Page images

is no way in which Senators may be able to do less work, but certainly with the expert assistance which has been given, they have been able to do very much better work. I think that is the principal advantage of the bill.

There are some conflicts in the assignments of subjects to committees, which I suppose will come to your attention. I assume you will go over them, particularly the Senate end of the assignments to committees, and see if some of the conflicts can be resolved. We have a good deal of doubt, for instance, on the jurisdiction of the Finance Committee and the Labor Committee-I happen to be on both of them on the subject of veterans.

You will notice that the Finance Committee has "veterans measures X generally," whereas the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare has

“vocational rehabilitation and education of veterans,” also “veterans hospitals, medical care and treatment of veterans,” also “soldiers and sailors civil relief,” also "readjustment of servicemen to civil life.” That seems to cover almost everything in the way of veterans except pensions and insurance. I think it ought to be considered whether they ought not all be in one committee and not divided; I don't particularly care which committee.

We have had, of course, as you know, a good deal of difficulty with the budget provisions of the act. It seems to be almost impractical for Congress to adopt an over-all budget figure without having been able to consider the detailed requests or know what they are going to do about the particular requests. As a matter of fact, if you bring that budget up before the 15th of February, every major item of expenditure will be a proper subject of consideration in making that over-all budget.

I think you should consider thoroughly how that provision should be changed, because I feel confident it ought to be changed, and I don't think it will do very much good merely to put the date off. There are various suggestions. I rather like the one which was made by Senator Bridges, the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, in the meeting of the Joint Budget Committee, that we have a legislative budget prepared by a smaller committee than this existing one, which is practically the whole Congress—almost 102 members-a committee that is more like the Joint Committee on Internal Revenue Taxation, which is made up perhaps of three or five members from each of the four committees involved, and then let them have a staff which follows the making of the executive budget as it goes along, and then helps formulate the committee's idea of what a legislative budget should be. I don't think Congress ought to have to act on it at all.

It seems to me you have before you the President's budget. You have before you the legislative budget prepared by a committee fully equipped to handle the thing, and then Congress itself decides what it is going to do about the different items. That seems to me the best suggestion I have heard, although there may be others that, after your study, you will consider more effective.

I do think there is a very valuable purpose in that provision, tanely, that some responsible body in Congress take a look at the whole budget itself and prepare a sort of plan that will have some cilere on the action of committees as they go through on taxation and Wenditures. I think that idea is very valuable and should be esitted, but I do not see how Congress itself at an early date can pass

a ceiling resolution. I think that is asking us to decide things that we are not ready to decide as a Congress.

In that connection, there might be considered as a part of this bill, the bill which is pending on the calendar of the Senate today (S. Con. Res. 6) providing that there shall only be one appropriation bill for all subjects. In other words, so that the whole thing should be acted on as one bill, so that you would get a picture of the whole expenditure side of the subject at one time. That bill is on the calendar of the Senate, and I think you might well consider whether that is a practical thing to do.

Senator AIKEN. You understand, Senator, that that does not preclude the introduction of deficiency appropriation bills.

Senator TAFT. Oh, no. You would probably have first a deficiency appropriations bill, and you would probably have to have one or two supplemental bills at the end, as you always do, but, I don't know, there are maybe 12 or 14 bills that would all be placed in one bill. That was our practice in the Ohio Legislature. I think it is the practice in many legislatures, that you have all appropriations in one bill, and you just set aside a couple of weeks and go through the whole thing when you reach it.

In that connection, we just passed a bill in the Senate putting off the date for the Joint Committee on the Economic Report to make its report from February 1 to March 1. I think probably that would be a desirable change in this act. Originally, that was May 1. When this act was passed, in order to get it in before the budget report of the Budget Committee, it was moved back to February 1. Well, this year, we didn't even get the President's Economic Report until the 13th of January. It is a highly technical affair, and it is almost impossible to do it in 2 weeks. On the whole, I think, it should be early in the session, however, so that the Congress has the advantage of the advice, of whatever value that may be, of the committee, and I think probably it ought to be permanently March 1.

I might say in a general way that the assignment of Senators to committees is in sort of a strait jacket; it is a very strict rule, which

X raises the question as to whether there should be a majority operating on a rather thin margin of 7 to 6 in a committee. We have under way a compilation of the figures.

There were three committees in which we had to have 8 to 5, because the Act's restriction on the services of Democratic members was such that they couldn't make it six. Whether when you get close to a majority, the majority ought not always have two or three over the minority, I think, is a question that should be considered.

The whole bill is based on the theory of party responsibility. It sets up policy committees. There are many reasons entirely apart from party regularity where, out of seven in the majority, there may be a very good reason why one or two of the majority members may be particularly opposed to a party measure—it would be perfectly proper that they should be--and I think it is a pretty thin majority, too, when you get so close.

In the House, it has always been customary in the past to give the majority party enough of a majority on every committee, so that if there is a party issue, they at least could get the bills out of the committee. I think the history of the Senate shows that that was

sometimes done, and sometimes they followed the strictly numerical figure the way this act proposes.

I think I have nothing further to say at this time.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any questions?
Senator THYE. No.
Senator HOEY. No.

The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Senator Taft, for your discourse this morning. We may want to hear from you again as the testimony develops.

Senator TAFT. In particular, I should like to submit to this committee the recommendations of the majority policy committee when they take action.

The CHAIRMAN. We shall be glad to have them.
Now, Mr. Heller, we are happy to have you with us this morning.

Mr. Robert Heller has for some years been very much interested in making the work of Congress, as well as making the executive departments, more efficient.

So, Mr. Heller, will you tell us the name of the organization you represent and then proceed with your testimony and suggestions for improving the work of Congress?



Mr. HELLER. Mr. Chairman, my name is Robert Heller. I represent Robert Heller and Associates, industrial engineers of Cleveland, Ohio. I am affiliated with nonprofit organizations of various kinds and have prepared a brief summary here of what might be considered a framework of everything that I have done to date.

Would you care to have me read that summary? It will take about 5 minutes.

The CHAIRMAN. Well, you may proceed to read it, and the members of the committee may ask you whatever questions they wish.

Mr. HELLER. It is not intended to be ponderous. I just wanted to identify some of these other things here.

I am a trustee and member of the executive committee of the National Planning Association, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group of citizens representing agriculture, business, and labor. As a member of the business committee, I prepared a report on the congressional organization known as Strengthening the Congress, published by the National Planning Association on December 19, 1944. You will find a copy of this here today. (This publication is on file with the committee.)

I am chairman of the National Committee for Strengthening Congress, which was incorporated on January 6, 1947 and registered under the lobbying provisions of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946. This committee consists of 40 members, leaders in agriculture, business, labor, the press, and professions, whose purpose is to assist Congress in the implementation of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946, and to assist in the introduction and implementation of certain additional reorganization measures such as were contained in my report, Strengthening the Congress. The committee is at present mainly concerned with the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 and the enforcement thereof.

I am a trustee of the Committee for Economic Development and a Iember of its research and policy committee. The Committee for

Economic Development is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization consisting largely of businessmen whose objective studies I am sure are well known to members of Congress.

Since early spring of 1944, as a citizen, I have been contributing my time and paying my own expenses in an effort to help Congress. I have had no experience in Congress or any other legislative body, nor am I an expert on governmental affairs. Many members of Congress and professional political scientists, either in the employ of or outside the Government, have assisted me at various times in the preparation of my material which I consider to that extent a practical synthesis.

Any observations which I may make relative to the workings of the Reorganization Act and its further implementation are therefore presented from outside Congress, without benefit of intimate and detailed knowledge of everyday events which in their entirety are known only to Members of Congress.

On December 30, as chairman of the National Committee for Strengthening Congress, I wrote a letter, a copy of which is attached, to each and every Member of Congress. This letter commended Congress for the fine progress made in the first session of the Eightieth Congress toward improving itself so that it can effectively operate as the most important legislative body in the world, and consequently be strong enough to safeguard our form of government. We made it very clear in that letter than we were not in any way implying that the executive branch should be weakened or strengthened. We took the position that the Congress should be strengthened.

Our committee called attention to the most important function of Congress, fiscal control, and stated that in the first session the most important failure was to meet provisions pertaining to the legislative budget, as provided in the Reorganization Act of 1946. The reasons for failure are easily understood to be excusable:

1. The staff of the fiscal committees was inadequate because Con-* gress had only 5 weeks in which to prepare.

2. Had there been time adequately to establish a ceiling on appropriations, there was no procedural vehicle such as an omnibus appropriations bill to bring about appropriate implementation. 3. It is my opinion that both Houses were reluctant to be committed

* by the four fiscal committees, two in each House, to whom the budget was delegated. This is a weakness in the Reorganization Act mentioned in “Strengthening the Congress-A Progress Report,” published by the National Planning Association on December 2, 1946, a copy of which is attached. See page 14, Fiscal Policy and Legislative Budget.

Now do you want to break in here, Mr. Chairman, or do you want me to finish this statement and then revert to these references?

The CHAIRMAN. Perhaps you had better go ahead and finish the statement, Mr. Heller.

Mr. HELLER. In discussing congressional machinery for a legislative budget, I in no way intend to imply that I am in favor of the policy of annual budget balancing. Such a policy, in my opinion, is obviously out of date. Technically, I do not interpret a consideration of budget policy to be within the scope of the hearing here today, but it does present a uniquely appealing interest when many of us citizens consider the profoundly favorable effect on the country of a

correct policy formulated and managed by adequate congressional machinery. The newspapers of the country, in progressively larger numbers, are devoting editorial attention to the two subjects so closely Related.

The statement of the research and policy committee of the Committon for Economic Development called Taxes and the Budget," published in November 1947, a copy of which is attached, states on

The annual balance policy cannot be made to work, and the effort to make it WA Hoontuates inflations and depressions. With its inevitable break-down.

1 policy becomes a mere day-to-day expedient. The committee suggests a sound alternative on page 23, and goes on to say that the creation and implementation of proper budget machinmm Congress is a prerequisite to the adoption of a more realistic I policy. “This act and the Employment Act of 1946 gave us for the first time congressional mechanisms that begin to approach day for formulating and executing a congressional budget. in p. 20.) (A copy of Taxes and the Budget” is on file with the

If the fiscal standing committees were adequately staffed on an all year-round basis, there undoubtedly would be some duplication with the effort of the executive branch. This, I believe, to be inevitWhile and not objectionable. It may not lead to the perfect legislative

get but it is better than no congressional fiscal equipment at all cortainly should help Congress face up to and be acquainted with

onomic facts of life. The first session of the Eightieth Con

4, without such facts available, hastily forced the Bureau of Internal Rovenue to reduce its personnel to the extent that it cannot

untely function in the collection of the taxes. This is an excellent "mplo of the cutting of what I call productive expense rather than

oductive expense. How is Congress to decide the nature of Maxponses without staff? I no reason why competent people in the employ of the fiscal

mittoon cannot have ready for the deliberations of their commitfer Woll-founded information which should lead to fiscal recommenda

un envisioned by the Legislative Reorganization Act.

to congressional improvement not included in the Act and per1*ng to organization and procedure, I suggest, and this was in Mance, Mr. Chairman, with your letter to me:

Majority and minority policy committees constituted as outlined 1 liecommendation II, page 13,” “Strengthening the Congress” and Phim "Strengthening the Congress-A Progress Report.

t'l (HAIRMAN. Right here, Mr. Heller, I think that those recompdintions should be printed in the record of the hearings at this 14A1, so that people reading the hearings will know to what recompada sedations you are referring. Without objection, that will be done.

the matter referred to follows:)


(From "Strengthening the Congress”) ha llouse should establish a majority policy committee, composed of the huit of each major standing committee and chairmanned by the majority

ed a minority policy committee composed of ranking minority members.

« PreviousContinue »