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jurisdiction over appropriations measures as well as revenue bills and banking. In 1865, the new Appropriations Committee assumed authority over appropriations bills. By 1885, many Members of the House had come to criticize the fiscal restraint of the Appropriations Committees, and the lessened influence of the standing committees, which considered authorizing legislation. Beginning in that year, several standing committees were given authority to report appropriations bills on specified subjects. One of the committees gaining such power was the Committee on Indian Affairs which, for the next 35 years, reported the appropriations bill to fund executive branch activities regarding Indians. In 1920, the House again revised its rules and voted to consolidate once again appropriations jurisdiction in the Appropriations Committee, and to remove such authority from the half dozen committees that had previously had such authority. The effect of the 1920 action was to once again put policy development largely within the hands of authorizing committees, such as the modern Resources Committee, while most decisions on competing demands for funds among agencies and programs were to be the responsibility of the Appropriations Committee. 20


Each of the predecessors to the modern Resources Committee was established at a time when policy interest in their respective subject areas was substantial. However, the distribution of work among the standing committees understandably shifted over time. Granting statehood to territories in the “lower 48” eliminated much of the work of the Territories Committee. The role of the Insular Affairs Committee declined when the United States recognized the independence of Cuba and the Philippines. Conversely, as concern over balancing resource development and preservation rose, the role of the Public Lands Committee was enhanced.

During World War II, many in Congress sought to reorganize the House and Senate (particularly their committees) to enable Congress to exercise its constitutional responsibilities more effectively. This concern manifested itself with the formation in late 1944 of the Joint Committee on the Organization of the Congress. This committee, chaired by Senator Robert M. La Follette Jr. (Progressive Republican-WI) and having as vice chairman Representative A.S. (Mike) Monroney (D-OK), proposed a massive restructuring of the committee systems in the House and Senate. From this proposal (the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946, Public Law 601,79th Congress, 60 Stat. 812), came the establishment of a transformed and reorganized Committee on Public Lands.

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House Rule XI, cl. 56, Rules of the House, 66" Cong., 2nd sess., 1919, House Journal, p. 543. H.Res. 324, 66" Cong., 2nd sess. Debate on the resolution can be found in Congressional Record,

Representative Monroney described the intent ofjointcommittee members in seeking to consolidate policy jurisdictions into a smaller number of committees.

Ninety-five percent of all legislation that becomes law passes the Congress
in the shape that it came from our committees. Therefore, if our committee
work is sloppy, if it is bad, if it is inadequate, our legislation in 95 percent
of the cases will be bad and inadequate as well. It is on this vital point that
the keystone of reorganization rests. If you are not willing to reorganize this
overlapping crazyquilt pattern of committee structure, then just do not try
to do any reorganizing, because it is the basis and the keystone of this
reorganization bill. You cannot continue to operate in the year 1945 with
committees that just grew like Topsy from the beginning of this Nation. We
have to reorganize their functions and realine (sic) them, so that the
members of the committees will have a chance to specialize on one major
committee and have the time to devote to it.?!



The Legislative Reorganization Act revolutionized the attenuated House committee system. In 1946, there were 44 House standing committees. After the reorganization, there were 19. The 1946 Legislative Reorganization Act sought to assemble related subjects under one committee's jurisdiction and also to equalize workload across committee lines.

The reorganized Committee on Public Lands retained the jurisdiction of the pre-1946 Public Lands Committee and absorbed the legislative and oversight responsibilities of the six other committees named above. In addition, the new Public Lands Committee acquired jurisdiction for military parks and battlefields, as well as for military cemeteries. Previously, these subjects had fallen within the purview of the Committee on Military Affairs which, in turn, had become part of the new Committee on Armed Services under the 1946 Act.

Lost from one of its predecessor committees (the Committee on Mines and Mining) was the subject of welfare of mine workers. This topic was transferred to the Committee on Education and Labor (now called the Committee on Education and the Workforce). For the first time, the Rules of the House attempted a clear definition of each new committee's legislative jurisdiction. The responsibilities of the newly created committee were itemized in House Rule XI of the 80th Congress, as follows:

(a) Forest reserves and national parks created from the public domain.
(b) Forfeiture of land grants and alien ownership, including alien
ownership of mineral lands.
(c) Geological Survey.
(d) Interstate compacts relating to apportionment of waters for irrigation
(e) Irrigation and reclamation, including water supply for reclamation

2'Remarks of Hon. A.S. Mike Monroney, Congressional Record, 79'h Cong., 2nd sess., July 15, 1945,

projects, and easements of public lands for irrigation projects, and
acquisition of private lands when necessary to complete irrigation projects.
(f) Measures relating to the care, education, and management of Indians,
including the care and allotment of Indian lands and general and special
measures relating to claims which are paid out of Indian funds.
(g) Measures relating generally to Hawaii, Alaska, and the insular
possessions of the United States, except those affecting the revenues and
(h) Military parks and battlefields, and national cemeteries.
(i) Mineral land laws and claims and entries thereunder.
(j) Mineral resources of the public lands.
(k) Mining interests generally.
(1) Mining schools and experimental stations.
(m) Petroleum conservation on the public lands and conservation of the
radium supply in the United States.
(n) Preservation of prehistoric ruins and objects of interest on the public
(0) Public lands generally, including entry, easements, and grazing thereon.
(p) Relations of the United States with the Indians and the Indian tribes.


In 1951, early in the 82nd Congress, the House voted to change the name of the Public Lands Committee to that of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. It was the view of several members that the name Public Lands, while one of historic significance, no longer reflected the broader legislative responsibilities of the committee. The House was also interested in having an identical name with that of the comparable committee in the Senate. The resolution (H.Res. 100, 82nd Congress, 1st session) providing for the name change was unanimously endorsed both by the Public Lands Committee and by the House Rules Committees which formally considered the proposal and reported it to the House. The House agreed to the resolution by voice vote on February 2, 1951.22


An alteration of jurisdiction in 1967 transferred authority for some of the military cemeteries that had come within the committee's jurisdiction under the 1946 Legislative Reorganization Act. On October 20, 1967, the House agreed to H.Res. 241 (90 th Congress), granting to the Veterans' Affairs Committee

2? Congressional Record, vol. 97, Feb. 2, 1951, pp. 883-884. The subject jurisdictions of the House and Senate Interior Committees were nearly identical at the time. Only one area separated the two. The House Interior Committee had authority over measures providing for “the acquisition of private lands when necessary to complete irrigation projects.” The Senate Interior Committee had no such formal jurisdiction, and no other Senate committee had such language within its legislative jurisdiction. In 1977, the Senate Interior Committee was renamed the Committee on Energy and jurisdiction over "cemeteries of the United States in which veterans of any war or conflict are or may be buried, whether in the United States or abroad, except cemeteries administered by the Secretary of the Interior."

As Representative James H. Quillen (R-TN), a member of the Rules Committee, noted, certain historic battlefield cemeteries (both in the United States and abroad) were closed to future burials while a significant number of military cemeteries remained able to accommodate future burials. Under H.Res. 241, the Veterans' Committee would acquire jurisdiction over cemeteries open to future burials of veterans while those which were closed were to remain within the jurisdiction of the Interior and Insular Affairs Committee. Representatives of both committees had been active in negotiations surrounding the jurisdiction change. After the resolution was agreed to by the House, Representative Wayne Aspinall (D-CO), chairman of the Interior Committee, obtained unanimous consent to refer 66 bills and two resolutions concerning the burial of veterans in military cemeteries from the Interior Committee to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs. The division of responsibility between the two committees about military cemeteries continues to the present day.



For most of the next two decades, the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs was predominately concerned with legislation preserving, enlarging, maintaining, and using public lands and national parks; the development of water resources; and territorial and Indian affairs legislation. The membership of the Committee reflected this orientation: until the 1970's, most of the committee members came from the western United States or from American territorial possessions represented in Congress by non-voting Delegates.


By the 1970s, Congress was entering a period of organizational and policy turmoil. Two national energy crises led many Members of the House to believe that its committees were ill-adapted to deal comprehensively with energy and environmental matters. Concurrently, a generation of younger, reform-oriented House Members in both parties sought to decentralize House operations and to force a more equitable distribution of power within the committee system. The Interior and Insular Affairs Committee and its role were greatly changed by these forces.

2 House Resolution 241, 90th Congress, October 20, 1967. For additional information on House floor
debate and the re-referral of affected bills and resolutions, consult Deschler's Precedents, ch. 17, sec.
40-16. It should be noted that the Veterans Affairs Committee was established pursuant to the
Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946. There appears to have been no effort at that time to move
military cemeteries from the former Military Affairs Committee to the new veterans' panel.
24 Until the passage of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970, territorial delegates were limited
to service on the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. Subsequent changes in party rules
enabled the Delegates and the Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico to serve on any standing
committee on an equal basis with voting Members of the House.

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In 1970, Congress passed the Legislative Reorganization Act(P.L.91-510, 84 Stat. 1140), a measure that contained changes in House and Senate committee procedures, but with no change in the structure and jurisdictions of House committees. In the 93rd Congress (1973), the House established a Select Committee on Committees (widely known as the Bolling Committee after its chairman, Representative Richard Bolling (D-MO)). The House intended this panel to focus on committee structure and jurisdiction. Under terms of the resolution creating the Bolling Committee, any recommendation from the panel would be referred to the House Rules Committee for further review. The oil embargo of 1973, with its consequent fuel shortages and rapid price increases, focused intense interest in any committee reform proposals that dealt with energy policy jurisdiction.

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The Bolling Plan on Energy and the Environment The Bolling Committee studied the existing House committee structure and recommended in early 1974 a sweeping reorganization of the House committee system. Under the Bolling proposal, the Interior Committee would have acquired vast new jurisdiction over energy and environmental policy. Under its new name, the Committee on Energy and the Environment would have had within its domain responsibility for national environmental policy; conventional and nuclear energy production, regulation, and conservation; public lands (except for forests, farming, and grazing) and land use planning; minerals and mining, and mining schools; water resources (including power resources, ocean dumping, coastal zone management, and deep water ports); and air, water, and noise pollution.

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This proposal was among the most controversial suggested by the Bolling Committee. Under it, the Commerce Committee and the Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee were slated to lose important sources of legislative jurisdiction to the new Energy and Environment Committee. The merger of energy and environment jurisdiction into one panel raised fears among environmental interest groups that energy production interests would dominate the new panel and would tend to minimize the influence of environmental advocates within Congress. The Bolling Committee understood these concerns, but anticipated better policy coordination by linking the issues.


ons and tem. The d by the

The select committee believes it has created a properly balanced committee
by combining energy and the environment. Energy resources on the public
lands are vast and comprise hundreds of years of supply of coal, billions of
barrels of oil in shale, untapped resources of oil and gas on the Outer
Continental Shelf in general and the Atlantic coast in particular. The use of
these resources can adversely affect the environment and also require, for
coal and oil shale development, very large quantities of scarce water

These resource questions and the major questions of

i House fla 's, ch. 17,5 rsuant tot time to mox panel.


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