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The Eighty-fifth United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D.C. from January 3, 1957, to January 3, 1959, during the fifth and sixth years of Dwight Eisenhower's presidency. The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the Seventeenth Census of the United States in 1950. Both chambers had a Democratic majority.

85th United States Congress
84th ←
→ 86th
January 3, 1957 – January 3, 1959
Senate PresidentRichard Nixon (R)
Senate President pro temCarl Hayden (D)
House SpeakerSam Rayburn (D)
Members96 senators
435 members of the House
Senate MajorityDemocratic
House MajorityDemocratic
1st: January 3, 1957 – August 30, 1957
2nd: January 7, 1958 – August 24, 1958


Major eventsEdit

  • January 5, 1957: President Eisenhower announced the Eisenhower Doctrine in a special message to Congress
  • January 20, 1957: Inauguration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower for a second term
  • August 21, 1957: President Eisenhower announced a 2-year suspension of nuclear testing
  • August 28, 1957: Senator Strom Thurmond set a record for the longest filibuster with his 24-hour, 18-minute speech against the Civil Rights Act of 1957
  • September 24, 1957: Little Rock Crisis: President Eisenhower sent federal troops to Arkansas to provide safe passage into Central High School for the Little Rock Nine.
  • October 4, 1957: The Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite to orbit the earth
  • October 21, 1957: The U.S. military sustained its first combat fatality in Vietnam
  • November 7, 1957: Gaither Report called for more American missiles and fallout shelters
  • November 25, 1957: President Eisenhower had a stroke
  • January 31, 1958: U.S. launched its first satellite, Explorer 1
  • July 15, 1958: U.S intervenes in the Lebanon Crisis, the first major application of the Eisenhower Doctorine.
  • October 1, 1958: NASA started operations

Major legislationEdit

States admittedEdit

  • January 3, 1959: Alaska was admitted as the 49th state.

Party summaryEdit


(shading shows control)
Total Vacant
End of previous congress 47 49 96 0
Begin 49 47 96 0
End 50 45 951
Final voting share 52.6% 47.4%
Beginning of next congress 64 34 98 0

House of RepresentativesEdit

(shading shows control)
Total Vacant
End of previous congress 228 200 428 7
Begin 233 200 433 2
End 232 193 42510
Final voting share 54.6% 45.4%
Beginning of next congress 282 153 435 0





Senators are popularly elected statewide every two years, with one-third beginning new six-year terms with each Congress. Preceding the names in the list below are Senate class numbers, which indicate the cycle of their election. Senators in each state are listed by class. In this Congress, Class 1 meant their term ended with this Congress, facing re-election in 1958; Class 2 meant their term began in the last Congress, facing re-election in 1960; and Class 3 meant their term began in this Congress, facing re-election in 1962.

House of RepresentativesEdit

Changes in membershipEdit


Vacator Reason for change Successor Date of successor's
formal installation[a]

New York
Vacant Retired.
Successor elected in 1956, but took seat late to prevent Governor from appointing a rival to be his successor as N.Y. Attorney General
Jacob Javits (R) January 9, 1957
Price Daniel (D) Resigned January 14, 1957, after being elected Governor of Texas.
Successor appointed January 15, 1957.
William A. Blakley (D) January 15, 1957
William A. Blakley (D) Interim appointee retired when successor elected.
Successor elected April 28, 1957.
Ralph Yarborough (D) April 29, 1957
Joseph McCarthy (R) Died May 2, 1957.
Successor elected August 27, 1957.
William Proxmire (D) August 28, 1957
West Virginia
Matthew M. Neely (D) Died January 18, 1958.
Successor appointed January 25, 1958.
John D. Hoblitzell, Jr. (R) January 25, 1958
North Carolina
W. Kerr Scott (D) Died April 16, 1958.
Successor appointed April 19, 1958, and then elected November 4, 1958.
B. Everett Jordan (D) April 19, 1958
West Virginia
John D. Hoblitzell, Jr. (R) Interim appointee lost special election.
Successor elected November 4, 1958.
Jennings Randolph (D) November 4, 1958
William F. Knowland (R) Resigned early January 2, 1959. Vacant Not filled this term

House of RepresentativesEdit

District Vacator Reason for change Successor Date of successor's
formal installation[a]
New Mexico At-large Vacant Rep. Antonio M. Fernández died during previous congress Joseph Montoya (D) April 9, 1957
New Jersey 2nd Vacant Rep. T. Millet Hand died during previous congress Milton W. Glenn (R) November 5, 1957
Illinois 7th James Bowler (D) Died July 18, 1957 Roland V. Libonati (D) December 31, 1957
Pennsylvania 13th Samuel K. McConnell, Jr. (R) Resigned September 1, 1957, after becoming Executive Director of the United Cerebral Palsy Associations John A. Lafore, Jr. (R) November 5, 1957
Georgia 7th Henderson L. Lanham (D) Died November 10, 1957 Harlan E. Mitchell (D) January 8, 1958
Pennsylvania 21st Augustine B. Kelley (D) Died November 20, 1957 John H. Dent (D) January 21, 1958
New York 37th W. Sterling Cole (R) Resigned December 1, 1957, after becoming Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Howard W. Robison (R) January 14, 1958
Tennessee 8th Jere Cooper (D) Died December 18, 1957 Robert "Fats" Everett (D) February 1, 1958
Pennsylvania 4th Earl Chudoff (D) Resigned January 5, 1958, after being elected judge of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas No. 1 Robert N.C. Nix, Sr. (D) May 20, 1958
New Jersey 14th Vincent J. Dellay (R) Changed political affiliation some time in 1958 Vincent J. Dellay (D) ????, 1958
Illinois 14th Russell W. Keeney (R) Died January 11, 1958 Vacant Not filled this term
Minnesota 1st August H. Andresen (R) Died January 14, 1958 Al Quie (R) February 18, 1958
Wisconsin 1st Lawrence H. Smith (R) Died January 22, 1958 Vacant Not filled this term
New Mexico At-large John J. Dempsey (D) Died March 11, 1958
Louisiana 8th George S. Long (D) Died March 22, 1958
Illinois 4th William E. McVey (R) Died August 10, 1958
Pennsylvania 28th Herman P. Eberharter (D) Died September 9, 1958
Ohio 17th J. Harry McGregor (R) Died October 7, 1958
Illinois 20th Sid Simpson (R) Died October 26, 1958
Massachusetts 13th Richard B. Wigglesworth (R) Resigned November 13, 1958
New York 4th Henry J. Latham (R) Resigned December 31, 1958, after becoming a judge of the New York Supreme Court


Lists of committees and their party leaders, for members (House and Senate) of the committees and their assignments, go into the Official Congressional Directory at the bottom of the article and click on the link (2 links), in the directory after the pages of terms of service, you will see the committees of the Senate, House (Standing with Subcommittees, Select and Special) and Joint and after the committee pages, you will see the House/Senate committee assignments in the directory, on the committees section of the House and Senate in the Official Congressional Directory, the committee's members on the first row on the left side shows the chairman of the committee and on the right side shows the ranking member of the committee.

Joint committeesEdit

Employees and legislative agency directorsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b This is the date the member was seated or an oath administered, not necessarily the same date her/his service began.


  • Gould, Lewis L. (2005). The Most Exclusive Club. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Books Group. ISBN 0-465-02778-4.
  • Remini, Robert V. (2006). The House. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. ISBN 0-06-088434-7.
  • "Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress". U.S. Congress. 2005. Archived from the original on June 1, 2006. Retrieved June 1, 2006.
  • "Congressional History". U.S. House of Representatives. 2006. Archived from the original on June 1, 2006. Retrieved June 1, 2006.
  • "Statistics and Lists". U.S. Senate. 2006. Archived from the original on June 1, 2006. Retrieved June 1, 2006.
  • House of Representatives Session Calendar for the 85th Congress (PDF).
  • Official Congressional Directory for the 85th Congress, 1st Session.
  • Official Congressional Directory for the 85th Congress, 2nd Session.
  • Pocket Congressional Directory for the 85th Congress.