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matter was properly being taken care of under one of the branches or one of the departments with a Cabinet head.
As I look back that was in 1929 or 1930 and I was here-as I look back I remember the tremendous opposition that was developed to that, when people knew what it was, and now I see not a finger of protest raised against these plans. I think probably this plan has a dozen projects of just as far reaching importance as a Department of Education. That was a little Bureau which they wanted to raise to the dignity of a Cabinet position.
Therefore, it seems to me that this committee without going too far into the merits and without passing on some of the charges I expect to make this morning, could well report out Resolutions 151, 154, and 155 favorably, and stop the reorganization temporarily until a further study could be made.
Now my distinguished colleague Mr. Whittington, suggested I take up plan No. 1. Plan No. 1 has a great many interesting things in it, but as I made a little progress, I found that, as I recall, it started to make permanent some of these wartime agencies. It was no consolidation, but something permanent, but the most important thing in plan No. 1, is to make these temporary wartime emergency housing projects permanent.
Now this housing proposition has a long and honorable history. Before the war broke out we had a slum clearing program that got so bad that Congress quit appropriating money for it, they were wasting funds and not getting anywhere. The name is a long involved name and I forget just what that name is.
There was another housing program which progressed for a while with part of its efforts to relieve the depression and then became more or less inactive. The war then came on and the need for wartime houses and I am not criticizing that at all because there was real need-created and brought to life under one form or another with the President's reorganization, and I have prepared a memorandum which I will submit for the record giving some of the details, that created these wartime agencies. Then this Congress, as you men know, has been struggling with the matter of emergency housing for Veterans, and there is the Wagner-Ellender-Taft bill which is now pending before the Banking and Currency Committee, and which estabishes or seeks to establish a permanent housing program and some say that it put the Government in the business of building houses permanently.
If you will study plan No. 1, you will see where the plan, stripped of all this verbiage, perpetuates all of these wartime agencies and establishes a permanent Government policy of having the United States Government go into the business of building houses. Now as an emergency matter, let us assume that Congress has been justified in passing the bills that have been passed. We know there is a great emergency need for housing, but this is a long-range program. Sometime I hope that the Government will get sufficiently out of business so that our system of free enterprise will again be permitted to function.
Now, gentlemen, I see in plan No. 1, a design or a result if there is no design, to put this Government in the housing business, because these emergency agencies derive their authority under, as I recall it, War Powers Act No. 1, and if not No. 1, then the other, and you know they are going to terminate 6 months after the Congress or the Presi
dent declare the war at an end. We are still at war and those wartime powers are all in existence. When they go out, then these agencies that will be perpetuated for at least 45 years, if my memory is correct, under plan No. 1, those agencies will have the status of a permanent agency created by the law. If this committee wants to sit by and I do not think it does and without investigation permit legislation of that kind by the President by means of Presidential message, then I think it is time we gave this procedure consideration.
This committee is faced with a proposition of either taking the action I have indicated in these concurrent resolutions, or else permanently committing the country to a system of building houses, something that has never been done in the history of America except as a wartime or as an emergency proposition.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Pittenger, right there, in 1933 or 1934, did the Congress not create the United States Housing Authority and is it not true that the National Housing Authority created by Executive Order 9070, February 24, 1942, was issued to consolidate several housing agencies that had been created by the act of Congress? Mr. PITTENGER. I think that is correct.
The CHAIRMAN. Therefore, this order would not be making permanent a temporary agency, it would be consolidating and coordinating the functions of the housing agencies that have been created by an act of Congress.
Mr. PITTENGER. No; it takes Mr. Wyatt's agency and ties them all in to a permanent legislative program that is good for at least 45 years. You are doing that by a Message of the President, not by an act of Congress, and it has all the force and effect of law.
The CHAIRMAN. Of course, under the reorganization plan the President could not extend the life of an agency beyond the time authorized by the law under which he gave his Executive order.
Mr. PITTENGER. He creates the agency and the law under which the Agency is directed by the Executive directive is authorized to carry on a long-range program of 45 years.
The CHAIRMAN. He cannot extend the functions if those functions under the War Powers Act arose from the authority of the War Powers Act; he could not extend those beyond 6 months after the expiration
Mr. PITTENGER. No; but he would have to designate some other agency to wind up their duties. This makes that procedure as designating some other agency practically impossible.
The CHAIRMAN. As I understand the order, it is based on existing law and not on the War Powers Act.
Mr. PITTENGER. The President's directive there, under the first War Powers Act, the President set up a wartime agency under Executive Order 9070—I think I am correct about that.
The CHAIRMAN. That is right. Mr. PITTENGER. That was in the early part of 1942. He called that a National Housing Agency and then he did what you say he did, he put these other agencies which had been created by prior law in peacetime under the National Housing Agency and he transferred the Federal Home Loan Bank and some others to the National Housing Agency. Is that the one you are talking about?
The CHAIRMAN. That is right.
Mr. PITTENGER. The National Housing Agency has not actually carried out, as I understand it, the details of a building program. It has become more or less of a research agency. However this reorgan, ization plan consolidates all of these duties and functions and legal authority under the one agency and perpetuates it.
The CHAIRMAN. However no function that would die under the War Powers Act can be extended beyond the date of the War Powers Act or the date provided by the War Powers Act.
Mr. PITTENGER. By this reorganization plan they are trying to give the effect of law to these temporary agencies which will die 6 months after the War Powers Act is terminated. Mr. CHURCH.
Will you read the language now which you claim does that in the Reorganization Plan No.1 or the plan No. 2.
Mr. PITTENGER. It was the Reorganization Plan No. 1.
Mr. PITTENGER. They are consolidated to form a permanent agency of the same name—I am quoting now from section 501 on page 9 "and shall be administered according to the provisions of this plan. Then section 502 says, the head of the National Housing Agency shall be known as the National Housing Administrator.
The CHAIRMAN. What provision in this order in part V of the plan is contrary to the Reorganization Act we passed in December?
Mr. PITTENGER. Your Reorganization Act does not permit the extension or the authority for these wartime agencies beyond 6 months after the termination of war. This does it.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes; but as I understand this plan, the National Housing Agency was established by Executive order in 1942 and succeeded agencies created by acts of Congress. Those functions were not limited to the war power.
Mr. PITTENGER. They were consolidated with it.
Mr. PITTENGER. They were wiped out, they became emerged in this new agency
The CHAIRMAN. They continued to function throughout the time under the United States Housing Authority and the different agencies that were building houses under Government programs.
Mr. PITTENGER. This new agency, this wartime agency succeeded all the rights and duties of those agencies, they have been inactive except as they function under this Executive order. Now Reorganization Plan 1, if you men will study it, and I will be glad to submit an additional memorandum on it, with the committee's permission, does perpetuate that thing and does perpetuate these wartime emergency housing agencies. As I understand it, some of those contracts can run 45 years, and they are fortified by a period of at least 45 years.
The CHAIRMAN. As I understand, under the terms of the act those were created by act of Congress without limitation of time. If the National Housing Agency, created by Executive order, succeeded the United States Housing Authority and the other building agencies created by law, they could continue the functions authorized by the law creating the United States Housing Authority.
Mr. PITTENGER. I will answer that question this way, and I think I am correct: Those peacetime agencies—they were duplication, as I
recall, from my experience with them-one of them was that slumclearing agency headed by Nathan Straus. I am sorry I cannot give the name, but there is at least 10 words to the name of that agency, and they wasted so much money Congress quit appropriating it for them. They then created another agency for low-cost homes or slum clearance. The power and authority of those agencies were more or less circumscribed. The power and authority of this Executive order under the wartime emergency, they could do almost anything, within certain limitations, but they have considerably more leeway than they had under the slum agencies.
Mr. CHURCH. Following up my question awhile ago, directing your answer to page 9 of plan No. 1, the words, “are consolidated to form a permanent agency of the same name," what about that? Mr. PITTENGER. That is the first thing I said to the chairman.
Mr. CHURCH. I'll assume that it said"to form an agency of the same name"; is your contention still the same?
Mr. ÞITTENGER. Yes; until the President's Reorganization Plan No. 1 is repealed by the act of Congress, I would say "Yes."
Mr. CHURCH. Do you need go to other language in No. 1 if you eliminate the words, “permanent agency," "agency of the same name”?
Mr. PITTENGER. I would like to study that more before I gave an offhand answer. It is a legal question. I can say to my distinguished colleague, Mr. Church, that I think he put his finger on something when he mentioned the word “permanent,” which is a clear indication that this is to be a permanent agency and putting the Government permanently into the business of building houses. Now if you want it, all right. However, I do not. It is my conception of our Government and our form of Government that people build houses instead of the Government doing everything for them.
Mr. Church, I do agree with you in that conclusion, but I want to find out if you can point out other words in No. 1 plan that does make it permanent.
Mr. PITTENGER. No. I believe there will be other witnesses here, I have not consulted the clerk, but there will be other witnesses who want to be heard and probably they can clarify that.
Mr. BENDER. Is it not the gentleman's contention that plan No. 1 is a good job of juggling and not saving money? Under the 1945 reorganization plan it is stipulated that administrative costs in agencies to be consolidated shall be lessened by 25 percent, and under this plan No. 1 the word “transfer" is used so many times, and we are transferring agencies from one department to the other, not saving money but merely juggling and putting departments under other heads and abolishing nothing. About the only thing we abolish here is the High Commissioner to the Philippine Islands.
Mr. PITTENGER. I believe that is true. I think the gentleman has stated the matter much more ably than I could do and I believe he has run true to the facts in saying that. That same criticism runs through most of these other plans, plan No. 2 and plan No. 3.
The CHAIRMAN. Is it not true that if the War Powers Acts were to expire today, that the National Housing Agency which is now in existence under Executive Order No. 9030, the component parts that were used in the Executive order to make up that National Housing Agency, the United States Housing Authority—I do not have the complete listings of them any other agencies would revert back to the state that existed prior to the issuance of this Executive order and we would still have those agencies building houses?
Mr. PITTENGER. That might be true, but I will say to you gentlemen that those agencies functioned so poorly that they were getting no money from Congress and they had to do more or less with a very popular improvement in those days known as slum-clearing projects and were never designed to meet or never had in contemplation the housing emergency that the country faces now.
If you let plan No. 1 become law, you have made permanent what I have been talking about as being temporary housing legislation, or made so by Executive order by act of Congress-we passed one a few days ago. I am quite sure, Mr. Chairman, that I am correct about that.
Mr. HENRY. Mr. Chairman, is there anything in the Reorganization Act of 1945 that permits the President to make permanent any temporary agency that was created under his war powers?
The CHAIRMAN. There is nothing. Mr. HENRY. But the testimony offered today indicates that the President is attempting to do just that.
Mr. PITTENGER. I stand on my testimony, Mr. Chairman, that that is what plan No. 1 seeks to do, either unintentionally or intentionally with good motives or with bad motives. I would be very much interested in knowing who worked out that plan and have them tell us what they had in mind. If they tell you, they will tell you what I have been telling the committee.
Now, Mr. Chairman, I do not want to take up all the committee's time, but I want to make one or two comments about plan No. 2.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Before you leave this plan No. 1, with your permission, Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask you a question or two after making this statement: I think the real objection to plan No. 1 is part V, the National Housing Agency.
Mr. PITTENGER. There are others, but that is the only one I mentioned.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. I am giving you my view with respect to plan No. 1. I think there is much in your contention that it undertakes to perpetuate in violation of section 5 of the Reorganization Act, an agency established by Executive order that would expire 6 months after the declaration of termination of war, or when the War Powers Act expires.
Here is what I would like to have your view about; as the chairman has suggested, admitting that name and its continuance to be in violation of the act, what about the clumsily written provisions of this plan? The plan consolidates the existing agencies and if the President had chosen some other name than National Housing Authority would he not have had the power to conslidate these agencies authorized by law and given the name, even though that be the name of the temporary war powers agency established by Executive order? What is your answer to that question?
Mr. PITTENGER. I have an answer for it. I will say that I was here when the agencies under those other two acts of Congress were functioning. I certainly was not in sympathy with the way that either agency was administered. That plan was to give low-cost housing to people who could not afford to buy them. Under the slum-clearance