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Quotations on various aspects of cloture-Continued
144, 205, 206
Senate Resolutions 17, 19, 21, 28, 29, 30, 32, 171 (texts of).
PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO RULE XXII OF THE
STANDING RULES OF THE SENATE
MONDAY, JUNE 17, 1957
UNITED STATES SENATE,
SPECIAL SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE
Washington, D. C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10 a. m., in room 104-B, Senate Office Building, Senator Herman E. Talmadge (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Senators Talmadge and Javits.
Also present: Gordon F. Harrison, chief clerk and counsel, Langdon West, special counsel to subcommittee; Darrell $t. Claire, professional staff member; Robert S. McCain, professional staff member; William H. Burson, executive aid to Senator Herman E. Talmadge, and Sidney Kelly, Jr., administrative assistant to Senator Jacob K. Javits.
Senator TALMADGE. The subcommittee will come to order.
For the purpose of the record this subcommittee was created by order of the Rules Committee to take testimony on seven pending resolutions proposing amendments to Senate rule 22.
The subcommittee is composed of the junior Senator from New York, Mr. Javits, and myself, and it is the desire, I am sure, of Senator Javits as well as myself to take the testimony of those who are interested as expeditiously as we possibly can in order to build a record to report to the full Rules Committee and thereafter to the Senate of the United States as the case may be.
Do you desire to make a statement? Senator Javits. Yes, I desire to make a short statement, Mr. Chairman.
Hearings are of course normally a necessary preliminary to the enactment of legislation but I believe there has been so much testimony on the subject of cloture and the effort to deal with filibusters that we might well have dispensed with general hearings and completed the record with a factual analysis of events occurring since the last hearings were held in October 1951.
It will be recalled that this issue was debated and reported upon by our parent committee on May 12, 1953, and has been the subject of debate since, and indeed a full dress debate with all facts brought up to date as recently as January of this year 1957.
As the committee has ordered hearings I shall do my utmost to make them useful in terms of development of the subject.
My views are well known as I am cosponsor of the Douglas resolution to permit cloture upon the vote of a constitutional majority of the Senate after 15 days' debate.
Such a motion would have been successful in 9 out of the 22 votes on cloture since 1917, whereas existing rules caused only 4 of these cloture motions to succeed, the last 1 in 1927, 30 years ago.
The principal sufferers from the failure of cloture have been the civil-rights bills.
FEPC, anti-lynching and anti-poll-tax bills have gone down under filibusters.
Other legislation, with some exceptions, no longer major issues, has managed to be passed some time although delayed by filibusters.
Civil-rights bills have failed consistently, however, for that reason. It is important to emphasize that the fact that a majority of the Senate was for such bills did not enable it to act.
I believe it is an inherent and fundamental weakness of our whole governmental system that a small minority can paralyze a majority for action on the protection of vital constitutional rights for millions of Americans in this way.
The most complete debate and deliberation is not in question. This will be provided for under any rule change which is likely to pass. What is in question is the mere pretense of debate for the purpose of blocking action, which is an affront to the Senate and to the country.
I will expect witnesses to address themselves to the subject of the expectation of any action on civil-rights measures unless rule XXII is changed.
Also I will do my best to hold the hearings within a reasonable compass of time and to prevent a filibuster within the committee which is seeking to deal with filibusters.
I point out that the hearings on this subject in 1947 took 4 days, in 1949 6 days, and in 1951 4 days again. Hence no set of hearings has exceeded 6 separate days of hearings.
I believe it fully within the authority of this subcommittee to see that the hearings do not get out of hand.
Now Mr. Chairman, I would like also I notice the Chair has this analysis of all the bills
Senator TALMADGE. We will put that in the record.
Senator JAVITS. If the Chair would and then I would like to put something in the record.
Senator TALMADGE. I think at the outset we should insert in the record the comparative analysis of the various resolutions pending before the committee for study which has been prepared by the staff of the Committee on Rules and Administration.
We will insert that in the record as well as the full text of each pending resolution.
(The comparative analysis of S. Res. 17, S. Res. 19, S. Res. 21, S. Res. 28, S. Res. 29, S. Res. 30, and S. Res. 32, of the 85th Congress, 1st session, and the texts of those resolutions, and that of S. Res. 171-subsequently referred to the committee, are as follows:)
PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO RULE XXII
(RELATING TO CLOTURE)
A Comparative Analysis of S. Res. 17, S. Res. 19, S. Res. 21,
the Eighty-fifth Congress, First Session
UNITED STATES SENATE
Printed for the use of the Committee on Rules and Administration
WASHINGTON : 1957