Historical Highlights

The Social Security Act of 1935

August 14, 1935
The Social Security Act of 1935 Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
Serving 21 terms in the House of Representatives, Robert Doughton of North Carolina chaired three committees: Expenditures in the Department of Agriculture; Ways and Means; and the Joint Committee on Internal Revenue Taxation.
On this date, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act of 1935 into law. Passed by the House of Representatives on April 5, 1935, the legislation was reconciled in two sets of conference reports which both houses of Congress agreed to in early August. Despite bitter attacks by fiscal conservatives, the House approved H.R. 7260 by a vote of 372 to 33, a wide margin attributable to Democrats’ overwhelming majority in the 74th Congress (1935–1937). The Social Security Act, a landmark initiative of the so-called “Second New Deal,” signaled the administration’s change in emphasis from emergency economic recovery legislation to social welfare. Upon the bill’s passage, Ways and Means Chairman Robert L. Doughton of North Carolina stated, “I’m proud to say that despite the attacks and partisanship displayed, this measure has not been changed and the vote here today will show that congress is behind our great President and that the country believes in his statesmanship and wisdom.”

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