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SMALL BUSINESS IMPACT OF ACTIONS AND POLICIES
BY THE FEDERAL REGULATORY AGENCIES
(Vol. 1-Interstate Commerce Commission)
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4, 1973
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10 a.m., in room 311, Cannon House Office Building, Hon. John D. Dingell (chairman of the subcommittee), presiding.
Present: Representatives Dingell, Hungate, and Conte.
Also present: Thomas G. Powers, subcommittee counsel; James R. Phalen, minority counsel; and Myrtle Ruth Foutch, clerk.
Mr. DINGELL. The subcommittee will please come to order.
The Chair notes the presence of a quorum for the purpose of transacting business.
The Chair has a lengthy prepared statement from which, in the interest of time and because of the presence of our distinguished guests from the ICC, the Chair will excerpt.
Today's hearings are the beginning of a series of hearings by this subcommittee relevant to the impact on small business of the actions and policies of the several independent Federal regulatory agencies.
Of paramount consideration is the determination of whether these Government agencies adequately serve and give due consideration to the problems of small business.
These regulatory agencies, of which the Interstate Commerce Commission is the oldest, are creatures of the Congress. Their activities have great impact on small business and are, in that area, of specific concern to this committee and to this subcommittee.
It should also be noted that this hearing is a continuation of hearings by this subcommittee in earlier Congresses which have brought before us the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Power Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, and other Federal regulatory bodies, on their activities and the inquiries made by this subcommittee into the activities of the regulatory agencies as they affect small business.
In the near future, the Chair expects to announce hearings on other Federal regulatory agencies and their actions as they affect small business.
This subcommittee has great interest in the ability of the different regulatory agencies to function within their budgetary limitations
and also in the capabilities of regulatory agencies to carry out their congressional mandates insofar as these matters affect the interests of small business.
This subcommittee has been much concerned over the years with the capability of these individual regulatory agencies to afford expeditious consideration of matters before them and the adequacy of their small, devoted, and often overworked staffs to bring matters to expeditious conclusions in the public interest.
Today, the subcommittee is honored to have before us representatives of the Interstate Commerce Commission. The committee does intend to look into the capabilities of that agency to carry out its responsibilities and the Chair does at this time express particular concern that the ICC does carry out its responsibilities, particularly with regard to the question of freight rates and related matters which are of the keenest import to small business.
In a careful review of a number of matters relative to the activities of the ICC, the Chair is particularly concerned about the backlog of cases now pending before the ICC, the lengthy amount of time involved in the conclusion of cases, the bankruptcy and failure of many railroads subject to the jurisdiction of the ICC, and the great difficulties faced by small businessmen in receiving expeditious consideration of their problems before the Commission. These circumstances have caused hardship to hundreds of thousands of small businessmen who are regulated by, or who are dependent upon, services regulated by the ICC.
The budget of the Interstate Commerce Commission has a very direct effect upon the capability of the ICC to carry out its functions. The allocation of resources within that very narrow budget has a very direct impact upon the activities of the public at large and upon small businesses which are the specific concern of this subcommittee. As a part of the scrutiny of this subcommittee on the impact of the activities of the ICC on small business both within its regulations and within the concern of the public at large, the subcommittee wishes to obtain the particulars about the budget capabilities of the ICC. The Chair is much concerned about the inability of ICC to study rates as an in-house undertaking as a continuing process and also about the Commission's contracting to procure such studies and information through outside consultants and firms, especially those which are small business entities.
It has long been the concern of the Chair that the ICC budget has been too small to permit the Commission to properly carry out its assignments and functions. It has been the belief of the present occupant of the Chair that the ICC has not been as active as it could have been in serving the interests of the public at large and of small businessmen subject to its regulations. The Chair reminds all that the carriers regulated by that agency have immense impact on the small businessmen which are their customers.
As the Chair has noted earlier, today's inquiry is the first part of an anticipated series of studies on, and investigations of, activities of the Federal regulatory agencies which affect small business. In order that persons interested in these inquiries need not resort to several documents to ascertain the background for these hearings, the Chair inserts in the record at this point the resolution of the House of Representatives specifying the duty of the committee to conduct studies and investigations of the problems of small business, House Resolution 19.
H. Res. 19, 93D Cong., First Sess. RESOLUTION Resolved, That, effective January 3, 1973, the permanent Select Committee on Small Business shall be composed of nineteen Members of the House of Representatives to be appointed by the Speaker, one of whom he shall designate as chairman. Any vacancy occurring in the membership of the committee shall be filled in the manner in which the original appointment was made
SEC. 2. It shall be the duty of such committee to conduct studies and investigations of the problems of all types of small business, existing, arising, or that may arise, with particular reference to
(1) the factors which have impeded or may impede the normal operations, growth, and development of small business;
(2) the administration of Federal laws relating specifically to small business in order to determine (A) whether such laws and their administration adequately serve the needs of small business, and (B) whether Government agencies adequately serve and give due consideration to the problems of small business; and
(3) the problems of small business enterprises generally; and to obtain all facts possible in relation thereto which would not only be of public interest but which would aid the Congress in enacting remedial legislation. However, the committee shall not undertake any investigation of any subject which is
being investigated for the same purpose by any other committee of the House. Sec. 3. Such committee shall not have legislative jurisdiction but is authorized to make studies, investigations, and reports; however, no bills or resolutions shall be referred to the committee.
SEC. 4. The committee may submit from time to time to the House such reports as the committee considers advisable and, prior to the close of the present Congress, shall submit to the House a final report of the committee on the results of its studies and investigations, together with such recommendations as the committee considers advisable. Any report submitted when the House is not in session may be filed with the Clerk of the House.
Sec. 5. For the purposes of this resolution, the committee, or any subcommittee thereof, is authorized, subject to clause 30 of rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives, to sit and act during the present Congress at such times and places within the United States, whether or not the House is meeting, has recessed, or has adjourned, to hold such hearings, to require the attendance of such witnesses and the production of such books, papers, and documents, and to take such testimony, as the committee considers necessary. Subpenas may be issued over the signature of the chairman of the committee, or by any member designated by such chairman, and may be served by any person designated by any such chairman or member. The chairman of the committee or any member thereof may administer oaths to witnesses.
Sec. 6. The majority of the members of the committee shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, except that two or more shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of taking evidence, including sworn testimony.
Mr. DINGELL. The Chair also inserts in the record at this point the relevant portions of the rules of this committee empowering the Subcommittee on Regulatory Agencies to act within the framework of the investigative authority of this committee and of the Congress.
The Rules of the House of Representatives shall be the Rules of the House permanent Select Committee on Small Business.
The Chairman will consult with the Ranking Minority Member prior to announcement or implementation of decisions respecting Committee actions such as the creation and composition of Subcommittees, scheduling Committee meetings and hearings, subject matter of scheduled hearings, or any matter to be studied or investigated by the Committee.
The Chairman in his discretion may create Subcommittees, designate Chairmen and members thereof, assign and define the studies or investigations to be undertaken by them, and make such chenges therein as he deems best prior to such studies and investigations having been undertaken; and no Subcommittee may hold hearings or undertake an investigation of any matter not assigned to it.
There shall be appointed to each regular Subcommittee at least two Members of the Minority Party, and all appointments of Minority Members shall be in accordance with any nominations made by the Ranking Minority Member of the Committee.
Party representation upon each regular Subcommittee shall be according to the same numerical ratio as Party representation on the full Committee.
A majority of the Members of the Committee or any Subcommittee thereof shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of Committee or Subcommittee business, except that two or more shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of the taking of evidence, including sworn testimony.