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.