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additional subsidized rental projects. Rehabilitation of existing housing in many neighborhoods can also be expected to grind to a virtual standstill in the absenceof sudsidy funds. The revitalization of salvageable inner-city neighborhoods which might have occurred with large-scale rehabilitation or clearance will not take place.
In short, the effect on substantial sectors of our economy will be disastrous; however, the foregoing analysis does not begin to describe the costs in human. terms. It is important, therefore, that the hopes and aspirations of vast numbers of elderly persons, workers, homeowners, and others are not dashed beneath the pens of socially disinterested budget cutters. With the committee's permission, at this point in the record we would like to introduce concrete examples of the housing moratorium's impact on various areas of the country.
CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS It is clear from the information set forth above that a constitutional crisis of staggering proportions is indeed at hand. This crisis becomes even more apparent when one considers the impoundment of funds in other areas of domestic concern. Similar social needs affected by the impoundment process include welfare for those low-income and elderly persons who are desperately in need of timely assistance; education and manpower training programs for those who have been socially disadvantaged and who have only recently been given the hope and opportunity to better themselves; water pollution treatment funds; highway funds; assistance programs for farmers; and other domestic programs which can foster improved conditions in our cities, rural areas and our environment generally, and eliminate those conditions which contribute to crime and despair.
We believe that S. 373 and the goals which it seeks to achieve are extremely important at this point in America's history. The Administration is asserting the power to impound authorized and appropriated funds where such action makes impossible the fulfillment of domestic programs that Congress has enacted into law. Other Administrations have certainly frustrated programs, but never under claim of right to do so. It is undoubtedly true that a major portion of responsibility for the existence of the present impoundment crisis rests with Congress. In many instances, Congress has enacted statutes which leave open to the Executive Branch entire areas of discretion not policed by carefully drawn standards; incautious drafting and reliance upon the good faith of an incumbent President are poor shields for a legislative program when the Executive is not sympathetic to the purpose and goals of the law.
To be sure, the very structure of constitutional government may be altered by the President's assertion of the power to impound. Practically speaking, the initiative for establishing national priorities is shifted from Congress to the President. By impounding the funds that Congress has approved, the President is in essence exercising the item veto which Presidents have often sought by legislation or Constitutional amendment, but have repeatedly been denied. Such a power clearly is prohibited by the Constitution which empowers the President to reto entire bills only. The lack of constitutional authority for the President to act in the area of impoundment was recognized as recently as December 19, 1969, when then Assistant Attorney General William II. Rehnquist advised that “With respect to the suggestion that the President has a constitutional power to decline to spend appropriated funds, we must conclude that existence of such a broad power is supported by neither reason nor precedent.”
DRASTIC ACTION TAKEN, BUT NO SOLUTIONS OFFERED In the fields of housing and community development, there is also reason to be concerned about the manner in which the Administration has chosen to alter drastically longstanding national housing policies and programs. Neither Congress, interested public and private groups, elected government officials, organized labor nor housing consumers in general were consulted in the process.
While a full four years were required to alter this nation's course of action in Southeast Asia, our nation's housing policies were drastically altered overnight without the benefit of careful or systematic study. Furthermore, con
structive and workable alternatives have not been forthcoming from the Administration to refine or replace existing programs.
It is no solution to say that the private conventional housing market has demonstrated its basic capacity to meet this nation's housing needs, when vast numbers of low and moderate-income families desire but cannot obtain decent shelter within their means. It is no solution to institute a holding action on new commitments for water and sewer grants, open space grants, and public facility loans until these activities are folded into Special Revenue Sharing; this constitutes Executive Branch coercion of Congress, the needy and the public-at-large. It is no solution to speak of the current pipeline of approved applications as assuring a substantial level of production well into the future, for the pipeline has been allowed to shrivel up for months and, indeed, may drop up completely before national needs are met, if the moratorium is allowed to remain in effect.
We too believe there is room for improvement; and that present programs must be refined further to insure that scattered abuses do not persist and color public thinking on vital social needs. We do not believe, however, that the American people gave the President a mandate last November to terminate federal housing programs; nor do we believe that the impoundment process should be used to frustrate effectively the will of Congress, as expressed in some thirty years of housing laws.
SENATE BILL 373
It is for these reasons that we testify before this distinguished subcommittee today. We have reviewed Senate Bill 373 and commend the Chairman of this subcommittee for his leadership on this matter and for his continuing dedication to the Constitutional processes. While we stand ready to support Senate Bill 373 as presently drafted, we respectively urge that consideration be given to the elimination of a 60-day "grace period" for Presidential impoundments. It appears to us that Congressional approval should be obtained by the President prior to any impoundment of funds for domestic programs; however, we would defer to the Chairman's thinking on this matter. We also respectfully urge that the Bill be amended to specifically cover the impoundment of funds by any cabinet officer, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and any other federal employee; and to specifically cover the withholding of subsidized housing funds, as well. As presently drafted, there is some question as to whether these individuals and programs are covered. We know that a great deal of time and effort has already gone into the preparation of this Bill; and, therefore, we offer these comments merely as suggestions, in the event that further refinements are made by the committee.
Finally, we concur wholeheartedly with the statements made by Chairman Ervin on the Senate floor when s. 373 was introduced, to the effect that the impoundment of funds does not constitute a cure for our nation's fiscal or economic woes. We too believe that impoundment does not save anybody any money, nor does it lead to lower taxes. As Chairman Ervin stated, “It is merely a means whereby the White House can give effect to the social goals of its own choosing by reallocating national resources in contravention of congressional dictates."
In conclusion, we call upon Congress to reassert control over its own programs. This Administration and previous Administrations have sought to influence these programs while under consideration by Congress and, in many instances, they were successful in their efforts. Now, the present Administration is seeking to undo years of cooperation between Congress, private interest groups and consumers alike, by ignoring Congressional directives in the process. Such actions have grave implications for our country as a whole, and therefore, we earnestly hope that this subcommittee and other committees of Congress will see fit to alter the course of events before permanent inroads are made in our constitutional process.
Mr. Chairman, we thank you for the time which you have afforded us today and commend you for your efforts. We are prepared to respond to any and all questions, in the time remaining. We are also prepared to provide this committee with any additional information which might prove helpful to your deliberations.
ORGANIZATIONS PARTICIPATING IN THE NATIONAL Ad Hoc HOUSING COALITION
Association of Retired Persons
ORGANIZATIONS PARTICIPATING IN THE NATIONAL AD Hoc HOUSING COALITION_Con.
Opportunity Funding Corporation
ECONOMIC IMPACT OF THE SUSPENSION OF NEW ACTIVITY IN HUD "HOUSING ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS, FISCAL
YEARS 1973 AND 1974 1
II. Community facilities to support housing:
Sec. 235 (single family).
Total community facilities..
Real estate taxes:
Total related services.
1, 495. 2
Total dollar impact (1, 11, 111 and IV)..
V. Impact on employment:
Based on a factor of 115 workers employed for 1 year for each $1,000,000 spent on all construction
and related facilities and services:
Total dollar impact ($19,298.0 X 115)
1 Based on factors supplied by Dr. Michael Sumichrast, National Association of Home Builders.
: Part of the economic impact from unutilized authority will come in fiscal year ending June 30, 1973, because of cutbacks in projected construction starts in fiscal year 1973. The sec. 235 construction starts were reduced by 105,500 units over the original fiscal year 1973 budget; the sec. 236 starts were reduced by 87,800 units over the original budget. Public housing starts were reduced 20,000 units over the original projections in fiscal year 1973, but will be placed under contract in fiscal year 1974,
(Attachment 1111 PROGRESS TOWARD 1968 HOUSING GOALS FOR LOW AND MODERATE INCOME FAMILIES UNDER HUD
[In dwelling units, starts and rehabilitation, estimated through fiscal year 19741
Source: For original housing goals: Hearings before the Subcommittee on Housing and Urban Affairs of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, March 1968, submission by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, pt. 2, table 1-c, p. 1325; for actual starts, fiscal years 1969 through 1971, “President's Fourth Annual Report on National Housing Goals, 1972," pp. 44-45; for estimates housing starts, fiscal years 1972, 1973, and 1974, budget highlight tables, fiscal year 1974, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Jan. 29, 1973, table 9.
STATEMENT OF Rev. ROBERT E. JOHNSON, CHAIRMAN, INTERRELIGIOUS COALITION
FOR HOUSING, NEW YORK CITY Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the Separation of Powers Subcommittee, my name is Rev. Robert E. Johnson, and I am chairman of the Interreligious Coalition for Housing with representation from 18 Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant religious groups.
We wish to express our stronghearted approval and support of Senate Bill 373, the Impoundment Control Bill, which was introduced on January 16, 1973 by Chairman Ervin and 44 of his colleagues to insure the separation of federal powers by requiring the President to notify Congress whenever he impounds funds, or authorizing the impounding of funds; and to provide a procedure under which the Senate and House of Representatives may approve the President's action or require the President to cease such action.
The ICH is a member of the National Ad Hoc Housing Coalition and wholeheartedly supports the statement made by the Chairman Robert Maffin.
We believe in the separation of powers and are opposed to impounding funds without congressional approval. If the President is allowed to do this and continues to impound funds the very situation of constitutional government may be altered by fiat.
The President has promised to bring the people together. Yet by his acts of impoundment he is tending to set people of differing economic groups against each other. At the very least his action makes the poor suspicious of administration's willingness to help the poor and moderate income people who are in such dire need for decent housing. Our national policy calls for decent, safe, and sanitary homes for all people regardless of race or income. The impoundment makes this an impossible task-postponing the inevitable and leading to increasing costs due to projected inflation.
The religious groups have invested front-end monies in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, to procure land, hire personnel, draft architectural plans, train