Westel Woodbury Willoughby.

The American political science review online

. (page 66 of 77)
Online LibraryWestel Woodbury WilloughbyThe American political science review → online text (page 66 of 77)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


same honor as Maine. Of the remaining so-called public laws, a number
dealt with the Indians and with minor questions of administrative
powers. Judged by the legislative grist, Congress spends an astound-
ing proportion of its time on picayune matters, to say nothing of the
private legislation which is, by all odds, the chief interest of many
members.*^

Of the many measures which Congress passed, only a few are worth
mentioning here." A long needed civil service retirement law (PubUc

* It is interesting to compare this situation with that which obtains in the
English house of commons. A table in The Liberal Year Book for 1920 (p. 136)
shows that, from 1906 to 1919, government business took from 92} to 144 days
of each session, while private members' motions took from 3} to 27 days. The
total number of public and local acts ranged from 87 to 168. Of the public
general acts, from 27 to 105 were introduced by ministers; while the maximum
of private members* bills passed in one year was 17, and from 1914-16 to 1918
no private members' bills became law. Local acts formed from one-third to two-
thirds of the total number passed, most of these being provisional order acts
and confirmation acts under the Private. Legislation Procedure (Scotland) Act
of 1899.

* In order that nothing of importance may be omitted, I include the list
prepared by Mr. Mondell, Congressional Record^ p. 9474: The railway transporta-
tion act. (Public No. 152.) The legislation for a national budget. (Veto, H.
R. 9783.) Reform of the rules of the house and senate in the consolidation of
committees as a part of the program of budget reform. (H. Res. 324.) The
Army reorganization act. (Public No. 242.) The merchant marine shipping
act. (Public No. 261.) The oil and coal land leasing law. (Public No. 146.)
The water-power act. (H. R. 3184.) Act for the vocational rehabilitation of
persons disabled in industry. (Public No. 236.) The civil service retirement
act. (Public No. 215.) The act establishing a woman's bureau in the
department of labor. (Public No. 259.) The peace resolution. (Veto, H. J.



Digitized by



Google



662 THE AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE HEVIEW

No. 215; May 22) provides a maximum pension of $720 and a minimum
of $180 for superannuated employees who, to be eligible, must have
been in the government service for fifteen years and must contribute
two and one half per cent of their salaries to the retirement fund. The
maximum expenses of the government will probably not be more than
$10,000,000 annually, and the treasury estimates that the gain in
efficiency will be at least five per cent or more than $18,000,000 a year.
The Army and National Guard Reorganization Law (Public 242;
June 4) was a barren victory for the war department.^ The Merchant

Res. 327.) The act for the repeal of the war laws. (Pocket veto, H. J. Res.
373.) The act reclassifying and readjusting the salaries of postal employees.
(Public No. 265.) The act increasing pensions to veterans of the Civil and
Mexican Wars. (Public No. 190.) The act increasing pensions to veterans of
the Spanish-American War and Philippine insurrection. (Public No. 256.)
The act to exclude and expel anarchistic aliens. (Public No. 262.) The act in-
creasing the efficiency and pay of commissioned and enlisted personnel of the
Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Coast and Geodetic Survey, and
Public Health Service. (Public No. 210.) The act for examination and report
on irrigation development of the Imperial Valley, Calif. (Public No. 208.)
The act authorising the United States Grain Corporation to provide relief to
populations in Europe and the Near East by furnishing flour valued at $50,000,000.
(Public No. 167.) The act authorizing the secretary of war to transfer surplus
motor-propelled' vehicles, motor equipment, and road -making material to de-
partments of the government and to the states. (Public No. 159.) The act
providing for furnishing water supply for miscellaneous purposes in connection
with reclamation projects. (Public No. 147.) Amendment of federal reserve
act providing for corporations authorized to do foreign banking business. (Pub-
lic No. 106.) The Sweet Act amending the war-risk insurance act, increasing
the efficiency of the bureau and greatly liberalizing the provisions of the act
in the payment of compensation to disabled soldiers, sailors, and marines. (Pub-
lic No. 104.) Resolution authorizing the appointment of a commission to confer
with the governments of the Dominion and certain provinces of Canada with a
view of securing restriction on the exportation of pulp wood, with a view of
reducing the price of print paper. (Pocket veto.) The act authorizing secretary
of the treasury to purchase certain federal farm loan bonds. (Public reso-
lution. No. 45.)

' On February 9, 1920 Democratic members of the house refused to forego an
expression of their opinion on universal military training although the President
asked that party action be deferred until the national convention. The vote
was 88 to 37. President Wilson expressed his views in a letter to Secretary
Baker asking him to "convey to appropriate members of the House, who will
attend the caucus, my strong feeling against action by the caucus which will
tend to interpose an arbitrary party determination to the consideration which
this subject should receive from the best thought of the members of the House,
considering alike the national emergencies which may confront us and the great
disciplinary and other advantages which such a system plainly promises for the
young men of the country.'*



Digitized by



Google



AMERICAN GOYEHNMENT AND POLITICS 663

Marine Shipping Act (Public 261; June 5) is a makeshift; it endeavors
to help the American carrying trade, but calls for the denunciation
of a number of our commercial treaty engagements. Anarchistic
aliens were excluded (PubUc 262; June 5);^ amendments were passed
for the Federal Reserve Act (Public 170; April 13), the Farm Loan
Act (Public 182; April 20) and the Revenue Act of 1918 (Public 185;
April 23). The Edge Export Bill also became law (Public 106; Decem-
ber 24) and there was some water power (Public 280; June 10) and oil
land leasing legislation (Public 146; February 25).* A railroad reor-
ganization law was necessary before March 1, so the Esch-Cummins
Bill (Public 152; February 28, 1920) was accepted.^® President Wilson
did not express an extreme view in what he said pf the law.^^

* Public protests were so great that Congress failed to pass any anti-sedition
bill although, when first discussed, it seemed that its speedy enactment was
assiired. On January 10, 1920, the senate passed the Sterling Bill (S. 3317), and
on January 12 the house judiciary committee reported the Graham Bill (H. R.
11430; report no. 536), recommending its passage. On January 14 the judiciary
committee reported the Sterling Bill amended (report no. 542). Hearings
before the rules committee of the house on a proposed rule to give the measure
immediate consideration, showed such opposition (including that of Mr. Gompers
and the American Federation of Labor) that the legislation was abandoned.

The house committee on the judiciary spent some time in investigating charges
of radicalism against Louis F. Post, assistant secretary of labor (H. Kes. 522).
Victor Berger, who had been excluded from the house at the special session
(November 10, 1919) by a vote of 311 to 1, was again (after being reelected from
his district) refused permission to take his seat (January 10, 1920). The vote
was 330 to 6 and Berger was not allowed to address the house in his own behalf.

* The water power bill was reported in the house of representatives on June,
24, 1919 and passed on July 1. It did not pass the senate until January 15, 1920
and stayed in conference from January 17 until April 30. Action on the oil land
leasing law was more expeditious, only six months being required for its passage.
It was approved by the senate on September 3, by the house on October 30, and
remained in conference until February 10, 1920.

^° The legislative history of the law was as follows: S. 3288 (Cummins).
Reported in senate, October 23, 1919. New senate report 304 (Nov. 10). H. R.
10453 substituted. H. R. 10453 (Esch). House Report 456 (Nov. 10, 1919).
Passed house (Nov. 17). Reported in senate (Dec. 9). Passed senate (Dec.
20). Sent to conference (Dec. 20). Conference: house report 650 (Feb. 18).
Agreed to in house (Feb. 21) and in senate (Feb. 23). Approved (Feb. 28), 1920.

^^ For discussions of the law, see Proceedings of the Academy of Political Sci*
enee, January, 1920; Monthly Labor Review (U. S. Dept. of Labor), April, 1920;
New York Times Current History, March, 1920; a symposium in The Nation,
August 16, 1919; Hearings before the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Com -
meree. House of Representatives, 66th Cong., 1st Sess. (1919).



Digitized by



Google



664



THE AMXBICAN POLITICAL BCIBNCE BBTIEW






§ s%MU I i^iisg nu



1



;3
2



1

I







8 -•



hi

[11









400



IB



SS"






2 S Q S cS



>0 ^ CD SS S



III



^ lO •«• 04 •«



s



V o o
a a ^
9 9



III III!



•gs.is?s& a s.ii 5?| Sfi




2 2

C4«2SS 8

i£SS£dS S



08



« A S

a a o.
<J < -<



2l

SS



S$4 ^

^1 I



9

9 *-• I



aSSSS 8 - -aS5888 J582«






s



I



h »« h S* h 2*






i9ii§ 1 1 is§s§§ i i



CO



8



O 1-1 (

*-* . (

=1'



o,S88«o - t: *a8«22 8S'5(N



SSSS



PE4



^

£



^
r*

Ch



Ss IS ts ^ ^ »^

iS iS iS o. o. o.






§ mUi S § g^ggSS giSi



If
§>ss

D



5(2









> 5









•lis
||lll|21

2 Q PL, Pc <D S



i









o Sfi fi CO <
CO 65 « (



;si



la



1^ cS



Digitized by



Google



AMBBICAN GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS



665



Apprapriatiana and Pensions. Thirteen regular and four deficiency
appropriation bills were passed carrying a total of $4,859,327.30, of
which by far the greater part was for the expenses and continuing
costs of the war and preparation for possible conflicts in the future."
The bills were not completed until late in the session and eight were
signed by the President on the two last days. The legislative history
of the measures is given by the table on another page.

Not a great deal of legislation imconnected with the grants of funds
was attached to the appropriation acts in the form of riders. The
Legislative, Executive and Judicial Appropriation Law (Public No.
231) aboUshed the subtreasuries; the Agricultural Law (Public No. 234)
created a joint committee to investigate the practicability of establish-
ing a system of short-time rural credits; the District of Columbia Law
(Public No. 245) changed the half-and-half system of appropriations
in the district (see House Report No. 531; Senate Report No. 636)

^* Mr. Good, chainnau of the house appropriations committee, prepared the
following table showing the disposition of the amounts appropriated (Con'
gressional Record^ June 21, p. 9470) :

A. Appropriationa incident mainly to put wan:

1. Soldien and sailors of the war with Germany for com-

pensation for death and disability, vocational train-
ing, hospital treatment, and return of remains from
France 1293.168,400.00

2. Pensions incident to Mexican War, Civil War, Spanish-

American War, and on account of regular Military and

Naval Establishments 270,160,000.00

3. Interest on the public debt 080.000.000.00

4. Sinking fund; indefinite appropriation for the retire-

ment of Liberty bonds and Victory notes, etc 200,800.000 . 00

5. Federal operation and control of transportation systems

and expenses incident to termination of Federal

control 1.025,000,000.00

12.838.118.400.00

B. Appropriations incident to present national defense:

1. MiUtary Establishment $418,232,882.67

2. Naval Establishment 437.724,680.00

855.966,962.67

C. Appropriations incident to civil functions of government:

1. Postal Service $497,675,190.00

2. Appropriations for all other services of the Government

not enumerated 481,744,726.60

979.319,916.60

D. Deficiency appropriations:

For the fiscal srear 1020 (excluding $300,000,000 for Federal control of rail-
roads and including $86,000,000 for war-risk insurance compensation,
$23,000,000 for vocational rehabilitation of soldiers and sailors. $13,166,187
for care of war-risk patients, and $14,000,000 for payment of deficit on
account of Federal operation of telegraph and telephone lines) 186,406,048 . 28

Grand total $4,869,890,327.30



Digitized by



Google



666 THE AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW

and transferred the administration of the school teachers' retirement
act from the treasury department to the district commissionerB; the
Simdry Civil Law (Public No. 246) authorized loans to relieve car
shortage on the railroads, prohibited the shipping board emergency
j9eet corporation from letting contracts for additional vessels and
issuing periodicals, authorized the exportation of birch timber from
Alaska, and contained some miscellaneous provisions on monuments
and memorials, national parks, public lands, reclamation, and the
Coast and Geodetic Survey; and the Third Deficiency Law (Public
No. 264; 1920) provided for the payment of the transportation costs
of wives married to American soldiers in Europe.

The pension appropriations required $279,150,000. A total of
S5,617,520,402.39 has now been paid by the government to pensioners.
There are still 81 widows of the war of 1812 — presumably very young
women who married old men — and they received $17,704."

Politics: The Bonus and Ireland, The shadow of the ex-soldier
and Irish votes hovered over congressional deliberations, particularly
in the house of representatives. "Permanent, constructive legislation"
made the session "historic," if Mr. Mondell is to be believed, but this
" constructive legislation" did not bother the house nearly so much as
the proposed measure providing adjusted compensation for those who
served in the war.

With various organizations demanding a cash bonus from a Con-
gress whose members were shortly to stand for reelection, it is not
surprising that the house acted, yet it probably would not have had
the temerity if there had been any chance of the measiu^ receiving
consideration in the senate. It was probable, however, that the upper
house would not have the time or the desire to bring the bill to a vote
(this was the case), and that, if it were brought up, the opposition,
through a filibuster, if necessary, would force its defeat. Liberal
provisions had been made for compensating and educating disabled
soldiers (Public No. 104) and the anticipated economic eflfects of find-
ing sources of revenue for a huge cash bonus, with the subsequent oi^
of spending and higher prices, were sufficient to prevent the bill from
becoming law even if a cash gift had been otherwise unobjectionable
and the measure had been less of a bid for political support."

1* See 66th Cong., 2d Sess., Senate Report No. 583.

^* Another important phase of the bonus bill will be discussed in a later article
on congressional procedure.



Digitized by



Google



AMERICAN GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS 667

Both houses engaged in political manoeuvering on the Irish question.
The senate added a reservation to the Treaty of Versailles affirming
sympathy for the aspirations of the Irish people and expressing the
hope that the time was "at hand" when Ireland would have a govern-
ment of its own choosing. Eighty-eight members of the house — 62
Democrats and 26 Repubhcans — ^signed a message to Mr. Lloyd George
protesting against the imprisonment without trial of persons arrested
in Ireland for poUtical offenses. Bills were introduced in the house to
provide salaries for an American minister to and consuls in Ireland.
On May 28 the house foreign affairs committee reported favorably a
concurrent resolution (H. Con. Res. 57; House Report No. 1063)
viewing "with concern" present conditions in Ireland and expressing
"sympathy with the aspirations of the Irish people for a government
of their own choice." Chainnan Porter of the committee sent the
resolution to Secretary of State Colby for his opinion. The latter
rephed that he saw "nothing to interfere" with the adoption of the
resolution. It was not clear whether Secretary Colby also was think-
ing of the Irish vote, or whether he was willing for the Republican
Congress to go ahead and play fast and loose with a question of recog-
nition which is purely within the province of the executive. No
fiu*ther action was taken on the resolution, however.

The President and Legislation. The session presented a marked
contrast from those of Mr. Wilson's first administration and during the
war when presidential influence on legislation was very powerful. In
only a very few cases did President Wilson express himself on pending
legislative proposals and then, so far as positive action was concerned,
his advice was not accepted. The senate paid no attention to his
wishes with regard to the Peace Treaty and Congress adopted a resolu-
tion (S. Con. Res. 27; H. Doc. No. 791): "That the Congress hereby
respectfully declines to grant to the Executive the power to accept a
mandate over Armenia as requested in the message of the President
dated May 24, 1920."

The President exercised his veto power several times, but in no
case was Congress able to override it. He returned the Legislative
Appropriation Bill because it limited the authority of the executive
with regard to printing. Section 8 provided that no periodical publicar
tion could be issued by a government department until the authoriza-
tion of the joint congressional committee on printing had been secured.^

" Congress was considerably worried by the paper shortage. The Congres-
standi Record was not circulated for the last week of the session because the



Digitized by



Google



668 THE AMEBICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE BEYIEW

"I regard the provision in question," Mr. Wilson declaredi "as an
invasion of the province of the executive and calculated to result in
unwarranted interferences in the processes of good government^ pro-
ducing confusion, irritation, and distrust. The proposal assumes
significance a;& an outstanding illustration of a grovong tendency which
I am sure is not fully reaUzed by the Congress itself and certainly not
by the people of the coimtry. For that reason I am taking the liberty
of pointing out a few examples of an increasing disposition, as expressed
in existing laws and in pending legislative proposals, to restrict the
executive departments in the exercise of purely administrative func-
tions.'' Mr. Wilson instanced several regulations of the joint com-
mittee on printing and the pubUc buildings commission,^' which has
the power to order executive departments out of the buildings they
now occupy. The President also referred to the fact that when the
Legislative Appropriation Bill was in the senate an amendment (later
eliminated in conference) was added transferring the biireau of effi-
ciency from the jurisdiction of the President to that of Congress.

For similar reasons President Wilson vetoed the budget bill. He
objected to the provision ^%hat the comptroller general and the assistant
comptroller general, who are to be appointed by the President with
the advice and consent of the Senate, may be removed at any time
by a concurrent resolution of Congress after notice and hearing, when,

public printer did not have the necessary paper and the quality used through-
out the session was extremely bad. On March 1 Senator Smoot gave notice
that thereafter he would object to the insertion in the Congressional Record of
any matter other than resolutions from state legislatures or city councils. The
senate proceedings became freer than usual from newspaper editorials, poems,
and addresses by various constituents, but even so, Senator Smoot 's objections
did not suffice, for senators could read the editorials and they would thus appear
in the Record.

The joint committee on printing presented a very valuable report (Senate
Report No. 265; Con{fres8%onal Record, April 12, p. 5057) which showed that
from July 1, 1916, to September 15, 1919, 30,144,362 copies of speeches by gov-
ernment officers (other than members of Congress) had been printed at public
expense.

The treaty proceedings in the senate took up 3000 pages or 6,300,000 words.
Senator Smoot ''started to segregate the pages of matter that have been in-
serted in the Record at the request of senators, including newspaper articles,
editorials, and letters from citizens; but it soon developed that it was altogether
impossible to put them in any reasonable nimiber of books. So it was concluded
to abandon the effort.'* Congressional Record, January 31, p. 2438.

1* This consists of two senators, two representatives, the superintendent of
the capitol buildings and grounds, and the supervising architect of the treasury.



Digitized by



Google



AMBBICAN GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS 669

in their judgmenti the comptroller general or assistant comptroller
general is incapacitated or inefficient, or has been guilty of neglect of
duty, or of malfeasance in office, or of any felony or conduct involving
moral turpitude, and for no other cause and in no other manner except
by impeachment. The effect of this is to prevent the removal of these
officers for any cause except either by impeachment or a concurrent
resolution of Congress. It has, I think, always been the accepted
construction of the Constitution that the power to appoint officers of
this kind carries with it, as an incident, the power to remove. I am
convinced that the Congress is without constitutional power to limit
the appointing power and its incident, the power of removal derived
from the Constitution."

The house refused by a vote of 178 to 103 to pass the bill over the
President's veto. The objectionable provision was eliminated and
the measure passed the house, but a filibuster in the senate prevented
its consideration there.^^

President Wilson, as was expected, vetoed the resolution declaring a
separate peace with Germany (H. J. Res. 327),^® and killed by a pocket
veto the resolution (H. J. Res. 373) terminating the emergency legisla-
tion of the war, with the exception of food control. District of Columbia
rents, and the trading with the enemy act.

A very interesting question as to the President'i^ power over legisla*
tion was raised when President Wilson signed eight bilb after the
adjournment of Congress. Fifty-one laws were signed on the last
day of the session. It may have been that the executive was imable
to give his approval to those signed later or that he wished to raise the
question of his power. The usual practice, with Congress rushing laws
through madly during the closing hours of the session, makes the
President choose between hasty approval or pocket vetoes. Announce-
ment of the innovation was made from the White House on Jime 18:

"The President having been advised by the Attorney General in a
formal opinion that the adjournment of Congress does not deprive
him of the 10 days allowed by the Constitution for the consideration
of a measure, but only in case of disapproval of the opportimity to

" It is very doubtful whether the President's theory of the inability of Con-
gress to limit his power of removal is correct. See an article by T. R. Powell,
"The President's Veto of the Budget Bill,'' National Municipal Review, Sep-
tember, 1920.

" House Report 801, April 6, 1920. Passed house April 9. Senate Report
568, April 30. Passed senate May 15. House concurred in senate amendments
May 21. Vetoed by the President May 27. H. D. No. 799.



Digitized by



Google



670 THE AMBBICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW

return the measure with his reasons to the House in which it originated,
has signed the following bills, each within the 10-day period, of course.
The bills not signed failed to become laws imder the usual practice."^*

There would seem to be no reason of policy or constitutional law
why this post-adjournment signature is not valid.'^

With reference to the Merchant Marine Law referred to above
(p. 663), Secretary of State Colby announced on September 25, that the
President had decided not to carry out the provisions of Section 34.
This directed the termination of treaties which forbade the imposition
of discriminating duties on foreign vessels and foreign borne imports
entering American ports. **The Department of State," the announce-



Online LibraryWestel Woodbury WilloughbyThe American political science review → online text (page 66 of 77)