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plan they wasted money. So far as I am concerned, those have nothing to do with wartime emergency. If the war had not come on, they were in process of liquidation. I rather expect I would vote tomorrow to abolish both of them.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Even so, abolish or not, my question now is, Regardless of the name, would not the President have the right to combine them, to transfer their functions if he were so inclined, and a plan submitted to Congress and with the plan initiated because he uses the name of an agency which I think ought to be abolished immediately?
Mr. PITTENGER. My response to that is, he is doing more than that.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. I am going to get to that, but let us take that as we get to it.
Mr. PITTENGER. I think probably he would have that right; yes. We will concede that, anyhow.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Now, then, secondly, I would like to have your view with respect to section 506 where he actually takes a step toward conferring the functions that now obtain by the Secretary of Agriculture.
Mr. PITTENGER. On what page is 506 ?
I invite your attention to section 506, subparagraph (a) which reads as follows: the functions of the Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of War, Secretary of the Navy, Federal Loan Administrator, and the Federal Works Administrator relating to the functions vested in the National Housing Agency or any constituent unit thereof under this plan. As the President tried, with the Reorganization Act to confer functions when his only power is to abolish them or transfer them? Can he continue those by merely conferring the functions ?
Mr. PITTENGER. I do not think he can create additional functions, if that is what that does. I have not studied that section. He can transfer or consolidate but he cannot confer new ones. I think you are absolutely correct.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Thirdly, turn to page 12, section 508, which provides: pending the initial appointment hereunder of any officer provided for in this part, the functions of such officer shall be temporarily performed by such officer of the existing National Housing Agency as may be designated by the President. Having abolished the function, how can it be conferred, even temporarily? * Mr. PITTENGER. I do not know that I followed the gentleman, but I do not think it can be done.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. If you hear of anybody else that thinks it can, · I think we should have the benefit of it. I think section V of this act
is clumsily written, and is under the guise of doing something that this committee forbade, because we refused to provide for a continuance of any agency organized under the act, and whoever wrote this plan, is clumsily undertaking to continue a wartime agency, and to put the Government in the housing business.
Mr. CHURCH. Do you mean part V? I think you said section V. I agree with you.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. It is part V.
OBJECTIONS TO SECTIONS 2 AND 3
Mr. PITTENGER. May I go ahead with section 2. In that connection, while it is fresh in my mind, let me say that a rumor is afloat to the effect that the Government agencies involved are going to say just as little and create just as little excitement as they can, and maybe submit some statements here and maybe not testify. I do not know, I may be wrong, but I wish you gentlemen of the committee would have some of them for my benefit explain some of these obtuse things that the distinguished gentleman from Mississippi has been talking about. I understand in the case of one or two departments there is an order from the head of the Department that no employees should open their mouths, and they are supposed to keep still.
I talked this morning with men who represent a certain group of folks. One man said:
I do not believe I even dare go before the committee when these men are interested, and I am their attorney, and so I am going to keep still, because they are forbidden by Department order to mention this reorganization plan as either being for or against it, even though it directly affects their interests.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. What I would like to know is, regardless of its being clumsily written, regardless of the undertaking to perpetuate functions, I want to know the solid objections to the coordination and combining of these existing agencies authorized by law, as suggested by the chairman, assuming that part V has gone too far. I want to know how these agencies will be hurt and crippled.
Mr. PITTENGER. I think it would be well to have the agency repreresentatives come in.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. I thought perhaps you had some idea.
The CHAIRMAN. Paragraphs 3 and 4 there, is that not a little unusual to base a recommendation on a bill that has passed only one body and has not been considered nor even enacted into law?
Mr. PITTENGER. What section are you looking at?
The CHAIRMAN. That is page 5, about the middle of the page, third paragraph.
Mr. PITTENGER. Well, I said at the very beginning, that these preambles here, if you are going to give the preambles, without reading that, the full force and effect of law, that this committee is certainly adopting a startling procedure that is far afield of anything I know of in connection with legislative matters.
The CHAIRMAN. If that would be brought before a court for interpretation they certainly would put no weight on what some other body had done that had not been enacted into law, would it?
Mr. PITTENGER. I do not want to mention any courts, but there have been unusual decisions lately. I would not predict what a court should do; they might hang somebody if they felt like it. I would not trust this ambiguity here to the courts.
Let me say, seriously, that I have great faith in the competence and ability of the courts, but if you submit to the courts a jumbled up mess of stuff like all of this preamble here to plan No. 1, and the courts take that seriously, they can just decide a case most anyway and then they might figure the Congress ordered them to do it.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. As I understand, it is a mild suggestion that does not involve a court, but another legislative body. I do not mean to interrupt; go ahead.
Mr. PITTENGER. Well, the House rules forbid me to give a verbal opinion on that.
Now, Mr. Chairman, I am taking up a lot of time, but I am certainly appreciative of the fact that the committee is on the job, and knows more about this than I do. I always like to be modest and yield to those suggestions.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. If you will, just plead guilty and save a lot of trouble.
Mr. PITTENGER. That is right; I will just plead guilty.
Mr. BENDER. Is it not your contention that a great mass of the people object to being instructed and wet-nursed from Washington and want to get rid of a lot of these instructors from Washington, and they expect our committee to do that job? Now here we are; instead of doing a surgical operation we are just doing a little job of transferring functions from one department to another.
Mr. PITTENGER. As I indicated to the gentleman, my fundamental objection to this is, it does not consolidate and eliminate agencies.
Mr. Chairman, I think this is very interesting: I was told, and this is in connection with plan 2, that some of the folks involved in plan 2 have already been before the Subcommittee on Appropriations of the House, have discussed the budgetary requirements in anticipation of the fact that plan No. 2 is going to be adopted, and when I innocently asked the party that I talked to, "Well, how about saving money?" I then learned that every one of those budgetary requirements under plan 2 is enormously increased. In discussing this, I would rather testify in this way because as I told the committee, I have my own ideas, and I do not pretend to be an expert. I said to this fellow after he told me they planned to mutilate the Department of Labor, I said, “What are you going to do with the Department of Labor after you get through with some of your transfers?" He said, “That is going to be bigger than ever; we will have many more employees over there than we ever had before."
No. 2 seems to be the most harmless and innocent and yet it violates, when I study it, every rule laid down by Congress last December, because it contemplates an enormous increase in Government activities, and enormous increase necessarily in Government employees, and enormous increase in expenditures, and if you want confirmation, talk to the Subcommittee on Appropriations, and I am sure-I did not make a note, but they will verify the enormous increases numbered in tens of millions of dollars for some functions under No. 2.
Here is what I want to say to the committee before I go any further: Plan No. 2 is subject to all of these other objections. If you will study plan No. 2 and the preamble, it takes care of everybody from the womb to the tomb. That may be a good thing, but that is what plan No. 2 contemplates. You cannot read that language and reach any other conclusion.
Now for specific objections to plan No. 2—and it does not compare with my ideas of consolidation-plan No. 2 abolishes the United States Employees' Compensation Commission. That is a quasi-judicial body. You may say it is not, but I say it is, because they have to
perform a quasi-judicial function of determining whether or not a person is an employee of the Federal Government, whether or not the person was injured in the performance of duties, and whether or not he comes under the Compensation Act which I think was passed in 1916. When they determine that, then they have administrative officials who have investigated the case and who go ahead and pay injured persons compensation under the act.
Plan No. 2 abolishes that act and transfers its function to this set-up here, to Federal Security by a new name. They also abolish the Social Security Board, and right away then they appoint three members of an Appeal Board. In the first place, that Board is a bipartisan board. It is put there so that the employees will feel that they have a bipartisan and not a politically governed tribunal to which they can go to have the determinations made as to whether or not the employees were injured in the performance of their duty for which compensation is to be paid. The plan does not carry out the spirit of the act of Congress, it does not save any money, it creates three new jobs on an Appeal Board.
The employees of this Commission, I think for the most part have been with them since 1916, or at least the framework. They either are going off the pay rolls and new employees put in some new agency here or branch, and train them to do this work. If you are going to keep them, why not leave the agency as it is? To me, the United States Compensation Commission is in much the position of the Federal Trade Commission or some of these other agencies that have a definite duty to perform and whose duties do not overlap or interfere in any way with the duties of some other Government agencies. We must have a certain number of Government agencies. What the reorganization plan contemplates, for a historic example, taking 10 agencies of the Government, abolishing 9 of them and letting the tenth one do the work.
To shorten this up as much as I can, I have some protests from a great many people opposed to the abolishment of the Social Security Board. I know I hold no brief for the Social Security Bɔard. Í have fought with them time after time. Here is what the fellows say, “This is a bipartisan Board.” They do not want the Social Security Board abolished, and leave the administration of the unemployment compensation and the old-age assistance and the other duties relating to social security to the whim or the caprice of some one man. They do not want that law changed until Congress makes the change.
Certainly, I have protests here from a number of organizations and groups and they can appear, and I have advised them they should, who are very much opposed to plan No. 2.
Now I had a telephone call from one of the members of the District government downtown 10 minutes before I came here. I do not know whether one or two of these Government hospitals, Gallinger or St. Elizabeths or some other one, come in plan No. 2 or plan No. 3, but they come in one of these, and they told me that this plan abolished the board of governors and did about 3 or 4 other things that just makes the present confused conditions much worse than they are, as far as the orderly exercise of the functions of our District government are concerned.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you mean to say they opposed the abolition of the board at St. Elizabeths? I though they would approve of that.
Mr. PITTENGER. I am only telling the committee what was told to me over the telephone and I suggested that the group interested contact Mr. Manasco and arrange with him for an appearance before the committee where they can explain how far-reaching it is.
The CHAIRMAN. That is the only section in either one of the plans I have had no one protest about.
Mr. PITTENGER. Let me give you another, and I think this other one is in section 3. I am not at liberty to give the name of the man who made the protest, but it is a man whom everyone here knows. You say you have had no protests made about the General Land Office that is affected here. I have had one.
The CHAIRMAN. I have had one on about everything but St. Elizabeths.
Mr. PITTENGER. Now, Mr. Chairman, I would like to go into some detail about the Childrens Bureau there, and later on I may ask the committee's permission, but I want to pass to plan No. 3 so I can finish my statement and not impose on the good nature of the committee. As I say, these various objections that I have made—and I am going to elaborate a little bit at the conclusion of my presentation--they applied to all three of the plans. I have a lot of protests. I have protests from people who do not want the Bureau of Marine Inspection taken away from the Department of Commerce and permanently put under the Coast Guard. The war came on, and then it was put under the Coast Guard where it is now. Plan No. 3 puts it permanently under the Coast Guard. I can say to you men that if you called these marine inspectors I do not believe you will find a one of them that wants to stay under the Coast Guard where they are subject to inspection by somebody with a revolver on his hip, and military necessity, and military rigidity, and so forth. They feel much more at home if they can roam about under the Department of Commerce.
There was never any criticism of their efficiency and effectiveness under that Department. I think, by the way, that they probably are subject to some sort of a regulation issued by one of the rear admirals that if they admit their own name before this committee they will lose their jobs the next day. I think that permeates, probably, all of these agencies, and all of these plans.
The CHAIRMAN. Is that a trend back toward Henry Wallace? I know last year we refused to permit the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to go under him.
Mr. PITTENGER. This does not concern the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, this is the Bureau of Marine Inspection.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, last year, we opposed the Reconstruction Finance Corporation going under the Department of Commerce.
Mr. PETTINGER. I would be glad to have the chairman make a speech on that subject; I know I could make one. Congress does show rare judgment on a lot of matters. I predict that if the committee will report this bill out, Congress will show rare judgment in connection with this fumbled up, jumbled up mess of plans 1, 2, and 3, which do not accomplish the objectives of Congress, but which mess up matters worse than they are, and which have the dangerous possibilities that I pointed out of committing this Government to a paternalistic,