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The Seventy-third 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, DCmarker from March 4, 1933 to January 3, 1935, during the first two years of Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency. Because of the newly-ratified 20th Amendment, this Congress was actually about 2 months short of 2 years in duration. The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the Fifteenth Census of the United States in 1930. Both chambers had a Democratic majority.

Major events



Major legislation

First Session

The first session of Congress, known as the "Hundred Days," took place before the regular seating and was called by President Roosevelt specifically to pass two acts:
  • 1933-03-09 — The Emergency Banking Act (ch. 1, ) was enacted within four hours of its introduction. It was prompted by the "bank holiday" and was the first step in Roosevelt's "first hundred days" of the New Deal. The Act was drafted in large part by officials appointed by the Hoover administration. The bill provided for the Treasury Departmentmarker to initiate reserve requirements and a federal bailout to large failing institutions. It also removed the United States from the Gold Standard. All banks had to undergo a federal inspection to deem if they were stable enough to re-open. Within a week 1/3rd of the banks re-opened in the United States and faith was, in large part, restored in the banking system. The act had few opponents, only taking fire from the farthest left elements of Congress who wanted to nationalize banks altogether.
  • 1933-03-10 — The Economy Act of 1933. Roosevelt, in sending this act to Congress, warned that if it did not pass, the country faced a billion dollar deficit. The act balanced the federal budget by cutting the salaries of government employees and cutting pensions to veterans by as much as 15 percent. It intended to reassure the deficit hawks that the new president was fiscally conservative. Although the act was heavily protested by left-leaning members of congress, it passed by an overwhelming margin.


President Franklin D.
Roosevelt signs the Tennessee Valley Authority Act
The session also passed several other major pieces of legislation:



Second Session



Constitutional amendments



Hearings

"Merchants of Death"



The Senate Munitions Committee came into existence solely for the purpose of this hearing. Although World War I had been over for sixteen years, there were revived reports that America's leading munition companies had effectively influenced the United States into that conflict, which killed 53,000 Americans, hence the companies' nickname "Merchants of Death."

The Democratic Party, controlling the Senate for the first time since the first world war, used the hype of these reports to organize the hearing in hopes of nationalizing America's munitions industry. The Democrats chose a Republican renowned for his ardent isolationist policies, Senator Gerald P. Nye of North Dakota, to head the hearing. Nye was typical of western agrarian progressive, and adamantly opposed America's involvement in any foreign war. Nye declared at the opening of the hearing "when the Senate investigation is over, we shall see that war and preparation for war is not a matter of national honor and national defense, but a matter of profit for the few."

Over the next eighteen months, the "Nye Committee" (as newspapers called it) held ninety-three hearings, questioning more than two hundred witnesses, including J.P. Morgan, Jr. and Pierre du Pont. Committee members found little hard evidence of an active conspiracy among arms makers, yet the panel’s reports did little to weaken the popular prejudice against "greedy munitions interests."

The hearings overlapped the 73rd and 74th Congresses. They only came to an end after Chairman Nye provoked the Democratic caucus into cutting off funding. Nye, in the last hearing the Committee held in early 1936, attacked former Democratic President Woodrow Wilson, suggesting that Wilson had withheld essential information from Congress as it considered a declaration of war. Democratic leaders, including Appropriations Committee Chairman Carter Glass of Virginiamarker, unleashed a furious response against Nye for "dirtdaubing the sepulcher of Woodrow Wilson." Standing before cheering colleagues in a packed Senate chamber, Glass slammed his fist onto his desk in protest until blood dripped from his knuckles, effectively prompting the Democratic caucus to withhold all funding for further hearings.

Although the "Nye Committee" failed to achieve its goal of nationalizing the arms industry, it inspired three congressional neutrality acts in the mid-1930s that signaled profound American opposition to overseas involvement.

Party summary

For details, see Changes in Membership, below.

Senate

There were 48 states with two Senators per state gave the Senate 96 seats. Membership changed with four deaths, one resignation, and two appointees who were replaced by electees.



Party
(shading indicates majority caucus)
Total
       
Democratic Republican Farmer-Labor Vacant
Begin (1933-03-04) 59 36 1 96 0
1933-03-11 35 95 1
1933-05-24 60 96 0
1933-06-24 59 95 1
1933-10-06 34 94 2
1933-10-19 35 95 1
1933-11-03 58 94 2
1933-11-06 59 95 1
1934-01-01 60 96 0
1934-11-07
Latest voting share 63% 36% 1%


House of Representatives

Membership changed with twelve deaths and three resignations.



Party
(shading indicates majority caucus)
Total
       
Democratic Republican Farmer-Labor Vacant
Begin (1933-03-04) 311 117 5 433 2
1933-04-22 312 434 1
1933-04-29 311 433 2
1933-05-12 310 432 3
1933-05-17 309 431 4
1933-06-19 308 430 5
1933-06-22 307 429 6
1933-06-24 308 430 5
1933-07-05 309 431 4
1933-08-27 116 430 5
1933-09-23 308 429 6
1933-10-03 309 430 5
1933-10-19 115 429 6
1933-11-05 114 428 7
1933-11-07 310 429 6
1933-11-14 311 430 5
1933-11-28 312 431 4
1933-12-19 313 432 3
1933-12-19 113 431 4
1933-12-28 114 432 3
1934-01-16 115 433 2
1934-01-30 116 434 1
1934-04-01 312 433 2
1934-05-01 313 434 1
1934-05-29 115 433 2
1934-06-08 312 432 3
1934-07-07 313 433 2
1934-08-19 312 432 3
1934-09-30 114 431 4
Latest voting share 72.4% 26.4% 1.2%


Leadership

Contents: Senate: Majority leadershipMinority leadership
House of Representatives: Majority leadershipMinority leadership

Senate



Majority (Democratic) leadership



Minority (Republican) leadership



House of Representatives



Majority (Democratic) leadership



Minority (Republican) leadership



Members

Senate

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.

Alabama



Arizona



Arkansas



California



Colorado



Connecticut



Delaware



Florida



Georgia



Idaho



Illinois



Indiana



Iowa



Kansas



Kentucky



Louisiana



Maine



Maryland



Massachusetts



Michigan



Minnesota



Mississippi



Missouri



Montana

: John E. Erickson (D), appointed 1933-03-13
: James E. Murray (D), elected 1934-11-07


Nebraska

: William H. Thompson (D), appointed May 24, 1933
: Richard C. Hunter (D), elected November 7, 1934

Nevada



New Hampshire



New Jersey



New Mexico

: Carl Hatch (D), appointed 1933-11-06


New York



North Carolina



North Dakota



Ohio



Oklahoma



Oregon



Pennsylvania



Rhode Island



South Carolina



South Dakota



Tennessee



Texas



Utah



Vermont

: Ernest W. Gibson (R), appointed 1933-10-19


Virginia



Washington



West Virginia



Wisconsin



Wyoming

: Joseph C. O'Mahoney (D), appointed 1934-01-01


House of Representatives

The names of members of the House of Representatives elected statewide at-large, are preceded by an "A/L," and the names of those elected from districts, whether plural or single member, are preceded by their district numbers.

Many of the congressional district numbers are linked to articles describing the district itself. Since the boundaries of the districts have changed often and substantially, the linked article may only describe the district as it exists today, and not as it was at the time of this Congress.

Alabama

* Archibald Hill Carmichael (D), November 14, 1933 – End


Arizona



Arkansas

: . David D. Terry (D), elected December 19, 1933


California



Colorado



Connecticut



Delaware



Florida



Georgia

* . Paul Brown (D), elected to fill vacancy


Idaho



Illinois



Indiana



Iowa



Kansas



Kentucky



Louisiana

* . Jared Y. Sanders, Jr. (D), elected to fill vacancy


Maine



Maryland



Massachusetts



Michigan



Minnesota



Mississippi



Missouri



Montana



Nebraska



Nevada



New Hampshire



New Jersey



New Mexico



New York

* . William D. Thomas (R), elected to fill vacancy
* . Marian W. Clarke (R), elected to fill vacancy


North Carolina

* . Harold D. Cooley (D), elected to fill vacancy


North Dakota



Ohio



Oklahoma



Oregon



Pennsylvania

* . Oliver Walter Frey (R), elected to fill vacancy


Rhode Island



South Carolina



South Dakota



Tennessee



Texas

* . Clark W. Thompson (D), elected to fill vacancy


Utah



Vermont

* . Charles A. Plumley (R), elected to fill vacancy


Virginia



Washington



West Virginia

* . Andrew Edmiston, Jr. (D), elected to fill vacancy


Wisconsin



Wyoming



Non-voting members



Changes in Membership

Senate

State Senator Reason for Vacancy Successor Date of Successor's Installation
Nebraska Robert Howell (R) Died March 11, 1933 William H. Thompson (D) May 24, 1933
New Mexico Sam Bratton (D) Resigned June 24, 1933 when appointed Associate Justice of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit Carl Hatch (D) November 6, 1933
Vermont Porter Dale (R) Died October 6, 1933 Ernest Gibson (R) October 19, 1933
Wyoming John Kendrick (D) Died November 3, 1933 Joseph C. O'Mahoney (D) January 1, 1934
Nebraska William Thompson (D) Duly elected successors qualified on November 6, 1934 Richard Hunter (D) November 7, 1934
Montana John Erickson (D) James E. Murray (D)


House of Representatives

District Vacator Reason for Vacancy Successor Date of successor's installation
Vacant John Garner had resigned at the end of the previous Congress Milton H. West April 22, 1933
Vacant Lewis W. Douglas (D) had resigned at the end of the previous Congress Isabella Greenway (D) October 3, 1933
Clay Stone Briggs (D) Died April 29, 1933 Clark W. Thompson (D) June 24, 1933
Arkansas 5th Heartsill Ragon (D) Resigned May 12, 1933 David D. Terry (D) December 19, 1933
Charles H. Brand (D) Died May 17, 1933 Paul Brown (D) July 5, 1933
Bolivar E. Kemp (D) Died June 19, 1933 Jared Y. Sanders, Jr. (D) May 1, 1934
Edward B. Almon (D) Died June 22, 1933 Archibald Hill Carmichael (D) November 14, 1933
Henry Winfield Watson (R) Died August 27, 1933 Oliver Walter Frey (D) November 7, 1933
Lynn Hornor (D) Died September 23, 1933 Andrew Edmiston, Jr. (D) November 28, 1933
Ernest W. Gibson (R) Appointed U.S. Senator October 19, 1933 Charles A. Plumley (R) January 16, 1934
John D. Clarke (R) Died November 5, 1933 Marian W. Clarke (R) December 28, 1933
James S. Parker (R) Died December 19, 1933 William D. Thomas (R) January 30, 1934
Edward W. Pou (D) Died April 1, 1934 Harold D. Cooley (D) July 7, 1934
George F. Brumm (R) Died May 29, 1934 Seat remained vacant until next Congress
Idaho 2nd Thomas C. Coffin (D) Died June 8, 1934 Seat remained vacant until next Congress
Frank Oliver (D) Resigned June 18, 1934 Seat remained vacant until next Congress
Henry T. Rainey (D) Died August 19, 1934 Seat remained vacant until next Congress
James M. Beck (R) Resigned September 30, 1934 Seat remained vacant until next Congress


Employees



Senate



House of Representatives



References

  1. The Vice President of the United States serves as the President of the Senate. See U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 3, Clause 4
  2. The Democratic Senate Majority Leader also serves as the Chairman of the Democratic Conference.



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