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Roll call for S. Res. 202, Amendment, May 3, 1950

Even the amended resolution to create a special committee was contentious. Many senators wanted the national attention that would come from investigating gambling and racketeering in interstate commerce. President of the Senate (United States Vice President) Alben Barkley cast a tie-breaking “yea” vote to pass the resolution on May 3, 1950.

Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives and Records Administration

Roll call for S. Res. 202, Amendment, May 3, 1950

Gambling and Racketeering

Facing a crime surge after World War II, local officials requested help from Congress. The Senate’s Judiciary and Commerce committees vied to tackle the issue. Finally a vice-presidential, tie-breaking vote passed an amended resolution by Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee to create a Special Committee to Investigate Crime in Interstate Commerce. In 1950 and 1951 the five-member committee investigated gambling and organized crime in fourteen cities. Its televised hearings raised public awareness of crime syndicates, led to more effective local law enforcement, and enhanced the political profile of committee chairman Kefauver.