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7 minute read

After ballots were all counted last week, the arithmetic of the new 76th Congress was as follows:

HOUSE SENATE Old New Old New Democrats 328 263 76 69 Republicans . . . . 88 169 15 23 Progressives . . . . 7 2 1 1 Farmer-Labor . . . 5 1 2 2 Independent . . . . — — 1 1 435 96

Subject to a half-dozen contests and recounts for House seats and one Senate seat (Indiana), this was the precise measure of national Republican resurgence. Not one of 103 incumbent Republicans had failed to regain his seat. Of 25 former Republican incumbents who tried to come back. 14 succeeded, whereas of the House’s 38 “Young Turks” (150% New Dealers), 14 were gone. Republican gains were made in 23 States outside of the ”too, too solid” South. In eight farm States their ains were 29 House seats, three Senate. In ten Eastern industrial States they were 44 House seats, four Senate. In five Western States they were eight House seats, one Senate.

The House. Bert Snell of Potsdam, N. Y. retired last summer as Minority Leader of the House. Almost certain to succeed him is Joseph William Martin Jr. of North Attleboro, Mass. Three things will make his job easier than that of his predecessor:

1) There can be no more suspension of the Rules by the New Dealers, for that requires a two-thirds vote (290). All told the Democrats now have only 45 votes more than a majority of the whole House.

2) Since 218 signatures (a majority) are required on petitions to discharge a committee, bring controversial bills out on the floor, that maneuver will be much harder for the New Dealers to execute next session when bills unwanted by a conservative coalition are locked up in committee.

3) The personnel of the powerful Rules and Ways & Means committees is all messed up for the New Dealers.

As planned, Chairman O’Connor of Rules was “purged,” and old Adolph Sabath of Illinois, next in line, was safely reelected. But of the eight other Democrats on Rules, only three were New Dealers and they were all swept away in the elections. In line for the chair after old Mr. Sabath are Georgia’s Cox, Virginia’s Smith, North Carolina’s Clark and Dies of Texas—all in varying degrees anti-Administration. Moreover, the new ratio on Rules will be nine Democrats to five Republicans. Small wonder that Franklin Roosevelt last week called his Congressional leaders to a parley next week in Warm Springs.

Chairman Doughton of the Ways & Means committee, was safely returned and for three New Dealers lost, two inveterate anti-New Dealers were defeated. But Republicans on this 25-man committee will increase from seven to probably ten. Only three of the 15 Democrats will have to stand against the Administration to make coalition rule possible on, for example, the next Tax Bill.

The Senate. In the old Senate, 29 Democrats had to revolt before the Administration’s control was broken. Now it would take only 22 Democrats, fewer than revolted more than once last session. Beyond this arithmetic, election psychology was seen reaching far into Senators’ hearts. The Purge failed. The people voted against a rubber-stamp Congress. All but the most sycophantic Senators were seen boldly voting their convictions. In the Senate even more than in the House, observers anticipated Congress becoming the Legislative Branch once more instead of an echo of the Executive.

The New Deal’s hope was that, with their party’s power threatened, all Democrats wrould feel more like pulling together.

Legislation. Whether or not actual coalitions of Republicans and conservative Democrats are formed, the 76th Congress looked by every outward sign certain to defeat as follows: 1) Reorganization of the Government, 2) Regional Planning, 3) Any other major Roosevelt reforms.

Conversely, no repeal of any New Deal measures appeared likely because 1) the elections reflected no criticism of New Deal objectives; 2) President Roosevelt still has veto powers.

Sure to be agitated and perhaps passed are: 1) Amendment of the Corrupt Practices Act (governing elections to Congress) ; 2) Investigation of WPA and PWA for political pressuring, with special attention to WPA’s Harry Hopkins and Aubrey Williams; 3) Revision of NLRA, with new-consideration for employers; 4) Extension of Social Security, to head off the demands of old age pension lobbyists;* 5) Revision of crop control and subsidies.

Likely to result from the new line-up in Congress: 1) A tax bill less onerous than would have been expected (if a new one is now written) ; 2) Railroad legislation more helpful to owners than the last Congress would have passed; 3) Withdrawal of the President’s discretionary powers over moneys voted, especially for Relief and Recovery; 4) Some gesture toward economy and Budget-balancing.

New Faces. Should the President call the 75th Congress into special session before January 3, when the 76th comes into being, three new faces would appear in the Senate: Miss Gladys Pyle of South Dakota, Alex G. Barry of Oregon. Thomas M. Storke of California. The first two were elected to fill vacancies which expire within the year. California’s Storke, a publisher from Santa Barbara, was appointed last week by Republican Governor Merriam to replace outgoing old Senator McAdoo who resigned to start running the Round-the-World Steamship Line for the Maritime Commission. Senator-Designate Storke, an archconservative, was Governor Merriam’s parting insult to the “radical” Democrats who ran him out of office.

In the Senate after January 3. one smiling new Republican face will be that of John Danaher of Connecticut, Yale 1920, a patient, industrious young (39) party wheelhorse whose Labor background (his father was counsel for the Connecticut A. F. of L.) stood him in good stead this year.

Ohio’s tall, crinkle-eyed Robert Alphonso Taft will be the Senate’s most conspicuous newcomer. With a distinguished record of public service in his own city and State, a Presidential name, an able and attractive wife, he already looms as large as Michigan’s Vandenberg for the G. O. Presidential nomination in 1940. Knowing this he took pains to say last week: “The Republicans have work to do, and a Senator’s term is for six years. . . . Remember, we are still a minority.”

Clyde Reed, Governor of Kansas in 1929-31, now tall, erect and grey at 67, will be another commanding Senate presence, representing as he will the protesting farm vote.

On the Democratic side, besides California’s shock-haired Sheridan Downey, the chief newcomer will be lively, husky, smartly groomed Scott Lucas from Havana, the duck-shooting capital of Illinois. A vast improvement as a personality over paunchy wheelhorse William H. Dieterich. Senator-elect Lucas will not give much comfort to New Deal counsels by his obedience (in the House last year he conspicuously opposed Court-packing), but in ball games against the Republicans he should star. He used to play professionally in the Three-Eye League.

The new House will contain one less woman than the old. Mrs. Roosevelt’s friend. Nan Wood Honeyman of Oregon, was defeated. So was Indiana’s Virginia Jenckes. A new feminine face (somewhat resembling Helen Willis Moody) will appear with Representative Jessie Sumner. 40, of Smith College (1920). Oxford University and Watseka. Ill., where she has been county judge.

As in the last House. Chicago’s light-brown Arthur W. Mitchell will be the only Negro. Defeated for a seat by ex-convict Mayor Rudolph G. (“Doc”) Tenerowicz of Hamtramck. Mich, was light-tan Charles A. Roxborough. brother of Heavyweight Champion Joe Louis’ Co-Manager John Roxborough.

*Chairman Doughton of Ways & Means in the House was given a real fight lor re-election by old Dr. Townsend’s son Robert, who appeared in North Carolina’s Ninth District with a sound-truck and tons of literature.

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