In his March 27 letter, Mr. Chapin states “(Republicans) … fought (against) and used the same tactics on Medicare, Social Security and civil rights.” Not true, as the facts show.
President Johnson’s 1964 civil rights bill was dead in the Senate as Democrats filibustered. Democratic Senators Humphrey and Mansfield joined Republican Senators Dirksen and Kuchel to craft a bipartisan bill.
The bipartisan cloture vote by Republicans (82 percent, 27 ayes) and Democrats (66 percent, 44 ayes) ended the 54-day filibuster. The bipartisan civil rights bill passed; Republicans 82 percent, 27 ayes, and Democrats 69 percent, 46 ayes. Republican votes gave the cloture and the bill the necessary 60 votes. President Johnson had encouraged bipartisanship and now praised both Republicans and Democrats.
The 1964 elections increased the Democrats’ huge majority in both houses, but the 1964 bipartisanship atmosphere continued. The 1965 Medicare bill, written by Democrats and Republicans, passed the Senate with 57 Democratic ayes and 13 Republican ayes. Once again, Republican support gave the bill the needed 60 votes. In the House, 80 percent of Republicans and 63 percent of Democrats voted aye.
It is unfortunate that President Obama and Democratic Senate and House leadership forgot the 1964 and 1965 bipartisanship lessons.