John F. Kennedy's Pre-Presidential Voting Record & Stands on Issues (p. 1 of 9)

Taken from CQ Fact Sheet on John F. Kennedy, Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1960. 

Record in Congress


During his six years in the House of Representatives (1947-52), Kennedy served on the Education and Labor Committee. He was a member of the Subcommittee on Education. In 1949 he was selected as a member of the Joint Committee on Labor-Management Relations. 

Kennedy dissented when the Education and Labor Committee reported the Hartley labor bill to the floor in 1947. In the House, Kennedy said the bill would "strike down in one devastating blow the union shop, industry-wide bargaining, and so strangle collective bargaining with restraints and limitations as to make it ineffectual."

In the House Kennedy was a strong supporter of housing legislation. In 1949 he introduced a measure authorizing up to $1 billion annually in federal loans to families of moderate means for housing projects.

Kennedy favored federal aid to education and in 1949 introduced a bill authorizing $300 million annually in federal grants to states to assist elementary and secondary schools, with some aid for non-public schools.

As a House Member Kennedy also served on the District of Columbia Committee. In 1949 he was appointed chairman of the Subcommittee on Public Utilities, Banking and Insurance. Three bills affecting the District of Columbia which Kennedy introduced became law.


On entering the Senate in January 1953 Kennedy was appointed to the Labor and Public Welfare Committee. He served as chairman of the Railroad Retirement Sub-committee (1955-56) and as chairman of the Labor Sub-committee (1957-present). Chairmanship of the latter subcommittee made it possible for Kennedy to emerge as the chief Senate sponsor of labor reform legislation in 1958 and 1955. From 1953 to 1956 Kennedy was a member of the Government Operations Committee, serving as chairman of the Subcommittee on Reorganization, which dealt with the Hoover Commission proposals, during the 84th Congress.

From 1956 to May 1957 Kennedy served on the Special Committee to Investigate Lobbying. He was a member of the Select Committee on Small Business (1955-56) and the Select Committee on Improper Activities in the Labor or Management Field, known as the McClellan Committee (1957-1960). Kennedy was chairman of the Special Committee to Select Five Outstanding Senators (1957).

In 1957 Kennedy moved onto the Foreign Relations Committee. During the 85th Congress he was chairman of the International Organization Affairs Subcommittee, and presently serves as chairman of the African Affairs Subcommittee.

Since 1959 Kennedy has served on the Joint Economic Committee.

Kennedy's legislative interests while in the Senate have been primarily in the foreign affairs and labor fields.

He proposed July 2, 1957 that the U.S. support Algeria's effort to gain independence from France.

In 1958 Kennedy's Foreign Relations Committee International Organization Affairs Subcommittee, with Administration support, supported an amendment to amend the Battle Act to allow aid to Russian satellite nations. A June 5 amendment by Senate Minority Leader William F. Knowland (R Calif. 1945-59) struck the amendment from the bill after Knowland said the President still supported the language but would request it in separate legislation. (1958 Almanac p.186) In 1959 Kennedy introduced a similar bill for the Administration (S 1697) which passed the Senate Sept. 12. (1959 Almanac p. 196)

On April 24, 1959 he joined Sens. Humphrey and J.W. Fulbright (D Ark.) in proposing Mutual Security Program amendments designed to increase aid and reduce the purely military considerations in the formulation of the program.

Kennedy in 1959 introduced a highly controversial bill (S 819) to eliminate from the National Defense Education Act of 1958 a provision requiring loyalty oaths and affidavits from aid recipients. The Senate recommitted the bill July 23, 1959. (1959 Almanac p. 299) In 1960 Kennedy cosponsored a new bill (S 2929) to repeal the affidavit alone. The Labor and Public Welfare Committee approved the bill Feb. 2. (Weekly Report p. 189)

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