Over $133 Million Insormace Ia Force J;idaxittie4 nee INSURANCE COMPANY P. 0, Box 8098 Houston, Texas HAROLD 166, RILEY Viewlinslidisse sad Medoff of Alleadis ’56 Chances Hurt and Jackson and the Independent, Morse, Johnson suddenlyat 8:30 p.m. July 24took the floor and proposed for himself and Knowland a unanimous consent agreement to limit debate and cut off all amendments not filed before 8 p.m. that night. It had taken 30 years to achieve a body of law regulating hydroelectric power, but the atomic energy amendment ignored that experience and was also a device of the Administration to weaken the TVA. The Democrats working to force compromise were aghast at the Johnson move \(which of knew he had thus joined the opposition. His congratulation came from Republicans. Goldwater of Arizona that night remarked that Johnson had afforded “a fine example of leadership.” The returns that night from Texas gave him a 3-to-1 majority, and, said Goldwater, “it is good to know that my neighboring state of Texas is showing intelligence in backing solid American thinking in these trying hours.” On July 26 Humphrey called up an amendment to apply the accounting and reporting section of the Federal Power Act to atomically generated electricity. Kennedy and Symington voted with Humphrey; Johnson voted against it. On final passage Johnson and Kennedy voted aye, Humphrey and Symington no. The New Republic commented on Johnson’s action: “If nothing else, the incident may finally convince Democratic senators that the man they chose as leader is more concerned with his personal ambitions than with the record his party will present to the voters on election day.” On August 3 the Senate voted to cut the Mutual Security Program back by $500 million with Johnson and Kennedy voting for the cut and Humphrey and Sy mington voting ‘against. On August 16 the Senate voted to cut Foreign Military Aid by $200 million with Johnson, Kennedy, and Symington voting for the cut, Humphrey against. Enter Paul Butler The 1954 fall congressional elections brought victory to the Democrats. The Senate would have 48 Democrats plus Wayne Morse, the Republicans 47. In the House the Democrats won 232 seats to the Republicans’ 203. Johnson’s control of the Senate, however, was owed to Morse. Chairman Mitchell called a meeting of the Democratic National Committee in New Orleans for December and resigned. Rayburn tried to get the committee to postpone action in electing a new chairman until sometime in 1955 in order to gain time to work on committee members, but Stevenson opposed delay and the committee went with Stevenson. Paul Butler was the choice of the Mitchell-Stevenson forces and got 70 out of 105 votes cast. New Orleans was significant in that Butler, in his first speech as chairman, attacked Eisenhower. This second Battle of New Orleans was to have results not anticipated by many. Butler was a new type of party chairman, a new force to be reckoned with by the party leadership. Johnson outlined his program for the Democratic 84th Congress . We will proceed as rapidly as possible to build up the nation’s defenses; to assure our farmers a fairer share of the nation’s income; to break the bottlenecks of foreign trade; to broaden the credit base and put an end to the evil effects of the hard-money policy. . . . “The only thing that can be said now is that we Democrats will cooperate with the President on any measure which our inner conscience tells us will advance the best interests of the country. But in any event, there will be no personal attacks upon the integrity of the President or upon his intentions.” The opening of the Congress in 1955 was rudely shattered 24 hours after Eisenhower’s message by an analysis of the message by the research division of the Democratic National Committee. Privately but widely circulated, the analysis made the Times by Jan. 8. The analysis was sharp, terse, and hard-hitting. A new force had entered Democratic politics. But a new force was at work in Congress also. Sam Rayburn as Speaker simply re-instituted his “get-along, go-along” policy. In the Senate with the power of the majority leadership firmly in his grasp, the calculating compromiser from Texas had begun his stewardship. Not since Henry Clay had there been such an icy eye for the main chance leading the Senate. Ambitious for power, with a fanatic’s understanding of how to use power and a cynical concept of senatorial politics as mainly personal and individual, but with a genius for personal relationships, Johnson was a consummate senatorial politician. The boys in the back room who managed the conservative coalition had an operator who could deliver a conservative result as the only “possible” compromise. This was the beginning of the era of adroit parliamentary maneuvers to forestall open discussion and avoid the recorded vote whenever possible. Johnson is reported to have advised his Democratic colleagues at the beginning of the session that in his opinion the public was tired of headlines, controversy, and partisan recrimination: that McCarthy had given all congressional investigations a bad name. There was more to it than this! Investigations are the prime technique for a party to build support for the next election. The political woods were full of bear waiting for eager hunters: the proposed transfer of Hell’s Canyon to the Idaho Power Company; the truth about the government’s security program and the “numbers racket” of the Administration; the emasculation of REA; the complete Republicanization of all of the so-called independent agenciesSecurities Exchange Commission, Federal Communications Commission, Federal Power Commission, Federal Trade Commission, Tariff Commission, etc.; foreign policy and Dulles Brinkmanship; and the Dixon-Yates contract. Johnson wanted his “boys” to go rabbit hunting. His first behind-the-scenes action was to maneuver Kefauver out of the chairmanship of the judiciary sub-committee scheduled to undertake the Dixon-Yates and power inquiry. It was reported that he was opposed to any aggrandizement of Kefauver that might enhance his presidential ambitions. Though Kefauver had pressed for the investigation and requested the money to carry it out, he was shifted out of the way by an intricate series of plays that resemble nothing so much as a shell game at a carnival. This was also the spring of the Salk vaccine discussion. Johnson’s old Texas friend, Oveta Culp Hobby, wife of the publisher of the Houston Post, was Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. Presidency Forfeited By May the disillusionment about the “new look” in govern ment which would result from the Democratic Congress had begun. Doris Fleeson wrote: “Democrats . . . mutter dolefully that the people aren’t interested in issues . .. It is fair to suggest that people can’t get excited about issues they never hear discussed.” The New Republic added: “Democrats have failed to launch a first-class investigation of the new bank and business merger movement, which is the outstanding monopolistic development of our time.” At the Democratic National Committee Paul Butler was feeling his way gingerly through the quicksands of party politics, He made overtures to the 1952 Southern bolters, but he continued to attack the Administration. Late in May in Norfolk, Va., he said: “The Eisenhower Administration has been the most blindly partisan government our nation ever had.” On June 5 Americans for Democratic Action asserted: “The Democratic leadership in the Congress, in affably acquiescing in the Republican assault upon liberalism, is ‘betraying the Democratic Party’s traditional claim to be the party of the people. . . . The Democratic Party has delivered a veto power into the hands of its most conservative elements. In the Senate, majority leader Lyndon Johnson has consistently used the pretext of ‘party unity’ to avoid action on liberal legislation.” And on June 12 The New York Times commented: “The pay-off has been this: “If the Democrats have not achieved a spectacular record of positive partisan accomplishment, neither have they let their chronic regional hostilities break out into the open. … This, if preserved in, will at least allow the Democrats to go into next year’s election campaign with a convincing united front. . . . “But at the same time, a Democratic candidate for the presidency . . . will have his hands full making a case for himself. He will have to condemn a program that his own party has been largely instrumental in building, and he will have to do battle against a President whom his own party has largely sustained.” Newsweek, June 20 said: “The strategy of Democratic leaders in Congress is now clear: They are trying to make a case for re-election of Democratic majorities to the House and Senate even if the Republicans again win the Presidency.” Labor Standards Gutted One of the most significant acts of Johnson’s leadership in his first session as majority leader was his handling of the Gore highway bill to spend $8 billion of federal funds in five years for interstate highways. As reported out of the Senate public works committee, the bill contained a provision that workers on interstate highways would be paid the prevailing wage of the area in accordance with the Davis-Bacon Act. Davis-Bacon, enacted by Congress in 1931 under Herbert Hoover, required fair labor standards on federally-financed construction projects. On May 24, Sen. Chavez of New Mexico, reportedly told by Johnson that a dozen Southern senators would vote against the highway bill if the “prevailing wage” requirement was left in, introduced a “perfecting amendment.” Johnson the next day said, “I favor the amendment.” Then Chavez explained that he was for DavisBacon but offered the amendment “in order to satisfy some of the opposition to Section 17,” the Davis-Bacon section. Sen. McNamara of Michigan said that to fail to recognize the eighthour day in perhaps the largest construction job upon which the United States had ever entered “would make us go back at least 30 years.” Neuberger of Oregon said the Chavez amendment would “strike out” the Davis-Bacon provision to protect working conditions on the highway construction projects just as Davis-Bacon also protects workers on federallyaided airports, hospitals, and schools. “I believe that when the Democratic Party says to its members that we must strike from this vast highway bill a provision put in to protect the workers who will ‘build the interstate highway system, the Democratic Party is not being true to the traditions on which it was founded,” Neuberger said. Morse agreed, saying the amendment would be “moving back 20 years” and would “slap labor in the face.” Lehman of New York said the amendment would “repudiate a policy which has been successful in advancing the standard of living of a very large segment of our population.” But with Johnson riding hard, Senator Douglas’s efforts to have a roll call vote was thwarted, and the amendment cancelling the Davis-Bacon provision was adopted. Texans don’t need to be reminded of Johnson’s close association with the open-shop, antiunion Brown & Root Construction Company, one of the major highway construction firms in the country. It was noted by only a few that on Saturday afternon, July 2, when Johnson suffered his severe heart attack, he was visiting the Virginia estate of George Brown of Brown & Root. Johnson’s heart attack came at an inopportune time.. His old friend, Martin Andersen, publisher of the Orlando Florida Sentinel, a former Texan, already had sent out over the wire the text of his front page editorial from the July 3 edition of the Sentinel, calling for the nomination of Johnson for president in 1956. Three weeks later, when Oveta Culp Hobby resigned as Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare as a result of the debacle over the Salk vaccine, Johnson, from his sick bed in Bethesda Naval Hos THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 3 April 15, 1960 Subscribe Name Address City State Bill the Subscriber $4 Enclosed Mail to The Texas Observer, 504 West 24th St., Austin pital, lamented the departure of “my long-time friend,” “a devoted public servant who . . . has workedand worked hard for our country in war and in peace and we owe to her a deep debt of gratitude. . As the nation’s first Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare she faced up to challenging problems and Met them with the calm dignity of dedicated selfishness that has been the hallmark of her career. . .. I can speak with a great deal of feeling as to her devotion to duty. . . . I can testify with conviction as to her capability and integrity. . . . I feel a personal sense of loss ‘because she is leaving Washington.” The Democratic Party had lost another’ issue for 1956. How could anyone attack the record of Mrs. Hobby and her handling of the Salk vaccine after such an encomium? On July 27 Johnson appealed from his hospital bed for his fellow senators to hasten consideration of the bill to free natural gas producers from federal controls. He begged his colleagues who came to see him at the hospital to vote out the bill at this session, regardless, reported Sarah McClendon. One of the truly remarkable bipartisan accomplishments of Johnson and Rayburn was the increase of the minimum wage from 75 cents to $1 an hour without a recorded vote. The original bill would have raised minimum wages and extended the coverage to include millions of low-paid workers \(who have no way to be protected, being unorganized and unthe Senate labor subcommittee to drop the extended coverage sections, which were designed to bring an additional 6.5 million , of the 20 million not protected under coverage. If the subcommittee had joined the extension provision with the $1 minimum, extension would have had a chance on a roll call vote, what with 1956 corning
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