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tant part of this whole reorganization plan. The other parts of this plan are relatively unimportant, but part 5 which sets up à permanent National Housing Agency is far reaching and of the utmost importance. If Congress approves this plan and sets up this permanent new agency we will have taken another step along the road which leads to the complete socialization of our economy,
This may sound like an extreme statement. It is not, however, if we will look at the record.
This Government entered the field of financing the building of Government-owned housing and of subsidizing the rentals in such housing back in the thirties for the ostensible purpose of providing employment and of cleaning up the slums in the larger cities. This activity accomplished neither of these purposes. It was a failure and this House shortly before the war refused to appropriate additional funds to continue it.
That is where the matter stood when the war broke out. Public housing advocates for public housing in the Federal Government, and there are many of them, seized upon the war as a great opportunity to continue their own power and influence. They succeeded in getting a war job of the United States Public Housing Authority, which otherwise had nothing to do but liquidate itself.
How did they do this? They did it by getting the President of the United States acting under the authority given him in the First War Powers Act to set up a wartime agency of which they would be a principal part. This wartime agency was set up under Executive Order 9070 in the early part of 1942. It was called the National Housing Agency. The United States Public Housing Authority was put under this National Housing Agency but given a new name. It was now called the Federal Public Housing Authority, and it was given the job of spending the Lanham funds appropriated for building houses, most of them supposed to be temporary houses, for war workers.
The President also transferred to this wartime National Housing Agency both the Federal Housing Administration and the Federal Home Loan Bank Board. When this transfer was made the Federal Home Loan Bank Board of five members was abolished and the administration of this important private home financing agency wa put under the direction of one man, the former Chairman of the Board, Mr. John Fahey. The Federal Housing Administration was given additional powers by Congress to assist private builders to build houses for sale and for rent to war workers. It continued under its single Administrator as formerly. It did a splendid job in carrying out the mandate which Congress had given it through socalled title VI which was added to its basic act.
As far as I am able to ascertain the National Housing Administrator was of little or no assistance to either the Federal Home Loan Bank System in carrying on its work during the difficult war period or to the Federal Housing Administration. About all that the National Housing Administrator did was to take money from both of these permanent and well-established agencies and use it for his own So-called research activities.
During the war the National Housing Agency, as might have been expected
from its origin, became a center of Government propaganda and influence for promoting an extension of Government controls
and Government spending in the housing field. Long before the end of the war the National Housing Administrator and his general counsel, Mr. Leon Keyserling and his research assistants spent most of their time in preparing a bill which would make the National Housing Agency a permanent agency of the Government and which would give it complete control over the Federal Housing Administration and the Federal Home Loan Bank System in addition to being responsible for carrying out the public housing activities of the Government. These Government officials made elaborate presentations to the committees of the House and the Senate, pointing out the need for more and more Federal Government activity in the field of housing and particularly the need for continuing them as a permanent bureau. They were positive that the country would continue to need their services after the war was over.
The upshot of all of their activities was that there was finally introduced and passed by the Senate the so-called Wagner-EllenderTaft housing bill which set up a permanent National Housing Agency and which gave this agency extensive powers and controls over the private home financing and home building industries and which also made subordinate to it both the Federal Housing Administration and the Federal Home Loan Bank Board.
As far as I know all the private home-financing institutions in the country opposed the setting up of this permanent National Housing Agency through the W-E-T bill. They were alarmed at the prospect of subordinating sound principles of private lending on which depend the safety of insurance policies and the savings of millions of people to the unsound principles of public housing. Representatives of the life-insurance companies, of the savings and loan associations, of the savings banks, and of the commercial banks, all appeared before the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency to protest the enactment of this legislation. In particular, as I stated above, they were concerned with the setting up of a permanent National Housing Agency which would combine the public housing activities of the Federal Government with the responsibilities it has undertaken to support and improve the all-important private-credit functions of our economy
This is no place to discuss the Wagner-Ellender-Taft bill. That bill is now pending before the Banking and Currency Committee of the House, as is also another bill dealing with the long-term aspects of the Government's housing activities which was introduced by Congressman Wolcott. Before the House is given an opportunity to study these measures and to study all the implications involved in setting up the wartime National Housing Agency as a permanent agency of the Government, the President, or, perhaps more accurately, I should say the friends of public housing and further extension of Government controls who surround the President, have attempted to foreclose the matter through this Reorganization Plan No. 1. Unless Congress disapproves of this plan by concurrent resolution within 60 days the National Housing Agency with even greater powers than was given it during the war will be saddled on us permanently. Unless we act positively to disapprove this reorganization plan within 60 days it will become law. I urge this committee to report out favorably my concurrent legislation.
Iu doing so again let me stress that the committee will not be opposing a genuine reorganization plan but rather will be opposing the setting up by the President of a new agency of Government under the device of reorganizing its housing agencies.
While I have not raised the point I think the committee might well examine the question of whether the President has not gone beyond his authority in setting up this National Housing Agency as a permanent agency of the Government. This agency he proposes to set up, as I have pointed out, is nothing more or less than a continuation of the wartime National Housing Agency set up by Executive Order 9070 under the First War Powers Act. Under the terms of this First War Powers Act this National Housing Agency would automatically expire 6 months after the legal termination of the war. In the Reorganization Act of 1945, under which this Reorganization Plan No. 1 was submitted, section 5 set forth certain limitations on the President's powers with respect to reorganization. Among these limitations are this one, namely, that no reorganization plan shall provide shall have the effect of "continuing any function beyond the period authorized by law for its exercise, or beyond the time when it would have terminated if the reorganization had not been made, or beyond the time when the agency in which it was vested before the reorganization would have terminated if the reorganization had not been made.”
Clearly the Congress intended by this limitation to prevent the continuation of temporary wartime agencies of the Government under the guise of reorganizing the Government agencies. If there is any agency which is more of a war agency than the National Housing Agency, then I do not know what one is. As I stated, the officials of this Agency have been up here clamoring for their continuation on a permanent basis. And now the President does continue them on a permanent basis under the guise of reorganizing the Federal Government's housing activities.
There is another limitation on the President's powers with respect to reorganization to which I also want to call your attention. This section 5 of the Reorganization Act of 1945 also provides that no reorganization plan shall provide for or shall have the effect of
Authorizing any agency to exercise any function which is not expressly authorized by law at the time the plan is transmitted to the Congress.
Under this Reorganization Plan No. 1, the National Housing Administrator is charged with the responsibilityof devising and applying methods and practices conducive to a unified housing program.
That language is taken from section 506 of the Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1946. It is startling language. It declares through Presi. dential edict under the guise of a reorganization plan that this country has a unified housing program and that this Administrator of this new National Housing Agency shall be responsible for devising and applying methods and practices for making it effective.
Any member of this committee who has studied the propaganda of the officials of the wartime National Housing Agency understands better the implications of this language. This propaganda has stressed
again and again what we need in this country is a unified housing program and a unified housing policy which will see to it that every family from the poorest to the richest has adequate shelter. These public-housing advocates no longer believe there is an area in which public housing might operate as a charitable activity. They have given up that small-time approach to the housing problems of the country. They believe rather that the Federal Government should use the private home-financing and home-building industries as well as publicly financed housing for the purpose of seeing to it that every family throughout the whole country-on the farms and in the cities and in the small communities—that they all get adequate housing. In their view it is not the responsibility of self-supporting families to take care of themselves and to pay taxes to run their Government and to set aside some of their income for charitable purposes. They do not conceive an America of self-supporting and independent families. They conceive of a great Federal Government whose responsibility it is to look after all the families of the country.
The President of the United States apparently accepts this objective as indicated in this message transmitting this reorganization plan to Congress. He contemplates that the National Housing Administrator, even though it may take some additional legislation, will be charged with the objective of providing a suitable dwelling ultimately for every American family. His planners have anticipated this extensive power for the National Housing Administrator by already giving him the authority under the provisions of this reorganization plan, which will become law wthin 60 days unless Congress disapproves it, to devise and to apply methods and practices "conducive to a unified housing program." Under this mandate what can we expect to happen to the Federal Housing Administration and to the Federal Home Loan Bank System? We can expect their operations to be completely subordinated to the vague and indefinite and socialized purposes of the National Housing Administrator. That is the disaster we face unless this reorganization plan is defeated.
As I have indicated, Mr. Chairman, I think it a dangerous thing to act hastily where an old established Government agency is involved. This deals with plan No. II which abolishes the United States Employees' Compensation Commission and in its place there are three members on an appeal board. The work of this Commission is to investigate accidents, and then after the three members of the Commission have determined in a quasi-judicial way that the Government is liable for the injury to the employee, administrative details are carried out by a trained personnel.
It is true that Reorganization Plan No. II suggests that one of the other bureaus is better able to do this, but we all know that the other employees are doing a different type of work, and that as a practical matter either the present employees of the United States Employees' Compensation Commission would have to be retained or else new ones added to the agency that administers the law. This does not meet with the intention of Congress that departments would be merged in and consolidated with other departments where both departments were doing the same kind of work.
There are also objections which may be of a very substantial character when you take steps to abolish the Social Security Board. I already have protests from people who feel that the activities of that
Board dealing as they do with old-age assistance and unemployment compensation and pensions, should not be in the sole jurisdiction of any one man. Representatives of employees point out that they feel that their rights are better safeguarded and more free from whim or caprice if a bipartisan board of three members is in existence and has final decision on matters that affect them. Incidentally, this same line of reasoning would apply to the United States Employees' Compensation Commission.
I might add that there is a grave question as to whether or not the changes in the different lines of activity in the Children's Bureau will result in any solution of present objections to the way those matters are handled. I do not want to elaborate on this because under existing law, the President already has power to take corrective measures where agencies under the same department are involved without an act of Congress.
In connection with a discussion of plan No. 3 I am forced to say that this plan, like plans 1 and 2 falls far short of meeting by requirements of Congress in tackling the reorganization problem. This plan has the same weakness as the other two plans in that it represents an encroachment in the Federal Government on the rights of the people. Quoting from plan 2, this significant statement characterizes all three plans. I quote:
The time has now come for further steps to strengthen the machinery of the Federal Government for leadership and service in dealing with the social problems of the country.
You will find, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, that all three plans bear this sort of philosophic purpose.
I do not want to prolong an analysis of plan No. 3 but I do believe that Congress ought to make a further study of some of the proposed transfers in plan No. 3.
There is much opposition to a transfer from the Department of Commerce to the Coast Guard and to the Bureau of Customs, of the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation. It seems to me, Mr. Chairman, and I regret I cannot further extend this discussion at this time, that representatives of these different agencies that are involved should be called before your committee and be instructed by your committee to discuss the effect of these changes with you.
There is an ugly rumor that different departments have been told by certain bureau officials that they are not to discuss any proposed consolidations and if that rumor should be true, then it seems to me that your committee should have testimony of department heads before being called upon to act on Reorganization Plans 1, 2, and 3.
Mr. PITTENGER. Mr. Chairman, just to show your committee how widespread the interest is in these various plans I call your attention to the fact that in connection with plan No. 1 the Commerce and Industry Association of New York has advised me that they were making a study of this plan and I presume they have advised the chairman that they want to be heard. Other individuals have also contacted my office.
In connection with plan No. 2 various representatives of labor unions have advised me that they were objecting to plan No. 2. The Mobile Labor Journal, of Mobile, Ala., has forwarded me a copy of a newspaper article indicating that organized labor is opposed to plan No. 2