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the department's recommendation, the bill in the third place, is sent to a subcommittee. The subcommittee may rest on the statement of a member or written report of the department, or it may require more evidence. Yesterday we sent two bills back to the subcommittee to get more evidence. Then the bill is considered by the entire committee and, before it is reported to the House, it has had a pretty thorough sifting and I believe should be accorded better treatment by the House than it gets under the existing situation.
Now, I am very glad that we have men in the House like Mr. Stafford and Mr. Collins and these other gentlemen who work on this Private Calendar; because I do not want to see our committee criticized for passing any unworthy legislation and I feel these men can warn us, guard us, and protect us to a certain extent by cooperation, but not by unfairness. The trouble with the gentlemen appointed to scrutinize the Private Calendar is that they think they must object to everything. It becomes a sort of chronic condition with them and I do not think it adds to the prestige of the House particularly. I believe the Government to-day, before it embarks on a new enterprise, should pay its obligations to its citizens, and I believe our committee will not report any bill unless there is a valid obligation by the Government toward the citizen.
I do not like this "eye of the needle " procedure that we now have. It is entirely unfair to men outside of the House, the ordinary citizen, who goes to his Congressman and then the Congressman goes ahead and presents the evidence to the committee in the best way possible. The objector has no better way of getting the evidence than we had, and he certainly has no better way of getting the evidence than the department had, because sometimes he may side with the department. But objectors are appointed by the leaders who in effect are members of the various committees reporting to the Private Calendar. They are in most cases in the position of Members who, were they actually on the committee, would be signing minority reports. But while not members of the committee, not having the advantage of the consideration before the committee and the report to the committee by the subcommittee, they have greater power than any member of the committee; by virtue of their ability and power to object on the Private Calendar, they have more power, far more power, than any member of the committee and have greater handicaps than any member of the committee. Four hundred and thirty-four men in the House may believe that a bill ought to pass at a certain time and one man can stop it.
My own opinion of the situation is that the Purnell rule, or the proposed rule by Mr. Purnell, solves the situation. Now, that is not the attitude of the committee. I am not authorized to state any exact attitude by the committee, I think the Purnell rule will add to the prestige and standing of the House. Under the present situation, we have delays; under the present situation we have delay by debate, but the debate under the present conditions is a sort of street-corner debate that does not help us before the public at all. Mr. Purnell, by his rule, provides a form of orderly debate on these bills, and I believe the purpose of the leaders of the House in seeing that unworthy bills are not passed, and the motives of the gentlemen like Mr. Stafford and Mr. Collins, could be well satisfied by the adoption of a rule such as Mr. Purnell now suggests; because they can state
their position, the committee can state its position, the introducer of the bill can state his position, and the House can decide.
That is all I have to say, except this, that we are going to try to offer to the House a general tort bill.
Mr. GARRETT. Under that discussion you are referring to, if we pass the Purnell-Crisp rule, I will call it-because it is a kind of combination of the genius of the two men—you would have that discussion, brief though it is, and if a claim or bill is really without merit, would there be any trouble in finding five men, after that discussions, who would stand up and say, "No; let us not consider it"! And would not that help solve the situation, and they would proceed to the next bill? Mr. BLACK. I think so. Mr. GARRETT. I would not hesitate, if a man should get up on the floor of the House and say, upon his responsibility as a Member of the House, “ Gentlemen, this is a vicious bill and ought not to be considered now, and ought not to be considered in this way, and I will tell you the reasons in five minutes ”—if he would say that, I would not hesitate for a moment to be one of the five objectors to the consideration of that bill.
Mr. BLACK. At least the House would be satisfied of the validity of his objection.
Mr. MÅRTIN. It was stated the other day that the practice of your committee was to assign a bill just to one member. Mr. BLACK. To one member.
Mr. Martin. And that is practically the only investigation the committee gives, and more or less automatically the committee takes the recommendation of the one member.
Mr. BLACK. No, not automatically; because yesterdayMr. MARTIN. You do go into them? Mr. BLACK. The committee received yesterday for the first time reports of subcommittees, and I think we reported two bills and sent two other bills back to the subcommittee for further evidence.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Black, would you mind getting the sentiment of your committee with respect to these resolutions?
Mr. Black. Surely. There has a subcommittee been appointed, headed by Mr. Ransley, and I will ask them to make a definite proposal to the Committee on Rules.
Mr. BANKHEAD. We do not want a report of a subcommittee; we want the collective judgment of your whole committee, as far as possible.
Mr. BLACK. All right.
STATEMENT OF HON. FIORELLO H. LaGUARDIA, A REPRESENTA
TIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK Mr. LAGUARDIA. Mr. Chairman, let me direct my remarks to the proposed change in the Consent Calendar. The situation in the Consent Calendar is entirely different from that of the Private Calendar, because bills on the Consent Calendar, as you all know, are public bills and there are three other methods reserved for the consideration of those bills if stricken from the Consent Calendar: The Speaker may suspend the rules on that very day and the House pass
the bill, or consider it; a rule might be brought in for consideration, and the bill might be called up by the committee on a calendar Wednesday.
The purpose of the Consent Calendar, gentlemen, is only to serve as an outlet, as an easy outlet, for noncontroversial bills and any change in the rule would defeat the purpose of the Consent Calendar and, in all likelihood, be so abused by the passage of bills not properly considered as to defeat its very purpose.
Now, gentlemen, I have not been designated by anyone as a censor. I do not believe that is the proper method. What I do, no more than the other 434 Members of the House, is to be informed on every bill and, being informed on every bill, simply suggests the necessity of interposing objections from time to time on certain bills that are on the Consent Calendar. In all of my time, I do not believe I have ever been charged with being captious or personally entering an objection, although I have incurred considerable opposition, and sometimes bitterness, by reason of my action.
NO this is the procedure I suggest. In order to give intelligent service to the Consent Calendar, a Member must have a comprehensive understanding of the action of the House. That avoids, in many instances, duplication; for instance, where the jurisdictions of committees come very close-like the Committee on the District of Columbia and Judiciary, for instance; Army and Navy; Irrigation and Public Lands and also a sort of understanding of what the Appropriations Committee is doing. Many bills get on the Consent Calendar that are objected to, not because of the merits of the bill, but because the bill involves a matter of policy or is so far-reaching, or so important, that it should not be considered in that way.
Let me give you some examples: A bill for an increase in the Navy carrying hundreds of millions of dollars, on the Consent Calendar. No one for a moment would contend that a bill of such far-reaching importance should be passed on the spur of the moment, or without due deliberation. Again, bills readjusting the pay of the Army and Navy, involving millions of dollars and a matter of policy, on the Consent Calendar; a great many bills reported out by the Committee on Agriculture, which are very far-reaching, requiring consider-' ation and which are objected to, not on the merits, but so that they may be stricken from that calendar and considered at the proper time and in the proper place. Now we have bills amending laws very often, gentlemen, drafted by the departments. In many instances, by using the objection and letting it go over, we find erroneous references, improperly drawn bills, all of which has been corrected; then bills granting lands, omitting the necessary reversionary clause, and all these little defects are caught in that way.
Under the working of the Consent Calendar-with which you gentlemen have all had experience-like any other bill, it requires the reading of that bill. If it is an amendatory bill, it requires a study of the statutes it amends, to see that the references are proper; it requires a study of the report, and if there are hearings—but in many instances there are no hearings—a reading of the hearings.
Gentlemen, we find this, that bills are sometimes reported out by a committee with the approfal of the department and then the information drifts in that the department is really opposed to it and that the bill is vicious. As an instance, I will take a bill creating a
certain branch bureau in a certain city, recommended by the department, but the chief of the bureau of the department himself says, “ Yes, the head of the department did approve of it as a personal favor, but if that is passed it will require perhaps 10 or 12 similar branches established, and they are not necessary.
On the other hand, bills that are really necessary are reported out but there is an adverse report of the department based upon the budgetary program, but which really have the indorsement of the department. It requires a little time, it requires contacts, it requires the obtaining of information. I will say that sometimes Mr. Longworth followed the custom that, where he believed there was a general demand for the bill, he would talk to some of the Members who had studied the bill and then say he would suspend the rules. We have had occasions, where the rules were suspended and the bill defeated under a suspension. Of course many times, as I say, the objection is simply made so that the bill may be given proper consideration. Gentlemen, just think of any amendment to the rule that would just throw the doors wide open and
and any bill may be put on the calendar! You see what the result will be.
Now, if I may suggest (as far as the Consent Calendar is concerned, if you leave one objection for the first time, so that Member may study that bill and may get the necessary information-it is for the House, not for himself; he has no personal interest in itand then three or four objections, it is not preventing the bill from being considered if it is a meritorious bill. The condition is different from what it is on the Private Calendar. On the Private Calendar, under the existing rules, that stops it entirely.
Now, as I say, it involves a great deal of work. All the Members do it, of course; there is no one Member does it any more than any one else. But for the sake of mature and proper legislative consideration to these bills, I doubt very much the wisdom of throwing the doors wide open on the Consent Calendar.
If I may say just one word as to the Private Calendar, may I make this one suggestion, that rather than cut up the day, or have the debates on the same day where you have your straight call of the calendar, I think it would be a good thing to provide for the consideration of the Private Calendar every week and make it mandatory, so that if the afternoon is devoted to other legislation, a night session would automatically follow, solely for the purpose of consideration of the bills, and then provide that all bills objected to would go on a separate calendar and that calendar be taken up every third Saturday, or Friday, whichever day you adopt, limiting the debate to 10 minutes on each side. In that way your afternoon would not be taken up perhaps by debate on just a few bills and you would run through your calendar on the bills that were unobjected to, and the bills that were objected to would be considered either every third or fourth Saturday, or Friday, as the case may be, with limited debate on each side. And the Members would be advised that, on that day, objected bills are considered and, as the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Garrett) says, if there was a really meritorious objection to it, then of course the House would decide accordingly.
But to get back to the Consent Calendar, I do not believe there has been very much objection to the way the Consent Calendar has
operated, so far as I know, and I think it is perfectly satisfactory to leave it as it is.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much. Mr. SABATH. But is not the objection to your plan invariably, when there would be a night session or special session for these few private bills, there would be the objection of no quorum, and a very small attendance will defeat the purpose?
Mr. LAGUARDIA. That was decided 140 years ago. STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN. J. COCHRAN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MISSOURI Mr. Cochrax. May I tell you why, in one minute, I am personally opposed to the rule you have adopted ? The CHAIRMAX. Yes.
Mr. COCHRAN. I attended every meeting of the House when the Private Calendar was called and when the Consent Calendar was called, and I just want to give you this idea. In the last session a Member walked in after we had been in session for about an hour, grabbed up a set of the bills, sat down in a front seat, and when we reached the point where the bill was being considered, he threw the bills away and turned to the report. In that report the department reported adversely. He jumped up and said, “ Mr. Speaker the department says this bill should not be passed. I object." H& kept on like that and objected to bill after bill. Now I had reac some of those reports and there was one he objected to—it was not my bill—but I got up and asked him if he would withhold his objec tion until I read the report. It was a bill to grant a man an hon orable discharge who had served with Dewey in the Battle of Manila Bay and when they came back and the ship was in San Francisca Bay, or some other place, the men had been told not to go in swim ing, and this man claimed he had never heard of the order, and he dove off of the side of the boat and took a little swim for himselE and he was court-martialed and dishonorably discharged, and there was no reason in the world but that for the dishonorable discharge I induced that man, after I had read the report, to withdraw his objection, and the bill passed and later became a law. I do not know who it was; as I say, it was not my bill; but, if that man objected to one bill that night, he objected to 50, and there was nothing on the floor of the House but an argument that was absolutely disgraceful to the Congress of the United States.
If you are going to permit that to go, you might just as well abolish your Private Calendar. It is unfair. I have other cases I could cite to you, but I will just cite that as an outstanding instance. That man objected on every bill solely when he read the last words of the report of the department, “We recommend that this legislation not be passed."
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Cochran.