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to force "a confrontation with the President" over the White House practice of freezing or impounding funds appropriated by the Legislative Branch.

Subcommittee Chairman Sam J. Ervin Jr. (D-N.C.) said the practice has been common since World War II and has been just as objectionable under Democratic as Republican presidents.

Impounding permits a President to determine which laws passed by Congress he will enforce and to what extent, Ervin complained, adding that the latest check finds $12.2 billion in appropriated funds held up one way or another by the Nixon administration.

F. C. Turner, federal highway administrator, indicated that $5.5 billion of this figure represented obligational authority for highway projects that has not been used. But he noted that the comptroller general has ruled that the administration “has no duty to spend all that Congress appropriates or authorizes to be obligated."

(From The Evening Star, Washington, D.C., Apr. 6. 1971] HUMPHREY AND BUDGET AIDE CLASH OVER FUNDS FREEZING

(By James Welsh) The practice of “freezing" funds appropriated by Congress is at least as old as the administration of Thomas Jefferson and, during the Kennedy-Johnson years, accounted for a bigger portion of the budget than the $12 billion the White House now is withholding.

This was the response yesterday of a top Nixon administration official Deputy Budget Director Caspar Weinberger, to a sharp attack by Sen. Hubert Humphrey, D-Minn., on White House spending policies.

Both Humphrey and Weinberger spoke before several hundred county officials who are in Washington primarily to lobby Congress for revenue sharing and other fiscal relief.

CONSTITUTION CITED Humphrey, speaking earlier than Weinberger, called the fund-freezing "a constitutional issue." He challenged the President's power to withhold money the Congress has appropriated "for the general welfare."

Weinberger hit back directly, saying that when Humphrey was vice president, the Johnson administration consistently followed the practice of “not spending immediately" funds Congress made available.

"During the Kennedy-Johnson years, the average amount of money frozen represented a higher percentage of the federal budget than the money now in question."

According to Weinberger, that average amount was 7 percent of the total budgets. The $12 billion the White House now is holding up represents 6 percent of the 1971 budget.

The practice goes back at least as far as Thomas Jefferson who held up $25,000 the third Congress appropriated for building gunboats, said the budget official.

A number of congressmen have joined in demanding that the administration spend the $12 billion, which involves highways, public works, urban renewal model cities and public housing.

COURT TEST SUGGESTED Yesterday, Senate Democratic Leader Mike Mansfield proposed that the House challenge in court the President's power to impound funds.

He told the Associated Press that Nixon's refusal to spend money voted by Congress "raises a grave constitutional question" and he would like to see a Supreme Court ruling on the issue.

Mansfield suggested such a ruling could be obtained if a suit were brought by the House. "It's their responsibility, since they initiate appropriations bills." he said. However, he said he had not discussed it with House leaders and doesn't intend to.

Sen. Sam Ervin, D-N.C., chairman of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on separation of powers, said in a separate interview that it's extremely doubtful the House could bring such a suit, the AP reported.

Jerger defended the current freeze. He said it is necessary in part
of statutory outlay ceilings, and desirable in part because of the fight
ohrey and Weinberger also were at odds on the question of the Presi-

pecial revenue-sharing proposal, which would consolidate dozens of rical grant-in-aid programs, totalling more than $10 billion, into six purpose programs of assistance to states and local governments.

Minnesota Democrat said he favors Nixon's general revenue-sharing sal, which would distribute $5 billion in extra money for states, cities counties to spend as they wish. at he called special revenue-sharing "a planned dismantling of much of at we have accomplished in the last 20 years."

Referring to the categorical grant programs that would be consolidated, such as urban renewal, Humphrey charged that "the people in favor of this dismantling weren't in favor of the programs in the first place.”

Weinberger told the county officials:

"If all those narrow categorical programs are so good and have done such a good job, then we should have no problems in this country. They should have all been solved."

Doing away with the red tape and regulations accompanying the categorical grants would follow "the great tradition of local self-government," Weinberger added.


February 13, 1968, Washington, D.C.


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