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New Majority Leader of the Senate, photograph by Harris & Ewing, July 21, 1937

Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

New Majority Leader of the Senate

Senator Alben W. Barkley of Kentucky

Senator Alben W. Barkley of Kentucky served in Congress for almost four decades. First elected to the House of Representatives in 1912, Representative Barkley strongly supported President Woodrow Wilson and championed progressive legislation. Rising to become Senate Majority Leader during the dramatic neutrality and preparedness debates of the 1930s, Senator Barkley led the effort to repeal the arms embargo clause of the 1937 Neutrality Act and extend the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act. Most significantly, he sponsored the Lend-Lease Act and steered it through the Senate. As he said in a nationwide radio address, “Upon what other shoulders can Congress place the responsibility of acting in this emergency?”