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budget deficits. The Antideficiency Act of would be obtained by prohibiting individual 1905 introduced the technique of monthly or legislators from cxcceding presidential estiother allotments to prcvcnt “unduc expendi- matcs. Although Fitzgerald would not abturcs in one portion of the year that may re- solutely forbid such increascs, he wanted to quirc dcficicncy or additional appropriations “make it so difficult, and loading (the legisto complete the service of the fiscal year ..." tor) down, that it would only be done under (33 Stat. 1257, scc. 4). In the Antidcficiency the most peculiar or extraordinary circumAct of 1906, Congress stipulated that appor- stances” (Willoughby, 1918: 148–149). tionments could be waived or modified in Carter Glass, member of Congress for 17 the event of some extraordinary emergency years before becoming secretary of thc trcasor unusual circumstances which could not be ury, told Congress in 1919 that it should limit anticipated at the time of making such ap- the right to increase any item “either in com. portionmcnt" (34 Stat. 49, scc. 3). This con- mittee or on the floor unless recommended stituted an admission by Congress that re- by the Secretary of the Treasury, or, in the gardless of spending patterns anticipated absence of such recommendation, unless apwhen passing appropriation bills, or even proved by two-thirds of the membership of after apportioning funds, conditions might Congress (U.S. Department of the Treaschange and ncccssitate a different course for ury, 1919: 123). Increases, he said, should actual expenditurcs.

be madu on the floor only when restoring an President Taft received funds in 1910 to item previously recommended by the secreinvestigate into more efficient and economical tary. To protect Congress' constitutional right ways of transacting public business (36 Stat. to initiate expenditures, Glass recommended 703), but when his Commission on Economy that spending proposals in excess of the presand Efficicncy recommended the adoption of ident's request be handlcd by separate bills. an executive budget tivo vears later, Con- David I'. Houston, the next secretary of the gress ignored the proposal. The magnitude treasury, made the same proposal (U.S. Deof federal sprading during World War I, partment of the Treasury, 1920: 51). coupled with the pressing need for managing These constraints on legislative additions the huge debt after the war, finally made were nct incorporated into the Budget and budgct reform unavoidable. The main thrust Accounting Act of 1921, which set forth proof recommendations after 1918 centered on cedures for the new national budget. Nor two principles: an increase in executive re- was the president protected from insubordisponsibility, and a decrease in legislative op- nation within his own ranks. While section portunities for extravagance. For instance, 206 of tic act prohibited agency officials Senator Mcdill McCormick proposed that a from secking additional funds unless rebudget committee be established with power quested to do so by Congress, agencies and to reduce presidential estimates by simple burcaus-denied a portion of their request majority vote; but for increases in budget by the president-could make informal overestimates, he suggested that the committee tures to Congress to have their funds reeither approve them bv a tvo-thirds majority stored. Without item-icto authority, prcsior obtain approval from the sccrctarv of the dents developed the art of impoundment in treasury, upon presidential authority. Fur- order to maintain control over legislative inthermore, after the budget committee had crcases and their own executive officials. released the appropriation bill for floor ac- Following the 1921 act, administrative tion, legislators would not be allowed to offer regulations extended the Budget Burcau's any amendment increasing the budget "cr- control over spending levels. The first budget cept that it be to restore an item or items in director, Charles G. Dawes, issued a circular the estimates as they were originally sub- setting forth procedures for establishing re mitted by the President” (U.S. Congress, serves and effecting savings. Appropriations 1918: 6). Congressman John J. Fitzgerald, from Congress were to be trcated as a mere chairman of the Ilouse Appropriations Com- ceiling on expenditures, rather than as a mittee, also argued that "much better results" directive to spend the full amount. He or

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dered each exccutive department and burcau cessor to effect further reorganization and to to determinc the portion of appropriations reduce military spending in accordance with considered indispensable for carrying out ac- an economy survey ordered by the president tivities. The estimated savings would be car- (47 Stat. 1519, sec. 16; 47 Stat. 1602, Title ried as a General Rcscrve, with the amount II, scc. 4). approved by the president for expenditure In 1932, the Democratic platform had under an appropriation title representing the called for “an immediate and drastic reduc"maximum available for obligation during tion of governmental expenditures by abolthe fiscal year" (U.S. Bureau of the Budget, ishing useless commissions and offices, con1921). Since further savings would be at solidating departments and bureaus, and tempted during the course of the fiscal ycar, eliminating extravagances, to accomplish a each burcau was to withhold additional sums saving of not less than 25 percent in the from obligation so that these amounts could cost of the Federal Government.” Although be added to the General Reserve. As a result promising to spend more for the hungry and of this circular, the allotment technique now the unemployed, Franklin D. Roosevelt comhad two objectives: to prevent deficiencics, mitted himself to his party's economy goal and to effect savings.

during the campaign (Rosenman, 193Sa:

808). Once in office, he requested authority Depression Policies

to reduce veterans' benefits and salaries of Economic collapse in 1929 led to broader federal employees. Despite opposition from presidential authority for reducing expendi- some members of his own party, he obtained tures. When deficits appeared in 1931 for this authority in the economy act of March the first time in a decade, President Hoover 20, 1933 (4S Stat. 8). Senator Tvdings, hcarasked for authority to effect savings through ing legislatois complain that the president reorganization of the executive departments. asked for dictatorial powers, replied, “Of Earlier efforts by Congress to reduce spend course he diil. Why? Because Congress itself ing had been thuirted by such influential refused to co its duty, to protect the integrity lobbyists as veterans' groups. “The only way of the nation il credit” (U.S. Congress, 1933a: by which we will get results," Senator Rced 270). After {oosevelt had reduced veterans' told his colleagues, “is by putting the power payments by an estimated $460 million, a into the hands of somebody who will assume White Housc statement soon admitted that the responsibility and use it ... if we are to cuts had gonc dccper than intended. Funds get economics made they have to be made totaling sili million were restored by a by some one who has the power to make the series of liberalizing executive orders issued order and stand by it. Leave it to Congress in June and Juli, and by the Independent and we will fiddle around here all summer Offices Appropriations Act signed June 16 trying to satisfy every lobbvist, and we will (Rosenman, 1935b). get nowhere” (U.S. Congress, 1932: 9644). Acting under authority of the March 20

President Hoover received authority to act, Roosevelt issued Executive Order 6166 make partial lavofls, reduce compensation to reorganize, transfer, and abolish certain for public officials, and consolidate executive executive agencies and functions. This order agencies in order to cffcct savings. Funds im- transferred the functions of "making, waivpounded by this economy act were to be ing, and modifying apportionments of apreturned to the Treasury Department (47 propriations” from departmental heads and Stat. 382, Part II, Titles I and IV). Hoover bureau chiefs to the budget director (U.S. subscqucnth issueel crecutive orchers to rc- Congress, 1933b: 570S). Inexpended bal. group and consolidate a total of 5S agencies, ances for abolished agencies or functions but the House disapproved the orders on would be transferred to the successor agency January 19, 1933, preferring to leave reorga. as the director considered necessary. Any nization changes to the new president. In his unexpended balances not disposed of would last two days in office, Iloover signed two be impounded and returned to the Treasury. more cconomy measures, authorizing his suc. Thus, instead of letting individual burcau chiefs adjust apportionment schedules to judiciary, the reorganization plan was charsatisfy their constituencics, this decision was acterized as a companion move to deprive centered in the Budget Bureau and the Congress of its vital spending prerogatives president.

(U.S. Congress, 1938b: 387; 1938c: 4630; cf. The inability of Congress to control expen- Wann, 1968: 72–98). ditures when faced with lobbying pressures A different version of the reorganization was illustrated again in the late 1930s. On bill finally passed in 1939, stating that conthe basis of recommendations by the Com- tinuing deficits made cutbacks desirablc and mittec on Administrative Management (the directing the president to effect savings by Brownlow committee), Roosevelt proposed consolidating or abolishing agencies for more in 1937 that Congress establish general prin- efficient operation. Rcorganization would ciples by which the president could reorgatake effcct after 60 days unless voted down nize the executive branch on a continuing by concurrent resolution. Of the five purposes basis. He cmphasized that although reorga- identified in the act, spending reduction was nization could improve efficiency and morale, listed first. Any appropriation unexpended it was not intended as an instrument for as a result of this act would be impounded major spending reductions (Rosenman, and returned to the Treasury (53 Stat. 561). 1938c: 668; 194la: 498). Nevertheless, the Roosevelt strengthened his control over the reorganization proposal graclually acquired a budget by using the reorganization authorcost-saving reputation. In January 1938, Con- ity to transfer the Budget Bureau from the gressman Woodrum recommended that the Treasury to the newly formed Executive president be authorized to reduce any appro- Office of the President (53 Stat. 1423). priation whenever he determined, by investigation, that such action would help balance

WAR PRIORITIES the budget or reduce the public debt, and with war imminent, the leverage for presi. would serve the public interest. One could dential imr.oundment increased. In his Januinterpret this either as a generous extension ary 1941 i udget message, Roosevelt anof impoundment authority under the coon- nounced that the government had "embarlet omy acts of 1932 and 1933, or else as item on a program for the total defense of our veto authority. Woodrum explained that his democracy." It therefore seemed appropriate, proposal would protect the president from he told Congress, to “defer construction proj extraneous items attached to appropriation ects that interfere with the defense program bills, a legislative practice which put the bv diverting manpower and materials. Furpresident in a position of “having to swallow ther, it is very wise for us to establish a things he does not want or approve items hc reservoir of post-dcfcnse projects to help does not want in order to get an appropria absorb labor that later will be released bi tion bill passed” (U.S. Congress, 1938a: defense industry.” He recommended reduc355).

tions for rivers and harbors and Aood-control Opponents of the Woodrim motion work, but funds for power and other projects charged that the president could use the au- considered essential to national defense thority to dominate Congress and intimidate should continue (Rosenman, 1941b: 656). opposition. Congressman Maverick argued On Var 27, 1941, the president declared that legislators would hesitate to challenge a state of unlimited national emergency. the president since he "could single out any When the House passed a rivers and harbors district or portion of America to have appro- bill which he felt might jeopardize the de priations or not to have appropriations, as fense clfort, he appealed to the Senate to he pleased.” Congressman Ditter charged amend the bill “so as to restrict new construc that the reorganization bill put the public tion work to projects having important de purse at the disposal of the president and fense values" (U.S. Congress, 1911a: 5507. made the civil service the “ready tool of the 5817). Congress refused to delegate to the Executive for political appointments." With president the sole right to decide which Roosevelt's Court-packing proposal cited as projects should go forward, but did acknowlan effort to destroy the independence of the edge the gravity of thic emergency period by following Budget Burcau recommendations WPB. The Senate receded on this point and on flood control funds and by including in Section 9 of the statutc authorized the WPB the appropriation bill the provision that flood to withhold funds after certifying that the control projects “shall be prosccuted as “use of critical material for additional highspeedily as may be consistent with budget- way construction would impedc the conduct ary requirements” (U.S. Congress, 1941b: of the war” (U.S. Congress, 1943b: 4; 1943c: 6767-68; 55 Stat. 638, sec. 3).

7385-86, 734546; 57 Stat. 563). After Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt carried out a few months later, Senator McKellar his policy of withholding allocations from again tried to place restrictions on the improjects which did not have important value pounding of funds. As an amendment to a for national defense, but the line between defense bill, he proposed that the impoundnational defense and domestic projects was ing of funds for the departments of war and not always clear. When funds totaling $513,- navy be prohibited except by direction of 000 for a flood control project in Oklahoma Congress. Senator Harry Truman countered were impounded, congressmen and local by saying that good business practice rebusiness groups from the area assailed the quired presidential discretion in the disdecision. The Budget Bureau maintained bursement of funds: "What looks like a good that the building of levees near Tulsa would program one day may be completely unnecdivert funds, machinery, and skilled labor cessary 6 months later.” When domestic projfrom essential war activities. Nature inter- ects compete with war production for scarce vened at this point to upset the Bureau's material and manpower, Truman argued that rationale. Heavy rains caused the Arkansas someone had to decide on prioritics. Congress River to overflow its banks in June 1942, could not do it, he said, since it appropriated flooding an area near Tulsa. The War Pro- for activities over a year in advance, and it duction Board (WPB) received notice that was bette: to leave this authority with the a steel mill handlung war contracts had to be president than with the agency itself. “How closed because of the flooding. When the many ag. ncies,” he asked, “will be anxious WPB later certifiea that the Tulsa levees were to show that they overestimate and overstate essential for the war effort, the Budget Bu- their need;?" (U.S. Congress, 1943d: 10362reau released the funds; but scores of other 63). Despite these adınonitions, the VicKellar projects were curtailed because of the de- amendment passed the Senate. Once again, fense effort. By the end of 1943, impounding however, after two conference reports, the of funds for scheduled public works had House was able to delete this restriction on reached a half billion dollars (Williams, impounding authority from the bill (U.S. 1955: 12-20, 28).

Congress, 1943e; 1943f: 10871; 57 Stat. 611). Some members of Congress tried to re- Subsequent legislation acknowledged the assert legislative authority over spending need for presidential discretion on priorities. In the summer of 1943, the Senate included Congress authorized public works in Decema section in the Rural Post Roads Act to pro- ber 1944 and March 1945 in the "interest of hibit the impounding of funds by any agency the national sccurity and for the purpose of or official other than the commissioner of providing a reservoir of useful public works public roads. The object of this section, in the postwar period, to be initiated “as Senator Hayden said, was to bypass the expeditiously and prosccuted as vigorously budget director, who had previously im- as may be consistent with budgetary requirepounded large sums of highwav funds. Sen- ments” (58 Stat. SS7, sec. 10; 59 Stat. 11, scu. ator McKellar noted that the section would ?). Yo project was to be funded or condetermine “whether the will of the Congress structed until six months after the end of the shall be supreme, or whether the will of the war, unless recommended by an authorized Bureau of the Budget shall be supreme" defense agency and approved by the presi(U.S. Congress, 1943a: 6313). House con- dent as being “necessarv or desirable in the ferees found the section "wholly objection interest of the national defense and sccurity, able" and recommended that the impound- and the President has notificd the Congress ing authority be placed in the hands of the lo that effect” (59 Stat. 12).

Interservice Rivalrics

members of the Joint Chicfs of Staff to by

pass the president and make recommendaIn the period after World War II, con

tions to Congress on their own initiative (63 gressional strategy for controlling defense

Stat. 580). spending shifted from the traditional cciling

The gap between presidential and legison spending levels to the setting of floors or

lative conceptions of national security beminimums. This reversed the usual legislative-executive relationship. As Huntington

came evident in 1948 and 1949. A supple

mcntal appropriation act in 1948 included (1961: 140) noted, the issue in earlier cen

$822 million more in contract authority for turies was "whether the legislature could

aircraft than President Truman had reprevent thc executive from maintaining

quested. In this case, thc increase did not forces which the legislature did not want.

particularly disturb the Administration, since The issue in the mid-twentieth century is

Defense Secretary Forrestal learned that the whether the legislature can urge or compel

House had added a “hooker” extending the the executive to maintain forces which the

time during which the money had to be executive does not want."

spent, moving the date from June 30, 1919 In this contest for control, the president

test for control, the president to a year later (Millis, 1951: 416 417). Furoften faces an alliance of legislators and mili- thermore, the statute also specified that funds tary leaders. While serving as U.S. Senator were to be released only after the president during the war, Truman (1955: 88) noticed had determined that the contracts let were that generals and admirals would take over necessary for the national defense (62 Stat. the service secretaries and the military com- 258; cf. Truman, 1948: 272). mittees in Congress, especially in defense procurement. Army and navy professionals, Air Force Groups he said, “seldom had any idea of the value · More forceful legislation appeared in 1949 of money. They did not scem to care what when Congress voted to increase the presithe cost was ..." Since career men looked dent's air force request from 48 to 58 groups. upon elected officials as temporary occupants Truman signed the measure, but announced in office, the president had to take special that he was directing his defense secretary care to see that they did not try to circum

to place the extra funds in reserve. Imvent his policy. Truman (1936: 165) found rounded funds included $577 million in conthat it “often happened in the War and Navy tract authority for aircraft construction, $130 Departments that the generals and the ad. million for maintenance and operations, and mirals, instead of working for and under the lesser amounts for contingencies, special proSecretaries, succeeded in having the Secre- curement, and research and development. taries act for and under them."

All told, impounded funds came to $735 One of Truman's first steps as president million (U.S. Congress, 1950a: 27). was to advocate a single department of na Several factors produced this collision betional defense under the direction of a sin- tween Congress and the president. First. gle civilian secretary, thereby strengthening Louis Johnson replaced Forrestal in March presidential control over the military. The 1919 as the new secretary of defense and National Security Act of 1947 represented a subjected the military budget to fresh examiweak compromise, calling for three sepa- nation. Morcover, even though the Berlin airrately administered departments of the army, lift was still in operation, and the Korean the navy, and the air forcc, subject only to war little more than a vear off, Johnson was the "gcncral direction” of a secretary of de optimistic about the chances for peace. Is he fense (61 Stat. 193; cf. Truman, 19-15: 534. later recalled, the "climate on the Hill, the 558; 1946: 303). The Act was amended in climate of the President's economists and all 1949 to provide for a Department of Defense the rest of the economists, the climate of and the reinoval of service secretaries as the world at that moment-the airlift being statutory members of the National Security successful—the climate was, there was going Council. At the same time, Congress recog- to be peace" (U.S. Congress, 1951a: 2007). nized the right of service secretaries and Retrenchment in defense spending became

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