« PreviousContinue »
Now, I have had a great many people come and talk to me about this bill who have seen what the royal commissions have done in England, and they think that this bill reminds them of that. Well under the royal commission system in England, the Prime Minister appoints a commission of Jistinguished citizens on any one of these big, difficult problems. Then, they take a year or a year and a half and come in with their report. The caliber of the commission is so distinguished that they command public acceptance, and the House of Commons and the public and the press usually accept their findings.
And so, some people have made the point to me that the thing to do is to have a commission without Members of Congress. I am very much opposed to that. I think we must have Members of Congress on this commission in order that they will be constantly informed of what is happening and in order that they can influence the proceedings, ask the questions that they want to have asked, and discharge their full responsibility:
Senator FERGUSON. May I just inquire how they appoint the commission?
Senator LODGE. In England?
Senator LODGE. The Prime Minister appoints them. I mean the King appoints them, but on nomination by the Prime Minister.
The CHAIRMAN. Are they appointed for a definite length of time with instructions to report on or before a certain date?
Senator LODGE. Yes; that is it.
Senator LODGE. No, no. They will take a problem, like universal military training or reorganization of the government or finance or something, some problem that bothers everybody and that the legislators do not have the time to go into in depth, and then bring in a report.
Senator FERGUSON. They are not necessarily ministers being Members of the House of Commons?
Senator LODGE. They are not Members; they are definitely not Members. They are private citizens who are selected for their qualifications.
The CHAIRMAN. Are they empire-wide?
Senator LODGE. Sometimes. They are when it comes to a national defense question, but I think on a
The CHAIRMAN (interposing). They had such a commission meeting in Canada some 10 or 15 years ago on a revision of the monetary system, did they not?
Senator LODGE. Yes; they did.
The CHAIRMAN. And, they had a Dominion Trade Conference. I am not sure that that would be analagous to this sitaution.
Senator LODGE. The advantage of that is that it gives an authoritative, profound and conclusive analysis of problems that are baffling the country and that are baffling the government. And, that is what this commission attempts to do.
Just let me say this, that while it is customary for the author of a bill to get appointed to the position that the bill creates, I do not want to be appointed to anything on this Commission should this bill be
favorably reported. I want to state on the record that I think the members, the congressional members, should be members of this committee because they will be the ones who will take those findings and translate them into action once the findings are made.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator McCarthy.
Senator McCARTHY. Senator, will you also go into the question raised by Senator Thye? That is the wisdom of perhaps having one director who would be head of this investigation rather than a 12-man board.
Senator LODGE. Well, of course, this Commission is not going to be a perpetual thing. The theory of this Commission is that for the first time in 16 years we have this opportunity. It is a very timely moment to undertake this study; that the war is over, or the fighting is stopped-I will put it that way; and that we are in a state at the present time which makes this a very psychological moment to do this. And, once this Commission has reported in January 1949, then it will cease to exist.
It is my hope that they will report that we should have a system such as you propose with a secretariat here and a director of it who will really definitize and bring into sharp focus the control by Congress of expenditures to a sharper degree than it has ever been before. It is my hope they will make that recommendation.
Senator BRICKER. Permanent?
Senator BRICKER. That would be permanent? A continuing body?
Senator LODGE. Yes; I think under this committee.
Senator McCARTHY. I am curious to know where you arrived at the figure of 12. Do you think a group that large will operate as efficiently as a smaller group?
Senator LODGE. Let me say that if the committee in its wisdom decides to make it smaller I shall certainly accept their decision with gratification, because I have no pride of authorship. What I am interested in is to see this thing done. But, I will tell you why
Senator McCARTHY (interposing). I know you have some good reason for saying 12, and presently I do not know why. I am curious to know why you set the figure at 12.
Senator LODGE. I can tell you why, and it may be that I am wrong. There is one thing that occurred to me that I want to tell you about in a moment. This, of course, is an entirely nonpartisan proposition. The fact, as you see in the Budget Bureau's letter, that the President has indicated his willingness to cooperate in the event this bill is enacted is further proof of the fact there is no partisanship in this thing at all.
We wanted, of course, to have four from the Congress. That takes care of four right there. And then, it seemed that to establish the nonpartisanship and representative character of the undertaking it would be well to have the noncongressional members chosen by the Speaker and the President pro tempore as well as by the President, and that is what brought the size of the Commission up.
You might say we will have four appointed by the President and four Members of the Congress. An argument could be made for that. But, that is a matter of judgment.
There is this thought though that occurs to me, Mr. Chairman, and that is on page 3, line 17, where the bill says that seven members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum. I believe that when any decisions are to be made or any voting is to be done that of course there should be a majority present. But, I would hope that it would be possible to make some alteration of that section, section 5, because otherwise I am afraid that when Congress is in session and the congressional Members are busy up here, it might impose a tremendous drag on the noncongressional members who are the ones that are going to carry the routine burden of this work.
So, I submit that thought to the consideration of the committee in the hopes that maybe they will see fit to make some alteration in section 5 so that it will only apply to sessions of the Commission in which there is going to be voting done or decisions taken.
The CHAIRMAN. That would be the same as the provisions of the Reorganization Act as relates to action by a committee of the Congress—that a majority of the committee is required to be present and voting whenever a bill or resolution is voted out of the committee.
Senator LODGE. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. But otherwise the committee can fix its own quorum, but it shall be at least one-third of the membership, which means five.
Senator LODGE. That would require amendment of this bill. That is exactly the thought I have in mind.
The CHAIRMAN. You would have this section 5 rewritten so as to conform to the requirements that are placed upon a committee of Congress?
Senator LODGE. That is my thought.
Senator O'CONOR. I am just wondering whether in one or two respects you would consider any modification of this proposal.
First of all, may I say I am wholeheartedly in accord with the purpose of it, and I think there is a crying need for just this sort of action, and I think you should be commended for initiating it. But, I wonder if you had given any thought to insuring the continuity of it?' I understand you are primarily interested in setting up the mechanism by which the study is to be made.
I wonder whether it occurred to you or has anybody suggested the possibility of insuring the continuity so it would not just be a report, then possibly stop there, but, because of the great importance of it, whether there could not be something tying it in with a committee such as this so that there would be definite assurance that the studies would carry on and would continue or that they would be put into fulfillment?
What I have in mind is this. We in a small way in Maryland attempted something like that. We had a committee composed of Dean Acheson. The president of Johns Hopkins University was the chairman. In passing the law we made it mandatory there would be continuity.
Senator LODGE. Yes; I think that is a very important point, and my thought on that was that through this secretariat under this committee the work could be continued.
Now, I do not think you could expect men of the caliber that we would have on this commission, like, let us say, former Senator La Follette, whom I mention just as an illustration, or Secretary Forrestal, or Justice Roberts, or whoever it might be. I do not think you could expect them to make a life work of staying on a commission like this, but I do think that your thought should be carried out insofar as maintaining the control and study by the Congressional committees is concerned.
Another reason why I think this is the best way to do it is that if you just had a congressional committee doing it, you know what would happen. The members would be busy. They would have their other committees, and their work on the floor, so they would leave a lot of it to the staff. No matter how able your staff is, and I know you have an able staff on this committee, they cannot get the contact and get the confidence of the head men in the departments in the way a man like Justice Roberts or Secretary Forrestal can. They cannot get on a confidential basis with the people that they need to get on a confidential basis with.
That is another reason why I think it would serve the purpose of this committee better to have a commission like this undertake this deep study, and then have this committee take the lead to carry out their findings.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Lodge, in section 9 I noticed you state that 90 days after submission to Congress of the report provided by section 10 (b) the commission shall cease to exist. Does the wording of that section contemplate that action would be taken by the Congress within 90 days after the report was made, or what was the reason for continuing the commission for 90 days?
Senator LODGE. Well, I just thought that they might be available for questioning
The CHAIRMAN. That is as the chair interpreted that, but that was evidently written with the expectation that at least the proper committee of the Congress would hold hearings within 90 days after the report was submitted.
Senator LODGE. I do not think I understand your point, Senator.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, you say that you expect the members of the commission would be available for questioning or for giving advice for 90 days after the report is submitted and for making studies. That would evidently anticipate that some committee of the Congress, presumably this one, would hold hearings on the report of the commission within that 90-day period.
Senator LODGE. Yes, it does. It does assume that. I thought that by that time, of course, this commission would have quite a high-powered staff of its own, and I thought it might serve your purposes here better not to have them scattered to the four winds right away.
The CHAIRMAN. Oh, that is for the purpose of holding the staff together as an entity?
Senator LODGE. Yes; and also
The CHAIRMAN (interposing). Until the Congress could decide what it wanted to do with them, if anything?
Senator LODGE. That is right; and, you might want to take some of them on here. That is the purpose of that.
It is my belief, for instance, that this commission might want to retain these industrial-management experts to go through some of these departments. I think this thing has tremendous ramifications.
Senator ROBERTSON. On that point, Senator, would you agree with me that regardless of how able the commission may be and how farsighted they may be that they could not get to first base in recommending economies to us without first finding out what each agency was doing and how much it was spending to do it?
Senator LODGE. Absolutely. That is basic.
Senator ROBERTSON. We tackled it that way in Virginia when Byrd was governor in 1926. He appointed one of the finest commissions we had in Virginia—the ablest men in the State. But, we went to New York City and employed a firm that had specialized in government management to study the expenditures and to see what the departments were doing and what it was costing and how they could be consolidated to get more service for less money.
I think we paid that commission $50,000; I am not positive. I was a member of Governor Byrd's staff and very much interested not on the commission though. I think they paid them $50,000 to investigate expenditures of about $50,000,000.
Now, on the basis of money, if we had an agency to investigate $30,000,000,000 it would cost 600 times as much as we spent in Virginia, or $30,000,000. Of course, that would be out of the question.
But recently, the chairman of this committee and the Senator from North Carolina and I sat in on a conference with the Comptroller General to discuss his responsibility under sections 6 and 7 of the Reorganization Act, to study the question of efficiency and economy. And, it is my recollection that he told us in effect there that he had a staff that would be hopelessly inadequate to do the job that was expected of him. He could make some spot checks, but it would probably take 1,500 auditors at possibly $5,000 a year to find out where all the money was being spent and what it was being spent for. That alone would cost 7% million dollars.
I voted, as I recall, for three definite reorganization bills since I have been a Member of Congress. We voted in the first administration, I think, of President Franklin D. Roosevelt to give him the power to reorganize. Well, then we gave him a second reorganization bill, and we had a great fight over that. Some people thought the Forest Service might be transferred to the Interior; and it reserved the right that he would submit it in so many days and we could vote on it, and all that. The fears were all ungrounded because so far as I know there was not much done.
Then, we passed another reorganization bill, and again, like the Director of the Budget has told you, not a great deal came out of it.
I am satisfied all of us want to see economy. All of us know that there is reorganization to be done. But, looking back on the past experiences of it, we know that with the plans we tried in the past, even with the fine report of the Brookings Institution, which was a technical organization, which we did not have to pay for because it is a foundation, we got a lot of information but in some way nothing came out.
We never went to the real heart of the problem. We never could get a comprehensive and over-all picture of any operation as big as a $30,000,000,000 enterprise. And, I am just wondering whether we