Legislative Branch

Guide to House Records: Chapter 23 Economic Report

Chapter 23. Records of the Joint Committees of Congress 1789-1968 (Record Group 128)

Table of Contents

Records of the Joint Committees of Congress 1789-1989 (Record Group 128) from Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States, 1789-1988

Joint Committee on the Economic Report (1946-56)
Joint Economic Committee (1956-68)

JC.093 The Employment Act of 1946 (Public Law 79-304) reflected both the lingering wounds of the Great Depression and the confident aspirations of the immediate postwar era. Section 2 declared it to be "the continuing policy and responsibility of the Federal Government to use all practicable means . . . for the purpose of creating and maintaining . . . conditions under which there will be afforded useful employment opportunities . . . for those able, willing, and seeking to work, and to promote maximum employment, production, and purchasing power." To achieve this policy, section 3 required the President to send Congress an annual report reviewing the economic program of the Federal Government and current conditions in the Nation, and outlining a program for implementing the policy proclaimed in section 2.

JC.094 Section 5 of the act established the Joint Committee on the Economic Report, now known as the Joint Economic Committee.1 The committee's functions were outlined in the Employment Act and included studying the economic report, exploring means of coordinating programs to further the government's policy regarding employment, and providing guidance to congressional committees regarding the economic report. In short, the mandate enabled the committee to consider and make recommendations on the whole range of economic policy. Over the years, the committee provided facts and analyses to Congress on developing economic trends, offered advice regarding the mix of public and private policies most likely to achieve full employment, and issued annual reports to assist committees in dealing with legislation relating to the President's economic report.

JC.095 The records of the joint committee include 26 volumes of unpublished transcripts of hearings held by the committee's eastern, mid-continent, and western subcommittees during September and October 1947. These hearings were authorized by S. Con. Res. 19, 80th Cong., to study the high prices of consumer goods in order to make recommendations to Congress regarding legislation. The subcommittees held hearings in 26 cities in the three regions. They heard from hundreds of witnesses, representing producers, processors, wholesalers and retailers of farm products, as well as manufacturers and distributors of consumer goods, labor organizations, civic and consumer groups, economists, and research organizations. The transcripts are arranged by city.

JC.096 Correspondence among committee members and staff, with other Members of Congress, and with interested citizens is also among the records. For the years 1965 to 1968, there is a chronological file of copies of outgoing letters, staff reports, and press releases. Other records of the committee include memorandums and speeches of committee members and staff, and information on committee activities. There are assorted materials regarding the February 1966 symposium held to honor the 20th anniversary of the Employment Act of 1946, as well as correspondence, memorandums, magazines, statements, charts, and press releases concerning the annual report of 1967.

This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1989.


1 The name was changed by section 2 of Public Law 84-591 of June 18, 1956.

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Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to the Records of the United States Senate at the National Archives, 1789-1989: Bicentennial Edition (Doct. No. 100-42) by Robert W. Coren, Mary Rephlo, David Kepley, and Charles South (Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1989), and 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).