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Under a plan of this kind, and as in most of the other executive departments, the Secretary is responsible for continually reviewing his internal organization and administration and otherwise attempting to improve it. It was that point that was stressed so vigorously by the Hoover Commission and as far as we are concerned it is not a situation in which we would anticipate one major and very drastic reorganization of this Department or any other department, but rather a situation in which continuous improvements are under study and are brought about from time to time as the need becomes clear and the opportunity arises.
Mr. RIEHLMAN. Thank you very much.
Mr. FOUNTAIN. I notice in Mr. Dodge's statement he says he thinks Reorganization Plan No. 2 will make possible better administration for the Department of Agriculture. I want to ask you if, in your opinion, the Secretary of Agriculture cannot, under the present laws, the present statutes, conduct himself in such a manner to make possible better administration of the Department of Agriculture, if anything is wrong.
Mr. FINAN. At the present time about one-half of the major constituents of the Department of Agriculture have their functions placed in the Secretary, so that he has authority to carry out reorganization of those parts of the Department on his own responsibility. This plan would create the same situation for about the other one-half of the Department.
Mr. FOUNTAIN. I would like to know what there is about this socalled plan that you think is a plan.
Mr. FINAN. I beg your pardon.
Mr. FOUNTAIN. I would like to know what there is about this socalled Reorganization Plan No. 2 that you think is truly a plan? What is there in the reorganization plan that is a plan?
Mr. Finan. The plan actually, when it takes effect, will transfer a very substantial group of functions in the Department of Agriculture to the Secretary of Agriculture.
Mr. FOUNTAIN. This is right. In other words, the essential thing that this plan does is to take all the functions of all the agencies, all the officers, and all the employees and vests them in one man or in one department head so that none of those agencies as of the effective date of this plan will have any functions until and unless the Secretary redelegates them and he can redelegate them and retransfer them to anybody he sees fit.
Mr. FINAN. Within the department.
Mr. FOUNTAIN. Í want to ask you if there is anything in this plan that would enable you to determine what the Secretary of Agriculture has in mind? After he gets this authority, can you tell me anything in the plan that would enable you or any Member of Congress to determine what he proposes to do?
Mr. Finan. Not as of today or the day the plan takes effect. No, not until he sees fit to announce his intentions and this plan does require him to do just that, providing he has in mind a significant or major reorganization.
Nr. FOUNTAIN. And you think that the plan which is presently submitted is a plan within the spirit and the intent of the Reorganization Act as amended ?
Mr. Finan. I would like to qualify my answer by pointing out that I am a layman and not a lawyer." We rely for our legal advice on the Attorney General and the Department of Justice.
As a layman whose responsibility for these plans runs to their soundness from the point of view of sound management and organization, I haven't the slightest doubt that this plan is fully within the spirit and the letter of the Reorganization Act. I want to make it perfectly clear that is a layman's opinion and not that of an attorney.
Mr. FOUNTAIN. In other words, it is your feeling that when Congress passed the Reorganization Act, Congress did not expect the President to submit to Congress for its approval or disapproval the framework or an outline of what he proposed to do in the Department of Agriculture through his Secretary?
Mr. FINAN. Well, I will have to assume a little more responsibility than perhaps I should in order to answer that question, but the Reorganization Act of 1949 was passed after the strong recommendation of the Hoover Commission. It was the first recommendation of the Hoover Commission, as a matter of fact, and the Hoover Commission's recommendations all run toward exactly the situation that this plan creates in the Department of Agriculture. The act would have expired early this year, as you know. Meanwhile the previous administration had submitted a number of plans that, for all practical purposes, were identical with this plan. There was no move, to my knowledge, on the part of Congress to amend the Reorganization Act of 1949 at the time it was extended in order to prevent, or to give any kind of a thought that would suggest that the Congress was disturbed by this type of reorganization plan.
Mr. FOUNTAIN. You know, of course, that there are some recommendations of the Hoover Commission which are not in any way covered by this proposed plan.
Mr. FINAN. The Hoover Commission made recommendations regarding the internal organization of the Department of Agriculture just as they did for most of the other executive departments, but they also made it perfectly clear that in making those recommendations, they were making recommendations that they hoped would be given consideration and be put into effect by the department heads as distinct from being written into statute.
Mr. FOUNTAIN. But actually none of the detailed recommendations of the Hoover Commission, other than that recommendation that a clear line of authority be established from top to bottom, are included in this plan.
Mr. FINAN. There is one other.
Mr. Finan. That a total of three Assistant Secretaries of Agriculture, plus an Administrative Assistant Secretary, be appointed.
Mr. FOUNTAIN. I think they recommended one Assistant.
Mr. FINAN. That was an error in their original recommendation. They recommended 1 on the assumption that at that time there were 2
in the Department. They later got out a correction sheet and make that point clear.
Mr. Fountain. I don't think any serious question has been raised about the advisability of making these appointments, of giving to the Secretary the additional Assistant Secretaries and the Administrative Assistant, for the reason that the Agriculture Committee has already considered that very carefully and I think they have concluded that in all probability he does need them, or at least he thinks he does need them. That is one of the requests that could be complied with by separate legislation and without this plan.
I want to ask you one further question as a representative of Mr. Dodge; one of the purposes, I understand, of this plan is to simplify procedures and bring about decentralization. I would like to ask you if
you think that the concentration of this authority in the hands of one department head is decentralization?
Mr. FINAN. It puts the Secretary in a position to decentralize.
Mr. Finan. And it puts a statutory mandate on him, in the language of the plan, to organize his department on a decentralized basis.
Mr. FOUNTAIN. That is a question of interpretation as to what you mean by decentralized.
Mr. FINAN. That is correct.
Mr. FOUNTAIN. Would you say that the turning over of the PMA work with the 3,000 Federal employees in these county offices, such as was done by this regrouping, would you say that is decentralization, or would you say it is taking away from the PMA committees some of their authority and putting them in an advisory capacity, rather than permitting them to keep authority on their own?
Mr. Finan. As I understand what the Secretary has done, it is not my impression that he has taken any authority or power away from these committees, but has provided them a full-time executive agent to make it possible to use part-time committees and as he indicated in his testimony this morning, he hopes to be able to get better membership on his committees than he can get in a situation where a farmer has to accept a full-time position with the committee.
Mr. FOUNTAIN. But they will be Federal employees?
Mr. Poage. You expressed the view that you were glad to see reorganization on the basis of the transferring of power from everybody in the Department to the Secretary and that you felt that that was in conformity with the spirit of the reorganization law. Does it occur to you that it was rather strange that the Congress should have passed a law that set out that the President must make findings and must give Congress the basis for the action that he took and submit all those things to the Congress, when it could have just as well passed a law and said every department head should have all the authority vested in his department and every department head could pass that power on to anyone else in his department? That would accomplish everything wouldn't it?
Mr. FINAN. As a matter of fact the Congress, at least in recent years, has fairly consistently followed the policy in enacting basic legislation of placing the functions in the head of the department or the head of the agency concerned, as distinct from its constituents. In the Department of Agriculture today a very substantial part of its functions now runs to the Secretary. There is no need for this type of plan, for example in the Veterans’ Administration, because all the functions are placed on the Administrator.
The State Department had that same arrangement in 1949 or 1950, by law. Now in the last year or so, 2 or 3 individual statutes have been enacted that have tended to place some functions in subordinates of the Department.
Mr. Poage. The Agriculture Committee very carefully rewrote the farm-credit laws so as to separate hard and soft credit fully understanding what we were doing, provided that the Administrator of the Farmers' Home Administration should not be an appointee of the Secretary of Agriculture. Some years prior to that time, and that was recent, but some time prior to that the Congress deliberately, knowing what they were doing, intentionally and, whether wisely or not, provided that the Administrator of the Rural Electrification Administration should be a Presidential appointee and should hold office for a period of 10 years. Now I know that there are those who say that what Congress does doesn't mean anything and if Congress says an administrator has a 10-year term, that doesn't mean anything. But that is law. Maybe it is bad law. In fact, I am not prepared to say it isn't bad law, but we do not have to decide that. It is the law.
Do you think that when Congress comes along then and has an opportunity to say that we are going to place all the power in the heads of the department, and deliberately doesn't say it, but on the contrary says that we are going to let you, Mr. President, submit these things and let us look them over, the Congress didn't mean what it said, but really it meant it wanted all the power placed in the heads of these departments?
Mr. FINAN. My interpretation of that would be—of course, for one thing the Reorganization Act provides for a variety of types of reorganizations of which this is only one. If the Congress had enacted a single piece of legislation in which all functions were placed in the department heads, there would still remain a wide area of opportunity for reorganization under the Reorganization Act.
Mr. Poage. But if Congress had intended this type of reorganization, there wasn't any need for any other kind of reorganization because it is obvious that if you authorize this kind of reorganization for every department, then there is certainly no need for any other kind because all power is in the departmental heads. The departmental heads can funnel all powers where they please and there is no use of saying that we consolidate the attorney of the Labor Board with the Labor Board or vice versa. If we adopt this policy for all departments, then we stop, because that covers everything.
Mr. FINAN. There still would remain, just to illustrate one type of reorganization, the transferring of a function from one department to another. The only way to can abviate that would be to place all functions in the President and let his reorganize.
Mr. Poage. If it would be sound to place all power in the department head, then certainly it follows that is equally sound, and I believe you can say it with more force because the President is elected by the people, that all power should be placed in the President and he
should exercise every power that Hitler ever exercised. By that reasoning if you want to get the most efficient form of government you will place all power in the hands of the Executive.
Mr. FINAN. Well, in terms of making it easy to recognize the executive branch, that would be the way to do it. You will recall that in both the previous wars, in the War Powers Act that exact authority has been put in the President and he has been forced to use it extensively during the war, strictly as an emergency measure and we do not have major programs, the function of which Congress currently places in the President.
Mr. Poate. Exactly, and that is the point I am making, that if you are going to follow this philosophy, that the Congress should not review the specific acts, then you must lead inevitably to the conclusion that the most effective and efficient way to administer government is to delegate to the Executive all powers and reserve nothing in the legislative branch of the Government.
Mr. FINAN. We are dealing with only one relatively small power here, and that is the power to control organization.
Mr. RIEHLMAN. I feel the same as you do, Mr. Finan. We are delegating the authority to the President to make recommendations and send in his plans, but in the final administration Congress has the right to reject those plans and, as you probably know, there is today a resolution to reject this plan which was introduced by my colleague, Mr. Fountain, so for that reason we have an opportunity to decide in the House whether or not we will concur in it.
Mr. PoAGE. I do not see as a practical matter that we have any understanding whatever of the plan. I do not understand it. I do not believe that many people understand it. I think the Secretary clearly stated he didn't want to exercise the powers granted. He told us many things he didn't want to do.
Mr. RIEHLMAN. I haven't the gentleman's experience and background on the Agriculture Committee. He did clearly say what he intended to do up to this time, but in all reorganization plans and as we reviewed them, other than the one dealing with the Internal Revenue Office, there has not been laid down complete and specific plans and programs, but we vest the authority in the Administrator fror time to time promulgating those plans and carrying them out, but I do not think that in the plans of 1950 and 1949, other than the one that I was very much interested in myself, the Internal Revenue plan, they did have a fairly good chart and it was a little easier to deal with that because the cities and counties where we have internal revenue offices set up, they were able to point out the changes that might be made.
I think the Secretary has tried to tell us exactly what he intends to do as of today. The reorganization plans so far, and I think Mr. Fountain brought that up, have never had a limitation as to when they should complete the reorganization, because as you say, in 2 years you have got to complete it and he is hurried and doesn't give it the study it should have.
I have explicit confidence in the Secretary and I think you do and I think he will be very careful as to the major changes to be made, and he has said in his statement here that the plan provides that hearings on any major changes will be held and they will probably