6 May, AP, Big news, no surprise, Senator Hayden announced this was his last term, setting up a November contest between his aide R. Elson and Republican B. Goldwater. Hayden had been Arizona’s first Representative (since statehood in 1912) and then a Senator, a total of 56 years in Congress, a record. At 90, he could see the successful end for his 20-year effort to bring Colorado River water west to Phoenix and on to Tucson, and considered his long record of helping Arizona and the West to develop satisfactorily complete.
8 May, Republic’s Cole’s reported on the next day’s House Rules Committee’s clearance of HR 3300, Aspinall’s version of the Hayden-driven CAP bill, was an emphatic yes to Hayden’s efforts. Four hours of debate were scheduled. Cong. Udall thought one day would be enough to get the bill passed. Aspinall believed it would bring “peace” to the Basin. Saylor stuck in a contrary oar by claiming Arizona should not have given in to California’s demand for a guarantee. However, with all major issues compromised or finessed away, Saylor’s hour of glory in battle would never come.
9 May, Republic editorialized that with the progress in House consideration, a conference reconciliation should be easy.
And the Denver Post spoke of a “minor miracle” that the debate on the “good” compromise Aspinall bill would bring an end to the regional bickering.
12 May, Republic featured Sec. Udall lauding Cong. Udall and Rhodes for doing “one of the most effective jobs of legislative strategy” he had seen, and without playing partisan politics.
13 May, AP ran a summary of the grounds for the bill’s few, token, opponents: cost, Northwest, Mexican treaty, water shortage, Hooker dam. Any could say however, that the grand battles of the past few years were being wrapped up creditably and without a bang.
13 May, RMN described the 50-Coloradan effort on the bill.
15 May, Tribune noted that House Republican leader Ford endorsed the bill.
16 May, Post marked the day’s debate start optimistically, noting the favorable “nose count” by the Basin states’ (minus Wyoming) lobbying teams.
17 May, AP reports the bill’s passage, with only Northwesterners dissatisfied.
17 May, Post leads with Saylor lauding House consideration. Only the Mexican treaty provision was featured in the floor discussion. Tributes were paid to Aspinall for his skillful handling. Attendance on the floor was sparse, barely 50. If not a love-fest, it was the low-key action that Aspinally had so ardently desired.
17 May, RMN noted that Sec Udall was in the gallery watching. Hayden was quoted as saying he had no major objections to what Aspinall had put together. [It was, after all, in major form, what he and Sec Udall had settled on a year and a half earlier.] The passage came in a “shouting voice vote” of approval. Aspinall called it a “pleasing end to a long hard-fought battle”. No mention of dams in the Grand Canyon.
17 May Phoenix Gazette noted that Saylor had “suddenly announced” that he would not even offer his substitute. Northwesterner Foley could not get a roll-call vote. Saylor had been defeated 89-45 (the only recorded vote) when he tried to replace Hooker dam by another one downstream, with Udall citing the language he had worked out with New Mexico conservationists.
17 May, Republic’s Cole — “House Roars CAP bill to Passage” —credits Aspinall for the “nearly incredible feat” of passage by voice approval. Hayden was quoted as “naturally Im pleased”.
The conference will have to deal with the Mexican treaty provision and wording on augmenting the river flow. Cole mentions that the measure “avoids the squabble” over the dams.
17 May, Sentinel adds that a conference is unlikely until after the California primary June 4.
18 May, Post noted Saylor’s change, accepted by Aspinall, to the timing of the studies on handling the Mexican treaty burden— “procedural”, Aspinall called it. Saylor’s token effort to remove some of the Colorado 5 projects was rejected by voice.
19 May, RMN praised Aspinall, “Horatio at the bridge”, while the Republic praised Hayden for this career capstone, finding a formula that produced this year’s results.
19 May, Sentinel reported Aspinall being “mobbed” after the voice vote approval. But he only wanted to wrap up the work and so did not meet with reporters. Credit was given to the committee. Sec. Udall was satisfied with the job getting done, seeing a quick conference and approval by the President.
19 May, Albuquerque Journal, P.Wieck used half his column in praising Morris Udall for managing to navigate the treacherous bends of this legislation, putting Arizona first, but without losing friends, even gaining a few. He took the initiative in getting agreement with New Mexico’s Senator Anderson to find more water for that state. He also looked after the state’s interest in Hooker dam when conservationist pressure mounted, leading him to propose the compromise authorizing “Hooker dam or a suitable alternative”. First the committee adopted this; then on the floor, Udall worked to head off Saylor’s challenge to substitute another named dam. The article then mulls over his chances to go for the Speakership (which he, unsuccessfully, did soon after. And not too many years after that, he tried for the Presidential nomination.)
22-4 May, Sentinel ran a series on the lobbying by Colorado water interests, including a column-long list of names— 37 from Colorado, 9 New Mexicans, 5 Utahans. He also surveyed the other states’ input. Local newspapers carried adds encouraging people to contact non-Coloradans for support. The idea was to reach out across the country, asking for help. The lobbyists contacted non-Basin state congressmen, usually with favorable results. Rep. Rhodes was tremendously helpful with Republicans. Some questions hung on about conservation, but there was great respect for Aspinall. He recounts stories about the lobbying effort, with grass-rooters taking over if congressmen failed to follow through.
Colorado water people have been working toward getting some bill for 2-3 years. Sparks was the main coordinator, but it was a six-state effort, organized in detail in Los Angeles in March. In general, the California delegation “proved to be a big disappointment in vote contacts”, with only a few of the 38 members joining in.
23 May, AP quotes Sec Udall’s continuing optimism for a June finale.
25 May, Washington Post editorializes that the House was responsible and constructive in its Colorado Basin bill. Reconciliation with the Senate bill should not be difficult.
26 May, Sentinel says Aspinall is leaving a call for conference up to the Senate. Jackson of Washington called the bill “totally unacceptable”, inidcating a rough road ahead. Senior Senators, however, have asked him to call a conference. The House debate provided ample underpinning for dealing with future decisions on implementation. California gained “a tremendous victory”, reversing the Supreme Court decision by gaining a guarantee and a right to keep its water. Though the upper basin takes the risks in the bill, Aspinall was satisfied with the protections he achieved.