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CONGRESS

INTERSTATE AND FOREIGN COMMERCE.

MARCH 14, 1916.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the

Union and ordered to be printed.

Mr. ADAMSON, from the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Com

merce, submitted the following

REPORT.

[To accompany S. J. Res. 60.)

less."

The Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, to whom was referred the joint resolution (S. J. Res. 60) creating a joint subcommittee from the membership of the Senate Committee on Interstate Commerce and the House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce to investigate the conditions relating to interstate and foreign commerce and the necessity of further legislation relating thereto and defining the powers and duties of such subcommittee, having considered the same, report thereon with amendments, and as so amended recommend that it pass.

Amend the resolution as follows:

Page 2, line 2, strike out the word "of,” after the word "incorporation," and insert in lieu thereof the word “or.”

Page 2, line 6, after the word “telegraph," insert the word "wiro

Page 2, line 13, after the word "witnesses," insert the following: “to administer oaths and to require the various departments, commissions, and other Government agencies of the United States to furnish such information and render such assistance as may, in the judgment of the joint subcommittee, be deemed desirable.'

Page 2, lines 16 and 17, strike out the words “as expeditiously as may be" and insert in lieu thereof the words "on or before the second Monday in January, 1917.

On the 7th of December, 1915, President Wilson delivered to Congress his annual message, which contained the following paragraphs:

In the meantime may I make this suggestion? The transportation problem is an exceedingly serious and pressing one in this country. There has from time to time of late been reasons to fear that our railroads would not much longer be able to cope with it successfully, as at present equipped and coordinated. I suggest that it would be wise to provide for a commission of inquiry to ascertain by a thorough canvass of the whole question whether our laws as at present framed and administered are as serviceable as they might be in the solution of the problem. It is obviously a problem that lies at the very foundation of our efficiency as a people. Such an inquiry ought to draw out every circumstance and opinion worth considering and we need to know all sides of the matter if we mean to do anything in the field of Federal legislation.

No one, I am sure, would wish to take any backward step. The regulations of the railways of the country by Federal commission has had admirable results and has fully justified the hopes and expectations of those by whom the policy of regulation was originally proposed. The question is not what should we undo, it is whether there is anything else we can do that would supply us with effective means, in the very process of regulation, for bettering the conditions under which the railroads are operated and for making them more useful servants of the country as a whole. It seems to me that it might be the part of wisdom therefore, before further legislation in this field is attempted, to look at the whole problem of coordination and efficiency in the full light of a fresh assessment of circumstances and opinion as a guide to dealing with the several parts of it.

While there appeared to be a disposition in the two Houses of Congress to honor the suggestion of the President, it was not deemed wise to create an outside commission but a joint subcommittee of the committees of the two Houses of Congress clothed with jurisdiction of the subject of transportation, therefore the joint resolution herewith reported to the House was introduced and passed by the Senate.

Many questions are suggested as demanding investigation and solution and are urged as reasons in support of the joint resolution. It is claimed that the transportation of the country is congested and retarded, greatly to the detriment of commerce, for the want of adequate facilities. Thousands of freight cars loaded with the products of our country-factory, field, and minerare occupying many miles of terminals and sidetracks in our principal cities vainly awaiting unloading, storage, or forwarding. If this state of stagnation and congestion is not promptly relieved, depression will grow worse, and the business of agriculture, manufacture, mining, and merchandising will languish and be seriously demoralized, to the consequent suffering and loss generally among our people.

On the 6th and 7th instants the Interstate Commerce Commission held hearings, at which the leading shippers, forwarders, and transportation managers of the country appeared. The purpose was to seek some plan of relief for the present distressing congestion. As no solution was reached by agreement of the various interests, the Interstate Commerce Commission is still considering this important matter.

It is announced by experts who claim to know that it will require an expenditure of from $5,000,000,000 to $15,000,000,000 to supply the railroads of the country with sidetracks, warehouses, terminal facilities, and the other equipments and improvements necessary to handle the transportation business of the country, present and prospective, in the near future.

In addition to that, when normal conditions are restored following the present universal war and its disastrous effects on our people the tremendous increase of the industries and business of our country will more and more burden railroads inadequately equipped and demand increased facilities. As the railroads must expend a vast outlay of money to handle business before they can expect to derive revenue therefrom, the question of financing these necessary and

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vast improvements becomes a momentous one, and that is one of the questions which the railroads desire to present for consideration and solution by this subcommittee if raised by this joint resolution.

Members of the Interstate Commerce Commission appeared before your committee and advised us as to the tremendous increase in the volume, importance, and diversity of its business as well as the difficulties of transacting and disposing of same in'a satisfactory manner, suggesting several changes in the law affecting their organization and procedure. Since the approval of the act to regulate commerce in 1887 the system has had a gradual and irregular growth by various and sometimes sporadic amendments, some of them making decided if not radical changes in the original plans and policies and some of them adding new and important activities. So that the entire law to regulate commerce now in force is not a uniform, compact, symmetrical structure, easily understood, but is an incoherent growth, sometimes inconsistent, in some parts hardly reconcilable, and, to say the least of it, the diversities and incongruities should be carefully considered and wherever possible unified and improved, to the end that the Federal regulation of carriers may be successfully carried on with the best possible service to the public.

The improvement of the telephone and telegraph, both wired and wireless, and the operations of the express companies and the connection of our local transportation system with foreign traffic all having grown up or undergone changes in recent times are worthy of study and demand in the interests of the public service thorough consideration.

The various subjects mentioned for consideration by the joint committee proposed if thoroughly investigated will be better understood by the public, and the investigation will therefore in all probability enable Congress, with the approval of the people, to settle these questions to the best interests of the public. The subject of transportation is vital to the interests of our whole people, and the fact that our Government has undertaken Federal regulation of interstate and foreign commerce with such a marked degree of success inspires us with faith that the defects in the system can be corrected and the system very largely improved, and to that end there can not be too much light secured and thrown upon the questions involved. Your committee is satisfied, as suggested by the President, that no backward step is contemplated, and so far as this committee or any members of it may be connected with any such investigation no such backward step shall be recommended, but it is the earnest hope of every member of your committee that the investigation, if ordered, shall be directed to the detection of defects in the system, the establishment of truth as to the best way to remedy these defects, and the perfection of the system for the increased convenience and prosperity of the people in every way that human legislative wisdom can accomplish perfection in anything.

If amended as suggested your committee recommends that Senate joint resolution No. 60 do

pass.

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64TH CONGRESS

, } HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. {

REPORT No. 353.

TERMS OF DISTRICT COURT IN IOWA.

MARCH 14, 1916.-Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed.

Mr. NEELY, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the

following

REPORT.

[To accompany S. 1294.)

The Committee on the Judiciary, having had under consideration the bill (S. 1294) to amend section 81 of the Judicial Code, report the same back with the recommendation that it do pass.

The sole purpose of this bill is to transfer Johnson County from the northern to the southern judicial district of the State of Iowa.

No record was made of the evidence submitted to your committee on the hearing relative to this bill, but it was conclusively shown by the same that the transfer of Johnson County from the northern to the southern judicial district of the State of Iowa, as provided for in the bill, is approved and desired both by the bench and bar affected, and that there is no opposition to the passage of the bill.

I R-64-1-vol 2

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