Suvarna Garge (Editor)

73rd United States Congress

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Senate President  John N. Garner (D)
House Speaker:  Henry T. Rainey (D)
House Majority:  Democratic
Senate Pres. pro tem:  Key Pittman (D)
Senate Majority:  Democratic
73rd United States Congress
Members:  96 Senators 435 Representatives 5 Non-voting members

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, D.C. 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, the duration of this Congress, along with the term of office of those elected to it, was shortened by the interval between January 3 and March 4, 1935 (61 days). 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

  • March 4, 1933: Franklin D. Roosevelt became President of the United States
  • 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:

  • March 9, 1933: The Emergency Banking Act (ch. 1, 48 Stat. 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 Department 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 1/3 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.
  • March 10, 1933: 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.
  • The session also passed several other major pieces of legislation:

  • March 31, 1933: The Civilian Conservation Corps Reforestation Relief Act (ch. 17, 48 Stat. 22) established the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) as a means to combat unemployment and poverty.
  • May 12, 1933: The Agricultural Adjustment Act (ch. 25, 48 Stat. 31) was part of a plan developed by Roosevelt's Secretary of Agriculture, Henry A. Wallace, and was designed to protect American farmers from the uncertainties of the depression through subsidies and production controls. The act laid the frame for long-term government control in the planning of the agricultural sector. In 1936 the act was ruled unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court because it taxed one group to pay for another.
  • May 12, 1933: The Federal Emergency Relief Act (ch. 30, 48 Stat. 55) established the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) which develop public works projects to give work to the unemployed.
  • May 18, 1933: The Tennessee Valley Authority Act (ch. 32, 48 Stat. 58) created the Tennessee Valley Authority to relieve the Tennessee Valley by a series of public works projects.
  • June 5, 1933: The Securities Act of 1933 (ch. 38, 48 Stat. 74) established the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) as a way for the government to prevent a repeat of the Stock Market Crash of 1929.
  • June 12, 1933: The Glass–Steagall Act of 1933 (ch. 89, 48 Stat. 162) was a follow up to the Glass–Steagall Act of 1932. Both acts sought to make banking safer and less prone to speculation. The 1933 act, however, established the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
  • June 16, 1933: The National Industrial Recovery Act ("NIRA", ch. 90, 48 Stat. 195) was an anti-deflation scheme promoted by the Chamber of Commerce that reversed anti-trust laws and permit trade associations to cooperate in stabilizing prices within their industries while making businesses ensure that the incomes of workers would rise along with their prices. It guaranteed to workers of the right of collective bargaining and helped spur major union organizing drives in major industries. In case consumer buying power lagged behind, thereby defeating the administration's initiatives, the NIRA created the Public Works Administration (PWA), a major program of public works spending designed to alleviate unemployment, and moreover to transfer funds to certain beneficiaries. The NIRA established the most important, but ultimately least successful provision: a new federal agency known as the National Recovery Administration (NRA), which attempted to stabilize prices and wages through cooperative "code authorities" involving government, business, and labor. The NIRA was seen hailed as a miracle, responding to the needs of labor, business, unemployment, and the deflation crisis. The "sick chicken case" led to the Supreme Court invalidating NIRA in 1935.
  • Second Session

  • March 24, 1934: The Tydings–McDuffie Act (Pub.L. 73–127, 48 Stat. 456) provided for self-government for the Commonwealth of the Philippines and a pathway to independence.
  • June 6, 1934: The Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (ch. 404, 48 Stat. 881) grew out of the Securities Act of 1933 and regulated participation in financial markets.
  • June 6, 1934: The National Firearms Act of 1934 (ch. 757, 48 Stat. 1236) regulated machine guns, short-barreled rifles and shotguns.
  • June 19, 1934: Communications Act of 1934 (ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, Pub.L. 73–416)
  • Constitutional amendments

  • The Twentieth Amendment to the United States Constitution became effective in January 1934. It had been ratified during the previous Congress on January 23, 1933. The amendment changed both the date for convening Congress and the date for beginning each term. Thus the first session of the 73rd Congress convened in March 1933, but the second session convened in January 1934.
  • The Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified on December 5, 1933. This amendment repealed the eighteenth amendment which mandated national prohibition in the United States, which had been in effect since the Volstead Act of 1919. The amendment is unusual due to the fact that it was ratified by convention of states instead of the state legislatures.
  • "Merchants of Death"

  • Committee: United States Senate Special Committee on Investigation of the Munitions Industry
  • Chairman: Senator Gerald P. Nye (R)
  • Duration: September 4, 1934 – February 24, 1936
  • 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 progressives, 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 Virginia, 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.


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

    House of Representatives

    Membership changed with twelve deaths and three resignations.


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


  • President: John Nance Garner (D)
  • President pro tempore: Key Pittman (D)
  • Majority (Democratic) leadership

  • Majority Leader and Democratic Conference Chairman: Joseph T. Robinson
  • Assistant Majority Leader (Majority Whip): J. Hamilton Lewis
  • Democratic Caucus Secretary: Hugo Black
  • Minority (Republican) leadership

  • Minority Leader: Charles L. McNary
  • Assistant Minority Leader (Minority Whip): Felix Hebert
  • Republican Conference Chairman: Charles L. McNary
  • Republican Conference Secretary: Frederick Hale
  • House of Representatives

  • Speaker: Henry T. Rainey (D), until August 19, 1934 (Vacant thereafter)
  • Majority (Democratic) leadership

  • Majority Leader: Joseph W. Byrns
  • Majority Whip: Arthur H. Greenwood
  • Democratic Caucus Chairman: Clarence F. Lea
  • Minority (Republican) leadership

  • Minority Leader: Bertrand H. Snell
  • Minority Whip: Harry L. Englebright
  • Republican Conference Chair: Robert Luce
  • 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.

    House of Representatives

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


    Lists of committees and their party leaders.


  • Agriculture and Forestry
  • Air Mail and Ocean Mail Contracts (Special)
  • Alaska Railroad (Special Select)
  • Appropriations
  • Audit and Control the Contingent Expenses of the Senate
  • Banking and Currency
  • Bankruptcy and Receiveship (Select)
  • Campaign Expenditures (Select)
  • Civil Service
  • Claims
  • Commerce
  • District of Columbia
  • Education and Labor
  • Enrolled Bills
  • Expenditures in Executive Departments
  • Finance
  • Foreign Relations
  • Immigration
  • Immigration and Naturalization
  • Indian Affairs
  • Interoceanic Canals
  • Interstate Commerce
  • Judiciary
  • Library
  • Manufactures
  • Military Affairs
  • Mines and Mining
  • Mississippi Flood Control Project (Select)
  • Munitions Industry (Select)
  • Naval Affairs
  • Patents
  • Pensions
  • Philippines Economic Condition (Special)
  • Post Office and Post Roads
  • Presidential and Senatorial Campaign Expenditures (Special)
  • Printing
  • Privileges and Elections
  • Public Buildings and Grounds
  • Public Lands and Surveys
  • Rules
  • Territories and Insular Affairs
  • Whole
  • Wildlife Resources (Special)
  • House of Representatives

  • Accounts
  • Agriculture
  • Appropriations
  • Banking and Currency
  • Census
  • Civil Service
  • Claims
  • Coinage, Weights and Measures
  • Disposition of Executive Papers
  • District of Columbia
  • Education
  • Election of the President, Vice President and Representatives in Congress
  • Elections
  • Enrolled Bills
  • Expenditures in the Executive Departments
  • Flood Control
  • Foreign Affairs
  • Immigration and Naturalization
  • Indian Affairs
  • Insular Affairs
  • Interstate and Foreign Commerce
  • Invalid Pensions
  • Irrigation and Reclamation
  • Labor
  • Memorials
  • Merchant Marine, Radio and Fisheries
  • Military Affairs
  • Mines and Mining
  • Naval Affairs
  • Patents
  • Pensions
  • Post Office and Post Roads
  • Public Buildings and Grounds
  • Public Lands
  • Revision of Laws
  • Rivers and Harbors
  • Roads
  • Rules
  • Standards of Official Conduct
  • Territories
  • War Claims
  • Ways and Means
  • Whole
  • Joint committees

  • Conditions of Indian Tribes (Special)
  • Disposition of (Useless) Executive Papers
  • Investigate Dirigible Disasters
  • The Library
  • Taxation
  • Employees

  • Architect of the Capitol: David Lynn
  • Attending Physician of the United States Congress: George Calver
  • Comptroller General of the United States: John R. McCarl
  • Librarian of Congress: Herbert Putnam
  • Public Printer of the United States: George H. Carter (until 1934), Augustus E. Giegengack (starting 1934)
  • Senate

  • Secretary of the Senate: Edwin A. Halsey
  • Chaplain: ZeBarney Thorne Phillips (Episcopalian)
  • Sergeant at Arms: Chesley W. Jurney
  • House of Representatives

  • Clerk: South Trimble
  • Chaplain: James Shera Montgomery (Methodist)
  • Parliamentarian: Lewis Deschler
  • Sergeant at Arms: Kenneth Romney
  • Doorkeeper: Joseph J. Sinnott
  • See also: Rules of the House: "Other officers and officials"
  • References

    73rd United States Congress Wikipedia

    Similar Topics
    Pandoras Box (1929 film)
    Hieronim Barczak
    Sho Nakata