A World & I three-story special report examines the importance of congressional hearings over the decades after the World War II and today. The main story in the package looks at the role that hearings played in political scandals, discussions of seminal laws, and celebrity showcases. The article also provides insights on how and when some today's politicians - Bill Clinton and his wife amongst them - had their first experience with congressional hearings. Another story reports on the daily work of the Joint Economic Committee, and reveals the mechanisms through which it can impact world financial markets. A third story focuses on the diminishing importance of committees to the legislative process, and the increase of partisanship that further undermines the committee system. "Committees are likely to remain important, but they will become increasingly irrelevant from the standpoint of legislation," the special report concludes.
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