Neha Patil (Editor)

76th United States Congress

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Senate President  John N. Garner (D)
House Majority:  Democratic
Senate Majority:  Democratic
76th United States Congress
Senate Pres. pro tem:  Key Pittman (D) William H. King (D)
House Speaker:  William B. Bankhead (D) Sam Rayburn (D)
Members:  96 Senators 435 Representatives 5 Non-voting members

The Seventy-sixth 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, DC from January 3, 1939 to January 3, 1941, during the seventh and eighth years of Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency. 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. It is the most recent Congress to have held a third session.


Major events

  • April 9, 1939: African-American singer Marian Anderson performs before 75,000 people at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., after having been denied the use both of Constitution Hall by the Daughters of the American Revolution, and of a public high school by the federally controlled District of Columbia.
  • August 2, 1939: Albert Einstein wrote to President Franklin Roosevelt about developing the atomic bomb using uranium. This led to the creation of the Manhattan Project.
  • September 5, 1939: World War II: The United States declares its neutrality in the war.
  • November 4, 1939: World War II: President Roosevelt ordered the United States Customs Service to implement the Neutrality Act of 1939, allowing cash-and-carry purchases of weapons to non-belligerent nations.
  • November 15, 1939: President Roosevelt laid the cornerstone of the Jefferson Memorial.
  • April 1, 1940: April Fools' Day was also the census date for the 16th U.S. Census.
  • May 16, 1940: World War II: President Roosevelt, addressed a joint session of Congress, asking for an extraordinary credit of approximately $900 million to finance construction of at least 50,000 airplanes per year.
  • June 10, 1940: World War II: President Roosevelt denounced Italy's actions with his "Stab in the Back" speech during the graduation ceremonies of the University of Virginia.
  • August 4, 1940: World War II: Gen. John J. Pershing, in a nationwide radio broadcast, urges all-out aid to Britain in order to defend the Americas, while Charles Lindbergh speaks to an isolationist rally at Soldier Field in Chicago.
  • September, 1940: The Army's 45th Infantry Division (previously a National Guard Division in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Oklahoma), was activated and ordered into federal service for 1 year, to engage in a training program in Ft. Sill and Louisiana, prior to serving in World War II.
  • September 2, 1940: World War II: An agreement between America and Great Britain was announced to the effect that 50 U.S. destroyers needed for escort work would be transferred to Great Britain. In return, America gained 99-year leases on British bases in the North Atlantic, West Indies and Bermuda.
  • September 26, 1940: World War II: The United States imposed a total embargo on all scrap metal shipments to Japan.
  • October 16, 1940: The draft registration of approximately 16 million men began in the United States.
  • October 29, 1940: The Selective Service System lottery was held in Washington, D.C..
  • November 5, 1940: U.S. presidential election, 1940: Democrat incumbent Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated Republican challenger Wendell Willkie and became the United States's first and only third-term president.
  • November 12, 1940: Case of Hansberry v. Lee, 311 U.S. 32 (1940), decided, allowing a racially restrictive covenant to be lifted.
  • December 17, 1940: President Roosevelt, at his regular press conference, first outlined his plan to send aid to Great Britain that will become known as Lend-Lease.
  • December 29, 1940: Franklin D. Roosevelt, in a fireside chat to the nation, declared that the United States must become "the great arsenal of democracy."
  • January 13, 1941: All persons born in Puerto Rico after this day were declared U.S. citizens by birth, through federal law 8 U.S.C. § 1402.
  • January 20, 1941: Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes swore in President Roosevelt for a third term.
  • January 27, 1941: World War II: U.S. Ambassador to Japan Joseph C. Grew passed on to Washington a rumor overheard at a diplomatic reception about a planned surprise attack upon Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
  • February 4, 1941: World War II: The United Service Organization (USO) was created to entertain American troops.
  • Hearings

  • January 23, 1941: Aviator Charles Lindbergh testified before the Congress and recommends that the United States negotiate a neutrality pact with Adolf Hitler.
  • Major legislation

  • April 3, 1939: Reorganization Act of 1939, Pub.L. 76–19, 53 Stat. 561
  • August 2, 1939: Hatch Act of 1939 ("Hatch Political Activity Act", "An Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities"), ch. 410, 53 Stat. 1147
  • November 4, 1939: Neutrality Act of 1939, ("Cash and Carry Act"), ch. 2, 54 Stat. 4
  • June 29, 1940: Alien Registration Act (Smith Act), 3d sess. ch. 439, 54 Stat. 670
  • August 22, 1940: Act of August 22, 1940, ch. 686, Pub.L. 76–768, 54 Stat. 789 (including Investment Company Act of 1940, Investment Advisers Act of 1940)
  • September 16, 1940: Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, Pub.L. 76–783
  • Senate

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

  • Majority Leader: Alben W. Barkley
  • Majority Whip: Sherman Minton
  • Caucus Secretary: Joshua B. Lee
  • Minority (Republican) leadership

  • Minority Leader: Charles McNary
  • Republican Conference Secretary: Frederick Hale
  • House

  • Speaker: William B. Bankhead, until September 15, 1940 (died)
  • Sam Rayburn, from September 16, 1940
  • Majority (Democratic) leadership

  • Majority Leader: Sam Rayburn, until September 16, 1940
  • John W. McCormack, from September 16, 1940
  • Democratic Whip: Patrick J. Boland
  • Democratic Caucus Chairman: John W. McCormack, until September 16, 1940
  • Democratic Campaign Committee Chairman: Patrick H. Drewry
  • Minority (Republican) leadership

  • Minority Leader: Joseph William Martin, Jr.
  • Republican Whip: Harry Lane Englebright
  • Republican Conference Chairman: Roy O. Woodruff
  • Senate

    Senators were 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 are preceded by their district numbers.

    Changes in membership

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


    Lists of committees and their party leaders.


  • Agriculture and Forestry
  • Aquatic Life (Special)
  • Appropriations
  • Audit and Control the Contingent Expenses of the Senate
  • Banking and Currency
  • Campaign Expenditures Investigation (Special)
  • Civil Service
  • Civil Service Laws (Special)
  • Civil Service System (Special)
  • Claims
  • Commerce
  • Court Reorganization and Judicial Procedure (Special)
  • District of Columbia
  • Education and Labor
  • Investigation Violations of Free Speech and the Rights of Labor
  • Enrolled Bills
  • Expenditures in Executive Departments
  • Finance
  • Foreign Relations
  • Government Organization (Select)
  • Immigration
  • Immigration and Naturalization
  • Indian Affairs
  • Interoceanic Canals
  • Interstate Commerce
  • Judiciary
  • Library
  • Manufactures
  • Military Affairs
  • Mines and Mining
  • Naval Affairs
  • Patents
  • Pensions
  • Post Office and Post Roads
  • Printing
  • Privileges and Elections
  • Public Buildings and Grounds
  • Public Lands and Surveys
  • Rules
  • Senatorial Campaign Expenditures (Special)
  • Small Business Enterprises (Special)
  • Taxation of Government Securities and Salaries (Special)
  • Territories and Insular Affairs
  • Unemployment and Relief (Select)
  • Whole
  • Wildlife Resources (Special)
  • Wool Production (Special)
  • House of Representatives

  • Accounts
  • Agriculture
  • Anthracite Emergency Program (Special)
  • 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 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
  • Eradication of the Meditteranean Fruit Fly
  • Forestry
  • The Library
  • To Investigate Phosphate Resource of the United States
  • Taxation
  • Tennessee Valley Authority
  • Employees

  • Architect of the Capitol: David Lynn
  • Attending Physician of the United States Congress: George Calver
  • Comptroller General of the United States:
  • vacant, until April 11, 1939
  • Fred H. Brown, April 11, 1939 - June 19, 1940
  • vacant, June 19, 1940 - November 1, 1940
  • Lindsay C. Warren, starting November 1, 1940
  • Librarian of Congress: Herbert Putnam (until 1939), Archibald MacLeish (starting 1939)
  • Public Printer of the United States: Augustus E. Giegengack
  • Senate

  • Chaplain: ZeBarney Thorne Phillips (Episcopal)
  • Curator: [Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
  • Historian: [Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
  • Parliamentarian: Charles Watkins
  • Secretary for the Majority: [Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
  • Secretary for the Minority: [Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
  • Secretary: Edwin A. Halsey
  • Sergeant at Arms: Chesley W. Jurney
  • House of Representatives

  • Chaplain: James Shera Montgomery (Methodist)
  • Clerk: South Trimble
  • Historian: [Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
  • Parliamentarian: Lewis Deschler
  • Postmaster: Finis E. Scott
  • Reading Clerks: [Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
  • Sergeant at Arms: Kenneth Romney
  • References

    76th United States Congress Wikipedia