THE CONGRESS: Mr. Sam's House Rules

Next to Speaker Sam Rayburn, 76, a 23-termer to whom the Lower House is a home, 14-term Virginia Democrat Howard Worth Smith is the most powerful Congressman. "Judge" Smith, 75, chairman of the Rules Committee, is the wintry-eyed gatekeeper who decides which legislation written by other committees gets to the floor for debate. A venerable stone wall against spending pressures. Smith drew the postelection ire of some 165 members of the new, liberal House, who mumbled direly about changing House rules to cut Smith's power, tripped off some brave headlines about "revolt."

But they knew better. Their only hope for trimming...

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