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history.house.govRepresentative Eliza Jane Pratt of North Carolina | US House of Representatives: History, Art & ArchivesOn this date, Eliza Jane Pratt became the first woman to represent North Carolina in the House of Representatives. A longtime legislative aide for four North Carolina Congressmen (William C. Hammer, Hinton James, J. Walter Lambeth, and William O. Burgin), Pratt developed a rapport with voters and an extensive knowledge of their legislative interests. When Burgin died during his fourth term in the House on April 11, 1946, the North Carolina Democratic executive committee debated only 30 minutes before nominating Pratt over six other candidates to run for the vacant congressional seat. Campaigning for the special election and paying all her own expenses, Pratt won a lopsided victory over Republican H. Frank Hulin. During her brief term, Pratt’s legislative knowledge enabled her to effectively manage her office and handle constituent requests. “With her background and training, Miss Pratt would make a worthy Congressman for years instead of a few months,” a Washington correspondent for Pratt’s hometown newspaper noted. Yet Pratt admitted she did not have the financial means to mount a campaign for a full term. After leaving Congress, Pratt served in a number of federal positions before returning to North Carolina. She lived in Wadesboro, North Carolina, until her death in Charlotte on May 13, 1981.
history.house.govThe First News of House Business Submitted by Telegraph | US House of Representatives: History, Art & ArchivesOn this date, during the 28th Congress (1843–1845), the first news of House business was submitted by telegraph. Inventor, Samuel Morse—who, on the previous day, had sent the first ever telegraph signal from the Supreme Court Chamber (then located in the Capitol building) to demonstrate his invention—tapped a message to the Baltimore Patriot newspaper that the House had rejected going into the Committee of the Whole to discuss the establishment of the territorial government in Oregon. This first dispatch of congressional business via Morse’s invention opened a new era of congressional reporting. News outlets outside Washington, which typically relied on days-old reports delivered by local newspapers and “letter writers” posted in the galleries, marveled at the new instant communication. “Space is . . . annihilated,” announced the Baltimore magazine, Niles National Register. “By the time the result of the vote of congress is announced by the speaker, in the capitol, it is known at the Pratt street depot, in the city of Baltimore!” Morse began selling reports on congressional business to the Baltimore American newspaper for a penny per word.
epeak.inMueller investigation briefing: Nunes and Gowdy get a special meeting ⋆ Epeak World NewsRSS. Epeak Daily Epeak Daily Bitcoin OldTwitter Thursday afternoon, the Department of Justice plans to brief a bipartisan group of members of Congress about the use of confidential FBI sources in the Russia investigation during the course of the 2016 campaign. The meeting is fairly normal course, since the “Gang of Eight” Congress members conduct …1
epeak.inImmigrants pay taxes: undocumented immigrants pay billions of dollars in taxes each year ⋆ Epeak World NewsRSS. Epeak Daily Epeak Daily Bitcoin OldTwitter One of the biggest misconceptions about undocumented immigrants is that they don’t pay any taxes. In his first address to Congress, President Trump set the tone for his coming immigration agenda when he said immigration costs US taxpayers “billions of dollars a year.” A 2017 Gallup poll that …1
alternet.orgGuess Which Right The NRA Suggests Congress Should Infringe Upon In Order to Combat School ShootingsHint: It's not the one that actually permits the use of military-style weapons. NRA Youtube aficionado Colion Noir on Thursday explained exactly where the blame for mass shootings lies, insisting the mainstream media’s coverage of these recurring tragedies is the impetus for more of them to occur.“Can anyone tell me the last time a mass school shooter left a manifesto, comment on social media or a video where they said they were inspired to commit their atrocity by a firearm?” Noir asked. “I’m sure you can’t. And neither can I.”
history.house.govThe House Select Committee on Organized Crime | US House of Representatives: History, Art & ArchivesOn this date, the House Select Committee on Crime held hearings to investigate the involvement of organized crime in American sports. Congressman Claude Pepper of Florida—chairman of the 11-Member House select committee—oversaw the investigation which spanned several months during the 92nd Congress (1971–1973). The American people “have a right" to watch sports conducted on an even playing field, Pepper remarked earlier in the month. “But," as the Washington Post noted, "the sheer cash flow involved in illegal betting on those contests gives racketeers huge profits with which they may fix results to affect betting.” The series of highly publicized hearings focused on mafia ties to horse racing and included some celebrity witnesses such as singer Sammy Davis, Jr., and reputed mobster, Joseph “the Baron” Barboza. Barboza’s testimony elicited much attention from the press, especially for his assertion that entertainer Frank Sinatra was linked to the mafia. Sinatra, who later spoke before the committee, chastised Members for not refuting the allegations made against him. Held in the Cannon Caucus Room, many of the hearings were televised due to the great public interest. The committee report to the 93rd Congress (1973–1975), made public in June 1973, recommended federal sanctions for tampering with the outcome of horse races. “Fixed races have been discovered at both thoroughbred, or flat, tracks and harness raceways,” the report affirmed. “What has come to public attention, we fear, are only the most flagrant examples of a significant problem which the industry chooses not to face due to its misguided desire to protect the image of the sport.”
history.house.govThe Capitol's First Official Telegraph | US House of Representatives: History, Art & ArchivesOn this date, surrounded by an audience of Congressmen, inventor Samuel Morse sent the first official telegraph from the Supreme Court Chamber (then located in the Capitol) to his partner, Alfred Vail, in Baltimore. He tapped out the message “What hath God wrought?” using a system that sent out a signal in a series of dots and dashes, each combination representing one letter of the alphabet (what became known as “Morse code”). A few years earlier in February 1838, Morse, seeking a congressional appropriation to fund expansion of his research, performed the first public demonstration of his machine for Congress. The Chairman of the House Commerce Committee, Representative Francis O.J. Smith of Maine, was so impressed that he became one of Morse’s business partners and lobbied on Morse’s behalf. The inventor won a patent for his device, “The American Recording Electro-Magnetic Telegraph,” in 1840. By the 1880s, a commercial telegraph office opened in the Capitol building.
history.house.govCongressional Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medals Awarded to Byrd’s First Antarctic Expedition | US House of Representatives: History, Art & ArchivesOn this date, President Herbert Hoover signed legislation by which the 71st Congress (1929–1931) awarded Congressional Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medals to the members of Rear Admiral Richard Byrd’s first Antarctic expedition. After successfully completing a trip through the Arctic Circle, Admiral Byrd led the explorers to Antarctica in December 1928 setting up a camp, nicknamed “Little America,” on the Ross Ice Shelf. For two years, members of the expedition weathered the harsh Antarctic conditions, collecting mineral deposits and mapping from their aircraft more than 150,000 square miles of previously uncharted territory. The dangerous nature of his expeditions to both the arctic and Antarctica, as well as the knowledge gleaned from them, made Byrd's exploits “the wonders of our age,” noted Representative Clarence McLeod of Michigan. Acting on the congressional approval, the Navy Department held a competition to design the medal. Francis H. Packer of New York won the $1,000 prize when the Fine Arts Commission selected his design over 16 other proposals. The medal, measuring 2.5 inches in diameter and cast in three colors, bore the likeness of Admiral Byrd on the face with images of the expedition’s vessels on the back. An inscription, pulled from the legislation, praised the men for their “undaunted service in connection with the scientific investigations and extraordinary aerial explorations of the Antarctic continent.” At a total cost of $6,560, 81 people connected with the expedition were awarded medals: 65 were awarded gold, seven received silver medals, and nine received bronze.
history.house.govLINCOLN, Abraham | US House of Representatives: History, Art & ArchivesLINCOLN, Abraham, a Representative from Illinois and 16th President of the United States; born in Hardin County, Ky., February 12, 1809; moved with his parents to a tract on Little Pigeon Creek, Ind., in 1816; attended a log-cabin school at short intervals and was self-instructed in elementary branches; moved with his father to Macon County, Ill., in 1830 and later to Coles County, Ill.; read the principles of law and works on surveying; during the Black Hawk War he volunteered in a company of Sangamon County Rifles organized April 21, 1832; was elected its captain and served until May 27, when the company was mustered out of service; reenlisted as a private and served until mustered out June 16, 1832; returned to New Salem, Ill., and was unsuccessful as a candidate for the State house of representatives; entered business as a general merchant in New Salem; postmaster of New Salem 1833-1836; deputy county surveyor 1834-1836; elected a member of the State house of representatives in 1834, 1836, 1838, and 1840; declined to be a candidate for renomination; admitted to the bar in 1836; moved to Springfield, Ill., in 1837 and engaged in the practice of law; elected as a Whig to the Thirtieth Congress (March 4, 1847-March 3, 1849); did not seek a renomination in 1848; an unsuccessful applicant for Commissioner of the General Land Office under President Taylor; tendered the Governorship of Oregon Territory, but declined; unsuccessful Whig candidate for election to the United States Senate before the legislature of 1855; unsuccessful Republican candidate for the United States Senate in 1858; elected as a Republican President of the United States in 1860; reelected in 1864 and served from March 4, 1861, until his death; shot by an assassin in Washington, D.C., April 14, 1865, and died the following day; lay in state in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol, April 19-21, 1865; interment in Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, Ill.
history.house.govThe Kansas–Nebraska Act | US House of Representatives: History, Art & ArchivesOn this date, by a narrow vote of 113 to 100, the House of Representatives approved the Kansas–Nebraska Act. The act repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820, undercut the Compromise of 1850, and greatly complicated hopes for a peaceful resolution to the problem of balancing the ratio of free and slave states in the U.S. Congress. Proponents favored the bill because it offered the territories “popular sovereignty”—giving voters a choice of determining free or slave status—instead of using the geographical boundary line set by the Missouri Compromise. Representative Alexander Stephens of Georgia revived the legislation, which had been delayed in the Committee of the Whole for months. On May 22, opponents brought 14 motions to adjourn the House before the vote on the bill could take place. After the vote Stephens wrote, “I feel as if the Mission of my life was performed.” The law precipitated violent unrest in the Kansas Territory and deepened abolitionist fervor in the northern states.
sfgate.comDems want to scrap tax cut for rich to fund teachers' raisesWASHINGTON (AP) - Responding to teacher walkouts across the country, congressional Democrats on Tuesday proposed raising teachers' salaries by canceling the tax cut for the nation's top 1 percent of earners. The Republican-controlled Congress was unlikely to support the idea of giving states and school districts $50 billion over a decade to fund the teacher raises at the expense of dismantling the hard-won tax bill. But the proposal gives Democrats an issue they can use ahead of the November midterm elections. Teachers have won widespread support, even in conservative areas, as they complain about low pay.
history.house.govSouth Carolina Representative Preston Brooks’s Attack on Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts | US House of Representatives: History, Art & ArchivesOn this date, Representative Preston Brooks of South Carolina, accompanied by Representative Laurence Keitt of South Carolina, severely beat Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts with a cane in the Senate Chamber. Brooks’s violent act was in response to a speech in which Sumner attacked the institution of slavery and pro-slavery Senators such as Andrew Butler of South Carolina (Brooks’s relative). Sumner’s injuries were so serious that he had to take leave of his Senate duties for three years in order to recuperate. In the aftermath of the violent confrontation, Brooks was fined for assault by a Baltimore district court. Moreover, Senators called for an investigation of the incident and angry House Members demanded the expulsion of Brooks and Keitt. The House failed to garner the necessary two-thirds vote to expel Brooks, but it successfully censured Keitt. Both Congressmen resigned to protest their treatment by the House. In his resignation speech, Brooks said, “I should have forfeited my own self-respect, and perhaps the good opinion of my countrymen, if I had failed to resent such an injury by calling the offender in question to a personal account.” South Carolina voters held Brooks and Keitt up as heroes, returning both men to Congress by special election to fill their own vacancies, while anti-slavery propagandists portrayed Sumner as a martyr for the cause of abolition. The event inflamed sectional tensions between northern and southern Members of Congress.
history.house.govThomas Edison’s Congressional Gold Medal | US House of Representatives: History, Art & ArchivesOn this date, the House of Representatives voted to approve H.J. Res. 243, awarding inventor Thomas A. Edison a Congressional Gold Medal. In early April, Randolph Perkins of New Jersey, chairman of the Committee on Coinage, Weights, and Measures, reported the bill favorably to the House. The committee report contained a letter from Secretary of the Treasury Andrew W. Mellon. Mellon noted the lack of domestic recognition for Edison given the outpouring of international acclaim for his work in the field of electricity and its applications. “Wearing in the lapel of his coat the ribbon of the Legion of Honor of France, symbolized and honored by eight other foreign nations, the recipient of degrees from 22 colleges,” Mellon said, “Mr. Edison has yet to receive a medal at the hands of the United States.” The bill came to the House Floor with little controversy. The reading clerk read the title of the bill and the Speaker asked if there were any objections. Representative Fiorello La Guardia of New York proposed to remove the standardized section two of the Congressional Gold Medal legislation authorizing the Treasury Department to mint replica coins for general sales to the public to defray the cost of Edison’s medal. The House agreed to the proposal and passed the resolution. President Calvin Coolidge signed the legislation on May 29, 1928. Secretary Mellon awarded Edison the medal on October 20, 1928, in his laboratory in West Orange, New Jersey. President Coolidge spoke via a radio link from the White House. Nearly 50 radio stations broadcasted the ceremony. Modern Congressional Gold Medal ceremonies are typically held in the Capitol Rotunda where the President often personally bestows the medal on behalf of the Congress.