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setting which occurred within the Master Authorization Committee to be undertaken by the Appropriations Committee.
This could be accomplished by requiring that before any appropriations bill is permitted to be reported to the floor, the entire Appropriations Committee must have considered all the appropriations bills, and must make certain that the total spending to be appropriated falls within the authorized spending limit.
This would force the committee members to decide among themselves which programs deserve increases at the expense of decreases in other programs. .. A series of new House rules requiring a two-thirds vote for bills which exceed the spending limit and subtotal guideline limits would help to assure enforcement for the spending limit while still allowing some discretion and flexibility.
Thank you. Now, Madam Chairman, I would, in my proposal, prefer obviously that this radical proposal that the system be changed be accompanied by changing the budget system to a calendar year basis.
I think that it could be done. I think that it should be done.
Now, I have spoken only from the standpoint of the House of Representatives. This program could also apply to the Senate. I think it could be combined.
I have spoken primarily, as has Mr. Findley, from the standpoint of the House of Representatives. Mrs. GRIFFITHS. Thank you very much.
I think one of the major changes we could make in the whole procedure is to appropriate for 2 years, put out some continuing resolutions, and adjourn this Congress and all go home and find out how the laws work we have already passed.
The gentleman has spoken to me several times about his concern and proposal in connection with this Master Budget Authorization Committee and the whole subject of budgetary control.
I recognize the great effort and study in this regard. I would like to ask one question.
On this Master Budget Authorization Committee, which is going to have great influence and should be able to act with good judgment and immediacy, you suggest that each authorization committee should be represented in addition to possibly more than one member each from Appropriations and Ways and Means.
I am afraid it would get unwieldy when we get into the forties and fifties in one committee.
Mr. BELL. Isn't the Appropriations Committee about 55? It would not be much in excess of that, I don't believe.
Mr. SCHNEEBELI. They deliberate all year. I think some previous witnesses have shown concern about the possibility of the committee getting too bulky.
Mr. BELL. If the gentleman will yield. You notice that I didn't say specifically each one had to be specifically represented. I would think that could be flexible.
In other words, it would be a number of them or most of them but maybe perhaps not all of them. I would be somewhat flexible on the concept of the committees under the Authorization Budget Committee. I would be flexible on the makeup of it but I would be less flexible on the fact that we should have it.
I agree with the Chairman when she said there should be another committee. I feel that is a very important feature. I think you should have one committee made up from the others.
When you analyze the facts, you have to recognize that you have to give the Authorization Committee key people some role in determining these priorities.
Some know these priorities quite well, even better than members of other committees.
Mr. SCHNEEBELI. The present Study Committee is composed of 32 members of the House and Senate and four come from the authorization committees.
On the House side it is Mr. Reuss and Mr. James Broyhill. They have a lot to contribute. Most people think we should give considerable weight in the composition of the committee to Appropriations Committee members, because they have so much experience and so much expertise they can lend to the whole process.
Mr. BELL. Their position would not be dramatically changed. They would still be in the position of passing on the final appropriations and they would obviously, hopefully we would have the appropriation below the ceiling set up by this other committee, but they would still determine what the total bill would be.
Mr. SCHNEEBELL. I appreciate you coming and presenting your fine study of this problem.
Mrs. GRIFFITHS. Mr. Davis.
Mr. Davis. I am bothered by one concept. That is, that overall this looks like a situation in which the various authorizing committees would get together and hammer out some sort of compromise and then it would be left to the Appropriations Committee the privilege of reducing those if they saw fit, but in no way to increase anything over what the authorizing committees had gotten together and cut up the pie.
Mr. BELL. Well, the authorization committees—if you are concerned about the authorizations committees maybe being too flexible with the Treasury's money or whatever you want to call it, I don't believe that is true.
I think that the members on the authorization committees, when placed with this responsibility, would act extremely responsibly. I . think that they would provide a budget that would be a budget-a budget that would be useable, workable, and I would think the Appropriations Committee could meet and reduce it or whatever they chose to do, that they would certainly put a ceiling just like the authorization committees today put a ceiling.
I don't see that that would be any great difference. You are not changing the system. That is the important thing. You are still residing within the system that we have today, which I think is good.
Mr. Davis. Fifty-six percent of next fiscal year's expenditures don't even come to the Appropriation's Committee. What are we going to do about them?
Mr. BELL. Of course, you are talking about the uncontrollables—this, of course, would have to be
Mr. Davis. Not uncontrollable. It means through backdoor spending, general revenue sharing and things of that kind. The Appropriations Committee can't do a thing about them.
Mr. BELL. I appreciate that. This, I think, should be, of course, placed in the overall picture. Both committees would have to understand this. This would have to be clearly understood. This would be part of the package.
However, they would have to make it clear to the House exactly where the guidelines are and where their areas of expenditure could be.
Does that answer your question?
Mr. JAMES BROYHILL. Part of the problem as you know it and have lived with it these many years is that we tend to cut up the budget into several pieces and operate on these different appropriations separately. We never really pull it back together and apply it to some budget ceiling or budget target or estimate.
Then we have the other problem of where the authorization committee have either extended legislation or have voted for legislation putting large authorization figures on these different programs.
If we fully appropriated for all of the top limits of authorization we would have a budget this year in excess of $300 billion.
It seems to me if anything would work out here, we would need to have, of course, maximum input from the legislative committees, but to make it work I would think we would need to have a maximum input as well from the Appropriations Committees—we have to relate the expenditures to revenues. They have to be involved in this process as well.
Mr. BELL. But if I may comment, I think one of the things that you have to bear in mind is that the priorities will be argued on the authorization budget committee, whatever you want to call it.
This will be discussed by people that know the priorities, what the priorities should be. I think the responsibility, the onus of responsibility that they hold would hold them somewhat in check. If that didn't, you still have the Appropriations Committees' final decision which would put it where it belongs. They have also operated very effectively, I think, in the past and I don't see why they would change.
In fact, this might make them even better, if that is possible.
So, I think, Jim, you have the opportunity of the experts on each of these bills arguing with each other and having to realize that they will have to take from Peter to take care of Paul, and you will have to set your priorities.
I think there is no better place than on such a committee, on a budget committee.
As I said, they still have the check of the Appropriations Committee stepping in and-another argument I could make, there might be some concern that one committee has too much power over another, and so forth.
This somewhat bypasses that because all the committees would be fairly well represented.
Mr. JAMES BROYHILL. We do appreciate your ideals and, of course, this does point up the problem of how to come up with a plan that is not only workable, but one where we can get the maximum cooperation from all the Members of both the House and Senate. Mrs. GRIFFITHS. A plan that will prevail. Thank you very much. Congressman Ogden Reid.
We are happy to have you here this morning. STATEMENT OF HON. OGDEN R. REID, A U.S. REPRESENTATIVE
FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK Mr. Reid. I am delighted to be with you and this distinguished committee.
I know time is short and I ask unanimous consent that my remarks as prepared be included in the record at this point. Mrs. GRIFFITHS. If there are no objections, they certainly will be. [The statement follows:]
STATEMENT OF CONGRESSMAN OGDEN R. REID
SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS (1) Implementation of the Joint Study Committee's tentative recommendations contained in its Interim Report (House Report No. 93-13) relating to procedures for comprehensive Congressional planning of the budget.
(2) Enactment of legislation (H.R. 2403) to prevent Presidential violation of Congressional intent through the non-expenditure of appropriated funds (impoundment) and the unauthorized expenditure of funds not appropriated ; such legislation providing for
(a) GAO review and evaluation of all budget and legislative proposals of the President, with reports to Congress on the consistency of such proposals with the legislative programs of Congress;
(b) No impoundment of funds without prior approval of Congress acting, initially, through the Comptroller General;
(c) Cutoff of funds from the Treasury by the Comptroller General whenever he determines, subject to direction from Congress, that the President is
spending funds without authorization or in violation of Congressional intent. Mr. Chairman, permit me first to compliment the fine work performed by the Joint Study Committee on Budget Control in coming to grips with the difficult problem of Congressional control over the budget. I am confident that out of your work will emerge significant reforms which will go far toward restoring the Constitutional prerogatives of Congress in this critical area.
Your work to date has been concerned primarily with establishing mechanisms and precedures by which Congress can fashion overall and interrelated priorities for the expenditure of Federal moneys. The importance of this goal cannot be overstated. Comprehensive budgetary planning by the Congress has been virtually non-existent in the past and has contributed measurably to the loss of Congressional power vis-a-vis the Executive Branch. Budgetary decisions in Congress tend to be haphazard and accidental rather than rational and coordinated. It is imperative that a system of uniform comprehensive budgetary planning and control be created within the Congress so that we will know each year very simply how much money we intend to spend and what we intend to spend it on. Toward that end, I fully support development and implementation of the tentative recommendations contained in your committee's Interim Report (Hse. Rpt. No. 93-13), and I pledge to do all I can to aid this effort.
Having said that, I would like to focus on a related problem of perhaps even greater implications for the position of Congress in our Constitutional scheme of things. Stated briefly, that problem is : once the budgetary decisions of Congress have been translated into law, how can Congress ensure that its will, and the law itself, will not be flagrantly violated by the President?
This is no idle question.
Whenever it suits him, the President impounds money appropriated by Congress for programs it established and intends to carry out. Presently an estimated $12 billion is under impoundment, much of it for vital housing, education, and environmental programs, even where expenditures are mandated by statute and passed over the President's veto. .
Not only does the President condescendingly refuse to expend funds mandated by Congress, he sometimes goes to the opposite extreme and expends funds from the Treasury for purposes never approved or authorized by Congress, as in the case of the 1970 invasion of Cambodia.
Unless Congress is prepared to deal with these twin problems of under-expenditure and over-expenditure by the President, it will remain a permanent occupant of second place in our government no matter what internal reforms it adopts concerning budgetary planning.
The Constitutional proprietary of these Presidential abuses is unlikely to be settled by the courts in the foreseeable future. Thus if Congress is to regain its rightful position of equality in our Constitutional system-and to regain control over the expenditure of America's money-it will have to do so through its own enterprise. Help from other quarters cannot be counted on.
No weapon in Congress' arsenal is more effective for this purpose than its power of the purse-the power to cut off funds. Without action by Congress, the President cannot get money. Without money, he cannot function.
Moreover, in order to insure the implementation of its legislative programs which a recalcitrant Executive threatens to kill, the Congress must consider using whatever power the Constitution gives it to make expenditures itself.
That the Constitution vests the power of the purse exclusively in Congress is indisputable:
"All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States ..." (Article I, Section 1).
"No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law ..." (Article I, Section 9).
"The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes ..." (Article I, Section 8).
"The Congress shall have power ... to coin money ..." (Article I, Section 8).
“The Congress shall have power ... to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof." (Article I, Section 8).
Therefore Congress need not search for means by which to guarantee itself an equal voice in the government of this country. It merely needs to exercise the means which the Constitution very intentionally placed at its exclusive disposal.
In blunt terms, this means cutting off the President's money when he flagrantly violates a mandate of Congress. Any mechanism established by Congress to oversee and control actions by the Executive Branch must include this kind of sanction, for without it the President can act with impunity.
Under its present cumbersome structure and procedures, Congress lacks the capacity to apply such a sanction on a systematic basis in response to Executive Branch abuses.
What must be institutionalized is a simplified procedure which facilitates effective response by Congress to specific acts of the President.
The first step in this direction is for Congress to delegate to the Comptroller General, who should be appointed by Congress and afforded expanded authority, the job of gathering and analyzing all the information Congress needs to oversee Federal expenditures. Congress itself has neither the time nor the resources for this enormous task. If it burdens itself with this responsibility, the work will never get done and Congress will not come close to getting a handle on the administration of the Budget. It simply has too much else to do to take on this added volume.
Second, in order to provide for swift and decisive action when necessary. Congress must also delegate the initial exercise of its power to cut off funds to an institution capable of acting with one mind, while reserving to itself authority to ratify, modify, or rescind such action by its delegate by concurrent resolution.
Centralization of the initial decision-making authority in another institution is essential if Congress is to make any system of sanctions against the Executive Branch work. The great advantage which the Presidency has always enjoyed over