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Would you vote for a cloture?
Senator CONNALLY. I doubt it very much.
Senator WHERRY. For anything?

Senator CONNALLY. I doubt it. I have often said that I didn't ever expect to vote for cloture. I think I voted for cloture once, a good many years ago, but I am not at all in favor of it. I don't like it at all, and I doubt if I would vote for it, since you asked me.

Senator WHERRY. The reason I asked you was that in the earlier part of your testimony you said that there were a few broad-minded Republicans that wouldn't vote for cloture at all.

Senator CONNALLY. That is right.

Senator WHERRY. I guess I am in the other class, because I voted for it on two or three occasions.

Senator CONNALLY. Yes, I know it.

Senator WHERRY. But what I am trying to make up my mind about is when and who should rule the adoption of the petition, that is, whether it should be two-thirds or a majority, and I think you can be as liberal as you want to on invoking cloture, and certainly you can be justified in your opinion as to what number it takes to invoke the rule.

Senator CONNALLY. That is right. Senator WHERRY. That is what I am trying to determine now. Under the two-thirds rule, I have been rather lenient toward accepting a cloture petition. In that respect I think I am broadminded, because that gives the Senate an opportunity to cut off debate if two-thirds want to cut it off. Do you see what I mean?

Senator CONNALLY. That is right.

Senator WHERRY. So I approach it in an entirely different attitude than you do. I think that one who subscribes to cloture—of course, if you want to go to the extreme end, and one of my old friends, Styles Bridges, hasn't and won't because he believes that fundamentally you should not cut off debate, and I admire his stand on that, and I think he is conscientious on that I think you can also fall in the class of being broadminded if you feel it is broadminded to give the Senate an opportunity to cut off debate, provided it is properly safeguarded by a sufficient number voting on the cloture petition. For that reason I have unhesitatingly, on matters like the antipoll tax, been willing to subinit it to the vote of the Senate under the feeling that if two-thirds voted for it, that was the sense of the Senate; and under two-thirds rule, it was time to cut off debate. I don't want to take issue with the distinguished Senator who is so much my senior; I am one of the new Senators here.

Senator CONNALLY. Please don't misunderstand me. I am just talking about the value of senatorial experience.

Senator WHERRY. I am inclined to think that you might invoke a cloture petition possibly by those that would vote for it now-I am trying to reason this out in my mind, I am open-minded—but I am wondering if you might not cut off a cloture petition if you reduce the number voting on the rule to invoke cloture, instead of keeping the two-thirds vote up there and giving them the chance. I just wonder, -and

Senator BYRD. I doubt if that will occur.

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Senator CONNALLY. Not so many men are as broad-minded as the Senator from Nebraska.

Senator WHERRY. Thank you, that is a compliment coming from you.

Is there anybody who would like to make a statement ?
(No response.)
Senator WHERRY. We deeply appreciate your coming.

Senator OVERTON. May I ask the Senator from New York if he knows of any instance where a majority of all present must vote for anything, I mean of the whole body?

Senator Ives. You mean in any State?
Senator OVERTON. No, in the United States.

Senator Ives. No, I don't. That is why I raised the question with you.

Senator OVERTON. It would be a novel rule.

Senator WHERRY. I think beyond the shadow of a doubt that you gentlemen would be more in favor of the Knowland resolution than any of the others.

Senator BYRD. Yes.

Senator CONNALLY. I am in favor of standing by the rule we have now.

Senator BYRD. So am I.

Senator OVERTON. However, if we are going to adopt any rule, I would rather have the majority of the whole body.

Senator CONNALLY. What Senator Overton says is positively true, that if you adopt this by a 49 majority there will immediately be a howl set up, “You said you were adopting it by a majority, but you didn't adopt it by a majority. You just adopted it by a majority of those elected, but we want it a majority of those present, just like on a bill."

The first thing, somebody would come in with a proposal to provide for cloture by a majority of those present.

Senator Ives. As a matter of fact, Senator Connally, we have seyeral of those things right here now in the way of such proposals.

Senator CONNALLY. Yes. I am talking about adopting the 49 now, that later on they will be back adopting something else.

Senator WHERRY. If there is no further testimony, we will continue until next Tuesday at 2:30, on which date our hearings will close; and anybody who wants to testify, please see the secretary by that time, because we are going to take action immediately thereafter.

(Whereupon, at 4:10 p. m., the subcommitteë recessed until 2:30 p. m., Tuesday, February 18, 1947.)

((

AMENDING SENATE RULE RELATING TO CLOTURE

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 1947

UNITED STATES SENATE,
SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE COMMITTEE ON
RULES AND ADMINISTRATION,

Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to adjournment, at 2:30 p. m., in room 104-B, Senate Office Building, Senator Kenneth S. Wherry (chairman) presiding.

Present: Senators Wherry (chairman) and Hayden.
Also present: Senators George, Overton, and Hoey.
Senator WHERRY. The committee will be in order.
Senator George, will you proceed?
STATEMENT OF HON. WALTER F. GEORGE, UNITED STATES

SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF GEORGIA Senator GEORGE. Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for delaying your hearings until I could be present. I appreciate the indulgence of the committee very much, and I will try not to greatly abuse your patience by any unduly lengthy statement this afternoon.

Senator WHERRY. We want you to feel free, Senator George, to take as long a time as you wish, and we appreciate very much your coming.

Senator GEORGE. Four separate resolutions relating to cloture in the Senate have been submitted to this committee: Senate Resolution 25 by Senator Saltonstall; Senate Resolution 30 by Senator Knowland, for himself and Senator Ferguson; Senate Resolution 32 by Senator Morse, for himself and Senator Taylor; and Senate Resolution 39 by Senator Pepper. Without noting specific differences in substance or language—which difference in point of substance is unimportant, as I see it—the committee is already advised that the resolutions by Senators Pepper, Morse, and Saltonstall all provide for a strict limitation upon debate if the Senate should decide for such limitation by a majority vote of those voting upon the motion.

Resolution 30 by Senator Knowland, for himself and Senator Ferguson, provides for a limitation upon debate if the Senate by affirmative vote of the majority of the entire membership of the Senate should so order.

It goes without saying that of all the resolutions before the subcommittee, the resolution by Senator Knowland and Senator Ferguson favors greater freedom of debate and is decidedly preferable to the other resolutions now before the subcommittee, from my point of

measure.

view, Mr. Chairman. I might say that it is a choice between four evils.

In view of the testimony submitted by the able Senators from Virginia, Senator Byrd; from Louisiana, Senator Overton; and the senior Senator from Texas, Senator Connally, it is unnecessary to discuss the historic background of previous limitations imposed by the Senate, since its organization, upon the freedom of debate. For 17 years after the organization of the Senate, the “previous question" rule obtained. Under this rule a mere majority of the Senate present and voting upon the motion could close debate at once. From 1806 to 1917 there was no provision whatever directly restricting the freedom of debate in the Senate. Certain rules, which it is unnecessary to notice here, tended indirectly to limit debate upon any pending measures. In 1917, when the United States was moving into World War I, and when a determined filibuster had developed finally upon the Wilson shipping bill—probably more accurately described as the bill to arm merchant ships—by the then minority party, now the majority party, the present cloture rule was adopted, requiring a two-thirds vote, under the rule, to limit debate upon a pending,

I am not disposed to quibble over the language of rule 22 as it now stands.

At the outset I concede that the rule may properly be made applicable to any pending motion, question, or measure. This, of course, involves a change in the rule and a substantial change in point of fact, but, nevertheless, it is a change which I think should be made in the Senate rules.

The real question before this committee resolves itself as follows: Is debate in the Senate to be limited by a decision of the majority present and voting upon the motion; by a decision of a constitutional majority of the Senate; that is to say, by a majority of the whole membership of the Senate, as provided by the resolution offered by Senator Knowland; or is the rule to stand under which debate cannot be effectively closed unless two-thirds of the Senate present and voting upon the cloture motion decide to limit or close debate? All other questions are immaterial and we are, therefore, brought fact to face with the consideration of the real issue involved here-whether we will limit or close debate by a mere majority of those present and voting upon the question, whether we will require a constitutional majority of the whole membership, or whether we will permit the twothirds rule, which has been in effect since 1917, to stand. It would be fruitless to recount the facts already in the record respecting the number of petitions filed for cloture since 1917; the number in which cloture was voted and the number in which cloture was defeated. It is sufficient, I think, to note the fact that little beneficial legislation to the country as a whole has been defeated because of the failure of the Senate to vote a limitation upon debate, and very little legislation harmful to the country as a whole has been enacted as a result of a vote by the Senate to limit or to close debate. Upon this question we may differ, but a close analysis of all the measures upon which a cloture vote has been had will confidently prove the truth of the

foregoing statement. That, however, is not necessarily controlling upon the question which this committee must resolve.

The general assumption that prolonged debate operates against the final passage of a particular measure is not in point of fact necessarily true. On the contrary, two recent notable exceptions may now be pointed out-the Lend-Lease Act and the British loan. These legislative measures grew in point of strength as the debate developed. I refer immediately to the Lend-Lease Act.

The Lend-Lease Act, which was more responsible than any other legislative measure for the winning of World War II, whatever the judgment of individual Senators upon the question may be, and whatever may have been the final question involved in that act, was passed by the House of Representatives on February 10, 1941. It was messaged over to the Senate and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations, of which committee I at that time had the honor to be chairman. The bill was actually reported to the Senate with certain amendments on February 13, 1941. It came up for consideration in the Senate on February 15, 1941, and was passed by the Senate, after continuous debate, on March 8, 1941. However, the bill itself had been under discussion in the country and in the Congress for many weeks before it passed the House of Representatives. In fact, lengthy hearings at which many of the leading men and women of the United States appeared had been held by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations as well as the corresponding House committee. In this instance there was no effort made to invoke cloture. Some desired to do so. Nevertheless, after orderly and exhaustive debate, the bill finally passed the Senate on March 8, 1941, as stated above. This measure did not lose ground by prolonged hearings before the House committee and before the Senate committee and by the extended debate in the Senate itself but rather it gained strength with the passing of time. I think the same may be said with respect to the British Loan Act which after full debate, at least, the Senate approved.

I reserve for final consideration and after I have discussed briefly what seems to be the philosophy and the reason for the rule requiring a substantial majority as contrasted with a mere majority of the Senate, whether a majority of those present and voting or a majority of the whole membership of the Senate—the most far reaching and important legislative proposal considered by the Congress within the last quarter of a century, if not one of the most important proposals ever submitted to the Congress of the United States. I refer to the recommendation of the President of the United States for the reorganization of the judicial branch of the Federal Government, submitted February 5, 1937.

It has been asked in this hearing why a constitutional majoritythat is to say, a majority of the whole membership of the Senatemay not properly limit or close debate, without injury to any right, in view of the fact that, generally speaking, effective votes upon cloture have totaled 49 or more in favor of cloture. The answer is, I think, that before the irghly important and valuable right to free and unlimited debate on any measure at any time should be restricted, a substantial majority of the Senate rather than a mere constitutional majority of the whole membership should be obtained. And the rea

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