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It is also notable that on the left-hand side of the chart are the executive and administrative offices, and on the right-hand side is the Congress and the proposed Auditor General and his regional auditing offices. Also, in connection with the Congress, there is the proposed Joint Committee on Public Accounts.
The reason for setting this chart up in this way is to show the interrelationship that should exist between the Congress on the one hand and the Executive on the other, in the control of the expenditure of appropriations. It brings out this rather interesting fact, that Congress makes the appropriations starting at no. 1 at the top, to the right, which go to the Executive for his approval and for transmission to the Treasury Department.
Representative TABER. You left out the first starting point, where the Budget is submitted to Congress by the Executive.
Mr. Buck. Well, this is entitled just “Expenditure control.”
Mr. Buck. Perhaps that should have been on, too. If it had been included, you would have had this so-called pipe start over there (indicating] with the Executive and go to Congress, and then come back to the Executive in the form of appropriations. The appropriations having been made and having been recorded (3) in the accounting office of the Secretary of the Treasury, which, under this proposed scheme, is called the Bureau of Fiscal Control, those appropriations are then apportioned by the Director of the Budget.
Representative COCHRAN. Are they not apportioned by the Congress
Mr. Buck. No; this procedure is under the Antideficiency Act of 1906, and subsequent provisions and orders of the President. It is an executive function now handled by the Bureau of the Budget.
Representative COCHRAN. But really when Congress passes the appropriation act and provides for the spending of money for a spe.cific purpose, is not Congress then apportioning the money?
Mr. BUCK. It does, by detailed appropriations.
Mr. Buck. But there is more than that to the operation; it extends over the entire fiscal year. The apportionment relates to parts of the year, quarters or months of the year, and also to the subordinate units. Congress may make an appropriation in a lump-sum amount, and then it may be subdivided by the process known as apportionment.
Senator TOWNSEND. Then the administrative officers must go up to the Director of the Budget for their apportionment?
Mr. Buck. Yes; that is now the procedure.
Representative TABER. Do they go through the Secretary of the Treasury to the Director of the Budget at the present time?
Mr. Buck. Well, for all practical purposes, they do.
Mr. Buck. No; it is the same scheme as you have at the present time.
Representative TABER. If that is so, then your Director of the Budget, instead of being an independent agent, becomes subordinate to the Secretary of the Treasury?
Mr. Buck. Not under this diagram. He is on a straight line from the Executive, you see, there (indicating).
Senator TOWNSEND. The President would direct the Director of the Budget, and the Director of the Budget would apportion it to the administrative officers, is that the idea?
Mr. Buck. That is right, going down to (5), then on to (6), when you meet the administrative officers.
Representative TABER. The administrative officers according to this, would deal through the Secretary of the Treasury with the Budget, is that the scheme?
Mr. Buck. No; that is not exactly correct. They would make their applications directly to the Director of the Budget for their apportionments, but once those apportionments have been made and approved by the Director of the Budget they then go from (4) to (5), as you see, in order to be placed upon the books of the Treasury. We propose controls over these apportionments, general controls to be set up on the accounts of the proposed fiscal control bureau.
Senator BYRNES. Does it not do that now? The Director of the Budget makes the apportionment and it goes then to the accounting books of the Treasury.
Mr. Buck. Yes; that is practically what happens now, except that the controls on the apportionments in the Treasury books are not very good at the present time.
Senator TOWNSEND. Will the Secretary of the Treasury have any control when it goes up to him? Can he refuse or accept the administrative officers' apportionments?
Mr. Buck. No, the Director of the Budget does that. That is his job.
Senator TOWNSEND. All that the Secretary of the Treasury does then is accept it when it comes back to him and put it on his books?
Mr. Buck. That is right. That having been done the apportionments then go to the chief administrative officers at (6). Now, those chief administrative officers are located here, as you see in the District of Columbia. They may have numerous field services to which they will wish to allot those apportionments, and they proceed to do so. Having done that, they notify the control section of the Treasury as to their allotments. That is (7). From there a notification goes to (8), which is the Regional Treasury Accounts Office.
Senator TOWNSEND. Is that new?
Mr. Buck. That is new. That is new in this sense that we do not have it connected at the present time with the general accounting system.
Senator TOWNSEND. Have you outlined how many regional treasury offices would be required? Representative TABER. Would this include the Post Office, the War,
. and the Navy?
Mr. Buck. You mean the regional accounting system ?
Representative TABER. Their accounting and disbursing would all be handled through the Treasury?
Mr. Buck. Well, the gathering of the information would be in this regional accounting office, which is an arm of the Treasury, and
more particularly an arm of this fiscal control unit or bureau of the Treasury.
Senator TOWNSEND. Well, is that an information bureau ? Mr. Buck. No; it is a field accounting organization where most of the detailed accounting will be done.
Representative TABER. Well, now, have you given consideration to the effort that has been made in the Treasury to handle the disbursing situation?
Mr. BUCK. Yes; I am somewhat familiar with it.
Representative TABER. Now, it has been my job to go into it quite considerably on the Treasury appropriations. Frankly, those gentlemen have more than they can absorb right now, and do it efficiently.
Mr. BUCK. Well, that is a problem, may I say, that is apart from this regional Treasury accounts office. You will see to the right there the regional disbursing office, which is, of course, fashioned upon the structure which you have now.
Representative TABER. Now, a pretty careful study by even those gentlemen who are attempting to handle the disbursing in the Treasury indicate to them that the War and the Navy Departments and the Post Office Department have quite efficient set-ups at the present time. Have you made a study that indicates anything different?
Mr. BUCK. Well, I would not say that I have made a study of it. I have gotten certain information that leads me to believe that perhaps the system of the Post Office is overrated at the present time, quite considerably, I should say.
Representative TABER. Well, some of the folks who have studied it have been led to believe that the Treasury Disbursing Office had been very much overrated.
Mr. BUCK. May we follow this, please, until we come to that point?
Senator TOWNSEND. May I ask another question there! How many regional Treasury disbursing offices do you figure there will be in the country!
Mr. Buck. About the same number as the regional accounting offices. They would be side by side so as to expedite the business, you see.
Senator TOWNSEND. About 20 of each?
Senator BYRD. Would that increase the cost, having 20 additional Treasury or regional offices?
Mr. Buck. That is a bit difficult to say. At the present time, under the Emergency Appropriations Act of 1935 and 1936, you have these regional Treasury accounts offices, and you have a great many more of them than you will need when you get the system fully centralized. Now there is one in each State, as you know. Of course, I do not think that that many would be at all necessary. Perhaps 20 would be the limit that would be needed, and the number might be even smaller than that. Perhaps you could get along with one in each Federal Reserve district, which would be 12.
Of course, Senator, it is difficult to say as to what the cost of those services would be once they had been set up. I should think the Treasury could give you some idea from its experience with the emergency appropriation expenditures, in connection with which it has already set up these regional accounting offices.
Senator BYRD. Well, now, you are transferring some duties from the present Comptroller General to the Treasury Department, and it