1869 Congress establishes the Education Committee. Little more than a year later, the committee is renamed the Education and Labor Committee.
1917 Congress passes the Smith-Hughes National Vocational Education Act. One of the few major bills produced by the committee prior to the 1930s, the legislation authorizes federal support for vocational education.
1935 President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs into law the National Labor Relations Act, also known as the Wagner Act. The bill, which establishes the right to collective bargaining, is the first major labor law to go through the committee.
1946 Two years after receiving jurisdiction over some health care issues, the committee produces the Hospital Survey and Construction Act, which authorizes federal grants for hospital construction. As part of a general legislative reorganization, the committee is renamed the Labor and Public Welfare Committee.
1947 Congress overrides President Harry Trumans veto of the LaborManagement Relations Act, also known as the Taft-Hartley Act. Sponsored by the committees chairman, Sen. Robert Taft (R-Ohio), the bill amends the 1935 Wagner Act and places new restrictions on organized labor.
1958 President Dwight Eisenhower signs into law the National Defense Education Act. Drafted in response to the Soviet Unions launch of the Sputnik satellite, the bill supports scientific engineering and language training in higher education.
1964 The Economic Opportunity Act is signed into law. The legislation is a cornerstone of President Lyndon Johnsons Great Society initiatives and creates Head Start, the Job Corps and several other anti-poverty programs.
1965 Johnson signs into law both the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Higher Education Act. The bills establish the main federal assistance programs for both K-12 and higher education.
1974 The committee plays a major role in the passage of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. The bill regulates employer-provided retirement plans and establishes the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. to insure pensions.
1977 The committee is renamed the Human Resources Committee, before it is renamed the Labor and Human Resources Committee in 1979.
1981 Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) becomes ranking member of the committee. When Democrats regain the majority in 1987, Kennedy becomes chairman.
1984 The enactment of the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act, or
the Hatch-Waxman Act, creates the modern generic drug industry. The bill is co-
sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who is the committees chairman.
1990 President George H.W. Bush signs into law the Americans With Disabilities Act. The bill prohibits discrimination against disabled individuals in employment and public facilities.
1993 A year after Bush vetoes a similar bill, President Bill Clinton signs the Family and Medical Leave Act. The bill requires employers to provide their workers with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for family or medical reasons.
1996 Congress passes the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The bill makes it easier for workers to transfer their health insurance when changing jobs and establishes new health privacy standards.
1999 The committee adopts its present name, the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
2002 President George W. Bush signs into law the No Child Left Behind Act. The law reauthorizes federal K-12 education programs and imposes stringent educational standards on schools receiving federal aid.