Historical Highlights

President Harry Truman’s extraordinary session of 1947

December 19, 1947
President Harry Truman’s extraordinary session of 1947 Image, Pocket Congressional Dictionary, 83rd Congress (GPO, 1953) A newspaper owner and former Lt. Governor, Representative Clarence Brown of Ohio served more than 26 years in the House.
On this date, the 80th Congress (1947–1949) finished its second extraordinary session. President Harry S. Truman asked Congress to consider emergency funding for Austria, France, and Italy for the winter due to their fragile political and economic conditions. He also asked Congress to authorize measures for controlling inflation through a 10-point plan. Although Congress approved funding for the European nations, it could not reach a consensus about containing inflation. The House rejected much of Truman’s plan for mandatory inflationary controls, and instead passed a substitute bill (S. J. Res 167) that contained several provisions similar to Truman’s proposals. The legislation provided for voluntary agreements from industries to reduce prices, extended the government’s power to control exports and allocate transportation resources, and authorized the promotion of food conservation and international agricultural production. During debate some Representatives argued that inflationary controls amounted to excessive government intrusion into the economy. Clare Hoffman of Michigan commented, “The President asks for rationing, for price control, for regimentation. Under disguising words he asks to be made a dictator, while . . . insisting that we weaken ourselves . . . by aiding little dictators abroad, who, we are told, are fighting the schemes and the plots of . . . Stalin.” Others thought that the bill didn’t go far enough to help U.S. citizens. Clarence Brown, an Ohio Republican, however, defended portions of Truman’s plan as a “just and fair measure designed . . . to meet the emergency until further action can be taken,” when Congress formally re-convened for another session in January 1948.

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