Legislative Branch

Guide to House Records: Chapter 12

Chapter 12. Records of the House Administration Committee and Its Predecessors

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Records of the Administration Committee and Its Predecessors from Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States, 1789-1988

Committees discussed in this chapter:
Records of the Administration Committee and Its Predecessors


12.1 The House Administration Committee was established in 1947 under the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946. It superseded ten standing committees, assuming the jurisdictions and functions of some of the oldest and longest standing committees of the House. This chapter discusses the records of the House Administration Committee and those of the committees whose functions it inherited.

12.2 Although most of the committees had legislative jurisdictions, they all performed important administrative functions for the House. The Elections Committees (1789-1947) performed the constitutionally mandated function of judging the "elections, returns, and qualifications" of House Members. The Accounts Committee (1803-1947) approved, audited, and settled the accounts of the contingent fund of the House. The Mileage Committee (1837-1927) ascertained the mileage traveled by Members to Congress for the purpose of remuneration. The Ventilation and Acoustics Committee (1893-1911) studied and reported legislation relating to the uncomfortable and unhealthy conditions in the chamber in which the House met, and the Memorials Committee (1929-47) made arrangements for a memorial day for Members who had died recently. The Committee on the Election of the President, Vice President, and Representatives in Congress had jurisdiction over Federal elections including the actual counting of the electoral vote in the Senate and House.

12.3 The Committee on Enrolled Bills (1876- 1947), successor to the Joint Committee on Enrolled Bills (1789-1876), was charged with assuring that identically worded legislation was passed by the House and Senate, and that correctly enrolled bills arrived at the White House ready for the President's signature. The Committee on Engraving (1844-60) monitored the engraving and printing of maps for Congress, a function that was later performed by the Printing Committee ( 1846-1947), which reported legislation controlling all publication by Congress. The Library Committee (1806-1947) managed the affairs of the Library of Congress, the funding of memorial projects, and all subjects relating to art and aesthetics. The Committee on the Disposition of Executive Papers (1889-1947) approved the disposition of governmental records.

12.4 The records of the Committees on the Library, on Printing, and on the Disposition of Executive Papers present unique research problems. Each of these committees consisted of the House Members of a joint committee. The joint committees were created by statute, and the House membership of each was recognized by House Rules as a standing committee. The Senate membership comprised a standing committee in the Senate. For the most part, the House and Senate standing committees performed legislative functions, while the two portions acting together--the joint committee--performed administrative functions.

12.5 To further complicate research in the records of these committees, the House and Senate portions of the joint committees each preserved its own records. There are, for instance, four sets of Library Committee records: records of a House standing committee (RG 233), records of a Senate standing committee (RG 46), records of the House Joint Committee (RG 128),and records of the Senate Joint Committee (RG 128).

12.6 The functions and jurisdictions of all of the above House committees were incorporated into the House Administration Committee under the 1946 Reorganization Act.

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Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to the Records of the United States House of Representatives at the National Archives, 1789-1989: Bicentennial Edition (Doct. No. 100-245). By Charles E. Schamel, Mary Rephlo, Rodney Ross, David Kepley, Robert W. Coren, and James Gregory Bradsher. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1989.