« 이전계속 »
thankful that the Appropriations Committee operates in this manner. But even so, the Appropriations Committee really doesn't know what money absolutely is needed whether the money previously appropriated has been or is being wisely spent. The Appropriations Committee generally has to take the word of the agencies down the street. Somehow there ought to be an accountability of all the programs we have created. Somehow each agency or department ought to have to prove that the programs already passed are effective. I have the feeling that we take somebody's word and by and large continue ad infinitum programs that have become outdated or have lost their usefulness or principal thrust.
The Congress should assert its own control over the financial matters of this nation.
It may be that none of the alternatives I have mentioned are either possible or practical. I mention them only as food for thought and a foundation from which to begin. I certainly welcome others. My main purpose today is to create a dialogue that hopefully might lead to an end to encroachment by the President and OMB on the constitutional duties and powers of Congress.
In the process of establishing different procedures to control expenditures the Congress has reached a new plateau in the OMB. The Congress has attempted in the past to control its own budget and budget limitations, but has failed to do so. This does not mean that the present system is the perfect answer. Obviously it gives all the prerogatives to the President and the OMB. That responsibility should be in the hands of the Congress.
We come to focal point in the whole question: Who should have the final word in appropriating money or in the expenditure of funds? Either the OMB or the President has the final authority or responsibility, or the Congress has it. It is constitutionally clear that the Congress, the people, were not only intended, but designated, to perform this responsibility. Therefore, the Congress ultimately must face this responsibility or else by acquiescence, direct and indirect, we relinquish the rights that were intended under the Constitution. The Congress must face this issue honestly and forthrightly.
Briefly, in that special order, I said if matters continued on their present course that we "might as well make paper airplanes out of the laws we pass.” I urged that we not be lulled by the slow steps of executive power--that we realize honest and crucial constitutional issues are at stake-that we realize unless the Congress maintains its power over the purse it is nothing.
I asked that we realize the day may come when our constituents asked us for aid and we could do nothing.
That day is here, fast bearing down upon this Congress. The steps this Executive has taken have not been slow-and neither must be those of the Congress.
It would be humorous, if it were not so serious, but I am hard pressed just to keep up with what congressional programs are being abolished daily with the stroke of an Executive pen.
Unless we take steps this year to restore Congress as an equal branch in the Government we may disappear from the halls of actual Government.
We will not be able to maintain the faith that those who elected us entrusted to us. We will not be able to offer them hope for a better life. We will not be able to extend charity to those who are needy. Our words and our actions in the Congress might become as "sounding brass and tinkling cymbal”—and maybe little else.
There is an old Taoist saying inscribed in the great Audience Hall of the Forbidden City in Peking. It reads, “Through not doing, all things are done.” Perhaps all things will be done—but not by the U.S. Congress unless we resume our proper role in this Government.
The matter of Executive impoundment at its heart is far more than a matter of congressional prerogatives. That fact cannot be emphasized enough.
At the heart of the matter is what kind of Government we shall have-one-man rule or a republic.
At the heart of a republic is the issue of who shall control the spending of that government's tax moneys. It's just that simple at the heart.
In the whole spectrum of things, however, it is not so simple. The President believes he has the voice of the people behind him bcause he is working to cut Federal spending—and everyone except the person affected wants to cut Federal spending.
To decide where to cut, the President has ordered his Office of Management and Budget to go over every Federal program.
But that is just the point. To oppose the specific cuts the administration recommend is neither inflationary—nor irresponsible. For it is the constitutional right and duty of the Congress—not of a star chamber government composed of the President and his OMB—to make the final decision on where Federal funds shall be spent.
Let me make it clear that I do not advocate wholesale spending. I think the Congress has a clear duty to maintain spending controls upon itself.
It is a duty we have, frankly, failed in the past. We must meet it now or get out of the ball game. This confrontation was an inevitable as it is timely. It is good that we have this confrontation and it should be approached on a nonpartisan basis.
Nor do I think the President has no role at all in the determination of where to spend our tax revenues. Indeed, he has a very great role. His views and his expertise and that of his staff are invaluable assets in shaping our Federal programs and Federal budget.
For instance, the new budget which the President sent to the Congress this week contains the abolishment of several programs and is bound to raise a hue and cry in the Halls of Congress.
But I do not discard his proposals out of hand. I think it is well that he has made his proposals. I trust he presents a strong case for his proposals before the Congress.
But let us not get so caught up in the problems and rhetoric of too much Government spending that we forget the basic constitutional problem of impounded funds—which is to say the final word over which programs are to be funded must-constitutionally—come from the Congress.
I think that whether a program finally lives or dies is a matter to be settled in hearings before the elected representatives of the people here in the Congress-not in a back room of the Executive Office Building far from public view.
That is why the legislation we consider today is the very essence of the present constitutional crisis between the executive and legislative branches of this Government.
If the President can send a budget here, the Congress makes amendments and lawfully passes the final appropriations, and then the President spends money only as he originally intended to, then something is amiss.
A budget drawn up by the OMB seems to carry here the force of law. And an act of Congress signed by the President does not.
If the President goes on to cut off in midstream programs which even he has requested, then something is drastically wrong.
We have a Government by whim of a single man—without hearings and without recourse.
We consider here today a bill which will provide that recourse and which will replace the Congress in charge of its duty over the Federal purse.
This bill is not a license to spend. The bill requires the President to seek congressional approval whenever he wishes to impound funds. I think the Congress will weigh very carefully before refusing such a request—particularly if the reasons presented for the impoundment are strong ones.
I think we all realize that impoundment is sometimes good management-for example, if a ship can be built for less money than appropriated by the Congress, then the Executive should not spend all the money. If money appropriated for a disaster proves more than actually needed down the line, impoundment could be a useful tool. That has actually been the history of these impounded funds. I think the first time any kinds of funds were impounded was probably in the days of Thomas Jefferson when he had some gunboats going up the Mississippi. Then when it came time to build the boats he said they weren't needed because we had bought all of the territory. And, therefore, he didn't spend it. That was a form of impoundment.
I think we had the same example in the Civil War when Abraham Lincoln withheld funds at the conclusion of that war, and we know that Franklin Roosevelt didn't spend some funds at the end of World War II when he converted from war to peacetime. He said this wasn't needed. There have been rare instances when this has been done.
Senator ERVIN. Don't you think if this bill had been in effect at that time, that the Congress would have voted overwhelmingly to ratify the action impounding those funds?
Mr. PICKLE. I certainly do. I think beyond a doubt they would have done it and it would have been a useful vehicle to have done it. It wasn't a point in controversy and everybody accepted it and went about our way and a little bit later I think President Truman withheld funds on the U.S.S. carrier plane proposition. President Eisenhower withheld funds on the Niki-Zeus missile program. President Kennedy withheld funds on the B-70 bomber. And President Johnson withheld funds in four or five instances, including the highway trust funds, although I like to quote that when he was a Senator he decried the fact that the Executive wasn't spending some money that had been appropriated for a program he legislated. But he was in a different role as against the President. Now though the problem is we are using the budgetary reserve or the impoundment, the withholding of funds not as the great exception but as the rule.
Senator CHILES. To interrupt you there, do you know of any instance in which impoundment was used to just destroy a program like REAP?
Mr. PICKLE. No. With the stroke of the pen actually he did away with the program without authority of any kind of law. It is the same effect if you just refuse to appropriate any money. And the odd thing about that step was that we, the Congress, had appropriated some $225 million for the program and they didn't give, approximately, or some $85 million less but his own OMB says we will proceed with that. And then he took the next step and reneged by not even appro
priating any money. So that thing is killed. So that is just not withholding, that is dealing a death blow to a program that I don't think he has any authority to do. I think something needs to be done because of these instances.
If an overriding fiscal concern arose, or a program were not working the way it should, then I should think the Congress would want to hold back on some funds. That is the point Senator Ervin was making; the Congress would do it.
But I do not think that it is the right or the duty of the President and the OMB to assume that they and they alone care about these matters that they and they alone are qualified to determine the wisdom of such decisions.
We care, we are qualified, and we are given this task by the Constitution—“to lay and collect taxes *** to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare.” That is as explicit as the language can be.
As most of you may know, I and other colleagues have introduced an impoundment bill in the House which now has a little over a hundred cosponsors and which is substantially identical to the bill offered by Senator Ervin which you are considering today.
There is one small difference. Our bill requires the President to notify the House and Senate: (1) the amount of funds impounded; (2) the specific projects of governmental functions affected thereby; and (3) the reasons for the impounding of such funds.
Senator Ervin's bill would add to these three requests: (1) the date the impoundment was ordered; (2) the date it becomes effective; (3) the length of time for which it is effective if not for the full fiscal year; and (4) the fiscal impact of the impoundment.
Senator Ervin. I would agree, as far as the substance of the two bills are concerned, the differences are negligible.
Mr. Pickle. Yes sir; and that was going to be the statement. I do point out the difference with the bills we have introduced and the bills that you have introduced are different only in some detail and the substance is exactly the same.
The bill I introduced was presented last year by our outstanding colleague, former Congresman Bill Anderson, of Ï'ennessee. We are renewing the bill of his authorship last year. I cosponsored the Anderson bili last year, and I take this opportunity to salute his work in this area. I salute his initiative also.
I point out the differences between the bills, however, for information only. Mr. Chairman, whatever the final form is, I believe we need an impoundment bill.
I plan to listen to all ideas. If this committee believes their version will best suit the job, then I will listen. I firmly place working to get something that will pass both Houses of Congress above being bullheaded for our bill only.
Already in the House there has been utmost cooperation among various sponsors of impoundment bills. You may note that Mr. Harrington, Mr. Sarbanes, Mr. William Ford, all introduced virtually the same bill. We have been in close contact with sponsors of similar legislation and with the leadership of the House.
Mr. Chairman, I want to assure this committee how closely we have been working in the House on impoundment legislation.
We want a bill passed.
I have one further comment I would like to make. My bill and op de: the bill we consider here today allow the President to impound funds
for 60 days. Some may point out that this is in contradiction to the CEP position many of us took on the amicus curiae brief in the case of Fat the State of Missouri v. Volpe and Weinberger, which proposes that D any impoundment is unconstitutional.
Ỉ maintain that if the judicial branch has to settle the question of
impoundment, I will join the issue on that battlefield as well as in the k Congress.
I would, however, want to see Congress settle the question.
I do not think it is healthy to resolve the impoundment question in le the atmosphere of judicial drama.
Such an approach would only be another abdication of responsibility į by the Congress.
It could also serve to intensify the constitutional problems we now face
. Rather than having impoundment declared unconstitutional, I would hope that the Congress could take a more moderate approach as contained in the impoundment bill—one that will leave more room for cooperation on all sides. Moreover, it will take time-time that we do not have, my friends. So let us pass a bill such as I have proposed or Senator Ervin has proposed or someone else has proposed—or a compromise worked out down the line. But let us pass a bill.
A greater gift we could not give to this country as we approach our 200th anniversary than to say, “We have kept the Republic.” We all know the old story about the lady who cornered Ben Franklin as he emerged from the Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia. “What do we have, Sir, a monarchy or a Republic?,” she asked. “Å Republic," replied Dr. Franklin, “if you can keep it.”
I don't think, Mr. Chairman, we have any more serious question before us today than to pass some kind of legislation that would provide for congressional resolve of the impoundment of these funds and I do hope that we can proceed to get a bill through either House and do it immediately. It is not a partisan question, it should not be, it is a constitutional question. I thank you Mr. Chairman. Senator CHILES. Thank you, sir. Senator ERVIN. I think the President ought to welcome a bill like pour bill or the bill that is being considered by this committee simply because it gives him an opportunity to have it determined in an orderly
whether he is able to persuade the Congress that they ought to ratify his impoundments.
Mr. PICKLE. I certainly don't fault the President in trying to preserve fiscal responsibility. I think the President sees this as an issue that was coming and I am not so certain he didn't intentionally set the stage. Perhaps he should have done it earlier, but I think he will welcome it.
Senator Ervin. I must say I am certainly in favor of fiscal responsibility, and I can claim I voted against several proposals that the President made to the Congress over the past 4 years because I thought that they were fiscally irresponsible.