United States Senate Committee On Labor and Public Welfare
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United States Senate Committee On Labor and Public Welfare

The United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) generally considers matters relating to these issues. Its jurisdiction extends beyond these issues to include several more specific areas, as defined by Senate rules.

While currently known as the HELP Committee, the first iteration of this committee was founded on January 28, 1869 as the Committee on Education. The committee name was changed to the Committee on Education and Labor on February 14, 1870, when petitions relating to labor were added to their jurisdiction from the Committee on Naval Affairs.

The committee's jurisdiction at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries focused on issues relating to federal employees' working conditions and federal education aid. Prominent issues considered by the committee in the 1910s and 1920s included the creation of a minimum wage, the establishments of a Department of Labor, a Department of Education, and a Children's Bureau. During the 1930s, the committee took action on the National Labor Relations Act, the Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act of 1936 and the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.

In 1944, the jurisdiction of the Public Health Service was transferred from the Commerce Committee over to the Committee on Education and Labor, resulting in the committee taking over issues relating to public health matters. The name of the committee changed during the 80th Congress to the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, which was part of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 (Public Law 79-601). As part of this bill, the jurisdiction of the committee was expanded to include the issues of rehabilitation, health, and education of veterans. Mine safety legislation was also added to the committee's jurisdiction in 1949.

During the Johnson Administration, the committee established itself as the principal committee for the legislation pertaining to the War on Poverty, as part of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. Through the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970 (Public Law 91-510), certain issues pertaining to veterans were transferred to the newly created Committee on Veterans Affairs. In the 95th Congress, the Senate passed S. Res. 4 which renamed the committee to be the Committee on Human Resources. However, the name was again changed in the 96th Congress in S. Res. 30 to become the Committee on Labor and Human Resources. On March 18, 1992, the committee's jurisdiction was updated to include all of the areas listed below. The current name of the Committee, the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, was created on January 19, 1999 in S. Res. 20.[1]

Jurisdictional areas

Under the Rule 25[2] of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the following subject matters fall under the jurisdiction of the Committee.[3]

Members, 116th Congress

Majority Minority



Historical members

Members, 110th Congress

Ted Kennedy, Massachusetts, Chairman
Chris Dodd, Connecticut, Vice Chairman
Tom Harkin, Iowa
Barbara Mikulski, Maryland
Jeff Bingaman, New Mexico
Patty Murray, Washington
Jack Reed, Rhode Island
Hillary Clinton, New York
Bernie Sanders, Vermont[5]
Sherrod Brown, Ohio
Barack Obama, Illinois, until November 2008
Mike Enzi, Wyoming, Ranking Minority Member
Judd Gregg, New Hampshire
Lamar Alexander, Tennessee
Richard Burr, North Carolina
Johnny Isakson, Georgia
Lisa Murkowski, Alaska
Orrin Hatch, Utah
Pat Roberts, Kansas
Wayne Allard, Colorado
Tom Coburn, Oklahoma

Members, 111th Congress

The Committee was chaired by Democrat Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts until his death on August 25, 2009. Under seniority rules, Acting Chairman Christopher Dodd was next in line, but chose instead to remain chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.[7]Tom Harkin, next in line for seniority, assumed the chairmanship on September 9, 2009, vacating his post as chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.[8]

Majority Minority

Source: 2010 Congressional Record, Vol. 156, Page S6226 ,

Members, 112th Congress

The chairman of the committee is Democrat Tom Harkin of Iowa, and the Ranking Member is Republican Mike Enzi of Wyoming.

Majority Minority

Source: 2011 Congressional Record, Vol. 157, Page S557

Members, 113th Congress

Majority Minority

Source: 2013 Congressional Record, Vol. 159, Page S296 to 297

Members, 114th Congress

Majority Minority

Source [9]

Source: 2015 Congressional Record, Vol. 161, Page S67 to 68


Members, 115th Congress

Majority Minority

Defunct subcommittees

The committee has had other subcommittees in the past, such as:

  • the Subcommittee on Migratory Labor during the 1950s through 1970s.
  • the Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research during the 1970s.
  • the Subcommittee Investigating Violations of Free Speech and the Rights of Labor, informally known as the "La Follette Civil Liberties Committee"


Education 1869-1870

Education and Labor, 1870 - 1947

Labor and Public Welfare, 1947-1977

Human Resources, 1977-1979

Labor and Human Resources, 1979-1999

Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, 1999-present

See also


  1. ^ "U.S. Senate. Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. 1/19/1999- Organization Authority Record". National Archives.
  2. ^ "Rule XXV - Standing Committees" (PDF). govinfo.gov. Retrieved 2017.
  3. ^ "About". help.senate.gov. Retrieved 2017.
  4. ^ Bernie Sanders is an Independent, but caucuses with Democrats on the committee.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Sanders is an Independent, but caucuses with the Democrats and is treated a Democrat for the purposes of committee assignments.
  6. ^ "Subcommittees". help.senate.gov. Retrieved 2017.
  7. ^ Paul Kane, Ben Pershing. "Dodd Decides Against Taking Over Senate Health Committee". Washington Post.
  8. ^ "Life after Ted Kennedy: all eyes on Chris Dodd - politico.com". Retrieved 2010.
  9. ^ "U.S. Senate: Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions". senate.gov. Retrieved 2017.
  10. ^ "RULES OF PROCEDURE" (PDF). govinfo.gov. 2015. Retrieved 2019.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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