Calvin Coolidge Says, April 17, 1931

Date: April 17, 1931

Location: Northampton, MA

(Original document available here)

A member of Congress has suggested the possibility of going outside the membership of the House in electing a Speaker. Probably such action would be legal. Knowing the resourcefulness of Representatives, it would be hazardous to say such action has not been before considered. If so, it was rejected.

Every one with any information on national political affairs knows that there are many men in the House qualified to discharge the great office of Speaker. No one without actual experience on the floor and intimate knowledge of the traditions of procedure could hope for success in the chair. Besides, the Speaker has always exercised legislative functions in connection with his office. That seems necessary if he is to have any power beyond that of a moderator. Custom and usage are so important in guiding human action that much would be lost and little could be gained if a Speaker were not also a Representative. But if the House should look with any favor on this suggestion there are two men excellently qualified and available. One is the former Speaker Frederick H. Gillett and the other is Judge Finis J. Garrett, who was floor leader of the Democratic party before he went on the bench.

Citation: Calvin Coolidge Says: Dispatches Written by Former-President Coolidge and Syndicated to Newspapers in 1930-1931 (Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation)

The Coolidge Foundation gratefully acknowledges the volunteer efforts of Frank Harder who prepared this document for digital publication.

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