Congress Makes a Law: The Story behind the Employment Act of 1946

By Stephen Kemp Bailey | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TEN
Personalities: Interpretations and Inferences

Possibly the members from his own state know him, and receive him into full fellowship; but no one else knows him, except as an adherent of this or that party, or as a newcomer from this or that State. -- Wilson, Congressional Government, p. 62.

BEFORE PROCEEDING to a study of the final phases of the legislative history of the Full Employment Bill, it is important to take a brief look at the backgrounds of the twelve legislators who composed the Joint Conference Committee. These twelve were not equally influential in determining the final shape of S.380. Actually, as we shall see, the issues before the Conference were largely determined by a struggle between Representatives Cochran and Whittington.

But in our search for a broad understanding of the forces which shaped the Employment Act of 1946, the members of the Joint Conference Committee assume a significance far beyond their individual contributions to the revision of the Full Employment Bill. The twelve conferees represented an ideological cross-section of the 79th Congress, and a study of these men may give us an insight into the factors of inheritance and environment which are omnipresent forces in legislative policy-making.

Why do legislators think the way they do about social issues? Why

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