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A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING AND DIRECTING THE COMMITTEE ON INTERSTATE COMMERCE TO INQUIRE INTO AND REPORT TO THE SENATE AT THE EARLIEST PRACTICABLE DATE UPON THE RECOMMENDATIONS MADE BY THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION REGARDING CONDITIONS AFFECTING INTERSTATE TRANSPORTATION
Printed for the use of the Committee on Interstate Commerce
GOVERNMENT CONTROL AND OPERATION OF RAILROADS.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 29, 1917.
UNITED STATES SENATE,
COMMITTEE ON INTERSTATE COMMERCE,
Washington, D. C.
The committee met at 10.30 o'clock a. m., pursuant to call, in the committee room, Capitol, Senator Henry L. Myers presiding. Present: Senators Myers (acting chairman), Thompson, Cummins, La Follette, Poindexter, Watson, and Kellogg; also Commissioners Hall and McCord, of the Interstate Commerce Commission.
The Committee proceeded to the consideration of the matter contained in the resolution S. Res. 171, which is as follows:
[S. Res. 171, Sixty-fifth Congress, Second Session.]
Resolved, That the Committee on Interstate Commerce of the Senate is hereby authorized and directed, by subcommittee or otherwise, to inquire into and report to the Senate at the earliest practical date upon the recommendations made by the Interstate Commerce Commission regarding conditions affecting interstate transportation; that said committee may conduct such inquiry by subcommittee or otherwise, and shall be empowered to hold sessions during the recess of the Senate, and for this purpose the committee or any subcommittee thereof is empowered to send for persons and papers, to administer oaths, to summon and compel the attendance of witnesses, to conduct hearings and have reports of same printed for use; and any expense in connection with such inquiry shall be paid out of the contingent fund of the Senate upon vouchers to be approved by the chairman of the committee.
The ACTING CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order. There is a quorum present.
DEATH OF SENATOR NEWLANDS.
Senator CUMMINS. Mr. Chairman, before the committee turns its attention to public affairs, I think it is appropriate for me to mention a very sorrowful fact, of which we are all very conscious. Since our last meeting we have lost our chairman by death. It is not a fitting time for eulogies, but I have felt that before we take any action upon other matters that in compliance with an informal request, by which a committee was appointed to draft a tribute to our beloved chairman, that I should take the liberty of presenting the following resolution: Resolved, That we recognize that at another time and in another place an opportunity will be presented to express our views upon the life and services of our late associate, Francis G. Newlands; but we regard it as appropriate now and here, and before we pass to our accustomed official duties, to record our deep appreciation of his leadership and work as chairman of this committee, and our especial bereavement in the loss of a dear friend and constant companion.
To the committee and to every member of it he was more than a chairman. He was a gentle, helpful, guiding counselor. His information upon the varied subjects coming before the committee was profound, accurate, and comprehensive. He was a persistent seeker for the truth in all the many inquiries which the committee from time to time has been required to make. His grasp of the difficult and intricate problems of commerce and transportation was firm, and his clear vision in this vital field of civilization and industry distinguished him among his fellow men.
We mourn his death, and hold in loving memory the great qualities of his mind and the shining virtues of his heart; and be it further
Resolved, That a copy of this resolution be sent to the family of the deceased Senator.
Senator CUMMINS. Mr. Chairman, I move that that resolution be entered upon the records of this committee.
Senator KELLOGG. I second the motion.
(The resolution was agreed to unanimously.)
The ACTING CHAIRMAN. What is the pleasure of the committee? I know that Senator Pomerene was very anxious to be present at this meeting as he spoke to me about it. Will the committee proceed now or defer the hearing in order to give the temporary chairman, Senator Pomerene, an opportunity to be present?
Senator CUMMINS. May I ask whether Senator Pomerene has made any request for a postponement or adjournment of the hearings? The ACTING CHAIRMAN. No; he did not to me.
Senator WATSON. Mr. Chairman, I think it would be no discourtesy at all to Senator Pomerene, who is more or less familiar with all the questions involved, for us to proceed for at least an hour, and I therefore move that we proceed with the hearing.
(The motion was agreed to.)
The ACTING CHAIRMAN. I have not been able to attend all the meetings of the committee, and I will ask what is the nature and object of the meeting to-day, and what proceedings are to be had?
Senator CUMMINS. Mr. Chairman, inasmuch as we are acting upon a resolution which I introduced in the Senate, and which the Senate adopted, it may be proper for me to state my understanding of the present situation.
The members of the committee will remember that in the beginning of the present session of Congress, the Interstate Commerce Commission, under the statute which created the commission, and which directed it to make reports to Congress annually and from time to time, made a special report; in fact, there were two reports made, one of which, as I understand it, was by a majority of the commission and the other by a single member of the commission. The majority report recited very briefly the conclusions of the commission respecting the present railway situation or transportation situation, reaching the conclusion that something must be done in order to facilitate. and speed the movement of traffic in order to meet the demands of the country both in commerce and for war. The majority of the commission presented two alternatives, one Government occupation and operation, and in that way unifying the transportation system of the United States, and the other, some modification of our present laws that related to pooling and consolidation, and leaving the railway companies free to take voluntary action that would result in the unification of transportation.