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Majority policy committees should have regular meetings with planned agenda. If the number of regular standing committees is substantially reduced, all chairmen of such committees should be members of the majority policy committees; otherwise, only the chairmen of the major committees should be included so that the majority policy committees would be a workable size.

Advantages that would accrue from establishment of majority policy committees are:

1. They would furnish a locus of responsibility for actions and inactions in each House. Since all members of a majority policy committee would belong to one party and would occupy the key positions in Congress, the people would logically accord it the credit or blame for congressional performance. Majority policy committees could furnish an effective mechanism for the exercise of party leader- / ship and a locus for party responsibility and accountability.

2. A majority policy committee could readily coordinate all work of the several standing committees in each house.

3. A majority policy committee could furnish much of the needed synthesis of / divergent interests in each House. The present organizational structure of Congress results in each chairman becoming a sponsor for those groups directly affected by his committee's work. While this is needed, Congress should have in addition a group that regularly integrates the various local points of view with the national interest.

4. When the President belonged to the same party as the members of a majority policy committee, the latter would institutionalize within Congress a group with which the President or executive department heads could have regular communication without exposure to partisan politics. A serious deterrent to the right relationship between the two branches has been the bipartisan make-up of formalized groups within Congress. As a result, representatives of the executive branch, particularly the President, have had too easy a justification for avoiding them. An institutionalized congressional committee would serve the purpose better than informal conferences between the President and one or two congressional leaders because the latter are not necessarily able to effect full transmission of opinions between the President and the keymen in Congress.

5. Majority policy committees are believed to be the most effective means for improving congressional performance on fiscal matters. A soundly conceived fiscal and monetary policy is vitally important. Nevertheless, of all its activities, Congress appears weakest in this respect. It is reported that there is little effort made (1) to relate total revenue and total appropriations so that they are balanced or designedly unbalanced, (b) to analyze specific revenue measures in terms of total revenue requirements, (c) to align specific appropriations measures with a predetermined level for total appropriations, (d) to grant real discretion to appropriations committees as regards the total amount of money to be spent since such a large percentage is already committed by the previous passage of substantive legislation. Majority policy committees would be in a strategic position to determine over-all fiscal policy and to assure that legislation coming forward through all committees was in accordance therewith.

6. The need for over-all planning could best be met by majority policy committees.

The proposal has been advanced that there should be one joint policy committee. While a joint committee might have some of the advantages of the two majority policy committees recommended herein, it would have the following disadvantages:

1. It would be so large that it would probably prove unwieldly. 2. It would be inoperable when different parties controlled the two Houses. 3. It would violate the bicameral principle. 4. It might become unduly powerful and tend to undermine the President.

5. It would be unable to commit one House in the event that a majority of the Representatives from that House disapproved of an action even if a majority of the committee favored it.

6. The House would probably be unreceptive to a joint committee because of the tendency for Senators to have too great influence in joint committees.

Most objections to a joint policy committee would be largely nullified by the establishment of separate majority policy committees in each House. Furthermore, most advantages of a joint committee could be obtained by effective liaison between the two majority policy committees. It is logical to expect that this liaison would exist, because each would be a focus for matters concurrently under deliberation by each House.

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Recognition is given to the objection that majority policy committee memberskip would exclude minority parties despite their usual large representation in Congres. However, minority party members could express their views not only torough the minority policy committee, but also orally and in writing, publicly and privately, and in other committee meetings, on the floor, and elsewhere. Furthermore, majority policy committees could encourage minority party memter to present briefs on subjects under consideration and occasionally to participate in their deliberations. However, decisions of the majority policy committees would remain the majority party's responsibility.

In some respects, majority policy committees would be similar to party steering committees. However, they would have the advantages of including all the keymen, of being a formalized group and hence publicly accountable for their decisions, and of becoming in due course a focal point for the people's attention.

The need for majority policy committees emphasizes the need for reform in the seniority rule for appointment of committee chairmen (recommendation XII). However, the continued existence of the seniority rule would not reduce the desirability of majority policy committees, because committee chairmen, no matter how appointed, would still be the keymen of Congress, and in most cases the same men would be chairmen under any selection process.

Each house should have a minority policy committee, composed of the ranking minority members of each regular standing committee, who would presumably be selected in a manner comparable to that for committee chairmen. Advantages of minority policy committees would be as follows:

1. They would provide the minority party with an instrumentality to balance the majority policy committees, thus enabling the leaders of each party to determine readily the position of the other party on important matters and to define areas of agreement and disagreement.

2. They would constitute a focus of responsibility for minority party actions and inactions. The need for party responsibility and accountability applies to the minority party as well as the majority.

3. They would apprise the people of the basis on which the minority opposed the majority party's program and enable the people to evaluate the alternative program which would be put into effect if the minority party were placed in power. At present minority attacks can be made without presentation of a constructive alternative and from a variety of standpoints, some of which may be in conflict with each other.

COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF RECOMMENDATIONS AND ACTIONS ON CONGRESSIONAL

REORGANIZATION

(From "Strengthening the Congress—A Progress Report”) This chapter presents in text form the same information as that given in Exhibit I and in Exhibit II, as a further aid to a full understanding of what has been done, what is yet to be done, and why.

The recommendations appearing in italic in the seventeen sections of this part of the report were made in Strengthening the Congress. These sections also include analyses of all recommendations made by the Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress (hereinafter “the Joint Committee") and all actions taken in the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 (herineafter “the Act”), plus certain important recommendations made in Strengthening the Congress which were not recommended by the Joint Committee or made a part of the Act. I. Reduction in number of standing committees

Each House should organize its committee structure so that: 1. Each would have approximately 15 regular standing committees. 2. Congressional administrative matters would be entrusted to joint committees. 3. Both houses would have equivalent committees insofar as practicable.

All the basic essentials of this recommendation have been enacted by a change t in rules. It is a vital step forward, constituting the most important single accomplishment in the Act.

The extent to which both houses have equivalent regular standing committees, as recommended, is especially interesting. Such “twinning” is illustrated by the

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following tabulation, which lists the 15 Senate committees opposite the 19 House committees having generally corresponding functions: Senate

House

X di Agriculture and Forestry

Agriculture. Appropriations --

Appropriations. Armed Services..

Armed Services. Banking and Currency

Banking and Currency. Civil Service

Post Office and Civil Service. District of Columbia.

District of Columbia. Expenditures in the Executivo Depart Expenditures in the Executive Departments.

ments. Finance

Ways and Means. Foreign Relations..

Foreign Affairs. Interstate and Foreign Commerce.

SInterstate and Foreign Commerce.

(Merchant Marine and Fisheries. Judiciary.

Judiciary: Labor and Public Welfare -

Veterans Affairs.

Education and Labor. Public Lands..

Public Lands. Public Works...

Public Works.
Rules and Administration..

SHouse Administration.
Rules.

Un-American Activities.
II. Majority and Minority Policy Committees

Each house should establish a Majority Policy Committee, composed of the chairman of each major standing committee and chairmanned by the majority leader, and a Minority Policy Committee composed of ranking minority members.

Because of the crucial importance of this recommendation, it is advisable to review significant excerpts from Strengthening the Congress:

“Advantages that would accrue from establishment of Majority Policy Committees are:

1. They would furnish a focus of responsibility for actions and inactions in each house. Since all members of a Majority Policy Committee would belong to one party and would occupy the key positions in Congress, the people would logically accord it the credit or blame for Congressional performance. Majority Policy Committees could furnish an effective mechanism for the exercise of party leadership and a focus for party responsibility and accountability,

“2. A Majority Policy Committee could readily coordinate all work of the several standing committees in each house.

"3. A Majority Policy Committee could furnish much of the needed synthesis of divergent interests in each house. The present organizational structure of Congress results in each chairman becoming a sponsor for those groups directly affected by his committee's work. While this is needed, Congress should have in addition a group that regularly integrates the various local points of view with the national interest.

“4. When the President belonged to the same party as the members of a Majority Policy Committee, the latter would institutionalize within Congress a group with which the President or executive department heads could have regular communication without exposure to partisan politics. A serious deterrent to the right relationship between the two branches has been the bipartisan make-up of formalized groups within Congress. As a result, representatives of the executive branch, particularly the President, have had too easy a justification for avoiding them. An institutionalized Congressional committee would serve the purpose better than informal conferences between the President and one or two Congressional leaders because the latter are not necessarily able to effect full transmission of opinions between the President and the keymen in Congress.

“5. Majority Policy Committees are believed to be the most effective means for improving Congressional performance on fiscal matters.

*6. The need for over-all planning could best be met by Majority Policy Committees.

Recognition is given to the objection that Majority Policy Committee membership would exclude minority parties despite their usual large representation in Congress. However, minority party members could express their views not only

through the Minority Policy Committee, but also orally and in writing, publicly and privately, and in other committee meetings, on the floor, and elsewhere. Furthermore, Majority Policy Committees could encourage minority party members to present briefs on subjects under consideration and occasionally to participate in their deliberations. However, decisions of the Majority Policy Committees would remain the majority party's responsibility.

"In some respects, Majority Policy Committees would be similar to party steering committees. However, they would have the advantages of including all the keymen, of being a formalized group and hence publicly accountable for their decisions, and of becoming in due course a focal point for the people's attention.

“The need for Majority Policy Committees emphasizes the need for reform in the seniority rule for appointment of committee chairmen. However, the continued existence of the seniority rule would not reduce the desirability of Majority Policy Committees, because committee chairmen, no matter how appointed, would still be the keymen of Congress, and in most cases the same men would be chairmen under any selection process.

“Each house should have a Minority Policy Committee, composed of the ranking minority members of each regular standing committee, who would presumably be selected in a manner comparable to that for committee chairmen. Advantages of Minority Policy Committees would be as follows:

"1. They would provide the minority party with an instrumentality to balance the Majority Policy Committees, thus enabling the leaders of each party to determine readily the position of the other party on important matters and to define areas of agreement and disagreement.

"2. They would constitute a focus of responsibility for minority party actions and inactions. The need for party responsibility and accountability applies to the minority party as well as the majority.

“3. They would apprise the people of the basis on which the minority opposed the majority party's program and enable the people to evaluate the alternative program which would be put into effect if the minority party were placed in power. At present minority attacks can be made without presentation of a constructive alternative and from a variety of standpoints, some of which may be in conflict with each other."

In order to emphasize both the need for Majority and Minority Policy Committees and the extent to which thinking has become crystallized in this matter, significant excerpts from the Report of the Joint committee are also presented herewith:

“Strong recommendations were made to your committee concerning the need for the formal expression within the Congress of the main policies of the majority and minority parties. These representations called for some mechanism which could bring about more party accountability for policies and pledges announced and made in the national platforms of the major political parties.

“These recommendations were based on the theory that in a democracy national problems must be handled on a national basis. Only through the expression of the will of the people by their support of political parties on the basis of their platform pledges can the majority will be determined. Likewise the minority viewpoint is also expressed in support of the minority platform.

“No one would claim that representative democracy as we know it today could exist without majority and minority parties. The 435 voices of the House and the 96 of the Senate would be a confused babel of conflicting tongues without party machinery. Instead of unorganized mob rule where the strength of varying viewpoints cannot be measured or determined, party government furnishes a tug-of-war in which the direction and strength of opposing viewpoints can be more or less accurately measured and weighed.

*Your committee recognizes the need for freedom of action on the part of the individual Member of Congress and his right to vote at any time against the announced policy of his party. But we feel that if party accountability for policies and pledges is to be achieved, stronger and more formal mechanisms are necessary. The present steering committees, an informal and little-used device, seldom meet and never steer.

“We recommend that these be replaced with the formal establishment in the House and the Senate of majority and minority policy committees. The majority policy committees of the two Houses would meet jointly at frequent intervals, as would those of the minority, to formulate the over-all legislative policy of the two parties. The majority policy committee of each House would also hold frequent

meetings to consider its role in expediting consideration and passage of matters pledged to the people by their party.

On issues where party policy is involved the decisions of these policy committees would be formally announced in the proceedings of Congress and formal records would be kept of such decisions. No member of either party would be required to follow such announced party policy except as he chose to do so. Each member would be free to vote as he saw fit, but the record of his action would be available to the public as a means of holding both the party and the individual accountable."

The only difference between Strengthening the Congress and the report of the Joint Committee in this matter is that the former recommends that the Policy Committees be composed as indicated above and the latter recommends that the Policy Committees be composed of seven members appointed by party caucus. The Joint Committee was perhaps influenced by the possibility that the number of regular standing committees might not be reduced as it actually was. There would be some advantage in having the smaller Policy Committees, but the method of composition proposed in Strengthening the Congress seems preferable for the following reasons:

1. Each major field, as served by the several regular standing committees, should be represented in policy decisions affecting it.

2. Committee chairmen would resent and hence tend to oppose policy decisions made in their fields if they were not represented.

3. As subsequently pointed out, Policy Committees are the best means for the formulation and control of the fiscal program, and therefore it is necessary that all major fields be represented in order to resolve conflicts as a matter of party responsibility.

4. Any other method of selection of members would in all likelihood result in excessive political jockeying and hence engender personal animosities which might endanger the enactment of needed legislation.

5. The very importance that the Policy Committees would inevitably assume could encourage the much desired change in the process of selecting committee chairmen because each party would want to insure that its best men were on the Policy Committees.

The Joint Committee also proposed formalization of the two Majority Policy Committees into a Legislative Council to work with the President and the establishment of a $30,000 secretariat for the Policy Committees. Both these proposals are implicit in Strengthening the Congress and are good.

It is not the intention of this report to debate the merits of various methods of constituting the Policy Committees, or the amount of money to be spent on their secretariat, or the extent of formalization of their relationships with the Presidency. The point is that Majority and Minority Policy Committees in each house are a vital, immediate necessity and the job of setting them up should be started at once.

It is significant that the Senate originally voted for Majority and Minority Policy Committees but that the House struck them out. The Senate then con- YK curred for reasons of expediency-as explained previously—but nevertheless in a separate Act obtained an appropriation for the secretariat of its own Policy Committees when, as, and if they are established. III. Additional help for Members

Individual members of Congress should be given more help (1) by making adequate their personal staffs, (2) by establishing a Congressional service bureau, and (3) by expanding the Legislative Reference Service of the Library of Congress.

While supported by the Joint Committee and passed by the Senate, this recommendation was largely nullified by House action. The provision for expansion of the Legislative Reference Service was maintained. But despite the all too obvious need, it is understood that consideration is being given to retrenchment.

In addition to providing members with adequate clerical and stenographic staffs through their own personnel, or through a Congressional service bureau, or through a stenographic pool, it is of extreme importance that members have administrative assistants capable of performing a variety of the work which the members must now do for themselves. The parallelism of Strengthening the Congress and the Joint Committee Report lends strength to this recommendation. The former stipulates "a high-caliber assistant who should receive at least $7,500-$10,000. The latter specifies a high-caliber administrative assistant at an annual salary of $8,000.”

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