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compel their attention to this bill this time? Can you give us any thoughts on that?
Governor RIBICOFF. I think there are a number of things you could do. Of course, I know and you know that the average Congressman is not going to wade through the thousands and thousands of pages of testimony that you take. I think it becomes very necessary for you, Senator, and other Senators from these States, to combine with the Senators of the other States that have suffered. In other words, there is not a State up the Atlantic seaboard which has not suffered. (ertainly the congressional delegations from Missouri and Kansas you would find very receptive. Certainly the congressional delegation from Texas, which suffers disasters of all kinds, would be very receptive, and they are a very influential delegation.
Senator Bush. And the Carolinas.
Governor RIBICOFF. The Senators and Congressmen, I think, from many, many States. I think just as the farm bloc is able, because of unity, to accomplish so much on behalf of the farmers, and the mining bloc is always able to accomplish a lot of things for the people from the Rocky Mountain States, and the Senators from the oil States do pretty well for the oil States, we are now getting together, you and other like-minded States, to do something for all of the people of this Nation to protect their lives. It is not one particular group, because this cuts across the entire economy of the country.
If I were in the Congress of the United States now, and having had this type of disaster confront me, I would take it upon my shoulders to have a one-man crusade. I would speak on the floor of that ('ongress—the House and Senate—every day. A Congressman can do it under the striking-out-the-last-word rule and under the 5-minute rule they can always make a speech. I think a Senator can always somehow find the floor. I would constitute myself as a gadfly on the conscience of America and the conscience of the Congress to call this to their attention.
In Connecticut we have had many interesting books put out. I just think of the Waterbury report which was an outstanding book of flood pictures, and there were other books and other communities which put out this material. I am sure the publishers of these papers, like the Hartford Times and the Courant and the Waterford Republican and the Bridgeport and New Haven papers, or any of those newspapers, if you would ask them to, would be glad to reprint additional copies for you to give to your colleagues.
However, as I say, the Banking and Currency Committee I know is a very influential committee. On the Banking and Currency Cominittees of both the House and the Senate are some of the most influential and leading Members of Congress. If you people want to do the work, you have the staff and you have the ability, but for heaven's sake, get the bill on the floor early. Do not have a bill like this come up on the floor on June 20th or 21st because it will die in conference because of its complications. I would say I would have the staff of this committee try to get the bill out as one of the early measures. You are going to have a lot of debate because of the necessity for the very type of legislation you have, and you will have to have a lot of discuss sion on it. You are going to have great differences between the House and Senate on this bill. Therefore you are going to have long conferences to reconcile the differences.
On word from you I will come down to Washington to testify before any committee. I will come down to Washington and walk around to the offices of every Senator and buttonhole him to tell him low important this is. I know Governors Herter, and Roberts, and Harriman, and Meyner, and Hodges, and Collins, and I am sure the Governor of Missouri, would all cooperate. I am sure you could get the Governors of all these States to do this very dramatically. You could set up a final hearing in Washington on this, to which you could invite the Governors of every potential disaster-struck State which may have suffered in the past or may in the future, and have them come to Washington. They would all come and be glad to testify for this program at one time. It will have to be dramatized.
The people of the United States in my opinion want this legislation. It is going to depend on whether the Congressmen and the Senators are going to stick with the ball and carry the ball and see it through. I am confident it can be done in the face of the widespread publicity and widespread disaster that these last two floods have brought. It has been impressed on the memories of the American people up and down the United States, as to what has happened to their friends and relatives and neighbors.
This is a program you can sell because it is self-sustaining to a great extent.
The subsidy that the United States may have to contribute to its full faith and credit to get it going, in my opinion would be a minor portion of the annount you would get in in premiums. I would be willing to prophesy that the premiums you would be receiving, even on a most reasonable basis, would be so heavy and so widespread over the entire American economy that it could afford to take a disaster loss of approximately $300 million a year, because I think you can write more than $300 million a year worth of premiums over the more than 160 million people of the United States.
Senator Bush. I wanted to make one more observation. I want to thank the Governor for that very eloquent advice. I think it is very sound and I have already done some of the things you have suggested.
All of the newspapers in the flood areas have already sent us very dramatic groups of pictures which we propose to use, and I hope effectively, in line with your thinking on that. I think your observation about putting energy and vigor into recommending this thing and staying with it, is absolutely correct. As I said before and I say again, I intend to do just exactly what you think is the right thing for a Senator on this committee to do. It will have my complete and devoted attention and my entire attention throughout the entire session of Congress, if necessary.
I can say we will try to get it done early in the session and not let it go through to the end of the session. It is very difficult to get things through at the end.
I quite agree with you that we will have many allies this time. The Carolinas will be with us on this, and Florida should be with us. Others that you did not mention will be with us on this also. So I think we are thinking just along the lines you have suggested.
Governor RIBICOFF. I may add, I think it would be very helpfulyou cannot do it in the House, but you can in the Senate if you would try to get as many joint sponsors on a piece of legislation as you can. In other words, if you can get a group of senior Senators across party lines, both Republican and Democratic, to sponsor a measure, and get as many signatures as you can on it, to make sure everyone has his thumbprints on this bill and is fighting for it, I think it would be very persuasive and effective in trying to put it across.
Senator Bush. I think it would be very helpful. That is not quite so easy. There have been several bipartisan bills introduced already. The Saltonstall-Kennedy bill is an ideal illustration of that. I think we will have to have a proposal from the administration and come out with a committee bill. The committee bill we will probably offer as widely as we can for cosponsorship. I think that is definitely indicated. I do not see any reason why there should be any partisanship in this matter whatever. I do not see why there should be any attempt to bring party politics into this matter, because if you do, this bill is going to be in trouble.
Governor RIBICOFF. I do not think there will be. As you know, Senator, on this flood thing I have leaned over backward to keep any semblance of politics out of our proposals in the State of Connecticut. I know there is not anything that men of good will working together cannot accomplish. This is not something where anyone seeks to get any credit for it. We have a great rehabilitation job to do. All I ask of the people in Congress, and all I ask of the people in the Connecticut Legislature and the executive branch, whether it is the Governor or the President, is to try to act on this emergency as grandly as the people who have been affected have acted. That is all. I think this is one time when Congress, acting in the reflection of the American people, can do a constructive and wonderful job for the American people.
Senator LEHMAN. Are you finished, Senator?
Senator LEHMAN. I want to assure you, Governor, that the committee has been very familiar and very much alive to the need for haste in this matter. It was because we want early action by Congress that the staff of the Banking and Currency Committee as far back as the middle of August commenced a study with regard to disaster insurance. I have it here and I will be glad indeed to have you see a copy of this very voluminous and highly informative, and I think, accurate document.
It is also because of our realization of the need for haste that I directed that hearings be held throughout most of October and into November.
As I have already pointed out, we have already had seven hearings, and the next hearing will probably be in North Carolina. Then we will have hearings in Washington, or else wherever the need arises. However, I cannot fail to express my keen disappointment that thus far the committee has not had a word with respect to the views and recommendations and suggestions of the administration.
We are working to a considerable extent in a vacuum today because no matter how good the intentions of the committees of the Senate and House may be, I think you will agree in a matter as complex as this and as important as this
a matter which will require very large funds and arouse sectional differences--that the views of the administration will bear and carry great weight not only in Congress, but with the entire American people.
We should have had those recommendations and suggestions at least in some degree long before this, because after all, the first great disaster occurred, I believe, on the 13th or 14th of August. Already a few months have passed.
So I cannot fail to express my deep disappointment, not of frustration, because we are going to go ahead and see this thing though, but a feeling that our work has been handicapped, and will continue to be handicapped until we get definite suggestions and recomendatoins from the administration.
I very much hope that the delay which has already occurred will at least to some extent be mitigated by prompt action.
Senator Bush. I would like to say something.
Senator Bush. I would like to make an observation about what the chairman just said.
Senator LEHMAN. I would be delighted to have you make the observation.
Senator Bush. Mr. Chairman, I would like to speak to the chairman's point of view that the administration should have come up with a definitive bill in connection with this matter. The administration did appear and the various agencies appeared at the opening of these hearings, but as the chairman said, this is a very complex matter. It is a matter on which we are gathering evidence today, and we are going to continue to gather it in the Carolinas and Washington before these hearings close.
As the chairman just said a few moments ago, our second flood occurred in this State only in the middle of October. The administration has not had sufficient time to work out a definitive bill and I do not think it would have been wise for them to come up and with any hurried recommendations. I believe that they should have the advantage of hearing the testimony and observing the testimony and considering the testimony which this committee has gathered.
So I do feel that the administration has not been lax in this matter kut, on the other hand, I feel its attention to our State and other States that have been affected during this disaster has been remarkable. Not only our Governor, but others, have commended this administration in the highest terms for its cooperation. I think the fact that the President came there on the 21st of October, all the way from Denver, to meet with the Governors and Members of Congress in this area, was one of the most remarkable things that ever happened, and had a great deal to do with bringing into action all of the Federal agencies, and giving hope and faith to our people at a time when they needed it most.
I certainly object to any emphasis on the fact that this administration should have had a bill before this committee at this time. I do not think it was reasonable to expect that they should have done so.
Senator LEHMAN. May I say to my highly respected colleague, of course he has the right to object to anything that the chairman of this committee says, but the chairman of the committee reserves to himself the right to express himself with regard to this whole subject.
May the chairman say to his colleague that this is not a matter of politics. It is a matter of getting something done. Every governor that we have heard from every witness of substantial influence-has called on us for speed and action and has pointed out what this means to the people not only of his State, but of other States.
I want action just as Governor Ribicoff does, and just as these other governors do.
This matter is not only one which affects Connecticut, although Connecticut, of course, has been by far the worst sufferer and it has my deep sympathy; but it has affected also Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Delaware. It is a national matter and one which should have the attention of the Budget Director and the other people to whom this matter was entrusted.
May I point out, and I believe the Governor will recall it, that as recently as October 18 the President wrote, or had written under his direction, a letter addressed to the Governors of the New England States, promising that specific recommendations would be before the Banking and Currency Committee when it met.
Senator Bush. Mr. Chairman, I just do not like to let that pass. The administration has pledged it will have a bill before this committee before Congress convenes, and I think the time they are taking to prepare the bill in order that it may be useful to us is very well taken. I do not feel it is fair to criticize this administration for any laxity, or lack of interest, or dilatory tactics in connection with this very, very important matter.
I would hope, Mr. Chairman, we could leave this one alone from now on.
Senator LEHMAN. So do I.
Senator LEHMAN. I also wish to point out we still have not gotten specific recommendations.
Governor Ribicoff, large sums of money will have to be raised for this. Governor RIBICOFF. That is right.
Senator LEHMAN. I am not quite clear whether you say, as has been suggested, that this money for reserves be raised through taxation? What form of taxation I do not know, and it would depend largels, of course, on the advice of the Secretary of the Treasury. However, that is one alternative. The other alternative would be through the Congress of the United States making appropriations to care for the losses which have occurred in a previous period.
Governor RIBICOFF. I would say that I do not think a special tas would be the way to handle this. If you are going to have this be a continuous program, which I assume it should be in other words, if you had an emergency problem that you were going to dispose of, then I think you ought to have a tax to take care of a specific loss
In other words, in Connecticut we know we have to raise $31 million. It is going to be a fund which is going to be used one time. I have no hesitancy in recommending that the people of the State of Connecticut for this particular type of program assume a temporary tax to pay the $31 million. However, here you have a program which is going to be permanent in character, in order to establish a catastrophe fund. Under these circumstances I would think the proper thing