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LETTERS FROM CONGRESSMAN WRIGHT

Congress of the United States

House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

June 8, 1976

Honorable John O. Pastore
Chairman, Subcommittee on State,

Justice, Commerce, the Judiciary

and Related Agencies U. S. Senate Washington, D. C.

Dear Mr. Chairman:

I know that you are as disappointed as I am that the Commerce Department has ignored the explicit directive contained in the Senate Report on the Supplemental Appropriations Act.

As you will recall, the Department was requested to submit an immediate amendment seeking funds to begin setting up the new Title V Regional Commissions.

Since the Department apparently has made no move at all to respond to this request, I have written the enclosed letter to the Secretary of Commerce.

If you have any suggestions as to how I might be helpful to you in this initiative, I hope you will let me know.

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Congress of the United States
House of Representatives

SUBCOMMITTEE ON

INVESTIGATIONS AND REVIEW
COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC WORKS AND TRANSPORTATION

Washington, D.C. 20515
P-379 RAYBURN HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING
TELEPHONE: ARLA COOE 202, 223-3274

June 8, 1976

OF THE

WALTER R. MAY, CHID COUNSEL
PAUL R. 1. YATES, MINORITY START DIRECTOR

Honorable Elliott L. Richardson
Secretary of Commerce
U. S. Department of Commerce
14th and constitution Ave., N. W.
Washington, D. c. 20230

Dear Mr. Secretary:

Almost a month ago, on May 14, I wrote the Department of Commerce urging that you give prompt attention to the language in the Senate Report on the Supplemental Appropriations Act which asked that you submit an immediate amendment to your 1977 fiscal year budget request to provide "start up" funding for the Title V Regional Development Commissions which will be created this year as well as the recent addition of the State of Nevada to the Four Corners Regional Commission.

As Chairman of the House-Senate Conference Committee that developed the Regional Development Act, I have been very pleased with the way that the Governors of the four Mexican border States have responded. After a great deal of work, they will be meeting later this month to send you their formal request for designation of the U.S.-Mexican Border Regional Development Commission.

The Governors of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have also followed through on the authorizations in last year's act and have sent you their completed application for designation of the Antilles Regional Commission. I am afraid I have to agree with the Governor of Puerto Rico who finds it somewhat ironic that the President has chosen Puerto Rico as the site of his economic "summit" conference while their application for regional economic development assistance has been awaiting approval for two months.

It is obvious that the Governors of all the states in the newly authorized commissions have acted very quickly and responsibly to the legislation signed by the President last December. The Federal response to the section of the Act that directs particularly the Secretary of Commerce "to invite and encourage the formation of a regional commission along the border with Mexico" has been rather discouraging.

It will really be unconscionable if bureaucratic delays in the Department of Commerce prevent the appropriation of "start up" expenses for the new Regional Economic Development Commissions which will be established during the next fiscal year.

I know that I am personally disappointed that your Department has not ye. sent up the amendment requested by the Senate Appropriations Committee, or, for that matter, even acknowledged my letter of last month pointing out the need for early action to meet the deadlines of the Appropriations Committees that will have to be reporting your Fiscal Year 1977 Appropriations bills very soon.

This is also a matter of concern to the Public Works and Transportation Committee because we will be taking the extension of the Economic Development legislation to the floor of the House within the next few days and expect to be questioned on the status of the new Commissions at that time.

I am sending copies of this letter to members of the Appropriations Committee to urge them to support your budget request and if there is any way that I can help, please let me know.

Sincerely,

Jim Wright, M. C.

STATEMENT OF THE FEDERAL STATISTICS USERS' CONFERENCE

This statement is submitted on behalf of the Federal Statistics Users' Conference to express the views of our organization on the 1977 Budget requests for certain statistical programs of the Bureau of the Census and the Bureau of Economic Analysis of the Department of Commerce.

FSUC 1s an association comprising 200 organizations generally classified as business firms, labor unions, nonprofit research organizations, State and local gov emments, and trade associations. These members have a common interest in obtaining adequate, timely and reliable information from Federal programs in the light of certain criteria which FSUC has established, the principal one being that a statistical program should provide data of optimum usefulness at minimum cost.

The FSUC Board of Trustees has undertaken a careful study and review of the proposed programs of the Bureau of the Census and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Members of the Board reviewed the programs that were outlined in Special Analysis G of the President's Budget and in the Appendix to the Budget. Representatives of both the Bureau of the Census and BEA attended a special meeting of the Board of Trustees in order to describe their proposed programs in more detail.

We believe that the proposed programs represent a minimum that is both necessary and essential in times of fiscal stringency. Aside from the need for initiating programs for the collection of new statistical data, a most important aspect of the development of the Federal statistical system is the need for improving some of our ongoing, current statistical series. We have found that in many instances too little attention or concem is given to certain inadequacies or weaknesses in some of our statistical data and the need for improving them. Certain programs are proposed by the Bureau of the Census and the Bureau of Economic Analysis that are designed to improve some of their current statistical series, mainly in the way of improving the reliability of some of the series and extending coverage of others in areas that are considered most necessary.

On the other hand, rapid changes in both our economic and social structure often require the initiation of new series of data to meet our emerging needs. It is im port ant here that a step-by-step approach be taken and appropriate developmental work be undertaken. We believe that both of these agencies are making a conscientious effort to take a step-by-step approach to obtaining a higher degree of accuracy and precision in their ongoing statistical series, as well as in initiating new series.

We urge that the Subcommittee give favorable consideration to the following proposed programs :

The measurement of Inventory change has long been troublesome in the estimating of gross national product data. Recent pattems of rapid price changes have high11 ghted deficiences in current inventory estimates. Several specific projects have been included in the Census Bureau budget to improve statistics in this difficult

area.

As a step toward improving the accuracy and reliability of me asures of current business inventories, the Census Bureau proposed to conduct an annual benchmark sur vey of inventories held by wholesalers. Such surveys are currently conducted for retail trade and manufacturing inventories. The proposed survey would be based on a subsample of the monthly wholesale sample, and as in the case of other annual surveys, would be conducted on a mandatory basis. The survey will be used for benchmarking and for improving the monthly inventory estimates currently produced.

The Bureau also requests a modest increase in funds for undertaking other projects designed to achieve improvements in inventory data. An important one is to undert ake a survey to determine the type of products included in each industry's inventory and their tumover rates in the manufacturing sector. For the GNP computation, the current dollar changes in inventories have to be converted to derive an equivalent of physical change in inventories. The proposed survey will provide the information needed to select the proper commodity price index or group of commodity price indexes for deflating materials, work-in-process and finished goods inventories to obtain this

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