« ElőzőTovább »
have raised their voices in dissent have been crying pretty much unheard in the wilderness.
Fortunately, during these decades of foolhardy and reprehensible Federal financing practices, when most of our national legislators lacked the intestinal fortitude to crack down on administrations that were unwilling to make both ends meet, there have been two stalwarts, one in each House, who have steadfastly lived up to their roles as Treasury watchdogs. One is Virginia's Senator Harry F. Byrd, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and the other was Representative CLARENCE CANNON, head of the House Appropriations Committee, who died yesterday. Both were oldline Democrats of the Jeffersonian persuasion.
Longtime readers of this newspaper are well aware of our admiration for Senator Byrd's never-flagging efforts in combating centralized government and the dangerous trend in the United States toward creation of a welfare state. Time and again we have cited instances where the doughty Virginian has battled to get balanced budgets, only to be thwarted by legislators of lesser vision who subscribed to the prosperity through spending philosophy which wouldn't lose them votes at home.
The Senate Finance Committee giant had a counterpart in the lower legislative branch, where all spending authorizations origi. nate. For 20 years, Representative CANNONa true son of the "Show Me" State-held a tight grip on the Federal purse strings. During his tenure as the almost dictatorial boss of the Appropriations Committee, the peppery Missourian gaveled through bills involving an estimated expenditure of more than a trillion dollars, and practically all of them were cut below the sums requested by Republican and Democratic Presidents.
Representative CANNON was proud of his record as a budget cutter, often remarking that he had never seen a money measure that couldn't be reduced. So strongly did he feel about Federal fiscal policies, he repeatedly expressed the fear that “in my lifetime, the Government go broke if we don't stop unnecessary spending." His quick temper and deep-seated fear of such a national catastrophe involved him in some classic physical clashes with his colleagues during his 41 years in the House. All were touched off by differences over money bills.
Death came unexpectedly to the Missouri Congressman. Although 85, he planned to seek reelection in the fall. As late as last Friday when he presided over a meeting of his committee, his aids described him as "chipper" and "in good spirits." He entered the hospital Sunday after an attack of what he thought was nausea but which actually was the forerunner of heart failure.
President Johnson said Mr. CANNON "left & distinguished imprint upon the decisions and policies of our times," and added, "We shall miss his counsel, his candor, and the courage with which he held steadfastly to his convictions about what was right and best for America."
Tribute by Representative Sullivan
Mr. Speaker, many of us loved the late CLARENCE CANNON, We admired his almost limitless knowledge of Government programs and of congressional parliamentary procedures. We unashamedly spoke of our love and admiration for Mr. CANNON—especially many of us who were his colleagues from Missouri—both during his lifetime and after his death May 12 in his 85th year. CLARENCE CANNON's nearly 42 years as a Member of Congress and nearly 20 years as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee brought him honors befitting an outstanding public servant, and it is a comfort to know that he knew, during his long and active service, that he was held in such esteem by his colleagues here.
It is well that the hurt which humans feel in the loss of loved ones gradually eases. But we continue to feel the loss, knowing that things are not as they were. I have missed our late colleague, as I know we all have. And that is why I call to the attention of the House a moving and eloquent editorial by Fred V. Heinkel, nationally known president of the Missouri Farmers Association, which appeared in the June 1964 edition of the Missouri Farmer. When I read Mr. Heinkel's words, I felt that he had succeeded in capturing the real story of the late CLARENCE CANNON. The caption, “He Loved the Role of the Representative,” was a perfect heading for the summary of a very useful life of a great public servant.
HE LOVED THE ROLE OF THE REPRESENTATIVE
(By Fred V. Heinkel) CLARENCE CANNON was dedicated to serving the best interests of the people in his district. He did that well for nearly 42 years. Close attention to the electorate is the key to successful politics. It is the way to get elected to office. But more than that. The way Mr. CANNON practiced the art of politics, with a natural sincerity and forthrightness, not only endeared him to his district but resulted in dedicated service to all the Nation.
A national magazine once commented, “TO CLARENCE CANNON the world is bounded on the north by Missouri, on the south by Missouri, on the east by Missouri, and on the west by Missouri.”
The intent of the statement to make it appear that the Congressman was not interested in other problems—was completely wrong. I never knew a man more informed about more issues than Mr. CANNON. But this statement about his intense interest in Missouri had a deeper meaning to those who knew him well. It was just this philosophy-that he owed his first allegiance to those who sent him to Congress that made him such a valuable servant to all.
Few others have served so long in the sometimes fickle political arena. He went to Washington more than 50 years ago as secretary to Champ Clark, who at that time represented the Ninth District. A few years later he was named Parliamentarian of the House and in 1920 first published his now famous "Cannon's Procedure in the House of Representatives.” It contains the parliamentary rules by which official business of that legislative body is conducted.
In 1922 he was first elected to the House of Representatives and was reelected each term since then.
For 19 of his nearly 42 years in Congress, he was chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. There is no way to measure the invaluable contribution he has made there. His modest, unassuming manner foiled the attempt of those who would publicize him. He wasn't well known to the general public. For a man with such a powerful post, he was seldom quoted in the press. His picture was only occasionally seen in the papers or on television. He sought office not to bolster his ego but because he loved the role of the Representative. His ambition was to serve the people he'd grown up with, his friends and neighbors in the Ninth District, in Lincoln County, in Elsberry, Mo.
He wasn't a crusader, nor an innovator of great Federal projects. I can think of no particular Federal program which bears his name, or famous law he authored. But his mark is on most of them. He was in close touch with rural people. He could always be counted on to wield his powerful influence when it came to legislation for REA, soil conservation, farmer cooperatives, rural roads, agricultural research, farm price support programs, farm credit, and the numerous other important similar programs which have stood the test of time.
His readiness to do battle for any cause he judged just often provided the necessary weight to tip the scales in favor of a particular bill or halt attempts to cut appropriations for a vital program. On the other hand, his sharp pencil was a warning to those too eager to spend public moneys. He periodically took the floor of the House to deliver a lesson to his colleagues from his downto-earth store of knowledge on people and government.