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used for those two permanent projects is being used for so-called research which will not occur from year to year, but the Congress next year will be compelled to appropriate to complete this dam and this chemical plant. In other words, the idea that the people have back home that Congress has control of the purse strings is just a little far-fetched. We don't have the control that they think we have.
It is about like people saying, “War cannot be declared except by Congress.” Now, if you are familiar with the history of the United States, we find that Congress no longer declares war. The country goes to war through the action of the executive branch, and Congress finally says a state of war exists. Now, that is somewhat true with these appropriations. While in theory they have control of the purse strings, I think anyone who sits on the Appropriations Committees and deals in billions—$40,000,000,000 which 21 men on the Senate committee will be compelled in the next 3 months or 4 months to go over in detail-knows it is a physical impossibility. So that we no longer can say that Congress has control of the purse strings if it is going to cost the Federal Government $40,000,000,000 unless, as you say, we can get the experts who are working under the Appropriations Committee during the whole year to review this budget parallel with the Budget Committee, and we have no such staff. The executive branch has a thousand men compared to our one. I think it would almost average that. Unless you get some system where you can put the control of the purse strings back in the people through their Congress, we are not going to have it.
What do you say to that?
Dr. GALLOWAY. I say to that, Senator, that the efforts of Congress throughout most of its history to control expenditures have in large measure been frustrated. You are just giving some current examples of a perennial frustration. I think the experience of the past has tended to show that Congress can disturb but seldom fathom the deeper waters where the bigger fish of the civil service swim and feed. (Laughter.]
Senator BRICKER. That is very good.
Senator FERGUSON. I have been able at times, just now and then, to get down to the dam and see them feed, and it has always appeared to me to be a fertile field where I personally want to be, but there are only so many hours in the day. You have expressed it very well. Have you been down there, Doctor? You have or you wouldn't know about the big fish.
Dr. GallowAY. A little later in my prepared statement, I address myself to this problem of controlling Federal expenditures and how to strengthen the power of the purse.
If I may, I shall conclude briefly my suggestions under the head of departmental liaison and supervision. I would suggest staff expansion to assist the standing committees in their review of the administration of the laws in their respective fields, to determine if any agency is exceeding or abusing powers duly granted to it, to ascertain where and why an agency is unable to carry out the intent of the law and, where necessary, to recommend corrective legislation. Such review might well include periodic question periods at which agency officials would appear before the committee, informing it of their problems and receiving complaints of agency shortcomings.
I suggest maintenance of departmental liaison offices at the Capitol. Creation of a joint Legislative-Executive Council is also suggested. This was originally recommended by the La Follette-Monroney committee and proposes to bridge the gap at the top level between Congress and the Executive by setting up a joint body composed, on the legislative side, of the majority policy committees of the Senate and House (when it establishes one), and, on the executive side, of the President and his Cabinet.
This latter suggestion may not seem feasible at a time of divided party control of the two branches. I would remind the committee that the Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress pointed out in its report that it might be desirable to include the minority policy committee from time to time in these joint conferences with the Executive on broad questions of foreign and domestic policy as a further means of promoting mutual understanding and harmony between the Legislature and the Executive. So that at a time when, as at present, opposing political parties control the two great branches of the National Government, the legislative wing of the joint council could be composed in part of the representatives of the minority policy committees when, as, and if such party policy committees are created in the lower House.
Coming now to my suggestions for strengthening congressional control of Federal expenditures, the efforts of Congress throughout most of its history to control expenditures have, in large measure, been frustrated. The full story of the history of the efforts of Congress to control expenditures is told in a recent book by Lucius Wilmerding, Jr., entitled “The Spending Power."
With a gross public debt of $256,000,000,000 and with annual Federal budgets running around $40,000,000,000, a widespread public demand arose after the war that Congress strengthen its control over the public purse. A whole battery of devices for obtaining more effective performance of its fiscal function was offered by experts who testified during 1945 before the Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress. After long study the joint committee made a series of recommendations in its final report for strengthening fiscal control. It recommended the adoption of annual Federal budget totals by Congress, better organization and staffing of the Appropriations Committees, service audits by the Comptroller General, and a ban on the appropriation of unexpended balances and the transfer of appropriations. Most of these fiscal recommendations were approved by Congress in enacting the Legislative Reorganization Act (secs. 138, 139, 205, 206).
The most important and controversial of these fiscal provisions is that which calls for the adoption of a legislative budget. Under this provision, after the President submits his annual budget of estimated receipts and disbursements, the four revenue and appropriations committees of the two Houses of Congress, acting jointly, are to prepare a legislative budget for the next fiscal year. The committees are to present their recommended budget, including estimates of total receipts and expenditures, to the two Houses for adoption by February 15. When adopted, this budget is to serve as a guide to congressional action on appropriations and taxes.
The first attempt to apply the legislative budget provisions of the act failed in 1947. Although the Joint Budget Committee brought in its budget resolution, which was adopted by the House, and by the Senate with amendments, it became deadlocked in conference and died there. The conferees were unable to agree upon the division of the expected surplus between tax reduction and debt retirement. The Senate Majority Policy Committee in a report prepared by its able staff director, Mr. George Smith, has stated that the legislative budget effort failed in 1947 because, first, the time allowed for preparation of the budget was too short even if Congress had been fully organized; second, Congress was not adequately staffed to do the job; third the budgeting process conflicts with the established appropriating process; and, fourth, existing Federal accounting practices make it impossible accurately to estimate expenditures on an annual basis.
It seems to me that although there is general agreement upon the desirability of the chief objective sought by the legislative budget scheme, that is, greater over-all control of fiscal policy by Congress, the mechanics of the plan must be modified to make it workable. And I suggest some eight changes in present practice and procedure, of which some are alternatives, designed to make the legislative budget work. These include a large staff of budget analysts to be employed by the Joint Budget Committee or the postponement of the deadline for the introduction of the concurrent budget resolution until toward the end of the regular session; the consolidation of all the general appropriation bills in an omnibus appropriation bill along the lines proposed by Senators Byrd and Butler and unanimously approved by the Senate Rules Committee on June 25, 1947; or two omnibus bills could be prepared, one for national defense and one for civil functions, along the lines proposed by Marcellus C. Sheild, former chief clerk of the House Appropriations Committee and an expert in this subject; or the Budget Committee could recommend separate ceilings for each general appropriation bill which the subcommittees on appropriations could allocate in turn among their agencies and activities. Furthermore, the House Appropriations Committee should be required to transmit its finished bills to the Budget Committee for review before reporting them to the House, and the Budget Committee would then submit its over-all recommendations to the Congress to be considered in connection with the omnibus bill, or bills; the Senate Committee on Appropriations should hold its initial hearings concurrently or jointly with the House Appropriations Committee in order to avoid undue delay in the enactment of the supply measures, although this might in some measure tend to impair the appellate function of the Senate committee; Congress should appropriate annually only the funds needed for actual cash payments within the fiscal year and ban all carry-overs of appropriations from 1 year to another so as to equate appropriations and expenditures in the law. I submit that these changes would meet the difficulties pointed out by Mr. George Smith in his above-quoted analysis of the reasons for the failure of the legislative budget provisions of the act of 1947.
Turning now to my suggestions for reducing the work load on Congress, I will hastily summarize them. I suggest that Members of the lower House be authorized to appoint competent administrative assistants, as Senators now can; that the private calendar be eliminated by delegating all claims and immigration matters to administrative determination; that the District of Columbia be granted home rule so as to relieve the Congress of the onerous task of functioning as a city council for the District of Columbia; that electric voting machines might be installed so as to save time on roll calls and quorum calls; that debate in the Senate might be limited by the adoption of a constitutional majority cloture rule in place of the present rule; that more legislative staff aides be furnished, as previously recommended; and that some arrangement be made for the central scheduling of committee hearings so as to avoid conflicts between the committees and their hearings and thus help to solve the no-quorum problem.
Mr. Van HORN. Dr. Galloway, have you any suggestion in that line for the central scheduling of committee meetings?
Dr. GALLOWAY. Yes; I have, Mr. Van Horn. I suggest that either the Secretary of the Senate or the clerk of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration could be directed to set up a sort of clearing house for the central scheduling of committee meetings in order to avoid conflicts.
Mr. Van HORN. Would you have it so that they merely call and notify him that they are going to hold a meeting on the 18th of February and ask if they might hold the meeting on that day and if that would conflict with any other?
Dr. GallowAY. Well, I suggest that initially it would be the function of the clerks of all the standing committees of the Senate to notify the Secretary of the Senate or his employee of the dates upon which they plan to hold committee meetings, and then if upon comparing these dates the Secretary of the Senate finds there is an important conflict, after examining the membership of the committees concerned, he might suggest to the committees and their clerks that there will be this conflict, and that they probably won't get a quorum, but there is a vacancy at another hour or on another day when they are more apt to be able to assemble a quorum and carry on their business.
I think, without formalizing it too much, that cooperative arrangements could be worked out in the manner suggested so as to avoid this very harassing problem of conflicts in committee appointments to which you, Senator Ferguson, referred a little earlier.
Senator FERGUSON. It is one of the difficult problems. We might as well admit it here this morning. There are many other hearings going on at the same time, probably no more important work than the work here. But you finally get Senators or Members of Congress to the point, where they bave to make a selection of one out of four hearings that they are interested in. They are responsible for making the selection—they cannot be all places at one time. So you find two Members here at the present time.
Dr. GALLOWAY. Well, sir, I respectfully suggest that the central scheduling of committee meetings in some such fashion might help.
Senator FERGUSON. I agree with you.
Mr. Van Horn. What would you think of the suggestion that has been made that the Rules Committee be given the power to schedule not merely your request, but to say, “Sorry, Mr. Chairman, but that day has been taken by the X committee, who called me yesterday, and a lot of your members are on it; suppose you meet” and he names a day? In other words, actually to schedule, not just suggest.
Dr. GALLOWAY. I think that would be an appropriate function for the Rules Committee to perform. After all, it is the Committee on Rules and Administration of the Senate and I assume that the standing committees of the Senate would be willing to subordinate their special interests to the welfare of the entire body.
Senator FERGUSON. The load of work may demonstrate that you would never get your work done under such a system. I mean it may demonstrate that the only way to get this work load done is to do it perhaps with very few members sitting. With the number of bills that are introduced in the Congress, it may be that we would find, if we had absolute control like that, and would not schedule more than one hearing per day for the 2 or 3 hours in the morning that we have—under the rules now you can't sit unless you have consent--you may discover that you could't carry your work load.
Dr. GALLOWAY. Well, I have another suggestion to make in that connection, Senator Ferguson.
Senator FERGUSON. Thank you.
Dr. GALLOWAY. My suggestion is that the meeting days of the committees be staggered with the sessions of the Chamber so that the committees of the Senate would meet, say, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays all day and that the sessions of the Senate would be held, say, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, or alternatively. That arrangement was followed at the beginning of the last session.
Senator BRICKER. We tried that.
Dr. Galloway. That was tried, as vou know, during the early months of the last session and I understand it worked quite well. If the Senate were to meet all day, beginning in the morning, instead of meeting at noon, on those alternative days, then the argument that led to the abandonment of this staggered scheme might be met, because I think they just met as usual in the afternoon. Did they not, Senator Hickenlooper?
Senator HICKENLOOPER. That would be all right if you didn't have some work to do in your office.
Dr. GALLOWAY. Perhaps you need more help in your office.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Well, you can have all the help in the world in your office, but there is a certain substantial volume of work to which you have to give attention yourself. You just can't delegate discretionary matters at all times.
Senator FERGUSON. I suppose you could do your work in your office at night, but a great many of the Senators are doing that now, some four nights a week.
Dr. GALLOWAY. Yes. I know Senator Ball, for example, works almost every night.
I hope that these various suggestions for reducing and handling the volume of business in the Senate would, taken together, have some appreciable effect upon the work load. I have just one further suggestion to make in this connection. Yesterday, Senator Ferguson asked me to give some thought to the possibility of reducing the number of committee assignments to one assignment per Senator.
Senator FERGUSON. Yes. I am interested in your opinion on that, Doctor.
Dr. GalLOWAY. It would be possible under the present party division of the Senate to reduce the number of committee assignments to one for each Senator provided: (a) that the number of committees was reduced from 15 to 12; (b) that the size of committees was reduced from 13 to 8 members each; and (c) that the party ratio on 9 committees was 4 to 4 and on 3 committees was 5 to 3.
Senator FERGUSON. That just wouldn't work, would it?