Legislative Branch

Guide to Senate Records: Chapter 9 1947-1968

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Chapter 9. Records of the Committee on Finance and Related Records, 1816-1988

Records of the Committee on Finance and Related Records, 1816-1988 from Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States

Committee records discussed in this chapter:
Committee on Finance, 1947-68 (80th-90th Congresses)

9.26 The Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 had an impact on the jurisdiction of the Committee on Finance, chiefly because Senate Rule XXV, as provided in that act, stated explicitly that all legislation and other matters relating to "pensions of all the wars on the United States, general and specific," as well as those relating to compensation of veterans, military life insurance, and veterans measures generally should be referred to the committee. (Matters relating to the education, training, health, and civil readjustment of veterans were referred to the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare.) In addition, the jurisdiction of the committee included revenue measures generally; the bonded debt of the United States; the deposit of public monies; customs, collection districts, and ports of entry and delivery; reciprocal trade agreements; revenue measures relating to insular possessions; and Social Security. In the 1960's, the rule was amended to include health care programs under the Social Security Act and those financed by a special tax or trust fund. The records of the committee for this period total 359 feet.

Records of the Full Committee

9.27 Legislative case files, 1947-68 (140 ft.), is one of the principal series of records documenting the activities of the committee. Arranged by Congress, thereunder by type of bill or resolution, and thereunder numerically, these records include printed copies of bills and amendments, committee reports and prints, correspondence, conference committee material, and, in rare instances, transcripts of executive session hearings or unpublished public hearings. For major tax bills and Social Security Act amendments, there may be substantial volumes of correspondence. For example, the records on the bill, H.R. 6000, 81st Cong., Social Security Act Amendments of 1949 (8 ft.), include correspondence, arranged by subject and thereunder chronologically, concerning such matters as the definition of "employee," inclusion of public employees in Social Security coverage, and the so-called Townsend Plan provisions of another pending bill (S. 2151).

9.28 Closely related to the legislative case files is the other large series of committee records, subject files, 1947-68 (150 ft.). Arranged by Congress and thereunder into major subject categories and alphabetically by subject within these categories, these records consist largely of correspondence. The major categories are revenue, Social Security, tariffs, veterans, unemployment (82d and 90th Congresses only), Medicare (89th and 90th Congresses only), and miscellaneous. The miscellaneous category includes administrative subjects, material on bills that were not referred, and crank letters. For the 85th Congress (1957-58), there are nearly 6 feet of correspondence, research material, and newsclippings relating to a study of the Nation's financial condition, chiefly interest rates and the size of the public debt. Copies of outgoing letters of the committee are in the correspondence ("ABC file"), 1949-68 (33 ft.), which is arranged for each Congress alphabetically by name of correspondent.

9.29 In addition to bills and resolutions, other documents are referred to the committee from the floor. Presidential messages and executive communications, 1947-68 (12 ft.), consist chiefly of annual and other periodic reports from the Department of the Treasury and its various components, the Veterans Administration, the Foreign Trade Zones Board, the U.S. Tariff Commission, and the Renegotiation Board. Presidential messages are few and normally filed separately from the executive communications. Also filed among these records are press releases of the committee, 1956-66 (5 in.). Petitions, memorials, and resolutions of State legislatures and other bodies, 1947-68 (5 ft.), contain communications from groups on subjects similar to those referred to in the subject files and arranged for each Congress chronologically by date of referral.

9.30 Records relating to a staff study of steel imports, 1967-68 (2 ft.), contain the files of Dr. Robert M. Weidenhammer, professor of economics at the University of Pittsburgh, who, as staff coordinator for this project, produced Steel Imports (1967), which was printed as S. Doc. 107, 90th Cong., 2d sess., Serial 12800. The records include subject files, copies of outgoing correspondence, a copy of the printed report, and its galley proofs.

9.31 A reference file on civil rights, 1964-68 (2 ft.), contains printed material, correspondence, and copies of transcripts of an administrative hearing held by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare concerning the cutoff of welfare funds in Alabama. The committee held hearings on this matter in 1967.

9.32 The Committee on Finance considers Presidential nominations for high-level executive offices in a number of Departments and agencies and judgeships on the U.S. Tax Court. Records relating to nominations, 1946-68 (5 ft.), are arranged by Congress and thereunder alphabetically by name of nominee. The files include endorsements and comments on nominations by the U.S. Senators from the nominees' State of residence, correspondence, biographical sketches, nomination reference and report forms, printed matter, and, in a few instances, transcripts of executive session hearings. Among the nominations referred to the committee either in the past or currently are those for Secretary, Deputy Secretary, Undersecretary, Assistant Secretaries, and general counsel of the Department of the Treasury; Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service; the Secretary, Assistant Secretaries, general counsel, and inspector general of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (later the Department of Health and Human Services); Commissioner of Social Security; Directors of the mints; collectors of customs; Administrator of the Veterans Administration; and members of the U.S. Tariff Commission and the Renegotiation Board. The records include large files on Marion J. Harron's appointment to the U.S. Tax Court (80th and 81st Congresses); a transcript of the hearing on Nelson A. Rockefeller's nomination to be Undersecretary of Health, Education, and Welfare (83d Cong.); and substantial correspondence files relating to the nominations of Oveta Culp Hobby (83d Cong.) and Wilbur J. Cohen (87th and 90th Congresses).

Records of Subcommittees

9.33 The records of only one Finance Committee subcommittee have been transferred to the National Archives. The records of the Subcommittee to Investigate the Social Security Program, 1947-48 (8 ft.), are arranged alphabetically by subject. Pursuant to S. Res. 141, 80th Cong., the subcommittee named an advisory committee, directed by Robert M. Ball, to carry out the actual investigation of old-age and survivors insurance, disability insurance, and unemployment insurance programs. The records were maintained by Ball and contain information about and correspondence with advisory committee members, minutes of advisory committee meetings, correspondence with experts in the social insurance field and the general public, newsclippings, subject files, and administrative records.

Records of the Chairman

9.34 While most of the records described above contain correspondence of the chairman of the Committee on Finance and other records reflecting his role in the legislative process, the only separate series of records of the chairman that has been transferred to the National Archives is the speeches, statements, press releases and related material of Russell B. Long, 1964-68 (2 ft.). Senator Long of Louisiana was named chairman of the Finance Committee January 14, 1966, and therefore some of the material predates his chairmanship.


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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.