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carefully each provision to the end that you obtain the desired result; namely, protection of the witness, on the one hand, and an unimpaired right of the Congress to get facts essential to the functioning of the legislative process, on the other hand.
Senator Mcclellan. One thing I have observed so often is that the committee members themselves do more testifying than the witness. [Laughter.] I should like to see some procedure adopted whereby a hearing can be conducted in an orderly manner, and if the members of the committee want to make a speech or want to testify, they may have that privilege, but when a witness testifies, I should like to see him interrogated and see him answer.
Mr. La Follette. Senator, I have seen that, too, but, on the other hand, I am not sure you can draw effective rules to prevent it.
Senator Bricker. That is a function of the electorate. [Laughter.]
Senator Ferguson. It is pretty hard to pass a rule to keep a Senator or Congressman quiet. [Laughter.]
The Chairman. Are there any more questions?
Thank you, Senator La Follette.
The next witness is Mike Monroney.
We are glad to have you with us, Congressman.
STATEMENT OF HON. A. S. MIKE MONRONEY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA
Mr. Monkoney. Mr. Chairman, I wish to thank the members of the committee for giving me an opportunity to testily on the evaluation of the Legislative Reorganization Act.
The function you are performing in annually examining the organization of the legislative branch of this country is most important. For, if the strength of the legislative body is to be maintained to carry out its constitutional duties, the organization of the legislative body must always be subject to change to meet new conditions as they arrive.
None of us associated with the Reorganization Act believed that the last word had been spoken on the act, nor that it was untouchable for amendment or change. We did and do insist that whatever changes are made are designed to strengthen—and not weaken—the legislative branch.
I would first like to direct my testimony to a summary of how the act is working, what its failures are, and also the improvements that have resulted from its passage.
As you know, practically all the reforms voted by the Congress did not become effective until the opening of the Eightieth Congress. At that time we were faced not only with the tremendous task of effecting a most far-reaching reorganization of our legislative machinery, but also we were under new party management as well.
Added to this difficulty was the fact that we were dealing with national and international problems which were far from the ordinary run-of-the-mill governmental activities. Despite these three things, I believe that the change was made smoothly, wholeheartedly, and with a keen desire to follow out the act's directives.
What failures we have had—and there are several—have resulted largely in the unwillingness of individuals to carry out completely the provisions of the act.
My own evaluation of the icforms during the first year under the Art would be briefly as follows, and I list 14 of these as working: Realignment of committees; reduction of jurisdictional conflicts; reduction of special committees; improvement of committee procedures; limitation on conference committees; separation of committee offices; improvement of Legislative Reference Service; improvement of Office of the Legislative Counsel; reduction of private bills; improvement of Congressional Record; increase in Members' pay and addition of retirement provisions; registration of lobbyists; congressional adjournment; miscellaneous improvement.
I list six as partly working; legislative surveillance of departments; improvement in committee staffing; restrictions on legislation on appropriation bills; reporting of appropriation bills; open hearings of committees, with the exception of House Appropriations; investigations by standing legislative committees.
l list 10 as not working: Legislative budget; expenditure analyses by Comptroller General—no funds appropriated; study by Comptroller General of obsolete restrictions on bills; establishment of standardized showcase accounting for departmental expenditures; House Appropriations Committee hearings closed; studies for reduction of permanent appropriations; adequate staffing of Appropriations Committee; transfer of District of Columbia to home rule—recommended in report but not included in the act; establishment of too many subcommittees; drastic restrictions on deficiency appropriations—also recommended in report but not included in the act.
It was recognized that the committee consolidation and realignment Wm.h the cornerstone of any congressional reorganization. The consolidation of the 48 standing committees of the House into 19 streamlined major committees, and the consolidation of the Senate's 33 to 15 Web effected without major difficulty despite the dire predictions which • wore made when the committee consolidation was first proposed. V lt Ih my opinion that this far-reaching simplification and reorgani/.ation has been the most beneficial part of the act. In spite of the creation of numerous subcommittees, the committee structure of the Ciorujress is much improved.
The functional alignment of the congressional committees has centnrod responsibility for action in the new committees. Instead of Huvon minor committees of the House—each handling a part of the public, works program—one major Committee on Public Works now mmdlcH this work, and can coordinate and approach their major subject with an understanding of the whole program of public works. Tiie mime is true regarding veterans' affairs, which are now in one inuior committee of the House instead of three. Consolidation of the Military Affairs and the Naval Affairs Committees of the House has already eliminated much duplication, overlapping, and has resulted in nUuidardizing many practices, pay scales, and other details of the armed services.
A byproduct of this consolidation has been, of course, to reduce the number of jurisdictional disputes and committee conflicts because of wider jurisdiction of the consolidated committees. This, in itself, saved much floor time and also much time in committees.
In addition, it has permitted the individual Member of the House Senate to have a chance to specialize on one type of work. Each \lt\nsc Member ordinarily has but one major committee assignment now instead of, as in the past, five or six minor and unrelated committee jobs. With the Senate, the bulk of this work load has been simplified from six to seven committee assignments down to but two major committee jobs.
Despite what has been described as an "overgrowth of subcommittees," these in themselves are within the general framework of the major committee activity and do not result in a diversification of the Member's attention to completely unrelated subjects.
I do not believe the criticism by many that the growth of many subcommittees defeats the committee consolidation. Many of the committees listing standing subcommittees merely do so to provide special study groups for particular problems within the committee's general jurisdiction. This is especially true of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House. They list 11 subcommittees. Actually these are merely for specialized study of the 11 foreign areas.
While the Armed Services Committee of the House lists 11 subcommittees, these are functional divisions of their work. Instead of separate committees, each dealing with Army, Navy, or Air Force problems, all subcommittees deal with functional divisions of the entire national defense.
I doubt seriously if the subcommittees, as many critics have expressed fear, will become full-fledged standing committees. I feel, instead, that as time proves the lack of need for so many subcommittees, they will tend to disappear. There are no special advantages, such as additional staff, or office quarters available to the heads of these subcommittees.
Even with the many subcommittees now established, the total number of full committees, subcommittees, and special committees of the Eightieth Congress is 31 fewer than in the Seventy-ninth Congress. The excellent study made on this subject by our former staff director, Dr. George Galloway, shows that Senate committee assignments, including standing, subcommittee, and special committee, have decreased from 10.7 per Senator in the Seventy-ninth Congress to only 5.4 in the Eightieth Congress.
The tendency of Congress to establish special committees for investigations and special studies has been slowed down by the Reorganization Act, even if not prevented. The original bill, as passed by the Senate, prohibited special committees. Although this provision was stricken out in the House, the spirit of the act clearly indicated that these studies and this special work should be done by the regularly constituted standing committees.
We have in the Eightieth Congress established two special committees in the Senate and four in the House. Measured, however, by the Seventy-ninth Congress, when 12 were in existence, this is a considerable decrease. The fact, too, must be borne in mind that with the legislative branch controlled by a different party from the executive department, the tendency to create numerous special committees is greater than when the two branches are under control of the same party.
With respect to these special committees, in my opinion, there has been no clear justification shown to establish that this work which they are now carrying on outside the regular committee framework is being done better than by those committees making special studies under the regular committee organization.
It seems perfectly obvious to me that the investigations by the regular standing committees, with their permanent staffs, and a full understanding by the committee membership of the problems involved, offers the best avenue of approach. The fact that special committees cannot legislate but must have much of then- work duplicated by the legislative committee, if corrective legislation is to result is further proof that Congress should be most reluctant to create special committees.
While not yet becoming a problem seriously complicating the organization of congressional committees, the trend toward the establishment of joint statutory committees is one that deserves close study. Obviously the Congress had no other recourse but to create the Statutory Joint Committee on Atomic Energy. The joint statutory committee as a part of the full employment bill was established to deal with the Economic Report of the President. The chances are thai such a mechanism may be created to deal with the European recovery program. All of these problems are of a special nature and a good case can be made for the establishment of these statutory committees.
But by way of warning, I feel that the most rigid tests should in the future be applied to the establishment of additional committees beyond those three already named. Otherwise the committee structure of the House and Senate will be badly confused again this time with duplicating and overlapping statutory joint committees.
As a byproduct of the committee consolidation, many other minor gains were secured. These include many minor reforms such as divorcement of the chairman's congressional district work from the offices of the committee. The committee offices now under present operation serve only the committee—and not the constituents of the chairman's district.
Senator Bricker. How many joint committees were there before the Reorganization Act?
Mr. Monroney. We had 6 joint committees before the Reorganization Act and have 10 now, including the joint statutory committees.
Although appropriations authorized for the information services of the Congress were not fully granted to the Legislative Reference Service and the Office of the Legislative Counsel, they are operating on an improved basis. Additional funds should be appropriated, however, to bring these two highly important departments up to their highest possible efficiency. A marked degree of improvement, however, in these services is already noticeable to many Members using them.
The work load of Congress in handling bills of a strictly private nature has been greatly reduced. Dr. Galloway's figures show that only 131 private bills were passed in the first session of the Eightieth Congress compared to 365 during the same period of the Seventyninth Congress.
The Federal Tort Claims Act is working well, I believe, to reduce this private bill work load. Some slight amendments already have been voted and perhaps others will be required as the act is further tried out.
I feel that Congress, by setting a policy, could further reduce this work load, particularly on private claims in tort. The Judiciary Committees, I feel, should, after the end of the present session, adopt a policy of not determining those claims originating before January 1, 1945. That is the cut-off line in the tort-claims bill. These old claims should, by an omnibus bill, where they are found to have reasonable merit, be authorized to be heard in the Federal district courts for final settlement.
Such a procedure would enable the Judiciary Committees to have the balance of this session to clear up their backlog of old claims which may be readily adjudicated by the Congress—and then adopt a policy of referring the balance, where reasonable merit is found by the Judiciary Committee, to the courts for settlement, as in the case of the more recent claims eligible now for the tort-claims section of the act.
As I say, this could be done either by an agreement or by a simple resolution. I would prefer the enactment of a joint resolution to this effect, however, so that the country, claimants, and the Congress would be on notice of this change of policy.
Further elimination of private legislation could be effected by a resolution setting up an appeals board within the Justice Department to hear and finally determine immigration cases. This work load of a purely private nature has added to the problems of the important Judiciary Committee.
The Regulation of Lobbying Act has been both praised and criticized. Over 1,000 persons have registered under it. As in all new legislation, some phases of its language are being questioned by attorneys. I believe the pending court test, sought by theNational Association of Manufacturers against the Attorney General, will serve to clarify the act and give judicial interpretation to its language. After this court test, if changes are necessary, then Congress should promptly act to amend the law.
I believe that data being collected will be helpful to the Congress and to the public in determining the activities of those seeking to influence legislation. At least the scrutiny of their efforts in public light should tend to prevent abuses.
The establishment of a definite adjournment date for the sessions of Congress was observed and, I believe, if maintained will help schedule the congressional work load more evenly in future sessions.
The vast improvement in the Congressional Record should be included in the gams. Most Members have found the establishment of the Legislative Digest, as a part of the Congressional Record, to be a great help. Newspapers and others studying activities of Congress likewise have praised this valuable addition. The daily indexing of the Record, the printing of information about committee meetings and the summaries of legislation handled each day is a big improvement.
Some physical improvements to the Capitol, which were recommended, have been carried out. Others remain to be done when the present shortage of building materials eases somewhat. One small improvement to be noted is the incorporation of the pages' school into the District school system so as to furnish boys working for Congress a regularly accredited education and eliminate the tuition formerly charged them for their schooling.
One of the major efforts at reorganization was to effect a closer relationship between the legislative and executive branches. One mechanism to provide this, the establishment of joint majority and minority policy committees of the two Houses, was stricken from the bill in the House and did not become law.