Page images
PDF
EPUB

of Mr. George H. E. Smith, its staff director, and three clerks. The Minority Policy Committee, of which Leslie L. Biffle is staff director, has a combined staff of nine persons.

I may say parenthetically, Mr. Chairman, that it is difficult for an outsider to evaluate the operation of the Majority Policy Committees in the Senate because, as you know, their proceedings are carried on in executive session. But Mr. Smith, who is to follow me on the stand and who is the staff director of the Majority Policy Committee of the Senate, will be able to give more authoritative testimony on this point.

Noteworthy gains have also been achieved in the staffing of the Congress: 91 Senators are being aided by administrative assistants; 5 Senators have not yet appointed such assistants-Barkley, Donnell, Langer, McKellar, and Wilson.

There has been 337_percent increase in the staff of the Office of Legislative Counsel. Each of the two offices now has a staff of six counselors and six law assistants and clerks.

During the latter half of 1947 the standing committees of the Senate had a combined professional staff of 43 persons, out of an authorized 60, and a combined clerical staff of 90 persons. One hundred and two additional investigators and assistants were being employed by Senate subcommittees pursuant to special investigations. Only 3 out of 15 Senate standing committees had their fully authorized complement of professional staff members. Nineteen professionals, twenty-three clerks, and eight others were employed by the Small Business and National Defense Select Committees of the Senate during the latter half of 1947. Altogether, 285 persons were assisting the committees of the Senate during the period under review. The gross annual salary of all Senate committee employees during 1947 aggregated about one and a half million dollars. (See table 5.)

During the latter half of 1947 the standing committees of the House of Representatives had a combined professional staff of 43 persons, out of an authorized 72, exclusive of the Committee on Appropriations, and a combined clerical staff of 116 persons. Eight of the nineteen standing committees of the House had their full complement of professional staff members at this time. Fifty-seven additional investigators and consultants were being employed by House committees pursuant to special investigations. Twenty-five professionals and nineteen clerks were employed by the House select committees on foreign aid, newsprint, and small business during the latter half of 1947. Altogether, 260 persons were assisting the committees of the House during the period under review. The gross annual salary of all House committee employees during 1947 aggregated a little more than a million dollars. (See table 6.)

As of December 1947, the Members and committees of Congress were being assisted by 15 new senior specialists in as many subjectmatter fields and by 8 research assistants in the advanced research section of the Legislative Reference Service. Five of these senior specialists had been detailed to the professional staffs of congressional committees and were serving them on a full-time basis. Two of them were serving as professional staff directors of their committees, but no uniform pattern of relationships between the Legislative Reference Service and congressional committees had yet developed.

Committee staff work during the last session was being largely done on a nonpartisan basis, according to replies received to one of your own questionnaires.

The setting up of twin committee, systems in both Houses has been followed by considerable intercameral staff cooperation and joint action. This has been evident, for example, in foreign affairs, fiscal affairs, housing, and on the reorganization of the government of the District of Columbia. Some progress has also been achieved under

the act in reducing the work load upon the Members of Congress. The work load on Congress caused by private bills has been considerably reduced as a result of the ban imposed by section 131 of the act upon the introduction of four classes of such legislation: Pension bills, tort claims bills, bridge bills, and bills for the correction of military or naval records. Under the Federal Tort Claims Act—title IV of the Legislative Reorganization Act-private claims for which the cause of action accrued prior to January 1, 1945, may be handled in the same manner as they were before passage of Public Law 601, except that bills providing for their payment or adjudication are now generally referred, as you know, to the Judiciary Committees. As a result of this and other exceptions, which had not been recommended by the Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress, the Judiciary Committees were engulfed by a flood of private claims bills during the first session of the Eightieth Congress. One thousand private claims bills were referred to the House Judiciary Committee during the session, as well as 540 private immigration bills, the introduction of which is still permissible. The Senate Committee on the Judiciary received 150 private claims bills and 176 private immigration bills during the session. At the end of the session three-fourths of all the bills on the House Judiciary Committee calendar were private bills; and 37 percent of those on the calendar of the Senate Judiciary Committee were private bills. Thus, these committees carry the heaviest work load of any in Congress. They need to be relieved of bills "for the relief of

A measure of the reduction of the work load on Senators is seen in the decline in the number of Senate committee assignments from the Seventy-ninth to the Eightieth Congresses. Table 7 shows that the total number of Senate committee assignments decreased from 1,030 during the Seventy-ninth Congress to 516 during the first session of the Eightieth Congress, a reduction of 50 percent. The appended table No. 7 shows that the average number of committee assignments of all kinds for each Senator has decreased from 10.7 to 5.4 since 1946.

In discussing the effects of the act upon the congressional work load, let me say that the proponents of a more efficient Congress have never claimed that structural reforms in our legislative machinery would reduce the volume of congressional business. The purpose of the changes in committee structure was not so much to reduce the work load as it was to effect a more systematic and rational division of labor among the reorganized committees. The organization of committee work in the Eightieth Congress is, in my opinion, an improvement over the previous situation as a result of the elimination of duplicating and overlapping jurisdiction and the consolidation of related functions effected by the La Follette-Monroney Act, although there may be room for further improvement in this direction.

*

[ocr errors]

Some progress has also been made under the act in supervising the executive branch. Legislative oversight of the administration of the laws via the standing committees of Congress was authorized by section 136 of the act and some first steps have been taken to carry out this provision. A survey of committee activity during the last session shows that at least eight standing committees of the Senate and seven in the House were actively engaged in the performance of the oversight function. These committees are listed in exhibit C. Prominent among them in this respect were the Appropriations and Expenditure Committees of both Houses and the Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee of the House. The results achieved by these committees in the exercise of their supervisory function are and will be reflected in their reports upon the agencies and activities which they have been investigating. Many of the standing committees of Congress have been too heavily burdened to date with their legislative duties to keep very close watch upon the executive agencies within their jurisdiction.

Parenthetically, Mr. Chairman, I should like to comment upon the division of labor intended by the Legislative Reorganization Act and its authors in the performance of this oversight function. There has been some confusion in the public mind on this question. Some of the critics of the act have alleged that it provided, in effect, for duplicating and overlapping investigations of the executive branch of the Government by many committees. But it was the intention of the authors of this act and of the members of the Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress to effect a so-called three-way division of labor in the performance of the oversight function. Their thought was that the Appropriations Committees, on the one hand, would exercise financial control before expenditure through the scrutiny of the departmental estimates, and that the Expenditure Committees would undertake to supervise administrative practices and procedures of the executive agencies, on the other hand, while the legislative committees of the Congress would have the function of reviewing the operation of substantive legislation.

Incidentally, Mr. Chairman, I suggest that possibly a better name for this committee would be “the Committee on Administrative Management and Public Accounts.” Such a title might more correctly cover its important functions.

Several miscellaneous gains have also been achieved. On half of the 22 general appropriation bills passed by the first session of the Eightieth Congress, time was allowed in both Houses for Members to study the committee hearings and reports before the appropriation bills were taken up on the floor.

The legislative time schedule has been regularized by the provision for adjournment at the end of July. This leave 5 months each year for closer contacts with constituents and for instructive travel at home and abroad.

The usefulness of the Congressional Record has been improved by the inclusion therein of a Daily Digest and, at intervals, of a résumé of congressional activities. The Digest has a staff composed of two editors, two reporters, and two secretaries who cover Chamber action and committee meetings for both Houses every day.

Almost 1,000 lobbyists have registered under title III of the act, but only a little over 200 of them have filed the required quarterly

lic measures.

financial statements.

In this connection, Mr. Chairman, I should like to state that the Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress recommended that all persons engaged in seeking to influence legislation should register and file financial statements. The joint committee did not intend to limit such registrations and financial statements to persons "principally" engaged in lobbying.

As a measure of increased efficiency, total public laws passed by the Eightieth Congress, first session, were 394 compared with 293 by the Seventy-ninth Congress, first session. Meanwhile, total private bills enacted declined from 365 in the first session of the Seventy-ninth Congress to 131 in the first session of the Eightieth Congress-reflecting a commendable shift in legislative attention from private to pub

Thus, while important potential benefits remain to be achieved from the full enforcement of the act, it cannot be denied, I think, that the new law bas resulted thus far in some very substantial gains in committee structure and operation, in the staffing of Congress, in the roduction of the work load, and in supervising the administration, despite some academic and editorial comment to the contrary.

Turning to the amendments of the act during the session under review, no major amendments of the Legislative Reorganization Act were made during the last session. Presumably Congress desired to adapt itself to the extensive new arrangements before making any further changes or additions. However, five minor amendments to the act were approved during the session under review:

1. In order to prevent the loss of committee personnel during the transition from the old to the new regime, one amendment provided that standing committees' employees in both Fouses and the employcon of certain Senators should be continued on the pay rolls through January 31, 1947.

2. A second amendment placed a lower ceiling on the annual rate of compensation for part of the clerical staffs of Senate standing committees.

3. A third amendment made it clear that the rates of annual compensation for committee employees prescribed in section 202 (e) of tho act were basic rates.

4. Sections 410 and 420 of the Federal Tort Claims Act were amended so as to make the United States liable for actual or compensatory damages in States which provide for only punitive damngos --Alabama and Massachusetts—so as to equalize the application of this act throughout the country, and so as to extend the statute of limitations in such States to 2 years from the effective date of the act.

5, Section 134 (b) of the act was amended to provide for the publication of information concerning committee employees and expenditures in the Congressional Record semiannually instead of in the Congressional Directory.

On the subject of nonenforcement of the act during the Eightieth ('ongress, first session, I find that some 12 sections of the act were not enforced.

Section 103: Eighteen violations of the prohibition against including substantive legislation in appropriation bills were noted.

Section 121 (2) (d). The Committee on House Administration made its final report to the House on contested-election cases (8) on July 23,

*

[ocr errors]

1947—-"later than 6 months from the first day of the first regular session

Section 133 (e). Not all witnesses filed written statements in advance of their appearance before congressional committees.

Section 133 (f). Not all standing committee hearings were open to the public. The House Committee on Appropriations was the chief exception here.

Section 138. The legislative budget provisions were partly carried out, but the concurrent resolution was not adopted because it became deadlocked in conference.

Section 139 (a). Provision for a 3-day interval between report and floor consideration of general appropriation bills was violated 11 times in the House and 12 times in the Senate.

Section 139 (b). Standard appropriation classification schedule has not yet been developed by the Committees on Appropriations. The Senate Appropriations Committee was not fully staffed until midOctober 1947, and can work on this only during the recess.

Section 139 (d). Recommendations to limit permanent appropriations have not yet been submitted by the Committee on Appropriations. The Senate Appropriations Committee was not fully staffed until mid-October 1947, and can work on this only during the recess.

Section 203 (c). Of $650,000 authorized for the Legislative Reference Service for the fiscal year 1948, $450,000 was appropriated.

Section 204. Of $200,000 authorized for the Office of Legislative Counsel, $160,000 was appropriated.

Sections 205 and 206. The studies and expenditures analyses which the Comptroller General was authorized to make have not yet been made owing to lack of funds.

And, finally, under title III, probably many lobbyists have failed to register and file financial statements.

Coming, finally, Mr. Chairman, to "Next steps forward,” the next steps in the current evolution toward a more efficient National Legislature, when Congress is ready to consider them, may well include the following. In submitting these suggestions, Mr. Chairman, I am expressing my own views and not those of the Legislative Reference Service:

I suggest, first, in connection with the committee structure and operation of the Congress, discontinuance of all special committees in both Houses.

Senator BRICKER. As I understand it, two special committees in the Senate will pass out of existence during this term.

Dr. Galloway. Yes, sir. One of those committees, I believe, the Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program, has already been absorbed by this committee, and that leaves only the Special Committee to Study Problems of American Small Business.

Senator BRICKER. That is true. What is the situation in the House?

Dr. GALLOWAY. In the House, as table 1 shows, there are presently five select committees, of which four are worth mentioning. The Select Committee on Small Business, the Select Committee on Supplies of Newsprint, the Select Committee on Foreign Aid--the socalled Herter committee, which is now completing its work—and the Select Committee to Investigate Transactions on Commodity Exchanges, which is a temporary committee.

« PreviousContinue »