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THE CONGRESS: Ratification

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After three hours and 19 minutes of desultory debate, the U.S. Senate last week ratified the Paris agreements for German rearmament and entry into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The vote was 76 to 2 (Nevada’s Republican Senator George Malone and North Dakota’s Republican Senator William Langer).

Last week the Congress also:

¶ Voted House of Representatives approval of a $694 million Agriculture Department appropriation bill ($100 million more than the Administration requested) and of a $5.8 billion Independent Offices (e.g., the Veterans Administration) appropriations bill.

¶ Received from Missouri’s Republican Representative Thomas B. Curtis a proposal to amend the Constitution so as to limit the consecutive service of Senators and Representatives to twelve years. Explained Curtis, who is now in his third term: “There are very few Congressmen who come down to Washington with the thought in mind beyond serving a few terms . . . They simply get caught in a fascinating rut.”

¶ Issued new visitors’ cards setting forth the rules for House gallery behavior, e.g., men must take their hats off, note-taking is not permitted (except in the press section), and visitors should not lean over the railings.

¶ Raged, in the Senate Permanent Investigations Subcommittee, after Foreign Operations Administrator Harold Stassen sent word that his aides could be interviewed by subcommittee staff members only in the presence of either Stassen or his lawyers. Cried North Carolina’s Democratic Senator Sam Ervin—of Stassen: “What meat doth this Caesar eat, that he hath grown so great?” Growled Joe McCarthy: Stassen’s stand was “the most unheard of thing I have seen.”

¶ Packed up, in both the House and the Senate, for a two-week vacation over the Easter period.

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