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81st Congress (1949–1951)

Congressional Profile

Total Membership:

  • 435 Representatives
  • 2 Delegates
  • 1 Resident Commissioner

Party Divisions:*

  • 263 Democrats
  • 171 Republicans
  • 1 American-Labor

*Party division totals are based on election day results.

  • Election Statistics, 1948 [PDF]
Samuel Taliaferro Rayburn/tiles/non-collection/s/speaker_rayburn_gavel_2005_101_000.xml Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
The longest serving Speaker in House History, Sam Rayburn of Texas presided over 10 Congresses as Speaker.

Congress Overview

When Democrats regained control of Congress in the 1948 elections, President Harry Truman outlined to the 81st Congress (1949–1951) the “Fair Deal,” an ambitious follow-up to New Deal programs of the 1930s. But Truman’s domestic agenda became a Cold War casualty after the Soviet Union successfully tested its atomic bomb, China came under communist control, and a Soviet spy ring was uncovered. Congress enacted internal security legislation. It also approved U.S. entry in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), anchoring an alliance intended to protect Western Europe from Soviet aggression. In June 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea.

Member Information

  • Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress, (1774–2005), Official Annotated Membership Roster by State with Vacancy and Special Election Information for the 81st Congress [PDF]
  • Learn more about the House of Representatives with an interactive map

Learn more about the People of the People's House

Leadership & Officers

Speaker of the House:
Sam Rayburn (D–Texas)
Majority Leader:
John W. McCormack (D–Massachusetts )
Minority Leader:
Joseph W. Martin, Jr. (R–Massachusetts )
Democratic Whip:
J. Percy Priest (D–Tennessee)
Republican Whip:
Leslie C. Arends (R–Illinois)
Democratic Caucus Chairman:
Francis E. Walter (D–Pennsylvania)
Republican Conference Chairman:
Roy O. Woodruff (R–Michigan)
Clerk of the House:
Ralph R. Roberts
Sergeant at Arms:
Joseph H. Callahan 1
Chaplain of the House:
Bernard Braskamp – Presbyterian
James Shera Montgomery – Methodist
William M. Miller 2
Finis E. Scott
Lewis Deschler

To view complete lists of individuals who have served in these leadership and official positions since the 1st Congress, visit the People section


1Elected January 3, 1949.

2Elected January 3, 1949