Committee Marks 217th Anniversary


Committee Was Established December 14, 1795, to “Regulate Commerce with Foreign Nations, and Among the States"

WASHINGTON, DC – In writing Congressional Government in 1885, Woodrow Wilson (who would go on to become the nation’s 28th president) astutely observed, “It is not far from the truth to say that Congress in session is Congress on public exhibition, whilst Congress in its committee-rooms is Congress at work.”

The history of the Committee on Energy and Commerce is the story of Congress at work to achieve American prosperity and opportunity. Just 19 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed, and eight years after the Constitution was ratified, the infant nation known as the United States of America was challenged by how to create laws in a way that best served the American people.

Since its inception on December 14, 1795, our committee, first established as the Committee on Commerce and Manufactures, has considered, reported, and overseen many of the most important and vital pieces of legislation to be enacted by the United States Congress. Today, the committee has responsibility for matters including telecommunications, consumer protection, food and drug safety, public health and research, environmental quality, energy policy, and interstate and foreign commerce.

Marking Friday’s milestone, chairman Fred Upton reflected, “On our committee’s 217 year anniversary, I look back at a rich history over two centuries and the long lineage of chairmen who have held the committee’s gavel. No matter what their political affiliation, chairmen of this committee have a record of working on issues that are vital to the American people. 217 years and counting, this committee remains at the forefront of our American experiment, and I am proud and humbled to lead a committee with such a long and illustrious history. As Sam Rayburn, former Speaker of the House and chairman of our committee, once observed: ‘this is the greatest committee in the House of Representatives.’”

For more on the committee’s history, click HERE.