WASHINGTON (Jun. 8)
The House of Representatives was forced today to defer action on a bill to honor the late Rep. John E. Rankin, of Mississippi, because three members objected to inclusion of the measure on the consent calendar, owing to the Rankin legacy of religious and racial prejudice. The bill would have named a new Veterans Hospital at Jackson, Miss., for the Congressman who frequently took the floor of the House to vilify minority groups.
Rep. Seymour Halpern, New York Republican and member of the Committee on Veterans Affairs, led the objections. He said Congress would do “a grave injustice to name a Veterans Hospital treating veterans of all races and religions after a man who often vilified American Jews and Negroes, including those serving in the armed forces.” Rep. Halpern termed Rep. Rankin “a notorious racist and anti-Semite.”
Associating themselves with the objections of Rep. Halpern were Reps. William Fitts Ryan and Theodore Kupferman, also of New York. Under the rules of the House, a measure may be stricken from the consent calendar by three objections. This move will defer action for a considerable period or kill entirely that portion of the legislation pertaining to Rep. Rankin.