« PreviousContinue »
Senator Smith. The House subsequently passed the joint resolution, and sent it to the Senate.
I have here a telegram from the Honorable Herbert Hoover, former President Hoover, in which he expresses his wholehearted support of the plan, and I ask unanimous consent that it be included in the record at this point, and without objection, it will be. (The telegram referred to follows:)
NEW YORK, N. Y., March 13, 1953. Hon. MARGARET CHASE SMITH,
United States Senate, Washington, D. C.: I have your telegram asking my views upon President Eisenhower's recommendation for the reorganization of the Social Security Agency. I wholeheartedly support his plan. It is a strong constructive step in consummation of the reorganization proposals of the Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government and is vitally necessary at the earliest moment.
At some future time there needs to be an exhaustive investigation of the Federal hospital and medical setup with a view to elimination of duplication and waste. Also there needs to be an exhaustive investigation of the whole method of aids to the aged with view to simplification, elimination of waste, administrative overlaps with the States if we are to reduce expenditure and at the same time provide a better floor of support for those groups.
Such investigations would take time and should not delay approval of President Eisenhower's admirable and urgent plans.
I hope you will excuse my not appearing personally before the committee at this time. I could contribute no more than my full endorsement in any event.
HERBERT HOOVER. Senator SMITH. I would like to say that Senator Dirksen sat in at the joint hearings and expected to be here but word comes in that he is unavoidably detained. Senator Dirksen approves the plan.
Senator Humphrey also sat in the joint hearings, but is unable to be here today. Senator Humphrey will support the President's plan No. 1.
Senator Lester Hunt asked to appear this morning, but is unable to. He wanted to talk about his bill, S. 1215, and its relation to the plan before us. He is not opposing the President's plan.
The subcommittee, having received testimony in support of the joint resolution, at the joint hearings with the House Committee on Government Operations, will now proceed to hear those opposing the joint resolution.
Our first witness will be Congressman Charles E. Bennett of Florida.
Congressman, we are very pleased to welcome you over here this morning
STATEMENT OF HON. CHARLES E. BENNETT, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF FLORIDA
Mr. BENNETT. I certainly deeply appreciate the courtesy of the chairman and members of the subcommittee in allowing me to appear on this resolution.
I oppose the resolution which is now before the committee. First of all, I maintain that this proposed so-called reorganization plan will cost more to the taxpayers in additional wages, specifically and impliedly involved in the plan, than any savings that could possibly be achieved.
Second, the plan is not in accord with the Hoover Commission reports, and as a matter of fact, is in direct conflict with those reports. Third, the method of handling this procedure, has been, in my opinion, very highhanded, and not democratic. · Fourth, I believe that it would be better to reorganize the sepa-rate units which are proposed to be brought together in a heterogeneous so-called department than it would be to attempt to bring about a reorganization by a plan which, on its face, is not a reorganization plan at all, or by any other plan which would establish a new Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.
Fifth, it is my belief that this bill has more socialistic potentialities than any of the bills passed during the administrations of Roosevelt and Truman, and than the total of all legislation passed in the 2 'administrations involved in the last 20 years.
This legislation will create additional costs in administrative expenses, even if the Department gets no new powers.
Specifically, new salaries are involved in this legislation. The Secretary is raised from $17,500 to $22,500, making an increase of $5,000. The Under Secretary is to receive a raise from $15,000 to $17,500, which makes a raise there of $2,500; the Assistant in Medical Affairs is to get $15,000, a new position.
There are two assistants to the Secretary, which are positions not now occupied, but they are potentially there at $10,000 apiece, and they will get $15,000 a piece under this legislation, making $10,000 in total for those 2 new Secretaries, if you deduct what could be paid officials who are not now serving.
Looking at it most favorably, there is a raise of $32,500 in high-level administrative positions.
Now, we do not have to guess about Government reorganization; we have an excellent example of what happened in the armed services.
We brought about so-called unification. Maybe it had some advantages from the standpoint of administration. I am very doubtful now that it does, because the very things we hoped to achieve, such as bringing together unified medical services and things of that kind, and unification of procurement, have not been achieved, and actually, instead of bringing about fewer offices, we have created a higher echelon and established an entirely new Department of the Air Force.
As to the legislation now before us, I again mention the $32,500 additional in high-level staff. Certainly each one of those individuals will bring with him a hierarchy under him of many people who must be hired we all know that.
In addition to that, there is a specific provision in the bill which provides for a general setting-up of some central sort of thing, a library, legal counsel and procurement, and things of that kind. I would like to have you bear in mind that it does not say in the legislation that we shall have a combination of existing facilities of that kind or any reorganization.
Nothing is said about combining; nothing is said about reorganization. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is abolished by this so-called reorganization. There is no reorganization; there is no abolition. It is entirely a question of putting a superstructure on the top.
There has been a lot said in the public press and elsewhere about Herbert Hoover's telegram on this proposal. He is a fine Christian gentleman, and I admire him, just as I do our present President of the United States.
But Mr. Hoover could not say that this legislation was the result of the actions of the Hoover Commission. He could not because it would not be true. The Hoover Commission has never approved of the legislation which is before us. This proposal is in conflict with the findings of the Hoover Commission. It is in conflict in a number of important details.
One is with regard to the health aspect of this legislation. It has been repeatedly found by the Hoover Commission that if there was anything certain, it was that there should not be a combination of the health activities under legislation of this type. That has been said repeatedly time and time again, and nobody has denied it.
Another thing that is important is the question of autonomous power in each bureau. The Hoover Commission report specifically and positively in every piece of legislation that it urged with regard to any Department in the United States Government specifically said there should be power running from the very top to the very bottom, and that should be continuous. Autonomous organizations within a Department were frowned upon. Yet this sets up a heterogeneous combination under the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, in direct conflict with one of the most basic recommendations of the Hoover report.
This legislation, this so-called reorganization plan, fails to give to an administrative assistant the power to take on administrative activity, and so we have the Under Secretary laboring under all this administrative activity.
Now, it was the finding the Hoover Commission report that the Under Secretary, if there was such a Department established, should have the responsibility to be second in command and take over when the Secretary himself was not there, and it was specifically denied that it would be a good thing for him to handle the administrative activity of this Department, and so we have the situation of again flying directly in the teeth of the Hoover Commission report an a matter of great moment to any such legislation as this.
I think the handling of this legislation represents the lowest level that I have ever observed personally in Government since I have been here, and the lowest that I have been able to observe in my reading of history, in the history of our country.
I think it is a strictly highhanded totalitarian matter, and when I speak about that I would like to say that there are more fears in this world than just the totalitarianism of the left.
I fear the left more because it has a foreign nation which is attempt ing to overthrow our Government and, therefore, it is a more dangerous thing; but there is also a danger of totalitarianism of the right.
Three aspects of Hitlerism or nazism were the combination of militarism, taking it away from the civilian authorities, socialism, appealing to masses of people in a way which led them to think that the government could do more for them than they could for themselves, and the combination of all this with big business. We must protect ourselves against any such pattern in America. This piece of legislation has definite socialistic implications and is making the progress it is making today partly because people have been lulled into a sense of security by the American Medical Association.
After vigorously opposing this legislation for years, now at the 11th hour they have pulled out after they were given assurance of the establishment of a special assistant to their liking.
Let us look at it exactly as it actually took place. First of all, this plan, in essence, has been rejected twice. It has been rejected in the Senate and in the House. Plan No. 1 of 1949 was rejected in this Senate. No. 27 of 1950 was rejected in the House. Then there were full hearings, a full exposé of the facts.
Under those circumstances, what is the responsibility of the Congress of the United States in presenting a bill like this to the public? Is it its responsibility to nullify a piece of legislation which was only passed a few weeks ago to set up the procedure under which reorganization should take place? Is that its responsibility, to hasten the thing through?
On March 12 (shortly after we had passed a reorganization bill, which set up a 60-day procedure under which reorganization is to take place on a motion to disapprove) this bill was suggested by the President.
On March 12, Thursday, mind you, when the Thursday-to-Tuesday Club had already gotten under way, and many Members of Congress were already in either Pennsylvania or New York or wherever they might be this matter was submitted.
What else happened on March 12! That same day, Mr. Hoffman, who was chairman of that committee, and who led the fight against the 1950 bill introduced House Joint Resolution 223. What did it provide? It provided that this matter should be hastened through in 10 days, not 60 days.
Then, what happened on March 14, just 2 days later? Two days later, President Eisenhower, in an historic meeting, went personally before the American Medical Association, and presented this plan.
The House debate reveals that the job qualifications of this job were not first submitted to Congress, but were furnished first to officials of the American Medical Association.
I do not think our country has had a finer man than this President in the White House; he is a fine Christian gentleman of the highest ideals, but I think that he is somewhat lacking in a knowledge of just how undemocratic the procedures have actually been in the handling of this proposal.
Our system cannot work unless we have sincerity, unless we have conviction, and unless we have people who will take their stand, regardless of political discipline and regardless of their political futures.
We have here a charming, sweet, wonderful lady, Mrs. Hobby, who has demonstrated her great ability, and I have no objection to her being a Cabinet member. She comes from the wonderful State of Texas, one of the greatest States in the union. She comes from a State which changed from the Democratic fold to the Republican fold. There are great obligations involved there, I realize that, and I realize we have a great President, a wonderful Christian gentleman, and all that, but the doors we are opening by this bill are so much more important to the security and to the safety of our country in the future that I just cannot fail to make the remarks that I have made so far on this.
Senator KENNEDY. Excuse me, Mrs. Smith; I was wondering if Mr. Bennett could yield for just a moment for Senator Smathers to make a statement?
Senator SMITH. Senator Smathers?
STATEMENT OF HON. GEORGE A. SMATHERS, A UNITED STATES
SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF FLORIDA
Senator SMATHERS. I hate to do this, but I am making a quorum for another committee.
Senator SMITH. The committee is very glad to have you.
Senator SMATHERS. I refer to the Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee. I just wondered if I could very briefly say that I wished to associate myself with the remarks made by my able colleague from Florida, and then ask permission to insert a statement, which is prepared, in the record, after he has finished with his full statement, and I would like to have my statement appear at the conclusion of his remarks.
May I say that I am opposed to this proposed reorganization plan; I opposed it in 1950, because I did not think it was necessary, I did not think it would result in any great benefits to the people who were concerned in it.
I feel exactly the same way about it now, even though it is a different person who is to go in there and head up the job.
Obviously, it would cost more money, and I think that money could be better spent in giving more assistance and more help to the old people and to the children, rather than use it all up in administrative costs. My statement develops this point more fully.
I would also like to put in the record right here a telegram which I received from Mrs. C. Durwood Johnson, who is president of the Florida Congress of Parents and Teachers. She does not say they are opposed to this reorganization plan nor does she say she is for it. She merely wants the committee to take care of the United States Children's Bureau. She said she is worried about it being lost in the shuffle, and they would like for the committee to direct its attention to see that the United States Children's Bureau is not injured.
Thank you, Madam Chairman.
Senator Smith. Without objection, Senator Smathers' prepared statement, and the telegram, will be included in the record following Congressman Bennett's testimony. Thank you very much, Senator Smathers. We are glad to have you
. come in.
Senator SMATHERS. Thank you.
Senator SMITH. Thank you, Congressman Bennett, for giving Senator Smathers some time.
FURTHER STATEMENT OF HON. CHARLES E. BENNETT, A REPRE
SENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF FLORIDA
Mr. BENNETT. I am coming to the fourth point now—Thank you, Madam Chairman.
I believe it would be better to reorganize the separate units which are proposed to be joined in this heterogeneous organization called the