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APPROPRIATIONS FOR EXECUTIVE OFFICE AND SUNDRY
INDEPENDENT EXECUTIVE BUREAUS, BOARDS, COMMISSIONS, AND OFFICES, 1939
APRIL 25, 1938.-Ordered to be printed
Mr. WOODRUM, from the committee of conference, submitted the
[To accompany H. R. 8837)
The committee of conference on the disagreeing votes of the two Houses on the amendments of the Senate numbered 24, 26, 27, 28, and 37, to the bill (H. R. 8837) making appropriations for the Executive Office and sundry independent executive bureaus, boards, commissions, and offices for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1939, and for other purposes, having met, after full and free conference, have been unable
C. A. WOODRUM,
EVERETT M. DIRKSEN,
STATEMENT OF THE MANAGERS ON THE PART OF THE HOUSE
The managers on the part of the House at the conference on the disagreeing votes of the two Houses on the amendments of the Senate numbered 24, 26, 27, 28, and 37, to the bill (H. R. 8837) making appropriations for the Executive Office and sundry independent executive bureaus, boards, commissions, and offices, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1939, and for other purposes, have been unable to agree. The amendments in controversy are as follows:
Amendment No. 24: Relating to Presidential appointment and Senate confirmation of experts and attorneys of the Social Security Board receiving salaries of $5,000 or more per annum,
Amendments Nos. 26 and 27: Relating to construction of the Gilbertsville Dam under the Tennessee Valley Authority.
Amendment No. 28: Relating to the use of oleomargarine or butter substitutes (except for cooking purposes) by the Veterans' Administration.
Amendment No. 37: Relating to Presidential appointment and Senate confirmation of certain experts or attorneys receiving compensation of $5,000 or more per annum under appropriations made in the bill or authorized thereby to be expended.
C. A. WOODRUM,
EVERETT M. DIRKSEN,
Managers on the part of the House.
AUTHORIZE ALASKA TO INCUR BONDED INDEBTEDNESS
APRIL 25, 1938.-Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed
Mr. DIMOND, from the Committee on the Territories, submitted the
(To accompany H. R. 5894]
The Committee on the Territories, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 5894) to authorize the Territory of Alaska to incur bonded indebtedness, and for other purposes, having considered the same, report the bill back to the House with the recommendation that the bill be amended as follows:
Page 2, lines 22 and 23, strike out “in such medium of payment and”.
And that as so amended the said bill do pass.
The purpose of the bill is to authorize the Territory of Alaska to undertake the construction of public works of a permanent character, of the types specified in the bill, and for such purposes to issue negotiable bonds in a sum not to exceed $2,000,000. The bonds so to be issued shall be general obligations of the Territory, must be repaid with interest in not to exceed 30 years from the date of issue, and shall bear interest at the rate of not to exceed 5 percent per annum.
Before such bonded indebtedness is incurred it must be authorized or approved by a majority of a Territorial board of finance created by the bill. The board shall consist ex oflicio of the following officials of the Territory: the Governor, the treasurer, the auditor, the secretary, the commissioner of education, the attorney general, the highway engineer, and the president of the University of Alaska. Of those officials the treasurer, the auditor, the attorney general, and the highway engineer are elected by vote of the people of the Territory. The Governor is appointed by the President by and with the consent of the Senate, as is the secretary of Alaska. The commissioner of education is chosen by a board of education and the members of that board are appointed by the Governor of Alaska subject to the approval of a majority of all of the members of the Senate and House of Representatives of the Alaska Territorial Legislature meeting in joint session The president of the University of Alaska is selected by a board of trustees of the university, members of which are also appointed by the Governor of Alaska subject to confirmation by a majority of all the members of the Senate and House of Representatives of the Alaska Territorial Legislature meeting in joint session. So it appears that four of the members of the Territorial board of finance created by the bill are elected directly by the people of Alaska and two other members, though nominated for their respective positions by the Governor, must be confirmed by the legislature, and that only the Governor and the secretary of Alaska are Presidential appointees. More than a majority of the members of the board are therefore directly responsible to the people of Alask.
The organic act of Alaska entitled "An act to create a legislative assembly in the Territory of Alaska, to confer legislative power thereon, and for other purposes," approved August 24, 1912 (37 Stat. 512), forbids the Territory or any municipal corporation therein to crate or assume any bonded indebtedness whatever. By the act of Congress entitled "An act to authorize municipal corporations in the Territory of Alaska to incur bonded indebtedness, and for other purposes," approved May 28, 1936 (48 Stat. 1388), the municipal corporations of Alaska are authorized to incur bonded indebtedness not in excess of 10 percent of the aggregate taxable value of the real and personal property within their corporate limits. In some cases by individual acts of Congress the cities of Alaska have been authorized to incur bonded indebtedness without regard to such limit. This has been particularly the case with respect to Public Works Administration loans and grants extended to Alaska cities.
But the Territory of Alaska has never been authorized to incur any bonded indebtedness. The bill under consideration is designed to authorize that such indebtedness be incurred for certain public works of general benefit, but not in excess of $2,000,000.
The committee is of the opinion that the proposed amount of authorized indebtedness is modest and well within the ability of the Territory to meet when due, and that such authorization may be of definite benefit to the people of the Territory and will enable them at their own expense to undertake, possibly with Federal aid, necessary public works. Alaska is still a frontier country and there is a pressing need of roads, air fields, and air-navigation facilities, as well as other types of public works, for the development of the Territory. The committee has in view the recent message from the President of the United States suggesting a public-works program which may be at least in part carried out through loans and grants to States, Territories, and municipalities. At the present time by reason of limitations of its organic act as to indebtedness and by reason of the fact that the next session of the Alaska Territorial Legislature will not convene until January 9, 1939, the Territory of Alaska will not be able to participate during the current year in any Federal public works program through loans made to States and Territories by the Public Works Administration or other Federal authority unless the bill under consideration is enacted. The enactment of the bill may also be helpful in enabling the Territory to aid in providing work for those of its citizens who are unemployed and needy.
The revenues for the Territory of Alaska are provided by a system of indirect taxation, principally as licenses on business and trade, and by a 3-percent gross tax on gold and platinum produced in the Territory. The total Territorial revenues for the calendar year 1937 amounted to approximately $2,300,000, the greatest ever received by the Territory during any one year. This is explained by the fact that 1937 was the first year the Territorial 3-percent gross tax on gold and platinum was in force. That the commerce of Alaska is substantial is indicated by the report of the Collector of Customs for Alaska for the calendar year 1937, showing out-bound commerce from Alaska to the United States in the sum of $80,967,183 and in-bound commerce to Alaska from the United States of $43,083,998, making a total commerce of more than $124,000,000.
A similar bill (H. R. 2520) was introduced in the House by the Delegate from Alaska on January 11, 1937. The only substantial difference between H. R. 2520 and the bill now under consideration is that H. R. 2520 provided that no indebtedness should be incurred unless the amount thereof had been authorized by the Alaska Territorial Legislature as well as by the board of finance. The Alaska Territorial Legislature convened for its biennial session on January 11, 1937, and during that session the Territorial House of Representatives, consisting of 16 members in all, approved by a vote of 12 to 4 a memorial recommending the passage of H. R. 2520. A similar memorial was defeated in the senate, which consists of eight members, by the vote of four in favor of the memorial and three against it, one member who favored the memorial being absent on account of illness. Since the organic act of Alaska requires that a bill must be approved by a majority of all of the members of both houses before it may become a law, the memorial mentioned failed of passage in the senate on the vote indicated, although four members voted in favor of the memorial and only three against it. Later five members of the senate, a clear majority, signed a statement approving H. R. 2520. Accordingly, it is evident that a substantial majority of the members of the Legislature of Alaska really favored the enactment of similar legislation by Congress.
Ordinarily, it would be well to require expressed formal approval by the legislature of any proposed bond issue, but in the present instance prompt action is required and it seems not to be practicable to call the legislature into special session, and so the committee has deemed it proper to recommend passage of the bill in its present form with the one amendment suggested above.
The Bureau of the Budget does not oppose the enactment of this measure.
Upon its introduction the bill was referred to the Secretary of the Interior for his report thereon. That report is contained in a letter dated May 6, 1937, addressed to the chairman of the committee by the Acting Secretary of the Interior, and reads as follows:
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
Washington, May 6, 1997. Hon. LEX GREEN, Chairman, Committee on the Territories,
House of Representatives. MY DEAR MR. GREEN: I have received your letter of March 30 requesting a report on H. R. 5894, a bill "To authorize the Territory of Alaska to incur bonded indebtedness, and for other purposes," and note this bill supersedes H. R. 2520 on which a report was requested January 27.
The bill would permit the Territory of Alaska to issue negotiable bonds up to a limit of $2,000,000 outstanding at any one time for the construction of public works of a specified character. The bonds issued would become general obliga