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[COMMITTEE PRINT]

THE UNIVERSITY
OF MICHIGATU

86TH CONGRESS

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HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVESOCT 2

1st Session

1959

MAIN
READING ROOM

NOTES ON THE JURISDICTION

OF THE
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT

OPERATIONS

COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT

OPERATIONS ;17

MAY 1959

Printed for the use of the Committee on Government Operations

UNITED STATES

GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE

39998

WASHINGTON : 1959

PURCHASED THROUGH

DOC. EX PROTECTOS

COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS

WILLIAM L. DAWSON, Illinois, Chairman CHET HOLIFIELD, California

CLARE E. HOFFMAN, Michigan JOHN W. McCORMACK, Massachusetts R. WALTER RIEHLMAN, New York JACK BROOKS, Texas

GEORGE MEADER, Michigan L. H. FOUNTAIN, North Carolina

CLARENCE J. BROWN, Ohio PORTER HARDY, JR., Virginia

FLORENCE P. DWYER, New Jersey JOHN A. BLATNIK, Minnesota

JOE HOLT, California ROBERT E. JONES, Alabama

ROBERT P. GRIFFIN, Michigan EDWARD A. GARMATZ, Maryland

GEORGE M. WALLHALSER, New Jersey JOHN E. MOSS, California

JESSICA McC. WEIS, New York JOE M. KILGORE, Texas

ODIN LANGEN, Minnesota
DANTE B. FASCELL, Florida

ROBERT R. BARRY, New York
MARTHA W. GRIFFITHS, Michigan
HENRY S. REUSS, Wisconsin
OVERTON BROOKS, Louisiana
ELIZABETH KEE, West Virginia
KATHRYN E. GRANAHAN, Pennsylvania
JOHN S. MONAGAN, Connecticut
NEAL SMITH, Iowa

CHRISTINE RAF DAVIS, Staf Director

ORVILLE S. POLAND, General Counsel
JAMES A. LANIGAN, Associate General Counsel
HELEN M. BOYER, Minority Professional Staff

J. P. CARLSON, Minority Counsel

II

[COMMITTEE PRINT]

NOTES ON THE JURISDICTION OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE

ON GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

The predecessor of the Committee on Government Operations was called the Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Departments.

This committee was created, December 5, 1927, by the consolidation of the 11 Committees on Expenditures in the Various Departments of the Government, the earliest of which has been in existence since 1816. As adopted in 1816 thé rule did not include the committees for the Department of Interior, Justice, Agriculture, Commerce, and Labor. The committees for these Departments dated, respectively, from 1860, 1874, 1889, 1905, and 1913.

The resolution providing for the adoption of the rules of the 70th Congress discontinued the several committees on expenditures and transferred their functions to the newly created Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Departments.

On March 17, 1928, the jurisdiction of the committee was further enlarged by the adoption of a resolution, reported from the Committee on Rules, including within its jurisdiction the independent establishments and commissions of the Government (Cannon's Precedents, sec. 2041).

Prior to January 2, 1947, the effective date of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946, the various House committees were elected pursuant to rule X and their respective jurisdictions were set out in rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives, 78th Congress. This rule stated the powers and duties of 44 committees of the House beginning:

All proposed legislation shall be referred to the committees named in the preceding rule, as follows, viz, subjects relating

Then followed the committees in numerical order as, for instance, “5. To banking and currency--to the Committee on Banking and Currency.” 1

The full statement of the jurisdiction of the Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Department was:

The examination of the accounts and expenditures of the several departments, independent establishments, and commissions of the Government and the manner of keeping the same; the economy, justness, and correctness of such expenditures: their conformity with appropriation laws; the proper application of public moneys; the security of the Government against unjust and extravagant demands; retrenchment; the enforcement of the payment of moneys due to the United States; the economy and accountability of public officers; the abolishment of useless offices, shall all be subjects within the jurisdiction of the Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Departments. 1 In some cases footnotes indicated additional jurisdiction by parliamentary precedent. : Sec. 121 of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 provided “that unless otherwise provided herein, any matter within the jurisdiction of a standing committee prior to Jan. 2, 1947, shall remain subject to the jurisdiction of that committee *** This language was incorporated in the Rules of the House for each Congress up to the 83d Cong., at which time it was omitted and has been omitted since.

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islation, messages, petitions, memorials, and other matters relatSeurganizations in the executive branch of the Government. Sziget and accounting measures, other than appropriations.

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ployment Act of 1946 and the Federal Property and AdministraBir Services Act of 1949. developing such amendments or related legislation as it may deem necessary, exercise continuous watchfulness of the execution by the administrative agencies concerned of any laws, the subject matter of which is within the jurisdiction of

A cognate duty set forth in section 136 of the act of 1946– To assist the Congress in appraising the administration of the laws and in

such committee; and, for that purpose, shall study all pertinent reports and data submitted to the Congress by the agencies in the executive branch of the

Government.

This duty to "exercise continuous watchfulness” seems to stem from the legislative duties of the various committees. It may fairly be concluded that the Committee on Government Operations is required to exercise continuous watchfulness in respect to the administrative agencies concerned with budgetary and accounting matters and those involved with reorganizations in the executive branch of the Government.

It should also be noted that the statute and rule imposing oversight duties on all congressional committees limit the exercise of such

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