The Committee on Armed Services is a committee of the United States Senate empowered with legislative oversight of the nation's military, including the Department of Defense, military research and development, nuclear energy (as pertaining to national security), benefits for members of the military, the Selective Service System and other matters related to defense policy. The Armed Services Committee was created as a result of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 following U.S. victory in the Second World War. It merged the responsibilities of the Committee on Naval Affairs (established in 1816) and the Committee on Military Affairs (also established in 1816). Considered one of the most powerful Senate committees, its broad mandate allowed it to report some of the most extensive and revolutionary legislation during the Cold War years, including the National Security Act of 1947.
The United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation is a standing committee of the United States Senate in charge of all senate matters related to the following subjects: Coast Guard, Coastal zone management, Communications, "Green" Technologies and Practices, Highway safety, Inland waterways, except construction, Interstate commerce, Marine and ocean navigation, safety, and transportation, Marine fisheries, Merchant marine and navigation, Nonmilitary aeronautical and space sciences, Oceans, weather, and atmospheric activities, Panama Canal and other interoceanic canals, Regulation of consumer products and services, including testing related to toxic substances, other than pesticides, and except for credit, financial services, and housing, Regulation of interstate common carriers, including railroads, buses, trucks, vessels, pipelines, and civil aviation, Science, engineering, and technology research and development and policy Sports, Standards and measurement, Transportation, Transportation and commerce aspects of Continental Shelf lands.
The United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works is responsible for dealing with matters related to the environment and infrastructure.
The Veterans' Affairs committee was created in 1970 to transfer responsibilities for veterans from the Finance and Labor committees to a single panel. From 1947 to 1970, matters relating to veterans compensation and veterans generally were referred to the Committee on Finance, while matters relating to the vocational rehabilitation, education, medical care, civil relief, and civilian readjustment of veterans were referred to the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare. Congressional legislation affecting veterans changed over the years. For the members of the armed forces and their families in the nation's early wars -- the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War and the Spanish-American War -- the response of the federal government had been essentially financial. This was clearly the legislative mission of the Senate Committee on Pensions which was created as one of the Senate's original standing committees in 1816 and continued until its termination in the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946. During World War I the nature of the congressional response to veterans' needs changed towards a more diversified set of programs. A war risk insurance program, which was referred to the Senate Finance Committee, changed the consideration of veterans benefits in the Senate. The Finance Committee was the Senate standing committee most responsible for veterans programs from 1917 to 1946. After World War II, the Finance Committee handled the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, the "GI Bill of Rights," which extended to servicemen and their families, a number of benefits including unemployment assistance, education, vocational training, housing and business loan guarantees, as well as the traditional medical and pension benefits of previous times. Many experts believe this law was one of the most important elements in the expansion of the middle class following World War II.