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STANDBY CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS ACT OF 1962

MONDAY, MARCH 26, 1962

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC WORKS,

Washington, D.C. The commitee met, pursuant to call, at 10:15 a.m., in room 1302, New House Office Building, the Hon. George H. Fallon presiding

Mr. Fallon. Ladies and gentlemen, the Committee on Public Works is meeting this morning for the consideration of H.R. 10113 and H.R. 10318, known as the Standby Capital Improvements Act of 1962.

(The bills referred to are as follows:)

[H.R. 10113, 87th Cong., 2d sess.) A BILL To establish an Office of Public Works Coordination and Acceleration ; to authorize

the preparation of a plan for acceleration of public works when necessary to avoid serious nationwide unemployment levels; and for other purposes

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That this Act may be cited as the “Public Works Coordination and Acceleration Act".

SEC. 2. (a) The Congress finds that there have been periodic declines in business activity causing severe unemployment and resulting in persistently high unemployment levels, loss of production and loss of purchasing power, and that repetition of these periodic recessions can be avoided, or their impact lessened, by prompt remedial action by the Federal Government as authorized in this Act. The promotion of maximum employment, production, and purchasing power is the continuing policy and responsibility of the Federal Government. The Congress also finds that virtually every community in the Nation has a backlog of needed capital improvement projects, and that a quick and effective means of increasing employment and expenditures is by accelerating the construction of such projects. Thus, in addition to being a useful economic means for increasing employment and stabilizing the economy, public works construction will also meet longstanding public needs, improve community services, and enhance the health and welfare of the citizens of the Nation.

(b) It is the purpose of this Act to provide the necessary machinery to keep the President and the Congress informed on the status of public works construction and planning and to enable the President to take quick and effective action to stimulate the economy by inaugurating a program of needed capital improve ments when unemployment indicators reveal persistently high levels of unemployment or indicate the beginning of a recessional pattern in the economy. In the furtherance of this purpose, the Act provides the President in such periods with standby authority (1) to increase immediately expenditures for direct Federal programs of capital improvements previously authorized by the Congress, and (2) to furnish incentives through Federal financial assistance to State and local governmental bodies to accelerate their capital improvement programs through the initiation of projects which can be begun promptly and completed over a reasonably short period of time. It is the intent of Congress that departments and agencies of the Federal, State, and local governments should make necessary advance plans for capital improvement projects in order to enable them to act promptly whenever the President initiates the program authorized by this Act.

Sec. 3. There is hereby established the Office of Public Works Coordination and Acceleration (hereinafter referred to as the "Office"). The Office shall be

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administered by a Director of Public Works Coordination and Acceleration (hereinafter referred to as the "Director"). There shall be a Deputy Director. The Director and the Deputy Director shall be appointed by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Director shall receive compensation at the rate of $20,000 per annum, and the Deputy Director at the rate of $18,500 per annum.

Sec. 4. The Director shall encourage the coordination of planning policies for the construction of public works in the United States, and for this purpose shall

(1) collect all necessary information from the head of each department, instrumentality, and agency of the Federal Government, and of State and local governments, having authority to construct public works. (2) review such information and determine

(A) what public works projects have been or are in the process of being planned for construction,

(B) what public works projects are required to meet national, regional, and community growth and economic development,

(C) what are the present policies of the various departments, agencies, and instrumentalities with respect to planning public works, and

(D) the extent to which the policies of each such department, agency, and instrumentality should be coordinated with an overall policy with respect to public works planning and construction, and methods for

such coordination. (3) report from time to time as he deems necessary but not less often than once each year to the President and Congress

(A) all public works which are in the process of being constructed, those which have been or are being planned, and those which should be planned,

(B) any other recommendations with respect to planning and co

ordination of public works. Sec. 5. The Director shall, to the fullest extent possible, cooperate with all departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of State and local governments to insure the greatest possible planning and coordination of public works projects at all levels of government.

Sec. 6. The Director is authorized to make such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act.

SEC. 7. (a) The Director is anthorized to establish such advisory committees and to consult with such persons and organizations as he many deem necessary to carry out this Act.

(b) The Director shall, in carrying out this Act, utilize to the fullest extent possible the services, facilities, and information of all departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of Government as well as private agencies in order to avoid duplication of effort and expense, and all the departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the Federal Government shall provide the Director with such services, facilities, and information as he may determine necessary to accomplish the objectives of this Act on a nonreimbursable basis.

SEC. 8. (a) The Director is authorized and directed to prepare and to keep current at all times a public works plan which shall have as its basic purpose the acceleration of the construction of public works necessary to increase employment and to stabilize the economy when required to offset declines in economic activity. (b) The public works plan authorized by subsection (a) of this section

(1) shall provide for the acceleration of those Federal public works projects which have been authorized by Congress through the allocation of funds under this Act.

(2) shall provide for the acceleration of those public works projects of States and local governments for which Federal financial assistance is authorized under other provisions of law through the allocation of funds under this Act. (3) shall give priority to those public works projects which can

(A) be commenced within sixty days of the date the plan takes effect;

(B) meet essential public need;
(C) contribute significantly to the reduction of unemployment.

(c) All grants-in-aid made from allocations made by the Director under this Act shall be made by the head of the department, agency, or instrumentality of the Federal Government administering the law authorizing such grants in accordance with all of the provisions of such law, except (1) provisions requiring allocation of funds among the States, and (2) limitations upon the total amount of such grants for any period.

(d) Not more than 1212 per centum of all amounts allocated by the Director under this Act shall be made available to projects within any one State.

Sec. 9. (a) The plan which the Director is required to establish under section 8 of this Act shall go into effect, and the Director shall have authority to carry out the provisions of such plan, only during those periods when the President sball declare the plan to be in effect except that no such declaration shall be made unless

(1) data compiled and published by the Secretary of Labor shows (A) that the national unemployment rate, adjusted for seasonal variations, has risen in three of the four most recent consecutive months for which data is available, and (B) that the national unemployment rate, adjusted for seasonal variations, has risen by not less than 0.5 per centum during such period, or

(2) data compiled and published by the Secretary of Labor shows that the national unemployment rate, adjusted for seasonal variations, has exceeded 5 per centum during four of the six most recent consecutive months

for which such data is available. (b) Whenever the President declares the plan authorized by section 8 of this Act to be in effect, such plan shall remain in effect until terminated by the President, or until the end of the twelfth full month which begins after the date such period begins, whichever first occurs.

SEC. 10. (a) During any period when the President has declared the public works plan authorized by subsection (a) of section 8 of this Act to be in effect, the Director is authorized to allocate

(1) to the heads of the departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the Federal Government responsible for the construction of Federal public works projects, such amounts as he determines necessary for the acceleration of the construction of such projects, and

(2) to the heads of the departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the Federal Government responsible for the administration of laws authorizing Federal financial assistance to public works projects of States and local governments, such amounts as he determines necessary for the acceleration of the construction of such projects through such Federal financial assist

ance. (b) The total of all allocations made by the Director under paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of this section shall not exceed $500,000,000, and the total of all allocations made under paragraph 2 of subsection (a) of this section shall not exceed $1,500,000,000.

(c) Any allocation made under this section may be obligated immediately by the head of the department, agency, or instrumentality to whom it is made and shall continue to be available for obligation until the termination of the period during which the plan is in effect.

(d) There is hereby authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to liquidate obligations incurred under authority of subsection (c) of this section, and to otherwise carry out this Act.

SEC. 11. No part of any allocation made by the Director under subsection (a) of sertion 10 of this Act shall be made available to any State or local government for any public works project unless such project results in a net increase in the current annual level of expenditures of such government for capital improvement projects. The head of each department, agency, and instrumentality of the Federal Government administering any program for financial assistance which receives an allocation under subsection (a) of section 10 of this Act shall promulgate such rules and regulations governing the review of expenditures for capital improvement projects of applicants for assistance from such allocation as may be necessary to carry out this section.

SEC. 12. Section 202 of the Housing Amendments of 1955 is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new subsection :

“(e) During any period when the President has declared the public works plan authorized by section 8 of the Public Works Coordination and Acceleration Act to be in effect, the Administrator is authorized to make a grant-in-aid from any allocation made for such purpose under such Coordination and Acceleration

Act to any public entity described in clause (1) or (2) of subsection (a) of this section of not to exceed 50 per centum of the cost of construction of any project for public works or facilities, if such project would be eligible (without regard to the restrictions and limitations of subsections (b) and (c) and the proviso of subsection (d) of this section) for financial assistance under subsection (a) of this section."

Sec. 13. Section 702 of the Housing Act of 1954 is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new subsection:

“(g) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, no advance made under this section for the planning of any public works project shall be required to be repaid if

“(1) construction of such project is begun within two years of the date of completion of the plan as determined by the Administrator, or

(2) construction of such project is begun (during a period when the President has declared the public works plan authorized by section 8 of the Public Works Coordination and Acceleration Act to be in effect) as a result of a grant-in-aid made from an allocation made under such Coordination and Acceleration Act."

(H.R. 10318, 87th Cong., 2d sess.)

A BILL To help achieve the objectives of the Employment Act of 1946 by providing

standby authority to accelerate capital expenditure programs of the Federal Government and State and local public bodies

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That this Act may be cited as the “Stand-by Capital Improvements Act of 1962"'.

FINDINGS AND PURPOSE

SEC. 2. The continuing policy and responsibility of the Federal Government as declared by the Employment Act of 1946 is to use all practicable means, consistent with other essential considerations of national policy, to promote maximum employment, production, and purchasing power. The Congress finds that there have been periodic intervals when severe unemployment and loss of production and purchasing power have occurred and that repetition of these periods of severe unemployment and loss of production and purchasing power can be avoided, or their impact lessened, by prompt remedial action by the Federal Government as authorized in this Act. The Congress also finds that virtually every community in the Nation has a backlog of needed capital improvement projects, and that an acceleration of these projects during such intervals will not only increase employment and expenditures at a time when such action is most urgently required, but will also meet longstanding public needs, improve community services, and enhance the health and welfare of the citizens of the Nation.

It is the purpose of this Act to provide standby authority which will enable the President to take quick and effective action to stimulate the economy by inaugurating a program of needed capital improvements when unemployment indicators and other economic data clearly reveal that extraordinary action is needed to assure achievement of the objectives of the Employment Act of 1946, and to provide the President in such periods with authority (1) to immediately increase expenditures for direct Federal programs of capital improvements previously authorized by law, and (2) to furnish an incentive to State and local governmental bodies to accelerate their capital improvement programs through the initiation of projects which can be begun promptly and completed over a reasonably short period of time. It is the further intent and purpose of the Congress that departments and agencies of the Federal Government shall make advance plans for capital improvement projects that will enable them to act promptly when the President initiates the program authorized by this Act, and that the Federal Government shall assist and encourage the States and local governmental bodies, under the provisions of existing law, to make advance plans for capital improvement projects.

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