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tv   The Senate - Conflict and Compromise  CSPAN  January 5, 2019 8:00pm-9:49pm EST

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boccia from the heritage foundation. always try to make sure i get your name right. and seth rufus, c-span's original documentary: the u.s. senate: .onflict and compromise after that, the ceremonial swearing-in in the senate. elected ayanna pressley of massachusetts outlines her priorities for congress. >> at have been asked several times today, will i agree to this version or that version of the senator's oklahoma amendment. no! [gavel bangs] >> thomas jefferson -- >> the framers believed. >> let's follow the constitution. ♪ >> sometimes it seems nothing is > sometimes it seems nothing is happening on the senate floor.
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the action is going on elsewhere. >> we do attack -- >> order! >> in committee rooms, and senators' offices, and the officers of the senate leaders. but that's all preliminary. sooner or later, everything has to come here. here is where the final say, the final act takes place. here is where the law is made. narrator: the united states senate has been letting and carrying out its unique constitutional duties since 1789. >> the framers believed the senate should and could be the venue in which statesmen would lift america up to meet its unique challenges. >> we are still a work in
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progress in the united states senate. >> it is time for the united states senate started acting like a senate instead of kindergarten. >> if you think we're emotional, wait until you see what happens if this bill fails. narrator: reflecting the nations politics and made up of 100 members, two from each state, serving six-year terms, this is how many have come to know the senate today. >> democrats have been putting up roadblocks one after another. >> it is not what the founders had in mind because it is small. >> there is a great deal of human affection here, but it is in private, when the cameras aren't on. >> you came to the wrong town at the wrong time, my friend. narrator: with a history of conflict and compromise, we will go inside the u.s. senate to tell its story. >> the have the script? >> yeah. narrator: watching its informal workings, we will learn about it as a legislative body, following the footsteps of members in the corridors around the chamber. step back in time weo to hear stories about those who break barriers, of leaders will mold the institution, and the flawed giant ofs earlier
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heroes. we will also step back in time to hear stories of those who break barriers, of leaders who mold the institution, and of its flawed giants of earlier eras. tracking the modern senate, we'll watch history unfold as they execute timeless duties and carry out the institution's constitutional powers. >> vote we are about to cast brings to an end an uncomfortable and difficult chapter in the history of the senate conflict process. >> we will better understand the institution today. >> please raise your right hand. ♪ >> let us pray. forgive us for the times we have permitted acrimony. >> everyone is putting themselves in a corner where everyone hates everybody. >> you couldn't have a more partisan exercise. >> if you look back any time in in the history of the country, where the country is closely divided politically, the system
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doesn't work as it does other times. meant to be a deliberative body and our tolls were meant to forge bipartisanship, consensus and deliberation, not acrimony. >> is there any wonder why the american people hold us in such contempt? >> these days, our political debate, which affects the public has changed and it hurts the senate. our colleagues on the other side of the aisle escalating the partisanship. >> partisan politics has prevented people from moving forward in a direction that they go, everyone needs to because whatever you do might actually bring some credit to the opposing party, and god for bid if you have them winning something, if you are losing. >> america has been full of robust debate throughout its history. what's different today is the internet and 24-hour tv, you're sort of pounded with it all the
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time. whatever we may say about each other pales in comparisons to what adams and jefferson said about each other. ♪ narrator: meeting in philadelphia's independence hall during the summer of 1787, the framers' most hotly contested debates at the constitutional convention are over the role the senate will play in the country's new government. >> jefferson thought it would be like the house of lords. he had been out of the country when the constitution was written. he came back and asked jefferson, why did you create a senate? >> jefferson thought it would be like the house of lords. >> washington looked at him and said, why did you pour your tea from the cup into the saucer? >> which sounds very messy, when you think about it. then you let the coffee cool and you sip it out of the saucer. >> it sounds awkward. >> washington said that is the
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senate. >> it's the saucer that cools the cup. >> i think the senate and as it -- i think the senate as it was designed, and then as it came out of the constitutional convention, was a body with a lot of tension baked into it. one is that it would be slow. >> in this day and age in america, everyone wants to know how quickly you can do things. they were interested in dividing the power, and they were interested in having some hedges against what they thought might be the passions of direct election, which, of course, you would have in the house of representatives. >> the founders expected the senate to be the place where you could resist the will of the people, because there was a fear on the part of the founders of mob psychology. narrator: when writing the constitution, the founders also give the senate unique powers beyond its legislative duties. >> when the framers created the senate, one of the important roles it had in mind for the senate was to be part of the checks and balances system and
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particularly, to be a check on the executive branch and the presidency. the fact that all of our major presidential nominations require the advice and consent of the senate, that treaties have to gain the advice and consent of the senate in order to be ratified, this tells a lot about what the framers had in mind to . first of all, they did not trust the president to do everything and secondly, they wanted the senate to be a wise, advisory body. they had to be older than house members, they had to be citizens longer, so they had tougher requirements to meet. they wanted the body to be an advisory body to the president. in that is very much seem nashville much seen and advice -- that is very much seen in advice and consent >> the senate hours. is absolutely critical to our democracy. i hate to think what the country would have become if we had not had those checks and balances. they don't always work the way the founding fathers expected.
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but they are absolutely critical. >> i think we're getting close. stay tuned. >> senators are in the chamber for a small amount of the day. >> thank you for your willingness to be here. >> they go from early in the morning to late at night and it is a 24/7 job. so much of the senate that you watch is a very old institution. but then you stand there and you look up, and you see the bright lights, and you see the television cameras. then you realize, oh no, this is a 21st century chamber. >> democratic leader's microphone, check, one, two, three. >> when you compare the senate of today compared to the senate created by the framers, there are a lot of things that are consistent. there are a lot of things in the senate today that the framers
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would recognize. >> this is our rulebook. it's pretty skinny. 44 rules. they're not amended too often. >> this is the official vote tally card that we use. once the vote is called, we'll start reading the names in alphabetical order. >> this is our procedure book. precedent. from a tiny pebble grows a great mountain. this is what we have and how we run the senate. >> we are totally old-school. we do this the way it has always been done. >> the senate will come to order. >> the senate is a peculiar institution. it has unusual rules like filibusters. >> filibuster. >> filibuster. >> nobody else in their right mind allows filibusters but the senate thrives on filibusters. >> the motion laid upon the table. >> it has arcane language. >> cloture. >> i'd like to thank my
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colleagues for joining in the colloquy today. >> i marvel at what the distinguished majority leader -- >> they speak very much like henry clay would have spoken because the rules of the senate encourage that. >> i appreciate the very kind words of the most able senator. >> it's a strange institution. it takes even senators time to figure out what is going on. all new senators want to change everything. as soon as they have been here a little while, they realize as strange as it is, the rules of the senate actually work in their favor and empower every single senator in the way that members the house are not empowered. >> the daily contact among senators is better than you might think because the senate is a lot smaller. almost anything that gets done has to have some bipartisan quality to it. so i think that is one place where the senate and house are different.
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>> and a lot of house members think, oh, it is just like the house, but it is not at all. because it's smaller, because it's more collegial, because it has great traditions, you get along with people. the idea is to get along with people. the idea is to work well with your colleagues. and bipartisanship, at least in name, is treasured. >> behind the scenes, from what -- what i have found is that for the vast majority of republicans and democrats, we get along pretty well. >> what the public often doesn't see is all of the behind-the-scenes stuff. so they see the public face of the senate every tuesday after their respective policy caucus mentions. -- luncheons. it's a very partisan moment. >> democrats are united against it. >> if you could see behind the scenes, you would see all the bipartisan conversations. you would see the committee chairs and ranking members working together. that is sort of the hidden side of the senate.
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but it is the working day-to-day side of the senate. and it is just as important as the visible side of the partisan arguments. >> it is often said that the senate only functions either as a result of unanimous consent or exhaustion. >> unanimous consent proposals ask all members to agree on procedural guidelines for senate floor business. or senate floor business. if just one- objects, it is not moved forward. >> unanimous means unanimous. it means everybody has to be on board. the most senior member of the majority party and most junior member of the minority party have got to be in agreement. that means it just takes one u.s. senator to say, i object. >> the duty of being a senator versus member of congress, if one senator gets something in their craw, so to speak, they can run with it and make a difference. they can make that issue important to other folks because of the microphone they have. >> they don't even have to cast the vote. they can just tell the leaders that if someone asks for unanimous consent agreement on this issue, they would likely
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object. and that's a hold. >> put a hold on a few nominees -- >> senators frequently put holds nominations, for example, because they've got some problem that affects part of their state. every senator has real leverage to make a difference without the ability to get consent, the senate gets balled up. >> a minority in the senate, regardless of what the house wants to do, regardless of what the president wants to do, and regardless of what the voters may want, can stop it. >> it was never meant to be an efficient body. and frankly, the framers designed it to be rather inefficient. >> passing meaningful legislation in this body typically requires the two parties to work together. narrator: to proceed to a vote on a bill or other piece of legislation, 60 votes are needed. >> we are getting nothing done, my friends, we're getting
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nothing done! >> if only we could get back to the days of regular order, the senate would function again. >> what happens in the chamber now is what is most disheartening to a newbie like me. as our constituents know, something is awry here. >> i think we are at an interesting moment right now. the legislative process on the senate side has changed in recent years. there has been an evolution away from what members like to call regular order. a lot more bill making process and legislative-writing process is happening in leadership offices with less committee involvement. >> and i think it has led to frustration on the part of members of both parties. typically frustration is expressed by members of the minority party, that it is expressed by members of the parties when they are in a minority. >> could we start with listening? >> in my summing up speech, i said i was really getting worried about when all was said and done, all was getting said than getting done. and it is that getting done.
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i don't mean rubber stamping the executive -- we are an independent body. that is what the founders wanted. you know, alexander hamilton and thomas jefferson had some pretty good ideas but the fact is that the senate is meant to be deliberative, but not to use tontinual delayed to hwart before the rest of the country. >> mr. president, i'll be very brief. i must say that in the 14 years i have been on the floor of the united states senate, there have been few things that have surprised me greatly. >> when i got to senate, all the old segregations were there but it still functioned. we argued like the devil but it actually, we did the people's business. we worked through these things. narrator: with the country giving republicans a 53-47 advantage in the senate, the tax reform act of 1986 serves as an example of legislative bipartisanship. >> if you recall, we had 33 days of hearings on this.
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narrator: after months of committee work, the bill comes to the floor. >> because this bill was about as dead as a do-do bird six, seven weeks ago. in a pardon of two, three days, two orin a period of three days, it was revived. it is now right on track and it has broad support on both sides. it is a bipartisan effort. >> people freely ask me, when are the republicans and democrats going to stop the bickering and do something together for america. mr. president, that kind of bipartisan cooperation is about to produce the most sweeping tax reform legislation since 1913. >> on this vote, there are 97 aye's, three nays, hr38-38 is declared passed. >> if i have stand here until this room freezes over, i will not see this amendment put on this legislation which has to do
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with national service! >> i will speak until i can no longer speak. i will speak as long as it takes. >> when i am done, i will be done. maybe soon. i am getting a little tired on here, but i am going to keep talking for a while. >> a filibuster is nothing more than saying no. >> there is no official accepted definition of what a filibuster is. it could be any sort of blocking or delaying action. >> the filibuster that we have seen on the other side of the arm, it gains its name in the 1850's. in 1853, the word filibuster shows up in congressional debate for the first time. when you get into the latter part of the 19th century, it becomes a stage show. you get to the point where you have -- what i call, the grand masters of the filibusters. these are people in the early 20th century like robert la follette and huey long. >> you will never be able to bash the only way you will ever
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be a lot of feed the ballot of the people is to make that meant come back! >> huey long from louisiana would filibuster. he would do family recipes, recite from the bible, quote the constitution. he would talk about everything but what was germane to the bill at hand. d'amato was like that, too. >> chop, chop, here, chop, chop, there. chop that pork up everywhere. >> senator d'amato has some of the longest filibusters on record. he was one who did very entertaining filibusters. he would take the floor and at one point he was singing songs. ♪ deep down in the heart of texas ♪ that's right! >> we also have other cases of people who have done filibusters that were very serious. in the 1920's and 1930's, it becomes very closely associated with civil rights and anti-lynching laws. and the filibuster becomes a tool of the southern conservatives, who are trying to block civil rights laws. we go back to 1957, we have the thurmond's 24 hour speech
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against the civil rights law. that's the filibuster people have in mind. the "mr. smith goes to washington" filibuster. >> i'd like to get them set this time, sir, i'm not going to leave this body until i do get them said. >> until 1917, there was no way to cut off a debate in the senate. >> we have a rule 22 called "cloture." >> mr. president, i sent a cloture measure to the desk. >> cloture is in place to stop the debate. >> the senate does not have many rules. most of the rules are designed to protect the minority and most have been used sparingly until the last couple of decades. >> nowadays, we will have 200, 300 or 400 cloture motions in a single session even. you'll hear people say we had 338 filibusters. we have not. we've had 338 cloture motions that were produced. it's not necessarily something you can explain easily to the public to make them understand
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, but it is a real part of senate culture. narrator: the institution's first filibuster comes during its first session, as the senate's history begins inside new york city's federal hall on march 4, 1789. its sessions are closed to the public and continue to be, as congress moves to philadelphia in 1790. but here, in this chamber, in philadelphia's congress hall, on december 9, 1795, the senate opened its proceedings to the public. a major change then, with parallels to almost 200 years later. ♪ >> the senate will come to order. >> i think today we are in effect to catch up with the 20th century. >> it was inevitable in our democracy that floor proceedings
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in the united states senate would one day be televised. >> mr. president, if television in the senate was not controlled by senators for senators and obviously to make senators look good, it might serve the public interest. >> i imagine that capitol hill area sales of hairspray, styling mousses, grecian formula, ultrabright toothpaste and mascara have recently reached an all-time high. >> senators have always been hams of sort. [laughter] i think people that run for public office and especially run for offices as important as that come are very affluent people want to be the. daschle wants to be seen. >> i was counseled by my wife to wear a blue shirt today. >> i wish to note that we have had advice on how to do this and how to make certain that we cut that shine on the head.
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>> i think it's had both costs and benefits. the benefits seem to be obvious. all of a sudden people could watch, they could pay attention to what was going on, and it would be much better informed about the legislative process. >> with the coming of the television age to the floor of the senate, the public's right to know has been expanded to the public's right to see and hear. parut also, it put them on with the house in terms of getting public attention. one of the reasons they chose to open doors to cameras in 1986 is because they were a little bit jealous to all the public attention the house was getting. >> we have been the invisible half of the congress the past seven years. we have watched our house colleagues with interest, at least i have, with interest, and the tv coverage of members of the house. >> this senator believes the television will make it easier for demagogues to win elections to the senate. instead of an institution where
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sharp differences are ground down and compromised, this floor will become a place where they are sharpened. this place will -- this change will not take place suddenly, but take place at well. >> we can only guess at the impact this medium will have upon our proceedings in the future. >> as soon as television came in, it was high noon. the chamber went to white hot. and that may have had some impact on the political mood, as well. because politics went to white hot pretty much at the same time. >> robert bork's america is a land in which women would be forced into back alley abortions. >> judicial nominations are one of the most publicly contentious issues that we face in the senate. >> you've opined about it in email and "wall street journal" articles. you just can't say right now what you believe.
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>> unbelievable. unbelievable. this is a circus. >> a national disgrace. >> you have replaced advice and consent with search and destroy. >> over time, specifically nominations have changed the senate's operations. >> back in the 19th century, there was no such thing as a confirmation hearing. not until the 20th century did nominees actually start to appear and testify before committee hearings. and that didn't become routine until the 1950's. inthere was a long period which president's nominations were originally approved. it was rare that a supreme court nomination was turned down. but in 1987, president reagan nominated robert bork. one of the problems was robert bork himself. >> well, i didn't say that, senator. i said it helped change my prediction of the outcome of litigation. >> robert bork was of a nature, but he couldn't resist a good argument, and he did.
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out of of argued himself was a seat on the supreme court. >> the democrats argued it was about robert bork's, not his qualifications, but the positions he'd taken on aspects of the constitution and that worried them. particularly issues related to right to the privacy and abortion rights. >> no appellate judge in the united states of america has a finer record. nonetheless, we have heard from some of the shrill critics of judge bork who fault him for being out of the mainstream. >> i see no place on the supreme court for someone who views equality, whether questions of race, gender or lineage, as an intellectual exercise rather than a matter of profound principle. >> the ayes are 42, the nays are 58. the nomination is not confirmed. >> democrats rejection of robert bork's nomination enhanced or contributed to heightened partisanship between the two parties.
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and that is something which i think, which has stayed with institution the past few years. >> to robert bork who fought the good fight, you did your best. it is a tough contest. you happen to be the one who set the new senate standard. that will be applied in my judgment by the senate respectively. >> it cannot be answered in the abstract. >> i cannot give you a really good answer. that is in the area that i have to refrain from answering. >> senator, a good speculate. >> judicial nominees have figured out all kinds of ways to avoid answering. >> people complain about the nomination process, you don't really know what the nominees think. justices are always being asked, how would you vote on this, and how would you vote on that? and they always say, i can't respond to that, i must remain in neutral. i understand what precedents are and respect precedents but i approach everything with an open
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mind. if the founders had a chance to come back and watch the nominating process, i think they would be surprised at how convoluted its become. narrator: debating contentious judicial nominations, the senate has worked in ways reflecting conflict and compromise on this issue. >> we are here, 14 democrats and republicans to announce that we have reached an agreement to hurt a crisis in the united states senate. narrator: in 2005, with democrats threatening to hold up nominees and republicans threatening to change rules, 14 senators signed a bipartisan agreement. agreedrats -- democrats to only block nominees in extra ordinary circumstances and republicans agree not to vote to change the rules. >> we came together and did the unexpected.
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and a senate that has become increasingly for -- increasingly polarized, the the bipartisan center held. >> i believe this is the essence of what the founding fathers designed the united states senate to be. and that is an institution that achieves results through accommodation and collaboration. >> the road change will make cloture for all nominations other than the supreme court. narrator: in 2013, democrats interpret the senate's rule on limiting debate to allow for a simple majority to agree to end debate and vote on any nomination, other than one to the supreme court. >> if you want to play games, set yet another precedent you will no doubt come to regret, say to my friends on the other side of the aisle, you'll regret this and you may regret it a lot sooner than you think. >> therefore, i raise the point of order -- narrator: three and a half years later, republicans extend
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this to include supreme court nominations. >> i'm pretty sure we could argue endlessly about where and with whom this all started. was it the bork nomination? when the history of the senate is written, this chapter will be a flashing red warning light of what to avoid. . truly, judge kavanaugh's confirmation is a low moment for the senate, for the court, for the country. >> the senate over the years has slowed down supreme court nominations, taken its time to get to them, bring them up. but ultimately the broad flow of historical practice is to bring them up and either to vote them up, or to vote them down. that's what the senate owes the president. supporting the nominees are doing the confirmation process, modern vice presidents are chief lobbyists for the president on
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capitol hill. an evolution from the single duty the framers give the position. >> the senate being equally divided. >> the vice president votes in the affirmative. >> every time i vote, we win. [applause] it is remarkable. it works like a charm. [laughter] >> the vice president votes in the affirmative. >> i clearly have a constitutional responsibility, the only one, actually. narrator: they are next in the line of succession to become the nation's chief executive, but here, they are already the president. >> and the nomination is confirmed. >> please raise your right hand. narrator: as president of the senate, they conduct official and ceremonial duties. but the real power of the vice president comes when the senate is deadlocked. >> the vice president votes nay and the motion to reconsider is not agreed to. narrator: while ties are rare in the modern senate, john adams cast 29 votes as the first vice president. and his successor, thomas jefferson, makes a decision impacting the senate today. >> in the first congress, john
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adams talked a lot. he injected himself into the debate. at the end of the congress his friends took him aside and said , you're not doing yourself any favors. you know, you're just making enemies. so after that, adams state much more quiet. >> when jefferson became vice president in 1797, two things frustrated him. one is that as vice president, he didn't have a lot to do. , he knew thatg is adams as vice president had been sometimes criticized for ruling in somewhat chaotic, disorganized ways, so he wanted to bring some order to the process. >> jefferson concluded that there were always going to be hotly emotional, divisive issues. and the thing to do was to try to bring the rhetoric down. that, you know you are going to be divided, but at least let's try to talk about it rationally. >> over the course of his four years as vice president, he studied parliamentary procedures
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from different bodies all around the world, particularly the british parliament, but all over the world. and he made notes and kept notes all throughout that time period and towards the end of his vice presidency, he compiled them into a manual. parts of jefferson's manual are still in operation today. >> he suggested, do not refer to another senator by their name. the pronoun, you. you do not criticize another senator's state. >> one of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle took out after arkansas. >> you do not question other senator's motives. >> a person who has exhibited so much hostility to the enforcement of those laws. >> the senator has impugned the motives and conduct of our colleague from alabama. >> rule 19 is a part of the senate rule that is designed to maintain decorum and civility and respect to debates on the -- and respect in senate debates on the senate floor. >> no senator or any conduct unworthy or unbecoming the senate.
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>> there is a part of rule 19 that says you can't speak ill of another senator in the senate chamber and that is directly related to a 1902 incident where the two senators from south carolina, ben tillman, and john mclaurin, got into a fistfight on the senate floor, and their colleagues had to physically pull them apart on the senate floor. and after that, the senate added a new section to its rule saying that you could not week ill of another senator on the senate chamber, or impugn the character of their state. >> these rules create a little bit of distance so senators are more likely to debate ideas rather than personalities. >> early on, the vice president used to appoint senators to committees which would have made them a powerful player. . calhoun, was
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vice president, and he abused that power by putting in people who were his supporters. upset enough of the senators they said this isn't going to work so they took the power to appoint committees away from the vice president, gave it to the two-party conferences. the vice presidents, as their role in president of the senate, has evolved into a largely powerless position. >> if the senators to be sworn will now present themselves at the desk -- >> over time, historically, the role of the vice presidency has changed. it's not that all its powers have been taken away. it's legislative powers have been taken away, but most of the time they spend the time at white house because they're now an integral part of the executive branch of the government. ♪ >> this is the vice president's desk in the old senate chamber, calhoun wrote here
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in the governing body. meeting here from 1810 to 1859, the senate changes the nation and the institution. >> this is the room where the senate became the senate that we know today. when the senate first moved in here, it was a pale reflection of its modern self. it was a rubberstamp to the house of representatives. not a lot of modern ideas came out of the senate of that early period. but all of a sudden, 1819, 1820, the major issue before the nation became slavery. suddenly the great orators, the great thinkers who were in the house of representatives, they begin to decide the place for them to be is in the senate. >> led by henry clay of kentucky, john c south carolina, . calhoun of south carolina, and
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daniel webster of massachusetts, this time period has been called by some the golden age of the senate. >> the idea of the golden age of the senate is a myth. >> it was a golden era of political oratory. you had people coming together to create a compromise to avoid civil war. that's all true. but at what cost did that compromise come? the cost came with the continuation of slavery in america. i also say, i'm not sure it was quite so golden, because if you look at the membership of the senate, it was a very small, whoe group of white men were making very important decisions that would affect the lives of millions of americans with very little input and from the public.y they are debating issues that are incredibly difficult and divisive. >> henry clay is probably the best example of someone who helped put together the missouri compromise in 1820, compromise of 1833 and compromise of 1850. >> henry clay was a remarkable statesman, and he is someone that the country can
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understandably be proud of, but we need to remember that henry clay was also a slaveholder, and he was an apologist for slavery. benefitedan whom materially and financially from the enslavement of human beings. was he a great patriot from the perspective of his love for his country? absolutely. but in terms of his humanity, it was lacking. henry clay actually gave people pointers on how to deal with the abolitionists. " this is what you say to the abolitionists when they ask you this or that." >> the compromise of 1850 was a tremendously horrible blow to the abolitionist cause in america. and it really just added fuel to the fire. >> when i see that beautiful room, i think about the fact that they're debating, having these great debates, but the debates really don't consider fully what's happening to the people who are enslaved.
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unless you're someone like a charles sumner. >> charles sumner was angry, he was obnoxious, he was rude, he was ornery to people. he was not a well-liked figure, he was not a popular figure in the senate, even among those who supported his legislative effort. >> it is here in may, 1856, where the massachusetts senator rises to make his famous "crime over thensas" explosive issue as to whether the state should be admitted as a free or slave states. in it, he calls out senator stephen douglas of illinois and south carolina's andrew butler, calling douglas a squat and nameless animal and mocking butler as taking a mistress, the harlot slavery.
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three days later, his relative slams his metal topped cane on to the unsuspecting sumner's head, landing repeated blows and leaving him almost dead. >> he is so badly wounded that he almost gone the next three years. he comes back to the senate in 1859 and that time period is the most important part of the charles sumner story, through the 1860's and into the >> there 1870's. are instances in history where we have people who are very progressive, who in their own time stand out. they go out on a limb, they do the right thing, not the thing, or what everyone else expects them to do. and charles sumner was one of those people. >> he started to build a civil rights bill. it is in essence a public
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accommodation civil rights l. he is so far ahead of its time that he has a really hard time building support for it, but he never gives up. when he dies in 1874, on his deathbed, he is pleading with frederick douglass and others, lett let my bill die, don't civil rights diet. >> he believed in human equality and he did everything in his power to ensure that african-americans would have the same chance at life as other americans. >> the senate passes the bill after his death and would have been one of the biggest milestones in our national history, except that the supreme court declared it unconstitutional in the 1880's. ♪ >> fast-forward to the 1950's and 1960's, again, debating
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civil rights legislation in america. >> congress passes the most sweeping civil rights bill ever to be written into law. five hours after the house passes the measure, the civil rights act of 1964 is signed at the white house by president johnson. >> senators at that time, particularly everett dirksen of illinois, begin to look back at the charles sumner bill and they use that knowledge to shape the 1964 civil rights act in a way that it would stand up to constitutional muster. >> it received the bipartisan support of more than two thirds of the members of both the house and the senate. an overwhelming majority of republicans as well as democrats voted for it. >> warm applause for members of both parties as the president sets to work. it is work. he uses nearly 100 pens to affix his signature. souvenirs go to republican leader everett dirksen and democratic whip, hubert humphrey. >> so in many ways, the 1964
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civil rights act is the culmination of the efforts of charles sumner of the 1870's, and the fact that the '64 civil rights act withstood constitutional challenges is due in good part to the experiences of the sumner civil rights act in the 1880's. ♪ narrator: the old chamber where sumner was caned, where conflicts are debated and compromises reached is also where future supreme court justice roger tony becomes the senate's first ever rejection of a cabinet nominee. a casualty of the personal and political war between president andrew jackson and senator henry clay. his 1834 defeat for treasury secretary is a rarity in the senate's history of advice and consent. >> only eight have been rejected to the united states senate.
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narrator: but in 1989, the institution's past echoed through its debate. >> roger taney who is rejected for the secretary of the treasury. narrator: as politics in the senate turn partisan and personal once more, with a high-profile cabinet nomination. >> our body is awash with hypocrisy. >> i do suggest that the constitution and 200 years of precedent dictated that the president should have his chosen cabinet. >> in 1989, president george h.w. bush nominated a former u.s. senator from texas, john tower, to be secretary of defense. >> please understand that the old-boy network is not working in this case and we will do what we think is right. >> and very quickly, an opposition began to develop. >> over the course of many years i have encountered the nominee in a condition, lack of
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womenty, as well as with to whom he was not married. >> i would hope you would also us, in public, your own view towards alcohol, and whether you yourself have any alcohol problem. >> i have none, senator. i am a man of some discipline. >> a lot of it had to do not with tower's professional capabilities, but about his personal life, his habits and weaknesses. >> i will answer again with the term "zero-tolerance" for discrimination against women, for sexual harassment of women. senate will now go into executive session to resume the consideration of the nominee, john tower, for secretary of defense. >> the issue was divisive.
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has so many members of the u.s. senate, as many of my colleagues have said has served -- my colleagues have said, they have served with him, and none have seen him inebriated or in conduct unbecoming the office. >> senator tower has taken a significant or earned a significant amount of money within a very small space of time, from too many military contractors whom he now seeks to come back to be the chief regulator of. >> mr. president, the vote we are about to cast in stone and a difficult and unpleasant chapter in the history of the senate advice and consent process. when the tally is announced, there will be no winners other than our system of government and our u.s. constitution. >> on this vote, the aye's are 47, the nays are 53. tower toation of john be secretary of defense is not confirmed. under the previous order, a
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motion to reconsider is laid on the table and the president is to be notified of the senate's action. >> that in itself wound up having a rippling effect because president bush needed a secretary of defense so he dipped into the house of representatives and picked the house republican whip, dick cheney, to be his secretary of defense. republicans needed a new whip. they elected newt gingrich to be , so a lot of people moved up one step in the process and had a long influence over the government, because john tower didn't get to be secretary of defense. >> anyone who thinks of himself as a gentlemen ought to be above such contumely. >> the senator has gone beyond what is provided for by the roles -- >> world of senator schatz his own mouth and let the chair go? >> i would suggest -- narrator: during the 1990's, acrimony in the senate grows as change comes in the form of party control of the senate and complexion as well as 28 members of the house are elected to the body.
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and, with the 1994 election, the number of former house members sitting in the senate hits 40 for the first time ever. >> the question today is where is bill? i just asked my colleague, do you feel that this is a respectful thing to do, disagree with the president. so you have something you don't like about what he is doing. but for god's sakes, where is bill? >> the idea of a republican congress was a pretty far-fetched idea until 1994. you had 40 years were nobody came to work every day thinking, gee, if the democrats make one mistake today, we could be in control or vice versa. >> do you solemnly swear -- >> that was the beginning of a more unruly floor, a more contentious and partisan environment. >> here is your states rights business from last year.
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downtown with that you are for states rights. look at this. here is rachel care package. tell me there's states rights in that. would the senator at least be honest enough, honest enough in terms of talking about this measure! senater: with the reaching new heights of acrimony, senator robert byrd takes to the floor, for a famous speech on civility in the senate, in december 1995. >> the american people have every right to think that we are just a miserable lot of bickering juveniles. and i have come to be sorry that television is here when we make such a spectacle of ourselves. there have been giants here in this senate and i have seen some of them. little did i know when i came here that i would live to see pigmies --
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narrator: following senator speech, sixber 20 months later, senate majority leader, bob dole, resigned to run for president. >> i always thought differences were a healthy thing and that's why we're all so healthy because we have a lot of differences in this chamber. [laughter] i've never seen a healthier group in my life. [laughter] [applause] departs, thedole senate is already working on welfare reform, facing conflict and reaching compromise. >> to call this bill welfare reform is nonsense. it's welfare retreat. reform means improvement, solving a problem. this bill will bring damage to countless families across america. >> i'm happy the senate is about to take this final action on this monumental accomplishment, a bipartisan accomplishment. >> the clerk will call the roll. >> mr. abraham, mr. akaka. [chanting]
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>> the bill i'm about to sign. as i have said many times, is far from perfect. i signed this bill because this , we aretoric chance republicans and democrats got together and said, we're going to take this historic chance to try to re-create the nation's social bargain with the poor. [applause] ♪ >> political battles have been part of the nature of the congress in the federal government ever since the very beginning. >> when the government moved to washington, d.c. in 1800, we were in the early days of political parties, but they were already there. and there's no ignoring we had two political parties. with many factions within them. early years of the 19th century, the senate is a very partisan atmosphere.
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>> the point of polarization was , the sitting1804 vice president of the united states shot and killed the leader of opposition party, alexander hamilton, who shot aaron burr. >> when jefferson became president, he's a strong .anti-federalist so soon, you start to see impeachment proceedings coming through. judicial impeachment of john pickering was that situation. where you had a problematic judge, but it was initiated largely for political reasons. an opportunity for the jeffersonian parliament to remove a federalist judge from the bench. article one, section three of the constitution says the senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachment. >> mr. president, i announce on the part of the house to conduct impeachment proceedings. narrator: removing officials from office for treason, bribery
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high crimes and misdemeanors is perhaps the senate's ultimate tool in the checks and balances system. while 15 of their 19 trials are of federal judges with eight convictions, it is when they sit as a court of impeachment of two presidents, which gripped the nation. >> the impeachment trial of andrew johnson was an absolute sensation. it was for the johnson impeachment trial that they first issued gallery tickets for the senate chamber. this was the first really public trial that took place. if you look at publications of the day, like "harper's weekly," they're full of wonderful illustrations of the sergeant-at-arms delivering the articles of impeachment to the white house into johnson's hand. he had all of his lawyers lining up into the chambers to make their case, to pro and con of impeachment. it's really the society event of 1868. he had gone against congress in reconstruction policy.
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they had considered impeachment over and over and finally in 1868, he did something that gave them an excuse for impeachment. and that was that he fired someone without gaining authority, or gaining the permission to do so from congress. the trial itself went on for weeks. lengthy arguments, from both the defense and the prosecutors, with house members, of course, being the prosecutors. johnson did not appear at the trial but others appeared on his behalf and in the end it came down to an extremely dramatic vote, extremely dramatic roll call vote in the senate, when seven republicans, they were called the republican rick use republican recusants, that sided with the democrats, and saved andrew johnson by a single vote from impeachment. >> that set the tone for a very long time in terms of congress feeling you only use impeachment
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in the most dire situation and only when it was clearly a criminal offense, not a partisan offense. and then, of course, in a december of 19 98, the outgoing house of representatives, as a final gift of to the nation, impeach the president of the united dates. >> you set as a jury of 100 to render impartial justice. the chief justice of the supreme court presided as the chief judge. >> at this time i will administer the oath to all senators in the chamber in conformance with article one, section three, clause of the in the senate impeachment world. >> to be sure that no vote, you take a vote three times to render impartial justice. one as a group, then as individual.
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>> so help you god. >> then as an individual -- >> ms. mikulski. >> i do -- >> third, you go into the well and sign a book for all of history where i, hereby, barbara mikulski, u.s. senator from maryland, pledge to render impartial justice on the matter of impeachment. you know, your handshakes with stark and immediate commitment. >> the constitution sets a two-thirds majority required for convicting someone who's been impeached in the house. that means one party can impeach somebody they don't like and send it over to the senate but in the senate you have to have a bipartisan majority to convict that person and eject them. when they came to the senate floor, only members of the house may present the evidence. everybody went back to the records. we never found a single instance where anybody other than a house member argued a case on the senate floor.
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>> wherefore, william jefferson clinton by such conduct warrants impeachment by trial under the -- impeachment and trial, and removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any other office under the united states passed the house , of representatives december 19, 1998. newt gingrich, speaker of the house of representatives -- >> perhaps the most impressive speech was by dale butler. he said he gave the best speech he ever made in the senate after he was a senator. >> a decision to convict holds the potential for destabilizing the office of the presidency. >> so many adjectives to describe this gathering and these proceedings -- historic, memorable, unprecedented,
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awesome. all of those words, all of those descriptions are apt. and to those, i would add, the word, "dangerous." >> eloquently defended president clinton. president clinton was not convicted. it was about a 50/50 vote in both cases, where you needed to have a two-thirds vote. >> our work as a court of impeachment is now done. i leave you with the hope that our several paths may cross again under happier circumstances. >> of the constitutionally mandated relationship between the executive and legislative branches of this nation has stood the test of time. >> from impeachments to investigation, the senate's oversight powers helped define crucial chapters in our nation's history and in the senate as they practice this key role in the checks and balances system. >> these hearings this morning and for the days that follow will examine what happens when the trust, the lubricant of our
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system, is breached by high officials of our government. >> senate committees come in many forms. we have legislative committees, but we also have investigative committees, and those play a really important role in our national history as well. >> article one, section one of the constitution, really provides congress with the authority to investigate. it all goes back to the legislative powers vested in congress by the constitution. the very first investigation we found is the 1859 investigation of the attack at harper's ferry. this is known as, sort of john , brown's raid. it's a group of men, 21 men under the command, if you will, of john brown, an abolitionist, who take over a couple of federal buildings in harper's ferry, west virginia, and
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importantly, the national armory there. and their stated goal is to rid the nation of slavery, to end the institution of slavery in the united dates. how the senate response is that james murray mason of virginia submits a resolution in the senate to investigate this raid. >> said the senator produces this resolution and because it is the senate's first and major investigation, it actually introduces more questions than anything. the investigation never really turns up what senator mason hopes it will, evidence of some massive nationwide conspiracy to overthrow the institution of slavery. sometimes investigations will begin at the committee level. harry truman was a second term senator from missouri. massive nationwide conspiracy to
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it is a really effective committee that exists throughout wartime. arguably, he would not have been vice presidential candidate without his chairmanship of this committee. it raised his national profile. and so, battles over executive privilege and the information
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congress has the right to look at, that has led to some of the most notable senate investigations. congress has the right to look >> have you no sense of decency, sir? >> we think of the army-mccarthy hearings, a terrific clash between the legislative and executive branches. senator joe mccarthy, republican of wisconsin, makes a very flashy claim that he has evidence that communists are working in the federal government. he makes a really bold claim that the united states army is perhaps protecting some communists who work for it. there are enough people in the federal government at that point willing to defend the army, that even though joe mccarthy had quite a following and had accumulated a great deal of power as chairman of this committee, they were willing to push back some of the charges.
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ultimately, the way mccarthy has treated members of the senate and witnesses over the course of his investigations leads to his declining influence in the senate and is censured in 1954. i think the idea of congressional investigations as sort of political theater has been something that developed in the 1950's and continues today. >> our hearings are neither pro-contra nor anti-contra, neither pro-administration nor anti-administration. we are not prosecutors, and this is not an adversarial proceeding. >> we are used to seeing the senate or house investigating, and they don't always agree or work together, but in the case of the iran-contra investigation, it was so important and had national significance that they brought
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committees together to form a joint investigating committee. you had members of the house and the senate side-by-side looking into the issue. >> it reminded people, and hopefully, reminded the executive branch, that congress has a role for policy. >> did you not think, how do i start exercising all this responsibility to make foreign policy for the united states of america, in lieu of the congress? >> the president takes the lead but congress will always look over the president's shoulder, so these investigations were a major part of what the senate does. we recognize almost every generation of senators have done some major investigation, from the gilded age to the wall street investigations of the 1930's, to mccarthy in the 1950's, watergate, iran-contra.
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these are defining moments in the history of the u.s. senate. announcer: from investigations to giving their consent on treaties, the senate plays a crucial role in providing a check on the presidency. >> the approval or ratification of treaties by the united states senate is a facet of the separation of powers in the great scheme of things. >> the senate is set up to be an irritant to the president. they has irritated a number of presidents. george washington actually went to the senate chamber. >> he thought when he had a treaty before the senate, he would seek their advice as well as consent. >> in 1789, he brought a treaty over, and indian treaty, and he asked to approve it. >> he thought i will take this first treaty up there, we will work through it. then we will all reach a conclusion this is a treaty the united states should commit
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itself to. >> he went up with a series of questions and stood up in front of the senate. it was in new york, it was noisy, and the summer, they were on wall street, they had windows open, it was hot. george washington was an imposing figure. >> the senators were not as nearly amiable about this as the president thought they would be. he said we have questions. >> we think we need to adjourn until over the weekend. think about it. >> washington was expecting he would stand there as they signed the treaty. it didn't work that way. >> washington said, that defeats my purpose of being here and stormed out of the chambers. >> it is interesting because george washington wasn't the head of the constitutional convention. he was there when they wrote advice and consent, he understood the role of the senate. even though he was irritated, he went away and let the senate do its business.
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>> days later he went back, and cooled down and they told them the answer. he went away and he never came back again. >> the senate set a precedent that it would use deliberation to consider treaties. they wouldn't just rubberstamp a treaty. >> we have a responsibility to deliberate on a treaty. announcer: the senate votes in 1500 treaties with only 22 rejections. >> one of the most dramatic failures was the treaty of versailles in 1919. woodrow wilson as president personally negotiated the treaty with foreign powers. he hand-delivered the treaty to the senate, and asked for approval. he faced a strong opposition party. these two men hated each other, woodrow and cabot lodge. but they had different views on what the post war world should look like.
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>> an american i have remained all my life. i can never be anything else but an american. when i think of the united states in an arrangement like this, i am thinking of what is best for the world. >> he didn't make any accommodations with henry cabot lodge. he was not completely opposed to international activities, but he didn't want wilson to put his stamp on this. >> wilson thought, as president, he could dictate the policy. he thought he could go to the public, get public opinion behind it, and force his view on to the senate. that proved not to be the case. the senate debated it and debated at great length. the lack of compromise in the end brought the treaty down. it was one of those times when the senate was exercising its advice and consent prerogative that the framers gave them. it made the president unhappy. it had public opinion on both
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sides of the fence, but ultimately, it was the senate's view that prevailed. >> for a long time from the end of world war ii on, foreign policy was run on a bipartisan basis. by the 1990's, that had really eroded. >> i think everybody on this side of the aisle is anxious to vote. the guy who is afraid is the president of the united states because he knows he will get his fanny kicked. >> why did all of our allies sign and ratify this treaty? why are they apoplectic about the prospect that we won't sign this treaty? >> ratification of this treaty would ultimately endanger our national security. >> president clinton sitting in the residence reminded some of us that the last time the united
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states senate rejected a treaty, it was 1920. >> a lot of senators despaired the erosion of the bipartisan foreign-policy they had operated under so long. under the rules of civility. many of them saw it as the beginning of a rough time. >> on this vote, the yeas are 48, the nays are 51, with one senator responding present. not having the affirmative votes, the resolution is not agreed to, and the senate does not advise and consent to the ratification of the treaty. ♪ announcer: if you would like to
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-- it is here where jefferson davis and other senators reside. here, just nine years later, a dramatic event unfolds during reconstruction, connecting the past to the present. >> it is a dark hour in race relations for america. i bring you hope. announcer: south carolina's tim scott is the seventh to serve in the seventh african-american overall to serve in the senate and the first from a southern state since reconstruction. >> in the heart of the south, the home of the civil war, a majority white district, these voters elected a grandson of a man who picked cotton. >> if i can transcend the racial conversation and have legislation and a position of advocacy that makes my color irrelevant, i will have done what needed to be done for this nation to afford even more. -- moving forward even more. >> the first senator to come back and serve mississippi with reconstruction is hiram rebels, an african-american man.
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we think of the passage of the 13th amendment abolishing slavery, he steps in as the first black senator, that is remarkable. he had not been a slave. he was born into freedom and was an educator by nature and occupation and had been a prominent black politician in mississippi. as the republican party grew in the reconstruction south, it sent black members to congress. to the house and senate as well. he is only there for a short time because he is filling out a vacancy, so he is there for about a year, but it is an important year. the single most important -- it was overwhelming. he entered the chamber that day in 1870, and the galleries were packed with african-americans who cheered and applauded as he came in. i can only begin to imagine the emotion that must've brought to
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this people. many of whom had been five years earlier in slavery. and then in 1875, we get the second senator, also of mississippi. >> he was an interesting senator and human being. he had been born in slavery in virginia and had been taken to missouri at the start of the civil war. he escapes slavery, goes to kansas, he returns to missouri for a while, then goes to mississippi. he becomes engaged education, and he is involved in politics. on the day he is to take his oath of office, the other senator from mississippi doesn't accompany him. that had been tradition in the senate. but, roscoe, he comes out and realizes what is happening and walks with him into the chamber as he is about to take his oath of office.
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and, bruce was so impressed he took the time to do that, and he was unflappable but brave enough to do that, that he named his son after him. >> throughout his senate career, he serves just one term, he champions civil rights issues, equality issues. he pays a lot of attention to the civil rights cause that helped to get him into that seat in the first place. >> when he left, we had to wait another 86 years to get another african-american senator. >> there is a reason for that. after the reconstruction time, even though african americans had the right to vote and served in public office in a variety of ways including congress, there was every effort to deny them the right to vote.
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>> after the reconstruction, the u.s. senate became the biggest obstacle in the federal government to racial integration and equal rights and civil rights. even anti-lynching legislation proposed in the 1930's was defeated by the southern democrats, arguing that it was a state rights issue, not a federal issue. >> it is happening in the south, it is taking the lead, but some northerners are going along as they only had. it is not just the south has the burden to bear for in france -- disenfranchisement. but, the entire nation had that burden. the people have that burden, and the senate is at the center of that. >> ms. moseley braun. >> she was elected to the senate in 1992, the first african-american woman to serve in the senate. >> she fit into the institution in a lot of ways. she was no pushover. >> we are going to continue to hold. >> i look at her service in many ways as a transitional stage for
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the senate. we still have some remnants of the old conservative south, the old jim crow members of the south in the senate. >> the moment she is remembered for mostly, i think, was when the united daughters of the confederacy tried to get their emblem recognized by the united states senate. >> the judiciary leadership reported without reservation -- patent renewal through the 102nd, spirit >> she faces a lot of opposition from some of those people. they worked hard to make her life miserable in the senate. >> i rise today in support of the amendment by my distinct friend from south carolina. >> braun spoke against it and said, it is time to put the confederacy to rest. >> if there is anybody in this chamber or this world that has a doubt that the confederate effort was about preserving the institution of slavery, i am
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prepared and i believe history is prepared to dispute them to the end. announcer: this speech leads to a 75-25 defeat of the amendment, which would have given approval for the patent renewal of the confederate flag. >> she said when it came down to the most important part of the senate, there is this final leveling factor. that is when you go into the senate chamber, you are one of 100. you have the exact same vote and the same power as the other 99 senators. >> it is a privilege to be amongst my colleagues, all 99 of them. announcer: the complexion of the country and the institution are coming closer to each other, but it hasn't always been this way. >> the biggest constitutional change came with the passage of the 17th amendment in 1913 when we went from indirect election of senators by state legislature to direct popular election.
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that would come as a surprise to the framers. ♪ >> in the latter part of the 19th century, we had a small group of senators led by four that became known as the senate four. they were nelson aldrich, william boyd allison, orville platt, and john spooner. they were republicans and part of a very strong dominance in the senate. they tended to be, not all of them, but men of great wealth themselves. >> the way that the institutions functioned, there was a tight connection between business and parties and governments. in the popular press you get this idea of the millionaires club. whenever a cartoonist wanted to depict the u.s. senate, they drew a big moneybag with a senator's head sticking out of the top.
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in a sense, money was the equivalent of power election to the u.s. senate. >> cartoons, magazines, they often look at the senate as this kind of cesspool of big business corruption. to some extent, it was. there were briberies going on, there were business deals going on. ♪ >> this became a real scandal, a national scandal. the muckrakers really drew attention to the end of the 19th century, talking about the treason of the senate, the senators millionaires club. >> the treason of the senate was a series of articles -- very much part of the muckraking tradition of journalism of the day.
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there were a series of articles where they wrote very harmful, critical essays about particular senators. >> all of these images of the senate of that time period are fueling the movement we need to take the senate back, out of the hands of the powerful political elite and give it back to the people. that is the impulse it leads to the direct election of senators with the 17th amendment. >> the 17th amendment was followed shortly by the 19th amendment -- which opened the voting privileges to women, which also meant women were going to run for office. >> i doubt there was a single member of the framers generation that thought women would serve in congress someday. ♪ >> she was a very important figure in senate history.
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she has been neglected or not given her full due in a lot of ways. she is the woman who breaks the barrier. she becomes the first woman elected to the senate, reelected 1938 and serves until 1945. she often said she felt she was treated as something of an oddity in the senate. she becomes the first woman to preside over the senate, first to chair a committee, breaks a lot of barriers. newspaper articles are numerous about her. she got a lot of attention, not all positive. a lot of the newspaper reporters of the time dealt with her in very sexist terms. she was often belittled by the press. they never took her very seriously. that infuriated her. very quickly, she began to have debates with her fellow senator, the powerful majority leader at the time, over nomination issues. she worked hard to pass the legislation that was important
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to her. most of it passed under the radar. i often say to people when i am talking to groups, she opened door and margaret j. smith broke down the walls and windows. >> i think a woman should serve wherever she feels best qualified and most deserved. >> she was a dynamic power in the senate for a long time. she came in in 1949, was in congress at a time when women were the exception and not the role in every single way, and really was a very high-profile senator. >> the resorts will be applicable. >> there was no question in me that a woman could serve in that role because margaret had done so. she was the first woman to become a member of arranging
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committee, first to serve on the appropriations committee, she is the first woman to be elected to the republican congress. >> i read a lot about margaret, someone who i admired growing up as a young woman, and her fierce independence where she was even willing to take on joe mccarthy, and where she showed it was country over party with someone that i followed. because i was the first democratic woman elected in her own right, some people wondered who this feisty democratic girl from the house of representatives was. when i came, there was only one other woman serving, senator nancy from kansas, wonderful advocate for the country. i was the modern woman who wore slacks and so on. on a snowy saturday when we were working, i wore slacks on the senate floor. senator byrd showed it was ok.
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he gave a nod. you would have thought i walked into the room in a space suit. >> when she came to the 1980's, she became a dominant figure and the dean of the senate women. she was a very important figure in helping each of the women come to the senate to gain their feet, get committee assignments, learn their ways around the place, and to build a really strong bond among the senate women, which is in place today. >> senator hutchinson reached out to me on an economic empowerment issue. my staff said, she wants to work with you on something. she is one of those, she is a conservative from texas. she wants to do something for women. both of my staff and her staff were aware of each other. partisanship was growing. we decided to go ahead. we had dinner one night, enjoyed ourselves, and opened it up.
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we wanted to plot strategy. that is when the women in the senate began to have our monthly dinners. we were not a caucus. we were always a force, because we were not unanimous on issues. we would find consensus issues to work on. what we all agreed on was we would be a zone of civility. we would try to show even when you disagree, you don't have to try to bring the institution down with the dignity of the institution. even now in this most tumultuous time, the women continue to meet. >> they brought a different culture in. there are 23 women senators. >> you can see ways in which they worked together in different ways, they collaborate in different ways, they create groups together in different ways. most fundamentally the inclusion of women senators has meant the
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scope of the issues senators considered has widened dramatically. it also has changed the culture of the senate in other ways because it is more accommodating to women. it is more accommodating to female staff, not just senators. we are looking at issues like childcare, women who have infant children. in the recent case of senator duckworth, bringing her baby into the senate chamber is a perfect example of how women are changing the culture of the senate on an everyday basis. >> one of the most important things a senator can do is be on the right committees. announcer: while women members are changing the modern senate, the committee system is experiencing change as well. >> since the earliest days. >> you form relationships on the committee because they are like a club within a club.
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to get on the committee is decided by the leader of the party in the senate, usually your power rises according to seniority. announcer: the senate divides its work between 16 standing committees, four special committees, and four joint committees with the house. >> the history of the senate is the history of committees. it has changed over time dramatically. initially, there were no committees. there were ad hoc committees, whenever they needed something. and then they decided to have standing committees to develop expertise. >> at the beginning of the 20th century, there were 74 standing committees originally, but that is not the road to efficiency. fragmentation is not the road to efficiency. one of the first major reforms was to cut down the number of committees to sharpen their jurisdictions because there was
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competition among the committees as to who is going to be involved with foreign affairs or appropriations. >> if you were here in the 1930's or 1960's, the power of committees was almost absolute. powerful committee chairmen all but controlled the legislative agenda. that was because the party leaders are not as strong as they are today. there was a time when the committee structure, the committee was really the place where all the legislative action took place. >> going through the regular order, using the committees. >> what we have seen recently in a return to regular order is they seem to feel the regular order, the committee process of debating and deliberating and amending by both parties at the committee level isn't happening as it once was. >> let's be clear. this bill is not a new proposal. it is not serious policy. it is not regular order. it is a frustration for a lot of senators who want to see that
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committee structure back in place. they want to see committee chairmen have the access they used do and see the referral all the way through congress -- so you can have the debate in the committee as well as on the senate chamber floor. announcer: with committee power diminishing, senate leaders are increasing their role in driving the agenda on the floor. >> it is a very challenging job. you certainly can't make everybody happy. here is the way of looking at it. through some process you found yourself the leader of your party in the senate. you got a bunch of class president types. they all have sharp elbows and big egos. on any given day, they think they can do the job better than
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you. >> one of the jobs of a leader is to look after the members. another job is to form them into a cohesive group that can get things done. >> it's all carrot and no stick, and if you try to punish somebody, you pay a heavy price. >> it is hard to get 40, 50 people who are strong-willed united. it is a hard job. >> a lot of business is done when we have rollcall votes. >> my favorite tactic is when -- favorite time to be in the senate chamber is when there is a vote. you have 15 minutes to vote. they start pouring in, and that time has been described as athad as a cocktail party without cocktails. >> mr. cruz, mr. durbin, ms. harris, mr. hatch, mr. nelson, mr. rubio, mr. sanders, mr. schumer. >> the senate floor is a useful place to get a whole lot done.
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your face-to-face with everyone. it's a great place to do business. >> it's all done orally, unlike the house where they put a card and. the roll call votes are good time to colleagues, do business. a lot of that is them across the that is done across the aisle. it's a little murky, but it began to develop during woodrow wilson's administration. >> when woodrow wilson became president, he had a lot of ideas about how government should be run. he suggested to the leaders of the democratic party that they appoint a leader to be on the floor to represent him and his program. his name is john with current -- worth kern. democratic leaders has sat there ever since.
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title, majority leader, doesn't come on until the 1920's. kern is doing the time -- kind of things that majority leaders have begun to do. when the republicans came in, they did the same thing. >> majority and minority leaders have become very visible actors in the senate. the power of the court is in the leader. there's always a majority leader and minority leader. >> the majority leader is the only person that can bring a bill to the floor. bet's a powerful position to in, even if the adults successfully achieve their goal and is successfully guide what is possible and what is likely to be talked about. >> there's almost nothing in the rules of the senate i give
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particular powers to the majority leader or minority leader. almost everything they have comes through precedent rather than rules. lyndon johnson used to say his chief power was the power of persuasion. a lot of what you have to do is sit down one by one with all of the senators to figure out what it is, what they want, and how you can get them on board. >> we had a lot of duets with senators through the years who managed to walk the line and came up with a good record. in order to pass legislation, get nominations approved, it is almost like a master class of how leadership works in the senate. two others had very difficult issues, yet he maintained a strong bond and friendship. and again, open lines of communication. they went through the clinton
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trial together, 9/11, and the anthrax attack on capitol hill. the fury the memoirs of both men, they talk about how important that relationship was to them during their leadership time. you can have leadership teams that can be very effective. it is not an easy process, but they have to find a way to work together. it is a tremendous challenge. [indistinct chatter]. announcer: in january 2001, the senate and leaders faced unprecedented challenges. >> in the 2000 election, the results of the election where senate tied it 50-50. announcer: marking the first time a 50/50 split occurred. there was a majority leader for 17 days until a new vice president and president was inaugurated. following the sharing and --
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swearing in of vice president cheney, the senate changes hands once again. >> the republicans were in control, they organize the senate. may, you get hints of what is going to happen. >> i will leave the republican party and become an independent. .ontrol the senate >> for the first time in senate history, the senate was reorganized again under a democratic majority. tom daschle becomes a majority leader and switches over to his party. it was an interesting time period in the senate that changed every day. you hardly knew what would happen the next day. coming out of the 2000 election with a 50/50 split and moving toward the events of 2001 that came later in that year, it was
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a precursor of other crises to come. the senate is a body that often rises to meet the crisis. >> senate joint resolution 23 to authorize the use of united states armed forces against those responsible for the recent attacks. >> that's rather what it did during that time period. >> these are different times, that we have to act decisively. the american people will accept nothing less. >> on this question 98, senators have voted in the affirmative. >> the president of the united states has our prayers, good wishes, and he has our commitment under the constitution. support 11,hortly after september we had a bomb scare called into the capital. [indiscernible] after september 11,
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there were many bomb threats and rice and threats in these type of things called into capitol hill. it was week after week of uncertainty and crisis on the hill. morning, and5 this member of my staff opened an envelope and it became morning,d member of my staff clear from the beginning that the envelope contained a suspicious substance. announcer: just about a year after the events of fall 2001, the senate faces a crucial test. this time, on war with iraq. as president, i rise in solution before the senate. there is no more serious folk than we senators take as to authorize war. announcer: while the constitution grants congress the power to declare war, the last of the 11 formal declarations were for world war ii. constitution is
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it written that the commander-in-chief carries the power to decide unilaterally whether to commit the resources of the united states to war. , butngress can declare war it cannot dictate to the president how to wage war. announcer: since then, it has agreed to resolutions authorizing force and shaping policy through funding and oversight. a source of conflict and compromise. >> this is a very difficult vote. this is probably the hardest decision i have ever had to make. >> mr. president, this is not a rush to judgment. this is the senate working diligently. >> there is something about these moments of crises that can really bring an institution together. it begins to break down as time moves forward. that is the nature of things. for a while, it was an interesting time to be in the senate environment because you
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really saw the importance of relationships and importance of camaraderie. that is often talked about without always being on display. in that time period, you sought on display, and it was fascinating to watch -- saw it on display and it was fascinating to watch. >> the very government under which we live was created in the spirit of compromise and mutual concession. >> thomas jefferson questioned the need for senate. >> let's follow the constitution. >> i think we can make a judgment in the senate served america very well over the course of our history by slowing things down, thinking things , and killing bad ideas making it difficult to make a law, which is what the founding fathers had in mind. >> the framers established the senate to protect people from their rulers, and as a check on the house.
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>> the fate of this country and the world lies in the hands of congress and the united states senate. >> there has always been criticism about the u.s. senate. how slow-moving it is. >> the senate is built to insulate us from short-termism. the senate is supposed to be a deliberative body. >> to appreciate what the senate is designed to do, that it is designed to serve as a bottleneck, to understand that will help us understand how the senate can best respond to crises in the future. >> bipartisan consensus is the only way democracy will work. the senate is more dysfunctional in the the other point in my four decades as a member of this body. >> every 30 or 40 years, when where those periods people say it is so much worse than it has to be, we will never serve our problems. not alwayste has
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been divided on strict party lines. they made be divided ideologically or geographically, but they were not down the middle between republicans and democrats. >> we can do our best to move legislation, but whether or not anything really happens depends on everyone of us. everyone of us. >> if we had more cooperation from both sides, when neither side is in the minority, i think it would be healthier for the country. >> you have a major accomplishment on a significant bipartisan basis, if you have it, it's makes little or no news. , and theidlock inability to get things done, that is deserved criticism. the fact that every senator is a scoundrel if you are reading the right wing or left-wing blogs, that is not the served -- not deserved. time used car
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salesman rank higher than congress does with the public opinion polls. >> will rogers said we only had one navy criminal class which is congress. but thenot a new thing, high teens are better than the low teens. as much as the public dislikes congress, they are likely to reelect the center and representatives that they are doin a good job. >> our ability to work together with people who were really have deep inviting disagreements, especially in these consequential times, i believe it will determine whether or not we succeed in restoring america. >> there's only one reason for institution. how do you make life better and more secure for the american people? >> the senate can be the model for us. at some point too, we have to take responsibility. we are responsible for our government. we are the government.
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.> the clerk will call the role ♪
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>> the senate stands adjourned. [gavel noise] announcer: if you would like to see the priceless art inside of the senate wing of the nation's capital, the order your copy of "the senate: an enduring foundation of democracy." 100 30ook with over color photographs detailing the 200 year evolution of the institution. it is now available for preorders at for more information on the program and related resources, go to there you will find the full ,nterviews with the senators senate historians, and behind the scenes tour's of special rooms and spaces located in the senate wing of the u.s. capitol.
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announcer: elizabeth warren made her first trip to iowa this weekend as a potential 2020 presidential candidate. days after formally launching a committee.oratory comments in des moines. girl, thewas a little folks in washington thought about minimum wage in terms of what does it take a family of three to survive. that is where they thought the minimum wage should be set. that it should be a gateway, a chance to get in. today, the folks in washington who are in charge think the way to set minimum wages to maximize the profits of a multinational corporation. they work for the rich and powerful, not for the rest of us. it's not just of their. is throughout the system.
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washington works great for giant drug companies, not for people trying to fill a prescription. [applause] washington works great for giant oil companies that want to drill everywhere, but not for people who are worried this planet is going to burn up if we don't make changes. [applause] washington works great for giant financial institutions, but not for people whose social security numbers get stolen. this is one step after another. washington works for the rich and powerful, and leaves everyone else behind. this is corruption.
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plain and simple. [applause] we need to call it out. you can see senator warren's entire remarks in des moines tomorrow at 10:35 eastern on c-span. announcer: on day 15 of the partial government shutdown, vice president pence, jared kushner, homeland security secretary -- the homeland security secretary, and mick mulvaney met with leadership staff to discuss the impasse over a border wall funding -- the border wall funding. they said the talks were productive and agreed to meet again sunday afternoon. c-span's washington
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journal's live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up sunday morning, we look at the trump administration's foreign policy with the director of research at the foundation for defense of democracy, and ok henderson, news director for radial ila, along with paul's -- paul steinhauser. fares -- foreign affairs magazine will discuss foreign policy changes affecting the u.s. in 2019. watch c-span's washington journal. join the discussion. sunday on q and a, sumner redstone and his battle for viacom and cbs. we talked with a wall street journal investigative reporter about her book, "the king of
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content." he saw being seen with other women as a sign of his brutality, and being with him was assigned that he could tell the world he was going to live forever as he would like to say. he would go to these hollywood parties and sometimes he would go home with his grandson's date and things like that. it was really awkward for the executives in viacom and cbs because he is still a controlling shareholder of these companies. announcer: sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q and a. announcer:announcer: on the first of the 116th congress, the nucleolus did speaker of the house met with new and returning house members for a some mario -- for a ceremonial swearing-in and photo. this is about three hours.


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