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THE SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER'S REPORT ON THE
1ST SESSION OF THE 89TH CONGRESS
When this report reaches print, the 1st session of the 89th Congress will have adjourned, one session in the continuous, unending procession of Congresses since the beginning of the Republic.
Through six wars and six major depressions, through strife and violence, through marches and demonstrations, the Congress has continued to function without interruption. This fact in itself is testimony to the viability and vitality of the legislative branch of the Federal Government.
It was no accident that the very first article of the Constitution should be devoted to the creation of the legislative branch of Government. It was clothed with exclusive legislative powers and with exclusive power over the public purse.
President Monroe put it well when he said: The whole system of the National Government may be said to rest essentially on the powers granted to this branch. They mark the limit within which, with few exceptions, all branches must move in the discharge of their respective functions.
And so the 1st session of the 89th Congress comes to an end. Doubtless it will be hailed in some quarters, as a spectacular Congress, a "Do Something" Congress, an Adventurous Congress because of the vast volume of grist which has gone through the legislative mill. The claim is not without substance. In fact it has been a breathless session because of the unending parade of Executive messages to accompany bills which were regarded as a part of the Administration program. Both the messages and the bills dealt with an endless variety of subjects.
During this session, we have considered medicare and social security, excise taxes and the public debt, culture and agriculture, primary education and higher education, foreign aid and immigration, treaties and nominations, Appalachia and the war on poverty, the humanities and the performing arts, peace and the Peace Corps, defense and armament control, rapid transit and water resources, air pollution and stream pollution, reapportionment and right-towork, desalinization and tariff reform, housing and health, coffee and crime, veterans and Vietnam, aeronautics and orbits, voting rights, home rule, and home economics. The list is endless.
The number of bills and resolutions introduced will exceed 15,000 because the business of introducing new legislative and policy proposals goes right on to the very day of adjournment.
When the legislative bonepickers finish their work, they will probably report that the verbal output on the floor of the House and Senate may reach or exceed 30,000 pages, exclusive of thousands of
pages in the appendix which has now become a repository for contemporary poetry, newspaper articles and editorials, eulogies to departed citizens and winning essays in school contests, speeches and scientific treatises, earthquake and tornado reports, and replies to questionnaires addressed to the folks back home. But these are froth compared to the work of the Congress and its committees.
Considering the volume of highly important measures with which the Congress did deal, the astronomical authorizations for the expenditure of public funds, the commitments for the future, the actual appropriation of public funds, the long- and short-range question of policies to be approved or disapproved, there has been scant time to think it all through, to properly evaluate these measures, to find and disclose the weaknesses, to measure their impact upon the Nation now, and in fact their impact upon the course which this Republic will follow in the years ahead.
Republican Senators introduced original legislation involving
responsibilities. It is an unhappy fact that some commentators on the work of the Congress will analyze it in terms of who got what. In fact, this approach is rather traditional.
What did labor get?
What did schools and colleges get? Too little emphasis will be placed upon what the country as a whole did or did not get. The imperishable statement of the late President John Fitzgerald Kennedy is all too often forgotten: "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask rather what you can do for
The book of the 1st session of the 89th Congress is closed. The record has been written.
But there are questions which linger. They do not go away.
What will be the real result of the many programs with fancy names and high emotional appeal? For example:
The Appalachian program, to cost more than a billion dollars over a 6-year period, 80 percent of which is to be spent on highways with inadequate data on how resources shall be developed to produce durable jobs, seems to present a tenuous hope rather than a truly practical program, and has in it a vast potential for waste.
The antipoverty program, authorized at a cost of about $5.4 billion over a 3-year period, is already under fire from all sides because of excessively high salaries, because of the intrusion of politics, because of the dubious character of the projects being explored, because of the incompetence and inexperience of persons who are entrusted with the exploitation of the many projects. The program may yet earn first prize as one of the most fantastic and costly boondoggles in all history.
Inclusion of rent subsidies in the $7.4 billion program authorized for housing and urban renewal is rather incredible.
This one session of Congress will have appropriated at least $119 billion-an alltime new high for peacetime.
The millions of frugal, thrifty, taxpaying homeowners of the
may be a furious reaction. Quite aside from the $100 billion Administration budget which was submitted to this session of Congress and the fancy legerdemain to keep it at or under that mark, this Congress will have authorized at least $150 billion for expenditure over the next few years. This does not include a number of items on which final action has not been completed. Nor is this the whole story in the fiscal field.
For services already rendered, such as the civil service retirement fund to which the Federal Government owes $40 billion as its matching share and for other commitments such as money borrowed and reflected in the public debt, the Government obligation totals about $739 billion; for other commitments made, the total is $208 billion.
The gross total of obligations runs to $947 billion.
Nor is this unrelated to the vexing and highly disturbing question of inflation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates on the basis of its Consumer Price Index alone:
What $10 would buy in 1957–59 takes $11.20 today. What $10 would buy in 1950 takes $13.15 today. What $10 would buy in 1940 takes $22.58 today. Compared with 1940, the value of the dollar today is 44 cents. This continuing decline in the buying value of the dollar, coupled with the sharp increase in social security and medicare taxes as they come into full effect, will wipe out every vestige of tax reduction over which there was such high exaltation and glee.
So I conclude this brief appraisal of the 1st session of the
count but rather the impact on the economy. The true test will come when tax reduction, gargantuan spending, tax equalization, social security and medicare taxes, a vast variety of subsidies, defense requirements, vast research outlays, foreign aid, highway beautification, moon shots, farm surpluses, United Nations sorties, sugar quotas and subsidies far above world sugar prices, a soaring public debt, a dwindling gold supply, the poverty war, and other items are mixed in one big pot called the national economy.
Then and only then shall we know the real result of our labors.
This report would not be complete without bestowing a compliment upon the distinguished Senator from Montana, and majority leader of the Senate, Mike Mansfield. At all times he has been fair, tolerant, and considerate. He has endeavored to take into consideration the commitments of all Senators whenever they had to be absent from the Senate. He has been mindful of the office work, the extracurricular chores, and other matters with which Senators must deal every day. He has been generous in allowing ample time for debate on every measure which has been presented to the Senate, and I take this means in behalf of the minority of expressing our appreciation for his kindness and consideration.
As is customary near the end of every session, the duty of the Republican leader in the Senate is to provide an outline of the more important events in the past 10 months. The observations, for the most part, concern the Senate. Therefore, the report is divided as follows:
First: A succinct listing of some pertinent facts entitled "The American Scene and the 1st Session, 89th Congress."
Second: "Examples of a Few of the Many Republican Legislative Activities in the 1st Session."
Third: Observations on the “Reapportionment of State Legislatures."
In connection with this report, a factual digest of the most important laws which resulted from congressional action at this session is being printed as a separate Senate document.
The American Scene and the 1st Session, 89th Congress
The Great Society is here--and so is the highest cost of living in history—and the defoliated dollar.
A political poverty program is here--and so are new scandals and new political employees being paid fat salaries.
A new 30-year record of home mortgage foreclosures is here-and so is an estimate by USDA that consumers will be forced to spend $4 billion more for food this year.
A new 4-year record in the number of man-days of work lost because of increased strikes in the Nation is here and a new 4-year record in the number of business failures is near.
A new record number of persons employed in the Nation is here and so is a new record of one out of every six being on some kind of Government payroll.
New civil and voting rights, guaranteed by Congress, are hereand, in contrast, the Great Society has refined and perfected postal snooping, wiretapping by Internal Revenue agents, and Government news management.
The biggest public debt in our history is here—and for economy the White House turns off its lights but pipes in music.
Higher personal incomes are here--and so is a record high private debt, which, with the public debt, exceeds $1 trillion.
The politics of beautification and art are here—and so is a soaring national crime rate up 15 percent in 1 year.
A new social security-medicare law is here--and so are the rapid losses in the buying power of the aged. The inflationary increases voted at this session placed pensioners in a worse position than even a year ago.
An increase in farm debt from $26.2 billion to $38.3 billion in 4 years is here—and yet the Administration wants to slash the Soil Conservation Service which for 30 years has provided technical assistance to local soil conservation districts.
The_scandal, over the firing by the Democrat Administration of State Department Security Officer Otto Otepka for testifying before a Senate committee about lax security in the Department, is still here and so is:
the Bobby Baker scandal;
the case of the two brothers: one, valedictorian of his
$200 a month running a power mower on a golf course. Actions abroad
The day is here when the United States exiles one of the strongest anti-Communists from the Dominican Republic-and brings back that country's former President who thereupon threatens to drive out American forces and exact a tribute of a billion dollars.
The day is here when the United States capitulates to Russia and other nations on their failure to pay U.N. peacekeeping dues—and the Administration still wants approval of a treaty to reopen Soviet consulates in the Nation despite an FBI warning such consulates furnish Communists their best spying bases.
And there has been failure in getting our allies to stop trading with North Vietnam and Cuba.
The American flag still proudly flies over our servicemen in Vietnam-and the haunting shortage of military supplies now is so deplorable and dangerous in some instances to our security it has been classified top secret.
And while our flag still flies on our ships in the seven seas and at many stations around the world—it is torn down, trampled, burned, spat upon in a dozen countries; our embassies and consulates' attacked, stoned, bombed in half the nations on the globe. In many areas of the world it appears that respect for the United States has vanished. All this does not comport with the restoration of prestige that was promised us in eloquent terms. The basic complaint
with U.S. foreign policy is “no one knows what our intentions are.” The U.S. buildup in Vietnam, for example, has only slowly been revealed to the general public. It was the Secretary