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can be spent that would have the effect of reducing unemployment within a reasonable period of time? Is that not why the 12-month provision is written into this bill? Is there not a limitation as to how much money can be pump primed into public construction in any unemployment period ?
Secretary GOLDBERG. We did not reach that limit in 1958 and the limits we are proposing today are well within the areas that we could reach right now and also by the standby program.
Mr. CRAMER. Yes. Now, is it not true that this $600 million authority is largely for public facilities, of types in the Communities Facilities Act? That is, participating in the cost of any municipal or State or county public facility, including the building of firehouses, city halls, parks, beaches, or anything else that is considered to be a community facility or public facility, up to 50 percent, or even 100 percent Federal participation? Is that not what we are getting into under this $600 program?
Secretary GOLDBERG. Not entirely, because
Secretary GOLDBERG. Partially, yes; but I do not see any objection to that, if I may say so. I think that is very desirable.
Mr. CRAMER. You think it is desirable for the Federal Government to participate on a matching fund basis with local communities on any and all public facilities construction work?
Secretary GOLDBERG. Oh, I do not say any and all, because we could not possibly, with this sum of money, exhaust the requirements of public facilities throughout the areas. I do believe it is desirable for the Federal Government to participate, as we have done traditionally, with States and localities in these very good improvements.
Mr. CRAMER. Let me just ask you one more question, because I do not want to prolong the interrogation over the luncheon hour, although there are a number of questions I would like to discuss with you. The fundamental question involved, I believe, in the legislation is the question of the delegation of congressional authority to the President. Now, do you not think that the Congress of the United States can act quickly enough to provide authority and funds, as was proven in 1958, for any needed public works accelerated programs? Do you not think Congress should reserve the right to make that decision?
Mr. BLATNIK. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. CRAMER. No; I would like the Secretary to answer, and then I will be glad to yield. That is my opinion, and I have a right to ask the question.
Mr. BLATNIK. It was not proven. On the highway program, while it did help, it took too long, and it was limited in areas to which it could be applied, which is different from where the unemployment was, but the other construction grants program just did not go into effect simply because the planning was not completed for them. The municipalities were not ready.
Mr. FALLON (presiding). Before any other question is asked, may I ask a question of the Secretary.
Mr. Secretary, I know we kept you waiting for half an hour in the hall. I understand that you have a speaking engagement at lunch. '
It is now 20 minutes of 1. Just how much time do you have left to give to this committee this morning?
Secretary GOLDBERG. Well, I want to give the committee any time that the committee would like me to. I do have
Mr. FALLON. Well, you were delayed, and it was our fault.
Secretary GOLDBERG. I do have an engagement at lunch today, and there is quite a group waiting for me.
Mr. FALLON. I will ask this: If there are any questions that the committee would like to have answered, if you could come back at a later date some day or if they could write you and ask you
Mr. CRAMER. If he could answer the one I just asked I would appreciate it.
Secretary GOLDBERG. I would be glad to.
First of all, the objection you have interposed does not apply at all to the $600 million. There, Congress is going to be asked to appropriate directly for that money,
Second, on the standby I have reviewed the 1958 situation because I have been concerned about it and wanted to study the 1958 program.
I want to say again, and this is not to criticize what was done in 1958 or what was not done in 1958, but to profit by our experience, the 1958 program was not adequate either in terms of the amount or in terms of the type of work we did or in terms of the type of results we got or could have received from it.
You need a more comprehensive program. You need the means by which you can work with the Federal agencies and the local governments to do it.
You have to put limits, such as we have put on it, this 12-month period, and the nature of the projects are as specified here, and I think this is an intelligent way to handle a program, and I do not think it abdicates congressional functions.
First, we are asking Congress to do it. Congress will
Mr. CRAMER. You are asking Congress to delegate it to the President.
Secretary GOLDBERG. No, but we are asking Congress to give us authority and we would be exercising congressional authority if Congress agreed that this was the best method, and then, as I said, no President would act in such a way that it would be a single effort, because Congress would dry up the resources for all future times.
Mr. CRAMER. Well, Mr. Secretary, if you had the duty of keeping a running inventory of projects that could, upon proper triggering, be put into effect and have an immediate effect, say, within a 12month period, if the administration had that authority legislatively to maintain an inventory of priority projects, what would
be wrong with them putting that into effect by coming to Congress and saying, "Here is the list of projects that are needed, and here is the finding of the President that unemployment exists,” and then ask the Congress to immediately implement it and Congress could do it in 2 days?
What is wrong with the Congress having a chance to make this decision?
Secretary GOLDBERG. Because I think that, as a matter of the way the legislative processes operate, it should not be done that way. If speed is of the
Mr. CRAMER. You say it should not be done that way?
Secretary GOLDBERG. Yes, because I think Congress traditionally has to go through some procedures. I think those procedures are good procedures. They have to have hearings
Mr. CRAMER. Do you know how long it took Congress to enact the money that Eisenhower asked for?
Secretary GOLDBERG. Yes, but, as I say, that money was a small part of the money that was really required.
Mr. CRAMER. All right. But if the President had asked for more money he probably would have gotten it. If President Kennedy asks for additional money, to accelerate the program, he will probably
I do not find the reasoning proper that Congress is recalcitrant and would be unreasonable in aiding the public. Now, I might add that if you got 1 percent of employment, which is possible under this legislation, it might be recalcitrant and rightfully so
Secretary GOLDBERG. I have not said, nor do I believe, that Congress is recalcitrant. I believe Congress works hard and does a good job. But I do believe that the essence of a program like this is to operate under a congressional directive to speed up a situation when you get into a problem, in order to anticipate the effects of such a problem.
I cannot see that this is a delegation which can be a harmful delegation. Congress is constantly delegating some of its powers to the Executive
Mr. CRAMER. And that is what disturbs me. You can operate under this program without Congress delegating this much authority to the President by having a running inventory of available projects to be presented to Congress on the President's request when unemployment is found to be excessive, and Congress can put it into effect in a matter of 24 hours.
Secretary GOLDBERG. But again, I want to say that when delegations are made it does not necessarily mean that the delegations are bad delegations, provided Congress has had an opportunity to consider why a delegation is made, which is why we are proposing it to you now.
I think here that there are very good safeguards because ultimately, as I say, it is a one shot proposition to make these transfers, because it has to be restored. If an Executive does not act properly he would only act improperly
I should think that an Executive would act with considerable regard for the Congress when he acts under this authority. Mr. BALDWIN. Mr. Chairman, I have one question. Mr. FALLON. Mr. Baldwin.
Mr. BALDWIN. Mr. Secretary, page 3 of the bill says that the national unemployment rate is to be determined by the Department of Labor. Has not the bases upon which that was determined been revised by the Department of Labor within the last few years?
Secretary GOLDBERG. The basis of substantial unemployment, the 6 percent?
Mr. Baldwin. No, not "substantial.” The basis upon which you computed the percentage of unemployment nationally and announced each month.
Secretary GOLDBERG. No.
Secretary GOLDBERG. No, we are following the same techniques that were used all during the last administration.
Mr. BALDWIN. Exactly?
Mr. BALDWIN. If a cannery worker completes a normal cannery job, and you are making a computation the next month and, say, the cannery worker just works in a cannery for a period of months and he does not plan to work the next year,
a survey after the cannery worker leaves the cannery do you count him as unemployed or
Secretary GOLDBERG. No, she goes back home, and is not actively seeking work, and we do not count her.
Mr. SCHWENGEL. Mr. Chairman, I have a question.
Mr. SCHWENGEL. I have a number of questions, Mr. Secretary, I want to ask you, and some of the other members who have appeared here.
I hope they can all come back because we are dealing with some things that are very, very important, and I think I can see some ominous trends here that I think we ought to talk about before we launch into this kind of legislation.
That is the reason I hope we can have you come back.
Mr. Fallon. May I say to the gentleman that these hearings are going on for 2 weeks, and I am sure the other department heads that are coming up here—that you will have ample time to ask any questions that you desire.
But at the moment we are faced with a situation that the Secretary must leave due to our keeping him waiting. We certainly did not get enough time. But I am sure that, after all the other witnesses, if you desire the Secretary back
Secretary GOLDBERG. I will be available at any time, because, Congressman, I cannot agree that there are any ominous trends.
We may differ about the legislation, but this is a perfectly straightforward proposition to help the unemployed.
There is nothing else here that does not meet the eye.
Mr. SCHWENGEL. Sir, if I see some questions I have a right to ask about them.
Secretary GOLDBERG. Oh, by all means, and I will be delighted to talk to you about them.
Mr. Fallon. Thank you very much, Secretary, for coming here, and we will take a recess now until 2 o'clock.
(Whereupon, at 12:53 p.m., the hearing was recessed, to reconvene at 2 p.m., on the same day.)
(Present: Representatives Fallon, Davis, Blatnik, Wright, McFall, Pfost, Johnson, Scherer, Cramer, Baldwin, Dooley, Gray, Robison, King, and Harvey.)
Mr. FALLON. Ladies and gentlemen, the Committee on Public Works is resuming its hearing on H.R. 10113 and H.R. 10318, known as the Standby Capital Improvements Act of 1962.
We are honored this afternoon by the presence of the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, Mr. Ribicoff, who needs no introduction to this commitee, or certainly to any of the members.
Mr. Secretary, we do appreciate your coming here before this committee, and you can proceed.
Mr. Davis. Mr. Chairman, he served with great distinction, I might say, as a Member of this House. Some of us had the pleasure of serving with him.
Mr. Fallon. That is true, and also served as Governor of one of the great New England States; namely, Connecticut.
Secretary RIBICOFF. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
STATEMENT OF ABRAHAM RIBICOFF, SECRETARY, HEALTH,
EDUCATION, AND WELFARE; ACCOMPANIED BY ASSISTANT SURGEON GENERAL GORDON E. MCCALLUM, CHIEF, DIVISION OF WATER SUPPLY AND POLLUTION CONTROL; ASSISTANT SURGEON GENERAL DR. JACK C. HALDEMAN, CHIEF, DIVISION OF HOSPITAL AND MEDICAL FACILITIES; WILBUR COHEN, ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR LEGISLATION; AND JEROME SONOSKY, ASSISTANT TO ASSISTANT SECRETARY COHEN
Secretary RIBICOFF. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of your committee for your gracious introduction and welcome. I am pleased, too, to appear before you in support of legislation to provide the President standby authority to accelerate the construction of capital improvements projects by all levels of government.
The standby capital improvements authority is one of three proposals presented by the President in his Economic Report as a comprehensive program to strengthen the economy against recession. The other two elements are (1) the authority, subject to congressional vote, to declare a partial and temporary suspension of personal income taxes and (2) an expansion and improvement of the unemployment compensation system which would cover more workers and cover unemployed workers over longer time periods. These counterrecessionary measures are designed to permit prompt action to arrest and reverse a downward movement in economic activity in its early stages.
The prompt action being taken by this committee on the administration's proposal is indeed encouraging. Planning and being ready for recession are certainly preferable to hastily conceived, highcost crash programs of capital improvement put into motion only after an economic decline has set in, bringing in its wake unemployment and the attendant toll of human suffering and economic waste.
I might say that this committee is known for taking prompt action in vitally important fields. Your leadership last year made possible the early enactment of the Federal Water Pollution Act Amendments of 1962. We have made great progress since its enactment last July. The construction of sewage-treatment plants has increased 72 percent since 1956 when the grant program was established. An energetic enforcement program is underway, including two important intrastate cases initiated at State request. Research into advanced methods of waste treatment is moving forward with renewed