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tions that are proposed; they may be shifted by reason of reorganization.
Mr. ELLIOTT. That is perfectly true. Reorganization, whatever the reorganization program may be, the property would have to be worked in with the reorganization program, but we are talking of the application of the property act to these things.
The same thing is true with respect to the exemption of the Tennessee Valley Authority, in item No. 10, commencing on line 13, of
The Atomic Energy Commission, item No. 11, in line 18, on page 33, is wholly exempt in all respects from the application of the act, and I think that is very obviously for sound reasons, of national security.
Mr. BURNSIDE. If they want to get rid of any surplus property they can do so ?
Mr. ELLIOTT. Yes; if they have any excess property, of course, it can be disposed of by us at the request of the Atomic Energy Commission, I do not suppose that would involve any fissionable uranium.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. As a member of the Atomic Energy Committee, the joint committee, I think we will be able to take care of that situation.
Mr. ELLIOTT. Yes. Certainly there should be no reason why the Atomic Energy Commission should not come under the applicable provisions of this exemption.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. Of course, your agency in this matter as in other agencies, would render required services.
Mr. ELLIOTT. Yes. There are other sections of the act which take care of them.
Now item No. 12, commencing in line 19, on page 33, is a general item, and it must be for general items at the present time, at this stage of property legislation. It is substantially the same as in the Surplus Property Act of 1944. The provision in effect preserves other laws relating to procurement, utilization, and disposal of property, but it does permit the Administrator to go within those laws and prescribe general regulations for their operation to the extent he deems necessary to effectuate the provisions of title I, in carrying out the policy of this law.
We anticipate that a lot of these laws to which this would relate, will become obsolete.
And to that point, subsection (e), which commences on line 9, of page 34, requires the Administrator to report to the Congress such laws as he thinks have become obsolete by reason of the passage or operation of this act. I would suggest, since this is one of the things that was worked out with the staff of this committee, a slight amendment to that section so that it would read:
The Administrator shall report to the Congress, in January of each year, and at such other times as he may deem it desirable, the laws becoming obsolete by reason of the passage of operation of title I of this act.
There is placed an affirmative duty upon the Administrator to make annual reports in January in any event.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. That same phraseology could be used in section 111? Mr. ELLIOTT. Yes; I think it would be desirable in that section also. Section 303 relates to the authorization for appropriation.
Subsection (a) is necessary to set up the authorization for appropriation, because this becomes permanent legislation, and there is no way of predicting at this time, or from year to year, how much will
be needed. That is a matter that will have to be scrutinized by the appropriation committee.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. That is right.
Subsection (b) is similar to the provisions now contained in the Surplus Property Act of 1944, and permits a Federal agency to use funds for the disposal of property, which it now has on hand for the handling of such property.
There is a safeguard in that the use of such money must be authorized by the Director of the Bureau of the Budget.
Section 304, which commences in line 25, on page 34, is the standard separability provision.
And section 305, the last section, would make the act effective on June 30, 1949, to accord with the action under the present law, which was taken by the Congress upon the request of this committee, extending the War Assets Administration until June 30, 1949.
That concludes my statement. If I may, I would like to add one other thing.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. Let me ask you a question before we leave that section: Do you think the saving clause in there should be put in providing that it should become effective on a subsequent date as directed by the President. What is the reason for that provision? We only have about 3 months.
Mr. ELLIOTT. I would think that if there is to be a change, perhaps it should be provided that this act shall become effective upon the signature by the President or on June 30, 1949.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. Well, of course, that would be pretty difficult to work out.
Mr. HARVEY. I am wondering whether it should be June 30 or July 1. Might it not be a wise provision in there to say on July 1, thereafter, as the legislative bill may be signed by the President. As I would interpret this, if it should not become effective and I am just raising purely a technical question, and if the act is not signed by the president by June 30, then what would be the effect?
Mr. Joss. It seems to me that it should be on the date to which the Surplus Property Act continues, to June 30, because it is conceivable that it could go on for three or four weeks. For instance, if it went to July 10th before the bill becomes effective you could have a lot of running around in 10 days.
Mr. Harvey. Well, they could not get very far, I imagine in 10 days.
Mr. Joss. I have seen bills that came up on July 30.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. I think that this Congress undoubtedly will realize the necessity of getting this through by June 30. I was wondering if there would be any advantage for your agency, to have the authority to proceed at an earlier date than June 30, or if your plans for taking over could be made after June 30 ?
Mr. HARVEY. I should think, in the event the bill should be signed within a few weeks, that undoubtedly the agency would proceed, even without such a provision being written into the law, with its plans; just good housekeeping would indicate that. Do you not think that would be true?
Mr. HOLIFIELD. Yes. But I am somewhat concerned about the date. Let us assume that this law, or this bill, should be signed on July 1,
repealing quite a number of laws; would your bureau be in the position of acting without authority; would the other agencies be in position of acting without authority by reason of the repeal of the laws that would take place upon the President's signature, repealing the laws that you mentioned.
Mr. Harvey. As I understand there is a saving clause at the end which says if it does not become effective on June 30 the repeal would not become effective.
Mr. HCLIFIELD. Well that is probably unnecessary, then.
Mr. Harvey. The question that concerned me was possibly that one of the saving clauses might well be put in, which would protect them in case it should not be July 1, or something of that sort.
It is purely a legal and technical question and I am not prepared to pass upon it, except that it does seem to me that it is something to be considered, and I am just putting this question: Suppose that this legislation were signed on July 2, in this hypothetical case, then what would be the effects of this effective date clause in the act?
Mr. ELLIOTT. I think you have a real point on that. There might be some actions taken in those 2 days, and the question would rise whether they were legal acts or not, because of the provision that is dated back to June 30, which would leave everything in a state of suspended animation.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. I suggest that some thought be given to that by our legal counsel and an opinion given to the committee, and in the meanwhile we will also give some consideration to it.
Mr. HARVEY. I raised the question purely as a hypothetical one.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. Mr. Elliott, is there anything else you would like to tell the committee in respect to the bill ?
Mr. ELLIOTT. Yes; I would just like to mention two points: One, some of the other agencies, such as the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, have evidenced concern about the present situation. I think it would be desirable that there be as quick action as possible. Whatever action is going to be taken by the committee and the Congress, I think should be taken quickly, so that the various agencies can plan what they are going to do about handling and disposing of property.
The other point I would like to make is one which General Fleming asked me to make this morning before the hearing started. He spoke yesterday about the amendment which the General Accounting Office was going to suggest, relating to the property act, and as he told this committee, we in this Agency, have gone over it, and together with the Bureau of Federal Supply, are completely satisfied with the arrangement. But General Fleming asked me to explain to you that this has not been cleared by all the executive agencies generally. We are not, as you know, in position to say whether they will agree or do not agree with it.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. I understand there is some disagreement, and I think we will have to go into that problem a little later, after we have heard some of the agencies.
Mr. ELLIOTT. General Fleming just wanted me to make it clear to the committee that his views were the views of the Federal Works
Agency and not a statement of the executive branches generally as it had not been discussed with them.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. Is there anything else you wish to add, Mr. Elliott? Mr. ELLIOTT. No.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. We want to thank you, Mr. Elliott, for your testimony before the committee. You apparently are well qualified, and you have given a lot of study to this act, and it has been a great help to the members of this committee to have you come and discuss this particular legislation with us; and no doubt we will call upon you again before the legislation is reported out of the committee, possibly, for some additional information.
Mr. ELLIOTT. Thank you very much. I do not know as much about it as I should, although I have had a little experience while I was in the Army in the Material Command.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. Thank you very much, Mr. Elliott.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. If it meets with the accord of the other members of this subcommittee we will hold in abeyance consideration of title II at this time. We will hear the testimony on title I and consider title II by itself. Mr. HARVEY. I think that is agreeable.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. At this time we would like to call the representatives of the Bureau of Federal Supply. Mr. Harding, are you ready to proceed?
STATEMENTS OF BYRON HARDING, CHIEF COUNSEL, BUREAU OF
FEDERAL SUPPLY; HARRY KURTH, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, BUREAU OF FEDERAL SUPPLY; AND WILLIS S. MacLEOD, DEPUTY DIRECTOR IN CHARGE OF. STANDARDS BRANCH, BUREAU OF FEDERAL SUPPLY
Mr. HARDING. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Kurth will make the first statement for the Bureau of Federal Supply.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. We will be glad to hear you, Mr. Kurth.
Mr. KURTIT. Mr. Chairman, my name is Harry Kurth; I am Assistant Director of the Bureau of Federal Supply.
The Bureau of Federal Supply has worked very closely with the Federal Works Agency, with the Bureau of the Budget, and with other agencies in the development of this bill. We are heartily in accord with its provisions, primarily because it clearly restates and redefines the charter, the basic charter, under which we are now operating, that is, Executive Order 6166, which was issued by the President under the authority of the Reorganization Act of 1932.
The bill clears up many ambiguities in the present operation, supersedes that order and, if passed, would result ultimately in a saving to the Federal Government, particularly in the two fields which were mentioned, that is, of uniform Federal catalog and Federal specifications.
With respect to personnel of the Bureau of Federal Supply, under this bill there should be some expansion in those two fields. We have never really tackled those jobs, on the basis that we should have, and we have pending a request for personnel before the Appropriations: Committee.
Just as in the case pointed out about real estate, expenditure of money for personnel in establishing a uniform Federal catalog certainly should ultimately result in a large saving in the purchase of materials, and also through the reduction of excess stocks. While there would be an increase in personnel involved in the development of this system, there should be ultimately a considerable saving. This also applies to the Federal specifications and standardization of materials.
We have with us here today Mr. MacLeod, who is Deputy Director of the Standards Branch, Bureau of Federal Supply, and if you would like I will have him explain the present program a little bit in detail.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. Will you give us your full name for the record, Mr.. MacLeod ?
Mr. MACLEOD. My name is Willis S. MacLeod, Deputy Director in charge of the Standards Branch, Bureau of Federal Supply.
For a number of years the Bureau has had the responsibility for the development of the Federal specifications, which are the purchase specifications for general use of the departments and the establishments for the purchase of commonly used items of supply. In the past twenty-odd years-some 27 years there have been about 2,000 of such specifications prepared. There is a tremendous need for a great many additional specifications, each of which would coordinate and correlate the specifications of the several departments and establishments into one uniform specification, which could be used by them when they want to buy supplies or make purchases on a competitive basis. The result, of course, would be a tremendous saving to the Government, and the result on the commonly used type of items, both from the viewpoint of the supplier and from the viewpoint of the Government, would mean a saving.
That program has gone forward splendidly with the facilities available to the Government, and that it is being very importantly accepted by our suppliers is evidenced by the fact that during recent years the use of specifications, and the demand for copies of them, has very extensively increased.
That program is provided for in express detail in the language of the proposed bill, and I predict will be accelerated with this clarification of the functions and the responsibilities of the Bureau of Federal Supply.
The Federal catalog program was initiated, a great many years ago, in the form of the Federal Standard Stock Catalog, and that catalog generally covered, during the development processes
Mr. HOLIFIELD. May I just interrupt you for a moment, Mr. MacLeod ?
Mr. MACLEOD. Yes.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. May I say to the gentlemen from the State Department that there is no particular need for them to stay at this time, if they would like to get back to their department, because it will be impossible to get to you this morning. You have heard the general summary from the FWA on the bill, so if you do wish to be excused in order to conserve your own time you may leave, and you will receive a notice from the committee as to the time of your appearance, and when you may be expected.