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EXPENDITURES FOR LAND FOR RADIO MONITORING
MAY 0, 1949.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State
of the Union and ordered to be printed
Mr. SADOWSKI, from the Committee on Interstate and Foreign
Commerce, submitted the following
To accompany H. R. 4251)
The Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 4251), to amend section 4 (g) of the Communications Act of 1934 to permit the Federal Communications Commission to make expenditures for land for radio monitoring stations, and for other purposes, having considered the same, report favorably thereon with amendments and recommend that the bill as amended do pass.
The amendments are as follows:
Substitute commas for parentheses on page 1, line 6, and page 2, line 8.
The bill has the approval of the Federal Communications Commission as will appear from letter attached dated April 19, 1949.
The primary purpose of the bill is to provide specific legislative authority for the Federal Communications Commission to acquire land and construct stations, building, and related facilities for use in connection with radio-monitoring work engaged in by the Commission.
Radio-monitoring facilities are used in the detection of illegal radio operation and to assure that authorized radio services are operated free of objectionable interferences. These facilities further provide the Commission with the technical data essential to its proper functioning.
Without this specific legislative authority, appropriation bills carrying funds for these purposes would be subject to a point of order. It is, therefore, desirable that the authority of the Commission be set forth clearly and not be left to an inference from general language contained in the Federal Communications Act.
Insofar as the authority to improve, furnish, equip, and repair laboratories used in connection with the Commission's technical research activities is concerned, the proposed amendment limits such construction activities to minor subsidiary buildings and structures not exceeding $25,000 in any one instance. This provision assures a double check by the legislative as well as the Appropriations Committees in both Houses in cases where the Commission proposed to undertake major construction work in connection with its laboratory facilities.
Further details with respect to the proposed amendment are contained in the letter, dated April 5, 1949, from the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission to the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
APRIL 19, 1948. Hon. ROBERT CROSSER, Chairman, House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,
House Office Building, Washington 25, D. C. DEAR CONGRESSMAN CROSSER: I have your letter of April 14, 1949, enclosing a copy of H. R. 4251, a bill to amend section 4 (g) of the Communications Act of 1934, to permit the Federal Communications Commission to make expenditures for land for monitoring stations, and for other purposes, and I appreciate your interest in informing me of the fact that it has been introduced.
As you know, the amendment contained in H. R. 4251 originated with the Commission and was proposed in its letter of April 5, 1949, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives. I am enclosing a copy of that letter for your information. As stated in that letter, the Commission is heartily in favor of the enactment of this bill and we will be happy to furnish any further information concerning it that your committee may wish. Sincerely yours,
PAUL A. WALKER, Acting Chairman.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION,
Washington 25, D. C., April 5, 1949. Hon. Sam RAYBURN, Speaker of the House of Representatives,
Washington 25, D. C. DEAR MR. SPEAKER: The Commission is now confronted with a problem with respect to the maintenance of its radio-monitoring activities which in the view of the Commission can best be met through amendment to section 4 (g) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U. S. C. 154 (g)). I am, therefore, writing at the direction of the Commission to submit for the consideration of the House a recommended amendment to section 4 (g) of the Communications Act and to set out the considerations which have prompted this recommendation.
The effective performance by the Commission of its regulatory functions requires the maintenance of radio monitoring and laboratory facilities. The Commission now has 21 monitoring stations located in the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico, and a technical laboratory located at Laurel, Md. These facilities are used in the detection of illegal radio operation, and the collection of technical data essential to the proper functioning of the Commission and the operation of authorized radio services free of objectionable interference. From time to time, as conditions change and the nature of tasks before these monitoring stations vary it becomes advisable to expand, change, or add to existing facilities. In some cases the acquisition of the land to be used and construction of the necessary new buildings and related improvements on such land is required. In other cases the necessary construction can be accomplished upon land already owned by the Federal Government.
It had been the thought of the Commission that the present language of sections 4 (g) and (i) of the Communications Act would seem to provide adequate basis for a request for funds with which to acquire additional land or construct additional buildings provided appropriations for such purposes are made by Congress. Those sections now authorize the Commission to "perform any and all acts not inconsistent with this Act, as may be necessary in the performance of its
functions," and "to make such expenditures
as may be necessary for the execution of the functions vested in the Commission and as from time to time may be appropriated for by Congress
It had seemed to us that these provisions meet the requirements of 44 U. S. C., section 14, that purchase of land "on account of the United States” be pursuant to a “law authorizing such purchase," and of the provisions of 44 U. S. C., section 12, which provided that funds to be used for the erection of public buildings must be appropriated for the "specific purpose." However, we recognize that the precise interpretation to be given to the provisions just mentioned is not clear cut and the Bureau of the Budget is of the opinion that a more specific legislative basis than that contained in the Communications Act is required before funds may be requested by the Commission for the purchase of land or the construction of public buildings. In order to clarify the language of section 4 (g) on this point the following amendment of the first sentence of that section is recommended which is similar to the amendment proposed by the Commission to the Eightieth Congress on June 29. 1918.
Section 4 (g):
“The Commission may make such expenditures (including expenditures for rent and personal services at the seat of Government and elsewhere, for office supplies, law books, periodicals, and books of reference, [and] for printing and binding, for land for use as sites for radio monitoring stations and related facilities, including living quarters where necessary in remote arcas, for the construction of such stations and facilities, and for the improvement, furnishing, equipping, and repairing of such stations and facilities and of laboratories and other related facilities (including construction of minor subsidiary buildings and structures not exceeding $25,000 in any one instanco) used in connection with technical research activities), as may be necessary for the execution of the functions vested in the Commission and as from time to time may be appropriated for by Congress.” [New language in italics; deleted language in black brackets).
It should be emphasized thọt such an amendment would not have the effect of permitting the purchase of land or construction of buildings without congressional approval. There would still remain the necessity for seeking and justifying the desired appropriation in each case. The amendment would merely make it unnecessary for Congress and the Commission to cover the same ground twice in connection with each case of purchase of construction. Becaise of the time element involved in having legislation introduced and passed, this requirement of twice submitting a proposed purchase of land or construction of buildings to Congress would appear to impose an unnecessary burden on the Congress and would result in extended indefinite delay in any expansion, however urgent, or monitoring facilities involving the construction of new buildings and the acquisition of additional land. It should be noted that the proposed amendment of section 4 (6) would not authorize the purchase of land for anything but monitoring stations or facilities related to monitoring stations such as living quarters. Nor does it authorize the construction of any new major facilities for technical research activities such as a new experimental laboratory similar to the existing one at Laurel, Md. Before any appropriations could be made for the construction of any new major technical research facilities for the Commission it would be necessary to secure prior authorization from the Congress. However, the language of the amendment is intended to serve as authorization for the Commission to expend such sums as may henceforth be authorized by Congress for necessary improvements in laboratories and related facilities even where such improvements may require construction of satellite or subsidiary structures or facilities not physically attached to the present laboratory buildings but required in order to carry out or implement the activities of the existing plants. However, any such construction would be limited in cost to $25,000 in any one instance, and any future request for construction costing more than this sum would require special substantive legislation before any appropriations could be made.
The consideration of this recommendation by the House will be very greatly appreciated. We shall be most happy to furnish any additional information that may be desired by the House or the committee to which this matter may be referred. The Bureau of the Budget has advised us that it has no objection to the submission of this letter by the Commission. By direction of the Commission,
WAYNE Coy, Chai: man.
CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW
In compliance with paragraph 2a of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by the bill, as introduced, are shown as follows (existing law proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new matter is printed in italics, existing law in which no change is proposed is shown in roman):
COMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1934, as AMENDED
(g) The Commission may make such expenditures (including expenditures for rent and personal services at the seat of government and elsewhere, for office supplies, law books, periodicals, and books of reference [and] for printing and binding, for land for use as sites for radio monitoring stations and related facilities, including living quarters where necessary in remote areas, for the construction of such stations and facilities, and for the improvement, furnishing, equipping, and repairing of such stations and facilities and of laboratories and other related facilities (including construction of minor subsidiary buildings and structures not excceding $25,000 in any one instance) used in connection with technical research activities) as may be necessary for the execution of the functions vested in the Commission and as from time to time may be appropriated for by Congress. All expenditures of the Commission, including all necessary expenses for transportation incurred by the commissioners or by their employees, under their orders, in making any investigation or upon any official business in any other places than in the city of Washington, shall be allowed and paid on the presentation of itemized vouchers therefor approved by the chairman of the Commission or by such other member or officer thereof as may be designated by the Commission for that purpose.