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Senator BROCK. If it is any consolation you have one vote for your bill on the other side.
Mr. Davis. Senator, I think we are all joining with you in looking for a procedure here that will give us a more effective way of what might be termed a legislative budget rather than a piecemeal consideration of an executive budget.
I can't help but note that we did try a joint committee and that was generally conceded to be a failure.
I can remember also back in about the same period of time that we did attempt to put all of the appropriations in one package and have that brought before the House in that manner in order that we could get an overall picture which everyone concedes to be necessary and that,. too, was pretty generally conceded to be a failure and was not tried after the first year's experience.
Of course, for more than a century now we have had a divorce between the revenue raising committee in the House and the Appropriations Committee in the House and we haven't, generally speaking, any effective liaison between those two.
In other words, one proceeds as if there were no revenue problem and the other proceeds on the basis that they do not wish to consider the commitments that might be made through the other committee.
Part of your suggestion is that we have a joint committee, but it would be a smaller one and would be more adequately staffed than was the previous one.
I am wondering how such a committee would have any real clout with the existing committees that do have the authority under the House rules to deal with appropriations and with taxes.
Would you expect this to be a moral influence or how could there be some kind of effective, absolute control over what these committees might do without creating a great deal of resentment on their part and having them say, well, you have given us how much money we may appropriate. You have told us how much money you should raise, but that is really not your responsibility. The responsibility is ours.
I am looking for a mechanism here rather than simply statements of principle that might not have any real probative force.
Senator BROCK. I think you put your finger on the nub of the problem.
The Congressman from Mississippi mentioned the difficulty of enacting whatever reform process is suggested by this committee and I fully agree. It is my view that one of the reasons—there are two fundamental reasons why the Reform Act of 1946, failed-one is the fact that you had a hundred and two members of the committee. There is no committee known to man in the history of the world than can effectively operate with a hundred and two members. There is no such animal. Eighteen may be large, but that is as high as I could possibly imagine.
The second is in 1946 there was no counterbalancing influence in terms of staff at that particular time so the Congress did not have sufficient alternatives in a factual sense presented to it.
As I say, I have no pride of authorship. If this committee in its risdom saw fit to present a joint committee with two members from Wavs and Meanand two from Appropriations and two from each standing legislative committee. I could go for that.
I think it would be somewhat unwieldy, but it would address the problems you raised. Alternatively, this committee which has three members at large from each committee could rotate those at large members based upon the legislative area that they were considering or it could call in the committee chairman and ranking members of each of the legislative committees as exofficio members to present the case in a particular problem area.
There are a number of ways we can resolve this question. The point is unless we do something we are going to continue on the road to chaos, and I think it is imperative that we try. Perhaps we are not going to come up with a perfect solution, but at least we are now working down that path in the right direction for a change—something we have not done for the last 20 years.
Mr. Davis. I think we are beginning to get some basic agreement on necessity. One of the big problems is going to be to get the House and the Senate as a whole to really pay a great deal of attention to what we do.
In other words, we don't seem to have a great concern among members generally as to what the executive branch does and I wonder how we can get a greater concern on the part of members generally as to what a super joint committee or whatever you wish to call it is going to recommend along these lines.
Senator BROCK. If I may say, the Congress sometimes leads public opinion. Sometimes it follows. I think the tide of public opinion in this country is enormously powerful toward a reform of congressional responsibility and structure to the end that we establish some say in the national priorities and some acceptance of responsibilities in terms: of national utilization of resources within the framework, the limitations of those resources.
I full well recognize the difficulty and if the Congress wants to take my bill and toughen it up, I would be delighted.
I would say in my first draft we had absolutely mandatory standards. It could not be deviated from. I frankly felt that would not pass the Congress. I felt this is about the best I could come up with that would have general acceptance.
I would say at least in my conversations on the Senate side that there is a growing awareness of this particular need and desire to implement a reform structure. · Mr. Davis. At least you do have a number of flashing red lights along the way.
Senator BROCK. Yes, sir.
Mr. Davis. Then, of course, I suppose that once you flash the warning signal, and fools see fit to ignore the warning
Senator BROCK. Well, you raised a pretty interesting analogy. If you are a public citizen and you ignore a red light, somebody is going to pull you over to the side of the road.
Perhaps the electorate may pull some of us off to the side of the road if we continue to ignore our public responsibility.
Chairman ULLMAX. Thank you very much, Senator. You are rendering an important service by making the public aware of the problem.
We appreciate it.
STATEMENT OF HON. J. GLENN BEALL, A U.S. SENATOR FROM THE
STATE OF MARYLAND
Senator BEALL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. With your permission I will put my statement in the record and comment briefly on the statement and make some observations if I might.
Chairman ULLMAN. Without objection it will be in the record. [The statement follows:]
STATEMENT OF SENATOR J. GLENN BEALL, JR.
I want to thank the Members of this Joint Study Committee on Budget Control for permitting me to testify today. I also want to congratulate you on the expeditious and thorough manner you are moving to carry out the Congressional mandate to study and improve the budgetary process in the Congress.
The provisions mandating the Study were, of course, added to the debt extension bill (Public Law 92-599). During consideration of this legislation, the Congress engaged in an important, and for me an encouraging debate. The debate was triggered by the President's request for a $250 billion expenditure ceiling and the blanket authority to reduce programs in order to keep federal spending at or below that ceiling.
The Congress, in my judgment, wisely refused to grant the President such authority for this would have meant that the Executive Branch, and not the e'ected representatives, would determine federal spending and program priorities. Notwithstanding my deep respect and admiration for the President and the fact that he is from my political party, I did not and could not support such a request.
The power of the purse is probably the most important power of Congress. This power includes not only the raising of revenue but also the determining of how such funds will be spent. I cannot, as one who believes in the Congress as a coequal branch of the Government, give the President a blank check to do the ('ongress' business.
I am even more encouraged with the growing interest, as evidenced by the number of bills introduced in the Congress on this subject and by the work of this ('ommittee. I believe that the debate of last year and the work of this Joint Committee may prove from the standpoint of the country and of the Congress to be of historic significance. The true test, however, will not be whether we find the ways and means and have the will to take the required action and exercise the needed discipline to control the budget and determine the Nation's priorities.
Therefore, I am pleased to join in this search for improving the management of the peoples' business by Congress.
I will now describe to the Members the provisions of S. 758, the Congressional Budget ('ontrol and Oversight Improvement Act, which I introduced on February 5, 1973.
Specifically, S. 758 would :
(2) Establish an appropriations ceiling and a workable mechanism to force Congress to live within that ceiling and to make those necessary hard choices in determining priorities.
(3) Strengthen the Congressional oversight functions to make certain that all federal programs are reviewed and evaluated at least every five years.
(4) Require that each bill introduced and each bill reported to the floor include an estimate of the average costs for each taxpaying family.
(5) (reate a federal program evaluation digest.
First, the legislation would change the federal fiscal year, which ends June 30, to coincide with the calendar year. The champion of this idea is Senator Magnuson, Under his leadership the establishment of a calendar year budget cycle for the federal government has been gaining considerable support in the Congress. I believe that in the previous Congress over a majority of the Senators cosponsored or expressed support for his proposal.
The Congress has not completed action on all appropriations bills before the fiscal year for which the funds are being appropriated since World War II. In fact, less than 10% of the appropriated measures in the last decade were enacted before the start of the fiscal year. Yone were passed prior to the start of the fiscal
year in either 1969 or 1970. We did better in the last Congress passing 5 out of 16 bills before the fiscal year in 1971 and 3 out of 12 bills before the start of the fiscal year 1972.
This is intolerable. Delay in appropriating federal funds is not conducive to planning or effective use of federal funds. It is particularly disastrous for local education agencies and State and local governments. As a former member of the Maryland Legislature, I can say that knowing by December the Federal programs and their funding would be beneficial to the States in planning and budgeting for their fiscal years.
While there are many causes of the delay, such as proliferation of federal programs and responsibilities, I am convinced that a move to the calendar year is an important first step in the improvement of our budget process.
BUDGET CEILING Secondly, under my proposal, Congress would set its own budget ceiling and create a mechanism to make Congress discipline itself fiscally and make those hard decisions necessary in determining the country's priorities. This concept would work in the following manner. The Ways and Means and the Appropriations Committees of the House of Representatives, together with the Finance and the Appropriations Committees of the Senate would meet jointly at the beginning of the new session to examine the President's budget and then make recommendations to both the House and the Senate on a budget ceiling. The full House and the Senate would then concur or modify the ceiling recommended by the Joint ('ommittee. Once a Joint Resolution was enacted, however, the amount specified would be the spending ceiling for the year, unless Congress later lowered or raised the ceiling by a subsequent law. My bill also provides a mechanism for forcing the Congress to abide by the ceiling which it set.
It does this by instructing the Appropriations Committee to determine the differences, as an average percentage increase or decrease, by the Congressional (eiling and then utilize such percentage as the guideline in considering all appropriation measures. Perhaps an example would clarify the workings of this procedure. Let us assume that the budget set by the ('ongress represented a 10% increase. The Appropriations ('ommittees would then instruct its Subcommittee that a 10% increase was the general guideline to be followed. If, for example, the Interior Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee approved a 20% increase in the Interior Appropriations bill, and this sum were approved by the full Committee, and upheld on the floor, the Appropriations Committee would then reduce percentage guideline for other appropriations measures which may mean that the new guideline would be 9.8%. This proposal will result in all members having an interest in all appropriations measures, for an increase or decrease in one appropriations bill will lower or raise the percentage for other appropriation measures.
In short, Congress will be forced to face up to an unpleasant fact. Priority setting does not just mean passing, authorizing or appropriating bills with additional money, but also requires the balancing of the new proposals with other competing claims on limited federal resources,
Thirdly, the bill would greatly strengthen the legislative oversight role of the Congress. The Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970 contemplated additional legislative review. While this idea was and is excellent I do not believe that the Act provided an adequate mechanism for achieving its goal. Therefore, this proposal is aimed at assuring an adequate, and not a cursory review, is made by the legislative Committees of the Congress. It would do this by requiring each standing Committee of the House and the Senate to establish a Subcommittee on Legislative Review. When a Committee already has a Subcommittee, with the responsibility with respect to a subject matter, that Subcommittee, assisted by the Legislative Review Subcommittee, may evaluate the program or legislation.
llowever, if the Subcommittee having jurisdiction failed to evaluate and make a report of its review and study at least once every three years the Subcommittee on Legislative Review would then be mandated to conduct a review.
To make it absolutely certain that a review would be forthcoming in any event once every five years, the General Accounting Office would be required to make a study and report to the appropriate Committee and the Congress if the review had not been done by either the appropriate Subcommittee or tue new Legislative Review Subcommittee, by the end of the fourth year.
This procedure will guarantee that the vital oversight function of the Congress will be accomplished.
FEDERAL PROGRAM EVALUATION DIGEST
Fourth, my bill would require the preparation of a federal program evaluation digest. Presently, there is published each year the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance. This catalog runs some 817 pages and lists about 1,200 programs. It has proved useful to our citizens and our communities in determining what federal programs or benefits are available and how to apply for them.
I see the need in the Congress, and elsewhere, for a similar publication that, in effect, would be a handy reference guide for all federal programs. The Federal Program Evaluation Digest would to the extent feasible, be cross-referenced to the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance and contain the following information:
(1) the name of the program, the statute authorizing the program, specify the federal officials administering the program, and give a brief description of the program;
(2) the original purposes, goals and objectives of the program, and any changes thereto;
(3) an evaluation by the head of the program on whether and how the purposes, goals and objectives are being achieved ;
(4) references to any study, conducted partially or completely with Federal funds, evaluation the program, and to the maximum extent practicable, references to any study conducted completed with non-Federal funds, evaluating the programs;
(5) the total administrative costs of the program paid out of federal funds, the total costs of the program paid out of federal funds, and the total of such administrative costs so paid as a percentage of such total costs so paid;
(6) the average cost to the program for each recipient; and
(7) cross-references to the program and matters related to the program which are included in the latest available Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (including any supplements thereto).
There is a major distinction, however, in that this Digest, unlike the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, would include all federal programs and not just domestic programs except to the extent that national defense does not permit a program's listing.
I am certain that you and other Members of Congress on the House and Senate Floors, have been confronted with an amendment increasing an appropriation for a program for which there was no ready source of information, even the basic information that the Digest would contain.
I believe that such a Digest would be a useful and valuable tool for improving our understanding of programs and our ability to determine priorities.
COST PER FAMILY Finally, the legislation contains a provision requiring all bills and joint resolutions introduced, and the report of any bill or joint resolution, to include the average cost per taxpaying family. While admittedly this requirement is gimmicklike, I believe it is needed and will serve an important purpose. Congress in recent years has passed various laws designed to better inform the consumer, Acts like the Truth-in-Lending, Truth in Packaging, and others. This provision may be viewed as "Truth in Legislating".
This provision will require, that in addition to our taking the credit and heralding the benefits of programs, we also apprise the electorate of the program costs.
Perhaps, there are better methods of computing the costs, but I believe that the thrust of the proposal is healthy for us in the Congress and good for the American taxpayer. As drafted, when a member introduces a bill or an amendment, it would have to include an estimate of the cost of the legislation for each taxpaying family. This will be calculated by dividing the cost of the bill by the number of federal tax returns filed with the federal government for the preceding calendar year. As an example, for taxable year 1971, 60 million taxable returns were filed with the Treasury. Since there are on the average 3.6 persons per family, the number of taxable returns approximates the number of families