Ralph, Lyndon, and the Filibuster \(From time to time we shall apprise our readers of principal developments involving Texans in Washington, as in the reports beU.S. Senator Ralph Yarborough appreciably changed his political position on civil rights in Washington when he votedalong with only one other Southern senator, Estes Kefauver of Tennesseewith the majority who favored, without prevailing, an end to debate on whether to consider curbing the Senate’s filibuster rules. The Senate divided 54-42. Republican Senator John Tower of Texas voted with the minority opposed to the cut-off. Yarborough said he thought that three and a half weeks had been “long enough to debate whether to take up” the cloture change. Yarborough also signed a round-robin endorsing a change in the requirement that two-thirds of the senators must agree before debate can be cut off. He said three-fifths “perhaps . . . would be desirable.” This action by Yarborough contrasted with the role played in the dispute by Vice President Lyndon Johnson of Texas. Senate liberals and civil rights and labor lobbyists asked Johnson to rule that a majority vote would control on the issue. Johnson refused on grounds that no vice president before him had ever done so. For this he was gigged in advance by spokesmen for the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People and the United Auto Workers; from the floor by Sen. Jacob Javits \(R-N.Y., who taunted him saying the vice presidency was not “a hollow Rauh of Americans for Democratic Action, who said Johnson had “demonstrated again that his first loyalty is to the Southern racists,” and Clarence Mitchell, the N.A.A.C.P. national lobbyist, who condemned “the incredibly ruthless manner” in which Johnson and Democratic majority leader Mike Mansfield of Montana, “working together, can thwart the will of the majority of the Senate.” Mitchell said that “every spectator in the gallery and all of the senators on the floor” could see that Senator Javits had been on his feet first after the 54-42 vote \(to make a point of order that under the Constitution, a majority of the Senate determines nored him and then gaveled him down.” American Veterans’ Committee chairman J. A. Feldman said Johnson defaulted on the Democrats’ 1960 platform pledge that “majority rule” would prevail at the “beginning” of the new Congress. Sen. Fulengaged in misrepresentation ; Sen. ators were on their feet at the same it was irresponsible to call Johnson also upheld the vice president. When, last week, the new commitmittee assignments were announced, Sen. Yarborough was bypassed for the appropriations committee, despite his seniority claim to a seat, and there was a report that this was retaliation for his cloture position. As the session proceeded, these Texans in Congress were doing these other things: Rep. Wright Patman, Texarkana, relinquished the chairmanship of the small business committee of the House to give his full time to 11i6 new chairmanship of the House banking committee. He is asking more than half a million dollars to investigate the national banks, especially on interlocking ownership and branch banking. When he heard the recommendation of a presidential committee that the government loosen interest controls on FHA and VA home loans, Patman’s reaction was “that’s terrible.” Patman’s accusations that tax-free foundations build up corporate images at taxpayers’ expense and are guilty of other abuses will continue to be the subject of reformist inquiry by the small business committee, of which he is still a member. Atty. Gen. Robert Kennedy has commended him for launching his inquiry of these abuses. Patman has called attention, in his newsletters, to two little-known aspects of President Kennedy’s tax proposals: pay no federal income tax unless his income exceeded $2,900. A married couple would not be taxed on an income of up vide “a reduction of nearly 27% in the tax liability of corporations having income below $25,000.” \(While not all Texas politicians have been heard from on Kennedy’s proposals to revise requirements for oilmen’s tax returns to yield the Treasury about $300 million more a year, none of the Texans have endorsed the changes. Oil industry spokesmen are unanimously outraged. Some contend the changes in effect cut the oil depletion allowance from 27.5% to 17%. However, Alvin Hope of San Antonio, former president of the Independent Petroleum Assn. of America, took a more whimsical view: “. . . it sounds like we would be left with nothing to deduct Senator Yarborough visited and made speeches in Texas nine days this month, a harbinger of a practice he is likely to follow all year. He said that since the tax bill last year granted “largest reductions to big taxpayers and took back $700 million out of the backs of small taxpayers,” he is opposed to “any further corporation tax cut” this year. He introduced his GI bill of rights education bill, a bill to create a VA hospital in South Texas, and bills to dam the Navidad and Lavaca rivers near Edna and to create a new dam on the Colorado between LaGrange and Columbus. He is co-sponsoring bills for a youth conservation corps, water research centers at colleges, and a national academy of foreign affairs. In Washington, by the way, Yarborough spoke, last month, at the national conference of the Democratic national committee on a panel on communications in politics with Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., special assistant to Kennedy, and Sen. Maurine Neuberger of Washington state. \(The Dallas News took a swipe at the subcommittee on freedom of communications of which Yarborough is chairman, Senator Tower said he favors tax cuts, if government spending can be cut; it is very important, he said, that “the tax cut comes in the upper brackets because it would free money for capital investment,” creating jobs thereby. Tower said he is going to call for an investigation of the federal housing administration program for self-amortizing housing projects for the aged. In the Fort Worth project promoted by a firm with which Mrs. Jim Wright was formerly, but is not any longer, associated, it has come out that three Fort Worth ministers accepted sums as large as $2,000 from a minister promoting the project. The Houston Post has reported that a project in Houston was approved at about double the appraised value of adjacent lands contrary to an F.H.A. staff recommendation. As a new member of the Senate’s government which he has given up his seat on banking and currency, Tower is in a good position to press the matter. Tower, attacking the United Nations February 21, 1963 9
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