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and act on the overall situation in advance of taking appropriation and other legislative action.
I would guess, therefore, that you would support legislation that I introduced yesterday that would require that all agencies, when they send their budgets to the Budget Bureau, submit them at the same time to the appropriate committees of the Congress so that we may be equipped with the same information that the Executive is at the same time that the Executive is, and thus prepare ourselves better in your estimate, to deal with these important budget responsibilities.
Mr. Ash. I am not sure that that would be the most effective way for the Congress to deal
Senator MUSKIE. May I remind you, Mr. Ash, before the creation of the Budget Bureau in the early twenties, all budget requests came to the Congress first.
Mr. Asu. Yes, sir.
Senator MuskIE. And the purpose of establishing the Budget Bureau was to help the Congress do a better job. The original purpose has since been twisted into a denial of relevant information to the Congress that is submitted to the Executive.
If what we are talking about is priorities and determining which programs are better, are we not entitled to have the evaluation of the relevant agencies at the same time the Executive is so that when we are asked to consider your reshaping of those priorities, we have the exchange of the same information that you do, apart from the legislation which you have not seen and you cannot comment on the mechanics?
Mr. Asu. Well, I am sure, sir, in the process of hearings that always take place regarding the budget, there is considerable opportunity to consider the many options, possibilities, alternative ways of
Senator Muskie. Who is the better judge of how we can perform our procedures, you or the Congress?
Vír. Ash. I think the fact is, as you may know, the President has expressed a strong willingness to be cooperative with the Congress but without attempting to suggest what method the Congress adopts. We agree it is the business of the Congress to determine the method it adopts. We will be cooperative in working with any group of people.
Senator Muskie. If the Congress enacts this piece of legislation, in your judgment, would you recommend that he sign it?
Mr. Ash. I don't even know that particular piece of legislation.
Senator Muskie. We are speaking of principle and not the legislation. The principle is at the time the President receives budget recommendations from the agencies and departments, that the same information come to the Congress so that we can start off on the same base of information, get started at least at the same point, even though we may anticipate that we would end up at a different point.
All I am asking is that we get the cooperation to which you pay lip service to get the information at the same time you do. Now, what possible objection do you have to that?
Mr. Ish. I would recommend that such a bill not be signed to the degree that I understand it for the following reasons: Given the present structure within the executive branch of the Government, a very fragmenteil one, individual programs in many cases, not ea 'h and every case, but in many cases, only have a meaning in the context of each and every other program because they are so fragmented, even programs of like kind are so fragmented across the Government and if such reports came into the Congress, each went to its particular committee, I think that there would be no
Senator MUSKIE. Only one committee I am talking about, the Appropriations Committees of the Congress. I am not talking about legislative committees, I am talking about committees that have responsibilities for implementing your budget. We did this in State government when I was Governor. As a matter of fact, the information didn't just go to the legislature but to the public on the day that it went to the President.
What is your objection to that in principle?
Vr. Asu. One of the difficulties is that increasing amounts of the total budget don't even go through the Appropriations Committee, pet need to be considered even as the Appropriations Committee does its work.
Senator MUSKIE. What is the possible rationale for not giving it? You do in the budget document. You give us a lot of information about spending that doesn't go through the Appropriations Committee and today in your testimony you refer to moneys that don't go through appropriations process. I think that what you are doing is reflecting an instinctive reaction on the part of the Executive to refuse to cooperate with the Congress.
Mr. Ash. I think it is just better information that can be provided through the Office of Management and Budget.
Senator MUSKIE. We will have that anyway. I am talking about supplemental information that equips us to judge your evaluation of the priorities.
Mr. Ash. Then maybe that would also suggest that each agency, division, or subdivision submit its own thinking out of the context of higher orders of view that might be applied.
Senator MUSKIE. I haven't asked for that. Mr. Ash. What I have asked for is departmental budget recommendations. The fact that I am not asking for something unreasonable doesn't justify your answer that I am asking for something unreasonable.
Mr. Asu. I said the same reason would apply.
Senator MUSKIE. I don't regard it as the same reason. I am assuming that each department has its own organization and as a department as a whole it develops its recommendations to the President. That is what the President has to act upon.
Now, if the President, in addition, gets the recommendations of every functionary in every department, maybe we ought to have that also, but he doesn't as I understand it. You get the recommendation to the department heads and the agency heads. I am asking that you provide to the Congress the same information that the Budget Bureau receives at the same time so that we can start from the same base of information that you do.
Now, you ask us to come out at the same point. You know the old saying, if we have to participate in the landings we ought to participate in the takeoffs. That is what this bill says. You seem to resist it in principle. You haven't seen the mechanics, of course. I am not asking you to comment on that. I am asking you to comment on the principle.
Mr. Ash. I think that better judgment can be applied to the individual agency thinking when it is brought side by side with other agencies, other kind of scrutiny
Senator MTSKIE. But it is not, Mr. Ash, it is not. Agency head after agency head has refused to give me the substance of recommendations made to the Budget Bureau because the Budget Bureau figures are required once and are administration policy. Over and over again I have been refused the information that was submitted by the agency to the Bureau of the Budget in the first instance. So, don't give me that stuff.
What I am talking about, and you don't have to play with words to answer, do you think we are entitled to that information? You may have a better idea of how it might be done. We are not talking about mechanics. Do you think we are entitled to that information?
Mr. Ash. hink you are entitled to all of the information that I am sure you get in the process of the hearings that take place.
Senator MUSKIE. The information I am talking about we do not get in the process of hearings. You are telling me that we are entitled to that doesn't answer my question.
Mr. Ash. There is one executive branch of the Government, not many, and again by the Constitution that executive branch is charged with managing its affairs. Individual agencies, individual departments are parts of, rather than the whole, of that executive branch. The President has the basic authority and more than that--the responsibility-to come to the Congress with what his recommendations are, the information for those
Senator MUSKIE. But just what on earth do you really think is the function of the Congress in discharging its constitutional duty over appropriations? Where do we get this information? We had in the two appropriations committees of the Congress fire bodies dealing with HEW appropriations. That is all we had. Do we have to create matching bureaucracies up here working parallel and side by side with every executive department to generate the information, duplicative information that you get and seem so hesitant today to provide to us so we can intelligently discharge the responsibility which on the first page of your testimony you say we don't discharge efficiently and intelligently. How do we get this information?
The Congress creates these departments and provides the funding to run them and the salaries to pay them. Are you saying that you doubt for an instant that we are entitled to the full information generated in these departments and submitted to the Budget Bureau, that we are not entitled to it? I can't understand how you can sit in that chair and pay lip service to cooperation and hesitate for an instance in response to that question.
Mr. Ash. I think you are entitled to the kind of information and all of the information that I believe the hearings allow you the opportunity
Senator MUSKIE. Who is to decide what information we are to have?
Senator MESKIE. I have asked you a question. You said we are entitled to decide. All right. If the Congress asks this question is your answer to it yes?
Mr. Ash. Which question are we back to now? The one of whether
Senator MUSKIE. Mr. Ash, I have 10 minutes and I have some other points. You know what I am asking.
Mr. Ash. I would say that you have the benefit—that the hearing process, as I understand it
Senator MUSKIE. I have told you the hearing process in my judgment isn't adequate. I have told you as one Member of the Congress that I think that getting the information that I have described would be a great additional help. If the Congress confirms that judgment and we pass this bill would you recommend to the President that he sign it in order that we may get it?
Mr. Ash. I don't believe I would. I would want to study it further, but I don't believe I would.
Senator MUSKIE. All right. Then I do not take in good faith your offer of cooperation.
Senator Ervin. Pardon me a minute. We argued the Gravel case before the Supreme Court, and Justice Douglas asked what I thought was a very important question. He asked if the executive branch has title to such information.
Senator MUSKIE. Apparently, Mr. Ash, it does. Let me ask you another question. Is the President's 1974 budget in balance?
Mr. Asii. It is in full employment balance. It is not in Federal funds balance under the unified
Senator MUSKIE. In terms of dollars it is in deficit ?
Senator MUSKIE. Now, you say the deficit has been carefully measured to achiere some goals.
Mr. Ash. Yes, sir.
Senator MUSKIE. Now, as I read the morning papers, the administration and Congress admit that their estimates of GNP are higher than that of most economists, so if that is the case, the deficit will be larger than that projected by the President?
Mr. Ash. I believe that the
Senator MUSKIE. If the GNP on which your revenues are based is higher than what it will be, your deficit will be larger?
Mr. Ash. Not unless expenditures are curtailed to a lesser revenue.
Senator MUSKIE. I am talking about your budget, not what we appropriate.
Mr. Asu. It is a fact just as you have said, Senator, that if actual revenues are less than those planned and those that are planned are based upon an estimate of the GNP, and if expenditures continue exactly as planned, then the resultant deficit would be larger than indicated; that is correct.
Senator MUSKIE. Second, I understand that your objective of your economic program this year is not full employment, it is something less. As a matter of fact, you don't seem to agree on what your measure of full employment is going to be. I am not sure you have adopted 415 percent. You seem to be working on something just under 5 percent.
So it isn't a full employment budget in an economic standpoint either, is it?
Mr. Ash. It is based upon the definition that 4 percent unemployment constitutes the full employment level for the purpose of determining a budget deficit; it is based upon a percent stipulated unemployment level.
Senator MUSKIE. Let me ask you this: If the Congress should disagree with you with respect to what the full employment goal ought to be or with respect to the projections of GNP, is it your view that Congress has any authority to implement its judgment on those two points on what it does on appropriations?
Mr. Ash. It absolutely has.
Senator MUSKIE. If the Congress should decide that GXP should be higher or that full employment goal should be different than those you project, and based upon those projections, the Congress comes out with a different deficit than yours, should the Congress have the right to implement its view on those points?
Mr. Ash. It should translate into legislation, both on the tax side and the appropriation side, all of its judgment.
Senator MUSKIE. I am not talking about appropriations.
Senator MUSKIE. If the Congress sends appropriations to the President, based upon its evaluation and our full employment goals and other relevant factors, is it still your view that if the President on those points differs from the Congress, he can impound appropriations and refuse to execute the Congress' judgments on those points?
Mr. Ash. All Presidents over the years have exercised their judgments.
Senator MUSKIE. We are now talking about the basis upon which it is exercised.
Mr. Ash. And even on that basis.
Senator MUSKIE. And so what you are saying is with respect to full employment goals, with respect to economic projections, in effect, the Congress has nothing but an advisory role to play?
Mr. Ash. No; I am not saying that one bit.
Senator MUSKIE. Well, in implementing appropriations the President can impose his view, you have said. Since he doesn't do that, doesn't it leave the Congress power to impose their judgment?
Mr. Ash. That is drawing a black and white conclusion. Over the many years past, there has always been as a matter of recurring operation, as a Presidential action, applied to congressional appropriation.
Senator MUSKIE. Never upon the basis
Senator CHILES. Senator, I am afraid we are getting beyond the time limit.
Senator MUSKIE. Well, I am sorry. It is just beginning to get interesting.
Senator CHILES. Mr. Ash, we appreciate your appearing and look forward to hearing from you again.
Senator Ervin. Senator, without objection, I would like a copy of the Antideficiency Act to be placed in the record.