing rules, standing orders, precedents, and other directives that relate to legislative activity in the Senate's standing committees. The report covers four main issues: committee organization, committee meetings, hearings, and reporting. The coverage of this report is limited to requirements and prohibitions that are of direct and general applicability to most or all Senate committees as they consider most legislative matters. The report does not cover any special provisions contained in Senate resolutions concerning the Select Committee on Ethics, the Select Committee on Intelligence, or the Special Committee on Aging. Similarly, it does not encompass other provisions of law or the Senate's rules or standing orders that apply to (1) only one committee, such as the provisions of Rule XVI governing appropriations measures and the provisions of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act governing budget resolutions and reconciliation and rescission measures; or (2) only certain limited classes of measures, such as provisions of the Congressional Accountability Act and the Federal Advisory Committee Act."
CRS Report for Congress, 98-311