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budget document and materials, budget execution and reporting, legislative reference matters, general administrative structure, and the Bureau's operating or housekeeping functions.
6. Such an overhauling of the Bureau's present organization contemplates the elimination of the Field Service and the transfer of the Statistical Standards Division to another point in the general structure of the President's staff agencies. It assumes that much of the technical and routine work of budgeting, particularly in shaping the estimates, can be pushed back to the budget staffs of the operating agencies. If this overhauling is carried out, it should ultimately mean a considerable reduction in the Bureau's present staff and a greatly improved budgetary process.
II. Relation of Budgeting to the Other Fiscal Processes of the
Government A. FINDINGS
1. The original location of the Budget Bureau in the machinery of the Federal Government was a matter of congressional compromise.
2. The Bureau was regarded more or less as a rival agency while it was located in the Treasury Department, and the opportunity was passed up to make it an integral part of the Treasury organization.
3. When the Bureau was transferred to the President's office in 1939, it still experienced handicaps but of a different sort. However, it was able to expand rapidly into the Government's largest staff agency.
4. Departmental budgeting is generally handicapped by weak budget offices: Only a few of these offices are properly and ably staffed.
5. A different type of budget presentation would go a long way toward meeting congressional criticisms of the Budget Bureau.
1. The Budget Bureau, being essentially of a fiscal character, should be closely related to the major financial processes of the Government, when these processes have been properly integrated in a stripped down and thoroughly reorganized Treasury Department.
2. The departmental and agency budget offices should be strengthened by loaning or transferring to them members of the Budget Bureau's staff. This would be made possible by pushing back to the departmental level much of the detailed estimates work now consuming the time of the Bureau's staff.
3. There should be an accountable officer designated for each department or agency, who would be responsible for the financial operations involved in both budgeting and accounting.
4. A program or performance budget would answer many of the questions now raised about expenditure requirements by Congressmen, which frequently are so unsatisfactorily handled as to end in criticisms of the Budget Bureau.
5. The budget should not be a one-sided plan, with emphasis chiefly on expenditure requirements, but it should give equal weight to revenues and revenue proposals. The preparation of revenue estimates should be given directly to the Budget Bureau.
III. Congressional Aids in Reviewing the Budget and Authorizing
1. The Appropriations, Finance, and Ways and Means Committees of Congress flounder around for weeks in the maze of printed budget figures which are submitted by the President and the administrative agencies.
2. There is a standoffishness between the President and Congress, even when the President's party controls Congress, which is not helpful in budgeting. Better and more informal cooperation is needed.
3. The submission of the President's budget to Congress is poorly timed at present. Under the twentieth amendment, a new President does not have the opportunity to prepare his first budget. Because expenditure and revenue estimates must now be prepared from 6 months to a year before the opening of the fiscal period to which they apply, they are not nearly as accurate as they would be if they were prepared nearer the beginning of the period.
4. The budget document has been referred to by a former Budget Director as “an unintelligible maze of figures to the average citizen.” Congressmen also get lost in the present ponderous budget document, just as citizens and newspaper reporters do.
5. The existing appropriation structure underlying the budget has evolved over a great many years. It is exceedingly complicated and follows no logical pattern.
6. Congress tends to confuse both itself and the President, not to mention the public, by enacting each year as many as 12 regular appropriation bills.
1. For the easy interchange of budget information and plans between the Executive and Congress, the President should invite the key members of the financial committees to informal discussions of the budget. The Budget Director and top staff members should appear before the appropriations, finance, and ways and means com
mittees to explain the revenue and expenditure requirements of the budget.
2. The budget should be submitted to Congress on April 1 or thereabouts, the detailed expenditure estimates having already been sent to the appropriations committees. By adopting a program or performance budget, this date is entirely feasible without hampering in the least the work of the committees on appropriations.
3. A program or performance budget should be substituted for the present budget, thus presenting in a document of much briefer compass the Government's expenditure requirements in terms of services, activities, and work projects rather than in terms of the things bought. Such a budget would not detract from congressional responsibility and should greatly improve and expedite committee consideration.
4. The appropriation structure should be modernized along the general lines of the program or performance budget. Consideration should also be given to reducing the number of regular appropriation bills from a dozen to perhaps one or two.
IV. Establishing Executive Accountability for the Budget as Au
thorized by Congress A. FINDINGS
1. The President is hampered in the execution of the budget by appropriations made directly to the spending agencies, with inadequate means of direction or control.
2. Certain essentials of executive control over the budget have been given to the General Accounting Office, which is completely outside the President's administrative jurisdiction.
3. The present apportionment system is ineffective in stopping, or even severely limiting, deficiencies on the part of the spending agencies.
4. The General Accounting Office has not become, as it should have, a powerful congressional aid in bringing the President and his administration to book for their financial acts and for the proper execution of the budget.
5. Congress has not interested itself as it ought to in enforcing its financial authorizations upon the Executive through an audit of all the accounts and financial records of the administration, followed by a thorough review of the audit findings by one of its committees.
1. The present apportionment system should be thoroughly overhauled and strengthened, and should be geared directly into the administrative and budgetary accounting.
2. The General Accounting Office should concern itself essentially with auditing and investigation, returning its powers over administrative accounting and the settlement and adjustment of claims to the Executive.
3. Congress should have a special committee to receive and review the auditing reports of the General Accounting Office, and thus properly to enforce accountability upon the President for carrying out the budget according to legislative authorizations.
APPRAISAL OF THE ORGANIZATION AND WORKINGS
OF THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET
For the first 18 years of its existence the Bureau of the Budget was housed in the Treasury Department. It had a small staff of about 40 or 50 persons during most of this time. This staff, except perhaps for some estimates groups, was not highly specialized, but generally worked on whatever budget problems seemed most important at the moment. Then in 1939 the Bureau was transferred to the Executive Office of the President upon the recommendation of the President's Committee on Administrative Management. Its quarters were shifted from the Treasury to the old State Department Building on the opposite side of the White House. Immediately the Bureau began to expand its staff, having now become the top managerial agency of the President. Within the next 5 years or so its staff grew to over 600 persons, with a large percentage of these in the top groups of the civil service classification.
The Bureau was now much more than an agency to assist the President in the formulation of his budget and in the review of current expenditures; it also studied the relationship of budget policy to economic trends, analyzed the administrative implications of proposed legislation, controlled the forms and questionnaires used in the compilation of statistical and other data, surveyed administrative organization and practices and made proposals for readjustments looking toward improved management, and supplied general information in the broad field of executive and administrative affairs. The Bureau had five principal divisions dealing with estimates, fiscal and economic matters, legislative reference, administrative management, and statistical standards; in addition, it had a field service operating in the Great Lakes region north of the Ohio River and in the entire continental area of the United States west of the Mississippi River.
Status of the Budget Director
Since the establishment of the Bureau of the Budget 27 years ago, only its first director-General Charles G. Dawes—has enjoyed a status that was perhaps equal to that of the Cabinet officers. He seemed to have been permitted by the President to issue orders respecting the budget to any administrative officer regardless of rank. The six successors of General Dawes have not been so fortunate in the wide scope of their authority, but have found themselves working