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(H. Doc. No. 145, 85th Cong., 1st sess.) MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, TRANSMITTING RECOM
MENDATIONS FOR EXTENDING THE REORGANIZATION ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED To the Congress of the United States:
The Reorganization Act of 1949, as amended, under which the President is authorized to prepare and transmit to the Congress plans for the reorganization of executive agencies, states that no provision contained in a reorganization plan shall take effect unless the plan is transmitted to the Congress before June 1, 1957.
I recommend that the Congress enact legislation to extend the period for transmitting reorganization plans for 4 years.
The reorganization plan procedure authorized by the Reorganization Act is an essential means by which the President and the Congress can cooperate to assure the timely promotion of better organization and sound management of the executive branch of the Government. Under the act the President may transmit to the Congress reorganization plans which become effective after 60 days of congressional session unless disapproved by a majority of the membership of one of the Houses of the Congress. This method enables the President, who has direct responsibility for effective administration, to initiate improvements in organization, subject to review by the Congress.
Extensive accomplishments have been achieved under the Reorganization Acts of 1939 and 1945 and under the present statute, the Reorganization Act of 1949. The time for transmitting plans under the latter has been twice extended by the Congress: in 1953 and 1955,
The current act was adopted following the strong endorsement of the first Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government in 1949, which 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." “In December 1954, the second Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government unanimously recommended further extension of the act.
Accordingly, I urge the Congress to continue the practical arrangements contained in the Reorganization Act by which the Congress and the President can carry forward their cooperative endeavors to provide the best possible management of the public business.
Dwight D. EISENHOWER. The WHITE House, April 1, 1957.
COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES,
Washington, April 29, 1957. Hon. WILLIAM L. Dawson, Chairman, Committee on Government Operations,
House of Representatives. DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: Further reference is made to your letter dated April 11, 1957, acknolwedged April 15, enclosing a copy of H. R. 6711, 85th Congress, 1st session, and requesting our comments on this proposed legislation.
H. R. 6711 would amend the Reorganization Act of 1949 by extending the termination date thereof to June 1, 1961.
The Reorganization Act of 1949, as amended, authorizes the President of the United States, until June 1, 1957, to transmit proposed plans to the Congress for the transfer, abolition, consolidation, or coordination, of the functions of the executive branch of the Government, and provides that such plans shall take effect upon the expiration of 60 calendar days of continuous session of the Congress if, between the date of transmittal and the expiration of such period, neither of the Houses of Congress has, by a majority vote of the authorized membership, passed a resolution stating that that House does not favor the reorganization plan. The position of the General Accounting Office with respect to continuation or renewal of the authority granted under this act is adequately set out at page 24 of the hearings on S. 526, 81st Congress, 1st session, wherein the then Comptroller General indicated that he favored such a delegation of authority but believed it should be limited to the remaining period of the term of office of the President, in order that the Congress might periodically examine the results achieved and any necessary revisions of the law.
Failure to extend the provisions of the Reorganization Act for some definite period after the present expiration date may reasonably be expected to result in the submission of the same reorganization plans, in the form of proposed legislation, which would be submitted for the consideration of Congress under an extension of the authority granted by the act. Accordingly, it would appear that the basic procedural differences to be expected from a failure to extend the present act would be to afford the Congress an unlimited time to consider the merits of plans submitted, rather than the 60-day period provided by the act, and to substitute an affirmative approval of such plans by a quorum majority of both Houses of Congress for the present procedure whereby a proposed plan is approved by failure of a majority of the authorized membership of either House to disapprove such plan within 60 days after transmittal to the Congress.
Under the circumstances, and in view of the fact that we have no specific information indicating that the results achieved under existing law have been unsatisfactory or that a need for revision exists, we see no objection to an extension of the Reorganization Act of 1949 for such definite period as Congress deems appropriate. Sincerely yours,
JOSEPH CAMPBELL, Comptroller General of the United States.
EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT,
BUREAU OF THE BUDGET,
Washington, D. C., April 18, 1957. Hon. William L. Dawson, Chairman, Committee on Government Operations,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This is in reply to your letter of April 11, 1957, requesting a report and comment on H. R. 6711, a bill to amend the Reorganization Act of 1949, as amended.
The Reorganization Act of 1949, as amended, under which the President is authorized to prepare and transmit to the Congress plans for the reorganization of executive agencies, states in subsection 5 (b) that "No provision contained in a reorganization plan shall take effect unless the plan is transmitted to the Congress before June 1, 1957.” H. R. 6711 would amend that subsection by inserting a new date, June 1, 1961.
In a special message to the Congress on April 1, 1957, the President stated:
“The reorganization plan procedure authorized by the Reorganization Act is an essential means by which the President and the Congress can cooperate to assure the timely promotion of better organization and sound management of the executive branch of the Government."
In conclusion, he stated: “Accordingly, I urge the Congress to continue the practical arrangement contained in the Reorganization Act by which the Congress and the President can carry forward their cooperative endeavors to provide the best possible management of the public business."
It is my view that the reorganization plan approach to better organization of the Government, authorized by the Reorganization Act of 1949, has proved its effectiveness in past years. I strongly urge that the Congress act to continue the availability to the President and the Congress of that practical means for achieving organizational improvement. Sincerely yours,
PERCIVAL F. BRUNDAGE, Director. Mr. McCORMACK. Mr. Brundage, we are happy to have you with us,
STATEMENT OF PERCIVAL F. BRUNDAGE, DIRECTOR, BUREAU
OF THE BUDGET
Mr. BRUNDAGE. It is good to be here, Mr. Chairman.
I welcome this opportunity to discuss with your committee the need for enacting legislation, such as H. R. 6711, a bill to amend the Reorganization Act of 1949, as amended.
The Reorganization Act of 1949, as amended, authorizes the President to prepare and transmit to the Congress plans for the reorganization of executive agencies. However, subsection 5 (b) states thatNo provision contained in a reorganization plan shall take effect unless the plan is transmitted to the Congress before June 1, 1957.
Mr. McCORMACK. Do you know of any plans proposed between now and June 1?
Mr. BRUNDAGE. Plan No. 1 of 1957 is pending before the Congress. I know of none coming up before June 1, no.
Mr. McCORMACK. Do you mean pending in the executive branch? Mr. BRUNDAGE. That is right.
Mr. McCORMACK. Can you give us any information as to that now, without violating any confidence?
Mr. BRUNDAGE. I know of none that will be submitted before June 1. Mr. McCORMACK. I mean what is pending.
Mr. BRUNDAGE. We are exploring a number of matters. The Committee on Government Organization is meeting frequently and considering a number of them, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. McCORMACK. All right, Mr. Brundage.
Mr. BRUNDAGE. Accordingly, unless legislation, such as H. R. 6711, is enacted, the President and the Congress will no longer be able to utilize the reorganization-plan procedure which has proved its effectiveness in achieving timely improvements in the organization of the executive branch.
On April 1, 1957, the President by special message recommended that the Congress enact legislation to extend the period for transmitting reorganization plans for 4 years. In that message, he stated:
Accordingly, I urge the Congress to continue the practical arrangements contained in the Reorganization Act by which the Congress and the President can carry forward their cooperative endeavors to provide the best possible management of the public business. · H. R. 6711 will carry out the President's recommendation, and I commend it to your favorable consideration. .
The Reorganization Act authorizes a simplified procedure for improving the structure and management of the executive branch. Under that procedure, a reorganization plan providing for the reorganization of executive agencies and transmitted to the Congress by the President takes effect after 60 calendar days of congressional session, unless in that time it is disapproved by the adoption of a resolution in either House of the Congress by the vote of a majority of the authorized membership of that House. This procedure enables the President, as the responsible head of the executive branch, to initiate improvements in executive organization, and it reserves to the Congress effective powers of review and disapproval.
The Reorganization Act contains two titles. Title I sets forth the responsibility of the President for preparing the reorganization plans; states certain requirements and limitations controlling the contents of the plans; and provides the procedure for their taking effect. Title II consists entirely of the special rules of the Congress governing the expeditious handling of reorganization plans before the Congress.
Section 2 of the act, entitled “Need for Reorganization,” is very important. Subsection (a) states the six purposes of reorganization plans:
(1) to promote the better execution of the laws, the more effective management of the executive branch of the Government and of its agencies and functions, and the expeditious administration of the public business;
(2) to reduce expenditures and promote economy, to the fullest extent consistent with the efficient operation of the Government: .
(3) to increase the efficiency of the operations of the Government to the fullest extent practicable;
(4) to group, coordinate, and consolidate agencies and functions of the Government, as nearly as may be, according to major purposes;
(5) to reduce the number of agencies by consolidating those having similar functions under a single head, and to abolish such agencies or functions thereof as may not be necessary for the efficient conduct of the Government; and
(6) to eliminate overlapping and duplication of effort. The desirability of these objectives is obvious. Section 2 contains in addition subsection (b), which states:
(b) The Congress declares that the public interest demands the carrying out of the purposes specified in subsection (a) and that such purposes may be accomplished in great measure by proceeding under the provisions of this Act, and can be accomplished more speedily thereby than by the enactment of specific legislation.
Accordingly, section 2 not only sets forth the objectives to be sought by the Reorganization Act but points out that they can be accomplished effectively and more speedily under the reorganization plan procedure.
The Reorganization Act specifically authorizes the undertaking of five basic types of “reorganizations” by reorganization plan. Those are" (1) transfer, (2) consolidation, (3) coordination, or (4). abolition of the whole or any part of any agency or of the functions of any agency, and (5) the authorization of any officer to delegate any of his functions. “Agency” is defined to meanany executive department, commission, council, independent establishment Government corporation, board, bureau, division, service, office, officer, authority administration, or other establishment, in the executive branch of the Governand any and all parts of the government of the District of Columbia except the courts.
The Reorganization Act has become a well-accepted and proven tool for helping to keep the executive branch well organized to meet its current needs and for attacking the problems of ineffectiveness, inefficiency, or uneconomical operations of the Government.
The cooperative executive-legislative approach authorized in the Reorganization Act was adopted after long experience had demonstrated that improvements in organization were difficult to achieve when the sole way of correcting defects was to rely upon the passage of specific legislation. Improvements were long delaved and often overdue when a reorganization contained in a bill had to pursue its course through the legislative machinery and overcome the forces of inertia and other obstacles. The Reorganization Act permits an alternative, or supplemental, way of approaching this problem, and it does so by clearly placing the responsibility for initiating improvements upon the President. In addition, it is an approach which provides ample safeguards for the rights of anyone who wishes to be heard for or against any particular proposed change.
The provisions of the present Reorganization Act have been developed over the past 25 years. While the early acts were experimental and did not always work too well, successive improvements have been made. Presidential initiation of organizational improvements subject
to congressional review was authorized by the Economy Act of 1932. Under it, the President could provide for certain reorganizations of executive agencies by Executive orders which had to lie before the Congress for 60 days subject to disapproval by a simple majority of either House of the Congress. Eleven Executive orders were subse
quently transmitted to the Congress and all were disapproved. . Several reasons existed for disapproval and the act proved to be unsatisfactory.
In the Economy Act of 1933 changes were made to strengthen the procedure. It was provided that Presidential orders making reorganizations would automatically take effect after lying before the Congress for 60 days. The Congress could not prevent such an order from taking effect except by enacting specific legislation. This arrangement swung the balance in the opposite direction, and made congressional prevention of a reorganization very difficult. The reorganization provisions of the Economy Act of 1933 were in effect. until March 19, 1935, during which time 8 principal and over 15 subsidiary orders took effect and none was disapproved.
The cooperative executive-legislative approach to reorganization was revived and greatly improved by the enactment of the Reorganization Act of 1939. That act authorized reorganization plans as we know them today. Reorganization plans, prepared by the President, were transmitted to the Congress and became effective after 60 days unless disapproved by a concurrent resolution of both Houses of the Congress. This created a new and better balance between Presidential initiation and congressional review. Five reorganization plans were transmitted in 1939 and 1940 and all took effect.
During World War II, emergency powers were vested in the President to make wartime reorganizations by Executive order without congressional review. But after the war the Congress enacted the Reorganization Act of 1945 closely patterned after, and continuing the procedure of, the Reorganization Act of 1939. During the almost 272 years that the 1945 act was in effect, 7 reorganization plans were transmitted to the Congress; 4 became effective, and 3 were disapproved.
The concurrent-resolution procedure authorized by the 1939 and 1945 acts proved highly effective in those important prewar and postwar years. Those acts, however, contained a major defect which had been common in all the reorganization legislation up until that time; namely, they provided for the outright exemption of certain specified agencies and functions and the requirement for the special handling of others, thus preventing the application of the acts equally to all parts of the executive branch. Upon the recommendations of the President and the first Hoover Commission to make the reorganization-plan procedure comprehensive in its scope, the Reorganization Act of 1949 contained no such exemptions or limitations. This was a major improvement in reorganization legislation. Coupled with that improvement was a change in the disapproval procedure. The Reorganization Act of 1949 provides for congressional disapproval of a plan by the adoption of a resolution by a majority of the authorized membership of either House of the Congress. This is the so-called, one-House, constitutional-majority disapproval arrangement.
The period during which reorganization plans could be transmitted to the Congress under the Reorganization Act of 1949 was originally