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concurrent resolution shall include a section substantially as follows: "That it is the sense of the Congress that the public debt shall be increased in an amount equal to the amount by which the estimated expenditures for the ensuing fiscal year exceed the estimated receipts, such amount being $----..."
There were three principal reasons for the introduction of Senate Concurrent Resolution 6.
The first reason is a confirmed belief that simplification and clarification in Federal appropriation bills is a much-needed reform in our legislative technique.
The second reason is that if Congress is to comply faithfully with section 138 of the Legislative Reorganization Act, there is a clear requirement for (1) a congressional translation of appropriations into terms of expenditures; and (2) a means for determining the grand total of funds available for expenditure in the "ensuing fiscal year.”
The third reason is that it would appear inconsistent, if not useless, for the legislative branch to impose upon itself a control on expenditures for which it will appropriate, under the Legislative Reorganization Act, unless the control on expenditures is extended to the execution of appropriations in the executive branch.
Of course as the committee knows, the appropriation bill does not correctly outline the expenditures. For instance, there are expenditures this year of $37,500,000,000 under the budget, and my recollection is that the appropriations are $28,000,000,000. So if you are going to carry out the purpose and intent of the Legislative Reorganization Act there must be some way whereby the Congress will know, when they are passing appropriation bills, exactly what the expenditure will be for the ensuing fiscal year.
Senator WHERRY. And for that current fiscal year?
By custom and tradition, appropriations for the world's greatest budget-that of the United States Government—are enacted in supply bills which are numerous, unrelated, and without legislative coordination in relation to the whole budget. These bills are brought in over a period of months and set up funds that may be actually expendled not only in the ensuing fiscal year but in subsequent years as well.
In addition to the complexities which develop from this method of considering money bills, efforts to expand the old form of appropriation bills to provide for the tremendous growth and spread of Federal fiscal activities have developed a confusion of language and practices.
It is no exaggeration to say that Congressmen who have not been privileged to serve on Appropriations Committees have great difliculty informing themselves sufficiently on appropriation bills to vote intelligently upon them. There is probably not a Member of Congress who does not wish for a clearer and more concise presentation of essential information. The present technique leaves much to be desired not only for intelligent consideration of the various appropriation items and their relation one to another, but also for consideration of appropriations as a whole as compared with the revenue situation on the opposite side of the Federal fiscal system.
With these conditions in view, the patrons of the pending resolution introduced a resolution for a single appropriation bill, late last session. The measure was not perfect but it served the purpose of
stimulating thought on the subject. Meanwhile, the Legislative Reorganization Act was passed providing for legislative budget limitations in terms of expenditures. It was this provision which brought sharply into focus the difference between appropriations and expenditures—another confusing factor in the consideration of appropriation legislation.
Traditionally, both the President's budget recommendations and appropriation legislation have been in terms of appropriations. Prior to World War I appropriations for a fiscal year and expenditures during the fiscal year were virtually identical, but in these days of big Federal programs and projects, there is generally a vast differ, ence between the two. When Congress this year tried to carry out the expenditure ceiling provision of the Reorganization Act it found that, on the basis of the President's recommendations, estimated expenditures for fiscal year 1948 totaled $37,500,000,000, while appropriations requested for expenditure in the year totaled only $28,500,000,000. The difference was in the inoney being brought forward for expenditure in 1948 which had been appropriated in prior years. At the same time it was revealed that Congress was being asked this year to appropriate $1,000,000,000 for actual expenditures in some year after 1948.
When legislative expenditure ceilings are established Congress at present has no way of knowing when or whether the limits are reached or exceeded, and it is equally important to learn that at present there is no accounting control in the executive branch on expenditures beyond the obligation stage.
With this situation in view the patrons of the single appropriation resolution of last year revised and extended its provisions and now have reintroduced it in the form of the pending measure.
It is not intended that Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 6 should be regarded as policy legislation. By its nature, as an amendment to an existing rule, it is intended to be the technical implementation of an already established policy which provides for an annual expenditure limitation on appropriations.
In short the resolution would do three things:
(1) It would provide for presentation to the respective Houses of Congress of a consolidated appropriation bill for their consideration. This would give the Congress and the country an opportunity to see the budget picture as a whole and to compare the spending proposals with the revenue estimates. This is not possible under the present system of considering 12 separate and almost unrelated appropriation bills over a period ranging up to 6 months.
(2) The resolution would provide for fixing in tabular form within the consolidated bill not only the current appropriation items and amounts but also the expenditures which could be made against them in the ensuing year, along with the expenditures from appropriations made in prior years; and it provides for showing also that part of current appropriations to be carried over for expenditure in subsequent years. This provision would apply also to deficiency and supplemental appropriation bills. This would conform with the intent of the Legislative Reorganization Act insofar as it shows the budget in terms of expenditures, as well as in terms of appropriations.
(3) In tabular form the bill, with a maximum of clarity and simplicity, would show not only the appropriation and expenditure
priations confined to the fiscal year, you wouldn't have as much difficulty with deficiency appropriation bills, would you, Senator?
Senator BYRD. That would certainly be the ultimate goal. You should not have as much unless in these recent days—when I first came to Congress at the beginning of my term in 1933, we had very few deficiency bills, and then these emergencies and crises started at home, and now they extend over the whole world.
Senator WHERRY. So that in reality, your bill would provide the machinery for a deficiency appropriation to take care of any emergency?
Senator Byrd. It doesn't prohibit it, and in fact it provides for it.
Senator WHERRY. It doesn't foreclose it, which means you would have the machinery if you had to have it.
Senator Byrn. Yes. I want to mention some of the criticisms that have come to me in conversation with congressional leaders and others.
In response to invitations, congressional leaders and representatives of the Treasury Department and the Bureau of the Budget have submitted informal criticism which is supplied as a part of this statement for the information of the committee. I may say that I have heard little criticism of the one appropriation bill; it is as to the tabular form of information.
It was intended to invite the same sort of criticism from the Comptroller General, but this could not be done prior to the meeting today. However, representatives of the General Accounting Office, the Treasury Department, and the Bureau of the Budget have been invited to be present at this meeting and available in the event the committee desires to request testimony from them.
The criticism which has been received may be summarized as follows:
1. A consolidated bill may tend to increase logrolling. Senator WHERRY. Do you care to go further into that?
Senator Byrd. I don't agree with that, because I think if there is logrolling it would exist just as much in separate bills as in a joint bill. As a matter of fact, this has frequently happened in the Senate in efforts of economy: We will try to amend a certain bill to effect economy, and then someone who is interested in farming, or something, would say that they are not willing to reduce the farmers' bill unless all the other bills are reduced, and that has happened time and again when they have the separate consideration. The other bills in the meantime, many of them, haven't been passed. ·
Senator WHERRY. Wouldn't this result, in the general, over-all consideration of an appropriation bill, in a situation where a cut, if there is a cut, would run pretty generally through all the bill ?
Senator Byrd. Yes. If we have got to make sacrifices in our public expenditures, it ought to be more or less uniform.
Senator WHERRY. Take the case of a chairman of a subcommittee which, because of logrolling, if you want to call it that, put out a bill that was pretty high. Another subcommittee which had a different attitude, brought in a bill that was correspondingly low, according to the budget estimate. Wouldn't there be a tendency, when you passed the general bill in one sitting, to examine those 12 separate subcommittee reports, and if one subcommittee chairman was keeping faith with the general policy to cut expenditures, then the bill of the one who had gone over the budget estimate might be severely criti
cized! In other words, it seems to me that instead of increasing logrolling, the final passage would do just the opposite; that if I were trying to do a good job on my committee, I would want to insist on the man with another bill on another subcommittee doing the same thing
Senator BYRD. I think the chairman has very ably stated that matter.
Senator WHERRY. It seems to me that we could anticipate such a result.
Senator BYRD. Another advantage that the consolidated bill would have is that you could determine the total of the appropriations in comparison to the revenue.
Senator WHERRY. That is right. In other words, if you had to make a cut because the revenue was not as much as your expenditures, there wonld be a tendency to say, “All right, here is what we think our
a bill should have been, but if we are going to keep our expenditures in balance with our revenues, we all must do the same thing”; is that right? Senator BYRD. Yes; that would be a more uniform bill. Continuing with the criticisms received:
2. A consolidated bill may increase the tendency to attach legislative riders to the appropriation legislation.
The fear there was that it would be very difficult if not impossible for the President to veto a consolidated appropriation bill, but he may veto an individual bill or a single departmental bill. Of course, personally I would like to see this implemented, if possible, giving the President the item veto.
Senator WHERRY. Is that included in your resolution?
Sanator Byrn. No; it is not. I have always understood it required a constitutional amendment. Senator Vandenberg and I, some years ago, joined in such an amendment. But now the rules, as I understood them under the legislative reorganization bill have been tightened against legislative riders.
Senator WHERRY. Of course, there would be this thing, would there not, Senator Byrd: You have 12 bills on which to put riders on now, and you would only have one on which to put a rider on if you passed a single bill?
Senator Byrd. The argument was that if you passed a consolidated bill the last of June, it would be practically impossible for the President to veto it. But our rules are much more stringent now than they have been. There always has been a Senate rule against legislative riders, but I am told by the Treasury and the Budget that they think some plan can be worked out whereby there can be an item veto. But in any event, under the reorganization plan, as you know, the prohibition against legislative riders is stronger than it was before.
3. Time for Senate consideration of appropriation items may be reduced materially if the House action on the consolidated bill is delayed. We have already discussed that, and I think there ought to be some limit.
4. Enactment of expenditure limitations in the appropriation bill would require establishment of additional accounting controls by the Treasury at the cash withdrawal stage.
Now, that gets into a very complicated accounting system, and I am going to ask that the record include a memorandum on the subject figures for each item but it would show also the totals which could be compared with the legislative limitations as provided in the Reorganization Act. The resolution provides also that each amendment to the appropriation bill shall show in tabular form the changes in each amount amended, including the totals, and thus act as a running deterrent to exceeding the expenditure limit set by the joint resolution required under section 138 of the Legislative Reorganization Act.
If it should be desired for the record, there is submitted herewith as exhibit C an outline which demonstrates the manner in which the proposed tabular form bill would work.
Senator WHERRY. I think it would be well to have that incorporated at this point in the record.
(The matter referred to is as follows:)
Ехнівіт C It will be noted that the consolidated appropriation bill might be drawn, considered, and enacted in a table of six columns similar to the following:
Senator WHERRY. Senator Byrd, is there any provision worked out in the bill which provides for the mechanics of considering the subcommittee appropriation bills, and also is there a time fixed by which the House must deal with the full appropriation bill, which will inclưde all bills, and then send it on to the Senate so that the Senate will have ample time for its consideration before the end of the session?
Senator Byrd. There is no provision in the bill as at present proposed fixing a time limit by which time the House should send the bill to the Senate, but I think that is a matter which should be carefully considered, and perhaps such a time limit should be put in the bill. So far as committee meetings are concerned, they can still be held
Senator WHERRY (interposing). You are speaking now of the subcommittee meetings?
Senator BYRD. Yes; this resolution would require no change in subcommittee procedure:
Senator WHERRY. It is your idea that subcommittee hearings could be held in the House, for instance, on the Interior Department, and the House would promptly transmit such proceedings to the Senate?
Senator BYRD. Yes, that would be possible, or they could wait until they had finished their hearings and then send them over to the Senate. That would be a matter which could be worked out at the convenience of the committee.
Senator WHERRY. All right, Senator.