House Committee on Education and Labor

Chair: Bobby Scott

A

Grade for the 116th Congress*

* Adjustments have been applied so that committees' grades are not lowered by the constraints on hearings caused by Covid-19 [oversight-index.thelugarcenter.org/covid-19-statement]

8 Investigative Oversight Hearings

22 Policy/Legislative Hearings

62 Total Hearings

Last updated: June 1, 2021, 6:03 p.m.

Often called the Committee on Education and the Workforce under Republican majorities, the committee is responsible for overseeing federal education programs, including Head Start, the Every Student Succeeds Act, and the Higher Education Act, adult education, as well as some anti-poverty programs. Its labor responsibilities include pension and retirement security, employee benefits, job training, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, employment discrimination, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and compensation for injured workers. Its two major departments, Education and Labor, are relatively small, but its legislation can affect virtually every family in America. It tends to attract partisans from the left and the right. The committee has five subcommittees: civil rights and human services; early childhood, elementary and secondary education; health, employment, labor and pensions; higher education and workforce investment; and workforce protections.

The committee's total hearing schedule has drifted up and down over the past few Congresses, but it conducts more investigative oversight hearings than many other committees with a similar legislative load. In the 116th Congress (2019-20), under new Democratic chair Bobby Scott of Virginia, the committee held 62 hearings in total, about the average over the past 12 years. It would almost surely have held more if the pandemic had not forced Congress to shut down for several months.

Despite that hurdle, in the 116th Congress the committee continued its active program of investigative oversight, holding eight investigative hearings, the most of any Congress in the survey. Many of them cast a critical eye on the impact upon workers and others of the Trump administration's ambitious deregulation agenda. An April 2019 hearing looked into the Education Department's alleged failure to police the "predatory practices" of for-profit colleges, several of which had collapsed, leaving students with high debts and no degrees. Later that month the committee grilled Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over proposed deep cuts in education spending and a series of alleged failures to implement laws and respond to Congressional inquiries. In June it held a hearing critical of the Labor Department's opposition to extending overtime protections to more workers. Also in June, it held a hearing into the Trump administration's expansion of religious exemptions to civil rights laws.

In September, it asked why the Trump administration was denying student loan forgiveness to 99 percent of the applicants under a special program for public servants. In December, 2019, it held a hearing entitled, "How the Trump administration's immigration policies are harming children." In February 2020 it held a hearing on "How the Department of Labor failed to oversee the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund." And in May 2020 it looked into what steps the administration was taking to protect workers from the coronavirus.


Chairs

111th Congress: George Miller (D-CA)

112th Congress: John Kline (R-MN)

113th Congress: John Kline (R-MN)

114th Congress: John Kline (R-MN)

115th Congress: Virginia Foxx (R-NC)

116th Congress: Bobby Scott (D-VA)


Current Congress

We are 100% of the way through the 116th Congress

House Committee on Education and Labor

8 Investigative Oversight Hearings; 100% historical maximum
22 Policy/Legislative Hearings; 100% historical maximum
62 Total Hearings; 100% historical maximum

Committee History

Number of Hearings
Committee Hearing Performance
Investigative/Oversight Policy/Legislative Total Hearings Score Grade
111th Congress 3 26 77 93% A
112th Congress 4 24 68 89% B+
113th Congress 3 19 67 78% C+
114th Congress 7 20 52 87% B
115th Congress 5 18 55 78% C+
116th Congress* 8 22 62 124% A
Historical average 5.0 21.5 63.5

* Adjustments have been applied so that committees' grades are not lowered by the constraints on hearings caused by Covid-19 [oversight-index.thelugarcenter.org/covid-19-statement]

Number of Hearings

--- Historical Average

Hearings held by the
House Committee on Education and Labor

Date Hearing Title Committee Category