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U.S. Congress. House.
THE COMMITTEE ON
PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS
COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
SIXTY-NINTH CONGRESS, FIRST SESSION
J. WILL TAYLOR, Tennessee.
GALE H. STALKER, New York.
ANDERSON H. WALTERS, Pennsylvania.
CHARLES J. ESTERLY, Pennsylvania.
JOHN M. WOLVERTON, West Virginia.
EDWARD E. ESLICK, Tennessee.
PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS-NO. 1
COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS,
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, Washington, D. C. January 7, 1926. The committee met at 10.30 o'clock a. m., Hon. Richard N. Elliott (chairman) presiding.
The committee had under consideration the following bill:
[H. R. 6559, Sixty-ninth Congress, First Session]
A BILL To provide for the construction of certain public buildings, and for other purposes
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That, to enable the Secretary of the Treasury to provide suitable accommodations in the District of Columbia for the executive departments, and independent establishments of the Government not under any executive department, and for courthouses, post offices, immigration stations, customhouses, marine hospitals, quarantine stations, and other public buildings of the classes under the control of the Treasury Department in the States, Territories, and possessions of the United States, he is hereby authorized and directed to acquire, by purchase, condemnation, or otherwise, such sites and additions to sites as he may deem necessary, and to cause to be constructed thereon, and upon lands belonging to the Government conveniently located and available for the purpose (but exclusive of military or naval reservations), adequate and suitable buildings for any of the foregoing purposes, and to enlarge, remodel, and extend existing public buildings under the control of the Treasury Department, and to purchase buildings, if found to be adequate, adaptable, and suitable for the purposes of this act, together with the sites thereof, and to remodel, enlarge, or extend such buildings and provide proper approaches and other necessary improvements to the sites thereof: Provided, That in carrying into effect the provisions of this act, in so far as relates to buildings to be used in whole or in part for post-office purposes, the Secretary of the Treasury, under regulations to be prescribed by him, shall act jointly with the Postmaster General in the selection of towns or cities in which buildings are to be construed and the selection of sites therein.
The Secretary of the Treasury is authorized to carry on the construction work herein authorized by contract, or otherwise, as he deems most advantageous to the United States. In all cases where the construction of buildings in the District of Columbia, under the provisions of this act, requires the utilization. in the opinion of the Secretary of the Treasury, of contiguous squares as sites thereof, authority is hereby given for closing and vacating such portions of streets as lie between such squares and such alleys as intersect such squares, and the portions of such streets and alleys so closed and vacated shall thereupon become parts of such sites.
SEC. 2. (a) The work of preparing designs and other drawings, estimates, specifications, and awarding of contracts, as well as the supervision of the work authorized under the provisions of this act, shall be performed by the Office of the Supervising Architect, Treasury Department, except as otherwise provided in this act, but in designing and constructing buildings under the provisions of this act preference shall be given so far as practicable, to standardized types, and in other cases where possible and appropriate to commer
cial types modified to meet governmental requirements, rather than to buildings of monumental character.
(b) The Secretary of the Treasury is authorized, in his discretion, (1) to procure advisory assistance when deemed advantageous in special cases involving design or engineering features, and (2) to employ, to the extent deemed necessary by him in connection with the construction of buildings for the Departments of Commerce and Labor, the architects who were successful in competition heretofore held for a building for the then Department of Commerce and Labor, and to pay reasonable compensation for such services. (c) The Secretary of the Treasury is authorized to employ such additional technical, scientific, and clerical assistance in or under the Office of the Supervising Architect, both in the District of Columbia and in the field, as he deems necessary, and to fix such rates of compensaiton therefor as he deems proper, not, however, in excess of the maximum rates paid for the same or similar service in other departments, such employment, during one year from the date of the enactment of this act to be without regard to civil service laws, rules, and regulations, and to submit to Congress through customary channels estimates for appropriations for compensation for such personal services, and for travel, subsistence, and other expenses involved in making any investigation or survey of building conditions or in the examination of sites which he may find to be necessary.
SEC. 3. In carrying into effect the provisions of existing law authorizing the acquisition of land for sites or enlargements thereof, and the erection, enlargement, extension, and remodeling of public buildings in the several cities enumerated in Senate Document Numbered 28, Sixty-eighth Congress, first session, and including public buildings at Saint Louis, Missouri, authorized by the public buildings act approved March 4, 1913, amended by the act of January 17, 1920, and Newark, New Jersey, authorized by the public buildings act approved March 4, 1913, amended by the act of August 11, 1913, the Secretary of the Treasury is hereby authorized to disregard the limit of cost fixed by Congress for each project, and to enter into contracts for all or so many of said buildings heretofore authorized to be constructed, but not yet under contract, as may be possible within a total additional limit of cost of $15,000,000: Provided, That in constructing the buildings embraced herein, the Secretary of the Treasury is authorized, in his discretion, to provide space in such buildings for other activities or branches of the public service not specifically enumerated in the act or acts authorizing the acquisition of the sites, or the construction of the buildings, or both.
SEC. 4. The Secretary of the Treasury shall submit annually and from time to time as may be required estimates to the Bureau of the Budget, in accordance with the provisions of the Budget and accounting act, 1921, showing in complete detail the various amounts it is proposed to expend under the authority of this act during the fiscal year for which said estimates are submitted. SEC. 5. For the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this act the sum of $150,000,000, in addition to the amount authorized in section 3 hereof, is hereby authorized to be appropriated, but under this authorization, and from appropriations (exclusive of appropriations made for "remodeling and enlarging public buildings "), heretofore made for the acquisition of sites for, or the construction, enlarging, remodeling, or extension of, public buildings under the control of the Treasury Department, not more than $25,000,000, in the aggregate shall be expended annually: Provided, That such amount as is necessary, not to exceed $50,000,000 of the total amount authorized to be expended under the provisions of this act shall be available for projects in the District of Columbia, and not more than $10,000,000 thereof shall be expended annually.
In each of the cities in which a site is to be acquired under the provisions of this act, the Secretary of the Treasury shall solicit proposals by public advertisement. Such advertisement shall be published for a period of twenty days in one of the newspapers in said city having the largest circulation, for the sale of land suitable for the purpose. The Secretary of the Treasury shall cause the sites offered, and such others as may be found, to be suitable or desirable for the purpose, to be examined in person by an agent employed or detailed for the purpose, who shall make written report to said Secretary of the results of said examination and of his recommendation thereon and the reasons therefor, which shall be accompanied by the original proposals and
all maps, plats, and statements which shall have come into his possession relating to the said proposed sites.
That in case a site or additions to a site acquired under the provisions of this act contains a building or buildings, the Secretary of the Treasury is hereby authorized, in his discretion, to rent until their removal becomes necessary such of said buildings as may be purchased by the Government, or the land on which the same may be located where the buildings are reserved by the vendors, at a fair rental value, the proceeds thereof to be deposited in the Treasury of the United States, and a report of the proceedings to be submitted to Congress annually.
That, so far as practicable, all buildings constructed, enlarged, or extended under the provisions of this act shall be unexposed to danger of fire from adjacent buildings by an open space of at least forty feet on each side, including streets and alleys: Provided, That the Secretary of the Treasury may, in his discretion, acquire sites on which an open space of the extent hereinbefore specified can not be reserved, and he is likewise authorized, whenever in his judgment such action is necessary and warranted, to reduce the open space about any Federal building heretofore constructed and under the custody and control of said department.
In carrying into effect the provisions of this act, if the Secretary of the Treasury deems it to be to the best interests of the Government to construct Federal buildings to take the place of existing Federal buildings, he is hereby authorized to cause the present buildings to be demolished, in order that the sites may be utilized in whole or in part for such buildings, or where in his judgment it is more advantageous to construct a Federal building on a different site in the same city, to sell any such building or buildings and the site or sites thereof, at such time and on such terms as he deems proper, and to convey the same to the respective purchasers thereof by the usual quitclaim deed, and to deposit the proceeds of the sales thereof in the Treasury as miscellaneous receipts.
SEC. 6. The provisions of section 10, of the legislative, executive, and judicial appropriation act for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1920, approved March 1, 1919, relating to the assignment of space in public buildings in the District of Columbia, shall apply to all buildings constructed, extended, or enlarged under the provisions of this act in the District of Columbia, and no land for sites or enlargement of sites therefor shall be acquired or land belonging to the United States be taken for sites or enlargement of sites therefor, without prior approval of the commission created by said act of March 1, 1919; no contract shall be let for any building or the enlargement or extension of any building in the District of Columbia, under the provisions of this act without the approval of said commission as to the assignment and general arrangement of space therein; and said commission shall determine the order in which buildings or enlargement of buildings in the District of Columbia, under the provisions of this act shall be constructed.
SEC. 7. That the Secretary of the Treasury is hereby further authorized and empowered to cause such survey and investigations of public building conditions to be made, and such data obtained as he deems necessary properly to carry into effect the provisions of this act.
The CHAIRMAN. Gentlemen, we have met this morning for the purpose of commencing the hearings on the housing situation in the United States so far as the Federal buildings are concerned.
I want to call your attention to President Coolidge's Budget message which he sent to Congress with the Budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1927, which will be found in the CONGRESSIONAL RECORD for December 9, 1925, beginning on the first page. On the third page he had some pertinent suggestions in regard to the public-building situation. This is short, and I ask the indulgence of the committee while I read it into the record. [Reading:]
Again I urge upon the Congress the need of additional office buildings in the District of Columbia in the interest of Federal efficiency and economy. The actual conditions that face some of Government's most important activities because of lack of sufficient and suitable working space are almost inconceivable. The Department of Agriculture occupies 45 widely separated