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AMENDMENTS OF NATIONAL BANKING ACT
Sec. 502. (a) The last sentence of paragraph Seventh of section 5136 of the Revised Statutes, as amended, is amended by inserting before the colon, after the words "obligations of national mortgage associations", a comma and the following: "or such obligations of any local public agency (as defined in section 110 (h) of the Housing Act of 1949) as are secured by an agreement between the local public agency and the Housing and Home Finance Administrator in which the local public agency agrees to borrow from said Administrator, and said Administrator agrees to lend to said local public agency, prior to the maturity of such obligations (which obligations shall have a maturity of not more than 18 months), monies in an amount which (together with any other monies irrevocably committed to the payment of interest on such obligations) will suffice to pay the principal of such obligations with interest to maturity thereon, which monies under the terms of said agreement are required to be used for the purpose of paying the principal of and the interest on such obligations at their maturity, or such obligations of a public housing agency (as defined in the United States Housing Act of 1937, as amended) as are secured either (1) by an agreement between the public housing agency and the Public Housing Administration in which the public housing agency agrees to borrow from the Public Housing Administration, and the Public Housing Administration agrees to lend to the public housing agency, prior to the maturity of such obligations (which obligations shall have a maturity of not more than eighteen months), moneys in an amount which (together with any other moneys irrevocably committed to the payment of interest on such obligations) will suffice to pay the principal of such obligations with interest to maturity thereon, which moneys under the terms of said agreement are required to be used for the purpose of paying the principal of and the interest on such obligations at their maturity, or (2) by a pledge of annual contributions under an annual contributions contract between such public housing agency and the Public Housing Administration if such contract shall contain the covenant by the Public Housing Administration which is authorized by subsection (b) of section 22 of the United States Housing Act of 1937, as amended, and if the maximum sum and the maximum period specified in such contract pursuant to said subsection 22 (b) shall not be less than the annual amount and the period for payment which are requisite to provide for the payment when due of all installments of principal and interest on such obligations."
(b) Section 5200 of the Revised Statutes, as amended, is amended by adding at the end thereof the following:
“(11) Obligations of a local public agency (as defined in section 110 (h) of the Housing Act of 1949) or of a public housing agency (as defined in the United States Housing Act of 1937, as amended) which have a maturity of not more than eighteen months shall not be subject under this section to any limitation, if such obligations are secured by an agreement between the obligor agency and the Housing and Home Finance Administrator or the Public Housing Administration in which the agency agrees to borrow from the Administrator or Administration, and the Administrator or Admin. istration agrees to lend to the agency, prior to the maturity of such obligations, moneys in an amount which (together with any other moneys irrevocably committed to the payment of interest on such obligations) will suffice to pay the principal of such obligations with interest to maturity, which moneys under the terms of said agreement are required to be used for that purpose.”
NATIONAL HOUSING COUNCIL
Sec. 503. The Secretary of Labor or his designee, and the Federal Security Administrator or his designee, shall hereafter be included in the membership of the National Housing Council in the Housing and Home Finance Agency.
AMENDMENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT CORPORATIONS APPROPRIATION ACT, 1948, AND THE
GOVERNMENT CORPORATIONS ACT, 1949
Sec. 504. (a) The second proviso in the paragraph under the heading "Federal Public Housing Authority” in title I of the Government Corporations Appropriation Act, 1948, is hereby repealed as of July 1, 1947.
(b) The second proviso in the paragraph under the heading “Public Housing Administration" in title I of the Government Corporations Appropriation Act, 1949, is hereby repealed as of July 1, 1948.
(c) The first proviso in the paragraph under the subheading “Public Housing Administration" in title II of the Government Corporations Appropriation Act, 1949, is hereby repealed
DEPUTY HOUSING AND HOME FINANCE ADMINISTRATOR
Sec. 505. The Housing and Home Finance Administrator shall appoint a Deputy Housing and Home Finance Administrator, and the basic rate of compensation of such position shall be the same as the basic rate of compensation established for the heads of the constituent agencies of the Housing and Home Finance Agency. The Deputy Administrator shall act as Administrator during the absence or disability of the Administrator or in the event of a vacancy in that office, and shall perform such other duties as the Administrator shall direct.
CONVERSION OF STATE LOW-RENT OR VETERANS' HOUSING PROJECTS SEC. 506. Any low-rent or veterans' housing project undertaken or constructed under a program of a State or any political subdivision thereof shall be approved as a low-rent housing project under the terms of the United States Housing Act of 1937, as amended, if (a) a contract for State financial assistance for such project was entered into on or after January 1, 1948, and prior to January 1, 1950, (b) the project is or can become eligible for assistance by the Public Housing Administration in the form of loans and annual contributions under the provisions of the United States Housing Act of 1937, as amended, and (c) the State or the public housing agency operating the project in the State makes application to the Public Housing Administration for Federal assistance for the project under the terms of the United States Housing Act of 1937, as amended : Provided, That loans made by the Public Housing Administration for the purpose of so converting the project to a project with Federal assistance shall be deemed, for the purposes of the provisions of section 9 and other sections of the United States Housing Act of 1937, to be loans to assist the development of the project. Section 503 of the Housing Act of 1948 is hereby repealed.
CENSUS OF HOUSING
SEC. 507. (a) The Director of the Census is authorized and directed to take a census of housing in each State, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Alaska, in the year 1950 and decennially thereafter in conjunction with, at the same time, and as a part of the population inquiry of the decennial census in order to provide information concerning the number, characteristics (including utilities and equipment), and geographical distribution of dwelling units in the United States. The Director of the Census is authorized to collect such supplementary statistics (either in advance of or after the taking of such census) as are necessary to the completion thereof.
(b) All of the provisions, including penalties, of the act providing for the fifteenth and subsequent decennial censuses, approved June 18, 1929, as amended (U. S. C., title 13, ch. 4), shall apply to the taking of the census provided for in subsection (a) of this section.
ACT CONTROLLING SEC. 508. Insofar as the provisions of any other law are inconsistent with the provisions of this Act, the provisions of this Act shall be controlling.
Sec. 509. Except as may be otherwise expressly provided in this Act, all powers and authorities conferred by this Act shall be cumulative and additional to and not in derogation of any powers and authorities otherwise existing. Notwithstanding any other evidences of the intention of Congress, it is hereby declared to be the controlling intent of Congress that if any provisions of this Act, or the application thereof to any persons or circumstances, shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall not affect, impair, or invalidate the remainder of this Act or its applications to other persons and circumstances, but shall be confined in its operation to the provisions of this Act or the application thereof to the persons and circumstances directly involved in the controversy in which such judgment shall have been rendered.
The CHAIRMAN. Our first witness will be Mr. Raymond M. Foley, Housing and Home Finance Administrator.
You may proceed, Mr. Foley. STATEMENT OF RAYMOND M. FOLEY, HOUSING AND HOME FINANCE
ADMINISTRATOR, ACCOMPANIED BY JOHN TAYLOR EGAN, PUBLIC HOUSING COMMISSIONER
Mr. FOLEY. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I am pleased to have the opportunity to appear before your committee in support of H. R. 4009, the housing bill which was introduced by your distinguished chairman. I have already filed with your committee a detailed statement in support of the pending bill (see p. 37). Accordingly, I have sought to confine my remarks today to a summary statement.
At the outset I should like to make certain general observations.
First. This is an imperatively necessary bill, because, without it, we do not have at hand the means for meeting effectively urgent needs in several of the most persistently difficult problem areas in the whole field of housing
Second. It is a fair bill—fair because it recognizes the appropriate interests of private enterprise, local communities, and others who have a real interest in the provision of adequate housing for the American people.
Third. It is a sound bill because it includes legislation which has stood the test of thorough public discussion and debate and has won ever-increasing support. Too frequently the real issues with respect to legislation of this character are confused by appending it to the obnoxious term of "socialistic." I think this is unfortunate and unwarranted. Nevertheless, this is the charge that is made and, therefore, we must deal with it.
In my judgment, the truth of the matter is that this legislation would provide a most effective bulwark against the inroads of socialism or communism. To me, the basic strength of our system of government lies in its ability to serve, more effectively than any other system, the basic needs of the great majority of the people. "If it does not serve those needs, there are created the very conditions under which socialistic or communistic systems of government may falsely appear to be acceptable.
I believe that the enactment of the pending bill, with the housing legislation already enacted, would provide the firm foundation which would make it possible to start forward now with the kind of a comprehensive housing program which has long been needed and which all citizens may view with justified hope.
Before proceeding to a review of the principal provisions of the pending bill, I should like to call your committee's attention to the fact that the statement which I have filed includes a discussion of the underlying housing needs which call for comprehensive housing legislation. The conclusions on this subject will be found to be in general agreement with the findings of the several committees of Congress which have investigated the housing problem over the past several years.
DECLARATION OF NATIONAL HOUSING POLICY
The pending bill gives recognition to one of the basic gaps in the present fabric of legislation dealing with housing. This is the absence of any firm definition by the Congress of the broad lines of our national housing policy and our national housing objectives.
Since 1932, when the statute establishing the Federal Home Loan Bank System was enacted, the Congress has enacted a great many measures dealing with various aspects of the housing problem. Included among this substantial body of legislation have been laws of far-reaching importance and impact in the fields of private residential construction and finance and of Federal assistance for low-rent public housing. But at no time has the Congress specifically defined the common objectives of these various programs or the integrated policy which should control their operations and their relationship one to the other
The absence of such a clearly defined statement has been increasingly recognized as a handicap to the Congress, to the executive branch, and to industry, labor, and local communities in the conduct of their various housing activities and in appraising the adequacy and progress of those activities.
I recall the emphasis placed by Congressman Gamble, as chairman of the Joint Committee on Housing in 1947 and 1948, on the importance of a statement of national housing policy. The establishment of such a policy by the Congress was strongly recommended by that special committee after its intensive investigation of housing conditions.
The policy declaration contained in section 2 of the pending bill is in accord with that recommendation and with the findings of other congressional investigations and studies. To my mind, it defines a policy and an objective which are thoroughly consistent with American ideals and with the framework of American enterprise and Government. The pending bill establishes as a goal the achievement as soon as feasible of a decent home and a suitable living environment for every American family. Certainly that goal is in complete harmony with American standards of life and American aspirations.
The pending bill recognizes the necessity for developing and maintaining sufficient housing production to attain that goal and to make a continuing contribution to a prosperous national economy. It recog. nizes that most of this job should be done by private enterprise and that the Federal Government should extend every feasible aid to private enterprise to serve more of the total need. It recognizes the responsibility of communities for determining their own housing needs and for encouraging the production of lower cost housing of good quality. Finally, it recognizes the responsibility of the Federal Government for assisting local programs for slum clearance and for the provision of decent housing for families of low income to the extent that these needs cannot be met through reliance upon private enterprise.
A most important provision of the policy declaration relates to the effective and coordinated administration of all Federal housing programs. The pending bill thus directs that all housing functions of the Federal Govern'nent shall be administered consistently with the principles established in the policy declaration. Furthermore, it directs that they be administered so as to encourage and assist (1) the production of housing of sound standards of design, construction, livability, and adequate size for family life; (2) the reduction of the costs of housing without sacrifice of such sound standards; (3) the use of new designs, materials, techniques, and methods in residential construction, the use of standardized dimensions and methods of assembly of home-building materials and equipment, and the increase of efficiency in residential construction and maintenance; (4) the development of well-planned, integrated, residential neighborhoods, and the development and redevelopment of communities; and (5) the stabilization of the housing industry at a high annual volume of residential construction. Certainly these represent extremely desirable and helpful guide liens for the administration of all governmental housing functions and activities.
TITLE I-SLUM CLEARANCE AND COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT
The existence of slums and blighted areas is a matter of comnion knowledge. They have become an increasingly serious problem for our smaller cities and towns, as well as our larger metropolitan areas. They are perhaps the most obvious and familiar evidence that a substantial portion of our housing supply is wholly unsatisfactory. More effectively, perhaps, than cold statistics, they offer convincing proof that-judged by even the barest of minimum standards—a very large number of American families are inadequately housed. Their deleterious effects upon the lives of our citizens—present and futurewho are forced to live in them is certainly a matter of appropriate national concern. Their continued existence eloquently attests the necessity for effective action if they are ever to be eliminated.
Certainly this presents an anomalous situation. In spite of appárently unanimous agreement that the slums must be eliminated, no effective action has been taken to accomplish that necessary objective.
Just by way of perspective, I should like to observe that public concern about the probîem of the slums is not entirely of relatively recent origin. More than 50 years ago—in 1892—the Fifty-second Congress directed the Commissioner of Labor to make an investigation of the slums of cities and appropriated $20,000 for the expenses of that investigation (Public Res. No. 22, 52d Cong., approved July 20, 1892).
Since that time, we have had a number of other investigations of this problem. The most recent were the very extensive hearings, studies, and investigations undertaken in 1947 and 1948 by the Joint Committee on Housing, established by the Eightieth Congress. As you know, this investigation culminated in the final report of that committee recommending, among other things, that provision be made for a program of Federal aid to local communities, along the lines contained in title I of the pending bill, to enable them to undertake the clearance of their slums and blighted areas. So far as I know, each successive investigation of this problem has confirmed the necessity for action to make Federal assistance available if the slums and blighted areas are to be eliminated. That necessary action has not yet been taken, and the slums still exist. In my judgment, the enactment of title I of the pending bill will make it possible for local communities to take effective action to eliminate slums and blighted areas.