Proposal to Vest Power in The President

September 24, 1925
Entire Report

Following a conference with President Coolidge, September 21, senator Edge announced that he would offer a resolution granting power to reorganize the Government departments to the President, if the Smoot-Mapes bill encountered obstacles threatening its success at the next session. The power proposed to be conferred would be similar to that exercised by the president in the transfer of the patent Office and the Bureau of Mines. It would include authority to coordinate and consolidate or abolish existing bureaus, but not to create new bureaus or new executive departments.

President Coolidge subsequently stated that he was pledged to the Smoot-Mapes plan of reorganization and would use all the influence of his office to secure its enactment. He indicated, however, that he would favor the Edge plan if it appeared at a later date that the Committee bill would fail to command majorities in the House and Senate. Students of the reorganization problem have frequently expressed the opinion that a more thoroughgoing and scientific realignment of Government activities would be secured if the specific approval of Congress were not required for each proposed change.

Plan Offered by Secretary Hoover

As to the difficulty of securing congressional approval of a detailed plan of reorganization, Secretary Hoover, in his address before the United States Chamber of Commerce, said:

More than once a complete program of reorganization has been formulated and put forward as a basis for general consideration. But practically every single item in such a program has invariably met with opposition…No proposed change is so unimportant that it is not bitterly opposed by sane one…Congress (is surrounded) with a confusing fog of opposition. Meanwhile the inchoate voice of the public gets nowhere but to swear at ‘bureaucracy.’

“Nor will we over attain reorganization until Congress will give actual authority to the President or some board, if you will, or a committee of its own members to do it. It is of no purpose to investigate again and report…What is needed is the actual delegation of authority to act.”

The suggestion upon which the Edge plan is based was thus first brought to public attention by a member of President Coolidge's cabinet. It is well known that Secretary Hoover would go much farther than the Committee bill in the reorganization of Government activities.

Limitations of the Overman Act

Power similar to that proposed to be conferred, upon president Coolidge under senator Edge's plan was asked by President Wilson early in 1918 to promote efficiency and

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