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Historical Highlights

The Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946

August 02, 1946
The Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 Image courtesy of Library of Congress Almer Stillwell “Mike” Monroney served six terms in the House of Representatives before being elected to the Senate. He devoted three decades of his life to Congress.
President Harry S. Truman signed the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 into law on this day. Drafted by the Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress and spearheaded by Senator Robert M. La Follette Jr. of Wisconsin and Representative Almer Monroney of Oklahoma, the legislation streamlined the sprawling, complex committee system and the cumbersome appropriations process. Representative Monroney observed that the congressional workload had “increased by geometric proportions in recent years and we must modernize our machinery to handle it.” When the legislation went into effect at the start of the 80th Congress (1947–1949), the reforms reduced the number of House committees from 48 to 19 and the number of Senate committees from 33 to 15. The legislation included a congressional pay raise, free education for House and Senate Pages, and the expansion of the Legislative Reference Service (later known as the Congressional Research Service). Committee centralization created a new subcommittee structure which, over time, steadily increased the number of professional staff members working in the House.

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