Business Before the 76th Congress, Third Session

December 19, 1939

Report Outline
Business Before the 76th Congress Third Session
National Defense and Problems Arising from War
Budget; Taxes; Appropriations
Economic and Social Legislation
Special Focus

Business Before the 76th Congress Third Session

Politics will dominate the third session of the 76th Congress more completely than any session of recent years. Not only will all issues be scrutinized by Democrats and Republicans for possible partisan advantage, but within the ranks of each party conservatives and liberals will jockey for position. The natural tendency of members of Congress to follow party lines more closely in an election year will be balanced against factional efforts directed toward controlling the party conventions and influencing the interests of particular candidates.

Congress will undoubtedly attempt to finish its business and adjourn before the conventions meet, but this factor may be of minor importance if the conventions are delayed until late summer in line with a suggestion by President Roosevelt which has been endorsed by a number of leaders in both parties. The desire to avoid consideration of controversial proposals will also make for early adjournment. The President has indicated that he will restrict the number of measures to be sponsored by the administration, and Speaker Bankhead (D., Ala.) of the House of Representatives has predicted a comparatively short session. The first major task will be to strengthen national defense forces. On this subject there is relatively little dissent, and other issues will probably be sidetracked until the War and Navy Department appropriations are out of the way.

Political Complexion Of The Returning Congress

The political make-up of Congress has not been appreciably changed by deaths or retirements since the election a year ago, which sent 69 Democrats, 23 Republicans and three others to the Senate; 261 Democrats, 169 Republicans and 4 others to the House, with 1 vacancy. Since that time Sen. Lewis (D-, 111.) has been replaced by Sen. Slattery, and Sen. Logan (D., Ky.) has been replaced by Sen. Chandler. In each case a New Deal supporter has been succeeded by a man regarded as generally favorable to the New Deal.

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