January 15, 1955 – American Forum – The 89th Congress And Pres. Eisenhower’s Proposals – NBC Radio – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
January 15, 1955 – As the 84th Congress gathered for its first week of a new session, and President Eisenhower laid out his plan for that Congress in his 1955 State Of The Union address, many wondered just how cooperative this Congress was going to be over the coming months.
Democrats regained control of both houses of the 84th Congress (1955–1957), but support for Republican President Dwight Eisenhower remained strong. Amid another Cold War crisis, Congress provided the President with unlimited authority to keep communist China out of Taiwan. At home, Democrats focused on public-works projects including a national interstate highway system and an extensive dam project along the Upper Colorado River. Congress also increased Social Security benefits.
Divided responsibility for government brought an unexpectedly harmonious session of Congress in 1955, with nothing resembling the “cold war of partisan politics” predicted by President Eisenhower if the Democratic party came into control of the Legislative Branch. Administration measures fared about as well during the first session of the 84th Congress as in the preceding Republican Congress.
Democrats supported presidential policies they held to be “for the good of the country”—many of them policies originated during the New Deal and the Fair Deal—but attempted in many cases to carry them farther than the President desired. At the same time, the President received stronger support from the right wing of his own party than during the first two years of his administration. This was due to the continuing personal popularity of the Chief Executive and to doubt that the G.O.P. could win with any other candidate in 1956. The Eisenhower wing, a relatively small minority in 1953–54, exercised dominant influence among Republican members of Congress in 1955.
Here is an episode of American Forum and a discussion/Q&A with Representative John W. McCormick (D-Mass), the new Majority leader of the House. And Representative Charles A. Halleck (R-Indiana), former House Majority leader.
Different times – different issues. A look at how politics was represented in 1955. Here is that episode of American Forum as it aired on January 15, 1955 over NBC Radio.
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