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EXAMPLES OF PROGRAMS TERMINATED BY PRESIDENTIAL ACTION President Johnson : Aedes-aegypti-Mosquito control program.
President Kennedy: AEC—Aircraft nuclear propulsion program ; Dyna-soar program.
President Truman: Supercarrier, the U.S.S. United States. President Roosevelt: Numerous flood control projects amounting to about $500 million.
Mr. MILLER. I have another question. I would like to refer, sir, to your testimony which I have had the pleasure of reading before Senator Talmadge's committee last Thursday and I would like to direct my attention at least to this question of guidelines, the colloquy you had with Senator Dole.
I refer now to pages 97 and 98 of the transcript of the testimony. And you said this statement, if I may refresh your memory, sir.
"We get some guidelines in the amount of reductions which they expect us to take, expect HUD to take, expect HEW to take, and so on, and simultaneously work out these things.
“There are other candidates for cuts too." Now my question is this:
I recall when the guidelines were given the entire Cabinet the comment was made, “When you see the figures it will not be a typographical error."
My first thought was it is a typographical error.
Now, my question is not to that, my question is to the articulation of the criteria by your office or by the Office of Management and Budget when impoundment should take place, how do you determine when a given impoundment is to take place?
Secretary Burz. After we got the guidelines on the amount of reduction that Agriculture would take, I think that we followed the same procedure as any other department followed unless they got word to work these ont simultaneously with the cognizant offices.
Mr. MILLER. What are those guidelines, sir?
Secretary Burz. You have to simply establish some kind of priorities where you cut.
Mr. MILLER. Then how do vou establish a prioritv?
We come back to have they ever been published for elucidation, for example.
Secretary Burz. No, sir; except as I said, through half a dozen presidents attempts have been made substantially to reduce and often eliminate the old agriculture conservation program, now the REAP program. That was kind of a guideline.
It had a very low priority through half a dozen administrations and that was a kind of guideline, one that you take into consideration.
The fact that a substantial number of practices under the REAP program were essentially income supplements rather than nayments for pollution abatement practices. Income is up substantially to our farmers-$3 billion.
That became a part of the guidelines. It went into the formula to determine its rank on the priority scale.
Mr. MILLER. Well, sir, I recognize from your testimony from what you said earlier today that you are not a lawyer but you would agree that this is a government of law, would you not ?
Secretary Burz. Yes, sir.
Mr. MILLER. And you would agree that the decision, then, if this is a government of law, have to be made in terms of some articulated standard of judgment.
Secretary Burz. Yes, sir.
Mr. Miller. I am asking for the articulated standards of judgment then that OMB has issued with respect to impoundments.
Secretary Burz. All I can say, we have acted on the counsel of the Attorney General's Office and our own General Counsel that the executive branch of the Government had in fact the power to do this.
Mr. MILLER. But you are telling me that you have the power, you are not telling me how you do it.
Secretary Burz. I presume how you do it was back of the decision in the Attorney General's Office.
Mr. MILLER. Do you associate yourself with Mr. Sneed's testimony?
How can you reconcile the fact that you say that we are a government of law when you say that we do not have any standards by which to make decisions ?
You admit implicitly, Mr. Butz, you have no standards, now, the specific question, sir, did OMB direct you to make an across-the-board cut of all agriculture programs?
Secretary Burz. No.
Mr. VILLER. Or did it say cut program X, Y, but don't cut A, B, and C?
Secretary Burz. No, sir; we work these things out together.
As I said previously, once we got our guidelines on total reductions, then we worked them out together.
Mr. MILLER. How do you do it, I think Senator Muskie was asking and Senator Metcalf was asking.
Secretary Burz. Obviously this has to be on the basis of subjective judgment, basis of alternatives, basis of impact the selective cuts would have on the agriculture economy as well as nonagriculture economy; it has to be on the basis of other programs available.
Mr. MILLER. A subjective judgment, Mr. Butz, is a judgment without law; would you agree with that statement ?
Secretary Burz. I do not know that I can agree with that statement. Mr. MILLER. Then what are the criterion judgment standards?
Secretary Butz. In this case we had the opinion of the Attorney General that the President was acting within his authority.
Mr. Miller. That is not the point. The point is how you act within that so-called authority. I happen to disagree with it but that is a different point.
The point is, assuming he has the authority, you have got to have criteria of judgment.
Secretary Butz. Quite right.
Mr. MILLER. Now, that is all I think the committee is really interested in.
I think Senator Chiles was asking that a few minutes ago. How do you determine that program X is not going to be funded but program Y is going to be funded and how do you determine that?
Secretary Burz. I presume the Congress made value judgments along the same line when they made the appropriations.
Mr. MILLER. That is a political process. I am not a politician, I am a poor country lawyer. Secretary Butz. They must have made value judgments there that ultimately got translated into appropriations.
Mr. MILLER. I know, sir.
Senator Chiles. You did not follow any of our value judgments, did you?
Secretary Burz. We followed most of them.
We are just talking about three or four areas here in which we deviated from them.
Mr. MILLER. The question is this, and I will not presume to talk about the political process, because that, I take it is the job of Congress to make political evaluations, but you are telling me now, and I want to make sure because I think it is important to get it in the record, you are telling me that these impoundments are political judgments of the Executive?
Secretary Burz. I would say they are economic judgments of the Executive.
If we had made political judgments obviously we would not have cut anything, we would not be having these hearings.
The politically popular thing I griess was to spend the money as long as Senator Muskie would raise his eighteen and a half billion in tax.
Mr. MILLER. I don't want to speak to that and I am about to be cut off by Senator Chiles.
Senator CHILEs. We have just been called to the floor for a vote. Senator Ervin left two short questions to be asked. I think we should hit those questions because we may be able to wind it up, if we can.
Mr. EDMISTEN. Mr. Knebel, we lawyers have ways of using words. Now you really had to strain the language to terminate these two programs, the REAP program, and the water bank program; did you not?
Mr. KNEBEL. Well, it just depends on how you look at the words. It may have been a strain for you but perhaps for us counsel, it wasn't.
As you know, I did not render the initial opinion, however, I have no problem in adopting it.
Mr. EDMISTEN. It was one of first impression. You just admitted a moment ago that to terminate these programs is a very unusual method of reconciling differences between the Congress and the Executive. So really the General Counsel who handed down this opinion would have had to strain in a difficult way, I would say, to come up with this conclusion.
Mr. KNEBEL. I haven't had the occasion yet but I fully intend to check on the previous General Counsel's opinion. I assume for the last five Presidents when they got ready to impound these funds similar opinions have been rendered, so I would not agree it is an opinion of initial impression.
Mr. EDMISTEN. I have only one more question.
Mr. Secretary, you said that these impoundments sometimes help decrease the tax burden. Isn't it the truth that sometimes the impounding of certain funds, and the slowing down of projects results in much higher costs in the future and, therefore, you really haven't saved anything?
Secretary Butz. That is entirely possible. I think in these cases, however, that would not be true.
Senator Chiles. Mr. Secretary, I just want to ask you quickly, this goes a little bit from the impoundment, but it is in the area that we are concerned with.
Now that you have become a counselor to the President, a member of the super cabinet, your Department is encompassing now, in addition to Agriculture, what other departments ?
Secretary Butz. Well, first, Mr. Chairman, let me say the word super cabinet is an unfortunate term. At 11 o'clock this morning I met with representatives from all of the agencies that will be in the Division of Natural Resources and I said, "Don't let's use that word super cabinet,” and that those of us who are counselors continue as cabinet secretaries just like any other cabinet secretary. The primary Departments that come under the Natural Resources category will include from Agriculture primarily, Forest Service and Soil Conservation Service, the great bulk of the Interior Department, not all, not the Bureau of Indian Affairs, for example. It will include the NOAA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from Commerce, it will include the Environmental Protection Administration, the Council on Environmental Quality, Corps of Army Engineers, Atomic Energy Commission, Tennessee Valley Authority. I may have omitted one or two.
Senator Cules. Mr. Secretary
Secretary Burz. These are areas all of which impinge on the area of natural resources and energy.
Senator CHES. My concern is this: Again back to the testimony of your confirmation hearing, there was a great concern there not only by the junior Senator from Florida but I think by some others, if you went on as Secretary of Agriculture you were going to be known as the voice representing and speaking for farmers.
Secretary Burz. Yes, sir, and I have tried very hard these past 14 months to do that.
Senator CHILES. Isn't there a built-in conflict now in your role as being a voice to represent and speak for farmers and your role as being. I thought it was a super cabinet member, but if that is the wrong term, of counselor, which goes into all of the areas of natural resources, aren't there certainlv some potentials if not real conflicts?
Secretary Burz. There is always potential conflict, sir, but I do not see this as a serious problem. After all, we are talking about the connection between agricultural production and environmentalists for example. I get burned up when somebody infers farmers are not good environmentalists. They believe in clean water, they believe in the clean air, they believe in the proper use of chemicals and fertilizers and pesticides. I do not see any conflict between my speaking for agriculture and trying to push for a sane and sensible and feasible energy policy, for example, because right now some of our farmers are frarful they won't be able to get fuel for their tractors next spring.
Senator CHILEs. Don't you think sometimes, the voice of the farmers, isn't this a pretty natural thing, is going to be pitted against the voice of perhaps environmentalists or certainly the voice of other fuel users? Aren't these pretty natural things that these differences are going to occur and isn't the thing we are looking for is to be able to speak for all of these voices?
Secretary Burz. Last night, for example, I spoke to the annual meeting dinner of the Environmental Writers Association. We now have a specialized organization for environmental writers and I made the point that the job of all of us is to get emotion out of these issues we have here, to get the facts on both sides of the table so we can make sound judgments, make sound environmental impact studies and then be on with it and stop the business of needless delays in the courts that now impede action.
Senator CHILES. Mr. Secretary, not to limit your capacity, because you might well have it, but I don't see how any person is going to be able to wear the hats that you are wearing and be the spokesman and be the voice which you represented that you were going to be, the voice for the farmer. That is my particular opinion.
Secretary Butz. You watch me very closely in the next few months and if you see me not being the voice of the farmer, call me collect.
Senator Chiles. I would have had to call you a week ago already if you wanted to say that because I already have that difficulty, Mr. Secretary, frankly, by the actions that have already been taken.
Secretary Burz. Let's say our objective remains to increase farm income, to put cash in their pockets.
Senator CHILES. If you are talking about total dollars that may be one thing, Mr. Secretary, but I do not think that again that is talking about completely the representation of the farmer from the little one to the big.
I see our bell is ringing there, we are going to have to conclude. I want to thank you for Congress and I really think the thing you said in your testimony you strike really the note of truth, and I appreciate your doing that, but it really I think has more to say about the differences in the way you feel about this question and the way I feel about anything else when you say on page 3 of your testimony, people are not governed by laws alone. That was my school boy impression, that we were to be a country of laws and not of men. I think this kind of action that we are in right now is showing that we are not gorerned by laws, we are governed by subjective decisions, those have to be by a man or men, they cannot be by laws, and I think
yoll truthfully said we are not governed by laws and everything that I have heard at these hearings today convinces me that that is absolutely true today, we are not governed by laws alone. I think that is one of the things that the committee is trying to get at.
We appreciate your testimony. This will conclude our hearings.