81st United States Congress

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.

81st United States Congress
80th ←
→ 82nd
USCapitol1956
January 3, 1949 – January 3, 1951
Senate PresidentVacant
until January 20, 1949
Alben W. Barkley (D)
from January 20, 1949
Senate President pro temKenneth McKellar (D)
House SpeakerSam Rayburn (D)
Members96 senators
435 members of the House
4 non-voting delegates
Senate MajorityDemocratic
House MajorityDemocratic
Sessions
1st: January 3, 1949 – October 19, 1949
2nd: January 3, 1950 – January 2, 1951

Major events

  • January 20, 1949: President Harry S. Truman began his second (only full) term.
  • 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

61-mccarranact-poster
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

Hearings

Frank Costello - Kefauver Committee
Mobster Frank Costello testifying before the Kefauver Committee.

Party summary

Senate

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 49 47 96 0

House of Representatives

81 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
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 4314
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

Alben Barkley, Vice-President
Senate President
Alben W. Barkley
McKellarKenneth
Senate President pro tempore
Kenneth McKellar
Samuel Taliaferro Rayburn
House Speaker
Sam Rayburn

Senate

Majority (Democratic) leadership

Minority (Republican) leadership

House of Representatives

Majority (Democratic) leadership

Minority (Republican) leadership

Caucuses

Members

Senate

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, In this Congress, Class 3 meant their term ended with this Congress, requiring reelection in 1950; Class 1 meant their term began in the last Congress, requiring reelection in 1952; and Class 2 meant their term began in this Congress, requiring reelection in 1954.

Senate Majority Leaders
ScottWikeLucas
Democratic Leader
Scott W. Lucas
M001127
Democratic Whip
Francis J. Myers
M001127
Senate Minority Leaders
Kenneth wherry
Republican Leader
Kenneth S. Wherry
Leverett Saltonstall cph.3b10555
Republican Whip
Leverett Saltonstall
Leverett Saltonstall cph.3b10555

House of Representatives

House Majority Leaders
Speaker John McCormack
Democratic Leader
John W. McCormack
James Percy Priest, Congressional portrait collection
Democratic Whip
Percy Priest
James Percy Priest, Congressional portrait collection
House Minority Leaders
SPEAKER JWMartin
Republican Leader
Joseph Martin
Leslie Arends
Republican Whip
Leslie C. Arends
Leslie Arends

Changes in membership

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

Senate

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

District Vacator Reason for change Successor Date of successor's
formal installation
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 U.S. 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

Committees

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 (2 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.

Senate

House of Representatives

Joint committees

  • Atomic Energy
  • Conditions of Indian Tribes (Special)
  • Defense Production
  • Disposition of Executive Papers
  • Foreign Economic Cooperation
  • Economic
  • Labor Management Relations
  • Legislative Budget
  • The Library
  • Navajo-Hopi Indian Administration
  • Printing
  • Reduction of Nonessential Federal Expenditures
  • Taxation

Employees

Legislative branch agency directors

Senate

House of Representatives

See also

External links

  • House of Representatives Session Calendar for the 81st Congress (PDF).
  • Official Congressional Directory for the 81st Congress, 1st Session.
  • Official Congressional Directory for the 81st Congress, 2nd Session.

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