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be transferred to be used for another purpose. Nevertheless, the question did arise as to whether that would be possible or not.
Finally, Madam Chairman and members of the subcommittee, I want to ask that Agriculture not be made the exception to these reorganization plans. We have already given authority to reorganize to the heads of other departments, and I would not like to see the Agriculture Department made a conspicuous exception to this rule. That concludes my statement.
Senator SMITH, Senator, the subcommittee thanks you very much for coming in this morning.
I gather from what you have said that reorganization in the Department should be a continuing matter and a cutoff date would not be wise.
Senator AIKEN. I would not have objected to a cutoff date. As I have mentioned, the Secretary can make no laws; he can make no appropriations. He cannot change any laws. Certainly, I would not undertake, as I have heard proposed, to take from the Secretary reorganization powers which he has now, and which he has had for many, many years.
I would rot object to a limitation of time on the additional powers to reorganize, but I certainly would not want to deprive him of any authority which he had in the first plan.
Senator SMITH. Senator Dirksen?
Senator DIRKSEN. Madam Chairman, I have no questions, but I want to make this one observation.
From the testimony we have had thus far, Senator Aiken, it just looks to me as if the friends of Agriculture were trying to put Agriculture in a class separate and distinct from any other agency of Government. Now, the record discloses pretty well that authority was voted to the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of the Interior, the Attorney General, and others giving them almost identical powers. But when it came to Agriculture, there was something sacred about it, and you must not put the profane hands of the Congress upon it, nor of the Senate.
Now, it seems to me that the good friends of Agriculture do the Department and the cause a great disservice when they try to set it off in a separate cubicle and say, “It is all right to reorganize anything else in Government, but not this."
I sincerely hope that they will not persist in that attitude, because it does not do the cause good.
Senator AIKEN. I would agree with the statement of the Senator from Illinois. I do not think that we should point congressional fingers at the Secretary of Agriculture and say that he, and he alone, shall not have the full power of reorganization which other department heads have.
Senator Smith. Senator Humphrey ?
Senator HUMPHREY. My only question is the degree of difference between this plan and plan No. 4 of 1950. I had some doubts about plan No. 4 in 1950, even though I supported that plan. I recall the vigorous protests that were made on the floor of the Senate. It reminds me of the legislative history on the reorganization plan of the Federal Security Agency.
To be quite candid about it, the question seems to be, Who is running the show?
I supported the original reorganization of the Federal Security Agency to a departmental status, and it was vigorously protested and defeated. I filed a minority report in support of the reorganization of the Department of Agriculture, along with others, in 1950, and it was vigorously objected to.
Now, I have looked over these plans in considerable detail, and with the exception of the farm credit aspects, I do not see very much difference between these two plans. This public notice business is covered by the Administrative Procedure Act pretty well. There is not much need of having the fluff of public notice, or general statements about placing the administration close to State and local levels.
You cannot do anything more along those lines under this plan than you can under what the law now authorizes.
Senator AIKEN. I would think that there is a considerable difference between the two plans, because here we have the Secretary virtually giving notice that he will make public his plans for major changes. He is virtually giving notice that he will place the administration of agricultural programs as near the local levels and State levels as possible, and we have an unequivocal prohibition against the expenditure of funds appropriated for one purpose for another purpose.
Now, I do not think that that is permitted under the general act itself. Nevertheless, as I have pointed out, we were having quite a few interpretations of acts which were contrary to what a good many Members of Congress thought they were legislating at that time.
We had the importation of Swiss cheese, for instance. We did not intend to cut out cheese that was selling for $1.50 a pound from coming to America. Yet the interpretation was such that the cheese actually was prohibited from coming into America after Christmas, although the fiscal year did not end until the 1st of July.
It was also unfortunate that the Secretary of Agriculture and the Congress were not seeing eye-to-eye on quite a few things at that time.
Senator HUMPHREY. I appreciate that, Senator. And I know that there were strong feelings about that.
It is your view, therefore, that there is considerable difference between these two plans?
Senator AIKEN. I would say that there is quite a difference, in that what could have been interpreted as being in the plan No. 4 of 1950, is spelled out in this plan so as to make it less subject to misinterpretation, or the wrong interpretation. I do not say that it would be deliberately ministerpreted, but it would be harder to get the wrong interpretation on this.
Senator HUMPHREY. Is it your understanding that the admonition within, I believe, section 4, to place the administration close to State and local levels, means the continuation of the county committee system, unhampered and unadulterated?
Senator AIKEN. That would depend on what they were hampered in doing and what they were adulterated with,
I would assume this to mean that the administration would be as close to the State and local levels as possible, and to avoid as far as possible a concentration of power in Washington. It may be difficult to get away from it in some respects. We have to concede that. But it is worth trying.
Senator HUMPHREY. Would your general interpretation be, Senator, because you are the chairman of the Agriculture Committee, and a very honorable and able chairman-would it be your interpretation that the county committee system would be preserved and maintained with its functions and duties?
Senator AIKEN. My understanding is that the county system is to be preserved, and I would like to say that the system now set up happens to be the system which has been in effect in my State of Vermont even to the rotating of the State committee members, for many years, and it has worked well.
Senator HUMPHREY. Do you consider the employment of a county manager as making it closer to the local levels and closer to the grassroots, and farther away from centralized control?
Senator AIKEN. I think that the employment of a hired county employee would have a greater tendency to keep the program out of the political field, because it goes without saying that one who is recognized as a public employee does not have the political influence that farmers of the county or the community have, particularly when a good many of their neighbors do not even know that they are getting paid for their services.
One thing about it is that if the new program does not work, it is always possible to improve on it or to return to what they had before. But I am inclined to think that it will work, because it has worked in my State, and I do not think that the ACP and the PMA program has worked any better in any State in the Union that it has in Vermont.
Senator HUMPHREY. I want to make my position clear. I think that insofar as the political significance of elected county committee people with administrative powers versus an appointed county manager or administrative officer, it is frequently obvious that one who can be hired without regard to the merit system is a political appointee, and is therefore a part of the political administration, much more so than one elected by the county people. That is my position.
Senator AIKEN. We have had no trouble with party politics in my State. I think that the present chairman is a Democrat. I think both chairmen under the last administration were Republicans, as I recall it. So party politics has not entered into the picture.
Senator HUMPHREY. I am not making any comments about any particular State, Senator.
Senator AIKEN. No, I am not, either, except my own.
Senator HUMPHREY. I just feel that I should make my position clear on my support for democratically elected farmer committees.
I have no more questions.
Senator Smith. Before Senator Dworshak asks questions, the Chair notes that Congressman Hope, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, is in the room.
Congressman, won't you come up and sit with the committee?
Mr. Hope. Since there are so many former House Members up there already, I think that I could just stay back here.
Senator Smith. We would like you to join us.
And Congressman Clifford McIntire, from my own State of Maine, and a member of the Committee on Agriculture of the House, won't you come up and sit with the committee?
Are there any other members of the House or Senate in the room? Senator Anderson, won't you sit with us?
Senator Smith. Thank you very much, Senator Aiken. We appreciate having you here.
Senator AIKEN. Thank you.
Senator Smith. We will now hear Senator Anderson of New Mexico, former Secretary of Agriculture, and one of our distinguished colleagues.
STATEMENT OF HON. CLINTON P. ANDERSON, A UNITED
STATES SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO
Senator ANDERSON. Madam Chairman, and members of the com mittee, I am here to urge this committee to approve Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1953.
It is my personal opinion that the Secretary of Agriculture would do well to tell the Congress at this hearing what he now has in mind on the subject of reorganization, but if he is unwilling or not ready so to do, I would still give him the clear power to reorganize his Department.
I must say, Madam Chairman, that I wrote this out in longhand last night, and as I read it this morning, the word "unwilling" seems to sound as if I meant "defiance." I do not mean that at all. I mean that if he is studying it and has not quite developed what he might want to do, or does not have definite plans at the present time, that would not hold me back in the slightest from approving the plan.
I want it clearly understood that I am not trying to suggest defiance by the use of the word "unwilling."
Also, it is my belief that the present Secretary of Agriculture--and succeeding Secretaries when being questioned prior to confirmationshould pledge the Congress that before a wholesale reorganization of the Department is undertaken, a blueprint of what is proposed will be disclosed to and discussed with the Senate and House Committees on Agriculture and with the proper subcommittees of the Senate and House Committees on Appropriations, as well as with heads of representative farm organizations, but even if such a pledge is not given, I would still give the Secretary the clear power to reorganize his Department.
Again I recognize that it may sound as if I am trying to prejudge what the Secretary is going to do. It is my personal belief that any Secretary of Agriculture would want to call in these committees and these farm organizations before he did the job.
I do think that it would be helpful if we had that sort of assurance from him, but if he did not give it, I would still approve the plan.
The need for the sort of authority provided in Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1953—authority to simplify, clarify, and adjust the internal organization of the Department of Agriculture to meet changing needs—has been recognized for a long time by different individuals and groups.
Former Secretaries of Agriculture have recognized this need. Leading farm organizations have recognized it. Members of Congress have recognized it. Students of efficient government--like the Hoover Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government-have recognized it, and have recommended the basic authorities now proposed.
There have been differences of opinion as to methods. There have been fears, sometimes justified, that adequate safeguards were not provided in certain past proposals. But there has been little difference of opinion as to the need to provide adequate flexibility in the authority granted the Secretary of Agriculture, to make it possible for him to do a common-sense job of administration. This means the authority to regroup and adjust units and services to meet the currently most urgent problems, as well as the activities directed at long-range objectives.
I want to draw on my personal experience to point out the flexible authority needed by a Secretary of Agriculture. The very fact that the Department covers such a broad scope of service and activities emphasizes this need. Conditions can change very fast. Today's task goes into tomorrow's pigeonhole. National and even international emergencies can and do develop overnight. A quick look at the record in just the last few years will illustrate this point.
I noticed as I was reading this that one day I left the Department of Agriculture to go to a luncheon at Blair House, and between the time I left the Department and the time I arrived at Blair House, a condition had arisen so that the Assistant Secretary of State never allowed me to go into the luncheon, but took me into one of the side rooms and got me to make an allocation of wheat to a South American country that was desperately in need of it. Now, at that time the Secretary of Agriculture was more concerned with where a shipment of wheat might go that had left the port of Galveston, and was already on the high seas, than he was with many of the other activities of the Department.
When I took office as Secretary of Agriculture in June_1945 we were faced with an immediate job of reorganization. The European phase of the war was coming to an end, and the War Food Administration was merged back into the Department. That meant that the dozen or more agencies which had been reporting to the War Food Administrator had to be fitted back into the regular Department organization. There were a lot of problems. Responsibilities were scattered. Three or more agencies in some instances were working on different phases of programs for the same commodity. The need was not only to get these various agencies and their employees back into the Department, but also to eliminate overlapping functions and concentrate responsibilities.
Fortunately, we then had available special wartime authorities. Acting under title 1 of the First War Powers Act, the President transferred the functions and services of the War Food Administration to the Secretary of Agriculture when he abolished the emergency agency. In effect, he gave me both jobs. With this broad authority, it was possible to move promptly. Without it—and there is no comparable authority now-we would really have been in trouble.
One of our major problems in the Department during the 1945-46 period revolved around relationships with the Office of Price Admin