Charles Melvin Price (January 1, 1905 - April 22, 1988) was a longtime member of the United States House of Representatives. Most notably, he served as the chairman of the United States House Committee on Armed Services between 1975 and 1985. He lost this position at the beginning of the 99th Congress. Overthrowing a committee chairman was not a common occurrence at that time, but a majority of the House Democratic Caucus seemed to feel that the aged Price was no longer up to the job. In addition, Price, while liberal on domestic issues, was notably more supportive of defense spending than most Democrats. When it came to choosing Price's successor, the Caucus bypassed several other old hawkish members of the committee in favor of Les Aspin, who was not only much younger than Price and other more senior members, but also seemed closer in his defense policy preferences to the majority of the Democratic Caucus.
Price was born in East St. Louis, Illinois, and graduated from St. Louis University High School and Saint Louis University. After graduating, he worked for several years as a journalist before taking work as a secretary for Congressman Edwin Schaefer in 1933. He served there for ten years, after which he joined the U.S. Army in 1943, at the height of World War II; Price served in the quartermaster corps. He was elected to Congress in his own right in 1944. During his time in Congress, he also chaired the Ethics Committee (1967-76) and the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy (1973-74). He remained in Congress until his death.
Congressman Price is probably most famous for his role in enacting the Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act. He is the namesake of the Melvin Price Locks and Dam, near Alton, IL on the Upper Mississippi River, and the Melvin Price Federal Building and United States Courthouse in East St. Louis.
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