APRIL 26, 1949
NEW YORK, Monday—There was a most discouraging summary in the paper yesterday as to the state of legislation in Congress. It seems to be impossible to hope that more than a few major pieces of legislation will pass if Congress adjourns in July as it now hopes to do. Many matters that seem highly important, particularly on the domestic scene, were reported as being impossible to consider unless an extra session were called or this session were prolonged to run through the entire summer and autumn.
It looks as though the Congress were in somewhat the same position as the General Assembly of the United Nations.
In the General Assembly we recognize the fact that too many items are appearing on our agenda and that some machinery should be set up to process these items between meetings of the Assembly so that the work would be expedited. I can't help thinking that something similar should be done for Congress.
It is obvious that as a nation grows both in population and in services which they expect their government to perform for them, the legislative branch as well as the executive and judicial branches of the national and state governments will have an accompanying increase in their burden of work. That is what Mr. Hoover and his committee faced, and I should think one of the most important things for Congress to do would be to pass many of the recommendations that would streamline the work of our lawmaking bodies.
Much as we want to lessen the cost of both state and federal government, that is not the first consideration. The first consideration is that what needs to be done must receive careful consideration and preparation and then is put through. Unless better methods are adopted it will be impossible to give proper consideration and to get things actually done by Congress.
Take, for instance, the President's suggestion for the health of the country, and the opposition that has been organized against these suggestions. There should be some way of having all the pros and cons sifted and presented in a very clear way for final discussion in the Congress. Then a time limit could be applied to that discussion period. Unless the sifting process and a careful evaluation of all proposals are done in advance, however, that chore must be done by Congress itself, and it takes endless time.
I am, of course, in favor of the President's program. I am not sure that it will prove to be absolutely perfect, but I think the last two wars have given us such frightening statistics on the health of the nation that all of us know it is essential to do something that will give a chance for better medical care and better public health services to the nation as a whole.
If in the course of operation changes have to be made, or even if a particular way of doing certain things is found not to be desirable, nothing will prevent our making those changes.
Let us move forward nevertheless, and not stand still or slide backwards. We cannot afford to ignore the lessons learned when our men were called for service. The greatest wealth of any country is its people, strong both physically and mentally.