Joint Economic Committee: What It Does and Its Members

What It Does, How It Affects You

US Capitol Interior
US Capitol Interior. Photo: Vito Palmisano/Getty Images

The Joint Economic Committee (JEC) advises Congress on economic issues. It is a standing (permanent) committee.  It holds one or two hearings a month with experts so members of Congress can get informed on economic issues. That gives our elected officials the knowledge needed to vote on the thousands of bills they review each year.

The JEC also reviews the Economic Report of the President. It then creates its annual report that addresses the points contained in the President's report.

That provides an alternative view of the economic outlook fo that Congress can create a realistic budget each year. For more, see How the Budget Process Works.


The JEC has 20 members divided evenly between the Senate and the House of Representatives.  The majority party of each house has eight members, while the minority party has six. Most important, the Chairmanship alternates between the Senate and the House every Congress. That normally means it alternates between the Republican and Democratic Party. That's because it's rare for the two houses of Congress to be led by the same party.

As a result, the JEC is often politically motivated. Its reports attack the President's policies when the opposing party holds the chairmanship. It supports them when the same party holds it. But its reports and data still provide important knowledge if you ignore the politics. Similarly, the reports of the Senate and House side vary in topic and approach.


The Employment Act of 1946 created the JEC to provide economic expertise to Congress. It created the Council of Economic Advisers to do the same for the President.

What It Does

Its primary tasks are to review economic conditions and recommend improvements in economic policy. It does this by holding hearings and commissioning studies that give members of Congress information about specific economic trends and events.

The Committee requires the Chair of the Federal Reserve to report on the state of the U.S. economy and explain current monetary policy. The Chair must answer questions from Committee members. It must justify its actions, and reveal what it expects for the economic outlook. 

How It Affects the U.S. Economy

The Joint Economic Committee affects the economy by highlighting issues that are of concern to various legislators. The reports and hearings it commissions inform decisions made by legislators about bills and the budget. Since the JEC serves your representatives, it may be more provincial in the economic issues it covers. For example, it might highlight trade protectionism and dumping to protect local industries.

How It Affects You

In addition to how the JEC affects the economy, it can affect you by providing information about various economic issues. Since the JEC leadership changes each year, your best bet is to Google “Joint Economic Committee” to find the active website for the leader that year.