This Universal Newsreel describes a day of decision on Capitol Hill as the Senate clears the way for the 1964 Civil Rights Act by voting to limit debate on the measure. GOP leader Edward Dirksen and Democratic Whip Hubert Humphrey muster enough votes to invoke cloture, meaning each senator is restricted to one hour of talk on the bill.
Cloture Vote Limits Debate on Civil Rights Bill
ED HERLIHY, narrator:
It’s the day of decision on Capitol Hill, as the US Senate clears the way for the Civil Rights Bill by voting to limit debate on the measure. GOP leader Edward Dirkson, left, and Democratic Whip Hubert Humphrey mustered four more than the necessary majority to invoke cloture. This means each senator is restricted to one hour of talk on the bill. Senator Humphrey was asked if he thought that the bill would now be passed in its present form.
Senator HUBERT HMPRHEY: Yes I am. I’m confident that no single section if this bill will be deleted, that none of the enforcement powers will be taken out or weakened. If there are any amendments, I would consider them to be of a rather minor nature, and I don’t see the prospect of very many amendments to this bill.
NARRATOR: Leader of the opposition to the Civil Rights Bill is Senator Richard Russell of Georgia. He is asked this question:
Reporter: Senator Russell, do you feel, sir, that this large vote for cloture means automatic passage of the Civil Rights Bill.
Senator RICHARD RUSSELL: Well of course it does show that great strength in the Senate for the bill, but I do not think that it means automatic passage of the bill in its present form. We have a large number of amendments there and we intend to see that the Senate goes on record on practically all of those amendments. We have lost a battle, of course, but we are not yet ready to surrender in our position of this bill, which we feel is a perversion of the American way of life and a great blow at the right of dominion over private property that has been the genesis of our greatness.
Editor's Note: This act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 2, 1964. It made discrimination in public places unlawful. It required schools and other public places to be integrated. It made job discrimination unlawful. This document was the most far-reaching civil rights legislation since the Reconstruction Era.