78th United States Congress

The Seventy-eighth 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, DC from January 3, 1943, to January 3, 1945, during the last two years of Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency. The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the Sixteenth Census of the United States in 1940. Both chambers had a Democratic majority.

78th United States Congress
77th ←
→ 79th
January 3, 1943 – January 3, 1945
Senate PresidentHenry A. Wallace (D)
Senate President pro temCarter Glass (D)
House SpeakerSam Rayburn (D)
Members96 senators
435 members of the House
4 non-voting delegates
Senate MajorityDemocratic
House MajorityDemocratic
1st: January 6, 1943 – December 21, 1943
2nd: January 10, 1944 – December 19, 1944

Major events

Major legislation

Party summary


(shading shows control)
Total Vacant
End of the previous congress 64 1 30 1 96 0
Begin 57 1 38 0 96 0
End 56 39
Final voting share 58.3% 1.0% 40.6% 0.0%
Beginning of the next congress 57 1 38 0 96 0

House of Representatives

(shading shows control)
Total Vacant

Wisconsin Progressive
End of the previous congress 252 1 1 3 172 429 6
Begin 222 1 1 2 209 435 0
End 214 3 207 4269
Final voting share 50.2% 0.2% 0.2% 0.7% 48.6%
Beginning of the next congress 242 0 1 1 191 435 0


Section contents: Senate: Majority (D), Minority (R)House: Majority (D), Minority (R)


Majority (Democratic) leadership

Minority (Republican) leadership

  • Minority Leader: Charles L. McNary, until February 25, 1944
  • Minority whip: No Republican whips were appointed from 1935 to 1944 since only 17 Republicans were in the Senate following the landslide reelection of President Franklin Roosevelt in 1936. Accordingly, the minutes of the Republican Conference for the period state: "On motion of Senator Hastings, duly seconded and carried, it was agreed that no Assistant Leader or Whip be elected but that the chairman be authorized to appoint Senators from time to time to assist him in taking charge of the interests of the minority." A note attached to the conference minutes added: "The chairman of the conference, Senator McNary, apparently appointed Senator Austin of Vermont as assistant leader in 1943 and 1944, until the conference adopted Rules of Organization."[1]
  • Republican Conference Secretary: Wallace H. White, Jr., until February 25, 1944

House of Representatives

Majority (Democratic) leadership

Minority (Republican) leadership



77th US Senate composition
Senate party membership: light blue is two Democrats, red is two Republicans, and dark blue is one of each

Senators are popularly elected statewide every two years, with one-third beginning new six-year terms with each Congress. Preceding the names in the list below are Senate class numbers, which indicate the cycle of their election, In this Congress, Class 3 meant their term ended with this Congress, facing re-election in 1944; Class 1 meant their term began in the last Congress, facing re-election in 1946; and Class 2 meant their term began in this Congress, facing re-election in 1948.



























New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota





Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota







West Virginia



House of Representatives

The names of members of the House of Representatives are preceded by their district numbers.

78 us house membership
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

Changes in membership


Vacator Reason for change Successor Date of successor's
formal installation
New Jersey (1) William Warren Barbour (R) Died November 22, 1943.
Successor was appointed until an election.
Arthur Walsh (D) November 26, 1943
Indiana (3) Frederick Van Nuys (D) Died January 25, 1944.
Successor was appointed until an election.
Samuel D. Jackson (D) January 28, 1944
Massachusetts (2) Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. (R) Resigned February 3, 1944, to go on active duty in the US Army.
Success was appointed until a special election.
Sinclair Weeks (R) February 8, 1944
Oregon (2) Charles L. McNary (R) Died February 25, 1944.
Successor was appointed and subsequently won special election
Guy Cordon (R) March 4, 1944
Washington (3) Homer Bone (D) Resigned November 13, 1944, to become Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
Successor was appointed to finish the term, having just been elected to the next term.
Warren Magnuson (D) December 14, 1944
Indiana (3) Samuel D. Jackson (D) Appointee was not a candidate to finish the term.
Successor was elected.
William E. Jenner (R) November 7, 1944
South Carolina (3) Ellison Durant Smith (D) Died November 17, 1944. Wilton E. Hall (D) November 20, 1944
New Jersey (1) Arthur Walsh (D) Appointee was not a candidate to finish the term.
Successor was elected.
H. Alexander Smith (R) December 7, 1944
Massachusetts (2) Sinclair Weeks (R) Appointee was not a candidate to finish the term.
Successor was elected.
Successor chose not to take the seat until the next Congress, but was nevertheless duly elected and qualified.
Leverett Saltonstall (R) January 4, 1945

House of Representatives

District Vacator Reason for change Successor Date of successor's
formal installation
Missouri 6th Vacant Rep. Philip A. Bennett died in previous Congress Marion T. Bennett (R) January 12, 1943
California 2nd Harry L. Englebright (R) Died May 13, 1943 Clair Engle (D) August 31, 1943
Kansas 2nd Ulysses S. Guyer (R) Died June 5, 1943 Errett P. Scrivner (R) September 14, 1943
Oklahoma 2nd John C. Nichols (D) Resigned July 3, 1943, to become vice-president of Transcontinental and Western Air. William G. Stigler (D) March 28, 1944
New York 32nd Francis D. Culkin (R) Died August 4, 1943 Hadwen C. Fuller (R) November 2, 1943
Pennsylvania 23rd James E. Van Zandt (R) Resigned September 24, 1943, after being called to active duty in the US Armed Forces. D. Emmert Brumbaugh (R) November 2, 1943
Kentucky 4th Edward W. Creal (D) Died October 13, 1943 Chester O. Carrier (R) November 30, 1943
Pennsylvania 2nd James P. McGranery (D) Resigned November 17, 1943, after being appointed an Assistant Attorney General Joseph Marmaduke Pratt (R) January 18, 1944
Pennsylvania 17th J. William Ditter (R) Died November 21, 1943 Vacant until the next Congress
Alabama 3rd Henry B. Steagall (D) Died November 22, 1943 George W. Andrews (D) March 14, 1944
Colorado 1st Lawrence Lewis (D) Died December 9, 1943 Dean M. Gillespie (R) March 7, 1944
New York 21st Joseph A. Gavagan (D) Resigned December 30, 1943, after being elected a justice of the New York Supreme Court James H. Torrens (D) February 29, 1944
Illinois 19th William H. Wheat (R) Died January 16, 1944 Rolla C. McMillen (R) June 13, 1944
Illinois 7th Leonard W. Schuetz (D) Died February 13, 1944 Vacant until the next Congress
New York 4th Thomas H. Cullen (D) Died March 1, 1944 John J. Rooney (D) June 6, 1944
New York 11th James A. O'Leary (D) Died March 16, 1944 Ellsworth B. Buck (R) June 6, 1944
Louisiana 3rd James Domengeaux (D) Resigned April 15, 1944, to join US Armed Forces James Domengeaux (D) Re-elected to fill his own vacancy November 7, 1944
California 16th Will Rogers, Jr. (D) Resigned May 23, 1944, to enter the US Army Vacant until the next Congress
Philippines At-large Joaquín Miguel Elizalde Resigned August 9, 1944, to become a member of the war cabinet of President Manuel L. Quezon Carlos P. Romulo August 10, 1944
Virginia 2nd Winder R. Harris (D) Resigned September 15, 1944 Ralph Hunter Daughton (D) November 7, 1944
Florida 3rd Robert L. F. Sikes (D) Resigned October 19, 1944, to enter the U.S. Army Vacant until the next Congress
South Carolina 2nd Hampton P. Fulmer (D) Died October 19, 1944 Willa L. Fulmer (D) November 7, 1944
Florida At-large Robert A. Green (D) Resigned November 25, 1944, to enter the United States Navy Vacant until the next Congress
Tennessee 4th Albert Gore, Sr. (D) Resigned December 4, 1944, to enter the United States Army Vacant until the next Congress
Rhode Island 2nd John E. Fogarty (D) Resigned December 7, 1944, to enter the United States Navy Vacant until the next Congress
Washington 1st Warren Magnuson (D) Resigned December 14, 1944, when appointed U.S. Senator Vacant until the next Congress
Pennsylvania At-large William I. Troutman (R) Resigned January 2, 1945 Vacant until the next Congress


Lists of committees and their party leaders, for members (House and Senate) of the committees and their assignments, go into the Official Congressional Directory at the bottom of the article and click on the link (4 links), in the directory after the pages of terms of service, you will see the committees of the Senate, House (Standing with Subcommittees, Select and Special) and Joint and after the committee pages, you will see the House/Senate committee assignments in the directory, on the committees section of the House and Senate in the Official Congressional Directory, the committee's members on the first row on the left side shows the chairman of the committee and on the right side shows the ranking member of the committee.


House of Representatives

Joint committees

  • Commemorate the Cenntennial of the Telegraph
  • Conditions of Indian Tribes (Special)
  • Disposition of (Useless) Executive Papers
  • The Library
  • Reduction of Nonessential Federal Expenditures
  • Organization of Congress
  • Selective Service Deferments
  • Taxation



Legislative branch agency directors


House of Representatives

See also


  1. ^ "Party Whips". Senate.gov. Archived from the original on 2010-03-09.
A. C. Schiffler

Andrew Charles Schiffler (August 10, 1889 – March 27, 1970) was a Republican United States Representative and attorney from West Virginia. Mr. Schiffler was born in Wheeling on August 10, 1889. He served in the Seventy-sixth Congress (January 3, 1939 – January 3, 1941); and the Seventy-eighth Congress (January 3, 1943 – January 3, 1945). He died March 27, 1970.

After graduating from the public schools, he studied law in Wheeling law offices. In 1913, he was admitted to the bar and entered legal practice in Wheeling. He served as a bankruptcy referee for northern district of West Virginia from 1918-1922. From 1925 until 1932, he served as prosecuting attorney for Ohio County. He was Ohio County Republican Committee chairman from 1936-1938. He was first elected to the U. S. House in 1938. His candidacy for re-election in 1940 was unsuccessful. He returned to the House after winning the 1942 election. After his unsuccessful re-election attempt in 1944, he returned to his law practice. He remained an active attorney until his death in Wheeling on March 27, 1970. He was buried in Mount Calvary Cemetery.

Albert L. Vreeland

Albert Lincoln Vreeland (July 2, 1901 – May 3, 1975) was an American Republican Party politician who represented New Jersey's 11th congressional district from 1939 to 1943.

Arthur Walsh (U.S. senator)

Arthur Walsh (February 26, 1896 – December 13, 1947) was an American politician and World War I veteran who served as the junior United States Senator from New Jersey from November 26, 1943 to December 7, 1944. He was a member of the Democratic Party.

Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1944

The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1944 (Pub. L. No. 78-521; 58 Stat. 838) is legislation enacted by the United States Congress and signed into law on December 20, 1944, which established a 50–50 formula for subsidizing the construction of national highways and secondary (or "feeder") roads. The legislation established a National System of Interstate Highways, and required the Public Roads Administration to establish construction and operational standards for the Interstate Highway System.

Flood Control Act of 1944

The Pick-Sloan Flood Control Act of 1944 (P.L. 78–534), enacted in the 2nd session of the 78th Congress, is U.S. legislation that authorized the construction of numerous dams and modifications to previously existing dams, as well as levees across the United States. Among its various provisions, it established the Southeastern Power Administration and the Southwestern Power Administration, and led to the establishment of the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program.

The Pick-Sloan legislation managed the Missouri River with six intents: hydropower, recreation, water supply, navigation, flood control and fish and wildlife. Over 50 dams and lakes have been built due to this legislation, not just on the mainly affected river but also on tributaries and other connected rivers. Nebraska, as an example, has seen more than eight new lakes created due to the damming of the Missouri and tributaries. The Act also recognized the legitimate rights of states, through the Governor, to impact flood control projects. See 33 US section 701-1 which declared it to be the policy of the Congress

to recognize the interests and rights of the States in determining the development of the watersheds within their borders and likewise their interests and rights in water utilization and control.

The Act was signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on December 22, 1944. It was named for General Lewis A. Pick, head of the Army Corps of Engineers, and W. Glenn Sloan of the Interior Department's Bureau of Reclamation.

Hadwen C. Fuller

Hadwen Carlton Fuller (August 28, 1895 – January 29, 1990) was a United States Representative from New York.

Herman P. Eberharter

Herman Peter Eberharter (April 29, 1892 – September 9, 1958) was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania.

James F. O'Connor

James Francis O'Connor (May 7, 1878 – January 15, 1945) was a U.S. Representative from Montana.

Joe L. Smith

Joseph Luther Smith, commonly known as Joe L. Smith (May 22, 1880 – August 23, 1962), was an American politician, and a member of the Democratic Party from West Virginia.

He was born in Marshes (now Glen Daniel, West Virginia) in Raleigh County, West Virginia, where he attended public and private schools. Smith was editor and owner of Raleigh Register in Beckley, West Virginia. In addition, he was engaged in the real estate and banking businesses. His political career began in 1904, when, at age of 24, he became mayor of Beckley, a post he held for 25 years until 1929. He also served in the State Senate (1909–1913). Smith was elected to the United States House of Representatives from West Virginia's 6th District in 1928, where he served eight two-years term (March 4, 1929 – January 3, 1945). He rose to become chairman of the House Committee on Mines and Mining (Seventy-second through Seventy-eighth Congresses). He didn't seek a ninth term in 1944. Fellow Democrat E. H. Hedrick replaced him. After leaving politics, Smith resumed his banking career and resided in Beckley, where he died. He is interred in Sunset Memorial Park.

His son Hulett C. Smith served as Governor of West Virginia.

John H. Kerr Dam

John H. Kerr Dam is concrete gravity-dam located on the Roanoke River in Virginia, creating Kerr Lake. The dam was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1947 and 1953 for the purposes of flood control, and hydropower. The dam also serves wildlife resources, forest conservation, and public recreational uses. The John H. Kerr Dam currently produces over 426 GWh of electricity annually and has prevented over $385 million in flood damage since completion. The dam is named after John H. Kerr, a Congressman from North Carolina who was instrumental in authorizing the construction.

John J. Rooney

John James Rooney (November 29, 1903 – October 26, 1975) was a Democratic politician from New York.

Rooney was born in Brooklyn in 1903. In 1925, he graduated with a law degree from Fordham University and practiced law following his admission to the bar the next year. He subsequently served as assistant district attorney in Brooklyn, New York, from 1940 to 1944.

In 1944, Rooney was elected by special election to the 78th United States Congress, to fill the vacancy left after the death of Thomas H. Cullen. He was re-elected in each subsequent election until opting to retire after the 1974 midterm election. He resigned from his seat on December 31, 1974, a few days before his term was to expire.

He was once called a "frank torchbearer for the so-called Catholic lobby", for his support of American aid to Francisco Franco's regime in Spain.Rooney died on October 26, 1975 in Washington, D.C.

Leon H. Gavin

Leon Harry Gavin (February 25, 1893 – September 15, 1963) was a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania.

List of United States Senators in the 78th Congress by seniority

This is a complete list of members of the United States Senate during the 78th United States Congress listed by seniority, from January 3, 1943, to January 3, 1945.

Order of service is based on the commencement of the senator's first term. Behind this is former service as a senator (only giving the senator seniority within his or her new incoming class), service as vice president, a House member, a cabinet secretary, or a governor of a state. The final factor is the population of the senator's state.Senators who were sworn in during the middle of the two-year congressional term (up until the last senator who was not sworn in early after winning the November 1944 election) are listed at the end of the list with no number.

List of members of the United States House of Representatives in the 78th Congress by seniority

This is a complete list of members of the United States House of Representatives during the 78th United States Congress listed by seniority.As an historical article, the districts and party affiliations listed reflect those during the 78th Congress (January 3, 1943 – January 3, 1945). Current seats and party affiliations on the List of current members of the United States House of Representatives by seniority will be different for certain members.Seniority depends on the date on which members were sworn into office. Since many members are sworn in on the same day, subsequent ranking is based on previous congressional service of the individual and then by alphabetical order by the last name of the congressman.

Committee chairmanship in the House is often associated with seniority. However, party leadership is typically not associated with seniority.

Note: The "*" indicates that the representative/delegate may have served one or more non-consecutive terms while in the House of Representatives of the United States Congress.

Philip J. Philbin

Philip Joseph Philbin (May 29, 1898 – June 14, 1972) was a Democratic U.S. Congressman from Massachusetts. He was born in Clinton, Massachusetts where he attended the public and high schools. From 1917 until 1919, during the First World War, served as a seaman in the United States Navy. He then went on to Harvard University, was center on the Harvard Football Team that won the Rose Bowl game in 1919 against Oregon. He graduated in 1920 and from Columbia University Law School, New York City, in 1924.

He was admitted to the bar the same year and commenced practice in Boston and later in Clinton, Ma. He also engaged in the realty and fuel businesses and in agricultural pursuits. From 1921 through 1940, he served as the secretary, campaign manager, and personal representative at intervals for Senator David I. Walsh and from 1934 though 1936, served as special counsel for the United States Senate Committee on Education and Labor. He was a referee in the United States Department of Labor in 1936 and 1937, a member of the advisory board of the Massachusetts Unemployment Compensation Commission between 1937 and 1940, and in 1935 became chairman of the town of Clinton Finance Committee.

In 1942, as the Democratic nominee, Philbin was elected to the 78th United States Congress and to the thirteen succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1943 - January 3, 1971). In his reelection campaign of 1970, he was unsuccessful in his primary, losing to the anti-war candidate, Father Robert Drinan, SJ. At the very end of the 91st United States Congress, he served as chairman of the Committee on Armed Services, due to the death of L. Mendel Rivers on December 28, 1970. He died at home on Philcrest Farms, in Bolton, Massachusetts. He is buried in St. John’s Cemetery, Lancaster, Massachusetts.

United States Congress. "Philip J. Philbin (id: P000303)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.

Ralph R. Roberts

Ralph R. Roberts was the Doorkeeper of the United States House of Representatives from c. 1944 until 1947, a period covering the latter portion of the 78th United States Congress and the entire of the 79th, and

was Clerk of the United States House of Representatives from 1949 until 1953 and again from 1955 until 1967. Roberts, who was born in Indiana, served the 81st, 82nd, 84th and 85th United States Congresses.

Second Bill of Rights

The Second Bill of Rights is a list of rights that was proposed by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt during his State of the Union Address on Tuesday, January 11, 1944. In his address, Roosevelt suggested that the nation had come to recognize and should now implement, a second "bill of rights". Roosevelt's argument was that the "political rights" guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights had "proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness". His remedy was to declare an "economic bill of rights" to guarantee these specific rights:

Employment (right to work), food, clothing and leisure with enough income to support them

Farmers' rights to a fair income

Freedom from unfair competition and monopolies


Medical care

Social security

EducationRoosevelt stated that having such rights would guarantee American security and that the United States' place in the world depended upon how far the rights had been carried into practice.

Smith–Connally Act

The Smith–Connally Act or War Labor Disputes Act (50 U.S.C. App. 1501 et seq.) was an American law passed on June 25, 1943, over President Franklin D. Roosevelt's veto. The legislation was hurriedly created after 400,000 coal miners, their wages significantly lowered because of high wartime inflation, struck for a $2-a-day wage increase.The Act allowed the federal government to seize and operate industries threatened by or under strikes that would interfere with war production, and prohibited unions from making contributions in federal elections.The war powers bestowed by the Act were first used in August 1944 when the Fair Employment Practices Commission ordered the Philadelphia Transportation Company to hire African-Americans as motormen. The 10,000 members of the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Employees Union (PRTEU), a labor union unaffiliated with either the American Federation of Labor or the Congress of Industrial Organizations, led a sick-out strike, now known as the Philadelphia transit strike of 1944, for six days. President Roosevelt sent 8,000 United States Army troops to the city to seize and operate the transit system, and threatened to draft any PRTEU member who did not return to the job within 48 hours. Roosevelt's actions broke the strike.

Thomas F. Burchill

Thomas Francis Burchill (August 3, 1882 – March 26, 1955) was a United States Representative from New York.

United States Congresses (and year convened)

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