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ORGANIZATION OF CONGRESS
TUESDAY, MARCH 13, 1945
CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES,
JOINT COMMITTEE ON THE ORGANIZATION OF CONGRESS,
Washington, D. C.
The joint committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10 a. m. in the committee room of the Committee on Education and Labor, Capitol Building, Senator Robert M. La Follette, Jr. (chairman) presiding. Present: Senators La Follette (chairman), Pepper, Thomas, and White, and Representatives Monroney (vice chairman), Cox, Lane, and Plumley.
Also present: George B. Galloway, staff director.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order.
This joint committee is organized under House Concurrent Resolution 18, which I will ask to have inserted in the record at this point. (The concurrent resolution referred to is as follows:)
[H. Con. Res. 18, 79th Cong., 1st sess.]
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That there is hereby established a Joint Committee on the Organization of the Congress (hereinafter referred to as the committee) to be composed of six Members of the Senate (not more than three of whom shall be members of the majority party) to be appointed by the President of the Senate, and six Members of the House of Representatives (not more than three of whom shall be members of the majority party) to be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The committee shall select a chairman and a vice chairman from among its members. No recommendation shall be made by the committee except upon a majority vote of the Members representing each House, taken separately.
SEC. 2. The committee shall make a full and complete study of the organization and operation of the Congress of the United States and shall recommend improvements in such organization and operation with a view toward strengthening the Congress, simplifying its operations, improving its relationships with other branches of the United States Government, and enabling it better to meet its responsibilities under the Constitution. This study shall include, but shall not be limited to, the organization and operation of each House of the Congress; the relationship between the two Houses; the relationships between the Congress and other branches of the Government; the employment and remuneration of officers and employees of the respective Houses and officers and employees of the committees and Members of Congress; and the structure of, and the relationships between, the various standing, special, and select committees of the Congress: Provided, That nothing in this concurrent resolution shall be construed to authorize the committee to make any recommendations with respect to the rules, parliamentary procedure, practices, and/or precedents of either House, or the consideration of any matter on the floor of either House: Provided further, That the language employed herein shall not prohibit the committee from studying and recommending the consolidations and reorganization of committees.
SEC. 3. (a) The committee, or any duly authorized subcommittee thereof, is authorized to sit and act at such places and times during the sessions, recesses, and adjourned periods of the Seventy-ninth Congress, to require by subpena or otherwise the attendance of such witnesses and the production of such books,
papers, and documents, to administer such oaths, to take such testimony, to procure such printing and binding, and to make such expenditures, as it deems advisable. The cost of stenographic services to report such hearings shall not be in excess of 25 cents per hundred words.
(b) The committee is empowered to appoint and fix the compensation of such experts, consultants, technicians, and clerical and stenographic assistants as it deems necessary and advisable, but the compensation so fixed shall not exceed the compensation prescribed under the Classification Act of 1923, as amended, for comparable duties.
(c) The expenses of the committee, which shall not exceed $15,000, shall be paid one-half from the contingent fund of the Senate and one-half from the contingent fund of the House of Re resentatives, upon vouchers signed by the chair
(d) The committee shall report from time to time to the Senate and the House of Representatives the results of its study, together with its recommendations, the first report being made not later than April 1, 1945. If the Senate, the House of Representatives, or both, are in recess or have adjourned, the report shall be made to the Secretary of the Senate or the Clerk of the House of Representatives, or both, as the case may be. All reports and findings of the committee shall, when received, be referred to the Committee on Rules of the Senate and the appropriate committees of the House.
Passed the House of Representatives January 18, 1945.
Passed the Senate amended February 12, 1945.
SOUTH TRIMBLE, Clerk.
LESLIE L. BIFFLE, Secretary.
House agrees to Senate amendments February 19, 1945.
SOUTH TRIMBLE, Clerk.
The CHAIRMAN. All the members of the committee are aware of the fact that this resolution is the outgrowth of consideration by Members of both the House and the Senate of the problems confronting Congress in our modern society. There has been a great deal of interest shown by Members of both the House and the Senate, partieularly in the last few sessions of Congress, as evidenced by the introduction of a large number of bills and joint resolutions and simple resolutions of the respective Houses touching on various aspects of the problem of congressional organization.
The joint resolution was sponsored by the late Senator Maloney and Representative Monroney, of Oklahoma. I know that we all regret the untimely death of Senator Maloney and feel his loss, not only so far as the work of the Senate and the Congress in general is concerned but also because of his very great interest and study of the problem and field which this committee, I hope, will study.
We plan to start by the hearing of Members of the House and Senate who may be interested in coming before the committee. The vice chairman and I sent out a joint letter to each Member of the House and Senate soliciting their suggestions, written statements, and appearances before the committee. It seems to me logical, if the other members of the committee agree, after we have concluded hearing those in the House and Senate who may desire to be heard, that we should ask other persons not directly connected with the House or Senate who have made studies in this field to come before the com mittee to give it the benefit of their studies and suggestions.
With that statement and an expression of hope that this committee may be permitted to carry on a comprehensive study of this very vital and important problem, I would ask Representative Monroney, the vice chairman, if he desires to say anything at this time.
The VICE CHAIRMAN. I don't believe I have anything to add. The CHAIRMAN. Senator McCarran, we are very pleased to have you here this morning and would be glad to have you make any statement or proceed in any way that you may desire.
STATMENT OF HON. PAT MCCARRAN, UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF NEVADA
Senator MCCARRAN. Mr. Chairman, I apologize for coming before the committee at this time, because you may not have arrived at a point where you would care to consider the question I wish to present, but I shall present it very briefly.
The CHAIRMAN. We will be delighted to have it, Senator. We have not made out any agenda or order of consideration of these various suggestions of Members of the House and Senate, and we will be only too glad to have them come whenever they find it convenient to do so.
Senator MCCARRAN. This problem comes from the Judiciary Committee of the Senate, and as chairman of that committee I present it as it appears to me. It directs itself entirely to the Senate. I don't think it directs itself to the House at all.
The Committee on Audit and Control has, under existing conditions, set itself up as the censor, if I may so express it, of the activities of every standing committee of the Senate that seeks to investigate or enlighten itself on a subject within its jurisdiction.
I will give you an illustration:
The Judiciary Committee of the Senate, by a resolution that was passed by the Judiciary Committee, sought to investigate a certain subject. It is not necessary to go into the subject at all. Under the rule we were required, after we had approved of the investigation and sent it back to the Senate, where it was approved, to send it to the Committee on Audit and Control, and there it rests today, and there it probably will rest.
To get right at the point, what I have in mind is this, that in your streamlining and in your rearranging there should be at least at the disposal of standing committees of the Senate, committees, say, of 18 men, as there are on the Judiciary Committee, which is a responsible committee there should be placed at the disposal of that committee enough money so that they would not be dependent upon the Committee on Audit and Control to censor and say whether or not they shall go forward with an investigation.
Eighteen men on a committee, many of them men quite senior in their experience and training here in the Senate, should certainly be responsible for a sum of money sufficient to enable that committee to go forward with its investigations.
So with that in mind-and again I say I think I should apologize for bringing up to this committee at this early date what we have in mind-I have presented to the Committee on Rules of the Senate a resolution, Resolution No. 40, which would permit the Committee on Rules, if the Senate approves the resolution finally, to authorize the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Agricultural Committee, the Committee on Education and Labor, and other committees to have a sum of money that would be allocated to them by the Senate that they would use when they were investigating or making a study of a
subject within their jurisdiction. Today our hands are completely tied; we cannot do a single thing unless the Committee on Audit and Control says so.
Let me give you an illustration: A resolution introduced by the two Senators from Florida required the investigation of a matter that was going on apparently in Florida that pertained to the administration of the Municipal Bankruptcy Act. The Committee on Judiciary had jurisdiction of it. It was an act that went through the Committee on Judiciary in the first instance. It belongs to the jurisdiction of the Committee on Judiciary. We approved of the resolution; we sent it, then, back to the Senate with our approval. It went to the Committee on Audit and Control, and there it has rested. We cannot even as much as send out a telegram asking for a witness to appear. We can employ stenographers, and that is all we can do, for stenographic reporting. That is the only thing we can do with the $5,000 allocated to us, employ an official reporter, and we can get out a transcript, but we can't send for a witness, we can't pay the expenses of a member of the committee to go anywhere. We can do nothing whatever. We are simply hamstrung in that committee until the Committee on Audit and Control says we can go ahead, and if they don't like it, they just don't say we can.
The CHAIRMAN. For the record, would you explain just what the procedure is now? A resolution, as I understand it, is introduced by a Senator and goes to a standing committee having jurisdiction of the subject matter.
Senator MCCARRAN. That is right.
The CHAIRMAN. It then is acted on by that committee, and if favorably acted on and reported, under the rules it goes to the Committee on Audit and Control.
Senator MCCARRAN. That is right.
The CHAIRMAN. Then, if the Committee on Audit and Control approves the resolution, it comes back to the Senate, goes on the calendar and is there to be acted on either favorably or unfavorably as the majority of the Senate may decide.
Senator MCCARRAN. That is right.
Senator WHITE. I was going to ask, Senator, does the logic of your criticism go to the abolishing of the Committee on Audit and Control? Senator MCCARRAN. I don't think it would go to the abolition of it, at all, but I do think that it would go to implement your standing committees with sufficient funds to go forward with the study of the subject matter in their respective jurisdictions. We do not, as a rule, hesitate to furnish a sum of money, say a hundred thousand dollars, for the Committee on Appropriations. They have all the money they want. They should have. They could appropriate their own money if they wanted to. We also do that as to some other committees, but there are other committees that are left out.
Senator WHITE. There are 32 or 33 standing committees of the Senate.
Senator MCCARRAN. Many of those are minor.
Senator WHITE. Of course, the importance of committees changes from time to time.
Senator McCARRAN. That is right.
Senator WHITE. There are committees that are inactive for a long period of time, and then there will come an evolution or a devolution,