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Senator HOLLAND. No; I think you want to preserve the weight of the various States as it is in the electoral college. That could be done.
Senator MCMAHON. The only objection I can think of-right offhand it sounds plausible and I don't say it is a valid objection in that event you are likely to have a change in the basic policy within the 4-year period. That may be a good thing. It might be a thing we
a a would want to do. I am not arguing the pros and cons of it, but that could come about where it would not come about with the electors.
Senator HOLLAND. From my somewhat recent experience with the governors as a group, watching them work, I found them exceedingly nonpartisan. We have a custom, for instance-or had a custom-in successive years of having a chairman from one party and then from the other party, regardless of how the balance may be among the States as to the number of governors.
Senator GREEN. Do you think they would be nonpartisan when it came to the selection of a President?
Senator HOLLAND. No; but I think they would be highly patriotic and not be partisan to the point of selecting anybody who would be inferior.
Senator McMAHON. My idea goes to the philosophical concept of keeping basic policy for 4 years. I was interested in your statement about the nonpartisanship of the body, which Senator Green questions, as to whether it would go so far if the majority of them were Democrats that they would pick a Republican as the President.
I am reminded of the Tilden-Hayes contest when they went to the Supreme Court and they had two and two and let four of them choose the fifth, and they chose the fifth, and we all know what happened.
Senator HOLLAND. I just called attention to the fact that this machinery, as set up, would be functioning only in time of terrible national disaster, and I can't think of any group that would be more calculated either to act with good judgment or to act with sound patriotism than that group.
Senator KNOWLAND. It would be easier to get them together to function than the electors.
Senator GREEN. Is your proposal supplementary to the present law ?
Senator HOLLAND. My suggestion would be.
Senator GREEN. Otherwise, it would be in time of national calamity.
Senator HOLLAND. My suggestion would be to make it applicable only to cover the case where all the persons designated in the line of succession were removed quickly by a common disaster. That was the thing we were speaking about; particularly when we considered your resolution.
Senator HAYDEN. It seems to be a just criticism that the Speaker of the House and President pro tempore of the Senate do not occupy executive positions. They are not necessarily qualified to be an executive. Your plan has the merit that men who have been exercising executive authority would be called upon to select a Chief Executive of the United States.
Senator HOLLAND. I would bet they would select a good man and they would be functioning only in such a condition as we have been talking about in time of great disaster-and party politics would
play a very small part and whoever came out would have the backing of all 48 men.
Senator GREEN. But it doesn't meet the occasion which brought about all these various bills and that was the President's letter where he wished to have removed the necessity of a President choosing his own successor. It has nothing to do with that.
Senator HOLLAND. It has nothing to do with the amendment of the Succession Act, section 1 of the Succession Act, at all, and I suggest it only to be used in the event of removal summarily of everyone in the line of succession.
The CHAIRMAN. One of the members of the press has requested me to ask if under the college of governors it would be the plan to give Georgia two votes.
Senator HOLLAND. I will bet that the other 47 would come out with as sound a solution of that as anybody has offered as yet.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there anything further?
(Whereupon, at 11:40 a. m. the committee adjourned until 10:30 a. m., Wednesday, March 12, 1947.)
SUCCESSION TO THE PRESIDENCY
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12, 1947
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D.C. The committee met, pursuant to recess, at 10:30 a. m., in room 10+B, Senate Office Building, Senator C. Wayland Brooks (chairman) presiding.
Present: Senators Brooks (chairman), Wherry, Hickenlooper, Knowland, Lodge, Jenner, Bricker, Hayden, Green, and Holland.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order.
Senator Wherry, will you tell us what you have to say about your proposed bill? STATEMENT OF HON. KENNETH S. WHERRY, UNITED STATES
SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF NEBRASKA
Senator WHERRY. Mr. Chairman, I am not sure just what the mechanics should be here. I have a right, I understand, to modify my bill or amend the bill that I have introduced, prior to its consideration. At any rate, if it takes a motion I would like to move to substitute, as my own amendment, S. 564 entitled "Committee Print" in parentheses, which bill is in italics. This is to be substituted for the original S. 564 bill before the committee for consideration. If the committee desires to accept it as a committee amendment, I have no objection.
I would like to also ask you to take up the committee print and turn to page 2; and on line 10, after the words "shall continue to act," strike out “until a President shall be elected in the manner prescribed by law, and”. That is unnecessary and was supposed to have been deleted when they made the committee print.
Another word should be corrected, and that is on page 4, line 4, where it says "During the period that any individual serves". The word "serves” should be changed to "acts". I use the word “acts” all the rest of the way, but somehow that got in there.
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, we will consider your substitute. Senator LODGE. May I ask what the difference is between the two? Senator WHERRY. I will explain that to you in my statement.
Senator HAYDEN. Why not have the substitute printed in the record, and then we will have it before us.
Senator WHERRY. Is there any question about that?
(S. 564 (committee print) is as follows:)
[Committee print, March 12, 1947]
[S. 564, 80th Cong., 1st sess.]
A BILL To provide for the performance of the duties of the office of President in case of
the removal, resignation, or inability both of the President and Vice President
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That (a) (1) if, by reason of death, resignation, removal from office, inability, or failure to qualify, there is neither a President nor Vice President to discharge the powers and duties of the office of President, then the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall, upon his resignation as Speaker and as Representative in Congress, act as President.
(2) The same rule shall apply in the case of the death, resignation, removal from office, or inability of an individual acting as President under this subsection.
(b) If, at the time when under subsection (a) a Speaker is to begin the discharge of the powers and duties of the office of President, there is no Speaker, or the Speaker fails to qualify as Acting President, then the President pro tempore of the Senate shall, upon his resignation as President pro tempore and as Senator, act as President.
(c) An individual acting as President under subsection (a) or subsection (b) shall continue to act until the expiration of the then current Presidential term, except that,
(1) if his discharge of the powers and duties of the office is founded in whole or in part on the failure of both the President-elect and the Vice-President-elect to qualify, then he shall act only until a President or Vice President qualifies; and
(2) if his discharge of the powers and duties of the office is founded in whole or in part on the inability of the President or Vice President, then he shall act only until the removal of the disability of one of such individuals.
(d) (1) If, by reason of death, resignation, removal from office, inability, or failure to qualify, there is no President pro tempore to act as President under subsection (b), then the officer of the United States who is highest on the following list, and who is not under disability to discharge the powers and duties of the office of President shall act as President: Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of War, Attorney General, Postmaster General, Secretary of the Navy, Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of Labor.
(2) An individual acting as President under this subsection shall continue so to do until the expiration of the then current Presidential term, but not after a qualified and prior-entitled individual is able to act, except that the removal of the disability of an individual higher on the list contained in paragraph (1) or the ability to qualify on the part of an individual higher on such list shall not terminate his service.
(3) The taking of the oath of office by an individual specified in the list in paragraph (1) shall be held to constitute his resignation from the office by virtue of the holding of which he qualifies to act as President.
(e) Subsection (a), (b), and (d) shall apply only to such officers as are eligible to the office of President under the Constitution. Subsection (d) shall apply only to officers appointed, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, prior to the time of the death, resignation, removal from office, inability, or failure to qualify, of the President pro tempore, and only to officers not under impeachment by the House of Rrepresentatives at the time the powers and duties of the office of President devolve upon them.
(f) During the period that any individual acts as President under this Act, his compensation shall be at the rate then provided by law in the case of the President.
(g) Sections 1 and 2 of the Act entitled "An Act to provide for the performance of the duties of the office of President in case of the removal, death, resignation, or inability both of the President and Vice President”, approved January 19, 1886 (24 Stat. 1; U. S. C., 1940 edition, title 3, secs. 21 and 22), are repealed.
Amend the title so as to read : "A bill to provide for the performance of the duties of the office of President in case of the removal, resignation, death, or inability both of the President and Vice President."
Senator WHERRY. On February 11, I introduced S. 564, a bill to provide for the performance of the duties of the Office of President in case of the removal, death, resignation, inability, or failure to qualify both of the President and Vice President.
In such event, the bill provides that the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall, upon his resignation as Speaker and Representative.in Congress, act as President until the disability be removed or a President or Vice President qualifies.
If there is no Speaker or the Speaker fails to qualify as acting President, the bill provides that the President pro tempore of the Senate shall, upon ħis resignation as President pro tempore and as Senator, discharge the powers and duties of the Office of President until the expiration of the then current Presidential term.
If, by reason of death, resignation, removal from office, inability, or failure to qualify, there is no President pro tempore to discharge the powers and duties of the Office of President, then the bill provides that the Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of War, Attorney General, Postmaster General, Secretary of the Navy, Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of Commerce, or the Secretary of Labor, in the order named, shali discharge the
powers and duties of the Office of President. The bill provides that the taking of the oath of Office by any of the Secretaries designated, shall constitute his resignation from office.
The original bill introduced by me—I am speaking about the original bill, S. 564—is identical with the bill that passed the House in the Seventy-ninth Congress, not the bill that was introduced by Congressman Sumners but the bill that passed the House.
The committee print that I have asked to substitute for S. 564 makes the following changes:
It reinstates the provision originally in the Sumners bill requiring the Speaker, before accepting office as President, to resign as Speaker and Representative in the House. The bill that passed the House took out that provision and left him the Speaker as well as the acting President.
I do this to comply with the Constitutional provision that no Member of the House or Senate shall hold any other Federal office.
The commitee print also changes the bill so that once a Speaker qualifies or a President pro tempore qualifies, he can only be displaced by a President or Vice President. Senator GREEN. Would you prefer not to be interrupted ? Senator WHERRY. No, that is all right. Senator GREEN. What do you mean by “qualify”; taking the oath of office voluntarily?
Senator WHERRY. The qualifications run not only to the provisions of the Constitution as originally adopted but also include the provision that is in the twentieth amendment.
The twentieth amendment brings up the word “qualify.” Failure to qualify is one of the things that is provided in the twentieth amendment which was not in the original Constitution and thus not considered in connection with the Act of 1792.
Senator GREEN. Then you would want to include all the other qualifications for being a President or being elected a President?
Senator WHERRY. If there is any reason in the world why a Speaker does not qualify, then the succession would go to the next Speaker if he had been elected; and if he failed to qualify, then it would go to the President pro tempore.