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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Albert Gore, October 24, 1976. Interview A-0321-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Gore and the Dixon-Yates Bill

Gore unintentionally launched the longest filibuster in the history of the Senate late one night in an impromptu speech he delivered regarding the Dixon-Yates Bill, a plan to change the operational functions of the TVA. This also served to build Gore up a national figure.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Albert Gore, October 24, 1976. Interview A-0321-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

I was just wondering if you'd like to comment on your role in the Dixon-Yates controversy, which I believe came before and then during your first years on the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy? To what extent did your leadership in the Senate debate on the Dixon-Yates contract, another provision of the Atomic Energy Act, what role do you think that played in your getting this appointment? The appointment came in late 1954, after the mid-term elections, but actually before the Democrats regained control of Congress in '54.
I'm not sure that that had any particular bearing on my assignment to the committee. My leadership in that fight was more or less a happenstance--and yet I don't suppose it was either, because I was so full of the TVA issue, so wrapped up into the enthusiasm and support of the Tennessee Valley Authority and my opposition to the private power industry in America, and the many attempts to destroy TVA and to grab portions of the Authority. So when the Dixon-Yates issue came along it was not necessary for me to do a great deal of detailed study and research, because as I say I was full of it. I remember when I kicked off the national fight about Dixon-Yates. Late one afternoon I rose in the Senate without expecting to speak for very long, without any text, without any plan to make a full-dress debate. But my enthusiasm grew as I listened to the melody of my voice [laughter] and as others joined in. I remember one of the most enjoyable exchanges in my whole career in the Senate was with Senator Hubert H. Humphrey on this. To make a long story short, that speech terminated some seven hours later [laughter]. And when it was terminated Dixon-Yates was a national issue. Later I often cited that as an example of the power of debate and free speech on the floor of the United States Senate. I galvanized that issue by one speech into a national issue. It also touched off the longest continuous filibuster in the history of the Senate. I would have to review all the details. I think it was as a part of this battle that I brought passage of the first nuclear power bill. I was free-wheeling [laughter] in those days, and swinging from the floor.