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reorganization plans submitted to Congress would be in some detail, so that the Congress would know, and everyone else would know something about the direction the reorganization was taking. Reorganization plans are supposed to go into considerable detail, thus enabling the Congress to have some check on authority granted in the Reorganization Act.
Therefore, we want to again say that by reason of the fact that plan No. 4 is really not a plan-just a grant of authority without congressional check-we feel it should be rejected.
Now, Madam Chairman, that is the basis of my objection to this plan, which is to all intents and purposes and in its very essence identical with Plan No. 4 that the Congress rejected practically unanimously in 1950.
Now, the resolution to which I referred, introduced by the four distinguished Senators that I named, in the year 1950, was approved by a bipartisan majority of the Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Department. I am sure that the members of this committee remember the report that they made, but for the purpose of this record I wish to read two paragraphs from the majority report on plan No. 4 of 1950 (S. Rept. No. 1566, 81st Cong., 2d sess.). This is from the report:
In the final analysis, the Congress, if it approves Reorganization Plan No. 4, will be completely surrendering its prerogatives as to the basic policies of the Government in the field of agriculture, and will place the farmers under the complete jurisdiction of the administration in power for whatever political manipulations the present or any future Secretary of Agriculture may be disposed to utilize.
The plan contains no compulsion or mandate to the Secretary that he shall reorganize the Department, nor is there any provision in the plan which would place any limitation on his authority to disrupt one service with which he is not in full accord in favor of another which he might favor. It places in the Secretary a blank check to use or not in any manner he may desire how and hereafter without advance indications to the Congress as to what action he will take to effect reorganizations either in accord with or opposed to Hoover Commission recommendations.
I did not catch from the reading of the Chair's statement as to whether the letter of Hon. Herbert Hoover, the former President, approved this specific plan or not. I assume that he probably did.
I have just been handed a copy of former President Hoover's statement, in which he urges the adoption of this plan, plan No. 2 of 1953, on the ground that the organization of the Department of Agriculture is obsolete. He did not, as I understand it, urge the adoption of the plan in 1950, when another political party was in power, and it is noteworthy that seven of the eight members of the Hóover Commission Task Force that examined the Department of Agriculture, made an exhaustive inquiry into its operations, and appeared before this committee in 1950 and urged that Reorganization Plan No. 4, which is identical with the pending plan in its power, be rejected because it did not conform to the plans of the Hoover Commission.
I do not know when the light broke on Mr. Hoover and caused him to see that this plan was in accord with the report of the Commission, but certainly in 1950 he did not find that a virtually identical plan was in accord with the report, and 7 of the 8 members of his task force heartily disapproved of this same plan.
Now, Madam Chairman, and members of this subcommittee, I submit that this is a question of principle and not of partisanship. The objections which were stated in 1950 lie against this plan today, and the principle which the Congress stated so forcefully when it was practically unanimous in rejecting plan No. 4 should be reiterated today in equal force in rejecting plan No. 2. Certainly there is nothing partisan in my attitude in this matter. I opposed the plan under both administrations. It so happens that I have been identified, in as large a degree as my capacity permitted, with agricultural legislation since I first became a Member of the Senate.
' In this connection, see comment of Dean H. R. Rusk, p. 193.
I am proud of the measures that I have handled on the floor of the Senate and of the record that I have made in attempting to handle the agricultural appropriation bill for 18 years, and more than that, I am proud of the fact that on a number of occasions, the members of the opposition party have stated on the floor of the Senate, and it will be found in the Congressional Record, on several occasions, that there has never been the slightest hint of partisanship in my handling of farm legislation or farm appropriations. And I would regret to see partisan considerations now come into play in the consideration of this plan that was condemned almost unanimously by the Congress in 1950.
Madam Chairman, I cannot conceive of any reason on earth which justifies the failure of the Department of Agriculture to give the President for transmission to the Congress a specific plan for the reorganization of that Department, in accordance with the spirit and intent of the Reorganization Act. Certainly, there have been ample studies made of the Department over the years. The Hoover Commission came forward with very specific proposals as to the administrative reorganization of the Department.
It recommended that the Department be grouped into eight major units: Staff Services, Research Services, Extension Services, Agricultural Resources Conservation Services, Commodity Adjustment Services, Regulatory Services, Agricultural Credit Services, and Rural Electrification Services.
That was not the first study that had been made by the Department of Agriculture. There is an immense amount of data available for the Secretary of Agriculture and the President to conform to the letter and spirit of the Reorganization Act of 1949, as amended by the bill handled on the floor of the Senate by the distinguished chairman in this session of the Congress.
Let them prepare and submit to the Congress a specific proposal for the reorganization of the Department of Agriculture.
The Secretary does not have to do all of his reorganizing at one time. If he sees where one bit of reorganization is important, he can prepare an order for the President to send down to Congress, as stated in the act, and the Congress can approve that plan in piecemeal. He has until April 1, 1955, to submit as many specific plans as he desires to submit.
And I contend with all the force that I have that that is the intent of the Reorganization Act, that the Congress should know the form that the Department is to take after the reorganization is had before it approves a reorganization plan.
We are entitled to a specific statement from the Department of Agriculture as to its plans for reorganization and to an opportunity to study the specific plan.
Anyone who would read this reorganization plan would never know that the Hoover Commission had ever been appointed, or made a report, even though Mr. Hoover endorses this blank-check proposal. It does not even relate directly or indirectly to the report of the Hoover Commission. The Secretary of Agriculture could absolutely disregard it; he could adopt it. He does not have to do anything. He can do anything that he wishes in the Department under this proposal.
He has ample time now to submit plans without having us, from here on out, giving the Secretary of Agriculture any such great power. We have changes in the political complexion of this Nation. It might be that some time in the future as the pendulum of politics swings back and forth, there might be another Democratic Secretary of Agriculture in power, and if he does come into power, he would be vested with all of the unlimited powers over the farm activities in this country that were found so obnoxious in 1950 when there was a Democratic Secretary of Agriculture.
I say that it is a grant of power that no man, Republican or Democratic, should have, because it is an abject surrender of the Congress of its power and responsibility in the legislative
Now, this blank-check proposal should be rejected, and we should be given specific information in a reorganization act as to what the Secretary of Agriculture proposes to do. He has made no such statement. I inquired of him before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture as to what he had in mind after this order was submitted. He stated that he did not have any specific plans for the reorganization of the Department.
So why should we not reject this proposal, and let him go back and get some specific plans and submit them in such terms that the Members of the Congress and the farmers of this Nation can understand them? If we accept a proposal of this kind, giving this permanent and unlimited power, without having the slightest idea as to what is going to be done with the functions of the Department of Agriculture, the Congress might as well shut up shop and go home, as far as agricultural legislation is concerned.
This proposal, if it is adopted, will place the destiny of the American farmer in the hands of whoever happens to be the head of the Department of Agriculture from this time henceforward, if it is approved. There is not a member of this committee, and indeed there is not a Member of Congress, who has the slightest idea as to what will be done with the various functions of the Department under this plan.
Now, which one of the functions will be magnified and given greater power? Which one will be subordinated and in effect stifled or eliminated?
Those are questions of importance to the farmers of America, and we are entitled to a direct answer before we grant any such power as this.
I know that every member of this committee is keenly conscious of his responsibility to the people of our Nation, and the Congress has no greater responsibility than that in the field of agriculture. It is a responsibility of an unusual character. Agriculture is basic to the life of our people. Under the laws enacted by the Congress, the Department has a great responsibility in determining the amount of food and fiber that will be available for the sustenance of our people.
The question of food and fiber is the one basic, the one fundamental, in our entire social structure and in our life.
Over the years, the Congress has built agricultural programs that have gone forward to increase the prosperity and well-being of the
American farmer. We bave erected safeguards against many of the hazards and disadvantages that brought about the great farm depression of the twenties and thirties, the depression that spread until it threatened our entire economy, if not our form of Government.
Madam Chairman, there is no way for the Congress to avoid its responsibility in this matter. In my judgment, if reorganizations are had in the years to come, not necessarily during the incumbency of the present Secretary of Agriculture or any other Secretary of Agriculture, that are harmful to the farmer, the farmer will blame the Congress and not the executive branch of the Government. If there are failures, they will be our failures, if we approve this plan, and we will be held accountable therefor.
We can abandon our power and our responsibility, as is proposed in this plan, but we cannot absolve ourselves of accountability.
I submit again, Madam Chairman, that this plan should be rejected. The Secretary of Agriculture should prepare, and the President should submit to the Congress, a new reorganization plan that clearly sets forth his intentions as to the functions of the Department. And when he submits a plan in accordance with the spirit and intention of the Reorganization Act of 1949, as amended, I am sure that any reasonable plan or any that I can conceive of that he might submit will meet with the sympathetic consideration of responsible legislators whose primary concern is the interest of our people.
I appreciate the fact that I was accorded a hearing this morning, and I wish to point out again that in the report of this committee, in reporting the extension of the Reorganization Act of 1949, on page three of the committee's report, (S. Rept. No. 36, 83d Cong., ist session), the committee goes into detail in stating that these reorganization plans are to be submitted to the Congress for its approval, and that the Congress, by virtue of the fact that it will be advised of the nature of the plan, will have the full knowledge of what is to transpire within the field, and the power to exercise its legislative responsibility and reject a plan which does not meet with its approval.
I submit that this is too great a grant of power, and that it extends it in perpetuity. There is no time limit upon it anywhere, and the Congress ought to have a higher concept of its powers and functions and responsibilities under the division of power set forth in our form of Government, than to sign any such blank check without having the slightest idea as to the figures that would be filled in by the payee of the check, the Secretary of Agriculture.
I thank the Chair.
Senator Smith. Thank you very much, Senator Russell, for giving the committee your views on Reorganization Plan No. 2.
If I understand you correctly, you do believe that there are changes needed in the Agricultural Department?
Senator RUSSELL. There are unquestionably changes that can be made that will increase the efficiency of that Department, just as there are in any other.
As I stated at the outset, my experience over 20 years with some four or five reorganization plans that I have supported, does not leave me very hopeful that any great savings will flow from these reorganizations. It seems that we create additional secretaries every time we reorganize, and that may be in the interests of efficiency, but there
are undoubtedly areas in the Department where reorganization will improve the services to the farmer.
But I submit that where the Congress has patiently and with great labor all over the years created these functions, we are entitled to know when one is to be abolished, when one is to be subordinated, or when one's authority is to be enlarged to cover that of another function that was created by Congress.
Under this plan we have no way on earth of knowing what will be done unless we read it in the press, after it is already an accomplished fact. I am perfectly willing to support any reasonable plan that the Secretary might prepare and submit to the President for his submission to us in accordance with the spirit of the Reorganization Act, and I have told him of that willingness personally. I have discussed the changes with him that I thought should take place in the Department of Agriculture. I am willing to support any reasonable program of reorganization.
But when we take a step that will from henceforward practically nullify any influence of the Congress over the nature of the functions of the Department of Agriculture, I say that that is a grant of authority that goes entirely too far. That is the effect of this plan.
Senator SMITH. If I understand correctly, then, Senator Russell, your principal objections to the plan are: One, that there is no time limit on the plan; two, that the plan is not specific enough; three, that it gives too much power to other than an elected official; and, four, that it should be done largely by legislation?
Senator RUSSELL. No, not necessarily by legislation. I am perfectly willing for the President to send a plan here to reorganize the Department of Agriculture every day, so long as Congress knows what he is doing. I just do not want to buy a pig in a poke. I do
. not know what is proposed here. In other words, if we were to get a Secretary of Agriculture in the good year of 1965, let us say, who proposed to abolish the Rural Electrification Administration, I think the Congress ought to have a right to vote on that reorganization plan before they abolish it, or before they subordinate it or stifle it where it cannot operate.
Under this plan we do not have that right. I am perfectly willing to follow the Reorganization Act of 1949, as amended by the bill handled by the Chair this year, in reorganizing the Department of Agriculture, and I will support those programs. But I want to know what they are, and I want them to have a time limit on them, to where they will finally get the Department reorganized, and not permit the Department to be set up according to the whim or fancy of whoever happens to be the Secretary of Agriculture, rather than in accord with what Congress thinks.
These are congressionally created functions, Madam Chairman, Neither the Secretary of Agriculture nor the President nor the two of them combined, can create a function in the Department of Agriculture. They are created by the Congress. The Congress should know when they are to be abolished or when they are to be enlarged or when they are to be minimized or when they are to be subordinated or when they are to be extended.
All that I ask is that we follow what I understand to be the clear policy of the Reorganization Act and tell the Congress some idea of what they are going to do with these multiple operations that affect