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Federal military officers are exempt from this jurisdiction, being subject to courts-martial. Members of Congress are also exempt, for they are not technically "civil officers," and furthermore they are under the control of their respective houses—each house having the power to determine its rules and proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member.
XI. In carrying into execution the powers vested by the Constitution in the government of the United States or in any department or office thereof, Congress may make all laws which shall be deemed "necessary and proper." The courts have, in general, given a liberal interpretation to this phrase. The Supreme Court has repeatedly declared that Congress possesses the right to use any means which it deems conducive to the exercise of any express power. Said the Court in the case of Juilliard v. Greenman:1 "The words 'necessary and proper' are not limited to such measures as are absolutely and indispensably necessary, without which the powers granted must fail of execution; but they include all the proper means which are conducive or adapted to the end to be accomplished and which, in the judgment of Congress, will most advantageously effect it."
northern district of Florida; acquitted; Wednesday, December 14, 1904, to Monday, February 27, 1905. Congressional Directory (1909), p. 169.
1 110 U. S. R., 421; Readings, p. 245.
CONGRESS AT WORK
To the average observer, Congress is a vast and complicated legislative organ, with rules, committees, and methods, beyond the ken of ordinary mortals; but a somewhat careful examination of the procedure of that body from day to day reveals certain principles and practices which, when properly grasped, make the working scheme of the organization fairly clear at least clear enough for the citizen who does not intend to become a legislator but merely wishes to watch the operations of the national lawmakers with a reasonable degree of understanding.
Party Organization and Leadership in Congress
I. The first fact to be grasped is that the working methods of Congress are largely determined by the existence of two political parties one, a majority in control of one or both houses and regarding itself as responsible for the principal legislative policies; the other, a minority, in opposition, bound under ordinary circumstances to criticise and often vote against the measures introduced and advanced by the majority. In England, the political party organization is carried frankly into the House of Commons, where the majority and minority sit facing each other, and where the government is avowedly that of the predominant party a government of men, not even theoretically of constitutional law. In the United States, the party rules none the less, but its organization and operations are, as we have seen,' unknown to the formal law of the federal Constitution. It is true "that the votes on measures in Congress are by no means always cast according to party divisions, but it is likewise true that the principal legislative work of a session is the work of the majority party, formulated by its leaders, and carried through under their direction.2
This is not all. Each party in the Senate and the House is
1 Above, chap. vi.
2 For the part of the President as political leader, see above, chap. ix.
organized into a congressional caucus,1 in which is frequently determined the line of party action with regard to important legislative questions. It is in a party caucus before the opening of each Congress, that the majority in the House chooses the Speaker and the minority decides upon its leader whom it formally presents as a candidate for Speaker, knowing full well that he cannot by any chance be elected. It is in the caucus that the majority decides whether it will adopt the rules of the preceding Congress or modify them; and it is seldom that the decision of the caucus is overthrown. The caucus is definitely organized under rules by which party members are expected to abide, although there are often a few "insurgents" who insist on acting independently on some matters.
The exact weight of the caucus in determining party policy is difficult to ascertain. At times in our history, undoubtedly, the caucus has settled fundamental matters of public interest before they were introduced into Congress, but there is reason for believing that its influence has been declining within recent years on account of the rise to power in each house of a few men whose long service, shrewdness in legislative management, and effective leadership have placed them in control of the speakership and the great committees.
How this is working out in the Senate is indicated by this passage from a speech made in that body in 1908, by Senator La Follette. "I attended a caucus at the beginning of this Congress. I happened to look at my watch when we went into that caucus. We were in session three minutes and a half. Do you know what happened? Well, I will tell you. A motion was made that somebody preside. Then a motion was made that whoever presided should appoint a committee on committees; and a motion was then made that we adjourn. Nobody said anything but the Senator who made the motion. Then and there the fate of all the legislation of this session was decided. . . . Mr. President, if you will scan the committees of this Senate, you will find that a little handful of men are in domination and control of the great legislative committees of this body, and that they are a very limited number.” 2
1 Readings, p. 247. The caucus is held behind closed doors, but its deliberations are seldom withheld from the public.
2 Reinsch, Readings, pp. 168–169.
In the House, the directing power seems to be unquestionably concentrating in the Speaker, the majority members of the committee on rules, and the chairmen of the important committees.1 The positive leadership of these men seems to be definitely recognized. They, and such party members as are of unquestioned weight in the House, are gradually working toward something like a cabinet system of government, in which they formulate. the policies and bring the other party members into line by the many methods known to politics."
Indeed, a recent writer goes so far as to say that the party caucus is now merely held for the information of the leaders of the House and is "intended rather to furnish a vent for excited feeling and to measure and sum up the relative strength of different opinions, than to frame a policy upon which the party will unite." 3
The Mass of Business before Congress
II. The second important fact to grasp is that each session of Congress is confronted by an enormous amount of business from five to twenty times as much as can be considered adequately. Any member may introduce as many bills as he pleases by handing them to the clerk if they are of a private nature, or to the Speaker if they are of a public character. He does not have to secure any permission in advance or assume any responsibility for them, even though they may involve heavy charges upon the public treasury.
This looks like a fair, just, and simple matter, but in fact it is largely responsible for the extravagance and confusion that exist in the federal government and for the iron-bound methods that are followed in the procedure of the House. Inasmuch as each member has a large number of special appropriations for his own particular district, he is always willing to be generous with the claims of other members in return for a favorable consideration of his own. This practice of coöperating in securing appropriations is known as "log-rolling"-a term derived from pioneer
'It is difficult to say what will be the effect of the action of the House in making the committee on rules elective. Below, p. 283.
2 For the elements of control in the English Cabinet, see Lowell, Government of England, Vol. I, pp. 448 ff. See Reinsch, Readings, p. 292.
3 H. L. Nelson, in the Century Magazine, Vol. LXIV, p. 169.
times when frontiersmen helped one another in rolling logs, making clearings, and building cabins. It is owing to this system that national interests are largely subordinated to particular and local interests.
The way in which this pressure for appropriations operates can best be illustrated by the following list of bills relative to a single locality, introduced on December 6, 1909:
By MR. CLARK of Florida: A bill (H. R. 12293) to establish a fish hatchery and biological station in the Second Congressional District of Florida to the Committee on the Merchant Marine and
Also, a bill (H. R. 12294) to establish a fish-hatching and fishcultural station on the St. John's River, in the State of Florida to the Committee on the Merchant Marine and Fisheries.
Also, a bill (H. R. 12295) to provide for the erection of a subtreasury building and the establishment of a subtreasury at Jacksonville, in the State of Florida to the Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds.
Also, a bill (H. R. 12296) to provide for the erection of a public building at the city of Palatka, in the State of Florida - to the Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds.
Also, a bill (H. R. 12297) to require the Secretary of Agriculture to make monthly reports as to the sea-island cotton, pineapple, and orange crops -to the Committee on Agriculture.
Also, a bill (H. R. 12298) to extend the provisions of the existing bounty-land laws to the officers and enlisted men and the officers and men of the boat companies of the Florida Seminole Indian wars to the Committee on the Public Lands. Also, a bill R. extend to veterans of Seminole Indian wars and to the widows of the veterans of the several Seminole Indian wars the benefits of the act of Congress of February 6, 1907 to the Committee on Pensions.
Also, a bill (H. R. 12300) granting pensions to the soldiers of the different Seminole Indian wars and their widows to the Committee on Pensions.
Also, a bill (H. R. 12301) to provide for and levy an import duty on Egyptian and other long-staple cotton imported into the United States from foreign countries to the Committee on Ways and Means.
Also, a bill (H. R. 12303) for the relief of the State of Florida — to the Committee on War Claims.'
This is no exceptional list, and is not printed here for the pur
Congressional Record for December 6, 1909.