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(3) The second paragraph of subsection 2 is amended by striking out “by two-thirds of the Senators duly chosen and sworn," and inserting in lieu thereof, “by the vote of two-thirds of the Senators present and voting.”
(4) Subsection 3 is hereby deleted.
[S. Res. 171,1 85th Cong., 1st sess.)
RESOLUTION Resolved, That subsection 2 of rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senaie (relating to cloture) is amended by inserting before the word “following in the eighth line of such subsection the word "fifth”, and by striking out "by twothirds of the Senators duly chosen and sworn” and inserting in lieu thereof "by two-thirds of the Senators present and voting”.
Senator Javits. Mr. Chairman, I would also like to insert in the record of the hearing an analysis made by the Legislative Reference Service entitled “Limitation of Debate in the United States Senate," dated December 1956, which I think is one of the typically fine factual analyses of that service. It was compiled by George B. Galloway, senior specialist in American Government.
Senator TALMADGE. No objection.
(The document referred to may be found in the appendix as. exhibit 1, p. 291.)
Senator TALMADGE. Senator Cooper, do you want to make a statement?
Senator COOPER. Just a short one, please.
In fact, we had hoped at this particular meeting and also the meeting which we have scheduled for Friday to hear Senators. A number of them have expressed their desire to testify, but apparently they are not ready at this particular time.
We are delighted and honored to have with us a member of our Rules Committee, the distinguished Senator from Kentucky. Senator Cooper, we will be happy to hear from you at this time if you desire to make a statement.
STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN SHERMAN COOPER, UNITED STATES
SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF KENTUCKY
Senator COOPER. Mr. Chairman and Senator Javits—I think you are cochairmen-I do not wish to make at this time a statement on the merits of the resolutions which are before you.
As you know I am not a member of this subcommittee, although I am a member of the Committee on Rules.
Neither am I a sponsor of any of the resolutions that are before this committee. Nevertheless, I wanted to attend the opening of the hearings and attend from time to time because I am a member of the Rules Committee, and I want to be able in a more informed way to make a determination when a resolution comes before the full committee.
I might say also that, when the time comes, I expect to support a resolution which I hope will enable us to preserve reasonable debate and at the same time permit a decision upon issues which come before the Senate.
is. Res. 171, submitted by Mr. Jenner and referred to the Committee on Rules and Administration subsequent to these hearings, is identical in text to his resolution S. Res. 20, 83d Cong., 1st sess., which was reported by the committee May 12, 1953, but not acted upon by the Senate.
My chief purpose in being here is to seek information and to support the subcommittee. It is unique in being a two-man subcommittee. I believe it has great possibilities for arriving at some solution of this problem.
Senator TALMADGE. We are delighted to have you with us, Senator, and we would be happy to have you, as a member of the Rules Committee, attend as many sessions as you can. We would also be happy to have any other Members of the Senate sit in with us at any time.
I notice the distinguished junior Senator from the State of South Carolina is with us and we are happy to have you, Senator Thurmond. If you care to make a statement at this time, sir, we will be delighted to have you do so.
STATEMENT OF HON. STROM THURMOND, UNITED STATES
SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
Senator THURMOND. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
As I understand it, you are now considering changes to Rule 22; is that correct?
Senator TALMADGE. Yes, we are taking testimony on seven resolutions that seek to change rule 22.
Senator JAVITS. Senator, may I suggest if you would be more comfortable seated, it is fine with us.
Senator TALMADGE. We are quite informal.
Senator THURMOND. Thank you very much, but I would just as soon stand.
I am opposed to any change in the rule that will weaken the right of free debate.
There are four reasons why I oppose any such change. The first, free debate is the best means of bringing out the pertinent points and arguments with reference to any question.
When debate is limited, there is great likelihood that all points and questions will not be answered and that all Members of the Senate will not have the opportunity to be fully informed on the matter under consideration.
Second, that limiting debate would prevent the views of people of the United States from being fully presented by their duly elected representatives in the Senate.
Third, that under present rules of the Senate, it is already possible to limit debate through a unanimous consent agreement if there is no need or request to continue debate.
Also there is already in rule 22 a provision for cutting off debate if two-thirds of the Senators wish to do so.
Fourth, the limiting of debate would in effect be strengthening the executive branch of the Government at the expense of the legislative branch, if a strong executive had control of the leadership in the Senate.
If rule 22 is weakened, it would be much simpler for a President to dictate to the Senate than at present, provided he controlled the leadership and had a majority of his party in the Senate.
It is my firm conviction that the elements who are now pushing the movement for a change in the rules will be among those who might be hurt in the future. I believe that the present rule is a reasonable one and that we should not weaken it; if anything we should strengthen
it, and should not take any step that will tend to cut off free debate any more than is now provided in rule 22.
Thank you very much, Senator TalMADGE. Thank you very much, Senator Thurmond. We are happy to have you with us and we would be delighted to have you sit in at any time you desire.
Any questions, Senator?
Senator Javits. Senator Thurmond, would you mind answering a few questions, and again I ask would you be more comfortable seated?
Senator THURMOND. That is all right. Go right ahead.
Senator Javits. Senator, I notice in your State, South Carolina, that debate may be limited by two-thirds of the senate. That is rule 14 of your State senate rules.
Now, is that two-thirds present and voting or two-thirds of the constitutional senate of the State of South Carolina ?
Senator THURMOND. My recollection is it is two-thirds of the entire senate.
Senator Javits. But you are not positive?
I was a member of the State senate for 5 years in South Carolina, and I don't think—although we had extended debate on numerous occasions—there was ever an effort made, or not a successful effort as I recollect, to limit debate and take a senator off his feet on the floor.
Senator Javits. Now, I notice also that your senate has a rule that no senator may speak more than 2 hours in any one legislative day on any one bill or resolution, so that really that is a pretty much tighter limitation than anything we are talking about under any of these resolutions—a limitation of 2 hours?
Senator THURMOND. But the legislative day down there probably is a little different from the legislative day here. Up here the legislative day goes from one day to the next and continues ad infinitum.
Senator TALMADGE. Will the Senator yield for a question?
Senator TALMADGE. Don't you think that the rules of procedure in debate ought to be different between the legislative body of a sovereign State and the United States Senate which is composed of representatives of 48 sovereign States?
Senator THURMOND. I just started to add to the question propounded by the distinguished Senator from New York that I think of all places that there should be free debate or freer debate than anywhere else is in the United State Senate. This is known as the greatest deliberative body in the world. If we change this rule any more and weaken the present rule 22, it can not longer be known as the greatest deliberative body in the world.
I think it is because of free debate and the opportunity of Senators to express themselves and to bring to the attention of the people of this Nation and of the world-and that is what a Senator here has the right to do—that has enabled our country to become the greatest Nation in the world.
I think we have been able to maintain our type of government, our Republic, our type of Republic, have brought about more democracy here because of that, and have made greater strides in protecting the rights of individuals than in any other country.
We have more liberty and we have more individual freedom here. Without this free debate, I don't think that would be possible.
And I don't think that simply because this administration or any other administration in the past or the future wants to get a bill through is any excuse for changing a longstanding rule that has meant so much to this Nation and the people of this Nation in maintaining our freedoms.
Senator JAVITS. Would the Senator mind just commenting upon the fact that this longstanding rule of which the Senator speaks has only been in effect for 8 years?
That in the years from 1917 to 1949 it took only two-thirds of the Senators present and voting to close debate.
Now would the Senator have any comment upon that in terms of his reference to a long-standing rule?
Senator THURMOND. Prior to that time I don't believe that rule applied, did it?
Senator Javits. Prior to that time there was no rule since 1806, from 1806 to 1917.
Senator THURMOND. In other words it was unlimited from that period up until
Senator JAVITS. Until 1917.
Then evidently there was some movement of some group that wanted to pass a bill and they felt the only way they could do it would be to change the rules.
I think it was a mistake. I think it would be a mistake now if we changed the rules further. I realize there are certain Senators and certain Members of Congress and certain persons in the executive branch of the Government and maybe in the judicial branch who want certain legislation passed, who even want it passed now, and they want it passed so badly that they are willing to take a step which I believe later they may regret.
I personally feel it would be a terrible mistake.
Senator Javits. Senator, do you feel as a practical matter—and I might point out that before 1806 there was a majority rule for closing debate, but aside from that, do you feel—that we should have no limitation whatever on debate; in other words that debate could go on and on and on as long as men's physical endurance would stand it?
Senator THURMOND. I would certainly rather have unlimited debate than to have the present rule weakened any more than it is now. Under the present rule two-thirds of the Senate, which is the same number required to pass a constitutional amendment, two-thirds of the Senate can end debate, and before you are going to take a Senator off the floor, a man who represents a sovereign State and is speaking for the people of his State, and speaking to the people of the Nation and the world, it does seem that a minimum would be two-thirds of all the Members of the United States Senate; that is, 64 in number.
Senator Javits. Senator, I believe, if I may just interject a question of fact, that under article V of the Constitution two-thirds of those present and voting in either House may suggest a constitutional amendment.
I don't know of any provision that requires a constitutional majority of two-thirds except the Senate cloture rule, and if the Senator knows of any I would deeply appreciate his pointing it out.
Senator THURMOND. Even if the constitutional amendment did not require but two-thirds of those present and voting, I think before you would take a Senator off his feet on the floor of the Senate who is representing a sovereign State, that there ought to be at least twothirds of the Senators who would demand that that be done.
You are sent here to represent the great State of New York, the people of New York, and you have a right to be beard, and I don't believe a majority of the Senators or two-thirds of those present ought to be sufficient to stop you from presenting your views.
I don't suppose you would want to answer a question I would ask, would you?
Senator JAVITS. I will be glad to. The Senator is a sovereign Senator.
Senator THURMOND. I was just wondering if the Senator from New York is proposing a change in this rule thinking it will help him get the civil rights bill passed.
Senator Javits. I will be very glad to answer that question.
It is my opinion, Senator Thurmond, that no civil rights bill is likely to pass unless there is some effort to deal with rule 22, and I was going to ask you—and I have answered your question I was going to ask you whether you thought any civil rights bill could pass, and if so, without some change in rule 22?
Senator THURMOND. Well, if two-thirds of the Senators feel it is important enough to put cloture on, of course it would pass, or any other bill if it came up would pass.
But that is the most drastic thing you can do.
I think in the greatest deliberative body in the world, to say to a Senator you have got to sit down—and that is what the Senator would be doing if cloture is applied
Senator TALMADGE. Would the Senator yield for a question?
Senator TALMADGE. Would you agree with me that our National Government is a government of limited or delegated powers?
Senator THURMOND. I certainly do, and in 1787 when the deputies went to Philadelphia to write the Constitution, there were 12 States represented there. The 13th State, Rhode Island, was in the bands of the radicals and was not represented. Those deputies from those 12 States wrote this Constitution which formed the Union upon its ratification.
We had States before we had a Federal Union, and I would like for this committee not to forget that it was the States that made the Union and gave the Union its rights and powers. It was not the Union that gave the States their powers.
The Bill of Rights, which was adopted in 1789, 2 years later, formed a very essential part of this Constitution. This Constitution with the Bill of Rights provides that the Federal Government has only those powers which are specifically delegated to it by the States in the Constitution.
In other words, the Federal Government is a government of limited powers. It can only do those things where it has specific authority to do in the Constitution, and the States gave the Federal Government that power when the Constitution was written.