« PreviousContinue »
The CHAIRMAN. Will you proceed, Mr. Conn.
Mr. CONN. By the methods proposed in these plans, Congress is called upon to approve, through its default, ex parte proposals without real consideration and without hearing from the public and interested groups who may be vitally affected by whatever action is taken. That is true. This is a strictly ex parte deal from the President to the Congress.
The CHAIRMAN. No. The President acts under the law passed by the Congress, the Reorganization Act. These plans are gone over by the Bureau of the Budget, the Comptroller General's office, and so forth and so on, and are taken up with the heads of the various departments involved and then they are submitted to the Congress and we can file a disapproving resolution if we see so fit to do; but it is not done ex parte in the sense that it is a willful act of just sitting down and
Mr. CONN. I do not mean that, but it is done within the Government. There has been no opportunity for public hearings on these plans. The CHAIRMAN. You are having a hearing now on the plan, sir. Mr. CONN. An opposition resolution.
The CHAIRMAN. That is the way the Congress provided by law that it should be done, sir.
Mr. CONN. Now, in conclusion, I want to say this: The placing of the controls which these plans contemplate-and I take all three of them into the executive agency, would inevitably be the beginning of the assumption of still greater powers. Such is the plain record of Government, the temptation to exercise such controls to serve political ends could hardly be resisted. That, too
Mr. BOLLING. Would the gentleman yield right there? How would this transfer any more power than is already existing under law? Mr. CONN. Because of the fact that the Chairman of this Commission is an appointee of the President.
Mr. BOLLING. The others are, too.
But he works direct-the Chairman of the Commission under this thing would have tremendous power. Mr. BOLLING. No more administrative power, no more policy power. Mr. CONN. Administrative power, yes, because he has got control over the employees.
Mr. BOLLING. They have control now as a group. We are trying to give it to one now.
Mr. CONN. That is a different thing. You would not delegate all the functions of this committee to one man.
Mr. BOLLING. It would not do.
In any corporation in private business they do delegate that type of work to the president of a corporation.
Mr. CONN. That is right.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. Mr. Conn, your analogy to this committee, in my opinion, is a poor analogy. We have delegated the administrative detail of this committee to the chairman of the committee. The committee makes policy; and the chairman carries that policy out. If we disapprove of this plan or approve of it, a motion is made for the chairman to carry out the administrative duties of the committee and this is exactly what the plan does on your Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee. It delegates to the chairman the carrying out of
the administrative duties which are related to the policies set up by the complete commission.
Mr. CONN. All right. The Interstate Commerce Commission today is dealing with a very sensitive problem. It is true that centralization over administrative functions in any business organization is a proper thing to do. There is no question about that. I have got it in this association.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. That is right.
Mr. CONN. I am responsible for the administration of this association.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. You would not have your 125 directors, each one responsible for part of it.
Mr. CONN. Now, I am not saying that a 100-percent-pure Chairman of the Interstate Commerce Commission will not do a good job. But I am going to say this: That we hazard by the very complexion of the political appointments we have had in the last 2 or 3 years in these Government agencies, we hazard a situation which we cannot afford to take in transportation industry.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Conn, several times you have brought political considerations into your observations. Our form of government is built around politics and political considerations, and political considerations are concerned in it and the administration will rise or fall politically. I want to place the political responsibility of the conduct of this Nation in individuals under our system of government. But as long as the masses of American people will be interested in their politics, they can go to the polls every 2 or 4 years and take out of office any person that they have put in office who has not handled the political considerations for the benefit of the country.
I hope the day will never come in this country when political consderations will not be involved in Government for that is a part of our form of government and the more the people of this Nation become interested in the political affairs, the political phases, the better form of government and the better form of administration you are going to have and I hope to live to see the day when every American citizen will go to the polls on election day and have something to say about those who make their laws, those who execute their laws, and those who interpret their laws. And just because a man is elected to high office does not mean he is going to lose all love for his country; does not mean he is going to cease to be less of a gentleman; does not at all interfere with his responsibility to the people of this Nation to so handle the affairs of the Nation to the best interests of the people of the Nation.
So we are a political government; and that is the power of those elected to office to handle political government. I hope it will always return either one of two parties so that a majority of the citizens of this country will ever determine who politically will run this country and they can kick them out or put them back in office any time they do not do what the citizens want. But we must pass legislation for the office. We cannot pass legislation based upon an individual. We must pass the best legislation that in our judgment can be passed to take care of any situation regardless of who is in office. But the people who hold office will ever be responsible politi
cally for what they do to the people of the Nation. They are the bosses.
Mr. CONN. I can go along with your statement 100 percent. I think we would be in an awful fix if the average citizen did not take interest in politics-Democrat or whatever he is.
The CHAIRMAN. We want to educate the American citizen to take a greater interest in politics of this Nation.
Mr. CONN. That is right. But I do hope that in view of the President's own message where he claims no savings, no substantial savings, and he is at least doubtful about the reorganization features of this plan
The CHAIRMAN. May I say to you, this committee was responsible for the Reorganization Plan of 1949. We drew it; it was drawn in this committee; we took it to the floor of the Congress; and we were responsible for the bill which passed. And in it we required the President to make the very statement there that he made.
Now, if you were the President, could you in submitting this plan, tell dollar for dollar what it would save?
Mr. CONN. No.
The CHAIRMAN. Then you would make the same statement under the law as was made by the President, that the effect of the reorganization included in this plan may not in itself result in substantial immediate savings-we required him to tell it; and you could not tell it and he cannot tell it.
However, many benefits in improved organization are probable during the next years which will result in a reduction in expenditures as compared with that which would otherwise be necessary if we continued as we are.
An itemization of these reductions in advance of actual experience under this plan is not practicable.
Mr. CONN. That is obvious, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. All right. That is contained in every plan that he sends down because it would be impossible for him or for you to tell in dollars and cents before the plan is tried what the savings would be and therefore you would have to perforce make the same statement that is made here, and you will find that that is in every plan sent down because the law requires him to make such statement.
Mr. CONN. We do not think that there is anything too bad about the Interstate Commerce Commission the way it is. I am not qualified to say that a centralization of management down there at the Commission would not do a better job. I do not know. But they have done a pretty good job and what we ask is that in view of the consideration now being given by the House Committee on Interstate Commerce to this whole problem, the consideration now being given by the Senate committee, that anything having to do with the administration of transportation or the regulation of it be put over until we see where we want to go with the whole plan.
The CHAIRMAN. But the Senate and House both passed a law requiring the President to do the very thing that he did here. So the Senate and the House are not waiving anything. We reserved in ourselves the power to veto the plan if it did not suit us, did not suit the occasion.
Mr. CONN. I understand that, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. We are holding hearings now to determine whether or not that is so.
Mr. CONN. And we are here asking you to veto it until such a time as the whole picture is before you.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. Mr. Chairman, before you leave Mr. Conn I wish to ask one question. Under the present set-up of the Commission, there are 11 Commissioners, as I understand it, and no more than 6 can be of any one political party. So the bipartisanship of the Commission has been protected in this way.
Mr. CONN. Very good.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. There is no change in that.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. This plan makes no change.
I think there is a very important point involved here which has not been brought up either in your statement or in our questioning and that is the 1-year term, the rotation of chairmanship on a 1-year term basis among all the 11 Commissioners.
Now, your Hoover Commission report on personnel management and on regulatory commissions, both bring out that such a type of rotation has contributed to inefficiency, and the task force brought out the fact that it was not a satisfactory way of heading a regulatory commission, to rotate the terms in such a manner, for such a short period of time. The fact has been brought out that sometimes members of the Commission are good members who are not necessarily of the type to become a proper chairman, while certain members of the Commission might excel in the executive ability, the chairmanship. I know from the standpoint of a 2-year term in Congress, a year goes by pretty fast; 2 years go by pretty fast, and if you are changing, continually changing the head chairman of an important Commission like this, it would seem to me that you would agree with me that in private industry we just do not do that. Therefore what we are trying to do here according to the plan is to set up the same principles which are used in private business and have been found to be most efficient.
I am rather surprised, in view of the fact that this does not change the powers of the Commission, nor does it change the functions of the Commission, and it is purely a matter of management that conforms with private industry practices, that you are opposing this.
Mr. CONN. We are opposing it for the reason that we want to see the whole regulatory and promotional picture of transportation resolved inside the framework of a national policy that will meet present-day and forseeable conditions and not tackled piecemeal, whether it be via the Hoover Commission or via something else.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. I think that is a noble objective but I cannot foresee that such a complicated and wide range of legislation can ever be enacted in this Congress as a result of such a study in one piece. I think we are going to have to approach it piecemeal as we have in the past.
Mr. CONN. Mr. Congressman, let me tell you something. For 212 years, we have labored through in the national cooperative project on the economics of every issue of this problem. We are almost ready to come up with a report to the House committee, a recommendation; and that recommendation will cover 27 basic issues and over 100 issues. I may be overly optimistic, but I think for the first time in the history
of this country we have an objective view on transportation as a whole by those who use it, by those who finance it, and those who operate it. I would like to see any of these plans having anything to do with any part of this problem, if you want to call it postponed, there is nothing to be gained, no gain at all by doing it today or tomorrow compared to next spring.
We are going along on this.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. I would point out to you that in our duties as Congressmen, we cannot foresee what the future will bring, and I would point out that if this plan does go into effect, that any such over-all study as you make that would contemplate changing the plan could still be consideerd in the same omnibus legisaltion that you predict. Mr. CONN. I wish I was as optimistic as you are about tackling something that is already established in the Federal Government. Mr. HOLIFIELD. All these plans change something that is already established.
Mr. CONN. Here is a new proposition in the Department of Commerce under the Secretary of Commerce. There are a lot of things in this thing that transfer promotional and regulatory features over into the executive branch. We think they are all premature. Take them all in one ball of wax.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much.
I suggest that we take a recess now and come back at 11:45 so that we may answer the quorum call.
(At 11: 20 a. m., a short recess was taken.)
The CHAIRMAN. As the next witness on the agenda this morning we will hear from Mr. A. E. Lyon, executive secretary-treasurer, Railway Labor Executives' Association, Washington, D. C.
STATEMENT OF A. E. LYON, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY-TREASURER, RAILWAY LABOR EXECUTIVES' ASSOCIATION, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Mr. LYON. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, my name is A. E. Lyon. My address is No. 10 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, D. C. I am executive secretary-treasurer of the Railway Labor Executives' Association.
I appear in behalf of the Railway Labor Executives' Association, consisting of the chief executive officers of 20 national and international railway labor organizations which represent a very large majority of the railroad workers in the United States. These organizations are composed of and represent the following classes of railroad employees: Conductors, firemen and enginemen, switchmen, telegraphers, train dispatchers, machinists, boilermakers, blacksmiths, sheet metal workers, electrical workers, carmen, firemen and oilers, clerks, freight handlers, express and station employees, maintenanceof-way employees, signalmen, masters, mates and pilots, marine engineers, longshoremen, dining car workers and yardmasters.
The Railway Labor Executives' Association has carefully considered the provisions of Reorganization Plan No. 7 of 1950. We are opposed to this plan and we urge that the Congress disapprove it.
This plan provides that the President appoint the Chairman of the Interstate Commerce Commission; that the Chairman so appointed.