CONGRESSIONAL RECORD - SENATE
September 11, 1961
AID TO SCHOOLS IN FEDERALLY IMPACTED AREAS
Mr. HART. I wonder if the Senator would not agree, in light of the section of the report he has read, that Members of Congress who voted for the NDEA program in fact must conclude that they are not greatly concerned about controls, because is it not true that the Federal Government under the NDEA program exerts a greater force and direction to education than would be true in the omnibus Federal-aid proposal? Specifically, did not Congress in the NDEA program, when it adopted it into law, say to the States, "You shall have the money provided you use it to teach A, B, C, D, and E"? A majority of Senators saw no danger in such a provision. Where is the majority now when we talk about an omnibus bill?
Mr. METCALF. The Senator has stated a point that would be very well to discuss now. I was building up to that very point. I am glad that the Senator from Michigan has injected it at this time. It is ironic that the very people who are talking to us about Federal control of education are the ones who are saying that we should extend the National Defense Education Act for 2, 3, or 4 years. The very ones who come in this Chamber to deplore the fact that a general aid to education bill would mean Federal control are the ones who write this indirect Federal control into the proposed legislation.
Mr. HART. Mr. President, will the Senator yield further?
Mr. METCALF. I yield.
Mr. HART. Is not the same irony involved when one of those who are half way along the road with us says: "I am for construction but not for teachers salaries"? Is he not in effect saying that the Federal Government will tell the State what to do with the money rather than letting the State use its own judgment?
Mr. METCALF. In their foresight and wisdom those people say, "We are going to use this as money reward or a deprival for the States."
Let me give the Senator from Michigan a specific example of the kind of Federal control that is built into the National Defense Education Act.
As the Senator knows, we have in one of the titles a provision that, in order to stimulate science and scientific education, we will match dollar for dollar on scientific equipment. In a little while I shall discuss the subject of matching.
However, in my State, a rather wealthy district built a new school. It is a very attractive school. They had a separate room set aside for a school library. When it came time to purchase the books for the school library, the commissioners of the district and the school trustees sat down and they said, "Wait a minute. We do not know how long the National Defense Education Act will be in effect. It is in effect now. For every dollar we spend for scientific equipment, we can get a matching dollar. So let us not buy any books for the school library this year. Let us buy some extra scientific equipment." So there is that beautiful library, empty, without a reference book in it. Yet they have established for themselves a backlog of scientific equipment, because they had the opportunity to get some matching funds under the National Defense Education Act.
I have cited a specific example. It means that the course of study is going to be distorted. It means that the trustees in the districts are always going to say, "We actually need an English teacher. We need to strengthen our history department. However, we can get a little National Defense Education Act money. So let us spend our money for a mathematics teacher, or someone in the foreign language department."
That is the very point that I wish to make. It is that we must be cautious about extending these emergency programs. Let us not make the National Defense Education Act a permanent program or semipermanent program until we have had an opportunity to do as was suggested in 1930 and has been suggested every year since, to pass a general education law that will be fair and will relieve us of these inequities and will not bring about Federal control that we inherently find in these specialized programs.
The senior Senator from Michigan has pointed out how these programs have grown -- the Smith-Hughes Act, the Vocational Act, the Distributive Education Act, the National Education Act, and so on. These are the specialized programs that he talked about. Time after time they have distorted courses of study in the curricula and have indirectly inspired Federal control and Federal supervision over these school districts.
Mr. MUSKIE. Mr. President, will the Senator yield?
Mr. METCALF. I am glad to yield.
Mr. MUSKIE. I know that the junior Senator from Montana is a longtime friend of education and has become an expert in the field of this kind of control. I would like to ask what his impression is of the control exerted by the Federal Government in the matter of the impacted area program.
Mr. METCALF. I am glad the Senator from Maine has brought up the special problem connected with this subject, because as a Member of the House of Representatives I served on the special subcommittee of the Committee on Education and Labor that handled two of the extensions of this bill. I was chairman of that subcommittee the last time Public Law 815 and Public Law 874 were extended.
Mr. MUSKIE. It is my impression, from my experience with the school districts in my State, which have benefitted from these programs -- and we have had many of them -- that there has been no Federal control, or at least there has been none which has been considered undesirable.
Mr. METCALF. The Senator's impression is correct. Time after time, from witness after witness, the challenge has been thrown during the hearings in the House -- and I know the same thing has happened in the Senate committee -- "Show me one example of Federal control over the textbooks or over the choice of teachers or over the curriculums in these impacted areas."
Of course there is some Federal control. Federal control must be had, for example, in connection with compliance with the Davis-Bacon provisions in connection with labor standards, and there must be some control in connection with the Walsh-Healey Act. However, there is no Federal control over education. That is what we are driving at.
Mr. MUSKIE. And no dictation as to the curricula or the educational policy that must be followed by the local districts.
Mr. METCALF. In the 11 years of this act the opponents of the act and the enemies of Federal aid to education have been unable to come forth with one example of dictation so far as curricula is concerned or dictation with respect to textbooks or courses of study.
Mr. MUSKIE. Would the Senator say that within the districts which qualify as impacted areas the Federal program is a general school aid bill?
Mr. METCALF. Of course it is a general school aid bill. As the Senator from Oregon has repeatedly said, this money even goes to pay the janitor and to buy the chalk. It is for operation and maintenance.
Let me point out another difference. Under Public Law 814, which is for the operation and maintenance of schools in impacted areas, the school district goes directly to the Office of Education. It makes its application directly to that office. There is no intervening State agency, such as we have put into S. 1021, in the Morse bill that passed the Senate. In connection with this general aid to education bill we have said that the money will go to the States, to be distributed as the State school officer or the person in charge of education in the State shall determine.
However, under Public Law 874, the local district comes directly to the Office of Education and makes application direct to that office for money that is to be used for textbooks and teachers' salaries and for the operation and maintenance of the schools. In some districts, such as those across the river, more than 50 percent of the cost that goes for operating and maintaining the schools comes from the Federal Government.
If there had been any inherent danger, in the last 11 years it would have come out.
Mr. MUSKIE. The lesson to be learned from our experience and from the colloquy here today is that there is greater danger of Federal control under these specialized programs, such as NDEA, than there is from a general school aid bill. Is that not correct?
Mr. METCALF. Yes; because regardless of the good will we have, this indirect sort of Federal control creeps into a specialized program.
Mr. MUSKIE. I thank the Senator.
Mr. METCALF. I thank the Senator from Michigan and the Senator from Maine for their contributions.
Mr. HART. Mr. President, will the Senator yield?
Mr. METCALF. I yield.
Mr. HART. I wonder, as a conclusion, whether we could not agree that we do not have overall support for Federal education?
Mr. METCALF. That is, general support for an education act that would provide that the State and local districts would determine where the Federal money would go would take care of most of the problems that we have involved in these specialized programs. If we stimulate some sort of specialized program it should be added onto a general Federal aid to education act instead of the other way around, whereby we pass a national defense education act, and a vocational education act, separately, and then we try to fill in the cracks with a very modest general aid to education bill.
Mr. MUSKIE. Mr. President, will the Senator yield once more?
Mr. METCALF. Gladly.
Mr. MUSKIE. I am tempted to ask the Senator this question. As I observe the almost overwhelming support which the impact area program has in both Houses of Congress, I am tempted to believe that whether or not the program for education gets support depends on whether or not it has been in effect. For example, if a general school-aid bill should ever pass and should be signed by the President, I suspect that it would have thereafter, whenever it came before Congress for renewal, the same kind of overwhelming support that the impact area legislation has.
Mr. METCALF. The Senator has made an argument, perhaps, against a general aid bill, because we have seen today the Senator from Oregon reciting some of the abuses that have crept into Public Law 874. our friends who are in favor of a 2- or 3- or 4-year extension would continue the abuses. Before I am through, I hope to be able to point out some of the inequities and injustices inherent in the basic law. It would be desired to continue those, too.
Mr. MUSKIE. I would suggest to the distinguished Senator from Montana that perhaps we ought to enact the amendment proposed by the senior Senator from Michigan and myself. That would be a step toward progress.
Mr. METCALF. I do not think it is quite long enough a step. I would prefer to take the long step that the Senate took earlier this year.
Mr. MORSE. Mr. President, will the Senator yield?
Mr. METCALF. I gladly yield.
Mr. MORSE. I am very glad that the Senator from Maine has made the comment that he has made just now. I believe that we ought to pass in this Congress a general Federal aid to education bill such as S. 1021, which permits aid for teachers' salaries and school construction and school maintenance. Referring to what the Senator from Montana said a few moments ago, the responsibility is up to the local authorities to decide where they can best spend each Federal dollar for the benefit of the boys and girls going to school in their districts. That is the ideal. That is what I had hoped could be done this year. The Senate did it. I think it is most regrettable that the House did not do it. It is the program which the President stood for in the election of 1960; it is the program he has recommended this year.
The Senator from Maine is unanswerably correct when he says that if we cannot get that program, we ought to get at least the principle of a general Federal aid to education bill on the books. I do not quote anyone in the administration, but I say I am satisfied that the administration is dedicated to the goal of seeking to have the principle of Federal aid to education established. The amendment of the Senator from Michigan would do that.
We recall the controversy not so many weeks ago over the compromise package proposal which the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, Mr. Ribicoff, representing the administration, tried to reach with our associates on the House side. For a time it appeared as though that package proposal might succeed. Had it succeeded, the principle of Federal aid to education would have been adopted. I did not like the package proposal for a good many reasons; but I had to admit that there was one feature of it which I thought outweighed its disadvantages: it would, at least, have written onto the statute books general, not special legislation, such as Public Law 815 and Public Law 874, or the National Defense Education Act. It would have retained the general principle of Federal aid to education. I am satisfied that if we could pass such a bill, as the Senator from Maine has stated, and have a little experience with it, the people would demand not only its continuance but its enlargement.
I think once we get across the bridge, on the other side of the stream, the main part of the legislative journey will have been completed. The people will then receive such legislation with open arms, because I think they will then come to realize how sound we are in seeking to get an assurance of funds which will be available to help the schoolchildren of the country for years to come.
We all know there is another very tough factor connected with this problem. It is one of the reasons why a barricade has been thrown up at the entrance to the bridge. That is, what are we to do about private schools? In my judgment, we cannot justify ignoring that problem in any of these discussions. I repeat my plea: Let us get the principle of Federal aid to public school education enacted. Then let us go ahead to place on the books another general law to provide Federal aid to private schools within the limitations which the Constitution imposes upon us, whatever those limitations are, whether it is the type of limitation contained in the Clark-Morse bill or some other limitation in another bill.
In the Clark-Morse bill, we have said that we will provide for loans subject to judicial review.
I am at a loss to understand why some of the advocates of private school assistance are putting those of us who are advocating this kind of legislation at the whipping post these days. They seek to give the impression that we are performing some disservice to private school education. We know also, that there are other groups which are doing the same thing to us, but for opposite reasons.
It does not make any difference to me where the boy or girl goes to school, so long as the aid goes to the boy or girl. We must keep our eyes on the educational needs of the boys and girls of America. We live under a constitutional system of Government which puts some limits on us. I favor staying within that constitutional framework, but I am glad the Senator from Montana [Mr. METCALF] is saying what he is saying tonight, and that the Senator from Maine is asking him these penetrating questions.
I have one further comment, if the Senate from Montana will bear with me. The fallacious argument which is being used by the private school advocates, that unless private schools are incorporated in the same bill, we are somehow discriminating against the taxpayers representing the private school groups, whether they are Catholic taxpayers, Baptist taxpayers, Presbyterian taxpayers, Quaker taxpayers, or whatnot. The argument is a complete fallacy. I say to my Catholic friends: Remember 50 percent of the Catholic boys and girls are attending public schools, not Catholic schools. When a bill for general Federal aid to public schools is passed, those boys and girls will be benefitted, as will every Catholic taxpayer be benefitted -- not only the Catholic taxpayers who send their boys and girls to public schools, but also the Catholic taxpayers who send their boys and girls to Catholic schools, because as we come to the aid of the public school with Federal funds, we pave the way for or a reduction in real property taxes for all taxpayers in the school district, including the Catholic taxpayers. It is the height of fallacy to argue that when the Senator from Montana and the Senator from Oregon fight for a general school bill for public schools, we are somehow, in some way, discriminating against Catholics. It is a completely fallacious argument.
When a public school bill is on the books, I have made it clear -- and I certainly have demonstrated by my record that I deliver on a program -- that I will press for an independent bill for loans to private schools. Let the extent to which we can go be legally determined. That is the way I think the problem ought to be handled.
I know, as well as does any other Member of the Senate, that a part of the reason why a school bill did not pass the House is the religious reason. We do not have time, from the standpoint of the security of the country, to let an issue such as the religious issue rise to becloud the problem which confronts us. I shall continue to fight for a public school bill and for a private school bill, because I know when I do that I am fighting for the benefit of the boys and girls who need the educational development that Federal aid to education will give them. Without a Federal aid to education bill, we will sacrifice the full development of millions of minds of boys and girls throughout the country.
I thank the Senator from Montana and the Senator from Maine for making a distinct contribution to the RECORD of the debate by the colloquy which has just occurred between them.
Mr. METCALF. I thank the Senator from Oregon.
Mr. MUSKIE. I thank the Senator from Oregon. I should like to make a comment and then ask one or two more questions.
First, in my judgment, a national program of general aid to education is coming. It is coming because the country needs it. I think the people see it. They see it perhaps even better than do Members of Congress.
As an illustration of that point, the lower house of the Maine Legislature -- and it is an overwhelmingly rural, Republican house, conservative by all its inclinations -- last winter voted overwhelmingly in support of the principle of Federal aid to education. So the people see its necessity. It seems to me it is a national objective, imposed upon those of us who see it as a national objective, with a responsibility to move toward it as quickly, as best, and as far as we can. This is why I support the amendment of the senior Senator from Michigan.
I understand that among Senators who agree upon this national objective there is a difference of opinion as to the sound tactics -- namely, as to what gains we should be prepared to sacrifice today, in order to make some progress. This is a matter of tactical judgment. I must say that those who, like the junior Senator from Montana [Mr. METCALF] , have been in the Congress longer than I have, probably are in a better position to make that tactical judgment.
But I should like to ask a few questions. I understand that, aside from the impacted areas bill and the National Defense Education Act, only one school bill has been passed, and that is the school construction bill of last year. Is that correct?
Mr. METCALF. That is correct.
Let me emphasize a statement made in the opening remarks today of the Senator from Oregon [Mr. MORSE], namely, that in the previous Congress the House of Representatives passed a general Federal aid to school construction bill; and the Senate passed a very similar bill, and the senior Senator from Michigan [Mr. McNAMARA] succeeded in having added to that bill an amendment which called for aid for the construction of schools. So, under our constitutional system, both Houses passed a general aid to education bill. But thereafter the House Rules Committee, by a vote of 7 to 5, prevented the bill from going to conference.
If we believe in the bicameral legislative system, which we have under the Constitution, we must believe there is a way to iron out the differences between the two Houses.
This afternoon we were talking about the lack of majority rule in the House of Representatives. But consider the lack of majority rule in the Congress when the Senate is not allowed to carry out its constitutional function because of a vote of 7 to 5 in a committee of the other body.
Mr. MUSKIE. It is too bad that we cannot have all the victories at one time. This year the House won a victory in connection with the Rules Committee.
Mr. METCALF. But that was the first general Federal aid to education bill that had ever passed the House of Representatives.
Mr. MUSKIE. Prior to that the House came close to passing a bill for aid to school construction, did it not?
Mr. METCALF. Yes, within 5 votes.
Mr. MUSKIE. So it seems to me, as it does to the senior Senator from Michigan, that an aid-to-school-construction bill holds the best promise of enactment during this Congress. The bill which lost by 5 votes in the House of Representatives came up during the Eisenhower administration, I believe, and it did not generate all the controversy that this year's bill has generated.
So it seems to me that the combination of experience, both in terms of the private school controversy and acceptance by the House, holds high promise for the success of a bill for school construction, if passed and approved by the Senate. This is my reason for supporting the McNamara amendment.
Mr. MORSE. Mr. President, will the Senator from Montana yield?
Mr. METCALF. I am glad to yield.
Mr. MORSE. Again I think the Senator from Maine has made a very signal contribution to the debate, and I am glad he has referred to the record under the Eisenhower administration. But there is one fact that cannot be forgotten, and it is that during the Eisenhower administration high spokesmen for the private school groups did not take the position that there had to be a combined bill which covered both the public schools and the private schools.
But the sad fact is that this year, under a Democratic administration, after the President campaigned on a promise of providing Federal aid to education, spokesmen for the private school groups take the position -- for the first time -- of "all or nothing." Therefore, not only the House, but they, too, are going to have to assume their share of the responsibility for the fact that we cannot get all our victories at one time, as the Senator from Maine has pointed out.
So we might as well face the fact that all the groups involved -- the public school groups, the private school groups, and the Congress itself -- should be willing to take this a step at a time -- namely, to pass a public school bill, and then to do as much as possible for the private school group. The groups should stop shooting at each other, because, after all, when they get into power plays between the legislative forces, the only group that really suffers is the group composed of the boys and girls of America.
Mr. METCALF. I suggest to the Senator from Oregon that that is another one of the ironies in connection with the consideration of this proposed legislation. When we have a general Federal aid to education bill before the Senate, the private school groups want to participate. But when we have a simple extension of Public Law 874 before the Senate -- a bill which, as the Senator from Maine [Mr. MUSKIE] has pointed out, is a general Federal aid to education bill for districts which are unable to enjoy these benefits -- we do not hear a word from our friends who called for aid to the private schools; we do not hear from them a word about the areas that are paying increased taxes, but are not getting the benefits of this general type of Federal aid to education legislation.
Mr. MUSKIE. Before I conclude this colloquy with the junior Senator from Montana and the senior Senator from Oregon -- a colloquy which has been stimulating and educational for me -- I should like to state that it seems to me that what is needed at this point in the session, in connection with this issue, is practical wisdom. I can understand -- although I do not agree with it -- the position of those who ideologically oppose the idea of Federal aid to education. That is their prerogative, and is a matter of their conscience; and I do not quarrel with their right to entertain those views. But to those who believe this is a national objective toward which the country must move in the national interest, I say we must apply to our ideal the kind of practical wisdom that has been enunciated by the Senator from Oregon [Mr. MORSE] and the Senator from Michigan [Mr. McNAMARA] as they have addressed the Senate; and I hope we can get in support of the McNamara amendment the combined support of all those who believe in Federal aid in the national field of education.
Mr. GRUENING. Mr. President, will the Senator from Montana yield to me?
Mr. METCALF. I yield.
Mr. GRUENING I should like to ask whether the Senator doubts -- in view of the fact that earlier in the session the Senate passed an excellent aid-to-education bill -- that the amendment of the Senator from Michigan will receive the support of this body. It is an excellent amendment, and it should be supported by the same vote by which the Senate earlier in the session passed the aid-to-education bill.
Mr. MUSKIE. I hope that will happen. But there seems to have developed a general psychology to the effect that "We cannot get an aid-to-education bill enacted at this time. So let us retire from the field, and prepare as best we can for the battle at the next session."
Personally, I do not believe the prospects then will be any better than they are now. I am willing to carry on the fight then if we cannot succeed now; but I believe that some of those who favor Federal aid to education have already thrown in the towel -- believing that we cannot get such a bill through the House, and that therefore it is best to give up the fight at this time, and continue the fight next year.
My children have just returned to school, so I am willing to fight for the bill either now or next year. But I think it better to continue the fight now.
The Senator from Alaska may be correct in believing that the McNamara amendment will be adopted; but I am afraid he may not be correct in assuming that all supporters of Federal aid to education will support the McNamara amendment.
Mr. GRUENING. Mr. President, will the Senator yield for a further comment?
Mr. METCALF. I yield.
Mr. GRUENING. Believing, as I strongly do, in Federal aid to education, I think it is our duty to stand firm for a better bill and see this through. If those who are so concerned for Federal aid for impacted areas, and only for impacted areas, were as much concerned as they appear to be, perhaps they would be willing to accept something additional, like the McNamara amendment.
They seem to be anxious for impacted areas and nothing else. It seems to me those of us who are concerned for all the schoolchildren should stand together and do something for all the schoolchildren, and not merely for those whose schools happen to be in impacted areas.
Mr. MUSKIE. The definition of an "impacted area" is an area whose ability to support a school system is affected by Federal activities. I suggest that the entire country is an impacted area by that definition. We are engaged in a total war, and that phrase has been used over and over again -- a total war which we cannot hope to win unless we commit all our resources; and we cannot commit all our manpower resources to this war if we leave their development to the varying resources of 50 jurisdictions. Every school district of this country, by any realistic definition, is an impacted area and deserves the aid of the Federal Government.
Mr. METCALF. And there is a responsibility for the boys and girls in those districts.
Mr. MORSE. Mr. President, will the Senator yield?
Mr. METCALF. I yield.
Mr. MORSE. I thank the Senator from Montana for his generosity and tolerance in yielding, but the Senator from Maine has stimulated me by his penetrating question and the comment made by the Senator from Alaska [Mr. GRUENING] causes me to make this comment. The Senator from Maine has said we need practical wisdom. We surely do. He has put his finger on a problem that concerns me. I always put my cards on the top of the table. I have the responsibility of being the floor leader on this bill. It is perfectly obvious that all afternoon I have not been champing at the bit to get to a vote; and the reason why I have not been champing at the bit is I do not think we have the votes yet. I think we need some passage of time in the Senate to reflect on the problem.
The Senator from Maine has talked about the need for practical wisdom and for unifying the leadership in regard to this matter. I wish to say something about that question for a moment or
two. We have the leadership. We have it in the President of the United States. The President of the United States has made very clear his program. The President has suffered some setbacks in the House this year on education legislation. Up until now, the President of the United States has been able to get his program through the Senate. So we have this conflict between the two bodies.
We have now a proposal for extension of the Federal impacted areas law and the NDEA. The House has passed a bill which is not in line with the President's program at all -- an extension that goes beyond 1 year; an extension which, in my judgment, pulls the rug out from under the President's program; an extension for a period of time which, in my judgment, will almost make certain, as I said earlier this afternoon, no general education bill next year if we pass the NDEA and impacted areas bill for the time as passed by the House.
Toward the end of the session our colleagues want to get home, or to Europe, or Africa, or Asia, or Latin America, or Outer Mongolia -- anywhere but here. So I ask respectfully of our colleagues in the Senate, Are you prepared to accept temporarily a unicameral parliament for the United States of America not a bicameral, but a unicameral parliament whereby you let the House of Representatives call the shots? I do not think either the House or the Senate should do that. I think differences ought to be adjusted in accordance with our constitutional processes. When the House is in disagreement with the Senate, or vice versa, we should get together to adjust the differences in a conference.
Now we have a mandate or a threat from the House that the Senate will either take its education bill on the extension or there will be no conference. My answer is, "Get on your way to Outer Mongolia, Europe, Tibet, or wherever else you want to go, if you do not want to stay here and transact the business that the people elected you to transact." The people did not elect a single Member of Congress to carry out that kind of legislative program, in my judgment.
So the Senator from Oregon is not in a great hurry to get to a vote on this question. I think we ought to have a few days of reflection here in the Senate, on the part of Republicans and Democrats alike, but particularly Democrats.
We all know that, as of the moment I speak, there are some Democrats who want to get this matter behind them. They are anxious to get to a vote, agree with the House, and go home, which means an extension as in the House program, and a further weakening of the President's position.
I am in a position where on this matter I can speak for the President, because I am his leader on the bill. I tell Senators again tonight, as I told them this afternoon, that the President does not want a 2-year extension. He wants a 1-year extension, because he believes that a 1-year extension is essential to his education program for next year.
The President intends to keep his pledge on the matter of Federal aid to education. The President intends to do everything he can next year to get a general aid to education bill through Congress.
The Senator from Maine has said he is afraid chances will be no better next year than they are now. Our only hope is to take the question to the people between now and the time Congress convenes again. But if we pass a 2-year-plus extension on NDEA and impacted areas, we shall have given politician after politician the escape exit they are looking for. They will have satisfied the local interests, and that action is going to take the demand off them in enough jurisdictions in this country to the point where we will not have the votes next year to pass the bill which needs to be passed. Extend the law for only one year, and every local school district that comes under NDEA and federally impacted areas legislation is going to say, "Mr. Senator, Mr. Representative, what are you going to do about it this year?" Members of Congress will have to face up to the question again.
The President has told us he wants the program reviewed. He wants the time to present to the Congress the facts on the operation of the existing Federal aid to education program, the special programs the Senator from Montana is speaking about so eloquently here tonight.
I ask my Democratic colleagues, Does the President have the right to ask you to give him that support? Is not the support he is asking for really to carry out the Democratic platform? Are you going to deny the President this request, knowing that if you deny it to him you are going to weaken to a great degree the Democratic Party's promises to the American people on education? Is the President asking for anything unreasonable when he asks for a year's extension, which will take care of every school district in this country?
Not a single school district will suffer by a granting of the President's request. Every school district now receiving NDEA help in impacted areas help will be assured of it for another year.
We ask for leadership. We ask for practical wisdom. This is the President's wisdom.
Senators may say, "I am not bound to do what the President wishes me to do." Of course not. I do not know of any Senator who has demonstrated by his record more eloquently his honest, independent judgment, when he thinks the President is wrong, than has the senior Senator from Oregon.
I point out that what the President is asking cannot possibly damage a single school district in this country for the next year.
I make these remarks to my Democratic colleagues. I shall have some comments to make about the Republicans in a moment, but I am talking to Democrats now. I say to my Democratic colleagues in the Senate, "You ought to resolve this question in favor of the President." He is our leader for this legislative program. He is the man, in behalf of all of us, who made the promises in the 1960 campaign. He is the man who took our party to victory in November 1960. He is the man who earned tens of thousands of votes upon the basis of the educational issue. He is the man who, in my judgment, on this issue ought to be supported by the Democrats in the Senate of the United States. He is the man to whom Senate Democrats should rally in view of the treatment he has received on the House side of the Capitol.
I do not think the Democrats in the Senate can countenance the course of action some Democrats took in the House against the leader of our party now in the White House. I think the time has come when, as Democrats, we must make perfectly clear that as a majority party we do not propose to let the Rules Committee of the House determine what legislation can be passed in the Senate and in what form it must be passed in the Senate. We must make clear that we shall not stand still for the position that if legislation is not passed in such a form as the House desires it will not even sit down in conference with us.
I say to my Democratic colleagues that whether we like it or not, this has now become -- and it will be so interpreted across America in the months ahead -- a clear party issue. The man on trial in connection with that issue is the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy. This bill happens to be the vehicle. This is the legislative issue which raises the question as to whether the Democrats in the Senate of the United States will rally behind their leader to support a 1-year extension of this program, thereby guaranteeing to every school district in this country a continuation of every dollar of aid it now gets under both the NDEA and impacted areas legislation.
One might say, "Senator, will that not drive Republicans away from us? -- Not at all. Not at all, in my judgment, because I think many Republicans will recognize the soundness and merit of the points I am making. They will recognize that if we are to maintain the constitutional form of government set up as between the House and the Senate, with the separation of powers which exists between the two Houses -- after all, Members of the Senate, even though they be Republicans, should support the proposal that we shall not let the House determine the form of legislation and the procedure to be followed by the Senate in considering legislation passed by the House, when it is legislation which ought to be passed by the Senate in accordance with its own policies.
I serve on a committee, which has had jurisdiction over this subject matter, with Republicans. I said earlier this afternoon, and I repeat tonight, we would not have had this proposed legislation before us all year long if we had not had Republicans on our committee who were educational statesmen, too. They recognize the importance of Federal aid to education.
I hope the Senate will reflect on the parliamentary situation confronting us. I am in no hurry to get to a vote. I agree with the Senator from Alaska (Mr. GRUENING]. We had better take a little time on this. I am perfectly willing to have it laid aside for a few days after we have made our case in chief, for people to reflect on it and for the country to be heard, because I will tell the Senators that once the American people take the time to know what this fight is all about I shall not worry as to whether the Senate will be sustained in the judgment of public opinion. Public opinion will be with us. We can take it before any jury. Any impartial jury will give us a unanimous verdict.
I am sorry I have taken so much time, but I thank the Senator from Maine [Mr. MUSKIE], because he made a call for practical wisdom. He was correct. I gave him the source of practical wisdom I think we ought to follow. That source is the President of the United States on this question. When the President asked for a 1-year extension and not a 2-year extension, I do not think local pressure from back home, any political consideration, any desire to get away quickly by capitulating to the House, can possibly be justified as a substitute for meeting the request of the President of the United States.
I say to fellow Democrats, "Relax. Study. Check back home. Look into the facts, such as the Senator from Michigan [Mr. McNAMARA] and the Senator from Montana [Mr. METCALF] are putting into the RECORD."
After Senators have given this problem study, I have a feeling the vote may change. We may find we ran get the program extended. We may adopt such amendments as the amendment of the Senator from Michigan. We may get a conference with the House.
I close on this note: What do Senators think would happen in a good many districts in this country if the Representative had to go back to face the fact that the reason the country did not get a bill passed was that the House would not go to conference with the Senate? We do not have to worry about the Senate's position in that kind of controversy. The responsibility will be clearly the responsibility of Members of the House of Representatives. They have asked for it. That is where I intend to put the responsibility.
I sincerely hope that when we finish with this debate a majority of our colleagues in the Senate will agree with us and that we shall get a 1-year extension, resulting in a conference with the House.
Mr. GRUENING. Mr. President, will the Senator yield?
Mr. MORSE. I yield.
Mr. GRUENING. I congratulate my good friend the senior Senator from Oregon for his great eloquence, and for his magnificent support of what to me is the most important legislation which could possibly be passed by the Congress.
We in this session have passed a great deal of excellent and important legislation. We passed a depressed areas bill. We passed an airport bill. We passed a farm bill. We have passed a number of excellent bills to carry out the President's enlightened domestic program, but I think no proposed legislation is comparable in importance to the aid to education bill, something which goes to the heart of democracy, which affects not only this generation but also generations to come.
I hope the Senator will stick to the fight, and I hope all of us who believe as he does will do our utmost to see the fight through.
Mr. MORSE. I thank the Senator from Alaska.
Mr. METCALF. Mr. President, I thank the Senator from Oregon for a splendid contribution to the debate and for a keen analysis of the questions which are before us at this time.
The specific question before us is how long to extend Public Laws 815 and 874. Around that
specific question are all the other questions the senior Senator from Oregon has outlined so
eloquently and so well. I hope Senators who are not present, who are not able to hear the remarks
of the Senator from Oregon, will read the RECORD, and I hope it will change many votes.