Congress Makes a Law: The Story behind the Employment Act of 1946

By Stephen Kemp Bailey | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIVE
The Lib-Lab Lobby

. . . there can be no doubt that the power of the lobbyist consists in part . . . in the facility afforded him by the Committee system. -- Wilson, Congressional Government, p. 189.

THE TITLE of this chapter was chosen with more in mind than a flippant alliteration. It is true that we are about to study the combined pressures of liberal and labor organizations in relation to the Full Employment Bill. It is also true, however, that there is a striking parallel between the aims and methods of these organizations, and the aims and methods of the so-called "Lib-Labs" of late nineteenth century Britain. The latter represented a coalition of reform interests which had as their objectives: ". . . to secure the return of workingmen to Parliament, to promote the registration of working class voters throughout the country 'without reference to their opinion or party bias,' and to recommend to the support of the working-class electors, candidates whose attitudes on labour questions commended them to the movement."1 There was no thought of a third party. "The working-class candidates desired to run as Liberals, and, if elected, to sit as Members of the Liberal Party."2

Although the latter-day Lib-Labs in America have not been particularly concerned with electing workingmen to Congress, they have been concerned with "getting out the vote" and electing to

____________________
1
G. D. H. Cole, A Short History of the British Working Class Movement 1789-1937 ( London, 1937), p. 113.
2
Ibid.

-79-

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