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so many years. As a first step, I believe we must place our own house in order and reform our system so that we can handle the problem intelligently. This bill is offered as a step in that direction.

Senator WHERRY. Senator Butler, the time element was quite fully discussed here this morning, and I think the one thing impressing to all was the fact that there possibly ought to be some limit on the time the House could hold the over-all appropriation bill, so as to get it over for Senate consideration before the end of the term. I think that mechanically the Appropriations committees and your Ways and Means and Finance committees can look into all of the matters of the 12 different titles. Take the Department of the Interior, for example. If the House concluded its hearings before the subcommittee it could then send them over here and we could go ahead and work on them before the general appropriations bill would come over. But I do think there is need of some time limit so the House will send over the general appropriations bill the Senate will have sufficient time-if we are going to pass one bill—to consider the whole thing.

Senator BUTLER. I am sure that the House and Senate committees will be able to work out their part of the coordinated program, and I am also certain that we will find a very splendid spirit of cooperation from the departments of the Government in trying to arrive at a workable plan.

Senator WHERRY. I believe the departments have so indicated this morning. They are in agreement on the objective of the bill, but mechanical differences remain to be ironed out.

Therefore, if there is no further testimony at this time we will adjourn this subcommittee hearing subject to call. In the meantime I would like to have all proposed amendments presented to us. Then we will call another hearing at which they may be explained, and I think we ought to have the departments represented at that time. I want to thank you all for coming.

(Whereupon, at 11:55 a.m., the subcommittee adjourned subject to call.)

TO INCLUDE ALL GENERAL APPROPRIATION BILLS IN ONE CONSOLIDATED GENERAL APPROPRIATION BILL

THURSDAY, MAY 1, 1947

UNITED STATES SENATE,
SUCCOMMITTEE ON RULES OF THE
COMMITTEE ON RULES AND ADMINISTRATION,

Washington, D. C. The subcommittee met at 9:45 a. m., pursuant to notice, Senator Kenneth S. Wherry (chairman) presiding:

Present: Senators Wherry (chairman), Ives, and Hayden.

Also present: Senator Byrd; Edward F. Bartelt, Fiscal Assistant Secretary, Treasury Department; F. H. Weitzel, Assistant to the Comptroller General, General Accounting Office; F. J. Lawton, Acting Assistant Director, Bureau of the Budget; G. L. Cake, Associate Commissioner of Accounts, Treasury Department; S. M. Brown, General Accounting Office; C. W. Tiller, Bureau of the Budget.

Senator WHERRY. All right, Senator.

STATEMENT OF HON. HARRY F. BYRD, A UNITED STATES SENATOR

FROM THE STATE OF VIRGINIA

Senator BYRD. We have here today the representative of the Treasury, the Budget Bureau and the General Accounting Office representatives. We have been going over Senate Concurrent Resolution 6 very carefully, and I want to suggest an amendment. On page 1, line 6, before the words "the Eightieth Congress," insert the words "the second session of the."

That postpones the effective date until the next session of Congress.

Now, then, come to section 2 of the bill. In conference with the General Accounting Office, the Budget Bureau, and the Treasury, we have come to some conclusions. I would like Mr. Weitzel to explain to the committee the conclusions.

Mr. WEITZEL. Mr. Chairman, paragraph 2 in the resolution as introduced provides that the consolidated general appropriation bill and each deficiency or supplemental and each general appropriation bill shall show in tabular form by item and total certain information as to the amount to be expended during the ensuing fiscal year and the amount which will be available for expenditure subsequent to the close of the ensuing fiscal year.

The intent of the resolution was to have the items shown in the tabulation act as a limitation on expenditures by the Departments in administering the appropriations after they have been made by the Congress. Certain technical difficulties were encountered in trying to make these applicable as limitations.

It was found that it would require greatly increased accounting in the executive departments and probably in the General Accounting Office and, possibly, in the Treasury, depending on the interpretation which was put on the term "expenditures.”

Some amendments were proposed in an effort to smooth out some of those difficulties. In later conferences with Senator Byrd, a new approach has been worked out, which would have the effect of placing the tabulations provided for in paragraph 2 in the committee report instead of the biĩl for purposes of information to the Congress. That would mean that paragraph 2, as revamped, would require these tabulations to be included in the committee reports accompanying each general appropriation bill and in all conference reports on such appropriation bills.

Senator WHERRY. How does that alleviate the situation.

Mr. WEITZEL. That would give Congress the information which it needs as to the effect of its appropriations on expenditures during the ensuing fiscal year. It would mean there would be an estimate in the committee report and in the conference report showing how much was anticipated to be expended during the year if Congress appropriated the amount carried in the bill.

Senator WHERRY. I don't understand yet the mechanics of your accounting. I don't understand why that makes it feasible if you print it up in the committee reports, for the availability to the Congress. Why is that better than doing it as suggested in the bill.

What I am trying to figure out is: Does it take just as much accounting to do what you say now as it does here!

Mr. WEITZEL. I can understand your question perfectly, and it may take time to explain it. However, I will try.

The point is this: The amount which would be carried in the committee reports would be estimated, based on the best available information at the time the estimates were made. They would be similar to the estimates carried in the budget as presented to the Congress and to the information now presented by the Departments to the Appropriations Committee when they come before them for their appropriations.

Now, considering that they are estimates, if you tried to put them in the form of limitations on expenditures after you had made a certain amount available for obligation, the departments would experience considerable difficulty in keeping within those estimates of expenditures.

That is on the basis that an expenditure is something other than an obligation. On that basis, an appropriation is authority to a department to incur an obligation, the expenditure for which may not come until a year or two later. However, if you attempt to control the expenditures too, the department may incur the obligation, but when it comes to spend the money, that is to pay it out, it finds itself exceeding the expenditure ceiling placed in the resolution.

In order to determine that it will not exceed the expenditure ceiling the department has to set up a duplicate or triplicate set of accounts, not only accounts for obligations but accounts for expenditures under every fiscal-year appropriation during that year, and during the succeeding fiscal year, and during the next succeeding fiscal year. At least three accounts would have to be kept to show by fiscal years what was being spent under each appropriation.

Senator WHERRY. Why shouldn't it be done?

Mr. WEITZEL. It could be done, but it is something that would be terrifically expensive.

Senator WHERRY. What would you get different in the way of an estimate from what you have already?

Mr. WEITZEL. The Appropriations Committee now have the benefit of those figures, but the Congress as such does not have the benefit of them in a usable place.

Senator BYRD. I think it would make it clearer to explain that you propose to substitute the control of obligations for the control of expenditures. The expenditures for technical reasons would be set up as information, but this section 2 would be applicable to obligations rather than to expenditures.

Senator WHERRY. I see that now. I didn't understand that.
Senator BYRD. It is a technical subject.

Mr. WEITZEL. It would require a considerable amount of accounting. It has been estimated it would at least double the accounting expense of the Government to try to put a limitation first on obligations and then on the money to be spent to liquidate those obligations. In the face of that it was considered that in a great many instances an appropriation is made which is intended to be expended during the year for which made. For example, a salary appropriation would normally be pretty well expended by the end of the fiscal year.

The real question which is sought to be solved here is as to appropriations which continue available for obligation beyond the end of the fiscal year. Congress may appropriate $10,000,000 to be available until expended for building a building, or building a dam, or some other purpose. There will not be control unless Congress specifies it over the amount to be obligated during any particular fiscal year over the life of that appropriation. If there is not control over obligations, of course, there will be difficulties in trying to control the amount to be expended, paid out, during any particular fiscal year.

However, if Congress in the appropriation bill specifies that where an appropriation is going to be available for 5 years, only 20 percent of it shall be available for obligation during the first fiscal year, it will automatically get a certain amount of control over expenditures because you can't expend it until it is obligated.

Senator BYRD. That is what this proposed change would do.

Mr. WEITZEL. That is right. We feel the information which is called for in the resolution as to expenditures would be very valuable and would help Congress in estimating the effect of its action on the future expenditures of the Government.

It has an estimate of the revenues, and it will have a pretty good estimate of expenditures, based on experience. I think that could be done, but that estimate will not be frozen into a limitation that would require a control account to be kept, which would be charged with every dollar spent until you get to the ceiling.

You would have your control accounting on the obligation just as you now have, but then you would also have it in the appropriation

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