Several pro-civil rights Democratic senators met with Senate Democratic Whip Hubert Humphrey (D-MN) about introducing a civil rights bill. Humphrey and the others decided not to seek bipartisan sponsorship of the bill. "Humphrey made it clear that, with the Democrats so strongly in control in the Senate, only a Democratic sponsored bill would be reported out by a Senate committee."
By mid-June, however, the White House dictated a bipartisan approach to civil rights legislation, reversing Humphrey.
Senator Philip A. Hart (D-MI) introduced a bill (S. 1117) containing the Kennedy administration's civil rights proposals. The bill would
(1) authorize appointment of temporary voting referees to register African Americans in counties where voting rights suits were filed and less that 15 percent of the voting age blacks were registered;
(2) give expedited treatment to voting rights suits in federal courts;
(3) make a sixth grade education the qualification for literacy;
(4) provide federal technical and financial assistance to school districts in the process of desegregating;
(5) extend the Civil Rights Commission for four more years.
Eight liberal Republican senators introduced 12 civil rights bills that would implement many of the suggestions of the Civil Rights Commission report of 1961, which the Kennedy administration had ignored.
Robert D. Loevy, who served as an American Political Science Association Fellow in the office of Senator Thomas Kuchel R-CA), noted later:
The liberal Republicans had everything to gain and nothing to lose by pressing the civil rights issue on the Democrats. Most of them were from large states like New York, California, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Along with large numbers of black voters, these states had even larger numbers of white voters [who] favored civil rights. Furthermore, these liberal Republicans were well aware that Democratic power in the Congress and in presidential elections rested on maintaining a delicate balance between liberal Northern Democrats and conservative Southern Democrats. By pressing for strong civil rights legislation, the liberal Republicans were hoping to drive a wedge between the Northern and Southern wings of the Democratic Party.
Dirksen would later designate Kuchel to manage the civil rights bill on behalf of Republicans in the Senate.