Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

I suggest, however, that there would be merit in providing a more general statement of the Bureau's responsibility for dealing with problems of Government organization and management. As a means of providing such a general statement, I recommend that section 5 be reworded to amend section 209 of the Budget and Accounting Act, 1921, which section now provides that the Bureau of the Budget shall, at the direction of the President, make a study of the departments and establishments with the general objective of "securing greater economy and efficiency in the conduct of the public service." Revision of section 209 might be considered in order to specify more clearly that the Bureau of the Budget shall provide continuing assistance to the President with respect to improving the organization and management of the executive branch. More specifically, I propose that section 5 of S. 2054 be changed to read as follows:

"SEC. 5. Section 209 of the Budget and Accounting Act, 1921, as amended, is amended to read as follows:

“SEC. 209. In addition to the other functions vested by law in the Director of the Budget, the Director, as and when directed by the President and subject to the supervision and control of the President, is authorized and directed to evaluate, and develop improved plans for, the organization, coordination, and management of the executive branch of the Government, and to aid the President to bring about more efficient and economical conduct of the Government service."

Section 6 of the proposed bill transfers to the President functions with respect to determining personnel ceilings now vested in the Director of the Budget by the Federal Employees Pay Act of 1945, as amended. As pointed out in my letter of July 5, I am in agreement with this recommendation, and feel that, if personnel ceilings are to be fixed, authority should be vested in the President. However, as pointed out in that letter, I do not believe the setting of personnel ceilings is a necessary control at this time since it accomplishes nothing which could not be achieved through strengthened budgetary controls. This view was expressed by the President in his budget message of 1948 (p. M 57), when he also recommended the repeal of the statutory provisions for personnel ceiling determinations. In view of this recommendation of the President, I propose that section 6 of S. 2054 be deleted and that there be added to part IIÍ of the bill a provision to repeal sections of the Federal Employees Pay Act of 1945 dealing with personnel ceilings.

The Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch also recommended that the authority of the President to reduce expenditures under appropriations be clarified, pointing out that “present law and practice are not clear on whether or not the Budget Bureau and the President have the right to reduce appropriated amounts during the year for which they were provided. This recommendation of the Commission is not now covered in S. 2054 but would be accomplished by another bill, S. 2161, now before your committee. The Bureau advised you on July 26 that it saw no reason why this bill, subject to a technical amendment suggested at that time, should not receive the prompt and favorable consideration of the Congress. It is my suggestion that, in order to bring into a single bill measures dealing with the budget process, you may wish to incorporate the provisions of S. 2161 as an added section of S. 2054.

My views in disagreement with certain recommendations on accounting of the Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch were set forth in my letter of July 5. These recommendations would be given legal effect in part II of S. 2054 by

(a) Section 20, which provides for the creation of an Accounting Service in the Department of the Treasury, headed by an Accountant General;

(6) Section 21, which provides that the Secretary of the Treasury is authorized to prescribe general accounting methods, practices and procedures subject to a provision of section 22 which gives the Comptroller General the power to approve or disapprove proposed regulations of the Secretary of the Treasury insofar as they prescribe forms, systems, or procedures for administrative appropriation and fund accounting;

(c) Section 22, which provides (1) that the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Comptroller General, is authorized to issue regulations and opinions as to the application, scope, and availability of appropriations, and (2) that the Comptroller General shall prescribe the forms, systems, and procedures for the administrative examination of fiscal officers' accounts and claims and for the audit and settlement of such accounts; and

(d) Section 24, which provides that the Secretary of the Treasury and the Comptroller General shall jointly prepare and, with the approval of the President, issue regulations governing the accounting and control of public moneys.

63233—50—-4

As stated in my letter of July 5, I believe that the basic weakness of the Commission's recommendations dealing with accounting and auditing is the lack of clear assignments of responsibility to the executive and legislative branches for the performance of these separate but closely related functions. I pointed out that the Bureau of the Budget subscribes generally to the belief that accounting is an administrative function and should be the responsibility of the executive branch; and that, on the other hand, suitable provisions should be made to furnish advice and recommendations to the Congress based on an independent audit made by an agency under congressional control. It is my feeling that the Commission proposals, as well as the above-mentioned sections of S. 2054, not only fail to provide a clear definition of responsibility but also would make it impossible for either branch of the Government to move without full concurrence of the other.

Other provisions of part II of the bill would, in my opinion, accomplish desirable objectives. These are section 23 (a), which authorizes the Comptroller General to conduct examinations and audits at places where accounts are regularly kept and provides further that "accounts, vouchers, and documents shall not be required to be transmitted to Washington;" and section 23 (b), which authorizes the Comptroller General to audit and settle accounts on the basis of spot checks, sampling, and other checking processes. It is my feeling, however, that neither these provisions nor those of other sections of part II of S. 2054 should be enacted into law at the present time. In view of the joint program to improve Government accounting now under way under the auspices of the Bureau of the Budget, the General Accounting Office, and the Treasury Department, it is my opinion that the approach taken in this joint project is best suited to securing immediate results. As work progresses on this program, needed changes in legislation will be identified and proposed.

Part III of the bill would repeal 85 specific laws or parts of laws which are codified in title 31 of the United States Code. Most of these laws have been found impracticable of application under the uniform budget system contemplated by the Budget and Accounting Act, and many of them gradually have fallen into disuse. Although none of these laws was specifically repealed by the Budget and Accounting Act, it would seem that, as a matter of law, many of of them have been repealed by implication. However, since the code constitutes prima facie evidence of the law, the fact that these statutes have been retained in the code has led to some confusion, and it is highly desirable that they be specifically repealed.

I suggest, however, the incorporation in section 30 of provisions for repeal of two additional laws. The first of these is proposed in order to carry out my earlier recommendation for elimination of personnel ceilings. To accomplish this purpose, I suggest that there be added to subsection 30 (a) a new clause, as follows:

"(86) Section 607 of the act of June 30, 1945 (59 Stat. 304), as amended (5 U. S. Č. 947).

The second law that I recommend for repeal is the act of March 3, 1875, which required that there be submitted as a part of the appendix to the Book of Estimates such extracts from the annual reports of the several heads of the departments and bureaus as related to estimates for appropriations and the necessity therefor. Under the Budget and Accounting Act, 1921, and under the provisions of S. 2054, material supporting the estimates included in the budget would be prepared and presented in such form as the President might require, and it is to be presumed that the requirements already imposed or to be imposed hereafter by the President would provide for the inclusion in the budget of pertinent information with respect to estimates of appropriations and the necessity therefor. Hence, there would be no need for inclusion in the budget of further statements of a similar nature, particularly when such information previously had been submitted to the Congress by the department heads in their reports. Further, the inclusion of such statements in the budget would tend to conflict with the uniform presentation of budget estimates and supporting material therefor, since some departments would have such statements in their annual reports and others might not. The information contemplated by the statute appears to be of the type which, as a matter of current practice, the heads of departments or bureaus would present when they appeared before the appropriations committees in support of the estimates. The statements contemplated by the 1875 statute are not now included in the budget, and repeal of the statute is highly desirable so that it may be eliminated from the code. In order to accomplish this, it is suggested that a new clause be added to the list of statutes repealed by subsection 30 (a), as follows:

“(87) Section 3 of the act of March 3, 1875 (18 Stat. 370; U. S. C., title 31, sec. 624).”

Finally, I suggest that a new subsection be added to section 30 in order to insure, primarily in connection with the repeals provided in this bill, continuity of authority for certain expenditures in the event specific titles of appropriation items are changed or eliminated. Certain of the statutes which would be repealed by subsection 30 (a) provide for payment of expenditures for particular objects or purposes from appropriation items which are referred to in such statutes by the specific title used for the appropriation items in the annual appropriation acts. Also, there are many other statutes which provide for payment of various types of expenditures from appropriation items which are referred to by the specific titles used in the appropriation acts. Having in mind that it frequently has been found necessary to consolidate or rearrange appropriation estimates under different titles as different situations arise, and that the institution of performance budgeting likely will result in a great number of such consolidations and rearrangements, it would seem desirable to make certain that such authorized expenditures will be payable from the corresponding appropriation resulting from any such consolidation or rearrangement of appropriations under different titles. In order to accomplish this purpose, it is suggested that a new subsection be added to section 30, as follows:

"(c) Whenever any law authorizes expenditures for a particular object or purpose to be made from an appropriation item referred to in such law by the specific title theretofore used for that appropriation item in the appropriation act concerned, and thereafter such title is changed or is eliminated from such appropriation act, expenditures for such object or purpose thereafter may be made from the corresponding appropriation item in such appropriation act.” Sincerely yours,

F. J. LAWTON, Assistant Director, The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Warren, will you come forward, please?

1

STATEMENT OF LINDSAY C. WARREN, COMPTROLLER GENERAL

OF THE UNITED STATES, ACCOMPANIED BY FRANK L. YATES, ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL, FRANK H. WEITZEL, ASSISTANT TO THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL, AND WALTER F. FRESE, CHIEF, ACCOUNTING SYSTEMS DIVISION, GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE

Mr. WARREN. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, I am somewhat at a disadvantage in view of Senator McCarthy's statement that a new bill was to be introduced containing amendments to the present bill. I am, of course, subject to the will of the committee.

This matter is very near and dear to me because I stand here as the representative of the Congress and because the bill now pending and the one indicated to be introduced strike at the very vitals of the independence of the General Accounting Office, which is, of course, , the agent of Congress and a part of the legislative branch of the Government.

It is not the first time, gentlemen of the committee, that this assault has been made on the General Accounting Office, and each time it has been heavily repulsed. The last time it was made in the Senate, every single Republican in the Senate stood like a stone wall and voted “no.

The same thing happened in the House. There never would have been a reorganization bill in 1939 had not President Roosevelt agreed, and those who were interested in reorganization agreed, that all mention of the General Accounting Office must be dropped from any reorganization.

I think perhaps I am in better position to state that than any other Member, because I was the author of the 1939 act which became law. I may say modestly that I think I wrote practically every word of it myself. Prior to that, I did a very unusual thing and polled indi1 See also testimony of Mar. 7, 1950, pp. 232–242.

[ocr errors]

vidually the entire House of Representatives after the 1938 bill had been defeated. The answers given me at that time were that if all mention of the General Accounting Office was eliminated and a clearcut exemption made of it, a reorganization bill could be passed. Based on that, I introduced the bill that became the law.

In prior efforts to destroy the General Accounting Office, the office stood alone, but this time I am pleased and happy to see that we stand here united, the Treasury, the Budget, and the General Accounting Office, and so far as I know, with the backing of all of the agencies of the Government, because we are doing a job that has already proven to be a success, with the ultimate aim of giving the Government the finest accounting system that can be devised. Notable progress has already been made.

May I say, gentlemen, that this program was initiated, was devised, and was under way before any task force recommendation of the Hoover Commission, consisting of outside accountants, was ever made. It is not amiss for me to say that, when it was fully known what we were doing, the President very strongly commended it and gave it his cooperation. We are working in perfect harmony with the rest of the Government today in trying to give them better accounting. When this program was conceived as a joint partnership between the Secretary of the Treasury, the Director of the Budget, and the Comptroller General, and launched under the leadership and direction of the Comptroller General, we circularized every agency of the Government and told em what we intended to do.

The response from all of the agencies was enthusiastic and unanimous, and that response is continuing today.

Since the Hoover recommendation was made, this very committee has gone ahead and placed property accounting under this joint program. Work on that is going on today.

If I could ask the committee to look into some of the reasons why these recommendations should not be considered, I would only ask you to go so far as to read the strong minority dissent of the distinguished chairman of this committee, who was a member, of course, of the Hoover Commission, concurred in by Representative Manasco, who, Senator Mundt will recall

, had fine legislative experience under the late Speaker Bankhead, who succeeded Mr. Bankhead as a Member of Congress and who became chairman of the counterpart of this committee in the House of Representatives. If any two men of the Congress know anything about the General Accounting Office, its functions and its historical background, I would say that Senator McClellan and Mr. Manasco know it.

This, gentlemen, is the age-old fight to shift from Congress to the executive the control over expenditures of public funds. It is no different from the other assaults made on the independent integrity of your agency, except that this time it comes solely from without the Government. I have not read the statement that I have brought here. I do hope that in your leisure you gentlemen will read it.

The CHAIRMAN. It may be made a part of your testimony at the conclusion of your remarks.

Mr. WARREN. Thank you, sir.

My objection is of course twofold. One is because, as I stated at the outset, the proposal to transfer functions of the General Accounting Office to an office in the executive branch strikes at the very

a

vitals of the independence of the Office. The other is that in actual accomplishment there is really the difference between tweedle-dum and tweedle-dee in some of the objectives that the Hoover Commission have and what we are now doing under the joint accounting program of the General Accounting Office, the Treasury Department, and the Bureau of the Budget. We established over 2 years ago in the General Accounting Office a division headed by an eminent accountant, a certified public accountant with experience inside and outside the Government, who heads this program. We know from long experience that it is the only program that can possibly work or be a success. The General Accounting Office has had power to prescribe accounting systems under the Budget and Accounting Act, but there has never been authority to require an agency to accept that system after it was once prescribed. I can only speak from the beginning of my tenure in office, which started on November 1, 1940. Several years after that we found that one of the important agencies of the Government, for which the General Accounting Office had prescribed a system prior to my coming into office, had thrown that system behind a bookcase where it had remained 5 or 6 years. There was nothing to make an agency take it after it was prescribed. Of course the war came. Many things are blamed on the war, but it is a fact that we had to take first things first, and we decided to prescribe systems during that period only where an agency was so anxious for one that it would ask for one and we knew that it would accept it. On the day after the surrender of Japan, I called a staff meeting in my office and told them that the No. 1 project in the General Accounting Office from that day on was for a better and sounder accounting system in the Government and that led up to the institution of what we know as the joint accounting program that is in effect today.

I feel that I ought to take issue on something that Senator McCarthy said. I do not think that he was referring to me, and I certainly do not want to talk about myself personally in any way. If any human being was ever drafted for office, gentlemen, it was I. I had just been renominated without opposition for my ninth term in the House of Representatives. President Roosevelt offered me the appointment of Comptroller General in 1936, which I promptly declined. He offered it to me again in 1938, which I promptly declined. He offered it to me four times in the month of July 1940, and I accepted the fourth time for very personal reasons after declining the other three.

The Senator implied it was only people interested in staying on the Government pay roll who are opposed to the accounting provisions that he was seemingly advocating. I must take violent issue with that. Certainly that is not the case with the General Accounting Office, and I know that it is not with the Treasury or the Bureau of the Budget. The Senator from North Carolina and his late colleague, my dear friend, Senator Bailey, and President Roosevelt just before his death, offered me, unsolicited, a Federal judgeship in 1945 which at the urgent insistence of some of the war agencies and of Republican and Democratic members of the Senate and House, I declined. I will be the happiest person in the world when my term of office expires and I can go back to North Carolina to spend the rest of my days. I am making these fights for the Congress. "If I did not believe in the legislative process, if I did not believe in the duties and pre

[ocr errors]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »