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schedule of the committees of the Senate a Committee on Executive Expenditures, expenditures in the executive departments. I wonder if any of the members of this joint committee who have served in Congress for a long time recall'any instance in which either one of those committees have attempted to function?

Representative GIFFORD. I want to answer that question, Mr. Chairman, because he took the words out of my mouth. I have been waiting for 5 minutes to say something. Ï happen to be the ranking member of the House on the Committee on Expenditures.

Representative VINSON. And Mr. Cochran is chairman.

Representative GIFFORD. Yes; Mr. Cochran is chairman, and a very able chairman. I have suffered demotions now for several years. I could have gone on the Appropriations Committee in the House; it was my choice, but they assured me that the Committee on Expenditures was to be a very important committee to investigate and hand on to the Appropriations Committee the information we gathered. I want to say to Dr. Merriam that, except on slight matters, the Committee on Expenditures, even this new committee, has functioned very little. I personally have demanded that the Resettlement Administration and many other activities that have been spending extravagantly be brought before the committee, but no administration will investigate its own expenditures, no matter how you set it up. I have learned that, and the floor of the House has been my only forum, much to my regret, for criticizing the expenditures of government.

I trust the independent Auditor General representing the Congress would force the Treasury after auditing their accounts to report the true picture of the value of recoverables, for instance, on which I am having considerable correspondence.

Mr. MERRIAM. Did you say could he or should he?

Representative GIFFORD. Could he, or would he, though the country and the Congress would have a true picture of the actual recoverables of which we hear so much.

Mr. MERRIAM. I see no reason why he should not, myself, but you are dealing now with some very technical questions.

Representative GIFFORD. Dr. Brownlow, I have suggested

Mr. BROWNLOW. May I say one thing? That is the reason that in this working out of this draft of bill we suggest that the Auditor General make any investigation at any time required by the Congress or any committee of the Congress.

Mr. MERRIAM. That is what I started to read a moment ago.
Mr. BROWNLOW. He is the agent of the Congress.

Representative GIFFORD. If you wait for the administration in power to investigate anything, you will wait a long time.

Mr. BROWNLOW. This committee is to be independent of the Executive and the agent of the Congress.

Representative GIFFORD. I have learned that the administration in power will not investigate its own expenditures. I have learned that, and I do not need any more proof.

Representative VINSON. There has got to be something more than audits. You have got to have somebody on the job throughout the year, and I think that his mere presence in some of these departments would realize a material saving.

Claims settled by General Accounting Office during fiscal year 1936

[blocks in formation]

Total.--

990, 377 Representative CoCHRAN. Probably we could reach this situation of control by eliminating some part from the Comptrollér General's office and let the executive branch of the Government spend the money that the Comptroller now says it cannot spend and make the executive branch of the Government responsible to the Congress if it has made an illegal expenditure; you would still have the Comptroller General's office and we could add duties to the Comptroller General to make the investigation that Mr. Vinson speaks about, and it would be helpful to the Congress, and at the same time you would satisfy the executive branch of the Government.

The CHAIRMAN. How do you distinguish that from the proposal that is in the report? How do you distinguish that suggestion from the recommendation in the report? That is exactly what they recommend.

Representative COCHRAN. Because you are placing control under the Secretary of the Treasury and you are making him the deciding factor in connection with a million claims a year amounting to an untold amount of money. My mind is open and will remain open, but I am willing to be convinced. I have not been convinced up to this moment that it is going to be a good idea for the people of this country to follow in full the suggestions advanced.

Why not consider removing some of the control! That is the real complaint, Senator, the control that the Comptroller General has assumed over expenditures of the executive branch of the Government. If we curb that to some extent, to the satisfaction of the executive branch, and maintain the Comptroller General's office and give him additional duties to make investigations for the Congress. then you are having an agency make the investigation that is not, you might say, personally interested in the expenditure. But if you are going to leave it to officials of various Government departments to make, they are personally interested in the expenditure and they are going to defend it.

Representative TABER. Mr. Chairman, the function of the Comp; troller General and of the Auditor General, as the Auditor General is set up in the proposed bill and the report of the committee, is to audit the legality and the correctness of the expenditures. Now, an auditor per se is almost an impossibility from the standpoint of budgetary control.

Your Comptroller General or your Auditor General, or whatever you may call him, cannot be of a terrible lot

of use if he is going to do his own job properly in attempting to exercise a budgetary control. I think that is pretty nearly apparent. Wouldn't you think so, Senator Byrnes !

Senator BYRNES. I can think that the effect of it would be to have your budget office study it, as we intended. Now, whether it is wise to take the Congressman's suggestion and have the representative of another bureau, in the Department of Agriculture, for instance, I do not know. That is the first time I have ever heard it suggested and I do not know whether it is wise or not, but it is certainly worth thinking about. We all have the same object in view, that once it is appropriated to have someone check it to see how the funds are expended, and, as a result of that checking to be better prepared to draft an estimate for the next year and then to come before the Appropriations Committee and tell us how it was done and where economies might be effected. I don't know whether it ought to be the same man or not. The suggestion the Congressman makes is worth while thinking about, and I suggest that we go on with this witness and then debate it in executive session.

Senator O'MAHONEY. Mr. Chairman, may I ask one or two questions of the witness?

The CHAIRMAN. Very well.

Senator O’MAHONEY. As I understand the report, Dr. Merriam, it is purely a limit on administrative matters and not at all upon the advisability of the expansion or contraction of Government activities; is that correct?

Mr. MERRIAM. Yes, with regard to the functions. We felt that the appropriations for activities was a matter for Congress.

Senator O'MaHONEY. As to whether or not the Government establishments should be increased or decreased, that was not a question into which you made any investigation?

Mr. MERRIAM. No. Do you want to have the C. C. C. or not, and on what scale? Do you want to continue the N. Y. A., and on what scale? Do you want to continue the P. W. A., and on what scale? We felt those things were not within our mandate.

Senator O'MAHONEY. Yes, but fundamentally the question of total expenditures depends upon the number of activities in which we engage, and the economy with which those expenditures shall be made will depend upon the effectiveness of the administrative machinery?

Mr. MERRIAM. Administrative management, precisely. As the Congressman here said, you can reduce the unit cost per mile of roads but you might want to build more roads.

Senator O'MAHONEY. Now, may I ask whether in the study you have carried on through your subordinates and among the three members of the President's committee, you have come to any conclusion as to whether or not it will be possible to curtail the expansion of Government activities or is the Government to continue to grow?

Mr. MERRIAM. Well, that is a different matter entirely, is it not, within the power of the policy-determining body?

Senator O'MAHONEY. Certainly; but I am asking now for your opinion. From what you have seen, do you think that inevitably this Government establishment is bound to grow!

Claims settled by General Accounting Office during fiscal year 1936

6, 753

By law division: Purchase of submarginal lands----
By claims division :

Civil.--
Arising under Agricultural Adjustment Act..
Service
Transportation.

48, 247 17, 379 20, 990 287, 204

373, 820

By records division :

Effects.
Checks

1 18, 406

18, 407 591, 397

Post Office Department division.

Total.-

990, 377 Representative COCHRAN. Probably we could reach this situation of control by eliminating some part from the Comptrollér General's office and let the executive branch of the Government spend the money that the Comptroller now says it cannot spend and make the executive branch of the Government responsible to the Congress if it has made an illegal expenditure; you would still have the Comptroller General's office and we could add duties to the Comptroller General to make the investigation that Mr. Vinson speaks about, and it would be helpful to the Congress, and at the same time you would satisfy the executive branch of the Government.

The CHAIRMAN. How do you distinguish that from the proposal that is in the report? How do you distinguish that suggestion from the recommendation in the report? That is exactly what they recommend.

Representative COCHRAN. Because you are placing control under the Secretary of the Treasury and you are making him the deciding factor in connection with a million claims a year amounting to an untold amount of money. My mind is open and will remain open, but I am willing to be convinced. I have not been convinced up to this moment that it is going to be a good idea for the people of this country to follow in full the suggestions advanced.

Why not consider removing some of the control? That is the real complaint, Senator, the control that the Comptroller General has assumed over expenditures of the executive branch of the Government. If we curb that to some extent, to the satisfaction of the executive branch, and maintain the Comptroller General's office and give him additional duties to make investigations for the Congress, then you are having an agency make the investigation that is not, you might say, personally interested in the expenditure. But if you are going to leave it to officials of various Government departments to make, they are personally interested in the expenditure and they are going to defend it.

Representative TABER. Mr. Chairman, the function of the Comptroller General and of the Auditor General, as the Auditor General is set up in the proposed bill and the report of the committee, is to audit the legality and the correctness of the expenditures. Now, an auditor per se is almost an impossibility from the standpoint of budgetary control. Your Comptroller General or your Auditor General, or whatever you may call him, cannot be of a terrible lot

of use if he is going to do his own job properly in attempting to exercise a budgetary control. I think that is pretty nearly apparent. Wouldn't you think so, Senator Byrnes?

Senator BYRNES. I can think that the effect of it would be to have your budget office study it, as we intended. Now, whether it is wise to take the Congressman's suggestion and have the representative of another bureau, in the Department of Agriculture, for instance, I do not know.' That is the first time I have ever heard it suggested and I do not know whether it is wise or not, but it is certainly worth thinking about. We all have the same object in view, that once it is appropriated to have someone check it to see how the funds are expended, and, as a result of that checking to be better prepared to draft an estimate for the next year and then to come before the Appropriations Committee and tell us how it was done and where economies might be effected. I don't know whether it ought to be the same man or not. The suggestion the Congressman makes is worth while thinking about, and I suggest that we go on with this witness and then debate it in executive session.

Senator O’MAHONEY. Mr. Chairman, may I ask one or two questions of the witness?

The CHAIRMAN. Very well.

Senator O’MAHONEY. As I understand the report, Dr. Merriam, it is purely a limit on administrative matters and not at all upon the advisability of the expansion or contraction of Government activities; is that correct?

Mr. MERRIAM. Yes, with regard to the functions. We felt that the appropriations for activities was a matter for Congress.

Senator O'MAHONEY. As to whether or not the Government establishments should be increased or decreased, that was not a question into which you made any investigation?

Mr. MERRIAM. No. Do you want to have the C. C. C. or not, and on what scale? Do you want to continue the N. Y. A., and on what scale? Do you want to continue the P. W. A., and on what scale? We felt those things were not within our mandate.

Senator O’MAHONEY. Yes, but fundamentally the question of total expenditures depends upon the number of activities in which we engage, and the economy with which those expenditures shall be made will depend upon the effectiveness of the administrative machinery

Mr. MERRIAM. Administrative management, precisely. As the Congressman here said, you can reduce the unit cost per mile of roads but you might want to build more roads.

Senator O'MAHONEY. Now, may I ask whether in the study you have carried on through your subordinates and among the three members of the President's committee, you have come to any conclusion as to whether or not it will be possible to curtail the expansion of Government activities or is the Government to continue to grow?

Mr. MERRIAM. Well, that is a different matter entirely, is it not, within the power of the policy-determining body?

Senator O'MAHONEY. Certainly; but I am asking now for your opinion. From what you have seen, do you think that inevitably this Government establishment is bound to grow?

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