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14. An effective antifilibuster rule ought to exist because (a) it is the imperative duty of a legislature not merely to debate but to legislate and, therefore, to tolerate no course of action by any of its members which will absolutely prevent legislation; (b) the majority is and must be held responsible for the conduct of affairs and is, therefore, entitled to use all means proper and necessary for the conduct of affairs: and (c) the vast an steadily increasing volume of business thrust on Congress renders it essential that not one moment of time be consumed uselessly.
REMEDIEs for Obstruction IN THE SENATE
1. Amend rule XXII to provide for cloture by majority vote of the total membership of the Senate, or by a majority of those present, applicable to any motion, measure, or other matter pending, after unlimited debate for a specified minimum number of days. 2. Adopt a rule providing for use of the motion for the previous question (as the House does) by which all further debate upon a matter may be terminated by a majority vote of the Chamber. 3. Adopt a rule that debate and amendments must be germane to the subject under consideration. 4. Limit duration of debate on bills by special orders as the House does. 5. Enforce the existing rules of the Senate by— (a) Requiring the speaker to stand and not to sit or walk about. (b) Taking a Senator “off his feet” for using unparliamentary language. (c) Making a point of order against frequent quorum calls that no business has intervened since a rollcall disclosed the presence of a quorum. (d) The Chair making drastic rulings against dilatory motions, on points of order raised from the floor. (e) Objecting to reading a paper (rule XI). 6. Enforce rule XIX that “no §. shall speak more than twice upon any one question in debate on the same day without leave of the Senate, which shall be determined without debate.” 7. Enforce the provision of Jefferson's Manual that “No one is to speak impertinently or beside the question, superfluously, or tediously.” 8. Let the Chair reverse the precedent, established in 1872, that a Senator cannot be called to order for irrelevancy in debate. 9. Let the Chair make a wise use of the power of recognition as between simultaneous claimants (rule XIX, clause 1). 10. Let there be objection to yielding the floor, even though the Senator who has the floor consents to an interruption. 11. Resort to prolonged or continuons sessious.
LIMITATIon of DEBATE IN THE House of REPRESENTATIVEs
1. Debate in the House of Representatives is prohibited on a large number of parliamentary motions. Cannon lists 30 questions and motions which are not debatable at pages 143–44 of his Procedure in the House of Representatives, fourth edition. 2. General limitations: (a) Since 1789 no Member has been allowed to speak more than once to the same question without leave of the House unless he be the mover, proposer, or introducer of the matter pending (rule XIV, clause 6). (b) Since 1841 no Member has been allowed to occupy more than 1 hour in o any question in the House or in Committee of the Whole (rule XIV, Clause Z). (c) Since 1789 it has been possible to shut off debate and bring the matter under consideration to an immediate vote by the motion for the previous question (rule XVII). (d) Since 1789 Members engaging in debate have been required to confine themselves to the question under consideration, except during general debate in the Committee of the Whole on the State of the Union (rule XIV, clause 1). (e) Since 1789 no. Member has been permitted to take the floor or engage in debate until he has been recognized by the Chair (rule XIV, clause 2). (f) Since 1883 time general debate for in Committee of the Whole has been limited by special orders reported by the Committee on Rules and adopted by the House (rule XXIII, clause 5).
1. As proposed by United States Senators from time to time through the years.
(9) Since 1847 and 1850 debate upon amendments to a pending bill has been limited by the 5-minute rule (rule XXIII, clause 5).
(h) Since 1880 debate has been limited to 40 minutes under suspension of the rules (rule XXVII).
WRITTEN STATEMENTS OF ORGANIZATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS In response to letters similar to that sent to former Vice President John Nance Garner (see exhibit 3, p. 360) the subcommittee has received the following statements from organizations and individuals:
AMERICAN AssociATION OF SMALL BUSINESS.
New Orleans, La., May 27, 1957. Senator HERMAN E. TalmADGE, Senate Office Building,
Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR TALMADGE: Thank you for your recent communication regarding the proposal to take testimony before the Special Subcommittee on Rules and Administration, regarding a change in Senate rule 22, relating to limitation of debate.
I believe that the United States Senate is the best legislative body in the world, and in all probability, recorded history. Therefore, I can say at this time that the AASBI is opposed to any change in rule 22, which will limit debate in any way.
Please have a copy of Senate rule 22 mailed to me at your earliest convenience.
J. D. HENDERSON.
AMERICAN CONSTITUTION PARTY OF Iowa,
Davenport, Iowa, May 14, 1957. Re Senate rule XXII. Senator HERMAN E. TALMADGE, United States Senate Committee on Rules and Administration,
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR TALMADGE: It is important to our personal, State, and national freedom that no gag rule be placed on debate in the United States Senate.
The tongues of the majority of the people of our Republic must not be tied by the threats nor the cajoleries of selfish minorities. Individual rights and States' rights must again be recognized as valid if our constitutional Government is to endure.
Our elected legislators must speak for us, and we must have the right guaranteed to us by our United States Constitution-freedom of speech.
We urge you: Oppose any and all changes to Senate rule XXII which would limit debate. Very sincerely yours,
GWEN PATTON Inman,
Mrs. Gerald 0. Inman, American Constitution Party of Iowa.
AMERICAN COUNCIL OF CHRISTIAN LAYMEN,
Madison, Wis., May 14, 1957. Hon. HERMAN E. TalmaDGE, Senate Committee on Rules and Administration,
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR TALMADGE: We are in receipt of your letter of May 10 asking an expression regarding proposals to set limits on debate in the United States Senate.
I believe it is not feasible for us to send a spokesman to a public hearing on this matter. Our directors are widely scattered and none of them are in the immediate vicinity of the National Capital. I personally feel that we can spend the money to better advantage in the course of our work for libertarian principles than by sending a spokesman a long distance to a Washington hearing. However, I am happy to make a statement on my own behalf, with assurance that I know the members of our board will go along with my statement, which is as follows: I consider that unlimited debate in the United States Senate is a valuable safeguard to American liberty. It can and often does stand as a protection from rough overriding of the wishes of an apparent minority which often actually represents the will of the majority. But even when it no more than protects a minority group, it serves a useful purpose. All too often a heedless majority sets out to accomplish aims and purposes which are unjust, cruel and actually unconstitutional. | The odd thing about this clamor for limiting debate is that it comes from groups who in the past have been the loudest in their praise of men who have blocked legislation by using the right of unlimited debate. The late Robert M. LaFollette, recently named as one of the five great Senators, won nationwide, even worldwide acclaim for his ventures in filibustering, and if memory serves correctly Senator Wayne Morse set a new filibuster record not too many months ago and was widely acclaimed by those who now wish to limit debate. It all depends on which side is in power. Just now the superduper liberals, proponents of fake civil-rights legislation and unlimited globalism feel that with debate limitations they could force through their unholy schemes. Therefore, at this time they are in favor of debate limitation. But should there be a change in the complexion of the Congress, should the conservatives come to be in the majority and threaten to pass truly liberal legislation, these same liberals now favoring debate limitation would be screaming for restoration of the limitation for the protection of the rights of minorities. And they would be right. As I read and understand the Constitution of the United States, a principal reason for the drafting and adoption of the Constitution was to establish a government of law rather than a government solely by majority vote regardless of whether or not the majority was seeking to proceed by constitutional methods. You may be sure that all fundamentalist Christians who have thought through these issues are opposed to destroying that last bulwark of liberty, the right of unlimited debate. With all best wishes,
Cordially and sincerely,
American Council of Christian Laymen.
AMERICAN FLAG Association of THE UNITED STATEs of AMERICA, Tampa, Fla., June 7, 1957. Hon. HERMAN E. TALMADGE, United States Senate, Washington, D. C.
DEARS 2NATor TALMADGE: Replying to your good letter of May 16, and speaking for the American Flag Association of the United States, I wish to state that we disapprove of the changes proposed for Senate rule XXII relating to limitation of debate. We believe in free debate.
Please assure your committee that our association will support you in your efforts regarding this matter.
Patriotically yours, Mrs. E S. B
Secretary, American Flag Association of the United States.
THE AMERICAN LEGIon, SAULs-BRIDGEs Post No. 13, Tallahassee, Fla., May 21, 1957. Senator HERMAN E. TALMADGE, Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C. DEAR SENAToR TALMADGE: We are writing to voice our support for Senate rule No. 22 as it now stands. We feel that all matters before the Senate should be subject to free and open debate and any change in the present filibuster rule will not guarantee this condition. We hope that you and other Senators throughout our country will be successful in forestalling any change in this rule. Very truly yours, H. B. FRANKLIN, Commander, R. M. DickINson, Commander-elect.
AMVETs on THE AIR, THE WETERANs' Voice of AMERICA, INC.,
SPECIAL SUBcom MITTEE, SENATE CoMMITTEE on RULES AND ADMINISTRATION, Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C. DEAR SIRs: This is to register vigorous protest against any proposal to limit debate in the United States Senate. This is one of the most dangerous proposals ever to be introduced in this country. There are seven such proposals now pending. If debate is limited that means that the liberals and one-worlders will be able to “ram through” anything they want and stifle opposition. Yours very truly, CLYDE M. LoNgstreth, President.
Citizens UNITED, INc., Los Angeles, Calif., May 30, 1957. Hon. HERMAN E. TALMADGE, Subcommittee Member, Senate Committee on Rules and Administration. HoNorABLE GENTLEMEN of THE UNITED STATEs SENATE: We look with disfavor to making any change in Senate rule 22. This rule has served a good purpose since its enactment in preventing indiscreet legislation which sometimes creeps into enactment. We feel that this movement to change this rule is motivated by ulterior pressure of such nature as to affect civil-rights legislation which we consider dangerous to national and individual sovereignty. You, Gentlemen, must remember that, in this land of freedom, the court of public opinion occupies a pedestal far above the bench of the executive, the judicial and the legislative branches of Government. This fact was wisely established by the framers of our Constitution. No Executive decree, no court decision, no act of Congress can long withstand the angry pressure of adverse public opinion. Let us be bound by the provisions of the Constitution.
CoNSTITUTIoMAL Action, INc.,
SPECIAL SUBcom MITTEE, SENATE CoMMITTEE on RULES AND ADMINISTRAtion, United States Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C. Gentlemen: It has been called to our attention that several proposals are now pending relative to the limiting of debate. I represent an organization with a membership running into four figures, and it is the unanimous opinion of our board of trustees that if these proposals to limit debate should become a fixed rule in the United States Senate, you would be guilty of stifling the will of the people of the United States. We trust that you will do everything in your power to defeat these proposals. Ever sincerely, MARTIN G. Joha Nso N, Secretary-Treasurer.
DEFENDERS OF AMERICAN EDUCATION,
Tucson, Ariz., May 20, 1957. Senator HERMAN E. TALMADGE, Committee on Rules and Administration,
United States Senate, Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR TALMADGE: In reply to your letter of May 11, 1957, outlining the plan of the special subcommittee to take testimony on seven proposals pending before it to change Senate rule XXII relating to limitation of debate, I assure you wholeheartedly, full cooperation and will give whatever information and assistance necessary.
We cannot allow the existing rule to be changed in any way which would restrict, restrain, or deny the freedom guaranteed all Americans by the Founding Fathers as set down in the Constitution of the United States of America.
Too, too many of our fundamental freedoms have been taken from us by “legal” and legislative procedures.
Due to limited finances, the participation of the DAE will have to be with resolutions and individual letters.
Indeed, count on us to help you and other American Congressmen who are true to their oath of office to defend the Constitution of the United States of America. No real patriot will ever suggest a change in rule XXII which might curb or even prohibit free speech and debate in our land.
With appreciation for your service to our country and grateful for the opportunity to serve it by working with you, I am, Very sincerely,
EMMA M. McLaughlin, Chairman.
DESCENDANTS OF THE SIGNERS OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE,
White Plains, N. Y., May 28, 1957. Hon. HERMAN E. TALMADGE, United States Senate,
Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR TALMADGE: Your letter of May 16 in reference to the seven pending proposals to change Senate rule XXII has been referred to my attention. *. Under the terms of incorporation of this society, it is bound not to participate in anything which might be construed as political activity.
The question involved is an highly controversial one with decidedly political overtones, hence it is felt this organization should take no official stand.
This is not to say, of course, that the members may not speak for themselves, and in this capacity I wish to put myself on record as being strongly opposed to any limitations on debate.
Thanking you for calling this important issue to the notice of the membership, and with all good wishes, I am, Sincerely,
PERCY HAMILTON GOODSELL, Jr.
RESOLUTION PASSED BY THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS, FLORIDA STATES RIGHTS, Inc.
At a meeting of the board of directors, of Florida States Rights, Inc., held May 27, 1957, it was unanimously resolved that the board of directors of the Florida States Rights, Inc., vehemently oppose any changes, proposed in Senate rule XXII of the United States Senate, and that this resolution be and is the unanimous opinion of the said Florida States Rights organization, and copy of this resolution be sent to Senator Herman E. Talmadge on the Committee on Rules and Administration.
J. H. KEATHLEY, President.
MASSACHUSETTS COMMITTEES OF CORRESPONDENCE,
South Braintree, Mass., May 19, 1957. Hon. HERMAN E. TALMADGE, Senate Office Building,
Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR TALMADGE: Thank you for your May 11 letter asking for an expression of my views on the question of free debate in the Senate. This letter