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Senators, and that when a request is submitted to the bureau for information, the bureau must furnish the information desired. However, I was just wondering if it were not possible that some Representatives and Senators are probably exceeding the purposes for which this bureau was organized. For instance, among these requests for information I notice the following: “How many different nations are there in the world ?” “How many nations are now at war in the world?” Then they want to know tħe casus belli for each war; the number of men in the armies and navies of the world; data on the causes of war; data on political parties; the various party platforms, etc.
There are numbers of such subjects that I could probably point out, and, while I am not saying this by way of criticizing the bureau, by any means, because, as I said at the outset, I realize that when these requests come in it is up to the bureau to furnish the information if it is available; yet it does seem to me that there are Members of the Senate and House who are rather imposing on the bureau by asking for information that could be obtained very easily from other sources, or through their secretaries and the forces that Congress has provided for them. For instance, my attention was attracted a moment ago to some request for information that should have been obtained from the Census Bureau. Some of these questions are purely along the line of information that should come from the Census Bureau. and, of course, these requests for information take up the time of your employees.
Mr. PUTNAM. You will notice that those are the inquiries, and not the responses, and that is where the discretion that is vested in the bureau comes in.
Mr. Wood. Do you refuse to answer them?
Mr. Wood. Suppose a Congressman writes in and asks what is the best time to set a hen. Would you answer that? That is just sensible as some you receive.
Mr. PUTXAM. No, sir; we would have to say to him, “You will notice that the job of this bureau, and the job for which the appropriation is made, is to prepare data bearing upon legislation. We would get rid of that sort of request in that way, because the information requested has no bearing upon legislation. Many such requests we will get rid of by saying, "You will find these data in such a volume, and we are sending the volume over."
We may say to them that it is not within the scope of the bureau, or that some material sufficiently available already exists on the subject, or that it has no relation to legislation. Therefore, I can say to you that that list is not any indication of what the work done is, but it simply shows the character of the inquiries. We must segregate those that have no bearing upon legislation. You have put your finger on the danger, and that danger can only be met by a competent and very careful discrimination in the handling of the work.
The CHAIRMAX. Do you not think that the bureau should use discretion in saving expenses, so as to live within the appropriation ?
Mr. Putxam. You will realize that the work of such a division could be as big as a lump of chalk--that is to say, you can make it much or little.
The CHAIRMAN. This number of people ought to be able to furnish a lot of information.
Mr. PUTNAM. They could if they were all experts. But there is no person now here receiving over $2,000, which is the salary of a high-grade clerk. You can not do this work properly and effectively with the number of people in the force, or with a force that does not include a sufficient number of people grounded in law and economics, and people with a knowledge of foreign languages. There are four States that appropriate more than $25,000 a year for legislative reference bureaus that they maintain for their own legislatures. Yet consider the volume of important questions coming before Congress to-day and the literature that they involve, as against those coming before State legislatures.
The CHAIRMAN. For example, they ask how many men there are in the Army.
Mr. PUTNAM. No, sir.
Mr. PUTXAM. Those inquiries are never answered by the Legislative Reference Bureau. We have Representatives telephone over and ask for books on various subjects, but inquiries of that sort are answered by the Division of Bibliography. They inquire, for instance, as to the spelling of Muscle Shoals.
The CHAIRMAX. Why do they not look in the dictionary?
The CHAIRMAX. Do you think it proper that they should ask you how to spell a word like that?
Mr. Putxam. There is some dispute about it, but since 1794 it has been spelled M-11-s-c-l-e Shoals. There has been some very serious discussion of that question and some one must distinguish between what is relevant and what is irrelevant, what is important, and what is not important.
The ('HAIRMAN. The relevant thing to me, and I think to the committee, is this, that you should carry on this activity within the scope of the limitations as set out in the appropriation.
Mr. PUTNAM. We had $31,500 last year and there was no question raised when I came before the deficiency subcommittee last year. The subcommittee raised no question as to whether we should keep up that minimum force that we had.
The ('HAIRMAN. We are living in an era of the strictest economy. It is the purpose and determination of this committee to keep within the revenues if it is possible to do so, and the people all over the country are demanding constant effort on our part to do that.
Mr. PUTNAM. But this is apparatus for Congress. This is not anything outside of your own apparatus. Here is a letter from Judge Little, chairman of the committee on revision of the laws, from which I read as follows:
The Legislative Reference Bureau in the Congressional Library is by far the most useful assistance that a congressman can have, among all the things that go to help the ('ongressman. My experience for 22 months in assembling the code was, of course. much more extended and laborious than was ever devolved upon any other Congressman, and that outfit was the most useful support that I had. It is absolutely almost invaluable to any ('ongressman who wants specific, prompt help about any legislation.
į Now, that is the experience of one Member.'".
The CHAIRMAN. That has reference to the Legislative Bureau that helps the committees to prepare bills.
Mr. PUTNAM. No, sir; Judge Little is not speaking of the draft ing bureau. That is something different. He is referring to the indexes we have. We have the only complete indexes to the U'nite: States Statutes, and we have one section at work on them. ask Mr. Porter, the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs how often he has used this service and how valuable it has been to him. Ask Mr. Fordney. the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. Ask the men who use this thing every day. I have some satisfaction in the repute of this library as a national library; but a great chagrin that as a library for Congress it isn't doing all that it might do.
It is a shame that the library is not of more effective use to Congress than it is. The reason it is not of greater use is because we fail of adequate service in this division. It should be the connecting link with our collections; an intermediary that will make our 3,000,00) books of real and effective rise to Congress. All that it requires is a little more expenditure in order to get a few more really competent people there that can handle the work.
Mr. WOOD. Is it the purpose of this estimate to enable you to get more competent men, or to enable you to keep the employees that
Mr. PUTNAM. To enable us to keep this little mixed force that we now have. If I do not get this appropriation, I shall have to disband this entire force on April 21.
The CHAIRMAX. Not necessarily.
Mr. PUTNAM. The present appropriation will last us for the present force only until April 21, and if the men who are interested in this have not sufficient interest in it to extend it further, I shall have to drop it on April 21.
The CHAIRMAN. That is not the way to do it, and I do not think it is a fair way to state it. I want to be very sympathetic, but that puts this committee up against a situation that should not exist. To say that if you do not get this money, you are going to disband the force. is not the proper way to put it, because all of that difficulty could have been obviated by dispensing with the services of about three people at the beginning of the year. Then we would not have this situation, Now, if we are forced to make an appropriation just because that was not done by you in the administration of the fund, we will be placed in a rather embarrassing situation, and one which ought not to exist.
Mr. Woop. You should have cut your cloth to fit the goods. You cut too much cloth for the appropriation you had, and in consequence you will run out of money on the 21st of April.
The CHAIRMAN. The tendency of the departments in this, and we have been trying to impress them with the iniquity of that tendency: We make an appropriation for $1,000,000, and we assume that the $1,000,000 will be divided up into monthly allotments, but what happens? The spending officer divides up $1,400,000 into monthly allotments and spends at the rate of $1,400,000 a year.' Then they come back here for a deficiency and say, “We can not get along without
this deficiency, because we have paid no attention whatever to the limits of the appropriation.". Now, we must live within the appropriations that are made. Of course, if an emergency should arise, nobody, will meet that emergency any more promptly than this committee.
Mr. Putxam. You should recognize a distinction between expanding an organization and just preserving intact the machine that has been operating up to a certain point of efficiency. You should take into view the interest that Congress has in this service. For those who want this service, we can keep it up as long as it will go with the money available, and then we must stop it. It was not proposed to expand it.
1:1 . Mr. Woon. Congress appropriated for this purpose $25,000. That was the appropriation made for the continuation of this service for a year, and it was up to you as the administrative officer of the library to continue the service throughout the year on the $25,000. Congress told you to make the $25,000 last for the year in this service, and you did not do it.
The CHAIRMAN, The amount of money involved in the matter is small, and we are more concerned about the principle involved.
Mr. PUTNAM. I have been here for 23 years, occupying this post of librarian, and I have never come before a deficiency committee and asked for an appropriation that was not within the estimates originally submitted. No question has heretofore, been raised when it was within the estimate. : The CHAIRMAX. That is upon the theory that we do not make appropriations, but that the estimates make the appropriations,
Mr. PUTNAM. I am asking for the restoration of what we had two years ago
Mr Wood (interposing). The thing to do now is to reduce the force so as to live within the appropriation of $25,000.
Mr. PUTNAM. Here is what we have done: The Budget Bureau took away an administrative assistant at $3,000, and I have not replaced him. The man who was heading the index section has been transferred to the law librarianship, to the loss of both services, so as to have his salary on this roll. Another man at $2,000 was taken away by the Budget Bureay, and I have not filled his place yet. Inother has since been taken by the Federal Trade Commission at 100 per cent more salary, and I have not filled his place. The situation remains just as the figures here show. I suppose everything you state applies to any deficiencies.
The "CHAIRMAN. We are not making this statement to you personally, Mr. Putnam, and we do not want you to think that we are harsh with you, but what we want to do is to impress you with the fact that deficiencies are not going to be encouraged in any department. There may be conditions under which deficiencies may be justified.
Mr. PUTNAM. If an official comes in here before you with a deficiency, when he has had his original estimate granted, I suppose the deficiency is not allowed, but I have now come before this committee for a deficiency where my original estimate was granted.
Mr. Wood. You have not regarded your original estimate yourself? Mr. Putnam. I am speaking of the original estimate submitted.
Mr. Wood. You estimate that you need a certain sum of money for a particular function, and Congress in passing upon that estimate makes an appropriation of a certain amount. When that is done, it is your duty to live within the appropriation. If you can not live within it and the service fails, then let the censure fall where it belongs.
Mr. PUTNAM. I am living within the appropriation in every respect except this, that I have not apportioned it by months. I was exercising a sound discretion which I think Congress itself would approve. Mr. Wood. But Congress did not approve it.
Mr. Byens. As I understand it, you have the same force, with the exception you have named, that you had during all those years, or the force that you have trained in this work?
Mr. Putnam. It was cut down by the reduction in the appropriation to $25,000.
Mr. Byrns. I take it that you have kept those who made the better records over there?
Mr. Putnam. Yes, sir; we have hung on to the people that we could hang on to.
Mr. Byrns. And this is simply to continue that force until July?
The CHAIRMAN. You can easily see what a fix we would be in if the estimates should be the basis of the expenditure. If that were the case, what use would there be for the committee?
Mr. PUTNAM. My normal estimate was $70,000. Two years ago I had $45,000, and last year you gave me $31,500. That is what I have been working to.
Mr. Woon. Last year you got a deficiency of $65,000?
Mr. PUTNAM. That made the $31,500, and that is what I am working to this year.
Mr. Wood. The fact of the business is that you should not have been given that $6,500 in the last deficiency. That is what encouraged you violate the law again. You violated it then and received a. deficiency of $6,500, and that encquraged you to do it again.
* The CHAIRMAN. I do not believe there is anything more to be said about this.
FEBRUARY 14, 1922. MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: The information desired as to the deficiency appropriation for contingent expenses for the Library of ('ongress is as follows: The amount of the appropriation is.
$8,000.00 The amount expended.
5, 737. 67
$2. 262. 33 Outstanding orders
1, 303. 29
Balance available for expenditure
9.59, 04 Prospective expenses for ordinary stationery supplies (including typewriter supplies), for postage, for travel, and for miscellaneous items required to be met out of this appropriation will fully exhaust the entire balance.
The deficiency requested is required for photostat paper and chemicals.