Images de page

Mr. BOLLING. The whole realm of public works, not including roads and dams?

Mr. HAZELTIN. Dams and that sort of thing, and I believe roads would be included in that, if necessary.

Mr. BOLLING. This is conceived of, I take it, not so much in the terms of the Joint Committee report, but more in terms of-is it conceived of with very heavy consideration being given to its antirecession feature?

Mr. COLE. May I comment on that, Mr. Bolling?

The proposal as presented here in light of the present authorities, the present organization activities which are now set up in the Federal Government. It is presented, however, as a result of the study made by the Council of Economic Advisers, and at their recommendation, as I understand it. The planning activities in the past have been conducted in this fashion-in the recent past-as you know, the second advanced planning program has been allocated to this agency. Largely, I think, the reason for it is that the personnel, the technicians, are located within the agency, and they are people who have done it in the past, and who had experience with this type of program.

Mr. BOLLING. If I understand this correctly, this will provide for planning and a limited amount of coordination between the Federal Government and States and local governments.

What provision is made in this section for overall coordination between the States, the localities, and all of the many agencies of the Federal Government which are in the public-works field? I cannot say offhand how many of the agencies of the Federal Government are, but it seems to me that they would be the Bureau of Public Roads, Office of Education, the Surgeon General, United States Public Health Service, Chief of Engineers, Forest Service, General Services Administration, Interior Department, Labor Department, the Post Office Department, the Secretary of Defense, Office of Defense Mobilization, Atomic Energy Commission. All of those Federal agencies are to one degree or another in the public-works field.

Is there a coordination provided for by this section, or any other legislation with which you are familiar, proposed or enacted, that will provide for an overall coordination and planning of public works, State, local, and Federal?

Mr. HAZELTINE. It was considered that administratively, all of the Federal activities that would have anything to do with an advance for planning any which applicant might request, all of those people would be contacted to see whether or not it conformed with their ideas prior to making advance for this plan.

Mr. BOLLING. Would it be fair to say that this is in effect a program of planning and coordination in a limited field of public works, largely leading out of that coordination and planning, a coordination of Federal public works with all others?

Mr. COLE. Yes, sir; that is right.

Mr. BOLLING. This is a limited program, not destined to coordinate the whole public-works field?

Mr. COLE. In other words, not to coordinate the Federal public works, the works which the Federal Government will do.

Mr. BOLLING. It seems to me fairly obvious that this represents a very serious problem, just from the reading of the number of agen

cies of the Federal Government that are involved in public works of one kind or another. I have felt strongly for some time that we needed an overall coordinationg agency. I understand that certain functions of that sort are performed in the Bureau of the Budget, but it seems to me that this may be a step, in a sense, towards not a further disintegration, actually, because you are going to have planning of certain limited types of projects, but it will, in a sense, really increase the confusion as well as solving some of it. Do you see my point?

Mr. COLE. I see your point. Certainly I think a coordinated effort on planning is necessary.

Mr. BOLLING. Mr. Chairman, I think that at this point I will have to have a commercial.

I have introduced a bill with Senator Douglas, which I would actually very much like to get a comment on from your agency, although it probably goes beyond your jurisdiction, and it goes to the question of the total overall coordination, H. R. 7766. My own view is that while this will certainly be of help in the localities, that we have failed in Congress to ever meet the very complicated and difficult problem of the overall coordination of all public works in which the Federal Government might have any part to play.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. MERRILL. Mr. Chairman.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Merrill.

Mr. MERRILL. As I understand it, this is merely a planning program for State or local public-works projects?

Mr. COLE. That is right.

The CHAIRMAN. Are there further questions?

Mr. O'HARA. Mr. Chairman.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. O'Hara.

Mr. O'HARA. Is it intended that this shall cover Puerto Rico?

Mr. COLE. Yes, sir; it does cover the Territories, Mr. O'Hara.

Mr. O'HARA. I am wondering whether Puerto Rico is covered by this language. "Shall include any State, Territory or possession of the United States." Would that cover Puerto Rico?

Mr. COLE. Counsel advises me that it does cover Puerto Rico. We will check it further.

Mr. O'HARA. A commonwealth is a possession?

Mr. FITZPATRICK. Puerto Rico is considered and has been for years, under the language of the bill, to be covered.

Mr. GAMBLE. Under the language of what, sir?

Mr. FITZPATRICK. Under the language "Territories and possessions" Puerto Rico is covered. It has been consistently interpreted that way by the State Department.

Mr. GAMBLE. Would it include a commonwealth?

Mr. FITZPATRICK. I do not know whether it includes a commonwealth stated as such, but I do know it includes Puerto Rico, which has acquired a commonwealth status.

Mr. GAMBLE. They consider themselves a little bit different than a Territory or other possession. It is defined in their own constitution, as I understand it, from the Governor.

The CHAIRMAN. Will you yield to Mr. Gamble, Mr. O'Hara?
Mr. O'HARA. Surely.

Mr. GAMBLE. Excuse me, Mr. O'Hara.

I do not know the exact language, but they define themselves a little bit differently in their constitution, which, incidentally, was written by the Governor who was here the other day. It is just a technical question.

Mr. O'HARA. I wonder if there has been any judicial determination on the question? Has any court ever passed upon it?

Mr. FITZPATRICK. I could not tell you offhand, Mr. O'Hara.

Mr. GAMBLE. Mr. O'Hara, their constitution is only about 2 years or a year and a half old. So I would not imagine that there has been any judicial determination of anything like that.

Mr. O'HARA. I am wondering, Mr. Gamble, if we shouldn't include the word "commonwealth" in the language of this definition.

Mr. GAMBLE. I yield to counsel on that.

Mr. FITZPATRICK. Well, if you feel there is any uncertainty about it you can always add Puerto Rico by name, Mr. O'Hara, but, quite frankly, we felt the language was satisfactory to cover it.

Moreover, I will say that similar language is also used in the title. I, slum-clearance title, and it has been interpreted over the past year as including Puerto Rico and we have entered into loan contracts with municipalities in Puerto Rico under that language.

Mr. O'HARA. I suppose the State Department should know whether calling Puerto Rico a possession arouses any sensitiveness on the part of the Puerto Ricans. It has been my understanding that the status of commonwealth was something else.

Mr. FITZPATRICK. I am not competent to answer that question.
Mr. O'HARA. I do not know.

Mr. GAMBLE. Will you yield?

Mr. O'HARA. I yield.

Mr. MCDONOUGH. Do you have any doubt about that, Mr. O'Hara, that they do not like the fact that they are considered a possession?

Mr. O'HARA. I do not know. What I am saying is not motivated by the recent happening. It so happened that a year or so ago, I was privileged to spend several hours in conversation with the very able Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, and I got the distinct impression that he regarded the commonwealth status as carrying a greater degree of equality and independence than would attach to the status of possession.

Mr. GAMBLE. You mean he considered it that way?

Mr. O'HARA. I rather thought so. I may be wrong in it.

Mr. GAMBLE. I think that is correct. A subcommittee of Banking and Currency were in Puerto Rico a year ago in December, and we had a talk with the Governor at that time. He kept referring to the commonwealth status as being on a different level from a Territory or any other possession; of course you have FHA loans in Puerto Rico, and you have an agent down there.

Mr. FITZPATRICK. That is right.

Mr. GAMBLE. That would probably be a precedent for something else that would follow: would it not?

Mr. FITZPATRICK. That is correct, Mr. Gamble.

Mr. MCDONOUGH. Mr. O'Hara, is it your point that they should not participate in this legislation?

Mr. O'HARA. Oh, no. To the contrary, I want to make it certain that they can participate. As I understand their status, and I may be wrong, if this legislation is enacted then it is optional with them. They can accept it or reject it. Is that about it, Mr. Gamble, as you understand it?

Mr. GAMBLE. I think so.

Mr. O'HARA. That is if they elect to take the advantage of the law they must also assume the obligations. Within a certain limitation they can take or reject a law that we enact. What I am concerned in now is whether the term "possession" is exactly the proper term.

Mr. GAMBLE. I think you could check on that by making an example of their basic law down there, their constitution, or whatever they call it.

Mr. COLE. As Mr. Fitzpatrick suggested, if the committe has any doubts about it certainly we would have no hesitation or no objection to making it clear and explicit.

Mr. O'HARA. That is "any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession.

The CHAIRMAN. Just a minute, we are getting pretty deep into something here. We better make sure we are going in the right direction. I don't think there should be any question but that, regardless of the form of government which they have down there, they have not Statehood and they have not territorial government, so it would be obvious that it is a possession, as a State or Territory is a possession of the United States, and I think the terms of the amendment would apply to that. I think before we go to any new language we better get a ruling from the State Department on it because it not only affects this law but thousands of other laws in operation.

Mr. COLE. I would yield to the chairman's better judgment in that regard.

The CHAIRMAN. As you know, sometimes when you try to define these things too specifically you exclude a great many other things which you don't intend to exclude. I think the term "possession" would apply to Puerto Rico, Guam, Wake Island, and all the other possessions.

If there are no further questions on this particular subject, according to the original plan, the whole statement and the whole bill are open for such questions as Mr. Cole and his staff may be able to


Are there any questions with respect to any phase of the program? Mr. DEANE. Mr. Chairman.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Deane.

Mr. DEANE. Mr. Cole, you are familiar with the interest of Mr. Rains in some type of warranty provision?

Mr. COLE. Yes, sir.

Mr. DEANE. He has been unavoidably detained. He wanted me to ask you if you would kindly comment on that subject. I am interested likewise, in view of, you will recall, a little investigation of a year or so ago.

Mr. COLE. I know of Congressman Rains' deep interest in the problem of the builders' warranty, and I know of yours. I myself took quite an interest in it when I was a member of the Rains subcommittee. I studied the matter a great deal, and the President's Advisory Committee went into the problem very carefully.

While they were not unanimous in their decision, they came to the conclusion that the ramifications involved in a statutory builders' warranty were so difficult that the objective to be attained could be accomplished through the regulations of FHA, and that the difficulties involved in it were almost overriding in that regard.

Now, I am well aware of the need for FHA, and, for that matter for VA-I am speaking of FHA because I am primarily interested in FHA-the need of FHA to carefully, vigorously, and with every facility at its command, to see that its regulations are carried out, and then when they find that inspections are such that a builder has permitted shoddy construction they do have the authority, and have exercised it, Mr. Deane, to blacklist the builder, to forbid him from receiving insurance by putting certain restrictions against it-and I am advised by FHA that it is working quite satisfactorily. Not that I believe that it is working perfectly, but at least following the President's Advisory Committee's recommendations, we have therefore not submitted an amendment for a builders' warranty.

Mr. DEANE. I do not know what Mr. Rains' intentions are so far as the warranty is concerned. I know that he is very much interested in it, and I am very grateful for your interest to the extent of seeing that the houses that are constructed are given proper inspection.

Mr. COLE. Mr. Hollyday is quite aware of that, and has been very insistent that that procedure be followed carefully.

Mr. DEANE. On that point, do you think that you have sufficient appropriations and staff to promulgate this legislation that you are proposing in the way that it should be?

Mr. COLE. You are speaking now of the entire legislation which we have?

Mr. DEANE. That is right.

Mr. COLE. Mr. Deane, there will be a reorganization plan presented to the Congress by the President that has not been firmed yet-firm decisions have not been made, I understand he has not come to definite conclusions on it--but I don't envision any advance in the appropriations which we requested under the present budget, appreciably, or any at all, frankly, at the present time.

I would think that, generally speaking, we do have those authorities and almost sufficient budget, at any rate. Necessarily it must be rearranged, it must be reorganized to do the coordinated, integrated job which we envision in this legislation.

Mr. DEANE. Mr. Chairman, I want to thank Mr. Cole for his patience and for the forthright way in which he has answered questions directed to him.

Mr. COLE. Thank you very much, Mr. Deane.

Mr. MCVEY. Mr. Chairman.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. McVey.

Mr. McVEY. I have received a request from a civic organization in Chicago for an opinion regarding an amendment which I am not sponsoring myself but which is very important in the minds of the members of this civic organization and I should like to have a reaction to it. It involves the use of land along the railroad trackage in the city of Chicago. There seems to be considerable acreage there which is not being used at the present time. But in order to get that land, it is felt by this group that the 1954 Housing Act provides the best vehicle

« PrécédentContinuer »