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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN LIBRARIES
that then the ordinary rules of debate without limitation would apply. The Anthony rule could only work when there was no objection whatever to any bill under consideration. When the regular morning hour was not found sufficient for the consideration of all unobjected cases on the calendar, special times were often set aside for the consideration of the calendar under the Anthony rule.
On March 15, 1882, a rule was considered whereby “a vote to lay on the table a proposed amendment shall not carry with it the pending measure. In reference to this rule Senator Hoar (Massachusetts, Republican), said: “Under the present rule it is in the power of a single member of the Senate to compel practically the Senate to discuss any question whether it wants to or not and whether it be germane to the pending measure or not * * *. This proposed amendment to rules simply permits, after the mover of the amendment, who of course has the privilege, in the first place, has made his speech, a majority of the Senate if it sees fit to dissever that amendment from the pending measure and to require it to be brought up separately at some other time or not at all.” This proposed rule is now rule XVII, of the present standing rules of the Senate. 1883
On December 10, 1883, Senator Frye, of Maine, chairman of the Committee on Rules, reported a general revision of the Senate rules. This revision included a provision for the “previous question." Amendments in the Senate struck this provision out. 1884
On January 11, 1884, the present Senate rules were revised and adopted.
On March 19, 1884, two resolutions introduced by Senator Harris were considered and agreed to by the Senate as follows:
(1) “That the eighth rule of the Senate be amended by adding thereto: All motions made before 2 o'clock to proceed to the consideration of any matter shall be determined without debate.”
(2) “That the 10th rule of the Senate be amended by adding thereto: And all motions to change such order or to proceed to the consideration of other business shall be decided without debate."
From this time until 1890 there were 15 different resolutions introduced to amend the Senate rules as to limitations of debate, all of which failed of adoption.
Senate agreed (March 17) to amend rule 7 by adding thereto the following words:
“The Presiding Officer may at any time lay, and it shall be in order at any
Senate agreed to strike out the words, "without debate,” from that part of rule
Hoar, Blair, Edmunds, and Quay submitted various resolutions for limiting debate in various ways (August 1890).
On December 29, 1890, Senator Aldrich introduced a cloture resolution in connection with Lodge's "force bill,” which was being filibustered against. The resolution read, in part, as follows: "When any bill, resolution, or other question shall have been under consideration for a considerable time, it shall be in order for any Senator to demand that debate thereon be closed. On such demand no debate shall be in order, and pending such demand no other motion, except one motion to adjourn, shall be made * * *." There were five test votes on the cloture proposal which “commanded various majorities, but in the end it could not be carried in the Senate because of a filibuster against it which merged into a filibuster on the 'force bill.' 1893
Platt, Hoar, Hill, and Gallinger introduced resolutions for cloture by majority action during a filibuster against repeal of the silver purchase law, which evoked extended discussion.
Sherman (Ohio) urged a study of Senate rules with a view to their revision and the careful limitation of debate.
Chair ruled on March 3, 1897, that quorum calls could not be ordered unless business had intervened. 1902
Senate agreed (April 8) to amend rule 19 by inserting at the beginning of clause 2 thereof the following:
“No Senator in debate shall directly or indirectly by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.
“No Senator in debate shall refer offensively to any State of the Union.” 1908
Three important interpretations of the rules were adopted in the course of the filibuster against the Aldrich-Vreeland currency bill: (1) the Chair might count a quorum, if one were physically present, even on a vote, whether or not Senators answered to their names; (2) mere debate would not be considered business, and therefore more than debate must take place between quorum calls; (3) Senators could by enforcement of the rules be restrained from speaking on the same subject more than twice in the same day. 1911
April 6, 1911, Senator Root, of New York, submitted a resolution requesting the Committee on Rules to suggest an amendment to the Senate rules whereby the Senate could obtain more effective control over its procedure. No action was taken on the resolution. 1914
Smith (Georgia) proposed a rule of relevancy.
Senate decreed, September 17, that Senators could not yield for any purpose, even for a question, without unanimous consent; but reversed itself on this ruling the next day, September 18. 1915
February 8, 1915, Senator Reed, of Missouri, introduced a resolution to amend rule XXII whereby debate on the ship purchase bill, “S. 6845 shall cease, and the Senate shall proceed to vote thereon ***.” The resolution did not pass in this session, 1916
From December 1915, to September 8, 1916, the first or "long” session of the 64th Congress, there were five resolutions introduced to amend rule XXII. The resolutions acted upon were Senate Resolution 131 and Senate Resolution 149. On May 16, 1916, the Committee on Rules reported out favorably (S. Res. 195) as a substitute for Senate Resolution 131 and Senate Resolution 149, which had been referred to it, and submitted a report (No. 447). The resolution was debated but did not come to a vote. 1916 and 1920
Democratic national platforms for both years included a statement that: “We favor such alteration of the rules of procedure of the Senate of the United States as will permit the prompt transaction of the Nation's legislative business.” 1917
March 4, 1917, President Wilson made a speech in which he referred to the armed ship bill, defeated by filibustering. The President said in part, “The Senate has no rules by which debate can be limited or brought to an end, no rules by which debating motions of any kind can be prevented *** The Senate of the United States is the only legislative body in the world which cannot act when its majority is ready for action. * * * The only remedy is that the rules of the Senate shall be altered that it can act. * * *"
On March 5, 1917, the Senate was called in extraordinary session by the President because of the failure of the armed ship bill in the 64th Congress.
On March 7, 1917, Senator Walsh, of Montana, introduced a cloture resolution (S. Res. 5) authorizing a committee to draft a substitute for rule XXII, limiting debate. Senator Martin also introduced a resolution amending rule XXII similar to S. 195, favorably reported by the Committee on Rules in the 64th Congress, The Martin resolution was debated at length and adopted March 8, 1917, 76 yeas, 3 pays, as the current amendment to rule XXII.
On May 4, 1918, Senator Underwood introduced a resolution (S. Res. 235) further amending rule XXII, reestablishing the use of the “previous question” and limiting debate during the war period.
On May 31, 1918, the Committee on Rules favorably reported out Senate Resolution 235 with a report (No. 472).
June 3, 1918, the Senate debated the resolution and Senator Borah offered an amendment.
June 11, 1918, the Senate further debated the resolution and a unanimous consent agreement was reached to vote on the measure.
June 12, 1918, the resolution was further amended, by Senator Cummins.
June 13, 1918, the Senate rejected the resolution, nays 41 and yeas 34. 1921
From March 4, 1921, to March 4, 1923, during the 67th Congress, five resolutions were introduced to limit debate in some form. These were referred to the Committee on Rules. 1922
On November 29, 1922, upon the occasion of the famous filibuster against the Dyer antilynching bill, a point of order was raised by the Republican floor leader against the methods of delay employed by the obstructionists which, had the Chair sustained it, would have established a significant precedent in the Senate as it did in the House. The incident occurred as follows:
Immediately upon the convening of the Senate, the leader of the filibuster made a motion to adjourn. Mr. Curtis made the point of order that under rule III no motion was in order until the Journal had been read. He also made the additional point of order that the motion to adjourn was dilatory. To sustain his point, Mr. Curtis said: “I know we have no rule of the Senate with reference to dilatory motions. We are a legislative body, and we are here to do business and not to retard business. It is a well-stated principle that in any legislative body where the rules do not cover questions that may arise general parliamentary rules must apply.
“The same question was raised in the House of Representatives when they had no rule on the question of dilatory motions. It was submitted to the Speaker of the House, Mr. Reed. Mr. Speaker Reed held that, notwithstanding there was no rule of the House upon the question, general parliamentary law applied, and he sustained the point of order."
The Vice President sustained Mr. Curtis' first point of order in regard to rule III but did not rule on the point that the motion was dilatory.
Senate Republicans voted 32 to 1 in party conference on May 25 for majority cloture on revenue and appropriation bills. 1925
On March 4, 1925, the Vice President, Charles G. Dawes, delivered his inaugural address to the Senate, in which he recommended that debate be further limited in the Senate.
On March 5, 1925, Senator Underwood introduced the following cloture resolution (S. Res. 3) embodying the Vice President's recommendation on further limitation of debate, which was referred to the Committee on Rules.
"Resolved, That the rules of the Senate be amended by adding thereto, in lieu of the rule adopted by the Senate for the limitation of debate on March 8, 1917, the following:
“1. There shall be a motion for the previous question which, being ordered by a majority of Senators voting, if a quorum be present, shall have the effect to cut off all debate and bring the Senate to a direct vote upon the immediate question or questions on which it has been asked and ordered. The previous question may be asked and ordered upon a single motion, a series of motions allowable under the rules, or an amendment or amendments, or may be made to embrace all authorized motions or amendments and include the bill to its passage or rejection. It shall be in order, pending the motion for, or after previous question shall have been ordered on its passage, for the presiding officer to entertain and submit a motion to commit, with or without instruction, to a standing or select committee.
“2. All motions for the previous question shall, before being submitted to the Senate, be seconded by a majority, by tellers if demanded.
“3. When a motion for the previous question has been seconded, it shall be in order, before final vote is taken thereon, for each Senator to debate the proposition to be voted for 1 hour.”
Other resolutions introduced in the first session of the 69th Congress limiting debate were Senate Resolution 25; Senate Resolution 225; Senate Resolution 217; Senate Resolution 59; Senate Resolution 77; Senate Resolution 76; which were also referred to the Committee on Rules. 1925
Robinson (Arkansas) said: "No change in the written rules of the Senate is necessary to prevent irrelevant debate. Parliamentary procedures everywhere contemplates that a speaker shall limit his remarks to the subject under consideration. The difficulty grows out of the failure of the presiding officer of the Senate to enforce this rule.'
Jones (Washington) proposed a threefold plan of reform: (1) Extend the existing rule which forbids amendments not germane to appropriation bills to general legislation; (2) compel Senators to confine their remarks to the subject under consideration unless permitted by unanimous consent to do otherwise; (3) limit debate on measures other than revenue or appropriation bills after they have been under consideration 10 days and it has been impossible to reach a unanimous consent agreement for their disposal.
Fess and Jones introduced resolutions for a rule of relevancy. 1926
Underwood (Alabama) offered a resolution to limit debate by majority vote to appropriation and revenue bills. 1933
Adoption of 20th amendment (February 6, 1933), by doing away with short sessions, would eliminate filibusters, so Norris believed. But subsequent events demonstrated that filibustering minorities are still able to delay urgent legislation. The final sessions of the 73d and 74th Congresses, the first two to function under the amendment, ended in filibusters. 1935
Chair ruled that a quorum call is the transaction of business and that Senators who yield for that purpose lose the floor. Under this ruling, a speaker yielding twice for quorum calls, if they are in order, while the same question is before the Senate, is unable to regain the floor on that question during the same legislative day. 1939
Reorganization Act of 1939 (Public Law 19, 76th Cong., 1st sess.) limited debate to 10 hours, to be divided equally between those for and against, upon a resolution to disapprove a Presidential reorganization proposal. 1945
The Reorganization Act of 1945 (Public Law 263, 79th Cong., 1st sess.) contained the same "antifilibuster rule" as the Reorganization Act of 1939. This rule reads: “Debate on the resolution shall be limited to not to exceed 10 hours, which shall be equally divided between those favoring and those opposing the resolution. A motion further to limit debate shall not be debatable. No amendment to, or motion to recommit, the resolution shall be in order, and it shall not be in order to move to reconsider the vote by which the resolution is agreed to or disagreed to.” 1946
Republican steering committee delegated Senator Saltonstall to prepare an amendment to rule 22 “so that the various dilatory methods of preventing its application can be eliminated” (May 21, 1946).
Knowland proposed (S. Res. 312) new standing rule prohibiting the receipt or consideration of any amendment to any bill or resolution which is not germane or relevant to the subject matter thereof. Referred to Rules Committee (July 25, 1946).
Moses urged thorough study of the rules of the Senate "to the end of completely revising them.” He also submitted a resolution (S. Res. 314) directing the Parliamentarian of the Senate to “prepare a complete and annotated digest” of its precedents (July 25, 1946). Referred to Rules Committee. (The Parliamentarian is compiling the precedents of the Senate under authority of a similar resoution passed several years ago.)
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN LIBRARIES
Saltonstall, Knowland, Morse, and Pepper introduced resolutions to amend Rule 22 so as to make cloture apply to any measure or motion or other matter pending before the Senate by a majority vote of those voting or by a majority vote of the entire membership of the Senate. Rules Committee on April 3, 1947, reported a resolution (S. Res. 25) amending rule 22 by making cloture apply to "any measure, motion, or other matter pending before the Senate or the unfinished business,” but making no change in current voting requirements of rule 22 or in the limitation of debate after cloture is invoked.
Pepper (Florida) revived suggestion that Senate adopt a new rule making irrelevant debate out of order. He also proposed to limit debate on a motion to make any subject the unfinished business of the Senate, to make such a motion privileged, and have it decided by majority vote.
Holland (Florida) suggested that majority cloture be adopted only for the closing day or days of a session and that two-thirds cloture be required at other times. 1948
On July 28 Tobey introduced a resolution (S. Res. 270) "that during the present special session of the Congress, in the interests of efficiency and conservation of time, no Senator shall speak more than once, on any subject, and no more than 30 minutes thereon.” No action.
Vandenberg, President pro tem, in sustaining point of order against petition to close debate on motion to consider the antipoll tax bill, expressed his belief that:
"** * in the final analysis, the Senate has no effective cloture rule at all * * a small but determined minority can always prevent cloture, under the existing rules * * * a very few Senators have it in their power to prevent Senate action on anything * * * the existing Senate rules regarding cloture do not provide conclusive cloture. They still leave the Senate, rightly or wrongly, at the mercy of unlimited debate ad infinitum" (August 2, 1948).
Republican conference appointed committee of 10 Senators to consider and recommend revision of existing cloture rule (August 1948). Members of this committee were: Brooks (chairman), Wherry, Hickenlooper, Knowland, Lodge, Jenner, Bricker, Ives, Ferguson, Saltonstall. 1949
During the 81st Congress 8 resolutions were introduced to amend the cloture rule, 5 in the 1st session and 3 in the 2d session. Nineteen Senators joined in sponsoring these resolutions: Myers, Morse, Saltonstall, Knowland, Ferguson, Ives, Hayden, Wherry, Pepper, Humphrey, Lehman, Murray, Thomas of Utah, Magnuson, McMahon, Kilgore Neely, Douglas, and Benton. The resolutions were: Senate Resolutions 11, 12, 13, 15, 19, 283, 322, 336. All were referred to the Committee on Rules and Administration which held public hearings on the first 5 resolutions on January 24, 25, 26, 28, 31, and February 1, 1949.
After a move to discharge the committee, it reported (Rept. No. 69) without amendment the Hayden-Wherry resolution (S. Res. 15) on February 17. A motion to take up Senate Resolution 15 was considered in the Senate at intervals from February 28 to March 17, 1949, when it was amended and agreed to. On March 10 a motion was presented to close debate on the motion to consider Senate Resolution 15. Mr. Russell made a point of order against the cloture motion which was overruled by the Chair. On appeal from the decision of the Chair, the decision of the Chair was not sustained on March 11 by a vote of 41 to 46. 1950
During the 2d session of the 81st Congress 3 resolutions were introduced to liberalize the cloture rule adopted in 1949. They were Senate Resolution 283, by Mr. Saltonstall, on May 22, 1950; Senate Resolution 322, by Mr. Morse and Mr. Humphrey, on August 2, 1950; and Senate Resolution 336, by Mr. Lehman and 9 others, on August 24, 1950. All these resolutions were referred to the Committee on Rules and Administration, which took no action upon them.
On May 5, 1950, Senator Lucas moved to proceed to the consideration of the FEPC bill (S. 1728). On May 19 a motion to close debate on the motion to take up the FEPC bill was defeated by a vote of 52 yeas to 32 nays. Under the 1949 cloture rule it would have required the votes of 64 Senators—two-thirds of those duly elected and sworn-to close debate. This was the first test of the cloture rule as amended in 1949. Republicans voted 33 for cloture, 6 against. Democrats voted 19 for cloture, 26 against. Twelve Senators were absent, of whom 9 were Democrats and 3 were Republicans. One of the absentees—Senator Withers (Democrat of Kentucky)—was formally announced as opposing application of