Page images
PDF
EPUB

Senator Ives. You don't want to defeat the majority of those elected to the Senate who desire to vote, do you?

Senator TAYLOR. No.

Senator Ives. That is what you are doing, really; you are holding it up in spite of the desire of the elected Members of that Senate, possibly.

Senator TAYLOR. Yes, I suppose we ought to take those remote possibilities into account.

Senator Ives. I don't know as they are so remote.

Senator WHERRY. Are there any further questions? If not, we thank you for your statement, Senator, and as I stated to previous witnesses, the committee will hold hearings on these same resolutions a week from today, at the same time, at which time the opponents will be given an opportunity to be heard.

Does anyone else have anything to say here today? (No response.) We still have a little time if any proponent of the measure wants to testify, whether he has been summoned or not.

We will continue, then, until next Tuesday at 2:30 p. m., at which time we will listen to the opponents of these measures, the resolutions.

(Whereupon, at 4:30 p. m., the committee adjourned to Tuesday, February 4, 1947.)

AMENDING SENATE RULE RELATING TO CLOTURE

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 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), Ives, and Hayden.

Also present: Senators Morse, Knowland, Myers, Fulbright, and McClellan.

Senator WHERRY. I would like to announce now, for those who are here, that we will hear three witnesses today, Senator Morse, Mr. Perry, and Mr. Haddock, proponents of the measure; and that the opponents of the measure will testify a week from today. We have made arrangements for Senator Hoey and Senator Russell, and Senator George I believe it is, to testify.

Senator HAYDEN. I think Senator Byrd and Senator Overton also desire to be heard.

Senator WHERRY. All right.

I would like, if possible, at the conclusion of that testimony, to wind it up and make our report to the general committee.

Senator KNOWLAND. I would hope, Mr. Chairman, that in case we could not finish the testimony Tuesday that we could have some sessions next Wednesday or Thursday so that we could finish them up next week.

Senator WHERRY. Well, one trouble is Lincoln's Birthday. I do not know whether that will interfere with some of those who want to testify. Some of us will be gone on the 12th, but I think we will conduct it all on Tuesday the 11th, one week from today.

Senator HAYDEN. At 2:30 in the afternoon?
Senator WHERRY. Yes.
Senator HAYDEN. 2:30 in the afternoon.
Senator WHERRY. All right, Senator Morse.

STATEMENT OF HON. WAYNE MORSE, UNITED STATES SENATOR

FROM THE STATE OF OREGON

Senator MORSE. Mr. Chairman, It is not going to take me very long to submit the few remarks I want to make.

First, I speak, of course, in behalf of my resolution, Senate Resolution 32, and I would like permission to have included in the record an article that I published in the June 15, 1946, issue of Colliers Magazine on this whole problem of Filibuster and Greater Democracy in the Procedures in the Senate. In that article, Mr. Chairman, I think I have set forth my major reasons in support of my contention that we ought to bring to an end the filibuster technique in the Senate.

Senator HAYDEN. You desire the article to appear at the conclusion of your remarks?

Senator MORSE. If I may.

Senator WHERRY. Well, that is acceptable. Unless there is objection, that is acceptable.

Senator MORSE. It will save the committee a great deal of time, and it will save me reading the article.

Senator WHERRY. All right.

Senator MORSE. Now, in regard to the resolution itself, there are two points I want to stress: (1) You will notice section 1 proposes to amend rule III in a manner which will make it impossible to filibuster on the Journal. You remember the filibuster we had during the FEPC fight was really on the Journal rather than the issue before us. On line 12 of page 1 of the resolution it reads: Except that it shall be displaced by the action of the presiding officerthat is, the Journalin submitting to the Senate for an aye-and-nay vote any question under rule XXII. If the question submitted under rule XXII is decided in the affirmative by a majority vote of those voting, the motion to amend or correct the Journal shall remain displaced until the measure which becomes the unfinished business under rule XXII is disposed of.

In other words, section 1 of our resolution provides in effect that the highly privileged Journal can be set aside when there is a proposal under rule XXII to file a cloture petition and bring debate to a close on any matter before the Senate. Of course, I think it is necessary to amend rule III if you are going to have an effective cloture rule under rule 22.

Senator HAYDEN. In connection with rule III, the object that you seek to attain is apparently the same as that specified by Senator Saltonstall and Senator Knowland in their resolutions ?

Senator MORSE. Exactly the same.

Senator HAYDEN. They go at it by striking out of rule XXII the words “pending motion," and Senator Saltonstall proposes to insert "measure, motion, or other matter pending before the Senate, or other unfinished business." Senator Knowland says, “any pending measure or motion.” What is the difference between your proposal and theirs ?

Senator MORSE. The objective is the same. It all depends on which you think will make most certain the accomplishment of the objective. I think mine is very specific, and it will leave no question for any future parliamentary debate as to whether or not the Journal can be put aside. I specifically mention the Journal, and I keep it the highly privileged business that it is, save and except when by specific action under my proposed amendment you set the Journal aside.

Senator HAYDEN. The idea of filibustering on approving the Journal was first developed in the Senate by Senator Harrison and Senator

[ocr errors]

if ever,

Underwood when the Dyer anti-lynching bill was under consideration in 1922.

Senator MORSE. Yes; it is an old technique.

Senator HAYDEN. But you would merely correct a filibuster on approving the Journal.

The resolutions of Senator Saltonstall and Senator Knowland go further by including, “any measure, motion or other matter pending before the Senate.' So if the rule is amended to cure specifically the difficulty over the Journal, there might be some other matter subject to unlimited debate rather than the “pending measure” as provided in your resolution.

Senator MORSE. I would be very happy to accept an amendment to mine that would cover "motion or other matter. In section 2 of my resolution, Mr. Chairman, I provide a majority vote for cloture, as is done in the Knowland resolution, but I also provide for a 3-hour time privilege to each Member of the Senate after cloture has been filed and passed, subject to the farming out of the time of anyone, or a portion thereof, to any other Senator.

Now, I will be perfectly frank with you and tell you that I am open to any proposal for a compromise or modification of the 3-hour time debate limit. Theoretically, it can be said that provides for 228 hours of debate.

Senator WHERRY. Two hundred eighty-eight.

Senator MORSE. I mean 288. It does provide for that but I think we all know that such an amount of time would rarely,

be used, and I am perfectly willing to cut it down to 2 hours or to an hour and a half. I would not go below an hour and a half for reasons that I want to set out. But I would go down to an hour and a half if that was the will of the Senate. But I do think it is very important that adequate time be allowed to protect all minority interests who may wish to discuss the merits of any issue after cloture has been filed.

What we should try to do, it seems to me, is to balance the interests between preventing adequate debate in the Senate; that is, a full and fair debate on the merits, and preventing abuse of freedom of debate in the Senate by way of a filibuster. I think the job before us is to strike a fair balance in the amount of time to be allowed for debate after cloture.

Now, let me give you my main reason why I think adequate time should be provided after cloture has been passed. I think it is very important on many issues that the Senate hear from the country before a final vote is taken, I want to give you an example within my own experience—and I understand that you can multiply examples such as this over the history of the Senate many times. I remember that early in 1945 when there was before the Senate the so-called manpower draft bill proposed by President Roosevelt to place all manpower in this country under the then Manpower Commission, subject to being ordered by the Government to move to any part of the country to which it was the will of the Government to move labor then. Some of us thought it was a very dangerous piece of legislation and that it ought to be very thoroughly debated. Senator O'Mahoney

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

was leading the opposition on the bill on the Democratic side, and asked me if I would lead it on the Republican side, and I discussed it with some of our Republican leaders. Being a freshman Senator, I was hesitant about doing it; but when my Republican colleagues

me that they thought I should join in the fight, I did my best on the Republican side to organize opposition to the bill. I remember it was on a Tuesday when we first went to the then majority leader, Mr. Barkley, of Kentucky. I said, “We think there ought to be a very full debate on this subject." He laughed and said, “We have got you beaten by eight votes." I said, “Well, you will not have us beaten by a week from today.” He said, “Oh, I am going to ask for a vote on it before a week from today.” Well, he did not succeed. He did his very best, you will recall, to try to get us to a vote that week. However, we had a lot of speeches to make, and we made them. By the next Tuesday we did vote, but the Senate had heard from the country in the meantime. Instead of having a majority of eight votes, as I recall, Senator Barkley lost the measure by a majority of about that number of votes.

Hence I think it is very important that we change our rules in an endeavor to prevent the abuse of the filibuster but that we do not put any rule in which will so stifle debate in the Senate that we cannot have full and adequate debate on the merits after a cloture petition has been passed. You have to watch out about very early cloture petitions being passed, which makes it all the more important that you have adequate time left after a cloture petition has been passed.

Let me give you an example of the closing days of the Seventyninth Congress. You will remember that we finally got the poll tax issue up for debate. If you will go into the records you will find that the Senator from Kentucky made the motion to take

up

the poll tax, and the very next sentence that he uttered was a motion for cloture. It was perfectly permissible, but I cite it to show that it would be possible, if we adopt cloture by a majority vote, to have a bill brought up and then by majority vote file cloture and force an early vote unless a reasonable allowance of time for debate after cloture were assumed. I repeat that some such time period as I propose is essential in order to assure the country of an opportunity to make the wishes of the people known before a final vote on a bill.

So I would hate to go below a 2-hour debate privilege to be granted to each Member of the Senate, plus an opportunity to farm out the time, although I would consider, if necessary, an hour and a half. I put 3 hours in the resolution to be perfectly frank with you, because I thought it was at least the maximum that ought to be in, and it makes a pretty good time limit for trading on any reasonable compromise that anybody wants to offer. I want to stress, however, this point, that we must protect the Senate as we consider this filibuster matter from any rule that is going to limit debate on the merits. Although many disagree with my position on it, that what is back of the objection of mine ordinarily to unanimous consent agreements that limit debate. I object to them, because usually under those agreements there is a danger that minority interests will not be protected in the Senate. We have minority groups in the Senate and they are

« PreviousContinue »