Contents: Printed bills, drafts of legislation, committee reports, Congressional Record tear-sheets, memoranda, and correspondence.
Arrangement: The Bills of Legislation files were maintained by the staff with individual bills filed by date of legislative action in chronological order. The listing of bills in the finding aid is subdivided by congressional session for convenience. Requests for co-sponsorship, 1961-1970, seven files at the end of the series, are filed in reverse chronological order as was most regular office correspondence.
Description: This series includes legislation sponsored or cosponsored by Senator Williams. The bills are in individual folders in chronological order by date of legislative action. The files of the early years, 1948-1949, are less complete than the files after 1951 when each bill and amendment sponsored or co- sponsored by Senator Williams was carefully maintained. The files for 1951-1960 include the most supporting background material. In addition to the printed bills and drafts of bills, these files contain committee reports, Congressional Record tear- sheets covering legislative action and debates, other background information, and requests for co-sponsorship and correspondence. Due to a change in the office filing system, the files from 1961- 1970 contain less correspondence and background information, but do include concise office memos summarizing the legislative histories of bills and amendments.
The final files in Bills of Legislation series are requests for co-sponsorship, 1961-1970. In these files, Senator Williams's rejections outnumber his acceptances of requests for co-sponsorship. Apparently, Senator Williams did not respond in writing so there is no documentation of his decisions regarding these requests. The requests are useful, however, for representing legislative issues before Congress during the 1960s. Many of the requests are accompanied by drafts of bills and position statements.
Material related to file contents of Bills of Legislation may be found in other series in the collection. Supporting information for legislation considered in the 1960s is filed by subject in Legislative Reference Material. The office filing practices appear to have changed in 1961 so that supporting correspondence and background information that had been filed with individual bills from 1951-1960 was then filed in Legislative Reference Material.
JJW:ERL Subject Files may contain background information on any of the Senator's special legislative interests, and some bill drafts and accompanying reports may be found in the series of Committee Files. Public opinion and reactions to legislative issues are documented in Constituent Correspondence and Cases-- Legislative Correspondence.
Ralph Peters and Bob Davenport are two names that appear on memoranda, reports, and correspondence throughout Bills of Legislation. Both served as legislative assistants on Senator Williams's staff.
Thematically, Senator Williams's legislative efforts reflect his career record of taking a conservative stand on government regulations affecting the interests of small businessmen and individuals, advocating honesty in government officials, opposing government waste, supporting accountability concerning government finances, and representing the interests of Delawareans.
Senator Williams's conservative stand on government regulations and programs affecting small businesses was at the root of his 1946 decision to become involved in politics. Legislation introduced by him to repeal price supports of basic agricultural commodities, to exempt certain shipments of farm produce from the tax on transportation of property, to improve and simplify credit facilities for farmers, and to oppose tax exemptions for cooperative corporations are examples of his interest to protect small businessmen. His legislative proposals to abolish the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, to cut economic aid to postwar Europe, and to reconsider U.S. participation in the International Development Agency are typical of his conservative view of government programs.
Beginning with his bill to remove J.W. Johnson from the Office of the Collector in the Internal Revenue Office in New York in 1951, Williams repeatedly proposed legislation advocating honesty in government officials. Over the years, he introduced several measures "to strengthen the law with respect to bribery and graft." He encouraged regulation, if not prohibition, of former government officers and employees from acting as counsel before government agencies, and he presented other conflict of interest bills. Concerned with the issue of political fund raising, Senator Williams introduced several measures to protect federal employees from corrupt inducements to support a political party and other measures to control taxation and deductibility of campaign contributions. Following 1964 sponsorship of a bill to allow the investigation of Senate staff member Bobby Baker, Williams offered other legislation to uphold ethics in the Senate. In his final years in office, Williams proposed age limits for government officials and mandatory retirement for those elected to Congress.
Senator Williams sponsored over the years several measures to prevent government waste. He urged the government to require competitive bidding on contracts in the interest of national defense. He waged a long campaign against excessive stockpiling and sought prohibition of federal leasing of public lands to produce agricultural crops already in excess. For programs such as the 1965 HemisFair he sought to reduce authorized appropriations. Williams brought cost-saving measures to the Senate, as well. He proposed that unused stationery allowances be returned to the Treasurer, and he also sponsored amendments to Post Office appropriations to delete sections permitting congressional junk or bulk mailing under franking privileges.
Senator Williams sponsored legislation to require accountability concerning government finances. Early in his career, he discovered a $350 million discrepancy in the books of the Commodities Credit Corporation and sponsored legislation requiring the CCC to be audited by the General Accounting Office. He attached an amendment to the 1960 Mutual Security Act to provide for complete accounting of counterpart funds. And over the years, he supported legislation to provide improved methods of budget estimates and appropriations, to provide more effective evaluation of fiscal requirements, and to balance the budget.
Senator Williams represented the interests of Delawareans by sponsoring legislation that affected the industries, building projects, and public lands of the state. He gained appropriations for support of poultry research, standards for compulsory poultry inspections, assistance for development of disease-resistant oysters, and labor exemptions for the holly wreath industry. With other representatives from Delaware, he sponsored several requests for authorizations of construction on projects such as the Mispillion River project, the Summit Bridge across the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, and toll collection on the Delaware Memorial Bridge. He sponsored an amendment to protect migratory waterfowl, and presented other legislation enabling transfer of government land leases at Fort Miles and Cape Henlopen back to the state. Senator Williams was quick to respond to urgent needs of Delawareans as when he sponsored legislation to allow extensions for tax deductions on the losses from the storm of March 1962.