81st United States Congress

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81st United States Congress
80th ← → 82nd
USCapitol1956.jpg
United States Capitol (1956)

Duration: January 3, 1949 – January 3, 1951

Senate President: Vacant (until Jan 20, 1949)
Alben W. Barkley (D) (from Jan 20, 1949)
Senate Pres. pro tem: Kenneth McKellar (D)
House Speaker: Sam Rayburn (D)
Members: 96 Senators
435 Representatives
4 Non-voting members
Senate Majority: Democratic
House Majority: Democratic

Sessions
1st: January 3, 1949 – October 19, 1949
2nd: January 3, 1950 – January 2, 1951

The Eighty-first United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D.C. from January 3, 1949 to January 3, 1951, during the fifth and sixth years of Harry S. Truman's presidency.

The apportionment of seats in this House of Representatives was based on the Sixteenth Census of the United States in 1940. Both chambers had a Democratic majority.

Contents

Major events[edit]

  • January 20, 1949: Inauguration of President Truman and Vice President Barkley
  • August 16, 1949: Office of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff created
  • January 21, 1950: Accused communist spy Alger Hiss was convicted of perjury
  • January 31, 1950: President Truman ordered the development of the hydrogen bomb, in response to the detonation of the Soviet Union's first atomic bomb in 1949
  • June 27, 1950: Korean War: President Truman ordered American military forces to aid in the defense of South Korea

Major legislation[edit]

Civil libertarians and radical political activists considered the McCarran Act to be a dangerous and unconstitutional infringement of political liberty, as exemplified in this 1961 poster.

Treaties[edit]

Hearings[edit]

Mobster Frank Costello testifying before the Kefauver Committee.

Party summary[edit]

Senate[edit]

Party
(Shading shows control)
Total Vacant
Democratic
(D)
Republican
(R)
End of the previous congress 45 51 96 0
Begin 54 42 96 0
End 53 43
Final voting share 55.2% 44.8%
Beginning of the next congress 47 49 96 0

House of Representatives[edit]

House seats by party holding plurality in state
  80+ to 100% Democratic
  80+ to 100% Republican
  60+ to 80% Democratic
  60+ to 80% Republican
  Up to 60% Democratic
  Up to 60% Republican
Party
(Shading shows control)
Total Vacant
American
Labor

(AL)
Democratic
(D)
Liberal
(Lib)
Republican
(R)
Independent
(I)
End of the previous congress 2 184 0 244 0 430 5
Begin 1 264 0 169 0 434 1
End 261 1 168 431 4
Final voting share 0.2% 60.6% 0.2% 39.0% 0.0%
Beginning of the next congress 0 235 0 199 1 435 0

Leadership[edit]

Congressional Leaders
Alben W. Barkley
Senate President
Alben W. Barkley
Kenneth McKellar
Senate President pro tempore
Kenneth McKellar
Sam Rayburn
House Speaker
Sam Rayburn

Senate[edit]

Majority (Democratic) leadership[edit]

Minority (Republican) leadership[edit]

House of Representatives[edit]

Majority (Democratic) leadership[edit]

Minority (Republican) leadership[edit]

Members[edit]

Senate[edit]

Senators are popularly elected statewide every two years, with one-third beginning new six-year terms with each Congress. Senators are ordered first by state, and then by seniority. Preceding the names in the list below are Senate class numbers, which indicate the cycle of their election.

House of Representatives[edit]

Changes in membership[edit]

The count below reflects changes from the beginning of this Congress.

Senate[edit]

State
(class)
Vacator Reason for change Successor Date of successor's
formal installation
Kentucky
(3)
Alben W. Barkley (D) Incumbent resigned January 19, 1949 to become U.S. Vice President.
Successor appointed January 20, 1949 to finish the term.
Garrett L. Withers (D) January 20, 1949
North Carolina
(2)
J. Melville Broughton (D) Incumbent died March 6, 1949.
Successor appointed March 29, 1949 to continue the term.
Frank P. Graham (D) March 29, 1949
New York
(3)
Robert F. Wagner (D) Incumbent resigned June 28, 1949 due to ill health.
Successor appointed July 7, 1949 to continue the term.
John Foster Dulles (R) July 7, 1949
Rhode Island
(1)
J. Howard McGrath (D) Incumbent resigned August 23, 1949 to become U.S. Attorney General.
Successor appointed to continue the term.
Edward L. Leahy (D) August 24, 1949
Idaho
(2)
Bert H. Miller (D) Incumbent died October 8, 1949.
Successor appointed to continue the term.
Successor later elected November 7, 1950.
Henry Dworshak (R) October 14, 1949
Kansas
(3)
Clyde M. Reed (R) Incumbent died November 8, 1949.
Successor appointed to continue the term.
Harry Darby (R) December 2, 1949
New York
(3)
John Foster Dulles (R) Interim appointee lost November 8, 1949 election to finish the term.
Successor elected November 8, 1949.
Herbert H. Lehman (D) November 9, 1949
Connecticut
(1)
Raymond E. Baldwin (R) Incumbent resigned December 16, 1949.
Successor appointed to continue the term.
Successor later elected November 7, 1950.
William Benton (D) December 17, 1949
Kentucky
(3)
Garrett L. Withers (D) Interim appointee resigned November 26, 1950 to trigger special election.
Successor elected November 7, 1950.
Earle C. Clements (D) November 27, 1950
North Carolina
(2)
Frank P. Graham (D) Interim appointee lost November 7, 1950 election to finish the term.
Successor elected November 7, 1950.
Willis Smith (D) November 27, 1950
Kansas
(3)
Harry Darby (R) Interim appointee retired November 28, 1950 when successor elected.
Successor elected November 29, 1950.
Frank Carlson (R) November 29, 1950
California
(3)
Sheridan Downey (D) Incumbent resigned November 30, 1950 due to ill health.
Successor appointed to finish term, having already been elected to the next term.
Richard Nixon (R) December 1, 1950
Rhode Island
(1)
Edward L. Leahy (D) Interim appointee retired December 18, 1950 when successor elected.
Successor elected December 19, 1950.
John O. Pastore (D) December 19, 1950

House of Representatives[edit]

District Vacator Reason for change Successor Date successor
seated
New York 7th Vacant Rep. John J. Delaney died during previous congress Louis B. Heller (D) February 15, 1949
New York 20th Sol Bloom (D) Died March 7, 1949. Franklin Delano Roosevelt Jr. (Lib) May 17, 1949
New York 10th Andrew L. Somers (D) Died April 6, 1949. Edna F. Kelly (D) November 8, 1949
Pennsylvania 26th Robert L. Coffey (D) Died April 20, 1949. John P. Saylor (R) September 13, 1949
California 5th Richard J. Welch (R) Died September 10, 1949. John F. Shelley (D) November 8, 1949
Massachusetts 6th George J. Bates (R) Died November 1, 1949. William H. Bates (R) February 14, 1950
Illinois 5th Martin Gorski (D) Died December 4, 1949. Vacant Not filled for the remainder of this term
New Jersey 7th J. Parnell Thomas (R) Resigned January 2, 1950 following conviction on charges of salary fraud. William B. Widnall (R) February 6, 1950
Virginia 1st S. Otis Bland (D) Died February 16, 1950. Edward J. Robeson, Jr. (D) May 2, 1950
Illinois 13th Ralph E. Church (R) Died March 21, 1950. Vacant Not filled for the remainder of this term
Texas 18th Eugene Worley (D) Resigned April 3, 1950 to become associate judge of the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals. Vacant Not filled for the remainder of this term
Michigan 16th John Lesinski, Sr. (D) Died May 27, 1950. Vacant Not filled for the remainder of this term
North Dakota At-large William Lemke (R) Died May 30, 1950. Vacant Not filled for the remainder of this term
North Carolina 11th Alfred L. Bulwinkle (D) Died August 31, 1950. Woodrow W. Jones (D) November 7, 1950
Kansas 3rd Herbert A. Meyer (R) Died October 2, 1950. Myron V. George (R) November 7, 1950
California 12th Richard Nixon (R) Resigned November 30, 1950 after being appointed to the US Senate. Vacant Not filled for the remainder of this term
Wyoming At-large Frank A. Barrett (R) Resigned December 31, 1950 after being elected Governor of Wyoming. Vacant Not filled for the remainder of this term

Employees[edit]

Architect of the Capitol: David Lynn

Senate[edit]

House of Representatives[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]