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The other point I have in mind is this: You say in the first 60 days. Already you have 20 days of the session which have elapsed. The Hoover commission reports may not be in and subject to consideration by the President for another 60 days. That is, in their entirety. That would certainly almost prevent him from giving consideration to those reports. Mr. HARDY. If the gentleman will yield, you think, in other words, it would be impracticable as far as this year's operation is concerned, but it might be all right in the future. Mr. LAWTON. Well, it reduces the time in which he can do it. You gentlemen will have to decide what is the most feasible thing to do, and whether the 60-day provision does not give you time enough. It must be 60 days before the adjournment of Congress. ... Mr. HoFFMAN. Yes; but the last 60 days of Congress are crowded full, and everyone who has been here even one session knows that in the last few days much legislation goes through without the consideration it should have. I can see no objection to requiring the President to submit his plan, say, by the last of May, or something like that— June, July. Even then we would not have time. It should be maybe along about the 1st of May, so that we would have at least 90 days. Mr. HARDY. There is another thought in my mind in connection with that. If the President submits a reorganization plan that is as controversial as either the reorganization provisions of the National Defense Act or others, there is a question in my mind as to whether 60 days is long enough to determine it, anyway. Mr. LAwTON. The Congress could immediately reject the plan and consider it under another basis. You have ample protection for that. Mr. HARDY. That is true, as far as protection is concerned, but you are nullifying the real purpose of this thing because when Congress rejects a plan and initiates legislation, as suggested by Mr. Holifield a minute ago, you run head-on into all the practical difficulties we have had before, and Lord only knows when you would ever get such a bill out. Mr. LAwTON. That is a matter of legislative strategy. Mr. McCoRMACK. Of course, I recognize what Mr. Hoffman has in mind; but, on the other hand, the longer a period we have the more we are liable to delay. I know that from experience. We are quite prone, with the pressures of business, to put off from time to time, and if you have a 60-day disapproval period, why, we always act promptly on matters that come before us like that. There would be a necessity for us acting more quickly then. If it were 90 days, we might put off and put off, which is only human. Mr. HARDY. I think you are right. It would force us to act. Mr. McCoRMACK. It works both ways. There has to be some period, whether 60 or 70 or 50 days. We have to have some period, and, as a matter of fact, the longer you put it off, I think the more we are liable to delay consideration. Then, when the recommendation comes up, it requires that we get it out quickly, and that we give it consideration quickly. I know that the committee will act promptly. I would consider that a bounden obligation of this committee, to act quickly, so that members would have the necessary opportunity to act within the period of time with respect to the necessities of the other body, if we were acting first. I would consider that this bill here is a direction to me as a member of the committee to act quickly.
Mr. HARVEY. Will the gentleman yield in that respect? I am thinking particularly with respect to the last few weeks of the legislative jam. In order to prevent passage this requires a veto action and in that respect it differs from the ordinary legislation, which requires an affirmative action, and for that reason and knowing the jam that always does occur, it would seem to me that we would have a tendency to lack of action, which is the worst thing that could happen. With legislation of this type it requires a veto power, and that might permit it to happen. I personally can see a great deal of merit in fixing a deadline, and it would just be any arbitrary time. Whenever it would be convenient. Also, you would take into consideration the length of time you have to give in order for the Congress to at least have time to act negatively or veto during the last 30 days of its session. The CHAIRMAN. Gentlemen, we can debate this among ourselves after the witnesses will have departed. Mr. LANHAM. May I ask the attorney one question. I am still concerned about the limitation and your definition of “agency.” If I remember correctly, in the construction of a statute, the last paragraph or the last section controls, if there is a conflict between a previous paragraph and a later paragraph in the act. The courts i that the later paragraph is the last expression of the legislative will. Now I suppose, parenthetically, that is why usually the definitions used in an act come in the very beginning. It seems to me that your definition of “agency” should be placed before this limitation. It may be an academic question, but it just seems to me that there is a possibility of that construction. Mr. LAwToN. Well, I think that this bill, in 1945, was drafted by the legislative counsel up here. Certainly I know that they sat in on it, and this simply follows here the same procedure. Mr. LANHAM. I know that they might have made a mistake in the 1945 act. I am asking the attorney about it. I would like to have his opinion if that is not true, and that in the construction of the statutes it is the last paragraph that is the last expression of the legislative will. Mr. LAwTON. I think that is something that your legislative counsel should answer. I do not pretend to know the answer to that question but I think that you people here, with your legislative counsel in the House, could answer that for you. Mr. KARSTEN. There are really no exceptions, is that correct? The General Accounting Office would be an apparent exception rather than a real one, would it not? Mr. LAwTON. With respect to the General Accounting Office, it is declared to be an agency of a legislative branch. This act declares it to be the same thing, and therefore these provisions do not apply to it since they apply to the executive branch. Mr. HARDY. Has the ICC heretofore been considered an executive agency or part of the legislative branch : Mr. LAWTON. It has never been declared to be so in specific terms. We followed the provisions of the act here. It was exempted in the 1945 act because it was an agency of the executive branch. Otherwise it would not have been necessary to exempt it.
The CHAIRMAN. We are grateful to have had you with us, Mr. Lawton, and we are grateful for the testimony that you gave. Thank you.
We are also grateful to the many spectators for their interest. We are sorry to see you depart from us at this time, but come again.
(Thereupon, at 11:35 a. m., the committee went into executive session.)
REORGANIZATION OF GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
TUESDAY, JANUARY 25, 1949
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C. The committee met, pursuant to adjournment, at 10 a. m., in room 1501, New House Office Building, Hon. William L. Dawson (chairman) presiding
The CHAIRMAN. Will the committee come to order, please?
We have with us this morning the Honorable Lindsay C. Warren, Comptroller General of the United States, who has consented to appear before us.
Mr. Warren, I am going to ask that you give us a formal statement of your background and your connection with Government reorganization through the past years. I think that will be a fine beginning in order to clarify the situation.
STATEMENT OF HON. LINDSAY C. WARREN, COMPTROLLER GEN
ERAL OF THE UNITED STATES; ACCOMPANIED BY FRANK L. YATES, ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES; W. L. ELLIS, ASSISTANT TO THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL; AND C. E. JOHNSON, ATTORNEY, GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Mr. WARREN. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I am very glad to accept your invitation to be here this morning on this subject.
At one time I was a member of this committee for a short while. I look upon it as one of the truly great committees of the Congress, especially since it has assumed still more important functions under the Congressional Reorganization Act.
I became first interested in the subject of reorganization and economy in Government back in 1932, during the second part of Mr. Hoover's administration when Mr. Garner became Speaker of the House. At that time there was set up, as I recall, a very strong select committee, headed by Mr. McDuffie, of Alabama, now a Federal judge. Mr. Lewis Douglas, now Ambassador to Great Britain, was a member. Mr. Milligan, of Missouri, and the very able late Mr. Carl Mapes, of Michigan, were members.
I presided over that bill in the House for 8 days and 4 nights, and I saw it torn all to pieces by the ganging-up process, and we wound up with probably the enacting clause left in it.
After that I voted to give the Executive power to make reorganizations within limitations. Mr. Hoover, as he went out of office, suggested that full and complete power of reorganization be given to President Roosevelt without restrictions. This was done in one of the most sweeping acts along that line ever passed. Later there was set up, in 1937, a Joint Select Committee on Reorganization. The Senate end was headed by the distinguished majority leader of the Senate at that time, Senator Robinson of Arkansas. Senator Jimmy Byrnes of South Carolina was a member, and the House end was under the chairmanship of the late Mr. Buchanan of Texas. I was selected as one of the House members. We debated a bill for at least 3 weeks or more, and it was finally recommitted in the House for a very, very definite reason. After that happened Mr. Cochran, of Missouri, became chairman of the House committee and was very ill at the time in St. Louis. Congress was not in session, and President Roosevelt sent for me at o home and asked, in view of the recommittal of the bill in 1938, that prepare a bill which I thought could get through the Congress. I did the unusual thing of polling every Member of the House of Representatives individually and I came back to the President and told him in my opinion what would pass and what would not. So we had then the 1939 bill and, if I can say it with all proper modesty, I drew every word of that bill myself. Then that expired and we next came to the 1945 reorganization authority given to President Truman. I had then left Congress, and it was my pleasure to be the chief witness before this committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee on behalf of that bill, which became a law. That has been my experience with this subject; but I want to distinctly disavow here at the very beginning that I am any expert or authority on this question, as one of the papers said I was yesterday. I have just been intensely interested in it, and I believe this is the only way it can ever be done. Now, Mr. Chairman, I have a statement here. Practically every thing in it I have said at other times before, both on the floor of the House and before various committees, so it is more or less a rehash of the testimony that I have given, or speeches that I have made, during the last 18 years. I want to make clear at the outset that I strongly favor and recommend legislation such as that you are now considering. When I say so I speak not only as the Comptroller General, the agent of the Conress, but also personally and as a one-time Member of the House. o put my reasons before you briefly, I want to tell you why some job of reorganizing needs to be done; second, to name some of the fields obviously needing attention; and, third, to comment, I hope not too bluntly, on just how the job can be done. First: You need, I am sure, no blueprint of reasons calling for some reorganizing to be undertaken by somebody. Every President since the turn of the century has advocated it strongly. Generally, it has been approached with a bipartisan fairness, supported on both sides of the aisle. Substantially this same bill became law in 1932, in 1939, and again in 1945. President Roosevelt told us in 1937 that the Government had become a higgledy-piggledy patchwork, and you need only