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scheduled to expire March 31, 1953, but it has been twice extended, and now expires at the close of this month.
The Reorganization Act has now emerged as a well developed and thoroughly tested measure contributing to keeping our Government well organized.
Great strides have been made since the Reorganization Act of 1949 became law on June 20, 1949. Fifty-six reorganization plans have been transmitted to the Congress, and 41 have become effective. Fifteen reorganization plans were transmitted during the past 4 years, and 12 were permitted to take effect. Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1957 is now pending before the Congress. Examples of some of the important plans of recent years include transforming the Federal Security Agency into the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare; strengthening the organization of the Departments of Defense and Agriculture; reorganizing executive agencies for the conduct of foreign affairs; and improving the organization of defense mobilization functions.
Taking the broadest view, since the first Reorganization Act of 1939 became law virtually the entire structure of the executive branch has been reshaped by changes made under the cooperative Presidential-congressional approach embodied in the Reorganization Acts. Every agency in the Executive Office of the President has had its organization affected by actions under the Reorganization Acts. Every executive department has benefited from organizational adjustments made by reorganization plans; likewise, the Civil Service Commission, the Housing and Home Finance Agency, and many of the other major independent agencies have been reorganized. Viewed thus, the reorganization plan is a vital instrument for keeping our governmental house in order. One group, the President's Advisory Committee on Management, said this in 1952:
We therefore think there is good reason to regard the invention and acceptance of this tool for reorganization as the greatest single enabling step toward management improvement in the Federal Government in this generation (report to the President, December 1952, p. 6).
The Reorganization Act of 1949 was enacted following the strong recommendation of the first Hoover Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government that the President be given authority to prepare and transmit plans of reorganization to the Congress. The Commission stated:
This authority is necessary if the machinery of Government is to be made adaptable to the ever changing requirements of administration, and if efficiency is to become a continuing rather than a sporadic concern of the Federal Government (pp. 8–9, concluding report).
The very first recommendation of the second Hoover Commission on December 31, 1954, was as follows:
As a result of unanimous vote at its meeting held on November 15, 1954, the Commission recommends to the Congress that the authority of the President to file reorganization plans, which expires on April 1, 1955, be extended (p. 22, progress report)
Thus, each of the two Hoover Commissions has urged that the reorganization-plan authority be continued as a means for attaining better Government organization.
It is my view that prompt extension of the period during which reorganization plans may be transmitted under the Reorganization
Act of 1949 is necessary in order that we may press forward with our continuing duty to improve the organization and management of the executive branch. We have come to know that reorganization cannot be done once for all time, but must be continuous to meet the ever changing needs of a dynamic Government.
For a quarter century, successive Congresses and Presidents of both political parties, by their actions under the several reorganization, statutes, have demonstrated their firm belief that legislation, such as the Reorganization Act of 1949, is desirable to continue the cooperative efforts of both the executive and the legislature to bring to the American people the efficient, economical, and effective Government which is their right.
I recommend that the Congress continue the availability of the provisions of the Reorganization Act.
Mr. McCORMACK. Mr. Fascell, any questions?..
Mr. BROOKS. Mr. McCormack, I want to thank you for according me the privilege of asking a question or two. I had occasion yesterday to visit with the distinguished Mr. Brundage and at that time, as I recall, you were in favor of the item veto privilege for the President of the United States.
Mr. BRUNDAGE. That is correct; yes.
Mr. BROOKS. Feeling that was not going to give him the power to legislate and, according to your testimony, would not deter and actually stop, or circumvent the expressed intention of Congress?
Mr. BRUNDAGE. That is my impression; yes, sir.
Mr. BROOKS. You are now here defending a reorganization plan. which by its nature enables the President to inaugurate legislation. which must be passed either completely or not; is that correct?
Mr. BRUNDAGE. It gives the Congress the veto power on each proposal; yes.
Mr. BROOKS. Proposal as a unit, not for amendment. You cannot amend the reorganization plans; can you? A separate plan is a pretty extensive piece of legislation; is it not?
Mr. BRUNDAGE. Well, it is not a money bill.
Mr. BROOKS. Don't you think this is a direct violation of the constitutional provision that the Congress is supposed to legislate and the executive branch is supposed to sign it or veto it?
Mr. BRUNDAGE. No, sir; I certainly don't. It seems to me there isn't the slightest inconsistency with my feeling
Mr. BROOKS. Don't you think with an item veto, if you got that one through and got a reorganization plan through, you would then be in a position to handle the appropriation matters and for some other body down there to write reorganization plans covering all the legislation and we could just do away with Congress.
Mr. BRUNDAGE. I don't think so at all. Mr. BROOKS. I share your feeling, understand. Mr. BRUNDAGE. As I tried to explain yesterday, the item veto is merely breaking bills down into their constituent parts. We could send up to Congress 200 or 1,000 bills, instead of 12 or 15, and you could combine them or break them up just as you do now and this is in
effect giving the President the power to break it down into its constituent parts.
It seems to me a reorganization plan is an item in itself, it is a legislative item and you have the power to reject it if you don't like it.
Mr. BROOKS. In toto and not to amend it.
Mr; BROOKS. Which makes considerable difference; don't you think? Would you be willing for us to be able to amend the reorganization plan?
Mr. BRUNDAGE. It seems to me there is a very essential difference there between an item veto on an appropriation bill, which deals with dollars for a purpose, and a reorganization plan which is presented by the Executive which is charged with the responsibility of carrying out the will of Congress and present a plan which the Executive thinks will enable a more efficient and more effective carrying out of the plan.
It seems to me that any proposal of the Executive is a single item, it is a single proposal that may have some ramifications, but it is a single proposal to accomplish a single purpose. I can't see the connection.
Mr. BROOKS. Wouldn't you think that both the Republicans and Democrats in Congress have that same ambition, to see that the country is run well and efficiently? Assuming that, you agree on that?
Mr. BRUNDAGE. I certainly do. .
Mr. BROOKS. Wouldn't you think that the Republicans and the Democrats in Congress might occasionally—now I wouldn't want you to go overboard on this, but might occasionally contribute something in the way of legislation that would be helpful, even to a recommendation presented by a given administration, in the form of an amendment to one of these reorganization plans. Do you think that is conceivable?
Mr. BRUNDAGE. I do; yes.
Mr. BRUNDAGE. However, in order to be a part of the coordinated approach, I think they ought to have all the background and the purposes in mind which they would not have if they presented an amendment, necessarily—they could present the amendment to the plan and pass it without even having heard the executive branch on it.
Mr. BROOKS. Well that is not very likely, I wouldn't think. But the question is, Do you think that a reorganization plan submitted by an administration-any administration-should be eligible to be amended by the Congress of the United States, elected by the people, to pass the legislation under which this country operates? That is the question. The answer should be yes or no.
Mr. BRUNDAGE. I don't think it would be as good as the present plan, the present legislation which is recommended by the Hoover Commission. I think this gives better effect to the desire to improve the executive branch.
Mr. BROOKS. Don't you think this reflects a lack of faith in the Congress of the United States' ability to make a constructive amendment to any proposed reorganization plan?
Mr. BRUNDAGE. No; I don't. I don't think so, at all.
can submit bills to cover anything that you like, but this is an attempt, it gives the Executive an opportunity to present a concrete whole, a plan.
Mr. BROOKS. Of course, he can present such a proposal, Mr. Brundage, any time. Any Executive can send a message to the Speaker of the House and it is transmitted to the proper committee. This is standard procedure. Committees consider such things every day at great length.
Why wouldn't you want a reorganization plan to have the opportunity to receive the benefit of suggestions that Mr. Clarence Brown might make who has been here a long time or Mr. John McCormack, or other leaders on both sides of the aisle?
Mr. BRUNDAGE. I would think we wouldn't need a reorganization plan, then. We could submit a bill, have our hearing and go along that way.
It seems to me the purpose of this is to give the Executive a chance to present a plan, an item as a single whole. · Mr. BROOKs. But not to receive just a majority vote. It changes the entire concept of voting, though. This is the negative approach. Instead of requiring a majority to be for this proposal under à reorganization plan, you require that we have a majority refusing of the total membership.
Mr. BRUNDAGE. A simple majority, yes.
Mr. BROOKS. This is not so simple. A simple majority of the membership is in excess of 218 Members in the House. Simple majority of the total membership runs very glibly but it doesn't run so glibly when you are trying to get 219 votes against a proposal, a blanket proposal put up by the President of the United States or any administration.
Mr. BRUNDAGE. They didn't seem to have trouble on the two, last year.
Mr. BROOKS. Well that may be, but it is considerably different from a majority of a quorum, which is the usual manner of passing legislation in this Congress and in this country, as you undoubtedly know. And to change that and require a majority of the total body makes a considerable difference. And to require that they vote "no," you see, to vote against a proposal, is another psychological problem for opponents of such legislation.
Would you be willing to have these reorganization acts become effective only when approved by a majority, rather than have it go into effect only when disapproved by-would you like to have an affirmative vote for your proposal, sir?
Mr. BRUNDAGE. No; I am perfectly satisfied with the operation of the bill as it is now.
Mr. BROOKS. Don't you think that might make a more definite approval of it if you had a majority of the membership vote for it?
Mr. BRUNDAGE. No; I don't think so. Mr. BROOKS. Instead of just ignoring it and then permitting it to take effect?
Mr. BRUNDAGE. No; I think the underlying theory of this whole proposal is that the Executive is in the best position to know how, through his experience, improvements can be made in the operation and organization of that particular branch, you see. This isn't dealing with Congress at all, it is just dealing with the organization of the Executive.
- Mr. BROOKS. We understand what the area is. But you don't
Mr. BROOKS. No further questions, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BROWN. I would just like to comment, if I might, Mr. Chairman.
| Mr. Brooks of Texas brought up a couple of questions and issuesthat have troubled us throughout the years. This is a sort of a backward way of legislating. That is, this process. . We have had considerable debate in the House at different times, and on the floor of the Senate, too, as to whether a plan should be rejected by a simple majority of those voting, or by a constitutional majority, which is as Mr. Brooks says, quite different. I sat on both Hoover Commissions which made these recommendations. I don't believe-and I haven't read back-we suggested exactly what majority of the vote should be required. At one time I know it was suggested to have both Houses reject, a plan which is an impossible thing. Mr. McCORMACK. I think they did; didn't they?
Mr. Brown. They had it in one bill, one time, and then the Congress changed that.
Of course, under our Constitution, legislation introduced in Congress has to be approved by both Houses and have a majority in each House. It would then go to the President and be subject to his veto.
Now it is true, in this legislation, that if one branch of the Congress votes a reorganization plan down, that kills it. That is also all it takes to kill a legislative bill, too. If one House refuses to approve, the bill is dead.
So the only question about the one-branch veto of reorganization plans in my mind-and it has been discussed throughout the years—is whether they should be rejected by a simple majority or a constitutional majority
There is another angle, however, or another side of this picture. Some of us have spent a good many years studying this problem. There has been considerable controversy as to whether Congress should have the right to amend a reorganization plan; and there have been some reorganization plans defeated, Mr. Brundage, because of one particular paragraph or provision therein that Congress didn't want, and couldn't strike out, so Congress just beat the whole thing.
On the other hand, if we are to provide that a reorganization plan shall be subject to amendment in the House or in the Senate, then we have the possibility that the Congress will simply make over completely the reorganization plan the President submitted, so it would