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House Energy and Commerce Committee Through the Ages

The House Energy and Commerce Committee dates back to the 18th century — and no, Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) wasn’t on it back then. But Dingell is one of the many storied names of Members who have served on the committee, a list that includes former chairman (and later Speaker) Sam Rayburn (D-Texas).


The House establishes the Commerce and Manufactures Committee as a standing committee.


Committee spins off jurisdiction for manufacturing. Panel becomes known as the Commerce Committee for the first time.


Congress renames the panel the Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee.


Rep. Sam Rayburn assumes the chairmanship. During his tenure, Rayburn champions the implementation of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program.


Committee cedes jurisdiction over the Coast Guard, lighthouses, maritime transportation and the Panama Canal to the Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee, while gaining explicit jurisdiction over radio communications.


The Legislative Reorganization Act clarifies the committee’s jurisdiction over interstate and foreign commerce.


Rep. John Dingell joins the committee.


Committee gains jurisdiction over consumer protection and health issues, with the exception of Medicare. The panel cedes responsibility for civil aeronautics to the Public Works and Transportation Committee.


Dingell assumes the chairmanship of the newly renamed Energy and Commerce Committee.


Rep. Thomas Bliley Jr. (R-Va.) becomes chairman of the renamed Commerce Committee as Republicans rise to power in the House. The committee cedes jurisdiction over interstate commerce issues related to railroads and general labor relations.


Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.) becomes chairman, and the committee name returns to the Energy and Commerce Committee. A new House rules package transfers the jurisdiction of the securities and insurance industry to the Financial Services Committee.


Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) becomes chairman upon Tauzin’s resignation. Tauzin soon becomes president and chief executive officer of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.


Democrats regain the House majority and Dingell takes back the committee gavel.


Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) defeats Dingell in a party vote to become chairman for the 111th Congress.

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