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Although the Senate included this reform in separate legislation for themselves, the absence of the House policy committees still leaves no formal means for consultation between the executive and the legislative branches. I believe consideration should eventually be given to the establishment of such a joint policy committee.
The bill did include one mechanism designed to improve the understanding and relationship between the two branches-namely, the provision for continuing legislative surveillance. It directed that the standing committee having jurisdiction exercise "continuous watchfulness of the execution" of the laws by the administrative agencies. This was to provide for a better understanding of the intent of Congress and a better knowledge of the Congress as to how such laws were being carried out. This feature has met with only partial success.
Problems of reorganizing the committees, of extending emergency legislation, and the general heavy work load of all committees
have caused this feature to be partly neglected. It is hoped that regular periods can be set aside for this activity by the regular legislative committees instead of surrendering this duty to the Appropriations Committees.
One of the major needs of the Congress was the implementation of skilled experts for each of the reorganized committees. This staffing has for the most part been good, but there are some cases where the experts employed did not measure up in training or experience to the jobs. Many of the committees have delayed filling their staffs completely as they seek qualified persons to fill them on a career basis.
One difficulty Congress has found is that, never having worked with well-trained staff members, they do not know how to use them for the maximum benefit. I feel that a trial-and-error period will prove the value of additional staff members and that their services, where they are properly qualified, will justify their establishment.
Only partly successful has been the limitation against legislation on appropriation bills. However, a reduction of this tendency has been noted. Constant watchfulness should be exercised by the standing legislative committees, however, to prevent actual legislative modifications to legislation being effected under the guise of appropriation limitations. The zeal of the Appropriations Committees should be especially watched.
Provisions making the printed reports of testimony on appropriation bills available 3 days before their consideration on the floor has been fairly well observed but was greatly weakened by violation in the last few days of the session.
In violation of the act, the House Appropriations Committee and its subcommittees have refused for this session, and the first one, to hold open public hearings on appropriation bills. The act provided that all committee hearings be open to the public, except executive sessions. Despite this clear intent of the act, no open hearings have been held on such a vital subject as Government expenditures in the House. The Senate Appropriations Committee has lived up to the act's provisions.
Since fully 50 percent of the duty of Congress is in controlling the expenditures of this Government, much of the Reorganization Act was directed toward improvement of our work in fiscal affairs. Of the many procedures which the Congress voted for better information, closer controls, improved staffing, and clearer and simplified accounting methods, only a very few have been put into force.
Final determination of the money spent by this Government is, of course, left to Congress. Not one dime can be spent that is not appropriated by the legislative branch-yet historic and inadequate methods have continued.
With Federal budgets running between 35 and 40 billions of dollars, it was felt that this vital work of the Congress should require the most modern systems of budgetary control. Instead, hodgepodge methods based on historic and traditional practices, have prevailed.
One of the first steps designed to improve fiscal control was the provision for the legislative budget. This was designed to permit Congress at the start of each session to create and chart its own fiscal plan. It was designed to force by joint action of members of the appropriating and revenue committees of the two Houses an over-all appraisal of total Federal expenditures for the new fiscal year, together with a carefully examined estimate of the income.
Last year the effort to have a legislative budget failed when the House and the Senate committees failed to agree in conference on the total Federal expenditures. The degree of error in calculating the expenses was alarming, but was partly due to the lack of advance staff work prior to the convening of the Congress.
To make this valuable provision effective, a skilled full-time expert staff should work throughout the year conferring often with budget officers of the agencies and with the Budget Bureau. By frequent conferences, they could present to the joint subcommittee facts instead of guesses on where economies could be effected in the President's budget. Only by having this factual information can genuine estimates be relied upon.
Undoubtedly the Congress again will have some trouble in fixing the amount of the legislative budget for the second time this year. Some of the reasons for this difficulty are unavoidable—due to the turmoil and chaos of the present international situation requiring heavy outlays on foreign aid, national defense, and other items of a like nature far exceeding the scope of any peacetime governmental costs,
But despite these uncertainties and difficulties, the Congress should strive each year to make its estimates more realistic and factual. The fact that we have failed once or twice is no argument for abandoning a necessary and useful fiscal device to consider income and expenditures in an over-all fiscal policy.
If the legislative budget provision is abandoned, then one of the principal gains of reorganization will be lost. No evidence has been presented that the country does not need to have a clear fiscal policy expressed by Congress before appropriations or tax changes are made. It would be a confession of weakness on the part of the legislative branch to abandon it simply because we were unable immediately to make it work.
If the legislative budget should be abandoned, then we would return to the old policy of passing the several appropriation bills each without relation to the over-all total expenditures of Government for that year. And we would continue to consider taxes without relationship to the actual needs of Government revenue, both for current expenditures and for retirement on our gigantic debt of $258,000,000,000.
The idea of the legislative budget is not to strait-jacket the Congress, but to give the Nation our best-considered estimate, in the light of all known information, on what we intend to spend for the coming
year—how much we expect to take in-and how much we intend to apply on debt retirement. Is it asking too much for Congress to work toward making this estimate as factual as possible?
Several fiscal aids designed to improve the handling of fiscal matters were ignored completely. Many of these undoubtedly, if adopted, would contribute to better performance on the legislative budget.
Foremost of these was the provision for "show-case” accounting of governmental agencies to give a clear-cut picture on standardized expense categories of their agency operations. This would permit, in an easily understandable listing, the item of major expense for quick comparison with other agencies.
Funds were denied to the Comptroller General for the analysis of expenditures of Government departments, also provided for in the act. This provision was designed to "enable Congress to determine whether public funds have been economically and efficiently administered and expended.” While some informal reports on extravagance and waste are now supplied by the Comptroller General to the Congress, it is only on an incidental basis and a by product of that office's work in checking on the legality of expenditures.
Also provided for was a study by the Comptroller General of obsolete and useless restrictions which have been placed on appropriation bills in years past and which still require the services of many employees without effecting any real economy. A start of this study has been made but it will not be completed until next year.
The authorized study of all permanent appropriations to determine whether any of these can be eliminated also has not been put into force.
The report on the reorganization of Congress also recommended strongly that deficiency appropriations be discontinued except on an emergency basis. Heretofore many items of regular expenditures are carried in deficiency bills, and the continued use of deficiency appropriations, instead of including all necessary money in the regular appropriation bill, tends to defeat sound fiscal control of the agencies.
Although the Reorganization Act authorized a greatly expanded full-time staff for the Appropriation Committees of the two Houses, full advantage of improved staffing has not been used. Although a special investigating staff was set up and performed very well during the first part of the first session of the Eightieth Congress, it was laid off after adjournment.
The careful study and understanding of a 35- to 40-billion-dollar budget requires a full-time study by well-trained experts. I feel that a sufficient staff should be provided to work the year round investigating and studying the actual financial needs of the agencies. During the vital period from August to December 31, when the budgets of the agencies were being compiled, the House Appropriations Committee was greatly understaffed. At one time, only 10 men, classed as experts in their field, were employed by all of the House Appropriations subcommittees.
The original report on the Reorganization Act provided for four experts for each of the appropriation subcommittees to be employed on a year round basis. At the insistence of the leaders of the Appropriations Committee, a change was made and they were authorized to employ whatever staffing they considered necessary. This was done in the belief that they would add sufficient professional personnel
to gain a complete understanding of every item in every appropriation request.
Instead of gaining economy through greater knowledge of all expenses of Government by knowing where reductions could be made and pointing them out to the committee, this part-time use of investigators and outside per diem employees has failed to achieve anticipated economies. To employ too few assistants in this vital field is to be penny wise and pound foolish.
To jllustrate, to handle the immense job of the $40,000,000,000 budget, the House Appropriations Committee has a total of 16 fulltime employees above the grade of stenographer. Of these, 11 are clerks, and 5 are investigators. The Chief Clerk is paid $12,000; the assistant $10,000; four clerks from $9,000 to $10,000; and the remaining five from $5,000 to $9,000. Of the five members of the investigating staff, the chief investigator is paid $9,000 and the four receive $5,000.
Other part-time investigators are employed on a per diem basis but their work is not of a permanent nature.
Thus, considering both the clerical and the investigating staff, the 16-man staff must handle a work-load of appropriations for this coming year of more than $2,500,000,000 per employee.
Or to measure the staff expense by the total appropriations, we are devoting only $121,600 for staff expense to supervise, study and recommend action on a $40,000,000,000 budget.
That is the reason why I believe that the Congress should be more alert, not only to carry out the full fiscal reforms so many of which have been virtually ignored, but also to try to devise additional methods to improve our performance in handling fiscal affairs.
Although the reorganization report recommended that Congress transfer the Government of the District of Columbia to home rule of its citizens, we still have many Members of Congress tied up in purely District problems. It is to be hoped that the fine work now being done by Congressman Auchincloss and his committee, and its Director Dr. Galloway, will result in the removal of this extraneous work load from Congress. For example, 12 subcommittees of the two Houses work in handling District of Columbia problems.
I feel that the unused sections of the act, those which are not being put into effect, should be either enforced or that Congress should recommend their repeal. For Congress to leave the law unchanged, but continue to observe only a portion of the act, is to violate its own rule changes. I hope that after your study of the operation of the act, your committee will urge full compliance with all of its provisions so that an adequate trial can be had.
But the business of modernizing Congress is a continuing one and one with which I hope this committee will concern itself through the years. No law nor rules changes should ever be considered the last word on congressional organization, and the process of keeping the legislative branch modern and well equipped to meet present-day problems should be continued year after year.
. Hide-bound tradition and so-called “sacred” prerogatives should not be allowed to stand in the way of progress. I hope that despite their great traditions, adequate studies can be given to three important changes into which our committee was denied the right to enter.
Modification of the rule of cloture to make possible ending of a filibuster;
Substitution of selection by the majority party of committee chairmanships for the unwritten seniority rule; and
Modification of the power of the House Rules Committee to eliminate its veto privilege over other standing committees. Also to prevent, by simple majority vote on a rule, the waiving of all points oi order which in effect often actually suspends House rules.
That is all, Mr. Chairman.
Senator AIKEN. Thank you, Congressman Monroney, for this very excellent testimony.
I only wish there were time to enter into a discussion of it, but we know that you, as well as the members of the Senate, have a session at this time to which we will have to report. But I can assure you that the members of this committee will want to cooperate with you and have you cooperate with us in the continuous effort to improve the functions of the Congress.
Now the committee likes to accommodate itself to its witnesses. We had six witnesses listed to be heard today. We have heard two of them so far, and one witness has come from out of town and naturally wishes to testify today. So at 1:30 we will take up the matter of lobbying and will hear from Mr. Irving R. Kaufman, special assistant to the Attorney General, who is in charge of the enforcement of the lobbying provisions of the act, and Prof. Belle Zeller, from Brooklyn College, who has made an intensive study of these legislative processes.
The Chair assumes that we have permission from the Senate to sit this afternoon? Having heard nothing to the contrary, we will recess until 1:30.
(Whereupon, at 12:05 p. m., the committee recessed, to reconvene at 1:30 p. m. this day.)
(The hearing was resumed at 1:30 p. m., pursuant to recess.) The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order.
Our first witness this afternoon is Mr. Irving R. Kaufman, special assistant to the Attorney General. The committee understands, Mr. Kaufman, that you are in charge of the enforcement of the lobbying provisions of the Reorganization Act of 1946, and we would like to know how you are getting along with your work.
STATEMENT OF IRVING R. KAUFMAN, SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
Mr. KAUFMAN. For the sake of brevity, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, I have a very short statement to present. It will not take me more than 3 or 4 minutes and then we can go on from there.
I am glad to be afforded the opportunity to appear before this committee to present the views of the Department of Justice with respect to the Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act, title III of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946.
Last fall I was appointed a special assistant to the Attorney General to make a survey of the operation of the Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act. The object of the inquiry was to determine its effectiveness.