Public Housing

July 27, 1948

Report Outline
Housing Issue in Congress and Campaign
T-E-W Bill and Low-Rental Public Housing
Public Housing Under Housing Act of 1937

Housing Issue in Congress and Campaign

Renewal of Housing Controversy in Special Session

Long-Range housing legislation, including provision for federal aid to public housing, is one of the major pieces of unfinished business which President Truman called Congress back to Washington to complete. In his acceptance speech before the Democratic National Convention in the early morning of July 15, when he made the surprise announcement of his intention to reconvene the 80th Congress in extraordinary session, the President referred again and again to the failure of Congress to enact the Taft-Ellender-Wagner bill before adjournment of the regular session on June 20. And in his message to Congress, July 27, listing tasks for the special summer session, he placed action on housing second only to action to combat high prices and inflation. The President urged Congress “not to be distracted from these central purposes” and said of the T-E-W bill: “This is the bill we need. We need it now, not a year from now … This Congress can complete action on this comprehensive housing bill in a few days. I strongly urge that it do so.”

Failure of the T-E-W bill at the last session made housing potentially an important issue in the 1948 presidential campaign. With Congress reconvened, the issue now will be reconsidered on Capitol Hill. However, if it is not resolved there—and Republican leaders have indicated it will not be—the Democrats may be relied upon to stress the housing question more vigorously than ever when they take to the stump during the weeks leading up to the general election on November 2.

Major Party Platform Planks on Public Housing

The controversy over housing is a controversy over those sections of the omnibus T-E-W bill providing for continuation and expansion of the program of aid to local slum clearance and low-rent public housing projects, which was initiated by the federal government in 1937 and subsequently interrupted by the war. The 1948 Democratic platform makes a direct pledge to “enact comprehensive housing legislation, including provision for slum clearance and low-rent housing projects initiated by local agencies.” The Republicans in their platform “recommend federal aid to the states for local slum clearance and low-rental housing programs only where there is a need that cannot be met either by private enterprise or by the states and localities.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Public Housing
Sep. 10, 1993  Public Housing
May 08, 1987  Low Income Housing
Oct. 28, 1970  Low-Income Housing
Jul. 22, 1964  Public Housing in War on Poverty
Apr. 20, 1955  Public Housing, 1955
Jul. 27, 1948  Public Housing
Oct. 12, 1943  Postwar Housing
Nov. 18, 1936  The Unsolved Housing Problem
Jan. 24, 1935  Low Cost Housing in the United States
Low Income and Public Housing