Nation: Escape from Emasculation?

"On this vote," intoned Speaker John McCormack, "there are 235 in the affirmative." Before McCormack could announce the negative vote of 196, House Democrats exploded in applause. For the House, heeding the urgent pleas of President Kennedy, had just decided to keep the membership of its key Rules Committee at 15, with liberals presumably in control.

Had the House not voted in that fashion, Rules would have reverted to a membership of twelve. With a six-six standoff between conservatives and liberals, Conservative Chairman Howard Smith of Virginia was often able to keep liberal legislation from a floor vote. President Kennedy claimed...

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