« PreviousContinue »
TO INCLUDE ALL GENERAL APPROPRIATION BILLS IN ONE CONSOLIDATED GENERAL APPROPRIATION BILL
MONDAY, MARCH 24, 1947
UNITED STATES SENATE,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON RULES OF THE
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10:30 a. m., in room 104-B, Senate Office Building, Senator Kenneth S. Wherry (chairman) presiding.
Present: Senators Wherry (chairman) and Hayden.
Also present : Senators Byrd and Butler; F. J. Lawton, Acting Assistant Director, Bureau of the Budget; F. H. Weitzel, Assistant to the Comptroller General; Edward F. Bartelt, Fiscal Assistant Secretary, Treasury Department; and Harold Gearhart, Assistant Chief Accountant, Treasury Department.
Senator WHERRY. The committee will be in order.
We have for consideration this morning Senate Concurrent Resolution 6, introduced by Senator Byrd for himself and Senator Butler. The bill will be incorporated in the record at this point.
(Senate Concurrent Resolution 6 is as follows:)
[S. Con. Res. 6, 80th Cong., 1st sess. ]
Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That the joint rule of the Senate and of the House of Representatives contained in section 138 of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new subsection :
"(c) (1) Commencing with the Eightieth Congress, all general appropriations for each fiscal year shall be consolidated in one general appropriation bill to be known as the 'Consolidated General Appropriation Act of ' (the blank to be filled in with the calendar year in which the fiscal year for which such appropriations are being made ends). As used in this paragraph the term 'general appropriations' shall not include deficiency or supplemental appropriations
“(2) The consolidated general appropriation bill, and each deficiency or supplemental general appropriation bill, shall show in tabular form by items and totals (A) each item of appropriation, (B) the amount to be expended in the ensuing fiscal year from such appropriation, (C) the amount to be expended in the ensuing fiscal year from all other appropriations made in prior years for the same purpose as the item of appropriation referred to in clause (A) is made, (D) the total amount to be expended in the ensuing fiscal year from such appropriations, and (E) that part of the item of appropriation referred to in clause (A) which will be available for expenditure subsequent to the close of the ensuing fiscal year.
“(3) Amendments to any general appropriation bill which would have the effect of changing any figures required to be shown by paragraph 2 of this subsection, shall contain a provision changing such figures to conform to the proposed amendment.
“(4) No general appropriation bill and no amendment thereto shall be received or considered in either House unless it conforms with this rule."
Senator WHERRY. We have the honor of Senator Byrd's presence this morning, and we will hear from him at this time.
STATEMENT OF HON. HARRY F. BYRD, UNITED STATES SENATOR
FROM THE STATE OF VIRGINIA Senator BYRD. Mr. Chairman, as you say, this resolution was introduced by me on my own behalf and on behalf of Senator Butler. I had intended to súmbit a copy of the bill as exhibit A, but that is unnecessary inasmuch as it has already been incorporated in the record by the chairman.
The purpose of this resolution is to establish one general appropriation bill. I may say, Mr. Chairman, on account of the lateness of the session, that we are going to suggest that the resolution be amended to make it effective in the second session of the Eightieth Congress.
I think this is a matter of extreme importance and it is in line with the legislative reorganization bill, because it sets an over-all expenditure limit, and I don't see how it can be workable unless you, at the same time, have one appropriation bill showing expenditure figures so as to know how you stand.
Senator WHERRY. Before you start your prepared statement let me ask you if this resolution in any way conflicts with the reorganization bill!
Senator Byrd. Instead of conflicting with it, it implements it, as I see it. At the proper place in the hearing I would like to have inserted in the record excerpts from testimony given at the hearings before the Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress, Seventyninth Congress, first session, by Congressman Herter of Massachusetts; Senator Bridges, chairman of the Appropriations Committee; the late Mr. Harold D. Smith, then Director of the Bureau of the Budget; Mr. Atkins, Executive Director of the Connecticut Public Expenditure Council; and Mr. Fairchild of Yale University representing the Committee on Federal Finance of the United States Chamber of Commerce.
Senator WHERRY. One more question, Senator. As I recall it, in our own State legislature we have a single appropriation bill—or at least some of the States have it—and I think it is a very good thing.
Senator BYRD. I think practically every State, Mr. Chairman, as far as I know, has it.
Senator WHERRY. Do not some of them have a second bill which comes along later, what I suppose we would call the deficiency bill? Do you explain in your statement as to whether or not you can absolutely confine it to one bill?
Senator Byrd. Of course a deficiency bill usually comes along at the endof the fiscal year.
Senator WHERRY. That is the way you would handle it, through a deficiency bill, if there was need for additional funds?
Senator BYRD. Yes.
Senator BYRD. Yes.
Senator WHERRY. Then either before or after your statement I would like to get your reaction on that.
Senator Byrd. The only way to prevent a deficiency bill is not to have a deficiency.
Senator WHERRY. That is right, and that is the point I am making,
Senator Byrd. The first paragraph of the resolution states: “As used in this paragraph the term 'general appropriations' shall not include deficiency or supplemental appropriations” but deficiency and supplemental bills are treated in subsequent paragraphs.
Senator WHERRY. In the interpretation of your resolution do you provide for a deficiency bill in the event it is not all handled in the general appropriation bill?
Senator BYRD. It is not precluded, and the manner in which the purpose of the consolidated bill are carried forward into deficiency or supplemental bills is set out in this resolution.
Senator WHERRY. That is one thing to which I would like to have you address some of your remarks, for this reason I want to say at the beginning that I am in total sympathy with the resolution-I don't want to prejudge it because I am on the Senate subcommittee; but I am in harmony at least with the principle. However, there is one thing that always comes up when you talk about a single appropriation bill, and that is, what about the clean-up? I wondered if there was any provision made for it or if we could have a bill that would be adhered to in such a way that one general appropriation bill would suffice.
Senator BYRD. I will be glad to deal with that.
By way of brief introduction to the provisions of the resolution it may be noted that:
First, it is the nature of an amendment to the joint rule of the Senate and of the House of Representatives contained in section 138 of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946.
Second, the resolution divides into two parts: (1) A provision for consideration and enactment of all regular Federal appropriations in one bill; and (2) a provision for itemizing appropriations and expenditures in tabular form within the single bill.
I have a copy of section 138 which I have designated as exhibit B, and which I request be incorporated in the record at this point.
Senator WHERRY. Section 138 may be incorporated in the record. (Sec. 138 is as follows:)
SEC. 138. (a) The Committee on Ways and Means and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives, and the Committee on Finance and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate, or duly authorized subcommittees thereof, are authorized and directed to meet jointly at the beginning of each regular session of Congress and after study and consultation, giving due consideration to the budget recommendations of the President, report to their respective Houses a legislative budget for the ensuing fiscal year, including the estimated over-all Federal receipts and expenditures for such year. Such report shall contain a recommendation for the maximum amount to be appropriated for expenditure in such year which shall include such an amount to be reserved for deficiencies as may be deemed necessary by such committees. If the estimated receipts exceed the estimated expenditures, such report shall contain a recommendation for a reduction in the public debt. Such report shall be made by February 15.
(b) The report shall be accompanied by a concurrent resolution adopting such budget, and fixing the maximum amount to be appropriated for expenditure in such year. If the estimated expenditures exceed the estimated receipts, the