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COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS
FRITZ G. LANHAM, Texas, Chair man C. JASPER BELL, Missouri
PEHR G, HOLMES, Massachusetts CHARLES A. BUCKLEY, New York
J. HARRY MCGREGOR, Ohio FRANK W. BOYKIN, Alabama
CLARENCE E. KILBURN, New York MICHAEL J, KIRWAN, Ohio
ROBERT L. RODGERS, Pennsylvania NEWT V. MILLS, Louisiana
EARL WILSON, Indiana F. EDWARD HÉBERT, Louisiana
C. W. (Runt) BISHOP, Illinois
WILLIAM S. HILL, Colorado
ALBERT W. Woods, Clerk
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
AMENDING THE ACT TO EXPEDITE THE PROVISION OF
THURSDAY, JANUARY 29, 1942
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D. C. The committee met at 10 a. m., Hon. Fritz G. Lanham (chairman) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will please come to order. I should like first to make a brief prefatory statement.
We are meeting today to consider the matter of defense housing and the necessary public works in connection with defense housing with reference to this metropolitan area, the District of Columbia and the territory nearby.
The members of the District Committee, naturally, are interested in legislation of this character, and we are delighted to have members of that committee and their chairman sitting with us in these hearings.
Since the matter of defense housing was first brought up for legislative attention we have been asked to give consideration to the matter of the housing of civilian departmental workers here in the District of Columbia. The original legislation had to do with congested industrial areas, where munitions plants, shipbuilding activities, and things of that kind were being carried on, and where there was quite a shortage of housing for the industrial workers and for the Army and Navy personnel assigned to those plants, and it was thought by the members of this committee that the matter of civilian housing of defense workers was quite apart from that, and that as it affects the District of Columbia, there were some differences and distinctions, and that that matter should be handled in separate legislation.
Recently the Housing Act was amended, and in the conference, between the House and Senate conferees the matter of housing for civilian workers in the District was stressed. As a matter of fact, the Senate had placed it in the bill as an amendment. It was insisted then that it should be dealt with in a separate measure, perhaps as a new title to this act, and on the assumption that the matter would be given early consideration, the conferees agreed to eliminate that from the recent bill. So we have moved as expeditiously as possible in the preparation of this proposed legislation. The House conferees agreed in those conferences to undertake to draft a bill that would meet the situation. Of course, in introducing such a bill we had to wait until we received some estimate of the amount of money necessary for that purpose, until it could be taken up through the regular Government channels, and that estimate, accompanying a letter from the Housing
Coordinator, Mr. Palmer, reached the House of Representatives late in the afternoon of Tuesday last, and consequently, yesterday was the first time that these bills could be introduced.
The House conferrees, Mr. Bell, Mr. Holmes, and myself, have been working on a bill for this purpose in accordance with our agreement with the Senate conferees in that conference. The letter that was sent from Mr. Palmer also sent the draft of a proposed bill, and we thought that under the circumstances the proper thing to do, in view of the fact that each measure relates to the same subject, was to introduce both bills, and they are both before the committee now.
This hearing will be conducted by this committee with our guests from the District Committee, and I hope that the members of the District Committee will feel absolutely free to ask any questions or participate in the hearing just as if the hearing were before the District of Columbia Committee.
The first thing that should appear in the record, I think, is the letter that was sent to the Speaker from Mr. Palmer and referred to this committee, together with the draft of the bill which now appears, H. R. 6482. Probably most of the Members have read this communication, but if it is desired, the letter from Mr. Palmer to the Speaker can be read at this time, or it can be inserted in the record. What is your pleasure with reference to it?
Mr. McGREGOR. I move that it be inserted in the record.
The CHAIRMAN. Then we will insert it in the record at this point, and we will insert following it each of the two bills which have been introduced. (The letter and the bills are as follows:)
EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT,
OFFICE FOR EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT,
Washington, D. C., January 27, 1942. The Honorable Sam RAYBURN,
Speaker, House of Representatives. MY DEAR MR. SPEAKER: Enclosed herewith are two copies of a draft of a bill to amend further the act of October 14, 1940 (Public, No. 849, 76th Cong., generally known as the Lanham Act).
I am advised by the Bureau of the Budget that there is no objection to the submission of this legislation to the Congress for its consideration.
The bill adds a new Title IV to such act to authorize an appropriation of $50,000,000 to provide defense housing and defense public works in and about the District of Columbia.
The Lanham Act, which authorizes the provision for defense housing and defense public works “for persons engaged in national defense activities,” limits the definition of such persons in such manner that employees of the United States whose duties are vitally essential to national defense are not eligible.
As the Members of the Congress are aware, in order to carry on the war activities of the Government, thousands upon thousands of Government employees have been brought into the Capital, and it is anticipated that many additional thousands will be required. This situation has already strained the housing facilities of metropolitan Washington to their limits. The Division of Defense Housing Coordination recently recommended a housing program which requires the erection of 4,500 publicly financed houses which it has found will be necessary over and above the maximum production of the private home-building industry and of the Defense Homes Corporation. Since the data upon which such program was based were accumulated prior to the existence of a state of war, increasing governmental activities will undoubtedly require additional housing provision
The information before us at the time such report was prepared indicates that during the 18 months ending July 1942, 60,000 new Government employees were expected to come into Washington which, with expansion of nongovernmental