Abolition of the Short Session of Congress

March 5, 1927

Report Outline
Origin of the Short Session
Filibusters in the Short Session
Representation in the Short Session
Provisions of Norris Amendment
Legislative History of Norris Amendment

The Norris constitutional amendment to abolish the short session of Congress was among the important measures that failed when the short session came to a close and the Sixty-ninth Congress passed out of existence March 4. The Norris amendment has been approved by the Senate in each of the last three Congress, While other Important measures were being obstructed, and ultimately defeated, by filibustering minorities in the Senate during the closing weeks of the last session, the Norris amendment was blocked by the failure of House leaders to bring it to a vote in the lower body in advance of the final adjournment.

In the closing hours of the session, when it became apparent that many pieces of legislation would be defeated by the filibuster against the Reed resolution to continue the “slush fund” investigation after the adjournment, Senator Norris said:

“I think, after all, it will be one good lesson if all of these things fail. There will be one lesson to the country; it will call the attention of the country to this proposed constitutional amendment, which would do away with the short session of Congress. It will call to the attention of the country the impossibility of Congress properly legislating because of the handicap of a constitutional Kind which that amendment would remedy.”

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