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MESSRS. J. T. JOHNSON, A. S. BURLESON, J. G. McHENRY,
J. W. BYRNS, F. H. GILLETT, AND E. L. TAYLOR, JR.
THE LEGISLATIVE, EXECUTIVE, AND
BILL FOR 1913
LEGISLATIVE, EXECUTIVE, AND JUDICIAL
HEARINGS CONDUCTED BY THE SUBCOMMITTEE, MESSRS. J. T. JOHNSON, A. S. BURLESON, J. G. MCHENRY, J. W. BYRNS, F. H. GILLETT, AND E. L. TAYLOR, JR., OF THE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, IN CHARGE OF THE LEGISLATIVE, EXECUTIVE, AND JUDICIAL APPROPRIATION BILL FOR 1913, ON THE DAYS NAMED.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 24, 1912.
THE PRESIDENT'S COMMISSION ON ECONOMY AND
STATEMENTS OF MR. FREDERICK A. CLEVELAND, MR. WILLIAM F.
WILLOUGHBY, AND MR. MERRITT 0. CHANCE, MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION.
Mr. Johnson. Mr. Cleveland, we are beginning this morning bearings on the legislative, executive, and judicial appropriation bill. We are in thorough sympathy with the President's efforts to economize in governmental expenditures. We have sent for you in order that, if you have any information which will enable us to economize, you may give it to us before we mark up this bill. You may proceed to make any statement you may think would be of value to the committee in marking up the bill.
Mr. CLEVELAND. Do I understand that the question goes to the executive estimates, is that the subject? I do not quite understand the question, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Johnson. Of course, this bill which we mark up will be based upon these estimates, but if you are in possession of any information which will enable us to change any of those estimates by consolidating bureaus or changing the method of doing business in any of the bureaus, we would like to be put in possession of that information before we mark up the bill and before we call in the heads of the departments. For instance, suppose that you recommend that the Revenue-Cutter Service be abolished; we would want to examine the heads of the departments upon that question, and they might take a different view. Consequently, we want to be put in possession of any information you think will help us to mark up this bill and will help us to examine the heads of the departments when they come before the committee.
Mr. BURLESON. Mr. Cleveland, before you commence your statement, I would like to know when we are going to be able to have your report, so we can make practical use of it. Have you corrected the proof furnished you by the Government Printing Office ?
Mr. CLEVELAND. Perhaps there is a misapprehension on the part of the members of the committee in respect to our reports. From Mr. Burleson's remarks I take it you assume this--the report transmitted with the President's message of January 17, 1912-is our only report. We have made something like 26 reports to the President. This is one that is purely descriptive of the manner in detail in which the Government was organized July 1, 1911. Its general purpose is to serve as a basis for other reports affecting different parts of the service. This is the only report transmitted by the President. Mr. BURLESON. Have you had those reports printed!
Mr. CLEVELAND. None have been printed and none have been transmitted to Congress except this one. A number of them which have to do with the question you raise here this morning-economyare being discussed at the present time between different branches of the service by request of the President, and we are holding conferences and reviewing the written responses, whether critical or commendatory.
Mr. BURLESON. With a view to bringing about an acquiescence on the part of the various heads of the bureaus and divisions which you seek to consolidate?
Mr. CLEVELAND. With a view to ascertaining exactly what objections there may be from any quarter and bringing out facts for your information, as practically all of these reports which have to do with consolidations, and, broadly speaking, with economies that are to be effected through change in organization, require legislation. Some of them may be carried into effect without legislation, but many of them-in fact, nearly all of our recommendations, whether dealing with organization, personnel, method and procedure, or what not-either require legislation or would make legislation desirable in order to effect the greatest economy.
Mr. BURLESON. If they reduce the number of officers or will enable us to reduce the amount carried in this particular bill, we can put the legislation in this bill.
Mr. CLEVELAND. As I have said, the report in proof which lies on the table is not one of the reports that has to do with matters of that kind. It is purely descriptive, and I do not know just how you would like to have me bring the other reports before you at this time. But I can state, perhaps, in a general way, what those reports are and, in a general way, what their substance is.
Mr. JOHNSON. Mr. Cleveland, the sundry civil act, which carries the appropriation for this Economy Commission, provides that they shall submit to Congress at the first regular session of the Sixtysecond Congress, and not later than December 31, 1911, a report of such progress as they may have made.
Mr. CLEVELAND. Yes. Mr. JOHNSON. Is the report you have sent in intended to comply with that provision?
Mr. CLEVELAND. The President's message, Mr. Chairman, was intended to comply with that request, as I understand it. In other words, the act of appropriation contained a request that the Presi
dént make such a report. I may say that the commission does not have any existence from a statutory point of view. The President having been given this fund to conduct the inquiry, he has seen fit to organize a corps of experts and a staff to which he has given the office title of a commission. He might as well have called it a committee, a board, a staff, or any other name. It has no statutory existence as a commission. The President, as I understand, is the one to whom this condition attaches and his message is his report. One of our reports to him accompanied his report to Congress; the others are only referred to in brief.
Mr. JOHNSON. Mr. Cleveland, in the absence of those reports, suppose you begin and make a general statement to the committee as to the substance of what you have reported to the President, and if we find it is going to be too long, then the best way to get the information would be to send down and have the documents printed; but suppose at this time you give us in a general way the results of your investigations, without going into all the details. We want to know where you found economies can be effected, and in what way they can be effected, and the most striking and glaring things that have come under your observation you think would be helpful to this committee.
Mr. CLEVELAND. Mr. Chairman, as I see it, the question which you . have asked divides itself into two parts. You ask me to make a general statement covering what we conceive to be the opportunities for making economies and increasing efficiency, and then also to take up in detail the items in your bill. I would have to separate those two questions, I think, if I made the statement. That is, if you wish me to make a general statement as to the work which we have done and the different subjects concerning which we think savings can be made, such a statement by definition would be general. Then, if you wish me to state specifically what subjects we have gone into and what conclusions we have arrived at, this would be a detailed statement. A second kind of detailed statement you also suggest, viz, to follow the order of your bill and note recommendations opposite items. I can not very well make a general statement and discuss details at the same time, but I will be very glad to take up the one or the other, although I am not prepared, before examining your bill in detail, to take that up.
The CHAIRMAN. I would be glad for you first to tell us in general the things that have come under your observation.
Mr. CLEVELAND. I would say, then, for the commission that as we view our work and the opportunities for economies and for increasing the efficiency of the Government service there seem to be five or six distinct fields of investigation that should be gone into before coming to a conclusion with respect to all the possible economies that might be effected.
In the first place, we think the general subject of organization is one which, if carefully studied in relation to the work to be done, should result in large economies. Within this field may be found overlapping and conflict of jurisdiction, ill adaptation of organization to work. An example of this is the Wiley case. Here a bureau was established the purpose of which was to restrain trade so far as this had to do with impure food. This bureau was placed in a department the primary purpose of which was to promote agricul