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Quote Author Cited
A Parliament is nothing less than a big meeting of more or less idle people. Walter Bagehot
The principles of justice are chosen behind a veil of ignorance. John Rawls
One cannot legislate problems out of existence. It has been tried. Norman Ralph Augustine
Laws, like houses, lean on one another. Edmund Burke
He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper. Edmund Burke
Laws too gentle are seldom obeyed; too severe, seldom executed. Benjamin Franklin
A majority is always better than the best repartee. Benjamin Disraeli
Exhaustion and exasperation are frequently the handmaidens of legislative decision. Barber Conable
God is in the details. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Man is the only animal that laughs and has a state legislature. Samuel Butler
No rule is so general, which admits not some exception. Robert Burton
A jackass can kick a barn down, but it takes a carpenter to build one. Sam Rayburn
The House of Lords is the British Outer Mongolia for retired politicians. Tony Benn
You had better have one King than five hundred. Charles II
Even when laws have been written down, they ought not always to remain unaltered. Aristotle
Any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a good carpenter to build one. Sam Rayburn
I learned some valuable lessons about the legislative process, the importance of bipartisan cooperation and the wisdom of taking small steps to get a big job done. Hillary Clinton
There will always be voices that basically say: Unless it's the perfect solution, we want no solution. That is unrealistic. Andrew Cuomo
The Republicans insisted on 60 days to review this deal but most of them made up their mind in less than 5 minutes. Claire McCaskill
The validity of doctrine does not depend on whose ox it gores. John Marshall Harlan
It really is not that important to most evangelicals who's governor [of Virginia]. Nothing of significance to us is decided at the Statehouse. Issues that concern us are decided at the White House and the Supreme Court. Jerry Falwell
This is beginning to sound more like a canonization hearing than a confirmation hearing. Patrick Leahy
The chairman of a committee should be in harmony with the majority who constitute it. Benjamin Franklin
It’s not the man; it’s the plan. Ossie Davis
Our legislature is a farce. The representatives of the King outnumber the representatives of the people. Akilisi Pohiva
The end of all political struggle is to establish morality as the basis for all legislation. Ralph Waldo Emerson
No group will ever be able to impose its will on me even if they number thousands. I would still order them to leave the session out of respect for the assembly's regulations. Fathi Sorour
As for life within a Legislature,— who can tell how warped and bent and twisted, and accommodated to the exigencies of party struggle become the faculties of belief? Leonard Henry Courtney
Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves. William Pitt the Younger
I admit that what you have just heard might be for the welfare of the country, were it not that the presence of despotism are always dangerous. Honore de Mirabeau; Honore Gabriel Victor Requiti
There are those who say to you we are rushing this issue of civil rights. I say we are 172 years too late. Hubert Humphrey
I was very proud of you and your vote on the McCarran Bill. I wish I could say the same for myself. Hubert Humphrey
I often envy my colleagues on the right and the left for whom no vote is hard. Susan Collins
… biennial convulsion Everett Dirksen
I should prefer to see incorporated into the Constitution a guarantee of universal suffrage; as we cannot get the required two-thirds for that, I cordially support this proposition as the next best John F. Farnsworth
I am willing . . . when I cannot get all I wish, to take what I can get. James A. Garfield
If a Statute make use of a Word the meaning of which is well-known at the Common Law, such word shall be taken in the same Sense it was understood at the common Law. Matthew Bacon
A town meeting is a legislature of citizens, for citizens, and by citizens. The fact that each citizen of the town is also a legislator separates the New England town meeting from all other forms of democracy. Frank M. Bryan
When the legislator is finally elected --- ah! then indeed does the tone of his speech undergo a radical change. The people are returned to passiveness, inertness, and unconsciousness; the legislator enters into omnipotence. Now it is for him to initiate, to direct, to propel, and to organize. Mankind has only to submit … Frederic Bastiat
The few practice lawful plunder upon the many, a common practice where the right to participate in the making of law is limited to a few persons. Frederic Bastiat
Sorry I am to hear the liberty of speech in this house, imputed as a crime. No gentleman ought to be afraid to exercise it. It is a liberty by which the gentleman who calumniates it might have profited, and by which he ought to have profited. William Pitt the Younger
Administrative tribunals did not come because anyone wanted them to come. They came because there seemed to be no other practical way of carrying on the affairs of government and discharging the duties and obligations which an increasingly complex social organization made it necessary for the government to perform....Those who have opposed the creation and extension of administrative tribunals have had the best of the argument on legal and constitutional grounds, but have been obliged to yield to an irresistible social pressure. Would it not be wise to recognize this fact, to give it a place in our legal system ... to the end that it may not become a source of tyranny and oppression? Marvin B. Rosenberry
... legislating to regulate cultural change is like lassoing a locomotive with a cobweb. George Will
Where you stand on process depends on where you stand on outcomes. Jerome Nadler
A country survives its legislation. That truth should not comfort the conservative nor depress the radical. For it means that public policy can enlarge its scope and increase its audacity, can try big experiments without trembling too much. . . Walter Lippmann
Those members of Congress who want to bring back pork to their districts should stand up proudly and be counted. Errol Louis
The country don’t need no legislation Joseph Cannon
…the War Department was…something that stood between the Army and Congress; that way to get legislation for the Army was no to try to educate Congress and the people to Army methods, but to educate the War Department to congressional methods. Johnson Hagwood
I have never seen the author of a reform bill who was able to predict accurately what would really happen when the bill was passed. Tom Cole
What is the value of bringing a bill to the floor without the members having an opportunity to read it. Jim McGovern
If I invite a lobbyist to come in and help write a bill, I have sold out…. It is my responsibility to write legislation…. I have had it up to here with bills that have been written by lobbyists to the benefit of them and the detriment of the people. Louise Slaughter
Unnecessary laws are not good laws, but traps for money. Thomas Hobbes
Legislating is perceived as governing and governing is perceived as legislating. Legislation—conceiving it, proposing it, fighting over it, winning or losing, making the proper proclamation when passed or signed—not only is the main ‘action’ seen in Washington but is the key political currency in dealing with the voting public. . . . The President must necessarily consider legislative initiatives and actions as central to his own interest and his own leadership efforts. Roy Ash
Legislating should be done in a manner that is understandable to the governed. Alan K. Simpson
People must live with the laws that we make. Howard M. Metzenbaum
We do not have to make it perfect; we just have to do as best we can. Orrin Hatch
In Congressional legislating, most of the game is played between the 30-yard lines. The great forces of inertia and compromise … in the past have frequently pushed liberal and conservative players toward the middle of the field. Steven V. Roberts
All legislation of any consequence is a compromise. You have to recognize that. Strom Thurmond
The king [Stephen ~1090-1154], by an edict published through England, called the rulers of the churches, and the chiefs of the people, to a council at London. All these coming thither, as into one receptacle, and the pillars of the churches being feated in order, and the vulgar also forcing themselves in on all hands, confusedly and promiscuously, as usual, many things were usefully proposed and happily transacted for the benefit of the church and kingdom. Anonymous
Be polite to a congressman—he may be elected president. Anonymous
Forbid a fool a thing, and that he'll do. Anonymous
He shall always stand when he speaks; the reason is that he may be heard by his peers, for all his peers are judges and justices Anonymous
Naught not to be dismissed so long as any petition remains undiscussed;, .d. Parliament;, .d. England;, .d. petitions;, .d. legislative agenda;, Naught not to be dismissed so long as any petition remains undiscussed. Anonymous
The clerks of parliament shall not deny to any one a copy of his process, but shall deliver it to whoever seeks it Anonymous
We have chosen you our next representative at the next General Assembly and when we did so we expected and still do expect that you will speak our Sense in every case when we shall expressly declare it, or when you can by any other means discover it. Anonymous
A result of accommodation and compromise cannot be supposed perfectly to coincide with any one’s idea of perfection. John Adams
How few aim at the good of the whole, without aiming too much at the prosperity of the parts! John Adams
In every assembly, members will obtain an influence by noise not sense; by meanness, not greatness. John Adams
When the snake is already in the house, one need not discuss the matter for long. African Proverb
This is a pity, for I had many other things of great interest to say. But, as my time has expired, and not wishing to further interrupt the proceedings, I would at least like to have permission to print some remarks in the [Congressional] Record and insert "laughter and applause" in appropriate places. Now I will retire to the cloak-room to receive congratulations. John Mills Allen
As to such of them as you cannot prevail with to concur you are to endeavor at least to soften them in their opposition or to get them to be absent. Anne, Queen of Great Britain
Readiness to change from old law to new law enfeebles the power of the law. Aristotle
God's greatest gift: the conference committee. Richard K. Armey
Don't call the question unless you've got the votes. Richard K. Armey
Never put a good idea into an environment that is not strong enough to support it. Richard K. Armey
You always know how many horses are in the herd. It's just a question of how long it takes to get them into the barn. Richard K. Armey
You must legislate morality. John Ashcroft
We have all the mistakes of one-sex legislation. Nancy Astor
There's no question about it, from a big picture standpoint, our No. 1 goal must remain reapportionment, because if we allow ourselves to get ruthlessly gerrymandered in reapportionment as we did last time, we can forget any reasonable chance of getting control of the U. S. House of Representatives until well into the next millennium. Lee Atwater
We did it just because it was forbidden. Saint Augustine
His laws, whoso marks them well, are deep, and not vulgar; not made upon the spur of a particular occasion for the present, but out of providence of the future, to make the estate of his people still more and more happy; after the manner of the legislators in ancient and heroical times. Francis Bacon
Abraham Lincoln and Everett Dirksen understood with singular clarity that a great and diverse people do not speak with a single voice and that adherence to a rigid ideology leaves little room for compromise and response to change. Howard Baker
We live in a world of specialists in every phase of our lives. While the congressional system with its high degree of specialization [the committee system] may appear fragmented and disorderly to those who admire the symmetry of the parliamentary system, I would submit that the congressional system is peculiarly adapted to the world in which we live today. Joseph W. Barr
Too often I have seen intelligent, experienced witnesses demolished before these [congressional] committees because they have not taken the trouble to do their homework.... [The witness] is confronted with an independent panel of specialized experts who usually possess vastly more experience than he. Joseph W. Barr
The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended Frederic Bastiat
The political party having the majority ... [will] necessarily control all the committees ... because they ... must, as a party, protect themselves against the chance of the control of the business of the body going into the hands of their opponents. James A. Bayard Jr.
Any person would like a line item veto if the chief executive at that time agrees with their particular views. Anthony Beilenson
so long as it promises to exclude some greater possible evils. Jeremy Bentham
For the first thirty years it [the House of Representatives] was the controlling branch of the government, and the one of whose action the public eye was fixed. Thomas Hart Benton
As I look back on it I am very ashamed of my vote on the McCarran Act. [He supported it.] I do have some excuses and alibis, though in retrospect they are not very good ones. William Benton
Against human nature one cannot legislate. Bernard Berenson
The Board of Education met on Tuesday evening and shamefully disappointed the hopes of the public. Not a man was called a liar, not a spitoon was cast, there was never an inkstand flung. We would like to know what these men are for, if not to furnish their quota of city amusement and contribute to the sensational literature of the town? Ambrose Bierce
Opposition: The party that prevents the government from running amuck by hamstringing it. Ambrose Bierce
In Washington it's much easier to stop something than make something happen. Jeffery Birnbaum
If we think it necessary to wage war, we shall do so with or without your consent. Otto Von Bismarck-Schoenhausen
Washington has a way of dealing with yesterday's issues. James J. Blanchard
My responsibility is not to the public. It is to the chairman alone. John Blandford
We can't get any new thinking because we can't get any new thinkers. David Boas
Take the roof off the building where they are meeting, and limit them to bread and water. Bonaventure
Certainly everyone has demonstrated their ability in legal knowledge, and wouldn't it be nice if we vote on this thing and move on? Sonny Bono
Certainly everyone has demonstrated their ability in legal knowledge, and wouldn't it be now nice if we vote on this thing and move on? Sonny Bono
The respect of the American people for the Congress has been increased. They can see the Congress as a vigilant Congress. Daniel J. Boorstin
If you love the parliamentary system and are totally devoted to it ... that has to survive above all else, above your own individual thoughts about philosophy. Betty Boothroyd
No regulation can be enforced which is not reasonable.... Unenforceable or harassing laws tend to make criminals. Louis D. Brandeis
We must be ever on our guard, lest we erect our prejudices into legal principles. Louis D. Brandeis
An investigation in which the processes of law-making and law-evaluating are submerged entirely in exposure of individual behavior—in adjudication, of a sort, through the exposure process—is outside the constitutional pale of congressional inquiry. William J. Brennan, Jr.
Legislators, influenced by the passions and exigencies of the moment, the pressure of constituents and colleagues, and the press of business, do not always pass sober constitutional judgments on every piece of legislation they enact. William J. Brennan, Jr.
It is not hard to get men to agree when the facts are known. Owen Brewster
It is the duty of parliament to look at the men as well as the measures. Henry Peter Brougham
In Sacramento you simply had to think about what the law ought to be and leave it to someone else to implement. In San Francisco, you hear about it the next day. Willie Brown
The best legislator is the one who votes for all appropriations and against all taxes. Walter P. Brownlow
The House [of Representatives] has become not so much a legislative assembly as a huge panel from which committees are selected. James Bryce
I belong to the just-wait-a-minute club. Dale Bumpers
I will not let anyone carry out hasty legislation … It must be done with reverence, slowly, one step at a time. Avraham Burg
Members will not stand with their behinds facing the speaker. Avraham Burg
In effect, to follow, not to force, the public inclination,—to give a direction, a form, a technical dress, and a specific sanction, to the general sense of the community, is the true end of legislation. Edmund Burke
In all forms of government the people is the true legislator. Edmund Burke
If you know an amendment [you are opposed to] will pass you don't want a roll call [vote] because that makes it [the amendment] harder to drop in conference. Harry F. Byrd
The higher rank of a committee member who proposes an amendment, the greater the chances of that amendment getting accepted regardless of its merit. Arthur Cameron
The reason it takes so long to pass legislation is to give each and every one of you an opportunity to be heard. Arthur Cameron
You can go to Hell! It makes no difference what a majority of you decide; I am the Committee ... Philip P. Campbell
A majority can do anything. Joseph Cannon
Nearly all legislation is the result of compromise. Joseph Cannon
Never attempt to buy the favor of your enemies at the expense of your friends. Joseph Cannon
I will not vote for any law which will make fair for me and foul for another. Joseph Cannon
When it comes to listening to my constituents or to the governor's staff, who are more interested in their pet projects and their government cars, I'll vote for my constituents every time. Gerald Cardinale
All the legislation in the world cannot fix what is wrong with America. Jimmy Carter
So you [Romans] when you have got together in a body, let yourselves be guided by those whom singly you would never think of being advised by. Marcus Porcius Cato Cato; Cato the Censor
[The] fundamental principal of all just legislation [is] that the legislature shall not take the property of A and give it to B. Salmon P. Chase
I cannot subscribe to the omnipotence of a State Legislature. Samuel Chase
[Congressional] investigations only make it look like legislators have a solution. Dick Cheney
Precedents deliberately established by wise men are entitled to great weight. They are evidence of truth, but only evidence .... a solitary precedent ... which has never been re-examined, can not be conclusive. Henry Clay
All legislation is founded upon the principle of mutual concession. Henry Clay
I have been accused of ambition in presenting this measure.... I am no candidate for any office in the gift of these States, united or separate. I never wish, never expect to be. Pass this bill, tranquilize the country, restore confidence and affection for the Union, and I am willing to go to Ashland and renounce public service forever. Henry Clay
After an existence of nearly twenty years of almost innocuous desuetude these laws are brought forth. Grover Cleveland
After an existence of nearly twenty years of almost innocuous desuetude these laws are brought forth. Grover Cleveland
The last thing you want is to have to make a decision for political purposes. Hillary Clinton
Great goals are reached step by step. Bill Clinton
A committee is a cul-de-sac down which ideas are lured and then quietly strangled. Thomas George Barnett Cocks
Not that I distrust the King, but that I cannot give trust except in a parliamentary way. Edward Coke
Getting something through the House is only half the battle. So you put things in the House bill that you know will be taken out in conference and you leave things out of the House bill that will be in the Senate bill. It's like a chess game. Tony Coleho
The science of legislation is like that of medicine in one respect: that it is far more easy to point out what will do harm than what will do good. Charles Caleb Colton
Don’t hurry to legislate. Calvin Coolidge
Men do not make laws. They do but discover them. Laws must be justified by something more than the will of the majority. They must rest on the eternal foundation of righteousness. That state is the most fortunate which has the aptest instruments for the discovery of laws. Calvin Coolidge
We have too much legislation by clamor, tumult and pressure. Calvin Coolidge
If I have to invade the sacred precincts of the White House to find out what is behind this paralysis of the Senate, I will. Norris H. Cotton
I am going to Texas, and you can go to Hell! David Crockett
Woe betide a bill that is opposed! It is laid aside for further time, and that never comes. David Crockett
I have never and never will do anything for the sake of popularity; he that steers by any other compass than his own sense of duty may be popular, but cannot be an honest and ... useful public servant. John Wilson Croker
It's harder to pass a law than stop one. Lloyd Cutler
Do you know what it takes to get a good piece of legislation passed ... one that everyone agrees on? The egos. The turf battles.... It's incredible. Alphonse D'Amato
The political equivalent of an immaculate conception: a [legislative] compromise that materializes without any politician having to take the blame. Richard G. Darman
The day of judgement is either approaching or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for adjournment. If it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. I wish, therefore, that candles be brought. Colonel Davenport
What the lawmaker has to ascertain is not the true belief but the common belief. Patrick Devlin
So different are the private Interests of Men, so various and headstrong their Passions and Lusts, that good Laws and a strict Execution of them, will probably bring upon you the odium of many. Ebenezer Devotion
A man ain't got not right to be a public man, unless he meets the public views. Charles Dickens
We have a lame-duck Congress, we have a lame-duck administration, we have a lame-duck Secretary of Defense, all of whom support this legislation. If we do not pass this bill and allow these [military] base closures to be named this year, it will be another 10 years before such an opportunity comes again. William Dickenson
You start from the broad premise that all of us have a common duty to the country to perform. Legislation is always the art of the possible. You could, of course, follow a course of solid opposition, of stalemate, but that is not in the interest of the country. Everett Dirksen
Permissive legislation is the characteristic of a free people. Benjamin Disraeli
It is much better that the House wonder why you do not speak than why you do. Benjamin Disraeli
The senator who is driving you crazy today may be with you tomorrow. Christopher Dodd
A little gridlock might be pretty good from time to time. Bob Dole
I ... can sniff out a bureaucracy when I see it coming [in new legislation.] Bob Dole
If we're going to be treated like a bunch of bums on this side of the aisle, then say so. Bob Dole
With your permission, I am going to ask Carol Hartwell from the Budget Committee, who is our staff expert on this to sit with me. In the event you are overly inquisitive, I will have to ask her for answers. Pete Domenici
Let's put aside this argument over perfect protection and concentrate on getting a whole lot of protection for a whole lot of people. David D. Doniger
[There is no] right of Congress ... to force a good thing upon a people who are unwilling to receive it. The great principle is the right of every community to judge and decide for itself whether a thing is right or wrong, whether it would be good or evil to adopt it.... Whenever you put a limitation upon the right of any people to decide what laws they want, you have destroyed the fundamental principle of self-government. Stephen Douglas
The secret to legislative success in Virginia is courtesy, patience, and persistence; you usually get what you want. You won’t get it if you scream about it, and you won’t get it if you’re not willing to wait a long time. Clive L. DuVal II
[America] is so awash in rights that we are virtually unable to pass legislation reflecting traditional religious and moral views. Moral relativism will then be the rule, at law; and what is true at law will shape what is practiced. Terry Eastland
No one's going to admit they're in favor of adulterers, although it may not be a group unfamiliar to the Senate. There have been some remarkably lecherous people in the Senate over the years. Claire Ebel
I do not object to butchering quite so much if everybody gets a fair share of the hog. But when a favored few get all the ham and pork chops, and the rest of the people get just plain old sow belly, at least the people are entitled to know what they are swallowing. Herman P. Eberharter
I hate to see the entire issue decided on as narrow a base, but ... the size of the vote is more important than the arguments that are made. Julius C. C. Edelstein
Legislatures have no right to set up an inquisition and examine into the private opinions of men. Oliver Ellsworth
Aye. Clare Engle
I asked for more information because I am unable to unscrew the inscrutable. Samuel J. Ervin Jr.
You can't possibly know everything that's in those bills ... you have to trust the leadership. Thomas Ewing
You change laws by changing lawmakers. Frances Sissy Farenthold
The main product of government is laws. Edwin Feulner
To say that sovereignty vests with the people, and that they have not a right to instruct and control their representative is absurd to the last degree. Elbridge Gerry
Decision by majorities is as much an expedient as lighting by gas. William E. Gladstone
The rankest form of hypocrisy. Laws that are good enough for everybody else ought to be good enough for us. John Glenn
At a time of tight budgets, unless something is really broken and not working, they [his congressional colleagues] just don't get excited about it. John Glenn
It used to be people came here, did their work for three months or so, then went home. Now we have these huge staffs we created and an atmosphere of being a full-time legislature.... Now things just drift without any direction or urgency. Emmanuel R. Gold
It is fundamental that the great powers of Congress to conduct war and to regulate the Nation's foreign relations are subject to the constitutional requirements of due process. The imperative necessity for safeguarding these rights to procedural due process under the gravest of emergencies has existed throughout our constitutional history, for it is then, under the pressing exigencies of crisis, that there is the greatest temptation to dispense with fundamental constitutional guarantees which, it is feared, will inhibit governmental action. Arthur Goldberg
The conference committee, that wonderful wrestling ring of compromise where House and Senate versions of bill are wrenched into law ... Ellen Goodman
You can't write laws in America if you don't compromise. Phil Gramm
You cannot dictate to those whose sense you are entrusted to represent. Henry Grattan
Our fathers waged a bloody conflict with England, because they were taxed without being represented .... They were not willing to be governed by laws which they had no voice in making; but this is the way in which women are governed in this Republic. Angelina Grimke
Out of bad motives good things often come. John Grisham
The Jacobins, finding themselves unable to manage their business on the questions in the House, have adopted a plan of meeting in divan and agreeing on measures to be pursued and passed in the House and then they vote in mass without admitting any alteration in the plan proposed. The wickedness of such a course has never been equalled.... [T]he spirit is intolerant and must lead to ruin. Roger Griswald
There are certain things that we cannot accomplish by law or by any process of government. A. Whitney Griswold
There are the rules and then there are the ways. Lena Guerrero
A voting record is your work product. It tells people where you stand on issues, and for better or worse it implies you're there doing what you're elected to do. It's the only litmus test available. Peter Franchot
Tact, respect, and generosity toward variant views will always commend themselves to those charged with the duties of legislation so as to achieve a maximum of good will and to require a minimum of unwilling submission to a general law. Felix Frankfurter
You cannot make elected officials … do what they will not do. William Frenzel
The more laws, the more offenders. Thomas Fuller
The trouble today is that we have too many laws. John Nance Garner
Mr. Speaker, I have introduced a resolution declaring July Ice Cream Month.... Ice cream is good for you.... If the legislative process frustrates you, eat ice cream. Kika de la Garza
[In drafting legislation:] There is no magic bullet to prevent judicial mistakes. Robert George
Focusing on the right question is very different from having the right answers. Richard A. Gephardt
[A] Senator who wants to stir up trouble ... can do so by introducing on the floor amendments which he was duty bound to present in committee. But presentation in committee makes no headlines. Ralph E. Flanders
We believe that a society in turmoil cannot be saved through mere legislation. Thomas Fleming
From the right to know will flow the right to demand, and get, tougher laws and safer practices. James J. Florio
Senators here were elected to the Senate and not to the caucus ... great questions of this sort should be debated in public and decided in public. Gilbert M. Hitchcock
His Majesty's Opposition John Cam Hobhouse
All free governments must consist of two councils, a lesser and a greater. David Hume
... government by commission is a boon to all members of Congress, who cringe at facing no-win situations.... It gets the job done. Henry Hyde
The opponents of direct legislation and the recall, however they may phrase their opposition, in reality believe the people cannot be trusted. Hiram Johnson
First the question shall be passed upon by the Mohawk and Seneca statesmen. Then it shall be discussed and passed by the Oneida and Cayuga statesmen. Their decision shall then be referred to the Onondaga statesmen, the Firekeepers, for their final judgment. Iroquois Nation
In all your acts, self interest shall be cast away. Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people, and have always in view not only the present, but of the coming generations. Iroquois Nation
Neither anger nor fury shall find lodging in their minds, and all their words and actions should be marked with calm deliberation. Iroquois Tribe
I consider ... the power to annul a law of the United States, assumed by one state, incompatible with the existence of the Union, contradicted expressly by the letter of the Constitution, unauthorized by its spirit, inconsistent with every principle on which it was founded, and destructive of the great object for which it was formed. Andrew Jackson
This is all that we want ... to nullify the nullifyers [in Congress]. Andrew Jackson
... we ought as Legislatures to meet with national feelings, and our Legislation ought to be for the general good; and as far as practicable equity & justice to all sections of our country. Andrew Jackson
Shame! Shame on this House! A civilized society does not stifle opposition. It meets it. Andrew Jacobs Jr.
It lies in the power of no parliament to make any kind of law or statute, without his [the king's] scepter be to it, for giving it the force of law. James I
They who make laws may without doubt amend or repeal them. John Jay
It is a duty of those entrusted with the administration of their affairs to conform themselves to the decided choice of their constituents. Thomas Jefferson
The legitimate acts of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. Thomas Jefferson
I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and Constitutions. Thomas Jefferson
The tendency of the legislation of this country is to build up monopolies, ... to concentrate power in the hands of the few. Andrew Johnson
October will not provide a wholesome atmosphere for discussion of such a question. Edwin C. Johnson
[Franklin Delano] Roosevelt started more creations than were ever finished since Genesis—and finished none. Hugh Samuel Johnson
Stroke ‘em as much as you can. Lyndon B. Johnson
No memorial oration or eulogy could more eloquently honor President Kennedy’s memory than the earliest possible passage of the civil rights bill for which he fought so long. Lyndon B. Johnson
You save my face this afternoon and I’ll save your face tomorrow. Lyndon B. Johnson
If you go with me on this one, 200 years from now, school will only remember the names of two great Republicans, Lincoln and Dirkson. Lyndon B. Johnson
It broke their virginity. Lyndon B. Johnson
Pass this bill as the memorial to our late beloved President. Lyndon B. Johnson
In all political regulations, good cannot be complete, it can only be predominant. Samuel Johnson
Nothing will ever be attempted, if all possible objections must be first overcome. Samuel Johnson
When you see a situation you cannot understand, look for the financial interest. Tom L. Johnson
When Congress writes a good law, then there are fewer lawsuits trying to interpret it. Edith Jones
If you're going to play the game properly you'd better know every rule. Barbara Jordan
The way to get things done is not to mind who gets the credit. Benjamin Jowett
Parliament is a grand inquest which has the right to inquire into anything and everything. John A. MacDonald
Whoever takes it upon himself a commonwealth and prescribe laws must presuppose all men naturally bad, and that they will yield to their innate evil passions as often as they can do so with safety. Niccolo Machiavelli
The [House of] Commons, faithful to their system, remained in a wise and masterly inactivity [during the French Revolution]. James Mackintosh
… contraband language William Maclay
Good laws derive from evil habits. Ambrosius Aurelius Theodesius Macrobius
It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood. James Madison
In all legislative assemblies, the greater the number composing them may be, the fewer will be the men who will in fact direct their proceedings. James Madison
Respect for character is always diminished in proportion to the number among whom the blame or praise is to be divided. James Madison
Their ideas may contradict the sense of the whole people; hence the consequence that instructions are binding on the representative is of a doubtful, if not a dangerous nature. James Madison
Those most adjacent to the seat of legislation will always possess advantages over others. James Madison
To have a common council of the kingdom … Magna Carta (John Lackland)
When you pass a law you don't solve the problem. You state the problem. Frank Mankewitz
Majorities without discipline are not majorities. Mike Mansfield
An opposition does more than oppose. It protects. Lynn Martin
Put people first. Lynn Martin
Laws and customs may be creative of vice; and should be therefore perpetually under process of observation and correction. Harriet Martineau
Every law enacted by the General Assembly shall embrace but one subject. Maryland
It is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail. Abraham Maslow
A dictator ... must fool all the people all the time and there's only one way to do that, he must also fool himself. W. Somerset Maugham
Being military governor was a pretty heady job. You could turn to your secretary and say, "Take a law. John J. McCloy
You don't compromise principles, but you harmonize tactics to preserve unity. John McCormack
The Congress is the place where ordinary mortals go about the business of compromise—of compromise that gets us through the day. Charles McDowell Jr.
The majority voice should be controlling ... after a full, fair, and candid expression. William McKinley
My job is to raise issues relating to class in Ireland. Liz McManus
I don't think we can let such an outlandish result stand. I think to do so is to leave every civil official in the land open for somebody to say, "Well I don't like him. Evan Mecham
The only oversight on many of these programs is what the annual review in the appropriations process gives you, because the legislative committees generally fail to do their jobs. Robert H. Michel
When legislation is rewritten in secret and passed without members even present, let alone voting ... something is wrong. Robert H. Michel
I entered Parliament with what I thought to be the lowest possible opinion of the average member. I came out with one still lower. John Stuart Mill
The influence of every mode of thinking which is shared by numbers ought to be felt in the legislature. John Stuart Mill
Congress is a collection of committees that come together in a Chamber periodically to approve one another's actions. Clement Woodnutt Miller
I'm a typical Maryland legislator. I've voted both ways on the issue. V. Mike Miller Jr.
Our whole system was to settle disputes within the [congressional] committees. It's a waste of time to bring out a bill if you can't pass it. I just don't like to have a record vote for the sake of having a vote. Wilbur Mills
Here the great art lies, to discern in what the law is to be to restraint and punishment, and in what things persuasion only is to work. John Milton
Democracy requires breeding. These illiterate peasants certainly know less about running a country than I do. Iskander Mirza
Bipartisanship means you work together to work it out. George J. Mitchell
Do you want to make a statement or do you want to make a law? George J. Mitchell
[Cost-benefit analysis is used:] ... to produce lofty academic-sounding reasons for endless inaction. George J. Mitchell
Laws should not be subtle. They are designed for people of average understanding. Charles de Montesquieu
The great advantage of representatives is their capacity of discussing public affairs. For this, the people collectively are extremely unfit, which is one of the chief inconveniences of a democracy. Charles de Montesquieu
The basic work of Congress is done in committees. Daniel P. Moynihan
This legislation is in the President's interest, if only the President could be brought to see it. Daniel P. Moynihan
We have had on our desks 800-, 900-, and 1,000 page bills. Nobody knows what was in them. No one had read them. No one could. Daniel P. Moynihan
Law that is sufficiently complex is indistinguishable from lawlessness. Charles Murray
You have come here by the sovereign will of the people to cooperate with me in carrying out the mandate recently pronounced at the polls. William Henry David Murray
Every member present must behave like a gentleman, and those who are not must try to. Fiorello H. La Guardia
Agitate, agitate, agitate. William Lamb Melbourne
We have no federal or state elections for 18 months, so there is a slight possibility of doing something at this time. Otto Lambsdorff
... one of the most vicious, most dangerous pieces of legislation against the people that has ever been passed by any Senate. William Langer
You take care of emergencies first—in life and in politics. Frank Lautenberg
It is natural for men, who wish to hasten the adoption of a measure to tell us now is the crisis—now is the crucial moment which must be seized, or all will be lost. Richard Henry Lee
Congressional anarchy must be curtailed. John F. Lehman
Senator, if you vote for us, maybe we could get a battleship into Arizona. John F. Lehman
I have neither eye to see, nor tongue to speak here, but as the House is pleased to direct me. William Lenthall
I have neither eye to see, nor tongue to speak here, but as the House is pleased to direct me. William Lenthall
If elected, I shall consider the whole people of Sangamon my constituents, as well those that oppose as those that support me. While acting as their representative I shall be governed by their will on all subjects upon which I have the means of knowing what their will is. Abraham Lincoln
Let me say right here that only unanimous consent of the states can dissolve this Union. Abraham Lincoln
No law is quite appropriate for all. Livy
We shall make reservation after reservation, amend and amend, until there is nothing left. Henry Cabot Lodge
Man, you could make a lot of friends real fast on those supercommittees. Joseph P. Kennedy III
There isn't a guy [Congressman] up there [Capitol Hill] who knows what's in this bill. James J. Kilpatrick
Legislatures now pass statutes because of, not despite, their lack of clarity. By using vague language, legislators can avoid making the difficult political choices that they have to confront when drafting a statute precisely. Alex Kozinski
Parliamentarianism is nauseating to anyone who has ever seen it at close range. Peter Kropotkin
There’s a sausage machine on Capitol Hill. We’ve given the sausage machine the right kind of ingredients. Now it’s up to the sausage machine to turn out the right kind of legislation. Andrew Card
[As the minority] you vote for the legislation that’s presented to you. That’s sometimes a very difficult choice to make. Hillary Clinton
In many of our Plantations of late Years, by bad Management and Extravagancies, the Majority of the People are become Debtors, hence their Elected Representation in the Legislature have a great Chance to be generally of the Debtors Side: or in other Words, the Representatives being generally Freeholders, and many of them much in Debt; by large Emissions their Lands rise in Denomination Value while their Debts become really less, and the Creditor is defrauded in Part of his Debt. William Douglass
it would be so dangerous for the Executive in a single Person to negative a Law that the People will not accept of it. George Mason
It is not hard to prove, that the lawmakers, in all states, have committed more, and more pernicious errors than the judges John Winthrop
There are some states where there are literally no lawyers on the state judiciary committee. Charles Gardner Geyh
The most dangerous animal is the man with emotion who wants to pass a new law. Herbert Hoover
… that beer garden on the hill Herbert Hoover
Thomas Edison invented a voting machine for legislatures. Politicians hated it. They didn’t want people to know how they voted. Harold Evans
The General Assembly shall have no power to pass laws for the emancipation of slaves Georgia
September 11 was just an excuse to expand the Patriot Act. Legislation which had been proposed for years just got stuck in. Ronald E. Paul
It would be offering an indignity to the understanding of your honorable body, to offer to prove that the laws which first sanctioned slavery were passed in a dark and barbarous age: and that were they yet to be passed, there is not a civilized legislature now upon the earth that would do it; but would humbly ask, Are these the only laws which the representative of a free and enlightened republic can not modify or repeal? Or are they to stand as lasting monuments of depravity? Elihu Embree
Statutes against Fundamental Morality are void John McLean
Whatever the People has last ordained shall be held as binding by law. Rome
It's very much simpler to get rid of any written rule you choose than it is an item of customary morality... while laws are preserved on tablets of wood or stone, customary morality is engraved deep in our living souls Diogenes
Before I became Attorney General, I won’t say that I stayed up at night worrying about civil rights Robert Kennedy
Congress, rather than administrative agencies should fashion any policy that is not only of great economic importance but also one that has divided the faiths and loyalties of classes of people. James M. Landis
Managing so many legislators is not that difficult. I have had a lot of relevant experience that prepared me for it. I used to run a group of 5 day care centers Terie Norelli
… superannuated bagmen Mordecai Richler
The Patriot Act is the most egregious piece of legislation to ever leave Congress since the Alien and Sedition Acts. John Ashcroft and every member of Congress who voted for it should be indicted. Michael Badnarik
Don’t bother interpreting the statute for us: we know it better than you do, for we made it. William Bereford
Man’s writing has but one true sense, which is that which the Author meant when he writ it. John Selden
Thomas Edison invented a voting machine so that legislators can just press a button. It was a failure. Legislators didn’t want people to know how they had voted. Harold Evans
Filibuster is nothing less than a formula for tyranny by the minority William Frist
I would like to add some legislative history at the end of my remarks. Henry Hyde
I think a people cannot be long free, nor ever happy, whose government is in one Assembly…. A single Assembly is liable to all the vices, follies and frailties of an individual,--subject to fits of humor,--starts of passions, flights of enthusiasm,--partialities of prejudice, and consequently productive of hasty results and absurd judgments. All these errors ought to be corrected, and defects supplied by some controlling power. A single Assembly is apt to be avaricious, and in time will not scruple to exempt itself from burdens, which it will lay, without compunction, upon its constituents. A single Assembly is apt to grow ambitious, and after a time will not hesitate to vote itself perpetual. Benjamin Rush
A single branch of Legislation is a many headed Monster which without any check must soon defeat the very purposes for which it was created, and its members become a tyranny dreadful in proportion to the numbers which compose it. And possessed of power uncontrolled, would soon exercise it to put themselves free from the restraint of those who made them, and to make their own political existence perpetual. William Hooper
Each house may punish, by imprisonment during their session, any person not a member, who shall be guilty of disrespect to the house, by any disorderly or contemptuous behavior in their presence; provided that such imprisonment shall not; at one time, exceed twenty-four hours. Ohio
We do not debar Congress from all action upon the freedom of speech. Legislation that abridges that freedom is forbidden, but not legislation to enlarge and enrich it Alexander Meiklejohn
Men in their private capacities may be allowed to prefer their single profit, but should consult only the general good in public councils. Charles D'Avenant
Everything appears to take long in Congress. This is democracy in action. Barack Obama
The maker of laws should not practice disputation, but should administer justice. Nor is it fitting that he should appear to have framed the law by contention, but in an orderly manner. For the transaction of public affairs does not demand, as a reward of his labors, the clamor of theatrical applause, but the law destined for the salvation of the people., The framer of laws and the dispenser of justice should prefer morals to eloquence, that his speech may be characterized rather by virtuous sentiments, than by elegance of expression. He should be more eminent for deeds than for words; and should discharge his duties rather with alacrity than with reluctance, and not, as it were, under compulsion Visigoths
The general laws of the kingdom may be enacted only with the consent of the king and the nation. If the king proposes a law, the nation accepts or rejects it; if the nation demands a law, it is for the king to consent or to reject it France Blois
restriction on the legislative power is not peculiar to the Constitution of the United States; it was borrowed from Magna Carta; was brought to America by our ancestors, as part of their inherited liberties, and has existed in all the States, usually in the very words of the great charter. It existed in every political community in America in 1787, when the ordinance prohibiting slavery north and west of the Ohio was passed Benjamin Curtis
We are not ready to accede to a principle of legislation by which the State shall take into its own hands the valuation of rent throughout Ireland. William E. Gladstone
Bribes and special deals were offered to members to say yes. Nick Smith
When the shadow of the Presidential and Congressional election is lifted we shall, I hope be in a better temper to legislate. James A. Garfield
No man with a genius for legislation has appeared in America …. Our legislators have not yet learned the comparative value of free trade and of freedom, of union, and of rectitude, to a nation. Henry David Thoreau
Much legislation is moral legislation because it conditions the action and the thought of the nation in broad and important spheres of life. George Will
There is no legislation—I care not what it is—tariff, railroads, corporations, or of a general political character, that all equals in importance the putting of our banking and currency system on the sound basis … William Howard Taft
… legislation nowadays is largely in the hands of illiterate people, and the illiterate will take good care that their illiteracy is not made a reproach on them. Katharine Fullerton Gerould
Legislation and adjudication must follow, and conform to, the progress of society. Abraham Lincoln
I am nearly broken down with labor and anxiety. I know not how to meet the present emergency, or with what weapons to beat down the Northern and Southern follies, now raging in equal extremes. Daniel Webster
This commonwealth does upon the most deliberate reconsideration declare, that the said alien and sedition laws, are in their opinion, palpable violations of the said constitution Kentucky; Thomas Jefferson
Law principally and properly seeks the common good. Planning for the common good is the task of the whole people or of someone ruling in the person of the whole people. Thus lawmaking is the task of the whole charge of the whole people; for in all other matters direction toward an end is the function of him to whom the end belongs. Thomas Aquinas
We must act today in order to preserve tomorrow. Ronald Reagan
The public happiness is the true object of legislation, and can be secured only by the masses of mankind themselves awakening to the knowledge and the care of their own interests. George Bancroft
Adopt the laws of God…until there is time to frame better Vermont
Marriage, as creating the most important relation in life, as having more to do with the morals and civilization of a people than any other institution, has always been subject to the control of the legislature. Stephen J. Field
The Republican senators are filibustering themselves out of their seats. Charles E. Schumer
Let me say … how deeply grateful all people of good will are to you for your assiduous labor and dauntless courage in seeking to make the Civil Rights Bill a reality. Martin Luther King Jr.
Spending programs always and immediately create powerful political pressures to maintain and expand them generated by those who are the direct beneficiaries. John Steele Gordon
All laws have unintended consequences. John Steele Gordon
The legislation is made up down on K street Ernest F. Hollings
No solution can be more elegant than the problem at which it is aimed allows. Barney Frank
You will always get more points for bashing the opposition than for defending the government, and practically none for giving an honest and considered reply. Mungo Wentworth MacCallum
Deals, flattery, threats and promises are part of the process, certainly; do not flinch from any opportunity to scheme and plot, however sordid and demeaning it may appear. Mungo Wentworth MacCallum
In any operation as large as that of the federal government there are always going to be anomalies, mistakes and peccadilloes. The trick is to incite so much public (or at least media) outrage about them that the government has eventually to cut its losses rather than risk continued political damage. Mungo Wentworth MacCallum
As a new member (of Parliament) you will also be instructed in the details of what is expected from you as a backbencher…. It will be made clear to you that your role in the decision-making process is to raise your hand when you are told to and to occupy your seat in the house when it is required. Mungo Wentworth MacCallum
The legislative body possesses with us a great advantage over that of those countries where it may be adjourned or dissolved at the pleasure of the executive authority. It is self-moving and self-dependent. Although it may be convened by the executive, it cannot be adjourned or dissolved by it. William Rawle
Islam leaves no room of human legislation in an Islamic state, because herein all legislative functions vest in God and the only function left for Muslims lies in their observance of the God-made law. Sayyid Abul Ala Al-Maududi; Maududi
Measures—not men. William Wilberforce
You’re either for civil rights or you’re not. You’re either the party of Lincoln or you’re not. By God, put up or shut up! Lyndon B. Johnson
Why we should put ourselves out of our way to do anything for posterity, for what has posterity ever done for us? Boyle Roche
The legislative department is everywhere extending the sphere of its activity and drawing all power into its impetuous vortex. James Madison
Good laws are produced by bad actions. Ambrosius Theodosius Macrobius
What has the filibuster become? The filibuster has become a tool for slowing everything down…a tool by which one senator who announces that his object is to impose gridlock on the Senate, can do so. Tom Harkin
In this Congress, we are not obliged to be bound by the dead hand of the past Congress Robert Byrd
We’ve got to end the 3 day work week. Lamar Alexander
In the United States Senate we have to break the culture of procrastination. Ron Wyden
The minority in the Senate has the power to prevent the majority from acting. Tom Udall
The Senate should not be a graveyard for good ideas. Tom Udall
It may be truly said of every government, as well as of that of the United States, that it has only a right to pass such laws as are necessary and proper to accomplish the objects entrusted to it. For no government has a right to do merely what it pleases Alexander Hamilton
If, after a full and fair experiment shall be made of voting by ballot aforesaid, the same shall be found less conducive to the safety or interest of the State than the method of voting viva voce, it shall be lawful and constitutional for the legislature to abolish the same. New York State
Congress doesn’t quite speak clearly much of the time. Linda Greenhouse
We know that the Senator does not read every word of legislation. Just as the CEO of General Motors does not attach every nut and bolt to a car. Stephen Breyer
If you get anything done, you will be criticized Saxbe Chambliss
The filibuster of federal district and circuit judges cannot stand. ... It's bad for the institution. It's wrong. It's not supportable under the Constitution. And if they insist on persisting with these filibusters, I'm perfectly prepared to blow the place up. Trent Lott
We can’t write a tax law that their lawyers can’t get around. Lloyd Doggett
If certain selected bodies of men, deputed on these principles, determine contrary to the wishes and expectations of their constituents, the people have an undoubted right to reject their decisions, to call for a revision of their conduct, to depute others in their room, or if they think proper, to demand further time for deliberation on matters of the greatest moment: … Mercy Otis Warren
I am against an adjournment. The day of judgment is either approaching, or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause of an adjournment: if it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. I wish therefore that candles may be brought. Abraham Davenport
I have no right, for the sake of carrying a measure, or stirring up excitement, or swaying the popular opinion, to urge, as a matter of universal obligation, what God has left as a matter to be decided by every man’s conscience Francis Wayland
Were we to slumber in indolence or fold up our arms and proclaim to the world that we are palsied by the will of our constituents, would it not be to cast away the bounties of Providence and doom ourselves to perpetual inferiority. John Quincy Adams
You use whatever lever you have. Jesse Helms
The Democratic support against Barker [72 to 25] was so strong that they didn't even need us Republicans. Joe L. Heaton
... a consolidation of unchecked and despotic power in the House of Representatives ... Rutherford B. Hayes
There are two kinds of horses; there are show horses, and there are work horses, and you've got to decide in the United States Senate whether you want to be a show horse or a work horse. Carl Trumbull Hayden
From time to time we must remind ourselves that the President has a role in the legislative process. Mark Hatfield
Some people may call it a filibuster. I call it an extended educational dialogue. Orrin Hatch
I consider the veto power ... to be used only ... to protect the Constitution from violation; secondly, the people from effects of hasty legislation where their will has been probably disregarded or not well understood; and thirdly, to prevent the effects of combinations violative of the rights of minorities. William Henry Harrison
The resolution to avoid evil is seldom framed till the evil is so far advanced as to make avoidance impossible. Thomas Hardy
You've got to pass legislation fast and not give the special interests time to cut you up. Tom Harkin
Taxes are not something that lends to experimentation. You want to go slow, you could knock the whole economy into a cocked hat with experimentation. Seymour Halpern
In the legislature promptitude of decision is oftener an evil than a benefit. Alexander Hamilton
Men will pursue their interest. It is as easy to change human nature as to oppose the strong current of selfish passions. A wise legislature will gently divert the channel, and direct it, if possible, to the public good. Alexander Hamilton
I am president of Congress, not the director of an insane asylum. Ulysses Guimaraes
There is a snail-paced gait for the advance of new ideas on the general mind under which we must acquiesce. A forty years' experience of popular assemblies has taught me that you must give them time for every step you take. If too hard pushed, they balk, and the machine retrogrades. Thomas Jefferson
Various checks are opposed to every legislative proposition. Factions get possession of the public councils, bribery corrupts them, personal interests lead them astray from the general interests of their constituents; and other impediments arise, so as to prove to every practical man, that a law of limited duration is much more manageable than one which needs a repeal Thomas Jefferson
To secure the ground we gain, and gain what more we can, is, I think, the wisest course Thomas Jefferson
The childlike confidence which many people possess in the efficacy of a new law would be amusing if it were not so serious in its harmful effects. Karl T. Frederick
Fairness is important and getting rid of promises you can’t keep is important Warren Buffett
I’m trying to think of one. Michele Bachmann
A sugar-coated Satan sandwich If you look between the buns, the contents are antithetical to everything the great religions teach Emanuel Cleaver II
One problem can stop a whole agreement. Harry Reid
In Washington the word “compromise” has come to mean “surrender.” You just can’t do it Michael Duffy
Because I believe in democracy. Although I am the Majority Leader, I am not a dictator who should determine what bills Senators have a right to vote upon Dean G. Skelos
The legislature cannot transfer the power of making laws to any other hands, for it being but a delegated power from the people, they who have it cannot pass it over to others. John Locke
Harsh personal attacks on one’s motives drown out the quiet process of debate. James C. Wright Jr.
The Internal Revenue Code is like a tire that has been patched over and over…. At this point however, it is more patch than tire. Arthur Auerbach
Any legal system developed by the human community, being as it is a fruit of historical development, carries a seal of limitation and imperfection. Russian Orthodox Church
The purpose of privilege is not to place parliamentarians above the law, but rather to allow them to carry out their duties independently and effectively, in the national interest. John Allen Fraser
The House Of Commons has never been a tea-party. It consists of strong-minded, often very idealistic people, who are trying to accomplish something for our country. We are inheritors of an adversarial system and that, in itself, fosters conflict. John Allen Fraser
The very existence of a bicameral legislature is itself another defense of the status quo. Thomas Eugene Flanagan
I disagree that I'm on the wrong side. I'm just not on your side. Francis Escudero
The greatest respect you can give your political adversaries is to give them your undivided attention. If you want them to hear you, you have to be willing to hear them. Ronald V. Dellums
We have become so cynical that we are always challenging each other’s motives and in very few instances do we engage in an intelligent argument in the substance of the argument. Ronald V. Dellums
Arguments are made in Washington with very few facts behind them. Neera Tanden
Pi is exactly equal to 3.2 Edwin Johnston Goodwin
Has Washington become so dysfunctional that even when we all agree on something, we can’t get it done? Barack Obama
Rules should not be barriers; they should be guides. Thomas Reid
Members of Congress don’t read the bills. Neil Voltz
The President sets the policies and Congress does not. Our lawmakers in Washington ratify and implement what the President wants, but if he is a strong leader and can hold his own party together, even with the majority of the opposition against him he usually can win over enough members of Congress to carry what legislation he really feels is essential. Eleanor Roosevelt
It won't do just to pass harmless legislation. It will have to be really good legislation. Eleanor Roosevelt
All of us know that any substantial block of votes can cause trouble in the French legislature because practically any French government has to have the votes of many groups to have a majority. Eleanor Roosevelt
There is one thing, too apt to be forgotten, which it much behooves us to remember: In the Colonies, as everywhere else in this world, the vital point is not who decides, but what is decided on! Thomas Carlyle
The Senate is indeed a deliberative body, and that quality serves the nation well. A slow-moving government helps us maintain a stable government. But slow moving is not the same as immobile. John C. Danforth
I’m going to passing the Civil Rights Bill and not change one word of it. I’m not going to cavil, and I’m not going to compromise. Lyndon B. Johnson
Large sustainable measures are seldom built on slim majorities. William Galston
In opposition, there's not much one can do. One doesn't have the carrot and one doesn't have the stick. One can't promote and one can't fire. And persuasion has its limits. John Napier Wyndham Turner
Let the filibuster be no more. Let the people decide. John Lewis
We are naming the law The Lilly Ledbetter Act. We members of Congress don’t usually name our laws for people like you. We name them for ourselves. George Miller
The New Englander is attached to his township because it is strong and independent; he has an interest in it because he shares in its management; he loves it because he has no reason to complain of his lot; he invests his ambition and his future in it; in the restricted sphere within his scope, he learns to rule society; he gets to know those formalities without which freedom can advance only through revolutions, and becoming imbued with their spirit, develops a taste for order, understands the harmony of powers, and in the end accumulates clear, practical ideas about the nature of his duties and the extent of his rights. Alexis de Tocqueville
Technology will move faster than governments, so don't legislate before you understand the consequences. Eric Schmidt
When you pass legislation, it is not tied to a particular problem. It can have unintended consequences. David LaBahn
The legislator commands the future. Louis Antoine de Saint-Just
Man was born for peace and liberty, and became miserable and cruel only through the action of insidious and oppressive laws. And I believe therefore that if man be given laws which harmonize with the dictates of nature and of his heart he will cease to be unhappy and corrupt. Louis Antoine de Saint-Just
It is time that we labored for the happiness of the people. Legislators who are to bring light and order into the world must pursue their course with inexorable tread, fearless and unswerving as the sun. Louis Antoine de Saint-Just
When a people, having become free, establish wise laws, their revolution is complete. Louis Antoine de Saint-Just
You cannot make a perfect law, but you can make a perfectible law. Ruth Dreifuss
Nobody was really happy but everyone could accept. Ruth Dreifuss
Laws were passed, not only for national objectives but for individual cases, and laws were most numerous when the commonwealth was most corrupt. Cornelius Tacitus
What is today supported by precedents will hereafter become a precedent. Cornelius Tacitus
There are lots of colleagues for whom I have a great deal of personal affection. But they’re not necessarily the people I go do to get something done. John McCain
We’ve been through the House. We’ve been through the Senate. We’ve been through the rantings and ravings. The time is now. John McCain
We are in an age of floating coalitions. Someone may be with you on one issue and against you on the next. David Gergen
I get terribly frustrated on the floor when I can't find out what I'm voting on. Lee H. Hamilton
When I cease to harmonize with the majority ... I feel that I ought no longer to hold that respectable position [Senate Commerce Committee chairman.] Hannibal Hamlin
The language of the law must not be foreign to the ears of those who are to obey it. Learned Hand
Let us give our Republic not the best possible laws but the best which they will bear. William George Vernon Harcourt
You cannot govern the United States from one house of the Congress. Charles Krauthammer
If you can’t learn to compromise an issue without compromising yourself then you better not be a legislator and you better not marry. Alan K. Simpson
If somebody feels strongly enough to be willing to stop the Senate, he should at least be required to be on the floor and explain why. Ben Nelson
unconstitutional, unnecessary, extrajudicial Andrew Johnson
As manners make laws, so manners likewise repeal them. Samuel Johnson
You used to get legislation done by getting the moderates to agree. But we have no moderates now so it doesn’t get done Peter Orszag
There is no such thing as suicide in any provision of the Constitution. Thomas Reid
… vice came in always at the door of necessity, not at the door of inclination. Daniel Defoe
Every one wanted to say so much that no one said anything in particular. Rudyard Kipling
As good government is an empire of laws, how shall your laws be made? In a large society, inhabiting an extensive country, it is impossible that the whole should assemble to make laws. The first necessary step, then, is to depute power from the many to a few of the most wise and good. John Adams
If we’re going to do all the things that the Constitution says that legitimately we can do as a country, … we have to be able to have a Congress where people can talk together like our Founding Fathers did. Marvin Henry “Mickey” Edwards
Shrewd and crafty politicians, when they wish to bring about an unpopular measure, must not go straight forward to work, if they do they will certainly fail; and failures to men in power, are like defeats to a general, they shake their popularity. Therefore, since they cannot sail in the teeth of the wind, they must tack, and ultimately gain their object, by appearing at times to be departing from it. Charles Caleb Colton
A man with a club is a law-maker. Jack London; John Griffith
It usually takes a hundred years to make a law, and then, after it has done its work, it usually takes a hundred years to get rid of it. Henry Ward Beecher
There never was a law yet made, I conceive, that hit the taste exactly of every man, or every part of the community; of course, if this be a reason for opposition, no law can be executed at all without force George Washington
I am not using the word slavery. I am simply reading from the petitions I have received from my constituents wishing Congress to redress their grievances. John Quincy Adams
Good laws lead to the making of better ones; bad ones bring about worse. Jean Jacques Rousseau
Our words must be judged by our deeds; and in striving for a lofty ideal we must use practical methods; and if we cannot attain all at one leap, we must advance towards it step by step, reasonably content so long as we do actually make some progress in the right direction. Theodore Roosevelt
Legislative bodies have tended more and more to become wholly inefficient for the purposes of legislation. The prime feature in causing this unhealthy growth has been the discovery by minorities that under the old rules of parliamentary procedure they could put a complete stop to all legislative action... If the minority is as powerful as the majority there is no use of having political contests at all, for there is no use in having a majority. Theodore Roosevelt
Legislation is a matter of more or less intelligent improvisation aiming at palliating conditions by means of patchwork policies. John Dewey
We are there to be an opposition to the Democratic philosophy and the only way to do that is through confrontation. Tom DeLay
Our great committee is too unwieldy for this operation. A great, clumsy machine is applied to the slightest and most delicate operations--the hoof of an elephant to the strokes of mezzotinto. Fisher Ames
When you're going to pass legislation that will cover 300 [million] American people in different ways it takes a long time to do the necessary administrative steps that have to be taken to put the legislation together to control the people. John Dingell
A wise king must do less in altering his laws than he may; for new government is ever dangerous … Francis Bacon
Ask of politicians the end for which laws were originally designed, and they will answer that the laws were designed as a protection for the poor and weak against the oppression of the rich and powerful. But surely no pretense can be so ridiculous Edmund Burke
Liberty is best preserved, where the legislative power is lodged in several persons, especially if those persons are of different ranks and interests; for where they are of the same rank, and consequently have an interest to manage peculiar to that rank, it differs but little from a despotical government in a single person. Joseph Addison
Let the other side also have a hearing. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it. John Kerry
It’s tough for Washington to pass complicated legislation. David Brooks
The filibuster is a classic form of passive aggression in politics. If you will lose the vote…, you don’t let it go up for s vote. You stifle it… It’s a way to thwart something rather than doing something you want. Scott Wetzler
In a parliamentary system, the opposition would make an explicit case against the governing party’s policies and hope that voters shift their support in the next election, But in a non-parliamentary system such as ours, a unified opposition can try something different. It can keep those policies from being implemented, often through means that leave few fingerprints. Norman Ornstein
The question is, where do you draw the line between someone trying to thwart the other person because they want to thwart something they don’t agree with, as opposed to just wanting to thwart him. When the struggle is an end, not just a means to an end. Scott Wetzler
The filibuster is being abused to create gridlock and prevent the Senate from doing the people's business. Instead of being a deliberative body, the Senate has become a deadlocked body. CNN
Legislation is the art of compromise. Harry Reid
I think Americans all across this country want more of those types of delaying tactics to slow down this runaway train of massive Federal spending. Stephen Joseph Scalise
Compromise today is too often applauded simply for itself. The cost of compromise to principles and real lives doesn't seem to matter. Elizabeth Edwards
There is no fairness in partisan politics. Darrell Issa
While Zinoviev is in the majority he is for iron discipline.... When he is in the minority... he is against it. Anastas Ivanovich Mikoyan
I am a Republican who is prepared to compromise—and contrary to the current misconceptions, compromise is not a capitulation of one’s principles Olympia Snowe
Corporations write the legislation. They vote on the legislation. And they give advice on how to pass their bills. Mark Pocan
The filibuster has only been around for 2564 years. Robert Byrd
One has to be available, very much available, and ready to protect the interests of his colleagues. Robert Byrd
We want to respond quickly to urgent needs, but a speedy response should not be used as an excuse to trample full and free debate. Robert Byrd
Never have I seen such a monstrous piece of legislation. Without a single committee hearing we are being asked to vote on that 484 pages. They think we will all go along with it. I read in the paper that nobody will have the courage to vote against it. Well, Robert Byrd is going to vote against it because I don't know what I am voting for. Robert Byrd
It is not the function of our government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error. Robert Houghwout Jackson
Consensus is the essence of the legislative process. David Broder
Democracy derailed …. An alternative form of government …. The initiative process has become a tool for millionaires and rich special interests. David Broder
Sometime between elections we should concentrate on doing something. Thomas S. Foley
The legislative agenda reflects the complication of society. Thomas S. Foley
The power of recognition gives you the power to set the agenda. Thomas S. Foley
We'll vote when we have the votes. Thomas S. Foley
A system that is built on checks and balances does not do well in an ideological climate. James P. Moran
I can attest to the very real potential for unnecessary pain, suffering, and death when the work of public-health officials is curtailed. David Satcher
If you really want to get something done in Washington, it has to be done in a bi-Partisan way. Mark Pryor
When people complain to me as they frequently do that laws such as the social Security Act are faulty in certain points, I wonder why they expect them to be anything else for in the case of legislation dealing with entirely new objectives the methods chosen are quite probable to prove faulty when actually in operation. It is one of the cases where one must learn as one goes along and use the experience one acquires to constantly improve on what must be begun purely on theory. Eleanor Roosevelt
Everything comes at a price and I’m going to use the debt limit to extract things out of you that I would not otherwise get. John Boehner
There has never been a major program in this country that when it was first passed, didn’t have glitches in it. Richard Trumka
We took away government’s power to bring down the price of drugs using its buying power. Nonetheless, the Affordable Health Care Act is a great step forward. Richard Trumka
The website they can fix. We must deny them the opportunity to fix the law itself. Erick Erickson
If I could solve these problems with passing laws in the Congress, I would do so. Barack Obama
You start as far to the right as you can get, and go to the Conference Committee with the Senate, and hopefully end up with something you can live with. Blake Farenthold
Public opinion is very important in the United States. It affects the way Congress deals with issues. Dick Cheney
The most unquestionable right may be rendered doubtful, if once admitted to be a subject of controversy John C. Calhoun
Men cannot go straight forward, but must regard the obstacles which impede their course. Inconsistency consists in a change of conduct when there is no change in circumstances which justify it. John C. Calhoun
The greatest single virtue of a strong legislature is not what it can do, but what it can prevent. J. William Fulbright
Our system of checks and balances makes it simpler to stop bills than enact them. Henry Waxman
Representative democracy betrays the electorate when laws have no roots in the people but in oligarchies. Alfred Maurice de Zayas
This is good government. We have divided government. To make divided government work you can’t ask each other to compromise core principles…. We ask each other to find common ground for the common good. Paul Ryan
I don’t care how long it takes. I don’t care if the Senate doesn’t do one other piece of business this year. You’ve got to keep this bill on the floor. You can tell Mansfield [the Senate Majority Leader] … The President of the United States doesn’t care if this bill is there forever. We are not going to have anything else hit the floor until this bill is passed. Lyndon B. Johnson
You save my face this afternoon and I’ll save your face tomorrow…. I don’t give a damn about the details …. I just want you to work it out. Lyndon B. Johnson
It is not force or fear, but belief in the inherent equality of man induces me to support this legislation. William Moore McCulloch
Unless we have the Republicans joining us and helping us … we’ll have a mutiny in this goddamned country. So we’ve got to make this an American bill and not just a Democratic bill … It doesn’t do any good to have a law like the Volstead Act if you can’t enforce it Lyndon B. Johnson
That is a good bill. If you can beat it, go on and beat it, but you ought to give me a fair shake. Lyndon B. Johnson
I’ll give you anything including creating a new judgeship if it’s necessary for you. Lyndon B. Johnson
We are going to get the Civil Right Bill! Dirksen is going to come out in support…. and don’t ask me what I had to give him. Lyndon B. Johnson
I have not had the opportunity to deliver a funeral oration, but I hope to speak very eloquently in one word, in fact, in one syllable when I say “Aye” for the resolution. Charles Joelson
With this bill we are waste deep in manure instead of being neck deep. Hooray I guess. Jim McGovern
If members of Iran's parliament are prevented from criticizing the judiciary, then they should close down the parliament. Ali Motahari
It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be ... This, in turn, means that our statesmen, our businessmen, our everyman must take on a science fictional way of thinking Isaac Asimov
Divisiveness is the only thing that sells today. Comity dies not sell. Civility does not sell. James Baker
He [Theodore Roosevelt] acted upon the maxim that half a loaf is better than no bread. I believe that half a loaf is fatal whenever it is accepted at the sacrifice of the basic principle sought to be attained. . . . A half-way measure never fairly tests the principle and many utterly discredit it. Robert M. La Follette
No law shall be enforced without the approval of the Duma [parliament]. Nicholas II
I've never believed in seeking perfection at the risk of losing everything. Jean Chretien
I never will support any Government in fraudulently concealing from the King the rights of his people. Walter Hussey Burgh
All dance halls, whether or not in the control of the clergy, should close not later than midnight in winter and 1 AM in summer. Joseph Walsh
Who does not know that the appointment to the Presidential chair is impossible without intrigue. By such means the Assembly is mastered, commissions selected, and reports concluded…. The Assembly is forced into discussing matters in such a way that the fate of the People is always decided by recommended opinion of the few. Have the People elected their representatives merely to succumb to the influence of these few. Pieter Vreede
We senators love to make tough speeches but hate to make tough votes. Bob Dole
In the supreme struggle of social order against anarchy, we cannot deny to the champions of civilized society the moral latitude which is by common consent accorded to armed men fighting for their country against a foreign foe. Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess Salisbury
Our country must be strong enough to solve problems, and that means we must learn how to work together again. Gabrielle Giffords
We could have beaten John Kennedy on Civil Rights. We can’t beat Lyndon Johnson. He’s a man who understands power and how to use it. He’ll tear your arm off at the shoulder and beat you over the head with it, but he’ll get the votes. We’re going to lose to Lyndon Johnson. Richard B. Russell Jr.
England is the mother of Parliaments. John Bright
Confidence in the future -- Hope -- gives power to individuals and communities. It is that which enables the poor man to become rich, and the character of all legislative action is to be judged by its greater or lesser tendency to produce this effect. Henry Charles Carey
If you are going to vote against your administration, vote and get the hell out of there Leon Panetta
Washington is not the problem; the Congress is the problem. Gerald R. Ford
The founders designed a government in which it was easier to do nothing than it was to do a great deal all at once. Gerald R. Ford
The veto forces Congress to take another look at legislation that has been passed… Gerald R. Ford
We can all do that. Monkeys do that. I want legislation, not applause. Mario Cuomo
Measures not men William Pitt the Younger
Compromise used to mean that half a loaf was better than no loaf. Among modern statesmen it really seems to mean that half a loaf is better than a full loaf. Gilbert K. Chesterton
I'd like to work on having every fourth year become a year in which no laws are made, but the old laws are reviewed, updated, or deleted as needed. That way we won't get endless, obsolete laws piling up on the books. Jesse Ventura
The wheels of compromise lose traction as Congress sinks into an ooze of dysfunction. Jonathan Rauch
You don’t hold Presidential nominees for Attorney General hostage to other issues. Barack Obama
Hitler does not wait for congress. Harry Hopkins
We've got to get everything we want—a works program, social security, wages and hours, everything—now or never. Harry Hopkins
A plural Legislature is as necessary to good Government as a single Executive. It is not enough that your Legislature should be numerous; it should also be divided. Numbers alone are not a sufficient Barrier against the Impulses of Passion, the Combinations of Interest, the Intrigues of Faction, the Haste of Folly, or the Spirit of Encroachment. One Division should watch over and control the other, supply its Wants, correct its Blunders, and cross its Designs, should they be made up of the Portions of Sense and Knowledge which each Member brings to it. Benjamin Franklin
I cannot help expressing a wish that every member ... doubt a little of his own infallibility ... and put his name on this instrument. Benjamin Franklin
Never contradict anybody. Benjamin Franklin
We assemble parliaments and councils, to have the benefit of their collected wisdom; but we necessarily have, at the same time, the inconvenience of their collected passions, prejudices and private interests. Benjamin Franklin
Those who govern, having much business on their hands, do not generally like to take the trouble of considering and carrying into execution new projects. The best public measures are therefore seldom adopted from previous wisdom, but forced by the occasion. Benjamin Franklin
In circumstances involving dramatic technological change, the best solution to privacy concerns may be legislative. A legislative body is well situated to gauge changing public attitudes, to draw detailed lines, and to balance privacy and public safety in a comprehensive way. Samuel Alito
[…] over the past decade, we’ve argued in court in favor of administrative latitude in decision-making. Now, by asserting the primacy of states rights, we’re flipping that argument on its head. How do we go back to all these cases where we’ve been arguing for executive discretion and say, “Oops, we didn’t mean it”? Eliot Spitzer
The following are now capital crimes against the Revolution: o impairing the purity and energy of the Revolutionary government o corrupting the public conscience o depraving morals o spreading false news o slandering patriotism France
The President [Donald Trump] asked me to look you square in the eye and to say taht he hoped you voted no on this bill so he could run a primary challanger against you in 2018, Mick Mulvaney
The administrative state poses a grave threat to our values of personal liberty. Neil Gorsuch
We're going to be living with Obsmscare for teh forseeable future. Paul Ryan
I would shoot him in self defense. Matt Rinaldi
Since 17-year-olds can join the military, there is no way our legislature is going to tell [them] they’re old enough to risk their lives for our country but they’re too young to get married. David Bates
The Republican Health Care Plan has three problems. It isn’t healthy, it is not caring and there is no plan. Mark Shields
I don't know anyone who voted today [in the Senate] who knew what he was voting on. Jon Tester
Things happen slower than you think that they will, but when they do occur, they happen much faster than you think they will. Rudi Dornbusch
I don’t think we can pass a law that fixes stupid. Greg Walden
We cannot solve a problem until we understand the full extent of the problem. Dave Camp
I prefer a simple bill which deals with a single basic issue. When you add new provisions to a bill you develop a larger coalition of opposition. Each new provision brings in more opponents who combine with the existing opponents until you no longer can pass the law. Will Herd
This is a huge victory. There is now doubt about it--a huge victory. This the repeal and the end of ObamaCare. Donald Trump
In evaluating any given claim of misconduct, we will be ill served in the long run if we abandon the presumption of innocence and fairness, tempting though it may be. We must always remember that it is when passions are most inflamed that fairness is most in jeopardy. Susan Collins
The world has changed. People who care nothing about norms can no longer be dismissed as a fringe. For generations, left-wing activists have instructed students and other groups that norms are the building blocks of a rigged system that deprives them of power and denies their “selfless” desires. We don’t want to acknowledge what this has wrought. We have norms because they safeguard foundational principles, such as due process, the presumption of innocence, and freedom from unreasonable and unwarranted police prying. But the Left is no longer attached to those principles. Andrew C. McCarthy