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AUGUST 12, 1919.-Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed.

Mr. Kiess, from the Committee on Printing, submitted the following


[To accompany H. R. 8362.)

The Committee on Printing, to which was referred the bill (H. R. 8362) to amend and revise the laws relating to the public printing and binding and the distribution of Government publications, having had the same under consideration, reports it back with the recommendation that the bill do pass.

Substantially all the provisions of the bill have been under consideration by Congress since 1911, when a bill proposing a complete revision of the printing laws was introduced by Senator Smoot as chairman of the Printing Investigation Commission. That commission had spent seven years investigating the public printing and binding, and concluded its work by proposing a bill to effect many reforms and economies in Government printing. The general printing bill was favorably reported from the Printing Committees of both Houses in the Sixty-second, Sixty-third, and Sixty-fourth Congresses. It passed the Senate without opposition in the Sixty-second Congress and the House in the Sixty-third Congress. An abridged printing bill along the lines of the one now reported also passed the Senate in the Sixty-fourth Congress. However, owing to the crowded calendar of the other House when the bill reached it and the short time of the Congress remaining for its consideration, neither bill as passed by one House was acted upon by the other House in the same Congress and thus failed to become a law.

The committee is of the opinion that the size and scope of the former printing bills also prevented their prompt consideration and enactment by Congress. The general printing bill as submitted to the Sixty-fourth Congress consisted of 132 pages and proposed a complete revision of all laws relating to the public printing and binding and the distribution of Government publications. The bill now reported for the consideration of the House is about one-third

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the size of the former bills and its subject matter is confined almost entirely to printing and binding for Congress. In fact, the bill proposes that it shall be designated as “The Congressional Printing Act." The former bills included also revisions of the laws relating to the Government Printing Office and printing and binding for the various departments and other establishments of the Government. The committee decided to reserve these subjects for future consideration and to report only the congressional section of the general bill at this time, in the hope that at least so much of the proposed economies will be made effective without further delay.

The legislative history of the various printing bills is in brief as follows:

Sixty-first Congress.-General printing bill submitted by Printing Investigation Commission and favorably reported to the Senate from its Committee on Printing.

Sixty-second Congress.General printing bill passed by the Senate without opposition and favorably reported to the House, but failed of further consideratiton owing to crowded calendar of the House at that time.

Sixty-third Congress.-General printing bill passed by the House without opposition and favorably reported to the Senate, but failed of passage there owing to the crowded calendar and short session.

Sixty-fourth Congress.-General printing bill favorably reported to both the House and the Senate. The bill was considered by the House on two Calendar Wednesdays, but no further action was taken in regard thereto. Near the close of the Congress, the Senate passed an abridgment of the printing bill relating to Congress. A similar bill was introduced in the House by the chairman of the Committee on Printing, but there was no opportunity for consideration of it. An important provisions of the bill relating to the organization and duties of the Joint Committee on Printing was taken from the bill and enacted into law by this Congress as section 6 of Public Act No. 381.

Sixty-fifth Congress.-Owing to war conditions the general printing bill was not introduced in this Congress, but the congressional printing bill, similar to that passed by the Senate in the Sixty-fourth Congress, was introduced in the House by the chairman of the Committee on Printing. An important provision of the bill relating to the powers of the Joint Committee on Printing and requiring substantially all printing and binding to be done at the Government Printing Office was taken from the general printing bill and enacted into law by this Congress as section 11 of Public Act No. 314.


The bill proposes an estimated annual economy in printing and binding charged to Congress of $507,581.80. This represents a reduction in the charge for printing and binding for Congress of almost a third, since the total cost of printing for Congress for the fiscal year 1918 was $1,566,097.74. The cost of paper used in all printing for Congress amounts to about one-sixth of the total charge. On this basis the saving to the Government in paper alone in the economies proposed by the bill will be approximately $85,000 a year.

The following is a detailed statement of the estimated annual economies which would be effected by the enactment of the proposed bill:

Estimate of annual economies proposed.

Sec. 1.----- Reduction in bulk of Congressional Record-- $100,000.00

(Estimate is based upon saving of 20 per cent in Record, which costs approximately $500,000 per

year.) Sec. 3.---- Restriction of “unanimous-consent” printing of documents by either House

25,000.00 Sec. 3, par. 4.-- Elimination of departmental and other publications

from numbered series of congressional docu-
ments, thus preventing duplications.--

19,952. 25 Sec. 6, par. 1.---Discontinuance of printing private pensions and

war claims bills as reported (cost Sixty-first Con-
gress, $172,554.80)

80,000.00 Sec. 10, par. 2---Requirement that Members of Congress shall pay

for embossing of letterheads and envelopes ---(a) 41, 311. 73

(Now in effect by order of Joint Committee on

Sec. 16, par. 1.--Requirement that franked envelopes and slips used

for mailing speeches and other Government pub-
lications printed at private expense shall be paid
for, by the individual.----

85,000.00 Sec. 16, par. 2.. Restriction of free franked envelopes to manila stock

---(a) 27, 090.00 (Now in effect by order of Joint Committee on

Sec. 17---------Prohibiting private persons or organizations from

using free franked envelopes for propaganda

25, 000.00 Sec. 21... Discontinuance of the following publications for

congressional distribution:
Monthly Summary of Foreign Commerce...

453. 76
Annual Report of Foreign Commerce and

1, 424, 27 Report of District of Columbia health officer.. 371. 05 Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology-- 2, 495. 37 Bulletins of the Bureau of Ethnology

2, 642. 15 Bulletins of the Bureau of Fisheries

1, 571. 08 Geological Bulletins

9, 049. 47 Geological Professional Papers.

1, 882. 47 Geological Water-Supply Papers

6, 229, 35 Topographic and geologic maps and atlases .. 12, 328.00 Charts, Coast and Geodetic Survey -

1, 340. 00 Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences 2, 282. 80 American Ephemeris and Nautical Almanac--- 409, 24 Naval Observatory publications.--

602. 15 Annual Report of the Bureau of Soils---- 17, 310. 60 Commercial Relations of the United States.. 6, 245. 99 Navy Yearbooks..

5, 303. 09 Report of the Commissioner of Patents with list of patents_-

6, 646. 07 Sec. 22.----- Restriction of annual reports submitted to Con

gress by departments and other establishments
to 1 or 2 volumes each, respectively-

10,000.00 Provision that reports contained in the annual re

port of a department shall not be printed in any
other form except as separates---

20, 000.00
(Under this provision the Secretary of Agricul-
ture's annual report would be eliminated from the
Yearbook at a saving of $16,029, which is included

in the estimated saving.) Sec. 23. --Discontinuance of Annual Abridgment of Messages and Documents...

13, 847.83

$4, 187.52


Sec. 24.--------Elimination of one edition of Congressional Direc

tory in long session.-Sec. 25_--------Change of illustrations for memorial volumes from

steel engravings to such plates as may be selected

by the Joint Committee on PrintingSec. 27, par. 1.- Elimination of duplicate copies of publications

sent to depository libraries --Sec. 27, par. 2___Discontinuance of the followin special depository


Geological depositories.--.
Patent Gazette depositories_

23, 730. 07

4, 418. 48 12, 858. 74

575, 983. 53

(a) Less economies now in effect by order of the

Joint Committee on Printing--

68, 401, 73

Net economies proposed..

507, 581. 80


That the present method of printing and distributing Government publications has become an almost utter failure is clearly evident from the enormous accumulation of obsolete and useless documents in the Government warehouses year after year. In seven years these accumulations reached a total of almost 7,000,000 publications, the great bulk of which had to be disposed of as waste paper without ever having been unwrapped by anyone. The following table shows the accumulations of obsolete and surplus publications, the printing of which by the Government has proven to be an absolute waste:

Accumulations of obsolete and surplus Government publications.


Publications. 1909. Superintendent of documents, Government Printing Office_---- 1, 435, 272 1910. House folding room, more than.-

1, 000, 000 Superintendent of documents, Government Printing Office.. 959, 698 1911. Superintendent of documents, Government Printing Office_. 473, 457 1912. Superitendent of documents, Government Printing Office_. 170, 915 1913. Superintendent of documents, Government Printing Office-- 544, 711 1914. Senate folding room.

815, 366 1915. Superintendent of documents, Government Printing Office - 1, 506, 274 Total accumulation, seven years..

6, 905, 693 The accumulation of 1909 in the office of the Superintendent of Documents resulted from documents returned by the departments and libraries that had no further use for such publications. The books had become so obsolete and shelf worn as to be unfit for further distribution, and the entire accumulation of 1,435,272 publications was sold by the Public Printer as waste paper at eight-tenths of a cent a pound. The accumulation weighed approximately 950 tons, and the amount received therefor was $14,049.02. The Public Printer had, however, expended $2,825 in handling this accumulation, which made the net receipts $11,224.02. These publications undoubtedly cost the Government fully $700,000, thousands of them having been bound in the best grades of cloth and leather, thus indicating a net loss of $683,125.98 on this one accumulation.

When the accumulation of 1910 was reported to the Printing Commission, it submitted a complete inventory of the books listed for condemnation to every department and establishment of the Government to ascertain whether any further use could be made of the publications. Without exception all the departments reported that they had on hand a sufficient number of each publication. Accordingly the Public Printer was authorized to sell the same as waste paper. The 959,698 publications weighed approximately 700 tons, and brought about eight-tenths of a cent a pound as waste paper, though the blank white paper on which the books were printed had cost the Government from 3} to 7 cents a pound, without regard to the cost of printing, binding, and handling the same.

In 1911, when the Public Printer requested authority to dispose of an accumulation of 473,457 useless publications returned to the office of the superintendent of documents, the Printing Commission undertook to ascertain whether any of these publications were of use to Members of Congress. Printed inventories of the accumulation were sent to every Member of Congress with letters stating that they could have such of the publications as they desired to file upon. In response to this letter the commission received requests for these documents from only 160 out of 485 Members of the House and Senate. T'hese 160 Members took a total of only 180,714 documents out of the accumulation of approximately half a million placed at their disposal. The balance of this accumulation of documents had to be sold as waste paper. Thousands of the documents selected by Members from the accumulation were afterwards thrown aside or returned to the superintendent of documents, having been found to be utterly worthless.

Printed inventories of the accumulations of 1912, 1913, and 1915 were also submitted to every Senator and Member of Congress, but, out of the entire membership of 536, less than 150 Members responded in 1912 with requests for documents from the accumulation. In 1913 128 requests were received from Members of Congress, who selected only 79,289 of the 544,711 publications listed, and subsequently many of these were returned to the superintendent of documents as worthless. In 1915 only 161 Members filed requests for documents listed in the accumulation of that year, and they did not find use for more than 10 per cent of the million and a half publications submitted for their consideration before being disposed of as waste paper. Consequently, the Public Printer had to sell practically all the excess documents of 1912, 1913, and 1915 as waste paper.

The committee that investigated the useless documents in the House folding room in 1910 reported there was practically no demand for the million old pamphlets and publications that had accumulated therein and had become “wholly useless." The committee said in its report recommending the sale of these worthless publicatious:

1. There are in the vaults of the Capitol perhaps a thousand tons of worthless printed paper which cumbers the earth and is of no value to anyone."

The House permitted its Members to draw out such of these documents as they desired, but the great bulk had to be subsequently sold as waste paper.

The Senate in 1914 disposed of its folding-room accumulation of 815,366 old documents. Printed inventories of this accumulation were submitted twice to each Senator, and additional lists were sent

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