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just was so foolish, Mr. Chairman, as to go over there and vote—to think that it could be reduced by $5,000,000,000. I have learned a little different. Of course, when you go to figuring on that budget, you start out here with national defense appropriation. You have got the veterans that must be looked after, cared for, hospitalized, and to pay them their badly needed benefits. Then you have got the interest on indebtedness that has to be met; you have the ERC program and when you get through that and come down to the actual function of this Government, there is very little to break. We are passing these all the time. We put new laws on the statute books, Mr. Chairman, and you have to have men to carry them out. I said you are not going to save 1 red copper cent by transferring the Corps of Army Engineers over to public-work agencies or any other agency, and I will tell you from experience—we had a bill before our committee a few years ago that was going to do wonders for all lending agencies in the Department of Agriculture. Well, we are going to do some consolidation—put them all under one head—but there was a provision there, provided that the employees that are now engaged in working for these various agencies, their services must be utilized. Mr. LANHAM. You believe in economy in principle? Mr. GATHINGs. In principle, but when you get right down to actual applications and try to reduce this budget, I think they know pretty well what they are doing when they come in here with this provision. I do trust that you see fit to exempt the Corps of Army Engineers because of the fact that you are going to end up by setting up a mammoth agency and put entirely too much power in one man's hands in an over-all agency to handle all road construction and the building of all types of public buildings and the flood control and rivers and harbors improvement. Chairman DAwson. You stated in your statement that the Army Corps of Engineers had been founded under Washington, had been supported by all Presidents down through Roosevelt and the present President; that they have appreciated the fine service that they have rendered this Nation. Then, if a limitation is placed upon this bill, ending with this administration, you feel there would be no necessity for writing an exemption into this bill at this time? Mr. GATHINGs. I feel if you are going to include the Federal Trade Commission, the Interstate Commerce Commission, and the Securities and Exchange Comission, there is ore reason to include the Corps of Ary Engineers. Mr. LANHAM. May I ask you, Mr. Gathings—I think you realize that if we make one real exemption it opens the floodgates? If we do make some exemptions and include the Army engineers, will you help us close the floodgates on other exemptions? I don’t mean to put you on the spot. Mr. GATHINGs. I will answer you this way. When I came to Congress in 1939, one of the first pieces of legislation I was called upon to vote on was the reorganization bill. I supported it at that time because I did want to obviate duplication and wanted to save some money. I have supported reorganization plans when I thought they were right, when they were presented back to us, and I sometimes disapproved of them. I just don't know. I cannot take that statement and swallow it all. I would like to reserve my opinion, and study this. Mr. LANHAM. But do you think—are you prepared to state there should be exemptions made? Mr. GATHINGs. I would rather stick with the one exemption that affects our people. Mr. McCoRMACK. If that is done, you would be most happy? Mr. GATHINGs. Very happy. Mr. McCoRMACR. That would be the most wholesome, refreshing outlook toward the bill that might be reported? Mr. GATHINGs. Yes, sir; it will get my support, I will tell you that. Mr. HARDY. I gather from your comments, Mr. Gathings, that if this bill was reported out without any amendments you would support it as it is; is that correct? Mr. GATHINGs. I have voted for them before. Mr. RICH. My colleague, I listened very intently to your statement, and then I heard the question of Mr. Lanham as to whether you were for economy in government, and you said you were. Mr. LANHAM. In principle. Mr. RICH. If you are for economy in government, I do not know how you could make the statement you did, so far as spending was concerned. If we do all the things that we have got in government, and we are going to spend everything that it is contemplated to spend without getting such a bill before the Congress to economize in the operation of our Government, how are you going to get the money to continue on in years to come, and in the expansion you are making? Mr. GATHINGs. I will tell you, Mr. Rich. Every dollar that has been spent by the Corps of Army Engineers will bring about a dollar and a half to this Nation; and I don’t see how any man can argue that there are not untold benefits in every one of these good projects. Mr. RICH. Who has suggested to any of the Members of &o that we are going to change the Army engineers? Who has any idea that the Army engineers are going to be simplified, taken away, or changed? Mr. GATHINGs. We trust that that will not be done and that is what we want to come before you for today—to express our opinion. Mr. RICH. I asked Mr. Whittington the question and I ask you the same question because I am asking for information now. I do not know. I have not heard anybody say that the Army engineers were going to be changed and I do not know of any reason why they should be and I wonder why you are coming in here asking for exemptions. There must be something that I do not understand and I would like somebody to explain it to me. Mr. GATHINGs. In 1945, we had a reorganization bill and the exemption was written in. There is a basis for it. We just asked this committee to approve the actual wording that was adopted in 1945. Mr. RICH. Is there anything that you can tell me quietly, away from the public, or where the newspapers do not get it? I would like to know what is the reason for the discussion of the elimination of the Army engineers from this reorganization bill because I don't know and I am only asking that . tell me quietly. Mr. GATHINGS. Did the gentleman read what General Eisenhower had o say about the fine officers that have been developed by the corps :
Mr. RICH. I agree with you; the Army engineers are doing wonderful. But there must be some reason that nobody has ever told me, and I wish somebody in the committee, the chairman or somebody, would. Chairman DAwson. I would like to know, myself. Mr. RICH. I wonder why all this hubbub about the Army engineers; that is what I am trying to get. Chairman DAwson. Are there any questions? Mr. CofFEY. I agree for the first time with Mr. Rich there is much ado about nothing. I have not heard about anyone trying to do anything to the Army engineers. Chairman DAwson. I think it is propaganda behind the scenes. Mr. GATHINGs. There is a basis for coming here and asking for this exemption. It was written in, in 1945 and we would like for that to be done in this legislation before this is reported. Mr. McCoRMACK. May I clarify the record for Mr. Gathing's purpose? If I understand you correctly, while you favor an exemption of the Corps of Army Engineers at this time, do not draw any inference that I agree with you, because my position is for the bill as it is. That is my position. If there are any exceptions made of any agencies, that you think, with Mr. Whittington, that the Corps of Army Engineers has at least as good a case, if not better, than those that might be made. Mr. GATHINGs. Those presented by administration leaders. Mr. McCoRMACK. I assure you this bill is before this committee and as far as the committee is concerned, they are considering this bill as it is. We are going into executive session, so far as I know, with an open and free mind. Mr. GATHINGs. I feel if these other agencies are exempted, the Corps of Army Engineers should be included also. Chairman DAwson. Thank you so much, Mr. Gathings. We have with us another one of our colleagues, Mr. Pickett, who has been patient. He has been with us all this morning and we are happy indeed to have him. Mr. Pickett.
STATEMENT OF HON. TOM PICKETT, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS
Mr. PICKETT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
My patience in this instance has been considerably rewarded because I think that I appear here in a worthy cause.
In consideration of this bill, H. R. 1569, which proposes to give the executive branch of the Government the power to reorganize the executive agencies, I take the position that the Corps of Army Engineers ought to be exempt. The Corps of Engineers has existed for approximately 175 years; it has been a branch of the Department of the Army; it continues to function as such both in time of peace and in time of war.
Its primary functions in time of peace are that of civil works construction. You are all familiar with navigation, flood control, and other types of work that, it does. The Corps of Engineers has performed those functions with economy, efficiency and impartial administration of the public funds and public trust ğı have been placed in their hands.
There has never been brought to my attention any criticism of the character and durability of the work of the Army engineers in those civil functions duties. I think that the work of the engineers in discharge of civil functions ought not to be transferred and amalgamated with any other agencies of this Government because of the integrity and ability, the efficiency and the economy with which those functions have been discharged through the years. The question has been raised here, and I want to answer it if I can, as to why those of us who appear and seek an exemption of the Corps of Engineers from this reorganization bill are doing so. All of you are familiar with the fact that the Hoover Commission has been engaged in its study with the purpose of making recommendations for a reorganization of the executive branch of the Government for more than a year. This bill is, and has been called in this hearing here, an administration bill. It follows logically then that the administration's recommendation for reorganization will be based at least to some extent upon the recomendations of the Hoover Commission when it finally makes those recommendations. Any of you who read the newspapers, periodicals, magazines, and otherwise, in the fall and early part of the winter and even today, must have overlooked the many adversions to the contents of the Hoover Commission report that said it would propose to consolidate the functions of the Corps of Engineers into a Department of Works and amalgamate the civil functions of the Corps of Engineers, along with certain functions of the Reclamation Bureau and the Agriculture Department, and others. Now then, the expected recommendation of the Hoover Commission, along that line, having been referred to in publications of this country, read, and having been talked about to some extent by news commentators, when they touch on this subject, has brought the matter not only to the attention of Congress here but people back home who are so vitally concerned and disturbed with the prospect that the work of the Corps of Engineers is going to be hampered, if not destroyed in its civil function performance if this consolidation should be effected. There is the reason why you hear so much from the people back home by these telegrams. For instance, as early as November, I received a letter from a man who lives in the city of Beaumont, Tex., not in my district but close by, who called my attention to an article he read in a periodical that referred to the proposed consolidation of the engineers into this Public Works Department. He wrote me about it. While I had known something of it before that time, I commenced to look around a little myself. I have had a number of other messages about the same subject. I do not believe that they were initiated by any department, by anybody except the individuals who sent them. They are individual citizens who have observed the work of the engineers in the area where they live. They are people who are members of navigation districts, flood-control districts, waterways districts, and who have watched the developments on the waterways, in the harbors and rivers and canals in this country through the years, and they know that the Corps of Engineers has done an outstanding job and they want it to continue to be in a position to keep this kind of work going. That is the reason you are hearing so much about it. That is one of the reasons that I come here this morning myself and urge that this committee, in its consideration of this bill, write into it an exemption for the Corps of Engineers. During the years that the Corps of Engineers has functioned, it has followed what I think to be two cardinal principles in dealing with a subject of this kind. One of them is that the Nation's water resources must be controlled, developed, and utilized for the benefit of everybody. I expect that most of you, during the course of your campaign last year or in some previous campaign, seeking election to Congress, have referred to that as being one of the things you believe in yourself and will help to promote if the people back home will elect you. Another principle the engineers have followed more closely than nearly any other organization or branch of the Government, is that the Government must be kept as close to the people as possible. . As you know, the Corps of Engineers in the discharge of its civil functions duties, is separated into 11 divisions, and each division has certain districts. When a project is proposed, a public hearing is held at the direction of the district engineer and the people who favor and who oppose the proposal are allowed to walk into that hearing room and present their views without any effort on the part of anybody to prevent or circumscribe their expression of opinion. . That takes the project right back home. It comes on through the normal courses of administrative procedure until it gets to the legislative branch and there we act on it. I think that the integrity of the Corps of Engineers through the years it has prosecuted its work has been such that there can be no successful criticism of it from any kind of viewpoint, political or otherwise. Now, it has been stated by several witnesses heretofore that the functions of the Corps of Engineers in the performance of its civil works duties, have always been exempted from previous reorganization proposals. If that exemption was good then, it is good now, and there is not any reason to change it in principle. I do not think you can promote efficiency or economy by taking the functions of the engineers and transferring them into a large division or agency of the Government and putting them alongside of others whose record may be just as good but whose interests are just as diverse as they could possibly be. You would destroy the identity of the corps by doing it. Through the years of its experience; through the years that the organization has been following the duties that have been prescribed for it by previous Congresses, it has developed an efficiency that could never be developed if it had been subjected or subordinated to some political section of the executive or legislative branch of the Government. The character and experience of the individuals who serve in the Corps of Engineers and who supervise the civilian-functions work has been such that they have built up an esprit de corps the like of which exists in no other organization of similar nature anywhere in the world. When you go to take this group of professional men performing professional duties and subordinate them to a civilian agency, and make them work and integrate their efforts with a civilian agency that is subjected to political wire pulling from all angles, then you