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Mr. HERTER. I would be very doubtful in regard to the wisdom of it. I say that for this reason: The radio at best cannot give you full coverage, you have got to limit the radio to a certain period of time. You cannot have the air open for 12 hours a day on two stations for the debates in the Congress. The minute you limit the time there arises the question as to who is going to be allowed radio time and who is not going to be allowed radio time. I think you know when there is limited radio time what struggle there is to get on the air.
Senator PEPPER. Why do you say it is impossible to have congressional proceedings on the radio during the time they are in progress? Mr. HERTER. I say it is inadvisable. I may be entirely wrong on that. I cannot imagine any commercial station wanting to give that much of its time to proceedings in the Congress.
Senator PEPPER. Just assume that an arrangement could be worked out whereby the several commercial companies all together could give practically complete coverage or at least coverage to everything except the routine roll calls and that sort of thing; assuming that were possible, would you think that it would be desirable for the proceedings of the Congress to be on the radio?
Mr. HERTER. I certainly would not have any objection. I would be very doubtful as to the number of people who would listen in. I may be wrong about that, but you have got the immediate physical problem of having both branches talking at the same time, from 12 o'clock on each day. There would be proceedings going on in both Houses. If they were open proceedings, you would have to have two stations carrying those two programs. I think, from the point of view of the radio-listening public you would find pretty soon requests to cut down rather than to amplify the time. I may be minimizing the interest there is in the debates, but by and large I think the people are interested in the results rather than in the things expressed in the debates.
Senator PEPPER. Have you any opinion on the broadcasting of the committee hearings?
Mr. HERTER. There, I think it would be very largely a question as to subject matter and the importance of the testimony. That would be a very difficult thing to work out. If you were broadcasting proceedings of all witnesses at hearings, and unless you were going to clamp down on the individual who did not have a name or was crackpot, which is always a difficult thing for a chairman to do, you would have some awfully strange things going over the air, and of course a person listening in or just tuning in casually on perhaps a crackpot presentation of the bill would not know that was an open proceeding that allowed anybody to be heard that wanted to be heard. Senator PEPPER. If we have, as some people think, a free press in the country and the hearings are open to the press and to the public which is able to attend the hearings, are not those things that are made public now-I mean, do you think it would be vastly different from the present procedure by which all things are made public in the press?
Mr. HERTER. No; it is not vastly different, but take the detailed presentation which appears in the Congressional Record. I do not know what your experience is, Senator, but I have not found an overwhelming request for Congressional Records to be read in the country.
I think, by and large, newspapers have had available to them transcripts of the proceedings and have used their discretion in the amount that they published. Whether or not it is in the public interest to have the thing wide open so as to have those who want to listen in listen to the proceedings, I do not know.
Senator PEPPER. Have you had any experience with the New Zealand broadcasting?
Mr. HERTER. No.
Sentor PEPPER. I think you would be interested if you would dip a little bit into what their experience has been. Mr. HERTER. I will.
Senator PEPPER. Thank you very much.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, again, Representative Herter.
The committee will stand in recess until 10 o'clock on Thursday morning and we will meet in the District of Columbia Committee room, which is on the second floor level just beyond the elevator, by the Senate reception room.
(Whereupon, at 11:55 a. m a recess was taken until 10 a. m., Thursday, March 22, 1945.)
ORGANIZATION OF CONGRESS
THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 1945
CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES,
JOINT COMMITTEE ON THE ORGANIZATION OF CONGRESS,
Washington, D. C. The joint committee met, pursuant to adjournment, at 10 a. m., in the committee room of the Senate Committee on Education and Labor, United States Capitol, Hon. A. S. Mike Monroney (vice chairman) presiding.
Present: Representatives Monroney (vice chairman), Cox, Lane, Michener, and Plumley.
Also present: Goerge B. Galloway, staff director.
The VICE CHAIRMAN. The committee will be in order.
We have, as one of our witnesses today, Representative LaFollette of Indiana. We appreciate your coming over to give us the benefit of your views. We just want you to proceed in your own way and tell us what ideas you have, or any comments you have on how the study should be made or how the work of Congress can be improved.
STATEMENT OF HON. CHARLES M. LaFOLLETTE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF INDIANA
Mr. LAFOLLETTE. I think, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, that in a way I am imposing upon you. Mr. MICHENER. Don't make any apologies.
Mr. LAFOLLETTE. That is right. I just want to present the point of view of an individual Member of Congress with reference to the need of staff aides and assistants. I think a good deal of the discussion has had to do with the staffing of committees, with which I have no personal quarrel at all. It is very obvious that that needs to be helped.
In addition, I have the feeling that there ought to be an additional staff, let us say, to be available to any member, for the purpose of making independent studies of matters which might not fall under the jurisdiction of the particular committee of which he is a member. I think that staffing would have the effect, to some extent, of permitting members who are not members of committees to occasionally make an independent check of committee action.
But that is not the basic thing that I have in mind.
At present, at least it has been my observation, much legislation has been put in which is the result of the research work of some group or some interested body, and then it has been brought to a Member and outlined and discussed with him, but he has not always initiated it, nor has he had the opportunity to make an independent study.
Those of us who are lawyers, unless we have had an unusual practice dealing with economic questions largely, although we are competent as lawyers, are not necessarily great authorities upon other social questions and economic questions. But time and time again you hear a Member say, "Well, now, I have an idea and I wonder how this would work." Now, that is about all he has, and if he goes to the drafting service and rather outlines it roughly he may get legislation which is pretty much half-baked, or does not fit into the general, over-all scheme of legislation, or would have an adverse effect upon something else, whereas if he could submit his basic thought to a staff who were representatives of the Congress and not of the executive branch of the Government, not of labor unions and not of a bankers' association where he would feel, in any event, that the information he got would be somewhat biased, if he would submit his thought to a staff who were really representatives of the Congress, he would get an unbiased opinion.
Now, I am not saying this in criticism of anybody. That is human nature. I am going to put my best foot forward in any situation, and I am bound, unless I am superhuman, to be motivated somewhat by a desire to present a question, even the factual information, from the bias which I have accumulated by my former contacts. That would apply to someone in the executive department, that would apply to someone in the labor organization, and it would also apply to some one in the bankers' association. That is just the result of human nature. So that if a member had a basic idea, or what he thought might be a sound proposition, he knows very well that if he takes that to any existing group either in the Government or to any existing group such as I have mentioned, for statistical information or advice or opinion, he might get a rather biased thing, whereas what I think we want is an unbiased opinion.
That contemplates a staff, the size of which will, of course, be determined by this committee, but which would be available independently of committee staffing, and I believe it would permit members, when they prepared legislation of that sort, to submit to the committee, after it had been assigned to the committee, a brief in support of their legislation at the time the committee got it. I feel that that would be an advantageous practice if we could do it at any time, not just throw a bill in and let the committee have it, and the committee have hearings on it. Of course, they will do that, but if a bill be introduced and after it was assigned, the information and the briefing which the Member had before he introduced it, if that could be sent to the committee, the committee right in the beginning would have the benefit of that man's research before they even started hearings on the thing.
Mr. MICHENER. How extensive is this research business to be? Mr. LAFOLLETTE. Extensive as to size, you mean?
Mr. MICHENER. Yes.
Mr. LAFOLLETTE. I do not know. I mean I have no ideas. Very frankly, as I said to you, I haven't had the chance to make an inde pendent study. I am merely attempting to throw to you what I think is a need for a service. From the other studies that you have made, from the information which you can get from your own staff, the extent or the size of it I think is something that this committee can work out. Mr. MICHENER. Of, course, there are two factors in all of these suggestions that must be considered: First, the theoretical, the ideal, and, second, the practical things.