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[Forty-sixth Congress, first session, H. R. 1847.]
In the House of Representatives, May 10, 1879.-Read twice, referred to the Com. mittee on Levees and Improvement of the Mississippi River, and ordered to be printed.
Mr. GIBSON, by unanimous consent, introduced the following bill:
A bill to provide for the appointment of a "Mississippi River Commission" for the improvement of said river from the Head of the Passes near its mouth to its headwaters.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That a commission is hereby created, to be called "The Mississippi River Commission," to consist of five members.
SEC. 2. The President of the United States shall, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoint five commissioners, three of whom shall be selected from the Engineer Corps of the Army and two from civil life. And any vacancy which may occur in the commission shall in like manner be filled by the President of the United States; and he shall designate one of the commissioners appointed from the Engineer Corps of the Army to be president of the commission. The commissioners appointed from the Engineer Corps of the Army shall receive no other pay or compensation than is now allowed them by law, and the other two commissioners shall receive as pay and compensation for their services each the sum of $3,000 per annum; and the commissioners appointed under this act shall remain in office subject to removal by the President of the United States.
SEC. 3. It shall be the duty of said commission to direct and complete such surveys of said river, between the Head of the Passes near its mouth to its headwaters as may now be in progress, and to make such additional surveys, examinations, and investigations, topographical, hydrographical, and hydrometrical, of said river and its tributaries, as may be deemed necessary by said commission to carry out the objects of this act. And to enable said commission to complete such surveys, examinations, and investigations, the Secretary of War shall, when requested by said commission, detail from the Engineer Corps of the Army such officers and men as may be necessary, and shall place in the charge and for the use of said commission such vessel or vessels and such machinery and instruments as may be under his control and may be deemed necessary; and the said commission may, with the approval of the Secretary of War, employ such additional force and assistants, and provide, by purchase or otherwise, such vessels or boats and such instruments and means as may be deemed necessary.
SEC. 4. It shall be the duty of said commission to take into consideration and mature such plan or plans and estimates as will correct, permanently locate, and deepen the channel and protect the banks of the Mississippi River; improve and give safety and ease to the navigation thereof; prevent destructive floods; promote and facilitate commerce, trade, and the postal service; and when so prepared and matured, to submit to the Secretary of War a full and detailed report of their proceedings and actions, and of such plans, with estimates of the cost thereof, for the purposes aforesaid, to be by him transmitted to Congress: Provided, That the commission shall report in full upon the practicability, feasibility, and probable cost of the various plans known as the jetty system, the levee system, and the outlet system, as well as upon such others as they may deem necessary.
SEC. 5. The said commission may, prior to the completion of all surveys and examinations contemplated by this act, prepare and submit to the Secretary of War plans, specifications, and estimates of costs for such immediate works as, in the judgment of said commission, may constitute a part of the general system of works herein contemplated, to be by him transmitted to Congress.
SEC. 6. The Secretary of War may detail from the Engineer Corps of the Army of the United States any officer who may be selected and recommended by said commission to act as secretary of said commission.
SEC. 7. The Secretary of War is hereby authorized to expend the sum of $175,000 for the payment of the salaries herein provided for, and of the necessary expenses incurred in the completion of such surveys as may now be in progress, and of such additional surveys, examinations, and investigations as may be deemed necessary, and in maturing and perfecting and reporting the plans and estimates, and the plans, specifications, and estimates contemplated by this act, as herein provided for; and said sum is hereby appropriated for said purposes out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated.