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Mr. STEED. The statement here where you refer to the fact these purchases have to receive your personal approval and also the approval of the committee, is that in terms of carrying out this specified program right up until the point you run out of money, or do you have to exercise discretion?
Mr. ROBERTS. I mean by that I supervise the writing of the orders and also approve the voucher.
Mr. STEED. That is mostly to see that it is for the purpose intended and that it does not exceed the amount available, and that sort of thing?
Mr. ROBERTS. Yes. We have to check every time a Member makes a request for a typewriter, if it is not one of those charged to his account. We have to check with his account on electrical and mechanical equipment and if they say it is a 1952 or 1953 machine and if he has money in his account we go ahead and
Mr. STEED. You try to follow the 5-year rule of thumb ? Mr. ROBERTS. Try to. Once in a while we have a few defective machines where a Member says it just will not perform after we have tried to have it repaired. Sometimes we run into a bad make of machine.
In 1956, we had one company put out a lot of machines that did not prove satisfactory and we had to dispose of a lot of them.
Mr. STEED. What is the disposal practice you follow on old typewriters and worn out equipment?
Mr. ROBERTS. For the last 2 or 3 years we have been turning them over to the GSA. That is one thing that has depleted our appropriation and reduced it. Years ago when we bought a new machine we traded in an old machine and got credit for that which enhanced or augmented the appropriation.
Mr. STEED. What caused the change?
Mr. ROBERTS. The GAO recommended it and said that was the way it should be done. They criticized the augmentation of the appropriation, allocation.
Mr. STELD. Do you have any way of knowing whether the Government benefited any by that in the long run?
Mr. ROBERTS. Yes; we get a better price from the General Services Administration. They reimburse the Treasury for those machines and we get a better price. The companies only gave us from $90 to $150 for used machines and this way we get more.
Mr. MEGILL. Of course, it goes into the general fund of the Treasury and that is the distinction the Clerk is drawing, instead of getting credit which, in effect, would bolster the amount of the appropriation here.
Mr. STEED. In other words, there is an overall benefit to the taxpayer but it has worked a hardship on this item in the fund?
Mr. ROBERTS. That is right.
Mr. HARPER. It makes the appropriation go up really, as far as this item is concerned.
Mr. MEGILL. It was all based on the fact that the Comptroller General felt that the Clerk did not have the authority to carry on that type of business of turning it in, even though the executive departments have similar authority.
Mr. ROBERTS. They did it for 40 years, but we were criticized for it.
Mr. STEED. I believe when we had this up before we got into the matter of inventory and keeping a list of all of this equipment.
Have you had any luck in finishing out those gaps that existed there in the early stages ?
Is that pretty well up now?
Mr. HORAN. Can you supply the committee with at least the approximate value of the typewriters and used equipment turned over to the GSA and through them, which reverts into the general fund of the Treasury for the benefit of the committee? That is a matter we may be called upon to answer.
Mr. STEED. We ought to have that in our record.
While we cannot show it here, there ought to be some note of the fact that we are really entitled to a credit to that amount.
Mr. ROBERTS. We will furnish those records.
Mr. HORAN. You better do that because this fund is not, on the face of it, benefiting by that.
Mr. STEED. In other words, if you know the total amount of money for that item, put it in the record so that we may be given credit for this item, and this would be reduced by that amount.
Mr. ROBERTS. That is right.
Mr. HORAN. I think it would be a good idea for the Clerk to put an additional footnote on this “Miscellaneous” item, if that is going to appear in our record on page 17.
We should have that handy in case somebody asks us about that.
Mr. Stow. I think that clears it up. It is a credit item and I think we are entitled to have a recognition of that.
Mr. HARPER. It has a very decided effect on this item. (The requested information follows:) During the current fiscal year, we have received payment from GSA and remitted to the Treasurer of the United States approximately $12,000. However, there are about 125 items in the hands of GSA for disposal. The money is not remitted to us until the item is sold. The figures given are to March 23, 1962.
Mr. HORAN. According to the table on page 17, you have over $87,000 balance as of March 1 on the electrical equipment. In your statement you assert that that has all been allocated.
Mr. HARPER. Orders have been issued, Mr. Horan, for that amount of equipment.
Mr. HORAN. I am aware of that, but do you know, or have you had requests for this equipment you were unable to allocated because of the funds allocated ?
Mr. ROBERTS. We spend about $30,000 a month for equipment but we have plenty of money for that at the present time.
Mr. STEED. Is this not partly the situation in this connection: A Member has a credit and if he elects to exercise, then you would have not much choice to do anything but credit it?
Mr. ROBERTS. There are two different categories; like the manual machines, we issue those to anybody who wants them and we give each Member two electrical typewriters that do not come out of his electrical equipment account.
If he exceeds the 500,000 population figure, he gets three that do not come out of that account.
Mr. HORAN. Where do those machines come from?
Mr. HARPER. Mr. Horan asked about the $87,000 balance and what is the situation there? Regardless of what authority the Clerk uses to purchase an electrical typewriter for a Member, whether from the statutory allowance or whether it is from his electrical equipment allowance of $2,500, regardless of the authority the clerk uses when he buys that machine, we pay for it out of this item here. Mr. HORAN. Item 16?
Mr. HARPER. Right. The last time this $2,550,000 was allocated by the Clerk, the best figure that we could give him was that $198,000 should be allocated for this amount. He said in his statement that although the amount expended shows $110,000, those are the bills we have received and actually paid.
Mr. HORAN. The rest of it has been allocated ?
Mr. HARPER. The rest of it we have orders that the Clerk has written ordering the equipment for the Members. I have the orders in my file and when the bills come in, and are properly receipted, we know we have $87,000 worth of orders outstanding for which we have not paid.
Mr. HORAN. I am aware of that.
Mr. HARPER. As of this moment, this $198,000 has been completely obligated but what the Clerk said in addition to that, Mr. Horan, is that within the $2,550,000 he still has funds with which to pay for additional electrical equipment that might be reallocated.
We also indicated in the statement that we are down to the bottom of the barrel.
Mr. HORAN. I asked an additional question. Did you have requests you could not honor because the total fund had been obligated ?
Mr. ROBERTS. We are taking care of all of the requests.
It just happens that as of right now the last allocation has been utilized but the Clerk will simply take a reappraisal of all of these items and reallocate sufficient money to take care of the additional purchases so long as there is sufficient money overall.
It appears now that it is running mighty close.
Mr. HORAN. There are a lot of requests I am quite certain for the new model typewriters, which we have not been able to fill?
Mr. STEED. I think it is evident that there are many so-called openend items involved here and it is not good business to get into a tight spot this early in the year. It is not good to have to go back for a supplemental and it causes many explanations and repercussions so that it is better if we could avoid that, I think.
Mr. HORAN. I think you are right.
Mr. ROBERTS. We take that under consideration, on all of the purchase orders.
Mr. HARPER. On the other hand, Mr. Horan, the typewriters paid for are based upon the date that the order was written and obligated. We have that problem. On the question of deliveries, that is something else. I am not up to date on that, but I understand they are considerably behind on deliveries although we are not behind on placing the orders.
Mr. STEED. Mr. Bow, do you have any questions?
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT Mr. Bow. On this miscellaneous item, under item 1(c), “Special equipment," last year you allocated $5,000 and this year you have allocated $15,000. Why?
Mr. HARPER. This item covers equipment in the Sergeant at Arms' Office and in our Office which is checkwriting equipment, bookkeeping machines, and so forth.
Mr. Bow. All special equipment? Mr. HARPER. That is right, outside of typewriters and things like that.
I believe that this item covers mostly contracts for servicing equipment. I believe that this item may be overstated and that is one of the items where we may be able to reallocate some of this $15,000.
Mr. Bow. Do you have a record here now of what you spent on this item last year?
Mr. HARPER. Yes, sir.
Mr. HARPER. Yes, sir; I think I have. Last year we spent $11,119 and that covers the services on those checkwriting machines and bookkeeping machines which run somewhat high. Last year we spent: $11,000 and up to February 28 of this year we have spent $4,000.
Mr. STEED. What do you mean "servicing”? Does that mean the things are old and you have to patch them up, or what?
Mr. HARPER. On our calculating machines or bookkeeping machines, or check writing machines, this is special equipment where we enter into a service contract with the company that furnishes the machines and this is a continuing thing. They come in every 6 months and clean the machines.
On our checkwriting machines, as I indicated this morning, we keep a repairman there all of the time while we are writing checks. He is there under contract on a yearly basis.
All of these machines in the Sergeant at Arms' Office and our Office are on a yearly service contract and that is what this is.
Mr. Bow. This is a different item than item No. 17 ?
Mr. HARPER. Yes, sir. Item No. 17 is the service to electrical typewriters.
Mr. Bow. To the offices?
Mr. Bow. Item 1(c) is special equipment in the Sergeant at Arms' Office ?
Mr. HARPER. And the Disbursing Office.
Mr. HARPER. Mr. Bow, we have heretofore not had item No. 25 and the bookkeepers in my Office asked authority to set up this item because occasionally we have to make a transfer and there is no place to put it; specifically the $750 that has been spent this year was to replenish the stationery account when some Members came in late in the fall last year. The old Members had already taken out the full $1,800 allowance and it took $750 to replenish that revolving fund.
We took it out of the "Miscellaneous items" and put it into the stationery revolving fund and set up this item No. 25 so I could explain it to you in this way.
Mr. Bow. Not an expenditure transfer authorization but to replenish the fund ? Mr. HARPER. Yes, sir. Mr. Bow. How much do you have allocated this year, $1,000? Mr. HARPER. We have $1,000 allocated. Mr. Bow. What have you actually spent?
Mr. HARPER. $750 and I suspect that will be all unless something comes up. Mr. Bow. I believe that is all. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. STEED. We will now go to the next item.
Mr. ROBERTS. For stenographic reports of committee hearings, other than special and select committees, $175,000 compared with $150,000 appropriated for 1962, or an increase of $25,000.
Mr. STEED. Could we have a brief comment on the need for this increase in this item of $25,000 ?
This appropriation has not changed for the past 3 years and you ask for an increase.
Mr. HARPER. It falls generally within the category of the other items touched upon. We heretofore carried some surplus and we are at a point where the surplus has decreased and our best estimate is that the $25,000 additional is needed to meet the requirements. The activities in committees are increasing along with everything else.
Mr. STEED. In prior years, this item did not require any increase because there was a surplus in the item at the end of the year?
Mr. HARPER. Yes, sir; I will supply those surpluses for the last 2 or 3 fiscal years to give you an indication of that.
(The requested information follows:)
In fiscal 1960 there was appropriated $150,000 and there remained a surplus of $31,704; in fiscal 1961 there was appropriated $150,000 and there remained a surplus of $19,895.33.
Mr. STEED. That item, like “Miscellaneous items,” is beginning to get down to a very narrow point?
Mr. HARPER. Exactly.