The Committee on Energy and Commerce is the oldest standing legislative committee in the U.S. House of Representatives and is vested with the broadest jurisdiction of any congressional authorizing committee.
The committee was originally established on December 14, 1795, as the Committee on Commerce and Manufactures when the growing demands of the young nation required that Congress establish a permanent panel to exercise its constitutional authority to “regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States.”
In 1819, the committee was renamed the Committee on Commerce in recognition that the committee’s jurisdiction had expanded beyond its original scope. The name changed again in 1891, becoming the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce. The committee assumed its present name in 1981 to emphasize its lead role in the nation’s energy policy.
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 among others.