CONGRESSIONAL RECORD - SENATE
MAY 22, 1961
DEBATE ON S.1021, FEDERAL AID TO EDUCATION BILL, BUSH AMENDMENT
Mr. MUSKIE. Mr. President I have listened with a great deal of interest this afternoon to a discussion of the so-called Bush amendment. I am certain that all the elements and arguments on each side of the issues created by the amendment have been discussed. I can add nothing to them.
More than that, I doubt that I could state them as well.
However, because of my concern about the two objectives which are involved -- Federal aid for education and civil rights -- I feel I should make my position clear at this point in the RECORD.
The so-called Bush amendment presents an issue which is very simply stated. Should we try to advance the cause of integration in our public schools by tying it to the cause of Federal aid for public schools?
In other words, should we require that these two horses, if they run, run harnessed together, or should we permit them to run separately?
Those who support the amendment may include the following:
Those who honestly believe this to be an effective and proper way to advance the cause of integration.
Those who honestly believe that such Federal aid, without an integration string tied to it, would delay the integration of public schools in the South.
Those who oppose such Federal aid and who see in this amendment an effective obstacle to passage of the bill.
Those who oppose both objectives and would like to defeat them both by uniting them.
Those who, confident that the Bush amendment will not be adopted, see a delightful opportunity to force advocates of integration on the Democratic side to vote against that objective.
I suppose that each of these motivations, and others, might be justified, depending upon one's point of view as to when the end justifies the means. And I concede that idealists and cynics can be found on either side of almost any question.
As one who wholeheartedly supports both objectives -- both integration and Federal aid -- I would like to briefly state my reasons for opposing the Bush amendment. I address my remarks particularly to those who support both causes, who believe that both can be advanced by uniting them in this bill and who may believe that the cause of integration may be delayed if this is not done.
Over the years, opposition to Federal aid has come from all areas of the country, from groups differing in many ways from each other, and for varying reasons and combinations of reasons. There can be differences of opinion as to which of these has been most influential in achieving the result. The fact is that the combined opposition has been successful If the result is to be changed, the opposition must be reduced by enough to reduce it to a minority status in both Houses of the Congress.
The ranks of the opposition have included the following formidable groups:
First. Those who believe that Federal school money should be used as a club to force public school integration in the South.
Second. Those who fear that Federal school money will be used as a club to force public school integration in the South.
The existence of either of these sources of opposition insures the existence of the other. If both exist, without substantial reduction in their ranks, they can defeat the bill. That is a result which, in my honest judgment, can be avoided only by eliminating the issue from the bill.
It seems to me that those of us who pursue the goal of integration must consider three possible results:
First. Passage of the school bill with an integration rider. I have indicated that, in my judgment, this is not a reasonable possibility, desirable as it might seem.
We then must consider the second possible result.
Second. Defeat of the school bill with an integration rider. In my judgment, this is an almost inevitable result it if this rider is approved. In that event, how is the cause of integration served? Such a result would generate resentment among many, who believe in the cause of Federal aid. If that cause is right, the defeat will delay an improvement in educational standards for children of all creeds, colors, and racial and national backgrounds. Such a delay will further postpone the day when enlightened self interest, generated and developed in an educational system of the highest attainable standard, will promote the cause of equality in all areas of the country.
Finally, there is the third possibility.
Third. Enactment of a Federal school aid bill without the integration rider. Surely, this is a cause great enough to warrant attention on its own merits. Further, if, as we have been taught to believe, education is the foe of ignorance, and fear, and prejudice, its advancement will constitute a victory for the cause of integration as well.
Mr. McNAMARA. The Senator from New York requested some time. I yield 10 minutes to him.
Mr. JAVITS. Mr. President, the decision to be made on the amendment is not an easy one, particularly for those, including myself, who have been ardently fighting for civil rights for many years, in good seasons and out, and under trying conditions in this Chamber, as well as throughout the country and, in my case, in the other body as well.
But it seems to me there is one simple test which, when applied to the amendment, should resolve the question for those who feel as do the Senator from Maine [Mr. MUSKIE], many others, and I myself. The test is, if the amendment is agreed to, will the bill ever become law?
Otherwise, it would obviously be a fatuous exercise. If the amendment is agreed to, the bill would never become law. Then there must be some other purpose which it will serve.
Under these circumstances I do not have to make a prediction, based not solely upon my own judgment, but upon a very authoritative source. The new chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor in the other body, the very person whose name this type of amendment bears -- ADAM CLAYTON POWELL -- has himself said, "I will not interpose this kind of amendment because I am confident it will kill this legislation."
Mr. BUSH. Mr. President, will the Senator yield?
Mr. JAVITS. I yield.
Mr. BUSH. Possibly the Senator from New York was not in the Chamber when I tried to explain that the amendment was not to be compared to the Adam Clayton Powell type of amendment, which was a mandatory amendment. The amendment I have proposed, as the Senator will realize, I am sure, is not that type of amendment. . . .