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process. In my judgment, the measure which I hope your subcommittee will recommend and the full Rules and Administration Committee report out favorably is Senate Resolution 17 offered by Senator Douglas on which I and 13 other Senators are cosponsors.
Since you gentlemen are fully familiar with that resolution, I won't take the time to discuss it at any length. I do feel, however, that whether that resolution or some other one meets with the ap. proval of this Rules Committee, it is of greater importance that some change in this rule should be forthcoming at this session of the 85th Congress.
What we need, of course, and I imagine we would probably all agree to this, despite our differing points of view on the basic issue, is a rule which will allow the minority to be heard fully and completely but which, at the same time, will permit the majority to act ultimately. I don't think there is a single Senator who would like to see rule XXII so curtailed or emasculated that it would prohibit full and complete discussion and debate of every issue that comes before the Senate.
The time does come, gentlemen, when action is required and when it does come, the Senate must be free to act. At the moment, rule XXII effectively prohibits it from acting.
Now, no rule of the Senate I think should be placed above the Constitution of the United States. I guess, Senator Javits, you weren't actually in the Senate when we had the debate on rule XXII, but I am sure that you followed it very carefully.
Senator JAVITS. Not only followed it but Mr. Reuther included me as one of the 41 Senators he relied on to vote that way.
Senator CLARK. I am sure his conclusion is justified.
Senator CLARK. I don't always concur-in fact, very rarely do I concur with the views of the Vice President, but I cannot fail to concur with his view expressed from the rostrum at that time to the effect that section 3 of rule XXII operates as an infringement on the constitutional power of the Senate to make and change its own rules. I would differ with the Vice President in this respect. He seemed to limit that right in his comments from the Chair to action taken in the very first days of the Senate, of the session. I would feel that that right was a continuing right and was not curtailed by the passage of time, and, for that reason, I would suggest that if it becomes impractical or not feasible to report out a comprehensive revision of rule XXII favorably, and I hope that a favorable revision will be recommended, but if it didn't, I would like to suggest favorable consideration and passage of Senate Resolution 29 which was offered jointly by Senators Humphrey, Anderson, Douglas, and myself on January 9, 1957.
That proposed resolution states that it is the consensus of the Senate that section 3 of rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate having operated as an infringement on the constitutional right of the Senate to make its own rules, is now void and of no further effect during the 85th Congress. Adoption of this resolution would make it possible for the Senate itself to change its rules, and was attempted last January because of the possibility that you gentlemen are unable to get a majority of the Committee on Rules and Administration to report out at this time a comprehensive revision of rule XXII.
Now, I want to make it clear that that would be a point of retreat in the event you are unable to get Senate Resolution 17 out because I think that-reporting favorably Senate Resolution 17—is what should be done. There are times, as we know, when we can't get done everything we want. At least Senate Resolution 29 would remove an impossibility on the changing of the rules by the Senate, itself, by making section 3 of that rule ineffective and void.
I would oppose the suggestion of the minority leader, Senator Knowland, that there should be written into rule XXII a provision, and I quote:
That the rules of the Senate shall continue from one Congress to the next Congress unless they are changed as provided in these rulesbecause I believe that to be restrictive.
Senator JAVITS. Will the Senator yield at that point?
Senator CLARK. Then, as sometimes happens, I find myself in disagreement with the majority leader, too.
I would suggest that a more desirable provision would be:
The rules of the Senate shall continue from one Congress to the next Congress until changed by the vote of a constitutional majority of the Senate.
This would both retain the power of the Senate, itself, to change its rules at any time, and yet by requiring a constitutional majoritythat is, 49 Senators-prevent changes by a mere majority of the quorum.
I believe the subcommittee has before it a number of proposals as to how rule XXII should be amended from among which it is the subcommittee's proper function to select a recommendation to the full Committee on Rules and Administration.
Now, at this point, I am going to briefly violate and I assure you, Senator Talmadge, it will be very brief-the rule of relevance which I think you have quite properly applied to the deliberations of this subcommittee, and I am going to violate that rule of relevance
Senator TALMADGE. I don't think one Senator has ever called down another Senator for irrelevance.
Senator CLARK. My purpose in violating this rule of relevance before your subcommittee, is to urge your subcommittee to see if we can't get passed a rule of relevance in the Senate itself. We three are lawyers, and I am sure each of us probably with respect to different matters has been restless and unhappy about the constant violation of the rules of relevance in the Senate. Of course, we don't have a rule of relevance now, so you can't violate a rule that isn't in effect. A rule of relevance is a necessary part of a speedy and intelligent procedure. The absence of a rule of relevance unnecessarily slows down Senate action.
Almost every debate on important legislation is interrupted by Senators who discourse on other matters that have nothing to do with the one under discussion. Adverse comments by citizens in the gallery and by the press tend to bring the Senate into public disrepute as an effective legislative body. Indeed, gentlemen, the most important reason in my judgment for changing the rule of the Senate, both with respect to rule XXII and with respect to establishing a rule of relevance, is to restore prestige to that great institution, which we all three belong to, throughout the country and the free world.
I am sure that I differ with at least one member of this subcommittee when I say that in my judgment our real danger today is political lag, not the undue concentration of power. The real danger is the inability of the Congress of the United States to act quickly enough to solve critical worldwide and domestic problems before it is too late. We should be alert to make the Senate an efficient intrument of good government rather than a pleasant and leisurely institution unable to deal effectively with the problems of the modern world because its rules of procedure are geared to the 18th and not the 20th century.
Senator TALMADGE. Senator, thank you very much for your fine statement.
Senator TALMADGE. We appreciate your appearing and we are sorry you had this delay, but Mr. Reuther was already on the stand-and, I understood, with the permission of the Senators who would follow.
Senator CLARK. I do hope it will not be considered a sort of applepolishing gesture if I say I am very happy I had the privilege of listening to Mr. Reuther.
Senator TALMADGE. Thank you, very much.
STATEMENT OF HON. RICHARD L. NEUBERGER, A UNITED STATES
SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF OREGON
Senator TALMADGE. We are delighted to have you with us.
Senator NEUBERGER. It is a pleasure to be here, Mr. Chairman. You are very kind to bear with me, and I want to assure you I will be very brief today.
I have listened to Senator Clark's testimony, which I thought very able and with which I am in substantial agreement, and that will make it possible, I know you will be relieved to hear, for me to be more brief that I originally thought.
In my opinion the United States Senate must be able to vote, one way or the other, on crucial national decisions, if we are to pride ourselves on the claim of being the world's greatest parliamentary body.
I am cosponsor, with a bipartisan group of 14 Senators favoring civil rights legislation, of a new Senate cloture rule which would permit two-thirds of the Senators present and voting to limit Senate debate after 1 additional hour's allowance for each Senator and by a majority of 49 Senators after 15 days of debate.
As you, of course, realize, the present rule XXII requires 64 Senators to vote to shut off debate.
When a number of us made the fight at the beginning of this session to adopt a new rule XXII, we were met with the argument that the Senate, as a so-called continuing body, does not adopt its rules at the beginning of each Congress. We were told to follow the regular procedure for changing the rules after committee hearings and report.
I am glad these hearings are now being held. While the chairman of the subcommittee and I might not agree on the substantive issue at stake, I wish to commend him for holding these
hearings and giving all viewpoints an opportunity to be heard on this very crucial matter.
The time has come to follow through on our effort last January and to give the Senate a clear opportunity to decide whether we want to be able to end debate and reach a vote on any isue or whether we want to maintain the right of a minority to block a vote and to hamstring Senate action by a filibuster.
I would like to concur in what Senator Clark said, that probably the filibuster has done more than any other characteristic associated with the Senate to tarnish the reputation of the Senate in America and throughout the world—particularly when the right of debate is abused by a Senate minority for the purpose of blocking a Senate vote on helping a minority in the Nation.
Senators may and often do have legitimate disagreements over the merits of issues and bills. I believe in full debate in the Senate, to bring out all points of view and to give ample time to the public to study the issues and express its reaction. But I can conceive of no defense for a deliberate tactic of preventing the Senate from ever voting at all on a bill. Far from being the skillful use of parliamentary procedure, such a deliberate course represents the complete denial and destruction of parliamentary procedures and of the democratic process.
The Senate does not have to stand still for it. It is within our power to adopt a new, moderate, two-thirds rule for ending debate, which will protect a Senate minority opposing a bill and leave plenty of room for true debate, and it is high time we did so.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I should just like to say this: I believe that a restriction on limited debate would do a great deal for the Senate itself as an institution. One of the things that has disappointed me as a Member of the Senate—there have been many things that I certainly have approved and that have delighted me—but one of the things that has disappointed me has been what I regard as the quality of the speeches we all make in the Senate. I think the reason for this is that there is a feeling on the part of many Senators, perhaps all of us at this table included, that we have to talk at great length, When we talk at great length, we necessarily repeat ourselves.
There are only so many ideas in the world. There are only so many words in the world.
I have been reading a book recently about Mr. Churchill, who is probably the greatest speaker of our age and certainly the most skillful user of words in the English-speaking world, and this book points out how relatively briefly Mr. Churchill always spoke to Parliament, how he always had the exact word to express his thought, but that his speeches are relatively brief, and I believe that perhaps the Senate in its impact on the country and the whole free world might be improved if there was not such an encouragement to lengthy and unlimited speaking.
I should also like to express my agreement with Senator Clark in his suggestion that there be a rule of germaneness. I was on the Senate floor the other afternoon when we were considering a resolution sponsored, if I am not mistaken, by a Democrat, Senator Douglas, and a Republican, Senator Knowland, dealing with our desire to have the United Nations investigate the atrocities in Hungary.
· Here was an issue that has stirred the hearts and souls and emotions of mankind all over the world. Namely, the terrible Russian barbarism and Soviet cruelty in Hungary.
Here the United States Senate was asking the United Nations to use its moral influence in this cataclysm that had occurred to Hungary and which outraged decent people everywhere. During the course of this discussion, while Senator Knowland and others stood on the floor and answered questions about Hungary, one after another of the Senators would pop up and talk about anything—about dredging a creek in his State, about how they approved or disapproved the United States Supreme Court, and so on.
Afterward I met in the reception room with some schoolteachers from my State-intelligent, educated people. They were people who, I think, had never before been in the gallery of the United States Senate. They had visited our State legislature.
They told me how they were shocked by that kind of procedure; that, in the midst of a discussion of the solemnity of what had happened in Hungary, where the lives of men and women were snuffed out, and here the United States was to express its opinion on that, Members of the Senate all over the place were getting up and talking about anything, regardless of how trivial, casual, or even humorous. They expressed to me how really disappointed they were, those schoolteachers from Oregon. And I think they may well be typical of schoolteachers from Georgia, Idaho, New York, or any place else.
Mr. Chairman, let me thank you very much for your courtesy to me, and your kindness in letting me come here to present by views.
Senator TALMADGE. We appreciate your coming and presenting your views.
Senator JAVITS. I have one question, Senator Neuberger, if I may, and I shall not detain you. I may say, too, parenthetically, that these three particular Senators have a rather good record on speaking to the point and not too long, although they may not always agree in their views. You are identified with what is considered the liberal group in the Senate, regardless of party, and quite properly, and I have tremendous admiration and respect for you.
Senator NEUBERGER. Thank you very much.
Senator Javits. Do you feel that the liberals are perfectly willing to accept a stricter cloture rule, even though it may sometimes interfere with something they feel very strongly about, just as much as we ask those who are opposed to the civil-rights bill to accept it in the greater interest of the country and the functions of the Senate ?
Senator NEUBERGER. Certainly. I am perfectly willing to have a majority of the Senate decide any issue in which I am interested. If they decide it contrary to my point of view, I may not be pleased about it, but I certainly will accept it. Just take, for example, the Hells Canyon issue. You know how vitally concerned, emotionally and personally, I am with that. But nobody from my State has ever suggested that I should stop the Senate from voting on the Hells Canyon issue merely because the Senate might vote contrary to our particular wishes on the matter. I am perfectly willing to abide by a majority of my colleagues on any possible issue that would come up.
Senator JAVITS. Thank you.