United States House Committee on Energy and Commerce

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U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce official Seal.

The Committee on Energy and Commerce is one of the oldest standing committees of the United States House of Representatives. Established in 1795, it has operated continuously—with various name changes and jurisdictional changes—for more than 200 years. The two other House standing committees with such continuous operation are the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Rules Committee. The Committee has served as the principal guide for the House in matters relating to the promotion of commerce and to the public’s health and marketplace interests, with the relatively recent addition of energy considerations among them.

Role of the committee[edit]

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce has developed what is arguably the broadest (non-tax-oriented) jurisdiction of any Congressional committee. Today, it maintains principal responsibility for legislative oversight relating to telecommunications, consumer protection, food and drug safety, public health, air quality and environmental health, the supply and delivery of energy, and interstate and foreign commerce in general. This jurisdiction extends over five Cabinet-level departments and seven independent agencies—from the Department of Energy, Health and Human Services, the Transportation Department to the Federal Trade Commission, Food and Drug Administration, and Federal Communications Commission—and sundry quasi-governmental organizations.

Members, 114th Congress[edit]

Majority Minority

Sources: H.Res. 6 (Chairs), H.Res. 7 (D), H.Res. 17 (R) and H.Res. 22 (D).


To manage the wide variety of issues it encounters, the Committee relies on the front-line work of six subcommittees, one more than during the 111th Congress. During the 111th Congress, Chairman Henry Waxman combined the traditionally separate energy and environment subcommittees into a single subcommittee.[1] New Chairman Fred Upton restored them as separate subcommittees at the start of the 112th Congress.

Subcommittee Chair Ranking Member
Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Michael C. Burgess (R-TX) Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
Communications and Technology Greg Walden (R-OR) Anna Eshoo (D-CA)
Energy and Power Vacant Bobby Rush (D-IL)
Environment and Economy John Shimkus (R-IL) Paul Tonko (D-NY)
Health Joe Pitts (R-PA) Gene Green (D-TX)
Oversight and Investigations Tim Murphy (R-PA) Diana DeGette (D-CO)
Investigative Panel on Planned Parenthood (Select) Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)


The Committee was originally formed as the Committee on Commerce and Manufactures on December 14, 1795. Prior to this, legislation was drafted in the Committee of the Whole or in special ad hoc committees, appointed for specific limited purposes. However the growing demands of the new nation required that Congress establish a permanent committee to manage its constitutional authority under the Commerce Clause to "regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States."

From this time forward, as the nation grew and Congress dealt with new public policy concerns and created new committees, the Energy and Commerce Committee has maintained its central position as Congress's monitor of commercial progress—a focus reflected in its changing jurisdiction, both in name and practice.

In 1819, the Committee’s name was changed to the Committee on Commerce, reflecting the creation of a separate Manufacturers Committee and also the increasing scope of and complexity of American commercial activity, which was expanding the Committee’s jurisdiction from navigational aids and the nascent general health service to foreign trade and tariffs. Thomas J. Bliley, who chaired the Committee from 1995 to 2000, chose to use this traditional name, which underscores the Committee's role for Congress on this front.

In 1891, in emphasis of the Committee's evolving activities, the name was again changed to the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce—a title it maintained until 1981, when, under incoming Chairman John Dingell, the Committee first assumed what is now its present name to emphasize its lead role in guiding the energy policy of the United States. Dingell regained chairmanship of the committee in 2007 after having served as ranking member since 1995. In late 2008, Henry Waxman initiated a successful challenge to unseat Dingell as chairman. His challenge was unusual as the party caucus traditionally elects chairmen based on committee seniority. Waxman formally became chairman at the start of the 111th Congress.[2]


Committee on Commerce and Manufactures[edit]

Chairman Party State Years
Benjamin Goodhue Federalist Massachusetts 1795–1796
John Swanwick Democratic-Republican Pennsylvania 1796–1797
Edward Livingston Democratic-Republican New York 1797–1798
Samuel Smith Democratic-Republican Maryland 1798–1803
Samuel L. Mitchill Democratic-Republican New York 1803–1805
Jacob Crowninshield Democratic-Republican Massachusetts 1805–1806
Gurdon S. Mumford Democratic-Republican New York 1806–1807
Thomas Newton, Jr. Democratic-Republican Virginia 1807–1819

Committee on Commerce[edit]

Chairman Party State Years
Thomas Newton, Jr. Democratic-Republican Virginia 1819–1827
Churchill C. Cambreleng Democratic New York 1827–1833
Joel B. Sutherland Democratic Pennsylvania 1833–1837
Francis O. J. Smith Democratic Maine 1837–1838
Samuel Cushman Democratic New Hampshire 1838–1839
Edward Curtis Whig New York 1839–1841
John P. Kennedy Whig Maryland 1841–1843
Isaac E. Holmes Democratic South Carolina 1843–1845
Robert McClelland Democratic Michigan 1845–1847
Washington Hunt Whig New York 1847–1849
Robert Milligan McLane Democratic Maryland 1849–1851
David L. Seymour Democratic New York 1851–1853
Thomas J. D. Fuller Democratic Maine 1853–1855
Elihu B. Washburne Republican Illinois 1855–1857
John Cochrane Democratic New York 1857–1859
Elihu B. Washburne Republican Illinois 1859–1868
Thomas D. Eliot Republican Massachusetts 1868–1869
Nathan F. Dixon II Republican Rhode Island 1869–1871
Samuel Shellabarger Republican Ohio 1871–1873
William A. Wheeler Republican New York 1873–1875
Frank Hereford Democratic West Virginia 1875–1877
Elijah Ward Democratic New York 1877
John H. Reagan Democratic Texas 1877–1881
Horace F. Page Republican California 1881–1883
John H. Reagan Democratic Texas 1883–1887
Martin L. Clardy Democratic Missouri 1887–1889
Charles S. Baker Republican New York 1889–1891

Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce[edit]

Chairman Party State Years
George D. Wise Democratic Virginia 1891–1895
William Peters Hepburn Republican Iowa 1895–1909
James Robert Mann Republican Illinois 1909–1911
William C. Adamson Democratic Georgia 1911–1917
Thetus W. Sims Democratic Tennessee 1917–1919
John J. Esch Republican Wisconsin 1919–1921
Samuel Winslow Republican Massachusetts 1921–1925
James S. Parker Republican New York 1925–1931
Sam Rayburn Democratic Texas 1931–1937
Clarence F. Lea Democratic California 1937–1947
Charles A. Wolverton Republican New Jersey 1947–1949
Robert Crosser Democratic Ohio 1949–1953
Charles A. Wolverton Republican New Jersey 1953–1955
Percy Priest Democratic Tennessee 1955–1956
Oren Harris Democratic Arkansas 1957–1966
Harley Orrin Staggers Democratic West Virginia 1966–1981

Committee on Energy and Commerce[edit]

Chairman Party State Years
John Dingell Democratic Michigan 1981–1995
Thomas Bliley Republican Virginia 1995–2001
Billy Tauzin Republican Louisiana 2001–2004
Joe Barton Republican Texas 2004–2007
John Dingell Democratic Michigan 2007–2009
Henry Waxman Democratic California 2009–2011
Fred Upton Republican Michigan 2011–present

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "House Energy and Commerce Committee announces Subcommittee Chairs and Membership". Energy and Commerce Committee Press Release. January 8, 2009. Retrieved January 8, 2009. 
  2. ^ H.Res. 8

External links[edit]