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AMENDING THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE ACT, AS

AMENDED

JULY 6, 1949.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of

the Union and ordered to be printed

Mr. BECKWORTH, from the Committee on Interstate and Foreign

Commerce, submitted the following

REPORT

(To accompany S. 256

The Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, to whom was referred the bill (S. 256) to amend the Interstate Commerce Act, as amended, having considered the same, report favorably thereon with an amendment and recommend that the bill as amended do pass.

The amendment is as follows:

Page 11, line 19, strike out beginning with the word “by” down through line 23, and insert: solely by water carriers subject to this part which engages in activities relating to the fixing of rates. publication of classifications or filing of schedules by such carriers.

This bill contains a number of sections making changes in the Interstate Commerce Act long advocated by the Interstate Commerce Commission. Earlier bills to accomplish this purpose were S. 1473, Seventy-eighth Congress; S. 47 and S. 1291, Seventy-ninth Congress, und S. 290, S. 2426, and H. R. 5623 of the Eightieth Congress. ommittee held public hearings on the latter bill in the second session of the Eightieth Congress. It was favorably reported to the House by unanimous vote of the committee but was not brought up for House consideration prior to the adjournment of the Eightieth Congress. The bill reported herewith is identical with H. R. 5623 with the exception of the committee amendment.

As objections to certain provisions of these earlier bills developed from time to time, the bills were rewritten and reintroduced in order 'o dispense with the necessity of dealing with controversial provisions. The present bill contains no provisions, so far as your committee is iware, to which there is any serious objection. It is as noncontroversial as any piece of legislation can be. In other words, the

H. Repts., 81-1, vol. 5

purpose was to place in this bill those provisions of the earlier bills concerning which there is substantial agreement. The controversial sections of the earlier bills which have been eliminated will, it is expected, be the subject of separate bills upon which hearings will be held where the proponents and opponents of the bills can be fully heard. It should be fully understood that the committee has not in any way passed upon the merits of the so-called controversial provisions contained in the earlier bills but has merely laid them aside without prejudice for consideration at some future time.

This legislation is intended to carry out recommendations of the Interstate Commerce Commission as contained in their last annual report, and it has the Commission's approval. A letter from the Commission, dated January 25, 1949, addressed to the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, containing a complete section-by-section explanation of the bill, except for e amendment made by this committee, is set forth below.

In hearings held this session on S. 256 and H. R. 1710, identical bills, some opposition developed on the part of water-carrier associations to the proposed requirement of reports from such associations in sections 16, 17, and 18. The opposition related only to the matter of reports from associations whose membership primarily was composed of water carriers not subject themselves to provisions of the Interstate Commerce Act. The amendment adopted by the committee to section 18 of the bill makes it clear that the water-carrier associations required to make reports to the Commission are those maintained solely by water carriers subject to part III of the Interstate Commerce Act and engaged in activities relating to fixing of rates, publication of classifications, or filing of schedules by their constituent members.

Your committee feels that this bill is desirable and in the public interest, and recommends its enactment.

INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION,

Washington, January 25, 1949. Hon. EDWIN C. JOHNSON, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,

United States Senate, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR CHAIRMAN JOHNSON: This will acknowledge receipt of your letter of January 13, 1949, addressed to the Chairman of the Commission and requesting comments on S. 256, introduced by Senator Reed, to amend the Interstate Commerce Act, as amended. This letter has been referred to our Legislative Committee, and after careful consideration I am authorized to offer the following comments in its behalf:

S. 256 is a bill which has been prepared to carry into effect several recommendations of the Interstate Commerce Commission and carried in the Commission's annual reports. These recommendations are referred to in the annual report for the year 1948 at page 132 in the first legislative recommendation,

SECTION 1

Section 1 of the bill would renumber paragraph 5 (a) of section 1 of the act as 5, and paragraph 5 (b) as 572. Request for amendment of section 1 (5) in respect of the citation of the two paragraphs thereof is made for the following reason:

By far the largest percentage of reports and decisions involving transportation are made under section 1 of the bill, dealing with the reasonableness of rates, calling for continuous reference thereto in printed documents, reports, briefs, articles, indexes, tables of various kinds, and the tiko. The majority of those interested in transportation are, and long have been, familiar with the rate provision as section 1 (5). Confusion results by reason of the departure from the customary citation, and because some follow the new citation while others use the old form. This confusion will be eliminated by deletion of the (a) when referring to section 1 (5) in rate matters.

Because of the repetition of the citation in published documents, many lines of space will be saved by elimination of the longer form—which beremes especially important in citers, indexes, and tables.

By designating subparagraph (b) as (5%), referring to exchange of services of employees, no customary usage will be disturbed for seldom through the history of regulation has any reference been made to that provision.

SECTION 2

Section 2 of the bill is an amendment which would relate to extension of credit by express companies Section 3 (2) of the Interstate Commerce Act provides that: "No carrier by railroad

shall deliver or relinquish possession at destination of any freight transported by it until all tariff rates and charges thereon have been paid, except under such rules and regulations as the Commission may from time to time prescribe to govern the settlement of all such rates and charges and to prevent unjust discrimination.”

Similar provisions relating to common carriers by motor vehicle and by water are found in sections 223 and 318, respectively. To the same effect is section 414, applicable to freight forwarders and motor carriers utilized by them The Commission has prescribed regulations under these sections.

Because of unsettled industrial conditions incident to the war some laxity in the observance of the Commission's credit regulations on the part of railroads and motor carriers has developed. By way of extenuation some motor carriers have pointed out that the Railway Express Agency, with which they are in competition, is not subject to credit regulations. Section 3 (2) of the act, above quoted, is in terms applicable only to carriers by railroad and not to express companies.

The exemption of the express agency from credit regulations thus tends to give it an advantage, which is not justified. We, therefore, recommend that the first sentence of paragraph (2) of section 3 be amended to read as shown in the bill. We suggest that the second proviso make the effective date of this amendment 6 months after the passage of the act because of the uncertainties as to when this bill will be finally approved by both Houses and signed by the President, and of the necessity of affording the Commission a reasonable time to promulgate rules and regulations and the express companies a reasonable time to make compliance therewith, which reasonable time we estimate as 6 months. It seems preferable to handle it in this manner rather than to name a specific effective date.

SECTION 3
Section 3 of the bill relates to our recommendation which is as follows:

"We recommend that section 5 (2) (b) be amended by removing therefrom the requirement that a 'public hearing shall be held in all cases where carriers by railroad are involved.' (See Annual Report. 1947, recommendation No. 3, p. 147.)"

Section 5 (2) (b) outlines the procedure to be followed by the Commission in passing upon applications for approval of consolidations and mergers. It contains the following sentence:

"If the Commission shall consider it necessary in order to determine whether the findings specified below may properly be made, it shall set said application for public hearing and a public hearing shall be held in all cases where carriers by railroad are involved.'

Cases involving railroads are not invariably of such importance that a public hearing is necessary or desirable. Where such cases are of minor importance, this mandatory requirement causes unnecessary expense and delay. We believe that the Commission should have the same discretion as to holding a hearing in railroad cases as it has in those involving motor or water carriers. Section 3 of the bill would give it this discretion.

purpose was to place in this bill those provisions of the earlier bills concerning which there is substantial agreement. The controversial sections of the earlier bills which have been eliminated will, it is expected, be the subject of separate bills upon which hearings will be held where the proponents and opponents of the bills can be fully heard. It should be fully understood that the committee has not in any way passed upon the merits of the so-called controversial provisions contained in the earlier bills but has merely laid them aside without prejudice for consideration at some future time.

This legislation is intended to carry out recommendations of the Interstate Commerce Commission as contained in their last annual report, and it has the Commission's approval. A letter from the Commission, dated January 25, 1949, addressed to the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, containing a complete section-by-section explanation of the bill, except for e arendment made by this committee, is set forth below.

In hearings held this session on S. 256 and H. R. 1710, identical bills, some opposition developed on the part of water-carrier associations to the proposed requirement of reports from such associations in sections 16, 17, and 18. The opposition related only to the matter of reports from associations whose membership primarily was composed of water carriers not subject themselves to provisions of the Interstate Commerce Act. The amendment adopted by the committee to section 18 of the bill makes it clear that the water-carrier associations required to make reports to the Commission are those maintained solely by water carriers subject to part III of the Interstate Commerce Act and engaged in activities relating to fixing of rates, publication of classifications, or filing of schedules by their constituent members.

Your committee feels that this bill is desirable and in the public interest, and recommends its enactment.

INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION,

Washington, January 25, 1949. Hon. EDWIN C. JOHNSON, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,

United States Senate, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR CHAIRMAN Johnson: This will acknowledge receipt of your letter of January 13, 1949, addressed to the Chairman of the Commission and requesting comments on S. 256, introduced by Senator Reed, to amend the Interstate Commerce Act, as amended. This letter has been referred to our Legislative Committee, and after careful consideration I am authorized to offer the following comments in its behalf

S. 256 is a bill which has been prepared to carry into effect several recommendations of the Interstate Commerce Commission and carried in the Commission's annual reports. These recommendations are referred to in the annual report for the year 1948 at page 132 in the first legislative recommendation.

SECTION 1

Section 1 of the bill would renumber paragraph 5 (a) of section 1 of the act as 5, and paragraph 5 (b) as 532. Request for amendment of section 1 (5) in respect of the citation of the two paragraphs thereof is made for the following reason:

By far the largest percentage of reports and decisions involving transportation are made under section 1 of the bill, dealing with the reasonableness of rates, calling for continuous reference thereto in printed documents, reports, briefs, articles, indeses, tables of various kinds, and the liko. The majority of those

interested in transportation are, and long have been, familiar with the rate provision as section 1 (5). Confusion results by reason of the departure from the customary citation, and because some follow the new citation while others use the old form. This confusion will be eliminated by deletion of the (a) when referring to section 1 (5) in rate matters.

Because of the repetition of the citation in published documents, many lines of space will be saved by elimination of the longer form--which bencmes especially important in citers, indexes, and tables.

By designating subparagraph (b) as (542), referring to exchange of services of employees, no customary usage will be disturbed for seldom through the history of regulation has any reference been made to that provision.

SECTION 2 Section 2 of the bill is an amendment which would relate to extension of credit by express companies Section 3 (2) of the Interstate Commerce Act provides that: "No carrier by railroad

shall deliver or relinquish possession at destination of any freight transported by it until all tariff rates and charges thereon have been paid, except under such rules and regulations as the Commission may from time to time prescribe to govern the settlement of all such rates and charges and to prevent unjust discrimination."

Similar provisions relating to common carriers by motor vehicle and by water are found in sections 223 and 318, respectively. To the same effect is section 414, applicable to freight forwarders and motor carriers utilized by them The Commission has prescribed regulations under these sections.

Because of unsettled industrial conditions incident to the war some laxity in the observance of the Commission's credit regulations on the part of railroads and motor carriers has developed. By way of extenuation some motor carriers have pointed out that the Railway Express Agency, with which they are in competition, is not subject to credit regulations. Section 3 (2) of the act, above quoted, is in terms applicable only to carriers by railroad and not to express companies.

The exemption of the express agency from credit regulations thus tends to give it an advantage, which is not justified. We, therefore, recommend that the first sentence of paragraph (2) of section 3 be amended to read as shown in the bill. We suggest that the second proviso make the effective date of this amendment 6 months after the passage of the act because of the uncertainties as to when this bill will be finally approved by both Houses and signed by the President, and of the necessity of affording the Commission a reasonable time to promulgate rules and regulations and the express companies a reasonable time to make compliance therewith, which reasonable time we estimate as 6 months. It seems preferable to handle it in this manner rather than to name a specific effective date.

SECTION 3
Section 3 of the bill relates to our recommendation which is as follows:

“We recommend that section 5 (2) (b) be amended by removing therefrom the requirement that a 'public hearing shall be held in all cases where carriers by railroad are involved. (See Annual Report. 1947, recommendation No. 3, p. 147.)"

Section 5 (2) (b) outlines the procedure to be followed by the Commission in passing upon applications for approval of consolidations and mergers. It contains the following sentence:

"If the Commission shall consider it necessary in order to determine whether the findings specified below may properly be made, it shall set said application for public hearing and a public hearing shall be held in all cases where carriers by railroad are involved.

Cases involving railroads are not invariably of such importance that a public hearing is necessary or desirable. Where such cases are of minor importance, this mandatory requirement causes unnecessary expense and delay. We believe that the Commission should have the same discretion as to holding a hearing in railroad cases as it has in those involving motor or water carriers. Section 3 of the bill would give it this discretion.

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