CONGRESS: THE SAPLESS BRANCH by Senator Joseph S. Clark

CONGRESS: THE SAPLESS BRANCH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Joseph S. Clark, the senior Senator from Pennsylvania, contends in this book that Congress has not kept up with the times and needs to be made to meet its challenges. Otherwise, it will become, in the words of The New York Times, a branch of the Smith-sonian Institution. If this melancholy picture is not to become true, Congress must grasp and keep the initiative in the two major areas where its importance is paramount: the legislative function and the oversight function. The latter is making certain that legislative programs are being properly administered by the Executive Branch. Struggles between various Presidents and the Congress have shown that Congress has performed best under strong Presidents. However, like the serpents around Laocoon's neck, the Congressional Establishment is doing its best to stifle vigor. Composed of old die-hards long on seniority, this group is held together by the bonds of their belief in white supremacy, a stronger devotion to property rights than to human rights, support of the military, belligerency in foreign affairs and a determination to prevent Congressional reform. As Professor D.W. Brogan notes in his preface, the book is likely to be highly unpopular on the Hill because the present system suits a good many elder statesmen perfectly. However, Senator Clark ends on a confident note. Time, he feels, is on the side of reform because the leaders of the Establishment are older than the reformers. A challenging presentation for the would-be informed.

Pub Date: May 20th, 1964
Publisher: Harper & Row