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APRIL 26, 1944.—Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the state of
the Union and ordered to be printed
Mr. Johnson of Oklahoma, from the Committee on Appropriations,
submitted the following
(To accompany H. R. 4679)
The Committee on Appropriations submits the following report in explanation of the accompanying bill making appropriations for the Department of the Interior for the fiscal year 1945.
SCOPE OF THE BILL The bill provides regular annual appropriations for the various activities under the jurisdiction of the Interior Department, and also contains funds for the Solid Fuels Administration for War and the Office of Fishery Coordination. In addition to appropriations for administration, operation, and maintenance of the agencies coming under the jurisdiction of the Department, funds for the purpose of carrying forward public works under the control of the Department are also contained in this bill and are discussed in succeeding paragraphs.
A detailed tabulation will be found at the end of this report giving each appropriation in the bill for 1945, the amounts appropriated for the fiscal year 1944, and the Budget estimates for the fiscal year 1945, together with the increase or decrease in appropriations and estimates as compared with the amounts recommended in the bill.
APPROPRIATIONS AND ESTIMATES The Budget estimates of appropriations for the objects contained in the bill will be found in detail in the 1945 Budget-the estimates for administration, operation, and maintenance being set forth beginning on page 401 of the Budget, and those for the public-works program
beginning on page 702. In addition thereto, supplemental estimates totaling $8,904,000 have been submitted and considered in connection with this bill in House Documents Nos. 480 and 482. Also, House Document No. 510 contains a supplemental estimate increasing the amount which may be used from available funds for marketing, operration, and administrative costs of the Bonneville Power Administration from $3,734,000 to $3,988,000. The Budget estimates for 1945, including supplemental estimates, total..
$96, 824, 207 The committee recommends appropriations totaling---- 87,672, 580
The recommendation of the committee provides
a reduction under the Budget estimates of... 9, 151, 627
The bill provides a reduction under the 1944 appropria
26, 279, 496
REDUCTIONS IN APPROPRIATIONS AND ESTIMATES The decrease of $26,279,496 below the 1944 appropriation is reflected in several activities, but is due primarily to reductions in funds which will be required for the continuation of certain construction projects during the fiscal year 1945. The reduction of $9,151,627 in the Budget estimates recommended by the committee represents a very substantial cut in practically every activity. Attention is invited to the fact that in no instance has the committee recommended that appropriations for any organization unit be increased above the Budget estimates and that in only one instance has an individual item been increased above the estimates.
The following table gives a brief summary of reductions in the 1945 Budget estimates as recommended by the committee:
: Not to exceed $3,988.000 of unobligated balance made available for marketing, operation, and adminis trative costs.
2 Not to exceed $3,686,540 of unobligated balance made available for marketing, operation, and adminis trative costs.
Permanent appropriations, general, special, and trust accounts.—The permanent appropriations are those which occur automatically each year without annual action by Congress, having been created specifically by Congress in previous years and continuing as such until modified or discontinued. It is estimated that total expenditures under these funds will amount to $22,084,262 for the fiscal year 1944 and $21,012,500 during the fiscal year 1945, a decrease of $1,071,762.
INCREASE IN REVENUES OF DEPARTMENT For many years it has been the contention of the committee that the activities of the Department which render a service to the public should, insofar as practicable, be self-supporting. The committee has had the full cooperation of the Department in this respect and the showing now being made is most gratifying. Figures submitted to the committee during hearings on the bill show that actual revenues (excluding trust funds) for the fiscal year 1943 amounted to $51,655,060, that the estimated revenues for the fiscal year 1944 are $60,090,220, and the estimates for the fiscal year 1945 indicate revenues amounting to $66,642,075. While these revenues by no means represent a clear profit, they do indicate a most encouraging trend in revenues for which the Department is deserving of commendation.
MILITARY DEFERMENT OF PERSONNEL The committee is of the opinion that the Department has been too liberal in requesting deferment of draft-age personnel. Statistics set forth on pages 8-11, part1, of the hearings, show that as of February 15, 1944, there were 6,696 male employees 18 to 37 years of age holding positions in the Department, that of this number 2,221 had received occupational deferments, and that of this latter figure, 2,073 were deferred at the specific request of the Department. The committee is disappointed in the showing made by the Department in this connection and is of the opinion that such persons now holding white-collar jobs could in a great majority of cases be replaced without detriment to the war effort. With the growing shortage of manpower throughout the United States and the drafting of many pre-Pearl Harbor fathers in every community in the land, it is deeply to be regretted that so many deferments have been requested for some single men as well as married men with no children holding positions in the Department which the committee considers not to be essential.
The committee has endeavored to impress upon the heads of bureaus that this situation must be eliminated without undue delay.
DUPLICATION OF ACTIVITIES IN BUREAU OF MINES AND GEOLOGICAL
SURVEY Attention of the committee has been called to duplication or overlapping of work performed by the Bureau of Mines and the Geological Survey. Two specific instances are called to the attention of the Department in order that appropriate action may be taken. They are as follows:
1. The Bureau of Mines is engaged in the inspection of coal mines for safety purposes. The Geological Survey makes periodic inspection of all coal mines on public lands, this latter inspection being required by law. Savings can be effected through an agreement on the part of the Bureaŭ of Mines to accept inspections made by the Survey.
H. Repts., 78-2, vol. 3
2. The Economics and Statistics Service of the Bureau of Mines collects mineral production statistics throughout the country, including Alaska. The Geological Survey is ordered by law to collect such statistics in Alaska and both organizations are presently sending out questionnaires to mine owners in Alaska for certain information.
The committee recommends that the Department investigate the matters referred to above and take such remedial action as may be necessary. The committee also wishes to commend the frank expressions of Under Secretary Fortas during the hearings with reference to duplication of activities between the Bureau of Mines and the Geological Survey and trusts that appropriate steps will be taken to remedy this situation to which he has called attention.
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY
Salaries, Office of the Secretary:
-For this office there is recommended an appropriation of $1,222,420, which is $10,405 in excess of the 1944 appropriation and $89,580 less than the Budget estimate. While the committee has not adopted a rigid policy of refusing all requests for new positions, it believes that only such positions as are of the utmost urgency should be authorized at this time. For this reason the committee has denied all requests for new positions in this office and has allowed only additional funds for reallocations, promotions, overtime pay, and the transfer of personnel from the appropriation item "Soil and moisture conservation operations.” The decreases recommended by the committee are as follows: Secretary's office
$6, 520 First Assistant Secretary's office--
4, 600 Budget and administrative menagement.
24, 740 Personnel supervision and management.
8, 400 Chief Clerk's office..
3, 420 New Assistant Secretary and safety engineer (H. Doc. 450)
29, 000 Special Assistant to the Secretary
5, 000 Overtime pay--
89, 580 Office of the Solicitor.—The Budget estimate for this office contemplates the authorization of two new positions, an assistant solicitor at $5,600 and an attorney at $2,000, and the consolidation into the appropriation for the Solicitor's office of funds for two positions in Alaska, a counsel at large and a clerk-stenographer, at a total cost of $10,432, the two latter positions now being paid from several appropriations made available by the bureaus for that purpose. The committee has disallowed the new positions requested and has also eliminated funds for the counsel at large and his assistant. In denying the two latter positions the committee wishes to express disapproval of the practice which has grown up in many departments in recent years of establishing new and important positions without congressional authorization and confronting the Congress later with the request that appropriations be provided in the regular way to take care of the salaries of such positions.
Division of Territories and Island Possessions.-A reduction of $43,420 is recommended in the estimate of $159,000 for this activity. The committee is of the opinion that an expansion of the work of