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group. Also, you might fix the responsibility for a continuous staff study which is essential to the effective operation of this plan.
Senator FERGUSON. Is the date, in your opinion, too early?
Mr. LA FOLLETTE. Well, it had already been necessary, as I noted, to move up the date of the Economic Report; and I think, sugsted, that serious consideration should be given to the possibility of consolidating some of the appropriation bills, because I feel that that would give more time for the action on the budget.
Senator FERGUSON. There is a bill in Congress at the present time, in the Senate, to have one appropriation bill. If that bill passed, then it would be possible to put the date sometime before the consideration of the omnibus bill.
Mr. LA FOLLETTE. Right.
Senator FERGUSON. Do you think it should be prior to the consideration of appropriations?
Mr. LA FOLLETTE. Even if you don't go the whole hog and have one bill, if you could consolidate some of the bills it would improve the situation and the workability of the congressional budget, in my opinion. I think it is a matter of knowledge to all Senators that there has been a tendency for more and more appropriation bills to be considered by the Congress. The Congress is dealing with too many appropriation bills, and I think any move in the direction of consolidmling them would help to make the congressional budget proposal inore workable.
Senator Hoey. I wish to share in the statement made by the chairman with regard to the very fine contribution Senator La Follette innde. I think the act may need some changes, but I believe it is going to be effective.
Mr. LA FOLLETTE. Thank you, Senator.
The Chairman. Senator La Follette, during the discussion on the method of selecting committee chairmen, when your committee wrote in section 133 (a), requiring each standing committee to hold executive ineetings at least once a month and as often as four times a month, it was thought that that was probably intended to protect the comimittees against unfair acts of the chairmen who might be tempted to sit upon a necessary bill, contrary to the wishes of the other members of the committee, or to perform any other act of unfairness.
Mr. LA FOLLETTE. That is correct. There was considerable testimoney on that point, which you will find in the hearings of the joint committee, especially from Members of the House, where the discharge of á bill is a much more cumbersome process. In the Senate, any one Senator can move to discharge a committee under the rules, and this tends to lessen the tendency or temptation of a chairman to bottle up legislation with which he may not personally be in sympathy. frankly, that was made a part of the bill in order to meet the criticism that a recalcitrant chairman could, if he wished, frustrate the desire of the supporters and authors of a particular piece of legislation to got committee consideration and a report thereon. The CHAIRMAN. How far do you think a committee could
under this law in taking a matter like that into their own hands?
Mr. LA FOLLETTE. Senator, I have always felt that a committee would go a long way if it just took the bit in its teeth. I have never believed that a chairman really could frustrate the will of a majority of his committee if the committee was determined; but I can recall
in the distant past, I hasten to add-situations in which chairmen, even of Senate committees, were somewhat arbitrary in that respect.
The CHAIRMAN. The other thing I had in mind is the make-up of the Appropriations Committee and the possible subdivision into smaller committees to take up matters of appropriations for each department of the Government. Did your committee consider the possibility of having standing committees that had to do with legislation affecting those departments having a greater voice in determining the appropriations?
As it is now, of course, the subcommittee brings its report in to the full committee, and the full Committee on Appropriations has to be a body of specialists on every department.
Is there any way whereby the standing committees, having oversight of the different departments, could play a more important part in determining the appropriations for each department; or do you believe that if the standing committee had a greater voice, it would devote its efforts to building up its own particular department to an undue extent?
Mr. La FOLLETTE. I think the practice of having the chairmen of the standing committees sit with the appropriation subcommittees in the Senate is a sound practice. The problem, of course, is that if you were to attempt to combine the representation of a greater number of persons from the standing committees with the subcommittees of the Appropriations Committee, you would tend to move in the direction of making those subcommittees pretty cumbersome. While it follows that the standing committee has a primary concern for appropriations for the legislation which it has sponsored, it would not be sound, in my judgment, to overweight the subcommittees of the Appropriations Committee with that point of view. I think standing committees should be represented, but I don't think the appropriation subcommittees should be overweighted.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any further questions?
Senator BRICKER. I should like to ask a question. I think it is provided that there should be three members of certain committees sitting with the Appropriations Committee.
Mr. LA FOLLETTE. That is correct, Senator.
Senator BRICKER. But it doesn't include all of the committees, as I remember. Would you expand that to cover other committees or would you expand the number that we have now in the rule to five
Mr. LA FOLLETTE. Senator, I would move cautiously in the direction of overweighting the subcommittees of the Appropriations Committee with representations from the standing committees. I think it is important, Senator, that the appropriations subcommittee should be in a position to give as far as possible impartial consideration, when all the facts are in, to the amount of money which should be appropriated for a particular activity.
Senator BRICKER. Those committees are Agriculture, Post Office and Civil Service, Armed Services, District of Columbia, Public Works, and Foreign Relations. I am thinking primarily at this time of the Committee on Atomic Energy, for instance, with expenditures approaching a billion dollars a year.
Mr. La FOLLETTE. I think it might be very well, Senator, for this committee to review that situation and to add representation to the
various appropriation subcommittees from standing committees which have come into prominence since the rule was adopted. But all I was saying is that I would move cautiously in the direction of including a larger number of ex officio members from any committee and thus tending to dilute the standing subcommittees of the Appropriations Committee. I think your suggestion is entirely sound. Representation from standing committees should be reviewed to make certain that all of the important committees are given the opportunity to have representation which is now accorded to some of the standing committees.
Senator BRICKER. Thank you very much.
I think you have made an excellent statement regarding the reorganization bill, and I think it has possibilities of being developed into a great instrumentality for improving congressional procedure if we will proceed slowly and cautiously. I am a bit concerned, however, about special investigating committees.
Under the Reorganization Act, each of the standing committees is charged with the duty of investigating that branch of Government that comes within its legislative jurisdiction, but there are so many phases of Government and different agencies that are interlocking that I think a great deal of the work is neglected.
I should like to ask your comment and opinion regarding a proposal to form one permanent standing joint committee of the two branches to conduct investigations into the activities or the functions of the administrative branch of the Government.
Now, for instance, we have here this Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Departments that is charged with the duty of investigating Government at all levels. A lot of duplication occurs between this committee and the House committee, as well as through the work of other committees in conducting investigations into those agencies or departments particularly within their legislative jurisdiction.
I thought there ought to be established a permanent joint committee, not to conduct investigations so much after great harm has been done, but to stand by, be ready and properly staffed to conduct continuous investigations to determine how the administrative branch of the Government is administering the laws, whether economically or otherwise. I should like to have your comment about that—whether you think such a committee would really add to the efficiency of the Government.
Mr. La FOLLETTE. Senator, I am familiar with your proposals to that end. However, I think I would have to say that what was contemplated under the original act was that each one of the standing committees was charged with the responsibility for oversight of the operation of the department or agency which came within its jurisdiction. The reason that the Joint Committee on Organization made that recommendation was that it felt it was desirable to have that oversight made by the standing committee which was responsible for the original jurisdiction of legislation affecting a department, so that its members would thus be more intimately brought into contact with the operation of the department or agency and thus would be in a position to inaugurate or to initiate legislation which might be necessary in order to correct whatever it found to be necessary.
The one objection that I see to the proposal of a joint committee for this purpose is that while that committee may bring out the facts,
nevertheless, when they have brought them out, it means that the standing committees have to review the work of a joint committee over again in order to familiarize themselves with it. I fear that it might tend to duplication. It is my hope that as time goes on the standing committees of the Senate, with their improved staffs, will find it possible to discharge the responsibility which the 1946 act sought to impose upon them with regard to the oversight of the operation of the various departments and agencies of the Government which come under their normal jurisdiction.
Senator McCLELLAN. We have the same thing with regard to the regular committees having to review the work of special committees, too-I mean each Member of Congress has to.
Mr. LA FOLLETTE. We sought a ban on the special committees for that very reason-I mean for the same reason because we felt that if a special investigation were necessary, it ought to be made in an orderly procedure by the committee which ultimately would have to consider any legislative remedies necessary to meet any situations which were developed as a result of those inquiries. I have seen situations where a special committee conducts an investigation. Then it brings out certain facts which indicate that remedial legislation is necessary. It is necessary, then, to introduce the legislation and have it go to the standing committee. Usually, the standing committee has to repeat much of the work of the special committee. People come in and insist that they want to be heard by the men who are going to recommend legislation, and so the standing committee must duplicate the work of the select committee.
Senator FERGUSON. Senator La Follette, in the bill itself, you did provide that the Executive Expenditures Committee be authorized to investigate at all levels.
Mr. LA FOLLETTE. That is correct, because we felt that there was need for a committee which would have as its primary objective increased efficiency in both the executive and legislative arms of the Government, but it was not, as I see it, intended to replace the responsibility which we attempted to impose upon the standing committees for a constant review of the operation under legislation by the standing committees of the Senate or the House, as the case may be.
Senator FERGUSON. But today the Executive Expenditures Committee is charged with that investigative duty.
Mr. La FOLLETTE. That is right, and I believe it to be a sound procedure. All I am trying to say is that I don't believe you will gain much by multiplying the number of committees. The objective should be to get the committees that are charged with the responsibility to discharge it.
Senator MCCLELLAN. Since both the House and the Senate Committees on Expenditures in the Executive Departments are charged with the same duty, why couldn't that function of the two committees be conducted as a joint committee and thus save duplication of effort?
Mr. LA FOLLETTE. I think joint hearings might be very good, Senator. As you know, the act sought to encourage such cooperation, between Senate and House committes with similar jurisdiction, but there isn't any kind of an act you can put on the statute books that I know of that will secure such cooperation unless there is a willingness on the part of the parties that are involved.
Senator McCLELLAN. Except that you could create the two committees into a permanent joint committtee charged with that duty.
fr. LA FOLLETTE. I would see no objection to joint hearings, maior, because I believe wherever possible in joint action between ve House and Senate committees, and I think it might be helpful if a joint subcommittee were created, but as I say, you cannot enforce cooperation by a statute between coordinate committees of respective branches of Congress unless you have the willingness on the part of the individuals involved to cooperate in that direction.
Senator McCLELLAN. We have joint committees on taxation and other problems, and they have worked very well.
Mr. La FOLLETTE. Yes, sir. I don't wish to be understood at all as opposing action by joint established committees. I would like to see it encouraged.
Senator MCCLELLAN. Here is another thing I have in mind. If such a committee is created, it ought to develop and adopt certain rules of procedure that will elevate the prestige of committee investigations which have, I think, to a great extent, deteriorated. I think rules could be formulated and adopted, rules of procedure, that would protect the rights of witnesses and would enable us to proceed with these investigations with greater decorum.
Mr. LA FOLLETTE. Well, Senator, I know that subject has been under careful scrutiny and study by many people, and I certainly would like to see all investigations conducted in such a manner as to give fair treatment. With most of the investigations with which I have been familiar, I believe that has been the case.
Of course, there are always exceptions, but here again I say I am not so sure how far you can go in controlling the actions of a committee simply by enacting a statute. I think you have to rely a good deal on the caliber of the individuals who are conducting the inquiry.
Senator FERGUSON. If you laid down specific rules, you might stifle the investigation and be unable to obtain the facts.
Mr. LAFOLLETTE. You certainly would have to weigh very carefully, Senator, what steps you took in that direction, because the only analogy that I can see between an investigation and procedure at law is that between a grand jury and a congressional investigating committee. While I feel very definitely that the witnesses are entitled to fair treatment, nevertheless, you could go so far in throwing safeguards around the process that you would defeat the very end which Congress has in mind when it exercises its power to investigate. I would be the first to regret the abuse of that power, but, on the other hand, I do not want to see that power so impaired that it fails to perform what I think is a very useful and important function of the Congress. I think here, as in so many instances, the Congress will have to weigh very carefully any suggestions which are made in order to make certain, on the one hand, that the individuals are protected in their rights to fair treatment as citizens of the United States and, on the other hand, that you do not impair the process to such an extent that you are unable to get the essential facts in a particular situation.
Senator McCLELLAN. What I had in mind was, of course, just basic rules of procedure that would expedite and facilitate the work of the committee and at the same time protect, as far as we should and can, the rights of the individual citizens.
Nr. LA FOLLETTE. I am with you in that respect. because I think it is important. On the other hand, I think, you would have to weigh