CONGRESSIONAL RECORD - SENATE
JULY 20, 1961
CONGRESSIONAL REVIEW OF FEDERAL GRANTS-IN-AID
Mr. MUSKIE. Mr. President, I introduce, for appropriate reference, for myself and Senators MUNDT, ERVIN, and HUMPHREY, a bill to provide for periodic congressional review of Federal grants-in-aid to State and local units of government. The proposed legislation would carry out a recommendation of the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations of which the Senator from South Dakota and the Senator from North Carolina, and I are members.
The objective of this proposed legislation is to establish uniform policies and procedures for review of new grant-in-aid programs which are designed to assist States or their political subdivisions in meeting, at the State and local level, recognized national needs. Some of the programs may be designed to stimulate State and local action, and others may be designed as long-term cooperative programs. However, in spite of the favorable acceptance of the grant-in-aid method of obtaining intergovernmental cooperation, considerable concern has been expressed that there is great difficulty in terminating or reorienting grant programs once they have been in existence for long periods of time.
Under the proposed legislation, any new grant program hereafter enacted by Congress would automatically expire at the end of 5 years unless an earlier date is specifically provided, or unless application of the act has been specifically waived in recognition of the intent to provide continuing Federal assistance in a given program. The bill provides that appropriate legislative committees of the Congress shall, at the end of 4 years, address themselves to the following questions:
First. The extent to which the purposes for which the grants-in-aid are authorized have been met;
Second. The extent to which the States or political subdivisions thereof are able to carry on such programs without further financial assistance from the United States, and
Third. Whether or not any changes in the purpose or direction of the original program should be made.
The proposed legislation does not apply to existing grants, but we hope that such programs will also be assessed periodically by Congress and the executive agencies in terms of the same criteria established by this bill.
The Advisory Commission recognizes that grant programs are presently subject to review by the appropriate legislative committees of the Congress and in the course of the appropriation process. In addition, of course, the respective executive agencies give close attention to the operation of programs for which they are held responsible.
The proposed legislation will have two salutary effects, in my opinion. It will strengthen the existing review machinery through a systematic and uniform policy and procedure for review and reexamination of new grant program. It will also encourage Congress and the executive branch to make a decision at the time new grants-in-aid programs are considered as to whether such programs should be used as stimulation for State and local activity or as long-term cooperative ventures. Basically, I believe this proposed legislation will serve to strengthen the grants-in-aid approach to intergovernmental relations. Through the careful revision procedures we will be able to strengthen the good points of grants-in-aid programs, avoid disruption of such programs, and prevent the continuation of programs beyond their useful life.
I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be printed in the RECORD.
The VICE PRESIDENT. The bill will be received and appropriately referred; and, without objection, the bill will be printed in the RECORD.
The bill (S. 2286) to provide for periodic congressional review of Federal grants-in-aid to State and local units of Government, introduced by Mr. MUSKIE (for himself and other Senators), was received, read twice by its title, referred to the Committee on Government Operations, and ordered to be printed in the RECORD, as follows:
[Bill text is omitted.]