Strategic policy assessment and Congressional reform


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Strategic policy assessment and Congressional reform the future in committee
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Bezold, Clement
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by Clement Bezold.
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Clement Bezold

A Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council of
The University of Florida
In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the
Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



Copyright 1976


Clement Bezold


This dissertation is the product of assistance from a variety

of persons and institutions. I would like to acknowledge their

contributions and express my heartfelt thanks:

To the supervisory committee: Victor A. Thompson, chairman;

William G. Munselle; Eric M. Uslaner; Keith R. Legg; John S. Fitch;

and Ramona R. Rush.

To Jon L. Mills, director of the Center for Governmental Re-

sponsibility, for continued institutional, financial, and personal

support. This research grew out of the center's project on congres-

sional accountability and grew into its project on Congress and

the future. To others on the center staff for their support, and

to William Munselle, who prompted my first research for the center.

To Michael McIntosh and the McIntosh Foundation for funding

provided to the center and used in this research.

To the senators, representatives, staff persons, officials,

and experts who responded to formal and informal interview ques-

tions which provided most of the information for this dissertation.

To Roger Davidson, Fred Holborn, Herbert Jasper, Genevieve Knezo,

and James Thornton, who reviewed chapters dealing with cases with

which they had been involved as staff persons. Their comments were

thoughtful and helpful for accuracy of information and interpre-

tation, although the responsibility for questions of interpretation

remains my own.

To the Governmental Studies Division of the Brookings Insti-

tution for guest privileges, for a friendly and intellectual

atmosphere, for increased access to congressional offices result-

ing from association with the institution, and for regular volley-

ball games. To Alvin Toffler, the Committee for Anticipatory

Democracy, and Hazel Henderson for information concerning this

research and, more importantly, for support of my personal and

professional commitments that paralleled this research and aided

in its completion. To Congressman Dante B. Fascell and his staff

for my introduction to Capitol Hill as a congressional intern in


To friends, fellow students, and colleagues who contributed

to the final accomplishment of this dissertation: Robert Bradley,

Elizabeth Ferris, William Goodwin, Carolyn Herrington, Michael

and Sylvia Lenaghan, Charlotte Miller, Mary Jane Parker, Steven

Reinemund, and Elizabeth Smith. To Martha Hetrick for editorial

work on the manuscript, and to Roberta Solt and Susan Eddy Mauldin

for typing the final copy.

And finally to my family, particularly my mother and father,

Katherine and Henry Bezold, for the warm environment in which I

grew up and their continuing encouragement.





Introduction 2. Congressional Policy Making 4. Congressional
Ability to Anticipate Problems 5. Policy Analysis in Congress 7.
Policy Analysis and Strategic Policy Assessment 9. Congressional
Reform 14. SPA Reforms in the 93rd Congress 22. Notes 26

Introduction 29. Stages of Successful Activity on a Bill 31.
Member Factors: Goals 34. Committee Factors 43. Hypotheses 48.
Methodology 50. Notes 54

Building Strategic Policy Assessment Into the House Committee
System 57. The Bolling Committee 57. Proposals in the Bolling
Committee 59. Stage 1: Instigation and Publicizing 61. Stage 2:
Information Gathering 64. Stage 3: Formulation 86. Interest
Aggregation 94. Mobilization 96. Modification 97. Member Goals
and Policy Attitudes 99. Conclusion 105. Notes 107.

OF 1974 110
Introduction 111. Growth Policy and Strategic Policy Assessment
116. Instigating and Publicizing for Growth Policy 117. Formula-
tion 125. Moving a Bill Without a Committee 130. National Growth
and the Budget Report 132. Interest and Support Outside Congress
140. The Senate Government Operations Committee 141. Senator
Humphrey's Goals 143. Summary: Incubating an SPA Reform 144.
Notes 148.

ACT 151
Introduction 152. Instigation and Publicizing 154. Formulation
156. S. 843 in the 90th Congress 158. The 91st Congress 166.
The 92nd Congress 177. The 93rd Congress 184. Member Goals and
Attitudes 188. Summary: Six Stages 192. Notes 198.

Introduction 203. Six Stages in Legislative Activity 203.
Hypotheses 207. Committee Factors 209. Committee Comparisons
219. Member Goals 223. SPA Policy Attitude 226. Summary 233.
Notes 234.

Viability: Implications for Congressional Reform 237. Implica-
tions of This Research 239. Conclusion 244.







Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations
Academy for Contemporary Problems
American Institute of Planners

Bureau of the Budget (in 1970 the Office of Management
and Budget), Executive Office of the President

Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, U.S. Senate
Committee on Banking and Currency, U.S. House of
Council of Economic Advisers, Executive Office of the
Committee for Economic Development
Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, U.S. Senate
Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, U.S. Senate
Congressional Office of Policy and Planning (proposed
in S. 3050, 93rd Congress)
Committee on Public Works, U.S. House
Congressional Quarterly
Congressional Record (daily edition)
Congressional Research Service
Council of Social Advisers (proposed in S. 5, 93rd Congress)

Federal Register

Department of Health, Education and Welfare

International Society for Technology Assessment

Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, U.S. Congress
Joint Committee on Congressional Operations, U.S. Congress
Joint Committee on the Economic Report (established by
1946 Employment Act; became Joint Economic Committee),
U.S. Congress
Joint Committee on the Social Report (proposed in S. 5,
93rd Congress)
Joint Economic Committee (formerly JCER), U.S. Congress











Legislative Reorganization Act (of 1946 and 1970)

NAS National Academy of Sciences
NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NGRS National Goals Research Staff, Executive Office of the
President, 1969-1970
NSF National Science Foundation

OBNGD Office of Balanced National Growth and Development
(proposed in S. 3050, 93rd Congress)
OEO Office of Economic Opportunity, Executive Office of
the President
OGPA Office of Goals and Priorities Analysis (proposed in S. 5,
93rd Congress)
OTA Office of Technology Assessment, U.S. Congress

PPBS Planning, programming, budgeting system

R&D Research and development

SCC Select Committee on Committees, U.S. House of Representa-
tives, 93rd Congress
SPA Stratetic policy assessment

UAC Urban Advisory Committee, Executive Office of the Presi-
dent, 1969-1970

WWICS Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars



Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of
the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



Clement Bezold
March, 1976
Chairman: Victor A. Thompson
Major Department: Political Science

During the 93rd Congress several reforms were proposed to

make Congress better able to anticipate emerging problems and

to deal with them before they reach a crisis stage. Three of

these reform proposals have been examined in this research in

order to understand the nature of congressional reform in a

technical, analytical area.

The foresight provision of the Committee Reform Amendments

of 1974 (H. Res. 988), prompted by Representative John C. Culver

(D., Iowa), requires committees of the House to perform futures

research and forecasting. The Full Opportunity and National Goals

and Priorities Act (S. 5), sponsored by Senator Walter F. Mondale

(D., Minn.), would establish a Council of Social Advisers and a

congressional Office of Goals and Priorities Analysis. Senator

Hubert H. Humphrey's (D., Minn.) Balanced National Growth and

Development Act of 1974 (S. 3050) would establish mechanisms to

set national growth policy.

The term strategic policy assessment has been used to mean

the analysis of emerging trends and conditions and the clarification

of policy goals and options in relation to these trends and condi-

tions. Depending on context, a strategic policy assessment reform

may have three effects on congressional decision making: (1) to

increase the ability of Congress to search for emerging issues that

should be on the congressional agenda; (2) to provide information

for current decisions on relevant future trends, events, or condi-

tions; and (3) to force the conscious interrelation of decisions

taken at different times or places within government.

Hypotheses were formulated relating committee and member fac-

tors to the legislative processing of three proposals. Stages of

processing analyzed were: (1) instigating and publicizing, (2)

information gathering, (3) formulation, (4) interest aggregation,

(5) mobilization, and (6) modification. Analyses were based on

documentary research and extensive interviews of sponsors, commit-

tee members, staff, and other officials and experts.

Findings showed that successful processing required a sup-

portive committee chairman; staff with expertise in policy analysis

or decision-making processes and, where the reform involved sig-

nificant changes, skill in political information gathering and

bargaining; interest group support; and favorable bureaucratic

activity. Interest group support was generated only if the reform

was linked to another, more immediately relevant issue or to

professional benefit; favorable activity from bureaucratic enti-

ties occurred when the strategic policy assessment reform would

benefit the entity. Bureaucratic opposition occurred where a

competing unit would be established by a reform. Strategic policy

assessment reforms were found to generate opposition in relation

to the degree of change to be required in present decision-making

structures, in procedures, and in distribution of power.

Sponsors of strategic policy assessment legislation were found

to be motivated by conceptions of good policy rather than by the

benefits of reelection or a career beyond the chamber. Like their

colleagues in committee, sponsors expressed dissatisfaction with

the ways in which Congress normally searches for problems, but

they were more optimistic than fellow committee members regarding

the ability of government to anticipate emerging problems and to

deal with them before they reach a crisis stage.

It was suggested that further research is necessary on policy

analysis and strategic policy assessment activities in Congress

so that the impact of strategic policy assessment reforms may be

better understood. S. 5 and S. 3050 had effects on other reform

efforts despite the fact that neither was enacted. It was also

suggested that other attempts at strategic policy assessment

reform should focus on the specific operation of existing units,

and where reforms would require significant changes, more attention

should be given to generating public awareness and support for

strategic policy assessment reforms.




Calls for reform of the decision-making processes of the U.S.

Congress are not new. Neither are the social and economic problems

that generate such calls. In recent years, however, the problems

have more frequently developed into crises, and the calls for

reform have become numerous and urgent. During the 93rd Congress

a serious monetary crisis, a food shortage crisis, an unemployment

and welfare crisis, and most important, an energy crisis beset

the nation (Harman, 1973: 475; WWICS, 1973). These crises were

accompanied by proposals to reform congressional processes in

response to these changing social and economic conditions and

thereby to strengthen the policy-making function of national


Our research has concerned three of these efforts at reform-

ing congressional processes and strengthening the ability of

Congress to perform more comprehensive analytic functions basic

to the making of policy. A House resolution and two Senate bills

proposed mechanisms that would enhance the ability of members of

Congress and committees to analyze trends and conditions, and to

clarify policy goals and legislative options relative to these

trends and conditions; that is, to assess policy strategically

in order to anticipate emerging issues and deal with problems

before they reach the crisis stage. The reforms chosen for study

would require increased legislative responsibility for strategic

policy assessment, increased staffing and new committees for

more comprehensive analysis, and additional techniques for

anticipating the future. Thus, information of social and economic

realities, the effects of governmental action, and the inter-

relatedness of decisions taken at many locations within Congress

and other parts of the government might be marshaled. In such re-

forms "futures analysis" is expected to provide the information,

if not the political will, to keep the "institutional agenda"

(what Congress is considering) consistent with the "systematic

agenda" (issues within the polity that deserve consideration).

First, the societal-institutional context of Congress is ex-

plained as it relates to policy making, including the institu-

tional capacity of Congress as a representative assembly to an-

ticipate emerging problems effectively. These questions are then

examined in terms of policy analysis--ways of knowing--within

Congress. Strategic policy assessment--the analysis of emerging

trends and conditions and the clarification of policy goals and

options in relation to these conditions--is then considered in

the context of congressional policy analysis. Finally, the his-

torical development of analytical functions and responsibilities

in Congress through major reforms of the past thirty years is

traced before describing three reforms of the 93rd Congress that

supply our case studies of the varieties of the congressional

will to reform in this analytical area.


The bases of national policy making in the United States have

precluded treatment of basic or chronic problems. Working in a

context of social and legislative pluralism, both Congress and

the President deal with problems immediately thrust on them by

pressures of the calendar, problems that can be handled quickly,

and problems in an acute, or crisis, stage (Polsby, 1971: 5-6).

This tendency is accentuated in Congress by the recognized

and legitimate pluralism of goals which accompanies the members

of this representative assembly. Lack of focus characterizes

congressional policy making because of the pluralism of goals,

the tendency to pay attention to organized interests, the absence

of effective policy leadership coupled with scatterationn of re-

sponsibility" as committees and subcommittees become principal

sources of policy formulation.

A count made during the 93rd Congress "showed 57 standing and

special committees--a total of 345 work units for 535 members"

(Davidson, 1974: 4). This fragmentation of legislative work units

contributed to fragmented policy.

Committees and subcommittees rarely consult
or cooperate among themselves on matters of
mutual concern. Thus there is rarely an
opportunity to examine comprehensive
approaches to national problems, much less
the cumulative effects of piecemeal ap-
proaches. (Davidson, 1974: 4)

In addition, the multiplicity of committees offers many oppor-

tunities for delays in committee work, in floor amendments and

votes, in conference committee action.

Lack of political focus, structural fragmentation, and pro-

cedural complexity tend to slow the progress of Congress through

the institutional agenda and to reduce the number of new issues

that may be added to it. The crowded congressional agenda is set

by current and past issues reflected in existing legislation

(Cobb & Elder, 1972). The agenda-building process is reinforced

by congressional procedures, executive branch structures, and

interest group configurations. Given such a setting, Congress

and its committees seldom monitor changing conditions. If

changing conditions generate a problem for a politically relevant

group, if a problem is severe enough to generate constituent de-

mands, the problem will likely find a place on the agenda. This

kind of agenda-building process results in the "quick fix, crisis

management, and damage limitation" syndrome. In addition, it

underrepresents those affected by emerging problems but lacking

interest-group structures to translate their concern to members

of Congress.


These problems of congressional agenda-setting raise questions

about the ability of Congress to anticipate emerging problems and

deal with them before they reach a crisis stage. These questions

involve the fundamental aspects of democratic governments. The

self-centered, individualistic nature of a liberal democracy is

reflected in a legislative inability to anticipate emerging

problems and to direct the allocation of resources to combat them.

At the level of the individual,anticipating problems may require

foregoing current satisfactions. As a member of Congress put it,

"Forcing the country to meet problems before they reach a crisis

stage necessitates foregoing current expenditures and satisfac-

tions. This requires a discipline that isn't in the personal or

political lives of the people."l This lack of discipline poses a

problem for legislators. As another member of Congress put it:

There is a problem with legislating in ad-
vance: programs cost money. The public
does not want something they don't think
they need and they don't see the current
need for anticipated problems. Con-
gress has a representative function. The
public which is represented is not inter-
ested in the future in any specific terms.
In effect a member has to become a sales-
man for the problem; a crisis helps sell
the urgency of the need to deal with the

The role of Congress, rather than the executive, in antici-

pating problems has also been questioned. Congress has barely

responded to the twentieth century, it has been suggested, and

its decline vis-a-vis the executive will continue (Huntington,

1972, 1974). Congress has dispersed power to committees during

this century and has gradually insulated itself from new political

forces that social change has generated. Simultaneously, legis-

lation has become "much too complex politically to be effectively

handled by a representative assembly" (Huntington, 1972). In the

view of such commentators, Congress may take the initiative only

to obstruct executive proposals and must be relegated to an in-

creasingly marginal role in national policy making.

But few members of the 93rd Congress, whose prerogatives and

constitutional powers were severely threatened by a hostile Re-

publican administration, were ready to accept so marginal a role.

Recognizing at least some of the problems of a representative

assembly, most members of Congress were ready to meet the challenge

presented to the Congress by the Nixon impoundments. Several mem-

bers were ready to propose changes to remedy congressional dis-

abilities as a policy-making body. While members of Congress did

not use such a term as strategic policy assessment, the reforms

proposed would add to the capacity of Congress to perform the

functions this term denotes by requiring futures researchand

forecasting, a social reporting system, and mechanisms to set

national growth policy within Congress.


The reforms that were proposed in Congress and chosen for

our research would adjust the policy analysis for congressional

policy making. Policy is a statement of choice of a goal and,

often, some means or set of means to attain the chosen goal.

Policy analysis is the gathering and processing of information

according to well-known criteria and the matching of this infor-

mation against certain goals (Polsby, 1969).

Congress has not been renowned for systematic policy analysis.

Some committees, particularly the Joint Economic Committee and the

Joint Committee on Internal Revenue and Taxation, are known for

thorough analysis (Manley, 1968), but "all knowledge on a par-

ticular topic is rarely collected in a single spot or system-

atically marshalled" (Polsby, 1969: 101). Even less commonly made

are attempts to collect or synthesize information systematically

across several policy areas.

One reason for the relative absence of thorough policy

analysis is that members of Congress have traditionally seen

themselves as self-sufficient legislators. As we shall see, the

suggestion that Congress should add more staff for policy analysis

was thought, until recently, to be a slur on the capacity of mem-

bers for competent decision making. A more fundamental reason,

however, lies in the pluralism of goals and bargaining processes.

Much congressional policy analysis takes
place under adversary circumstances. Thus
congressional decision-makers ordinarily
cannot enjoy the luxury of examining al-
ternative means to stipulated ends. In
an adversary process ends are not stipu-
lated but contested. Agreement on means
is often sought as a substitute for
agreement on ends. Ends are scaled down,
pulled out of shape, or otherwise trans-
formed. (Posby, 1969: 104)
(Polsby, 1969: 104)

As specific policies become more complex, this problem is


Means and ends are hopelessly intertwined.
The real choice is between rival policies
that encapsulate somewhat different mixes
of means and ends. The principal
participants [in the political process]
may not be clear about their goals. What
we call goals or objectives may, in large
part, be operationally determined by the
policies we can agree on. The mixtures of
values found in complex policies may have
to be taken in packages, so that policies
may determine goals at least as much as
general objectives determine policies.
(Wildavsky, 1966: 307-308)

Strategic policy assessment is a type of policy analysis which

is concerned with the conditions underlying policy choices and with

clarifying policy goals and options in relation to these condi-

tions. Strategic in this context refers to major or fundamental

policy questions--those which are often obscured by the continual

mixing of ends and means.


The mixing of ends and means is important for congressional

policy making in that it adds to the problem of crisis decision

making. As we shall see, this mixing of ends and means affects

congressional reform efforts without stopping attempts to pro-

vide more effective means of analyzing emerging conditions and

dealing with problems before the crisis stage. One group concerned

with increasing the anticipatory capacity of Congress coined the

term strategic policy assessment.

Officials of the executive branch, several members of Con-
gress and staff, and outside experts met in 1973 under the aus-

pices of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

(WWICS). They recommended that specific mechanisms be established

to perform strategic policy assessment in both the executive and

legislative branches.3 No one from Congress belonged to the sub-

group that drafted the WWICS proposal, and it was not turned into

a specific legislative proposal--it had no "policy entrepreneur"

within Congress. However, participating members of Congress had

been actively interested in policy-making reform, and as we shall

see, some had already become entrepreneurs for their own proposals.

For our purposes strategic policy assessment entails the

analysis of emerging trends and conditions and the clarification

of policy goals and options in relation to these conditions. The

WWICS group did not develop a rigorous conceptual or operational

definition of this term. Justifying the need for strategic policy

assessment in terms of the crisis management syndrome, the group

formulated this statement:

[Such assessments] endeavor to identify
emerging long-term trends and problems,
formulate and evaluate alternative courses
of action to deal with them, and evaluate
the effects of actions that have been put
in train. This objective presupposes a
continued assessment of social values and
(WWICS, 1973: S2117)

If governmental mechanisms are to enhance the capability for

strategic policy assessment, they must direct attention and

generate alternatives (Simon, 1966) during the "intelligence"

stage of the decision-making process (Lasswell, 1971). Strategic

policy assessment may also be a component of what agenda-building

theories call the "predecisional" or "prepolitical" process de-

termining the issues and alternatives considered and influencing

the choices made (Cobb & Elder, 1972).

Recognizing the similarity between planning and the activity

being advocated, the WWICS group differentiated between strategic

policy assessment and centralized economic planning.

What is conceived of here is not the develop-
ment of detailed tactics and closely adhered-
to targets, which often accompany plans, but
rather a more analytical and conceptual pro-
cess of identifying and assessing options
available from a long-range perspective.
(WWICS, 1973: S2116-17)

While a full definition of strategic policy assessment must in-

clude its relation to planning and to an adequate taxonomy of

federal policies and programs in terms of the ends-means chain

as well as the decision process, our definition will suffice

for an exploration of congressional reform efforts related to

strategic policy assessment.

Strategic policy assessment (SPA), depending on the particular re-

form whereby it is adopted, may provide three functions for con-

gressional policy making: (1) to search for emerging issues,

(2) to inform current decisions with relevant futures analysis,

(3) to force the conscious interrelationship of decisions made at

different locations in Congress or the government. The search

for emerging issues--a crucial, early-warning function for any

organization (Downs, 1967: 169-91)--concerns additions that should

be made to the institutional agenda. Current decisions are in-

formed by knowledge of likely future trends, events, or condi-

tions that may affect the goals sought by decision makers and the

potential impact of a decision on its policy environment. Both

these functions are analytic, and analysis may or may not be used

to make a specific decision. Strategic policy assessment, through

the use of futures analysis to search for emerging issues and in-

form current decisions, would tend to encourage a systematic con-

sideration of the range of issues on the agenda at a given time

and to force the interrelationship of individual decisions. The

conscious interrelationship of decisions is forced when the deci-

sion process is so structured that analytic functions must be


A fourth function, one beyond the realm of SPA, is to provide

the political will, whether expressed in popular support or

political leadership, necessary for anticipating problems. We

are concerned with reforms affecting analysis rather than the

exercise of political will or leadership, such as strengthening

the parties or leadership within Congress.

The analytical techniques for acquiring and processing infor-

mation essential to strategic policy assessment may be summarized

by the term futures analysis. Futures analysis may include such

activities as futures research, forecasting, and technology

assessment. All these activities are aimed at exploring the un-

certainties of what is to come, and some of them were specifically

mentioned in congressional reform proposals. The future is com-

posed of "a large set of alternatives." Futures research and fore-

casting, then, are "means of discovering and articulating the

more important of the alternative futures and estimating the

trajectory likely to be produced by contemplated policies" (Gor-

don, 1974: 90). Among futures techniques are genius forecasting,

trend extrapolation, consensus or Delphi methods, simulation,

cross-impact analysis, scenario generation, decision trees, and

econometric forecasting (Gordon, 1974: 90-113).

"As a process of ordering certainties and uncertainties and

their implications with regard to public policy decision-making,"

technology assessment is

the name for a class of policy studies which
attempt to look at the widest possible scope
of impacts in society of the introduction of
a new technology or the extension of an
established technology in new and different
ways. Its goal is to inform the policy pro-
cess by putting before the decision maker
an analyzed set of options, alternatives,
and consequences. (oates forthcoming)
(Coates, forthcoming)

Thus, "technology assessment is a most general and important form

of applied futures research" (Coates, forthcoming).4

Having defined the important terms of our discussion and

described the operative processes of information and analysis in

decision making, let us consider reforms that have improved con-

gressional policy-making ability by providing increased staffing,

changes in committee structure, and new responsibilities for

analyzing current and future conditions.


Reforms strengthening the search, decision-informing, and

decision-interrelating functions of the legislative process have

been proposed in the past, and some have been enacted. These re-

forms have been crucial to the development of the policy analysis

capability in Congress, and our discussion supplies the background

preliminary to consideration of four important reforms of recent

date. Among historical reforms affecting the information and

analysis capability have been

the establishment of the standing
committee system in 1825, periodic reform
of the House and Senate rules to expedite
legislative business, and the fis-
cal reforms following World War I that
unified the Appropriations Committees
and established the General Accounting
Office (Saoma, 1969: 134)
(Saloma, 1969: 134)

Adding to its information resources, the Congress established the

Legislative Reference Service in 1914, providing a central staff

for some analytical functions. The Office of Legislative Counsel

was set up in 1919 to insure the consistency of legislative pro-

posals with existing law. A more technical, policy-relevant staff

was added with the Joint Committee on Internal Revenue Taxation in

1926. This staff has earned a reputation for competent analysis

of tax policy matters, in the service of the House Ways and Means

and Senate Finance Committees (Manley, 1968).

In addition to such analysis reforms, other reforms have

affected the interrelating function.

The most important rationalization [inter-
relationship of decisions] in congres-
sional organization and procedure since
1921 has been the indirect discipline in
the legislative and administrative pro-
cesses introduced by executive reform
such as the executive budget and legis-
lative clearance.
native clearance. (Saloma, 1969: 134)

Analysis capacity per se has not been a major concern within

Congress. For most of its history Congress worked in the tradition

that "each member of Congress was a statesman capable of handling

all legislative problems himself" (Gross, 1953: 282). Thus, pro-

posals to add professional staff were taken as a slur on the

capacities of members themselves; yet the increasing activity of

the federal government required increasing legislative analysis.

Committees frequently borrowed officials of the executive branch,

sometimes for lengthy periods and particularly when one party

controlled Congress and the White House (Kofmehl, 1962: 3;

Gross, 1953: 280-81). Lobbyists were also often important in

providing policy analysis to Congress in support of lobby group

interests. Only in the last thirty years has this tradition of

the self-informed statesman been seriously challenged by increased

congressional staffing.

Four legislative initiatives taken during the past thirty

years illustrate how the Congress has acted to change itself and

the executive-legislative relationship in the area of policy

analysis and assessment: the Legislative Reorganization Acts of

1946 and 1970, the Employment Act of 1946, and the Technology

Assessment Act of 1972.


An omnibus reform bill, the Legislative Reorganization Act

(LRA) of 1946 allowed each committee four professional staff mem-

bers, under the direction of the chairman and the ranking minority

member, and expanded the informational services that the Legisla-

tive Reference Service and the General Accounting Office (GAO)

might provide Congress. But these provisions amounted to only a

few among thirty-eight provisions including pay raises and a re-

tirement system for members of Congress. The committee staffing

provision resulted not only from the realization of need but also

from a conservative Republican effort to prohibit the formal

assignment of executive personnel to committees without the per-

mission of the Senate Rules and Administration or House Adminis-

tration Committees (Gross, 1953: 281).

The most important renovation was the "rationalization" of

committee jurisdictions to make them parallel to executive de-

partments and to reduce the number of committees from thirty-three

to fifteen in the Senate and from forty-eight to nineteen in the

House. The number of subcommittees, however, was little changed.

Before the passage of the act, there were 140 subcommittees; after-

ward, 131 and 146 depending on the count (Gross, 1953: 270). The

change, buried in a large legislative package, was not so severe

as it might have been. It has been stated that these changes did

little to modernize jurisdictional categories and that the act

had unanticipated consequences: ". strengthening the seniority

system, reinforcing committee autonomy, and inhibiting the ability

of Congress to adapt to changing configurations of public issues"

(Davidson, 1974: 4).


Another legislative initiative relevant to policy assessment

concerns was passed in 1946: the Employment Act of 1946 (P.L. 304,

79th Congress).5 Beyond setting maximum employment as a goal of

the federal government, the act was a congressionally initiated

change in the national decision-making process. Two of its four

purposes are of paramount concern:

Second, to place the responsibility on the
President for seeing to it that the economy
was purposively analyzed at regular inter-
vals and that the Congress was informed
of economic trends and of the President's
program to meet the challenge of those
trends; And finally [fourth], to
establish a mechanism in Congress which
would facilitate legislative analysis and
action, and fix legislative responsibility
for the carrying out of a full employment
policy. (Bailey, 1950: 14-15)

This act added to the federal government's strategic policy assess-

ment functions, but principally through the executive branch; the

responsibility for economic analysis and planning initiative for

full employment programs rested with the President.

The original intent of the act's sponsors was to use the bud-

get process to achieve full employment, but this intent was

weakened during its passage. In earlier versions the Bureau of

the Budget (BoB) was to prepare a national production and employ-

ment budget based on economic planning within the BoB (Bailey,

1950: 164-70). This budget was to be considered by a joint con-

gressional committee on the budget. Proponents of this version saw

it as an extension of

responsibility in the field of economic
planning and policy integration [and] as in-
struments of potential reform which might

ramify into the entire pattern of govern-
mental operations, increasing efficiency
and clarifying political responsibility
and accountability. (Bailey, 1950: 53)
(Bailey, 1950: 53)

Business and other conservative groups saw accountability other-

wise. Partly because of their pressure for an identifiable group

whose appointment Congress would have to approve (Bailey, 1950:

165-70), a Council of Economic Advisers assumed the functions

contemplated for the BoB:

To aid the President in preparation of the
annual economic report; to gather and
analyze on current and prospective trends
and their effect on the achievement of
full employment; to appraise federal pro-
grams in terms of their contribution to
full employment; to develop and recommend
policies to achieve the stated policy.
(P.L. 304, 79th Congress, Sec. 4c)

The second function explicitly requires the government to recog-

nize and analyze long-term trends and emerging issues and thereby

commits the Congress to receive this analysis. However, when

economic analysis was shifted to the CEA from the BoB, a corres-

ponding shift was made in the pertinent congressional committee,

changing the proposed budget committee to the Joint Committee

on the Economic Report (JCER). Thus the analytical functions were

isolated from the budget-making process.

The JCER was to increase the analytical capacity of Congress

by examining the annual economic report issued by the President

in December and by reporting to other committees of Congress by

May 1. Its recommendations were to guide congressional committees

"dealing with legislation affecting employment, production, and

purchasing power." The joint committee was also to "study means

of coordinating programs in order to further the policy of this

act." In its early years, however, the Joint Committee on the

Economic Report did not take the assertive role mandated by the

Employment Act of 1946 (Gross, 1953: 334).6 It did not force the

conscious interrelationship of decisions across committees; it

did not perform this assessment-related function. The establish-

ment in Congress of decision-forcing mechanisms in the budget pro-

cess waited until the 93rd Congress.


The Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970 (LRA) (P.L. 90-510)

was the product of six years of development following hearings

and activities prompted by Senator Mike Monroney (D., Okla.), a

sponsor of the 1946 LRA. Most of this activity took place in the

privacy of Congress. Inclusion of antisecrecy amendments attracted

some media attention, but otherwise press coverage was virtually

nonexistent, demonstrating, in the words of former Representative

Donald Rumsfeld (R., Ill.),that "Congressional reform is an issue

without a constituency" (Bibby & Davidson, 1972: 259).

The act added personnel to the staffs of committees, and the

data resources of Congress were increased including access to

information from the executive branch. Committees were encouraged

to make their rules explicit. Congressional responsibility to

oversee the executive branch, added as an explicit function in

1946, was reiterated in the 1970 LRA. Although staff resources

were increased in the Congressional Research Service (CRS) as

well as in committee, no mention was made of the type of policy

analysis that congressional committee staff should perform. How-

ever, the CRS was given expanded responsibility for policy

analysis for committees (Beckman, 1974b): The CRS became re-

sponsible for an in-house search for emerging issues that pro-

duces subject lists of issues and policy areas meriting CRS

analysis and committee attention. Committee response to this in-

creased capability was mixed during the 93rd Congress. Many com-

mittees were not interested in Congressional Research Service

suggestions; others requested information on a large number of

issues and acted on them (Bezold, 1974: 460-61).


The Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) was established by

the Technology Assessment Act of 1972 (P.L. 92-484). The product

of efforts in the House Science and Astronautics Committee, par-

ticularly by Representative Emilio Daddario (D., Conn.), chair-

man of the Subcommittee on Science, Research, and Development,

OTA's purpose was to provide information on the physical, bio-

logical, economic, social, and political effects of technological

applications. OTA is directed by a Technology Assessment Board,

essentially a joint congressional committee composed of five

representatives and five senators.

This technology assessment activity was placed in a con-

gressional support organization primarily because the President

seemed uninterested in issues of science and technology. During

the Nixon administration the Office of Science and Technology in

the Executive Office of the President had been abolished, and the

function of advising the President on scientific matters was

transferred to the head of the National Science Foundation (NSF).

This decrease in presidential interest in science coincided with

popular interest, particularly among environmentalists, in ex-

amining the likely consequences of a new scientific or techno-

logical application like the supersonic transport plane, the SST.

OTA had just begun operation in 1973, during the 93rd

Congress, having chosen six initial assessments, or reports, to be

made. Discussion within OTA suggested that the agency perform an
"early warning" function for Congress, and the WWICS proposal listed

OTA as a likely place to establish the policy assessment activities

proposed. It is still too soon to evaluate OTA's contribution, but

this office may play an important role in SPA in Congress.


In order to understand the process of congressional reform in

relation to strategic policy assessment, our discussion will focus

on three legislatively initiated proposals during the 93rd Con-

gress. The bills chosen represent a cross-section of congres-

sional approaches to SPA: the foresight provision of House Reso-

lution 988 (the Committee Reform Amendments of 1974), Senate

bill 5 (the Full Opportunity and National Goals and Priorities

Act), and Senate bill 3050 (the Balanced National Growth and De-

velopment Act of 1974).

The foresight provision of the Committee Reform Amendments

of 1974 (H. Res. 988) was proposed during the 93rd Congress by

the House Select Committee on Committees (the Bolling committee)

along with several other reforms bearing on SPA functions in the

House. Because of the efforts of Representative John C. Culver

(D., Iowa), a "foresight responsibility" was included for com-

mittees of the House, whereby they would

review and study any conditions or cir-
cumstances which may indicate the necessity
or desirability of enacting new or addi-
tional legislation within the jurisdiction
of that committee (whether or not any bill
or resolution has been introduced with re-
spect thereto), and shall on a continuing
basis undertake futures research and fore-
casting on matters within the jurisdiction
of that committee. ( 1974e: 389)

The Full Opportunity and National Goals and Priorities Act

(S. 5) was proposed by Senator Walter F. Mondale (D., Minn.) and

favorably reported by the Senate Labor and Public Welfare Com-

mittee (CLPW).A Council of Social Advisers (CSA) was to be

established to gather information and analyze social conditions,

trends, and programs in a fashion similar to that of the Council

of Economic Advisers. A congressional Office of Goals and

Priorities Analysis (OGPA) was to examine national priority

judgments found in the President's proposed budget and to formu-

late recommendations for congressional goals and priorities.

As proposed by Senator Hubert H. Humphrey (D., Minn.) and re-

ferred to the Senate Government Operations Committee (CGO), the

Balanced National Growth and Development Act of 1974 (S. 3050)

would establish an office within the Executive Office of the Presi-

dent to assess national needs, goals, and priorities and to pre-

pare an annual report on national growth and development policy.

The annual report would include "appropriate projections and fore-

casts regarding future social, economic, environmental, and

scientific developments affecting the growth of the Nation stated

in five-, ten-, and twenty-five-year time frames. (S. 3050).

The proposed executive office would also force policy coordination

among various departments by contributing directly to the formula-

tion of the presidential budget. Within Congress an Office of

Policy and Planning would conduct "a continuing, nonpartisan

analysis of national goals, priorities, and urban and rural growth

policies." This office was to provide Congress "with the data and

analyses necessary for enlightened decisions with respect to such

matters." Further, the office was to recommend interrelated policies

and programs to the Congress. The bill also proposed an independent

Foundation for America's Future and a national citizens' advisory

network to provide independent research and citizen input for

national growth policy.

The three bills chosen for study bear on different aspects

of strategic policy assessment functions. They represent a di-

versity of congressional approaches to the problem of creating

and reconciling policy legislatively. The foresight provision of

H. Res. 988was aimed at searching for emerging problems and in-

forming current decisions within the jurisdiction of individual

committees. The Mondale bill (S. 5)was aimed at forcing analysis

across the field of social policy and, to a limited extent,

forcing the conscious interrelationship of decisions within the

Council of Social Advisers and in an Office of Goals and Priorities

Analysis within Congress. The Humphrey proposal (S. 3050) would

augment the search for emerging issues, inform current decisions

regarding future developments, and force the conscious interrela-

tionship of decisions across broad areas of policy made both in

Congress and in the White House. Examination of these three SPA

reform proposals has shown how Congress does and does not bring

about change in its own operations, particularly in its ability

to adjust its crisis decision making. To demonstrate the successes

and failures of certain approaches may be useful to future efforts

to add to the anticipatory capacity of national decision making.

In order to present case studies of these bills, a set of

factors, relationships, and hypotheses have been developed to

evaluate comparative legislative responsibility in the develop-

ment of each bill. In Chapter 2 we have set forth criteria for

the development of legislative enactments and the operative goals

of legislators, along with hypotheses necessary to examine each

proposal. In Chapter 3 we have presented a case study of H. Res. 988;

in Chapter 4, of the Mondale bill; in Chapter 5, of the Humphrey

proposal. In Chapter 6 the hypotheses have been reevaluated in light of

these case studies. In Chapter 7 conclusions for the maturity and

viability of SPA reforms and implications for congressional reform

have been summarized.


1. Statements throughout the text that are quoted without
attribution have been drawn from more than seventy-five confiden-
tial interviews with members of Congress, congressional and
executive staff members, outside experts, and public and private
interest-group representatives.

2. Reps. John D. Dingell (D., Mich.), Guy Vander Tagt (R.,
Mich.), Alan Steelman (R., Tex.), Senators Philip A. Hart (D.,
Mich.), James L. Buckley (R., N.Y.), and Hubert H. Humphrey (D.,

3. The WWICS group recommended that the congressional Office
of Technology Assessment (OTA) be broadly mandated to include
social concerns and that a strategic assessment staff, a distinct
entity with a deputy director, be added to OTA. An executive
office of strategic policy assessment was to be added to the
Office of Management and Budget, to address selected major prob-
lems from a multidisciplinary and long-term perspective. To maxi-
mize its impact on emergent policy considerations, this office
was to "review and comment on the President's budget as well as
longer term implications of resource allocation decisions .
and legislation which has significant long-term policy implica-
tions" (WWICS, 1973: S2117-18).

4. For a listing of steps in technology assessment, see
Coates, 1975 and forthcoming.

5. That the call for reforms in national decision making to
cope with the future is not new is shown by the prefatory comments
to a major work on the Employment Act of 1946:
The day of policy planning by haphazard pressures and
personal and political whim is fast running out, for
the basic assumption underlying such irresponsible
policymaking has been that our society was resilient
enough to stand it. What if a needed policy were warped
out of shape by the nature of our political processes?
No great and lasting harm was done. There was always
time to start again, to explore new paths, skip around
in a labyrinth of blind alleys. But what if we guess
wrong today? The power and problems of government may
result in physical destruction or economic disaster.
(Bailey, 1950: viii-ix)

6. The Joint Committee on the Economic Report became the Joint
Economic Committee. Its staff has a reputation as one of the best
analytical staffs of any congressional committee.

7. For an evaluation of OTA's operations during the 93rd Con-
gress, see Craig Decker's attempt to "assess the assessors"
(Decker, 1975).




Our examination of three legislative initiatives has been

structured in order to understand strategic policy assessment

reforms in Congress that were aimed at making government better

able to cope with the future. The legislative initiatives

examined are the foresight provision of the Committee Reform

Amendments of 1974 (H. Res. 988), the Full Opportunity and

National Goals and Priorities Act (S. 5), and the Balanced

National Growth and Development Act of 1974 (S. 3050). At the

level of the major operating group within Congress, the commit-

tees, certain key resources, or factors, have been selected for

consideration. These key factors at the committee level have

been chosen in order to allow an identification of "who was

responsible for a bill's enactment."

The research on Congress most relevant to our purposes

examined thirteen bills handled by three Senate committees in

order to "ascertain what aspects of committee life best help us

understand the characteristic patterns of legislative action and

inaction, initiative and deference" (Price, 1972: x). The issues

address were the "decline" of parliaments in the face of ascen-

dant executives and the sources and conditions of legislative

independence and creativity in the U.S. Congress. In other

relevant research the functioning of six House committees from

1955 to 1966 was examined in order to describe and generalize

about committee similarities and differences (Fenno, 1973).

The following preliminary questions derived from the work

of Price and Fenno have guided this research: (1) What are the

determinants of activity by an individual member of Congress on

SPA proposals? The member's perception of the need to anticipate

problems and his perception of the relation of strategic policy

assessment to this need was examined. Personal background factors

and committee incentives were identified that would lead a member

to take an initiative and so become a policy entrepreneur in

this area. We asked how strategic policy assessment would affect

the member's institutional position and how he thought strategic

policy assessment would change patterns of congressional decision

making or the distribution of power within Congress. (2) What

factors condition successful activity by a committee on Congress

on the SPA provisions? The impact of different legislative pack-

ages in which strategic policy assessment has been proposed was

studied as well as the differences in committee handling of these

packages. Factors were sought to explain these differences.

Finally, we sought to identify the types of interest group and

administration activity that accompanied these proposals or were

generated by them. The methods used to gather information to

answer these questions are discussed below.


While these questions deal with member and committee factors

at the committee level of analysis, it is necessary to consider

the meaning of successful committee action for our unit of

analysis, namely legislative initiatives. Successful committee

action on a bill has been considered in terms of the degree of

development of six stages involved in processing any bill; those

suggested by Price.

Several attempts have been made to define the stages of deci-

sion making, or policy making, that a bill ordinarily goes through

(Lasswell, 1963; Robinson, 1962; Gergen, 1968; Almond, 1960). In

surveying these stages, David Price rejected a "rational actor"

approach to policy making (see Allison, 1971):

The introduction, publicizing, legitimizing,
and processing of a piece of legislation in-
volves a great deal more than the "gentle"
rationalistic, problem-solving process of
intelligence, recommendation, and prescrip-
tion. The process entails gathering "in-
telligence" and responding to articulated
needs and sentiments, but it also requires
stimulating those sentiments, activating
and mollifying groups, and precipitating
and participating in conflicts.
(Price, 1972: 5)

Price postulated six stages or functions in the processing of a

piece of legislation:

1. Instigation and publicizing. The public or pri-
vate advocacy of an issue as one worthy of attention
and ameliorative action. Typical instigators include
the staff man or lower-level bureaucrat who calls a
problem to his superior's attention, the Congressman
who highlights an issue through investigative hear-
ings, or the author who documents and dramatizes a
social need.
2. Formulation. Devising and advocating a specific
legislative remedy for a supposed need. The formulator
draws boundaries around an issue and establishes a
focal point for its further consideration.
3. Information gathering. Collecting data on the
nature of hazards and abuses; the alternative schemes
for solving problems and their costs; benefits; and
inherent difficulties; the likely political impact
of each scheme; and the feasibility of various com-
promises. Information gathering is crucial to each
of the other functions--to devising a workable pro-
posal, as well as to plotting its political course
and building a sense of need and legitimacy.
4. Interest aggregation. Responding to the needs
and wishes of individuals or groups affected by a
given proposal. In one instance, it might mean the
championing of one group over or against others, in
another the assumption of a mediating, "balancing"
role, in yet another the stimulating of latent group
sentiments. Such activities may both resolve and
exacerbate conflict; they may, on the one hand, con-
tribute to the instigation and mobilization effort or,
on the other, give rise to attempts at modification
or obstruction.
5. Mobilization. The exertion of pressure, persua-
sion, or control on behalf of a measure by one who
is able, often by virtue of his institutional posi-
tion, to take effective and relatively direct action
to secure enactment. Whether an issue goes beyond
the publicizing and formulating stages usually depends
on the support it receives from individuals, groups,
or governmental units that possess authority and
legitimacy in the policy area and on the extent of
the "intra-elite organizing" by key leaders. Mobilizers
may become involved in other functions as a part of
these efforts, but they may benefit from, or be
stimulated by, those who were active at the "earlier"
stages as well.

6. Modification. The marginal alteration of a pro-
posal, sometimes "strengthening" it, sometimes
granting certain concessions to its opponents in or-
der to facilitate final passage. Modification may or
may not complement actions taken at earlier points,
but in any case the modifier shares responsibility
for a bill's final form. (Price, 1972: 4-5)

A bill's passage, in Price's schema, will depend on its maturity

and viability. A bill's maturity corresponds to its progress

through these stages. The viability of a bill (whether or not "it

will fly") depends on the degree of responsiveness and support

for the bill in the parent body (Price, 1972: 304).

The three bills chosen reached a variety of levels of maturity

and viability. The foresight provision was adopted by the House;

the full opportunity proposal passed the Senate Labor and Public

Welfare Committee (it had passed this committee and the Senate in

two previous congresses); the Humphrey proposal was not even con-

sidered by the Senate Government Operations Committee. In this

research we explored factors affecting the developmental process

for three legislative initiatives and the context that condi-

tioned their viability or nonviability.

One contextual factor that conditions a bill's viability in

the House or Senate, Price noted, is the presence of a crisis or

sense of need in a relevant sector. A variety of crises, most

notably the energy crisis, demanded notice in the 93rd Congress

(SCC, 1973b: 475; WWICS, 1973). The extent to which events such

as the energy crisis were translated into a sense of need for

changes through strategic policy assessment reforms in the decision-

making system has been examined in our research. The member and

committee factors that may have affected the maturity of these SPA

proposals must first be identified specifically. Then we may hy-

pothesize the relationship of these factors to the processing of

three proposals.


The viability of a proposal is determined by the level of

support it receives in the parent chamber and by other enabling

conditions, but the birth and growth of a bill--its maturity in

terms of Price's six stages--depends on the "irreducibility of

legislative initiative"--the need for a policy entrepreneur (Price,

1972: 306-11). Then, what determines a politician's actions, as

a sponsor, a supporter, or an opponent of legislation? Research

on the general determinants of political activity have focused on

the predispositions, perceptions, roles, and motivations of poli-

ticians (Barber, 1965; Payne, 1968; Davidson, 1969; Wahlke,

Eulau, Buchanan, & Ferguson, 1962; Putnam, 1973). A recent

approach by Richard Fenno resolved some of the difficulty of

linking such general factors to legislative activity. There are

certain basic goals pursued by congressmen; Fenno (1973) suggested

(1) reelection, (2) good public policy, (3) power in the House,

(4) a career beyond the House, and (5) private gain.

Fenno showed that membership on different committees enhances

some goals more than others (Fenno, 1973). Research on freshman

representatives in the 92nd Congress yielded similar results

(Bullock, 1973). Our research was concerned with the question how

SPA reform was related to member goals. These goals are not finely

sorted in the daily activity of Congressmen. A member's actions

must reach a threshold before he will relate his activity to a

personal version of these five goals. More than a member who

merely votes yes or no, the sponsors of bills were more likely

to be able to express how the various aspects of their work on

bills related to their goals.


Previous research has not eliminated the difficulty of deter-

mining what constitutes the pursuit of good policy. Being con-

cerned with the relative importance of policy goals against re-

election, power in the chamber, etc., Fenno and Bullock did not

provide a set of dimensions for good policy.

Faced with this substantive question, we have specified what

may be involved in a Congressman's policy attitude, as John

Kingdon called the background attitudes which inform a member's

activity apart from other external sources such as constituents,

party leaders, etc. (Kingdon, 1973: 345-54). A set of factors

relevant to a policy attitude toward SPA has been developed based

on preliminary research and congressional testimony and discussion

in this area. The elements of a policy attitude include:

Satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the ways in which
Congress normally searches for problems to consider.
Judgments of the extent to which major problems can
be anticipated.
Opinions on the ability to predict social trends or
Judgments of the ability to direct or control future
Judgments of the role of Congress in providing a
"positive, inspiring vision" of the future.
Familiarity with future-oriented information (e.g.,
five-, ten-, and twenty-five-year forecasts) in
legislative work.

These elements reflect the fact that SPA is a meta-issue. It

deals with the policy process; with the analysis of conditions,

goals, and means involved in substantive policy issues such as

health or transportation. While a member's good policy goal may

move him to stand for or against a particular SPA reform, a high

level of activity will probably enable the member to articulate

the background elements of his policy attitude. The significance

of each of these elements and the expected position of those

supporting SPA reforms have yet to be considered.

TO SEARCH FOR PROBLEMS. The ways in which Congress normally

searches for problems have been described as sufficient to include

all politically relevant issues (Schneier, 1970) and wide ranging,

if not systematic (Beckman, 1974a). Political in this context

means that if an emerging issue has sufficient importance because

of interest group or constitutent support, it is put on the agenda.

Yet the absence of a more systematic search for emerging problems

is one of the causes of recurrent crisis. Presumably, a member

active on behalf of SPA reforms will be dissatisfied with the nor-

mal ways in which Congress searches for problems. This dissatis-

faction may be coupled with a high degree of search activity on

his own.


emerging issues and informing current decision, presumably

activity that will encourage the Congress to deal with emerging

problems. The existence of a crisis eases the burdens of political

decision makers by providing a consensus that the particular

problem must be confronted. As we have said, it is difficult for

democratic governments, particularly representative assemblies,

to anticipate problems. Proponents of SPA reforms may recognize

this, but they will probably feel that the government can anti-

cipate problems or, at least, must attempt to do so.

TO PREDICT SOCIAL TRENDS. One of the arguments against the

analysis functions of SPA proposals was that Congress is unable

to predict social trends and conditions. This argument was raised

particularly in the debate over establishment of the Council of

Social Advisers. Presumably, members supporting SPA will believe

that the government does have some ability to predict social

trends and conditions effectively or that a definite need exists

to develop this ability.

TO DIRECT OR CONTROL THE FUTURE. SPA functions imply a com-

mitment by the government to make a more effective and conscious

impact on the future. Presumably, those in favor of SPA reforms,

especially reforms which would force decisions, will favor greater

governmental activity to direct or control the future. This

attitude involves an implicit or explicit response to the ideo-

logical implications of government activity in a "free," i.e.,

uncontrolled, society.

A "POSITIVE, INSPIRING VISION." Preliminary interviews with

staff and members of Congress and testimony on SPA issues brought

occasional references to the need for the government to provide

a "positive, inspiring vision" for the country (SCC, 1973b:

472-79; Harman, 1972). The specific policy dimensions of a par-

ticular member's vision are beyond this research, yet members

concerned with SPA may realize that with 535 members and 345 work

groups (Davidson, 1974: 8), Congress is at a comparative disad-

vantage to the President in enunciating large-scale, comprehensive


FUTURES INFORMATION. Two aspects of congressional informa-

tion sources may help us understand a member's policy attitude in

relation to SPA. First is an awareness of future-oriented informa-

tion, in terms of trends or conditions five, ten, or twenty-five

years in the future, for use in day-to-day legislative activities.

Members proposing SPA reforms will likely be conscious of or seek

out this type of information.

Second is an awareness of the existence of the subject lists

of emerging issues produced by the Congressional Research Service

for each congressional committee. While distribution of these

lists is made by committee chairmen and therefore may be somewhat

skewed, members supporting SPA reforms are like to know and make

use of these lists.

Several categories have been used to explore what may be

called the members' policy attitude toward strategic policy assess-

ment. Regardless of the exact composition of "good policy," it is

likely to be a dominant goal for members actively pursuing SPA

reforms. Good policy as a goal must be posited to explain their

activity, given the complexity of the issue, the lack of constitu-

ent attention, and the absence of significant interest group



Power in the chamber is important as a goal of representatives.

This goal affects the operation of certain committees and their

desirability, particularly the taxing and spending committees.

Whether the goal of institutional power moves a representative

or a senator to support SPA reforms will depend on the member's

estimation of the reform's impact on his position. If, for

instance, a reform bill creates a new committee and the sponsor may

become chairman of it, this goal might come into play. Although the

Humphrey (S. 3050) and Mondale (S. 5) bills (more appropriately

Senator Jacob Javits' amendment) would establish new committees,

given the doubtfulness of their passage, the institutional power

goal hardly explains the actions of the sponsors. Similarly, the

Bolling committee proposed to create a separate oversight/foresight

subcommittee in each committee. Oversight is not one of the more

sought-after operations within Congress, and foresight is an

unknown quantity. Therefore the foresight provision probably offered

little power-in-the-chamber incentive to those who might become

chairmen of these subcommittees.

However, institutional power considerations may have stirred

opponents to the SPA reforms. It is likely that SPA reforms which

shift the least power will generate the least opposition from the

chairmen of the 345 committees and subcommittees of the 93rd Con-

gress. The Humphrey proposal might seriously affect the power of

the standing committees through the formation of the Joint Com-

mittee on National Growth and Development, basically a leadership

committee for both houses, and thus it would tend to generate

opposition from committee members whose power was threatened.

Mondale's Title I would set up a social reporting system without

any change in the committee structure, while Senator Javits'

Title II would create an Office of Goals and Priorities Analysis.

This office would analyze federal programs and priorities, but

it would have no power to change committee activities. The

futures research and forecasting required by the foresight provi-

sion could not affect the distribution of power within committees

unless it occurred in conjunction with shifts caused by the

existence of an oversight subcommittee.


Recent work on Congress has stressed the reelection goal in

motivating members' behavior that results in patterns of con-

gressional operation (Mayhew, 1974).3 Yet it is unlikely that the

reelection goal played an important part in the member actions

either for or against the SPA reforms because complex technical

issues like structural and procedural change in Congress are often

beyond the comprehension of the voters and almost always beyond

their interest. Thus, there is usually little constituent atten-

tion to such issues. As a member of Congress put it, "Congres-

sional reform is an issue without a constituency" (Bibby & David-

son, 1972: 252). Since relatively little outside pressure builds

for or against congressional reform proposals, little hope of

reelection can be ascribed to a member's actions on such reforms.

In 1974 issue-hungry Republicans in the House were unsuccessful

in making the Bolling committee proposal a reelection issue.


Some SPA-related issues, such as national growth policy or a

council of social advisers, have national appeal, and these

issues may help generate support, beyond a particular congres-

sional district or state, which would be of value to a senator

building a national constituency.

Representative John C. Culver (D., Iowa) ran successfully for

the Senate at the end of the 93rd Congress, but the foresight

provision probably had little, if any, effect on his race. However,

both Senator Mondale and Senator Humphrey were presidential as-

pirants during the 93rd Congress. Humphrey unveiled the outlines

of his growth policy proposal in the presidential primary cam-

paign in California in 1972. Both the Mondale and the Humphrey pro-

posals were of the type which might interest a national consti-

tuency, and therefore the career-beyond-the-chamber goal may have

had some impact on their advocacy of SPA reform.


Given the incipient nature of these reforms and the lack of

interest group involvement, there was probably little opportunity

for private gain. Therefore this goal--also absent in other re-

search on member goals (Fenno, 1973; Bullock, 1973)--probably had

a negligible effect on the actions of supporters and opponents.

Because of the awkwardness--and slight chance of an affirmative

answer--of asking a member if he expected any private gain, no

such questions were asked during our interviews.

Other member factors, principally various resources and costs

(see Wildavsky, 1966; Adrian & Press, 1968), are involved in a

member's actions, and these factors have been noted in describing

member's goal pursuits and the context of the committee factors.


This research, like that of Price, concerns the activity of

certain committees on specific proposals; Fenno concentrated on

general committee behavior. In their work the following major

committee factors affected the processing of a bill:

The role of the committee and subcommittee chairmen.
The experience and orientation of the staff.
The membership of the committee in terms of partisan
or ideological composition.
The lobbying and influence of executive and con-
gressional bureaucrats and interest groups.
The resultant patterns of conflict.

A favorable committee chairman is essential to the expedi-

tious processing of a bill. This factor probably was involved in

the case of the Mondale bill (S. 5) in the Labor and Public Wel-

fare Committee, where Senator Harrison A. Williams, Jr. (D., N.J.)

was chairman, and for the foresight provision, although Represen-

tative Richard Bolling's (D., Mo.) select committee operated more

collegially than most standing committees. The opposition of

Senator Sam J. Ervin, Jr. (D., N.C.), chairman of the Government

Operations Committee, was probably a major reason why Senator

Humphrey's bill was not considered in this committee. Subcommittee

chairmen are particularly important in the Senate, Price noted,

because of the decentralization of power there. Senator Mondale's

proposal was undoubtedly aided by the fact that in previous Con-

gresses it had been handled by his special subcommittee.

Staff activity is essential in formulating proposals and

gathering information or overseeing these processes. The earlier

reforms, particularly the Employment Act of 1946 (Bailey, 1950)

and the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970 (Bibby & David-

son, 1972) enjoyed a variety of crucial staff input throughout

the six stages of processing. Among the determinants of a bill's

maturity, Price noted the accessibility, quality, and roles and

orientations of the staff members performing the information-

gathering function, especially for a technical procedural issue.

Given the nature of SPA reforms, it is likely that background

experience or interest in SPA-related matters or techniques will

be essential for effective formulation and information gathering.

Equally important, if a bill is to move beyond the early stages

of maturity, will be the political information-gathering and bar-

gaining skills of the staff. Thus, the experience as well as the

amount of policy entrepreneurship of the staff should be impor-

tant for the maturity of these three reforms.

The bureaucratic and interest group activity directed at a

committee considering a bill is generally important. A bill that

potentially infringes on bureaucratic structures often brings out

powerful government lobbying (Price, 1972). Also, bureaucratic

structures may anticipate the bill's importance to their opera-

tions and actually play an important part in its drafting. Since

the major focus of this research is congressional reform, a major

concern is how these SPA reforms would affect the congressional

bureaucracy, and this concern requires an examination of the role,

if any, of the committee staff, the Congressional Research Ser-

vice, the General Accounting Office, and the Office of Technology


The successful processing of a bill requires effective interest

aggregation and mobilization of support. Because SPA is a complex

issue whose effects are indirect or uncertain, these proposals

have not generated widespread support or opposition. Just as con-

stituent attention to congressional reforms is slight, so too is

interest group activity. One exception occurred among those aca-

demic and professional groups whose members would benefit from

greater use of particular techniques and an implied increase in

employment for the group. It is likely that SPA proposals, par-

ticularly where they portend conflict in forcing decisions, will

not mature if interest-group support is limited to academic and

professional groups. A bill is not likely to mature if interest

groups oppose it out of fear of adverse effects, given the uncer-

tainty of the impact of these reforms on established contacts

and relationships with Congress as well as on policy questions.

This proposition should hold true especially where the decision-

forcing function is involved. The history of the 1946 Employment

Act suggests that major interest groups will enter the process if

a significant SPA reform is seriously considered.

The impact of the ideological and partisan composition of a

committee will be shown depending on the type of bill. Partisan voting

is often most pronounced when the vote deals with internal pro-

cedural matters in the House or Senate. To the extent that SPA is

likely to affect the relative positions of the majority and

minority parties, this impact will be reflected in the voting.

Likewise, votes on Democratic proposals to make changes in an un-

willing Republican executive will show partisan division, as the

vote showed in the case of the Mondale bill (S. 5).

Ideological factors and patterns of conflict on SPA reforms

may not be directed at the SPA provisions, particularly if the

SPA provisions are a relatively small part of a larger legisla-

tive package. These factors and patterns were not directed at the

foresight provision--a relatively small procedural issue alongside

larger and more controversial procedural and jurisdictional issues.

SPA provisions may also be perceived and dealt with in terms

of the issues SPA may suggest for the agenda or in terms of its

impact on proposals already being considered. There are historical

examples of federal government agencies performing SPA functions.

The National Resources Planning Board under President Roosevelt in

the late 1930s and early 1940s provided SPA functions in support

of the President's programs. Congress did not appreciate goals

being enunciated by Presidential bureaucrats. Congress was par-

ticularly unhappy with the board's "new bill of rights" and its

social welfare implications (Roth, 1959; 242-51; Bailey, 1950:

25-28). Partly for this reason the Council of Economic Advisers

was established to advise rather than plan. President Nixon formed

a National Goals Research Staff, but this staff was never allowed

to have any impact, somewhat because of the issues it was expected

to raise (Full Opportunity, 1971: 71; Bezold, 1974: 465). Senator

Mondale's proposal of the Council of Social Advisers and Senator

Humphrey's Office of Balanced Growth and Development may have

been viewed in these terms by committee members.

In addition to the impact of historical analogues, the com-

mittee that handles a proposal may have an impact on the issue

potential of an SPA provision in its larger legislative package.

Certain committees promote the active and partisan pursuit of

good policy (Fenno, 1973), and most of the bills of these com-

mittees reflect what Aage Clausen would call the social welfare

voting pattern (Fenno, 1973; Clausen, 1973). Senator Mondale's

proposal was produced in the Labor and Public Welfare Committee,

a major source of social welfare votes in the Senate. In this

sense, activity by other members for or against the bill may be

conditioned by its committee's (and its sponsor's) reputation, in

this case for liberal, welfare-oriented proposals.

Conflict in Congress generally deals with means, and it is

resolved by agreement on specific programs (Wildavsky, 1966;

Polsby, 1972). SPA reforms which raise the conflict to higher

levels on the ends-means chain, to larger goals, may be seen as

shifting the policy battleground onto unknown territory. Thus,

the greater the potential impact of SPA on the types of conflicts

within Congress, the more opposition may be expected. In terms

of the ends-means chain the foresight provision promised the

least change and hence generated the least opposition. The Office

of Goals and Priorities Analysis in the Mondale proposal (S. 5)

and the Office of Policy and Planning in the Humphrey proposal

(S. 3050) may have been supported or opposed on their potential

to shift congressional focus toward higher-level goals.

Also, SPA proposalsmay be consciously considered, not in terms

of substantive issues, but in terms of distribution of power in

the chamber or in committees. Thus the institutional power goal

operates in the format of committee influence. In the original

Bolling committee proposal the foresight provision was to be

performed by an oversight subcommittee. The requirement for this

subcommittee was eliminated in the modification stage of the

bill's processing, perhaps because of the potential impact of

an oversight subcommittee on a full committee's operations and

distribution of power.


The factors affecting the processing of a bill can be thought

of in terms of member factors--goals and attitudes--and committee

factors--personal, political, and informational resources focused

at the committee level. In the case studies in Chapters 3, 4,

and 5 we have examined some hypothetical relationships among

these factors:


Action in sponsoring SPA legislation will be directly re-

lated to the predominance of the good policy goal over reelec-

tion, power in the chamber, or a career beyond the chamber.

Favorable activity on behalf of SPA legislation by sponsors and

supporters will be accompanied by the following beliefs or judg-

ments as elements of the SPA policy attitude:

1. That the ways in which Congress searches for prob-
lems to consider are inadequate.
2. That emerging problems can be anticipated before
they reach a crisis stage.
3. That social events and conditions can be predicted
or that the capability to do so should be developed.
4. That the government should attempt to direct or
control future developments.
5. That Congress is at a comparative disadvantage to
the President in providing a large-scale "positive,
inspiring vision" for the nation.
6. That information on likely future conditions in-
cluding Congressional Research Service lists of
emerging issues is available.


Favorable committee action will be directly related to the

following factors:

1. A supportive committee or subcommittee chairman.
2. Staff interest or experience with SPA-related
activities as well as political information-gathering
and bargaining skills.
3. An ideologically liberal or Democratic majority
which perceives that SPA will raise social welfare or

government management issues or a congressional re-
form majority which perceives that its institutional
position will be helped or at least not hurt by con-
gressional adoption of SPA techniques.
4. Constituent-oriented and/or broadly based interest-
group support and support from those groups with a
professional stake in SPA-related activity.
5. Positive activity from bureaucratic structures
(executive agencies and congressional support organi-
zations) based on potential benefit from conducting
SPA activity or from its policy implications.
6. The extent to which the SPA proposal affects lower
levels of the ends-means chain: does not attempt to
analyze and force decisions across policy areas, uses
the existing committee structure without changes, and
offers no significant threat to the prevailing dis-
tribution of power among members.

Favorable action by the parent chamber will depend on similar



In order to examine our hypotheses through case studies of

SPA-related proposals, information was gathered through documen-

tary research and personal interviews.

The interviews were conducted with members of Congress, per-

sonal and committee staffs, and persons in congressional support

organizations and executive agencies as well as persons in research

institutes, universities, and elsewhere, who were involved with the

three bills or general SPA areas. The interviewing approach and

techniques owe much to David Price (1972). That is, interviewing

was committee focused, with structured questions for committee

members and less structured interviews for staff members and

others. To this basic format were added questions on the member's

goals and his policy attitude. In arranging interviews, if the

member was unavailable, the questions were asked of a relevant

staff person.

Thus, committee-focused interviewing sought three types of

information: (1) Details of the origin and processing of the

three bills were gathered in terms of six stages: instigation and

publicizing, formulation, information gathering, interest aggre-

gation, mobilization, and modification. (2) Information was sought

on member goals of good policy, power in the chamber, and reelection,

and the relation of goals to activity for or against the SPA

bills. A high level of activity on the part of the member was re-

quired for this information. (3) General questions were used to

explore the background dimensions of the member's policy attitude

toward SPA.

Originally, one questionnaire was developed which contained

all three categories of questions (see Appendix 1), but preliminary

testing showed that members who had not actively supported or

opposed the bills could not answer questions about the bills'

processing or about their goals in relation to the bill. There-

fore, a shorter set of questions was taken from the first

questionnaire (see Appendix 2). These questions were used to

gather information on the member's policy attitude and position

toward the relevant bills. The first questionnaire was used for

most of the interviewing of Boiling committee members. The

shorter set of questions was used in most of the Senate interviews.

The shortened interviews took from ten minutes to half an

hour; interviews from the original form took from twenty minutes

to one hour. The time involved in arranging the interview, pre-

paring any additional specific questions, conducting the inter-

view, and writing it up varied from approximately one to four

hours. Several staff persons were interviewed on multiple occasions.

A letter was sent to each committee member stating the pur-

pose of the research, asking for an interview, and stating that

if the member were unavailable, the relevant staff member would

do for the purpose. Interviewing a "staff surrogate" about member

goals was found more effective than interviewing the member him-

self, because the staff was more accessible, usually gave more

time, and in some cases were more frank (Bullock, 1973). The

interviews, held during the months of June, July, August, Septem-

ber, and December of 1974, confirmed Bullock's observations, al-

though some senators and representatives proved to be both

accessible and frank.

Access to members and staff for the interviews varied widely.

On the Senate side the higher in seniority or the more opposed

to the bills, the more difficult it was to arrange an interview.

Particularly for key members, repeated calls were necessary to

arrange the interviews. Access to some offices was aided by our

association with the Brookings Institution through its visiting

scholars program. Most interviews were located in members'

offices, but many took place in committee and congressional

support organization offices, rooms off the House and Senate

floor, Capitol Hill restaurants, etc.

Committee-focused interviews produced seven interviews with

Bolling committee members (4 Democrats, 3 Republicans), nine in-

terviews with Senate Labor and Public Welfare Committee members

(5 Democrats, 4 Republicans), and nine with Senate Government

Operations Committee members (6 Democrats, 3 Republicans). In

addition, member interviews were conducted for the Hansen com-

mittee, which provided the major amendment in the form of a sub-

stitute to the Bolling committee product.

Fifty unstructured interviews, many of extensive length, were

used to gather information from the staffs of each of the com-

mittees, from congressional support organizations, particularly

CRS, from the executive branch, from experts outside Congress

associated with social indicators, the futurist movement, and

technology assessment, as well as from persons involved with such

groups as the National Goals Research Staff, the Commission on

Critical Choices for Americans, and the Woodrow Wilson Interna-

tional Center for Scholars.

Documentary research made use of the publicly available hear-

ings and other relevant documents as well as of unpublished ma-

terials in the files of sponsors and most active supporters of

the three bills.

The interviews were announced as confidential, and statements

quoted in the text will not be attributed when taken from inter-

views. Exceptions to confidentiality were made for responses by

sponsors of SPA proposals regarding their policy attitudes.

During the interview key words or phrases in each response were

recorded on the interview form. As soon as possible after the

interview, these notes were expanded to their original form.

In Chapters 3, 4, and 5 the results of this interviewing and

documentary research have been described in order to illuminate

the processing of each SPA proposal through the stages of matura-

tion. In Chapter 6 the three cases are compared in relation to

the hypotheses stated above. In Chapter 7 the conclusions of the

research and its implications for congressional reform are con-



1. Price said of responsibility:
The use of the concept of responsibility is also appro-
priate .. in light of the connotations it has in
modern ethics. The term came into prominence in
the nineteenth century with the collapse of the cosmic
or natural structures of obligation. Responsi-
bility was, in this sense, the ethical corollary of
man as the maker of history; placed in a world where
he had to fashion his future, man identified himself
as one who was answerable for that future (Winter,
1968: 255). The term thus seems particularly appro-
priate to denote innovative or assertive political
action. (Price, 1972: 337)

2. Anthony Downs has suggested that patterns of organiza-
tional innovation and change will be "highly dependent on the
perspectives of those responsible for the search function" (1967:
23). In Congress research on member's voting decisions suggests
that Congressmen "rarely seek out new information sources," yet
those who do "have a disproportionate influence on Congressional
outcomes" (Kingdon, 1973: 220).

3. Mayhew's "mono-goal" description of members of Congress
preoccupied almost exclusively with reelection is an imaginative
treatment and explains the symbolic nature of much behavior. How-
ever, Mayhew's treatment is of little value in understanding how
or why many members of Congress become deeply involved in the
policy questions they deal with, apparently irrespective of their
reelection value. This question is particularly interesting for
SPA issues, which as yet have little reelection value.




Thus far, strategic policy assessment has been conceptualized

in terms of three functions of policy making: (1) to search out

emerging issues and to put such issues on the agenda, (2) to

provide futures information for current decisions, (3) to force

decisions or conscious interrelationship of various decisions.

The first two functions in Congress should be enhanced by the

foresight provision of the Committee Reform Amendments of 1974

(H. Res. 988). The foresight provision is an explicit statement

that House Committees must monitor conditions in their policy

areas and undertake "futures research and forecasting." This chap-

ter examines the Bolling committee, the stages of the foresight

provision's establishment, and member goals and attitudes. The

discussion includes the variety of options considered by the

committee and its staff.


The Select Committee on Committees (SCC) of the House, generally

called the Bolling committee after its chairman, Richard Bolling

(D., Mo.), was an intensive bipartisan effort to modernize the

House committee system. The establishment of the committee was

preceded by sentiment variously located within the House in favor

of congressional reform, and the idea of the committee originated

in talks among Carl Albert, the Speaker; Gerald Ford, the minority

leader; and Richard Bolling (Davidson, 1974; SCC, 1973a: 526).

Even at the beginning the Bolling Committee's mandate stirred

controversy. During floor debate, questions were raised about the

cost as well as the need for a select committee when a Joint

Committee on Congressional Operations was already in existence

(CR, 1973: S.591-603). However, H. Res. 132, establishing the

committee, was passed on January 31, 1973, in the 93rd Congress.

This resolution gave the committee the task of a "thorough and

complete" study of House Rules X and XI, establishing the commit-

tee system, defining jurisdictions, and regulating procedures.

The five Democrats and five Republicans chosen for the select

committee were a relatively accurate reflection of the ideologi-

cal composition of the House, but they were distinguished by

their commitment to Congress as an institution.l The seven Bolling

committee members interviewed responded easily to questions on SPA.

Senators on the Governmental Operations Committee and those on

the Labor and Public Welfare Committee were generally not able to

reply as easily. A Bolling committee member and staff person at-

tributed this facility to the thinking that members had done as a

result of their attachment to Congress as an institution and of

their work on the Bolling committee.

A diversified committee staff was recruited from congressional

committees, representatives' offices, the Congressional Research

Service (CRS), executive agencies, and universities. Its director

was Charles Sheldon, who had been director of the science policy

division of CRS. Walter Oleszek had taken leave from the govern-

ment division of CRS to work for the Bolling committee. Two

lawyers on the staff brought experience as legislative aides:

Linda Kamm and Robert Ketchum. Two political scientists, Roger

Davidson and Terry Finn, also had previous legislative or cam-

paign staff experience, and Davidson had written extensively on

Congress (Davidson, 1969; Davidson, Kovenock & O'Leary, 1971;

Bibby & Davidson, 1972). From the executive came Spencer Beresford,

an attorney with the National Aeronautics and Space Administra-

tion. This staff provided significant input to the Bolling com-

mittee's efforts at congressional reform.


The Select Committee on Committees considered several possi-

bilities for centralizing either the information gathering and

analysis or the decision making of Congress. A central goals or

planning committee was rejected for reasons to be discussed.

Instead, the Bolling committee gave each committee a "foresight

responsibility," as it was termed (SCC, 1974e: 65). Significantly,

the foresight provision made one of the first explicit state-

ments that congressional committees in policy making must show a

systematic concern for likely future conditions. Committees, as

we have said, are the principal centers of policy making in Congress;

the foresight provision placed the responsibility for legislative

anticipation at that level.

Specifically it was proposed:

Each committee [other than Budget and Appro-
priations] shall review and study any condi-
tions or circumstances which may indicate
the necessity or desirability of enacting
any new or additional legislation within the
jurisdiction of that committee. [Whether or
not any bill or resolution has been intro-
duced with respect thereto], and shall on a
continuing basis undertake futures research
and forecasting on matters within the juris-
diction of that committee.
(SCC, 1974e: 389)

In reporting on this section, the Bolling committee stated

that foresight activities would use forecasts to anticipate emerg-

ing issues and futures research to identify future options and

assess the costs,benefits and effects of various options (SCC,

1974e: 65).

Other of the Bolling committee's recommendations would influ-

ence the strategic policy assessment functions, although these

recommendations were not aimed directly at systematic assessment

of future needs and alternatives. Procedural reforms were recom-

mended such as the joint and sequential referral of bills to dif-

ferent committees, the periodic review of the House committee

structure, and, most important, the jurisdictional changes pro-

posed in the committee system.

The implications of these reforms for SPA concerns are examined

following examination of the foresight provision's development

through the six stages: (1) instigation and publicizing, (2) infor-

mation gathering, (3) formulation, (4) interest aggregation,

(5) mobilization, and (6) modification. Finally, member goals and

SPA policy attitudes have been considered in relation to the fore-

sight provision.


Instigation and publicizing involves the public and private

advocacy of an issue as worthy of attention and ameliorative action

(Price, 1972: 4). Typical instigators include members of Congress,

staff members or bureaucrats, and writers, and these instigators

were active in publicizing the types of concerns that led to the

foresight provision.

Writers may perform the role of describing, in terms to catch

the popular imagination, the probable nature of the future. During

the period 1970-1973 various works were published that brought

the future into the news: the Club of Rome's The Limits to Growth

(Meadows, Meadows, Randers & Behrens, 1972), the work of Herman

Kahn (Kahn & Bruce-Briggs, 1972), and Alvin Toffler's Future Shock.

The most direct relevance of these authors to the foresight provi-

sion is Alvin Toffler's friendship with Representative John C. Culver

(D., Iowa). Culver and Toffler met shortly after Future Shock was

published and found that they shared similar concerns, and they

have maintained an ongoing discussion of the political implications

of Toffler's work and the meaning of "anticipatory democracy."2

Among members of Congress, Representative Culver was the

important figure in publicizing SPA concerns in the context of

the House committee reforms, as interviews showed. Culver saw

the structuring of committees as a major hindrance to congres-

sional ability to confront the future. In December, 1972, he

wrote to members of the House, urging the formation of a select

committee to look at this question. In a "Dear Colleague" letter

he noted that the twenty-five years since the 1946 Legislative Reorgani-

zation Act "have seen a revolution in the areas of public policy

and concern and have added dimensions to congressional responsi-

bility which were not--and in many instances could not--be foreseen

in 1946" (Culver, 1972b). Thus, Culver was important in instigating

the larger congressional reform efforts as well as its SPA aspects.

Once on the Bolling Committee he suggested to his fellow committee

members that their work should provide a "systematic basis of

policy formulation in the context of an anticipation of future

as well as reactive time frame." The committee must be able "to

cast the analysis into a context that envisions society as it may

emerge by say 1980, 1990" (Culver, 1973b).

Other persons involved in instigating and publicizing for

the foresight responsibility were committee staff members and

certain congressional bureaucrats. In the congressional bureau-

cracy the unit most involved with futures analysis groups and

with types of SPA problems before the Bolling committee was the

Science Policy Research Division of the Congressional Research

Service. The Bolling committee's staff director, Charles

Sheldon, had left the staff of the House Science and Astronautics

Committee to become the division's director. Walter Hahn, formerly

on the staff of President Nixon's short-lived National Goals

Research Staff, had joined the science policy division as acting

director. Members of the division had been involved in a variety

of efforts to examine the information needs of Congress (CRS,

1971; SCC, 1974f) and national goals (Huddle, 1971), and the work

of Sheldon and Hahn was important for the specific outcome of the

foresight provision.

These staff members and bureaucrats were interested in specific

techniques, particularly in regard to policy analysis, to be used

in governmental decision making. A source of experts in this regard

was the technology assessment movement. Forecasting techniques

developed in the space industry were called on by the advocates of

technology assessment to question the advance of technology and its

unanticipated effects on the environment. Thus, technology assess-

ment represented an attempt to estimate likely second- and third-

order consequences of the application of a technology (Coates, 1975).

A professional society, the International Society for Technology

Assessment, had been founded by Walter Hahn and others in 1972,

and several journals, such as Technology Assessment and Futures,

supported the advancement of the methodology. On a more popular

level the problems of confronting the future were discussed by

members of the World Future Society and in its publication The



Information gathering was a massive undertaking for the

Bolling committee. Committee members and staff interviewed other

representatives and committee staff and held hearings, the tradi-

tional form of information gathering in committees.

Each member of the House received a
letter of invitation; and great pains were
taken to accommodate Members in scheduling
testimony. Fifty-two Members (including 12
committee chairmen) appeared before the
Committee, and 16 members submitted written
statements for the record. Thirty-nine
experts participated in a dozen panels on
such topics as committee dynamics, the
budgetary process, informational resources,
staffing and executive and State legislative
developments. Sixteen public witnesses--
representing labor, business, and citizen
groups--also presented their views. The
1,765 pages of record, fully indexed, offer
a detailed portrait of the contemporary
House of Representatives, as seen by insiders
and outsiders alike.
(Davidson, 1974: 11)

In addition, staff and consultant studies of specific topics were

commissioned including seven committee plans based on various


In the course of all this testimony and study, several problems

relevant to strategic policy assessment were raised, and a few

solutions were offered. Our discussion has been organized to show

the response of members of Congress to SPA-related problems and

the testimony of various panels of experts in regard to SPA

issues as well as the committee response to this testimony. The

alternative committee plans generated to gather further information

are then considered. The most important proposals for our concerns

dealt with futures analysis by committees, a central goals or

growth committee, and a shift in committee jurisdictions.


Testimony by members of Congress most often focused on the

activities of specific committees; however, several members raised

SPA-relevant problems. Peter W. Rodino (D., N.J.) pointed out

that a major information problem is the "failure to provide the

synthesis needed to overcome committee fragmentation" (SCC, 1973a:

151). Dante B. Fascell (D., Fla.) stressed the fact that the

committees' main responsibility is to meet new needs. To do so

effectively, legislative committees must develop "the resources'

to anticipate the legislative needs of the future" (SCC, 1973a:

511). Fortney H. Stark (D., Calif.) suggested that Congress use

"foresight, not hindsight" in its policy making. Stark's major

suggestion was to restructure committee jurisdictions (SCC, 1973c:

334-40). Chet Holfield (D., Calif.) provided a specific, yet

provincial, use of forecasts in a presentation on the "national

energy dilemma." His purpose was to suggest that the Joint Committee

on Atomic Energy, which had prepared the forecasts, take juris-

diction over energy research and development.

Serious and articulate testimony offering specific remedies

came from John W. Davis (D., Ga.), then chairman of the Subcommittee

on Research and Development of the Space and Astronautics Committee.

Davis stressed the need to view Congress as a system: "Congress

should seek out and be more responsible to the needs of the Nation.

The Congressional 'system' needs more so-called feedback, suggesting

more in-house expertise, and more responsive structure" in terms

of committee jurisdictions. He noted that a responsive Congress--

"any responsive organization--must approach the future as an environ-

mental unknown that needs systematic evaluation" (SCC, 1973a: 200).

On the search for problems he commented that "if the House could

develop and institutionalize a method of evaluating possible future

developments more systematically and thoroughly than has been the

case to date, legislation might perhaps be more preventive than

curative" (SCC, 1973a: 199-200). Davis even raised the question of

control of the future: "The future will never be completely deter-

minable. But if we become more familiar with the probability, we

can perhaps do a better job of shaping it the way we think it should

be. Indeed it is incumbent upon us to do so if we do not wish to

bestow a deteriorating world on posterity" (SCC, 1973a: 219).

Davis specifically suggested that the emerging issues service

(see Chapter 1) of the Congressional Research Service be expanded

"to provide more comprehensive information on fundamental trends

and likely decision points in economic, social, environmental,

scientific, technological, and other areas of concern" (SCC, 1973a:

200). Davis' testimony generated little reaction from the Boiling

committee members present at the time he testified. Culver and

Bolling, who were most interested in Davis' topic, were absent.


Testimony contributing most directly to the foresight provi-

sion came from panel discussions with experts (SCC, 1973b, 1973c).

The effectiveness of any particular set of panelists varied

widely depending on the witness, the Bolling committee members

present, the relationship between the witness and the staff, and

the content of testimony. Effective testimony for SPA reforms must

suggest how committees may survey emerging conditions and relate this

information to a choice of their legislative goals and options.

Panels varied widely in regard to effective content.

THE FUTURIST PANEL. Culver had wanted some consideration of

"how to cast the analysis into a context that envisions the

society as it may emerge by say, 1980 and 1990" (Culver, 1973b).

To supply this consideration, futurists were empaneled to testify

on congressional reform for the first time as futurists (Cornish

& Schmalz, 1973).

Victor Ferkiss, professor of government at Georgetown University

and author of Technological Man (1969), noted trends in the United

States toward scarcity in an absolute and a relative sense,

particularly in food and energy. Problems the government must

confront, he testified, include dealing with scarcity and alloca-

tion priorities, the impact of science and technology, environmental

problems, and the increasingly close interrelation of domestic and

international affairs. Ferkiss recommended that the House become

more flexible in its committee jurisdictions, using broader gauged,

ad hoc committees, and that it confront the problem of national

development policy. "It seems to me we have to get into the area of

long-range economic planning, not just fiscal planning or planning

in terms of wages and prices, but planning in terms of resource

allocation" (SCC, 1973b: 468-42).

Another futurist, Willis Harman, of the Stanford Research

Institute, suggested that Congress have more cross-cutting or

horizontal committees, perhaps a committee on the nation's future,

and the formation of a network type of relationship to allow a

"loose but effective coordination of the activities of a large

number of autonomous agencies" (public and private). Most needed

in the six to eight years to come, Harman noted, "is a positive,

inspiring vision of where this Nation, where this society, where

the world can go" (SCC, 1973b: 472-79).

Charles Williams, in the Virginia office of the Stanford

Research Institute, formerly staff director of the National Goals

Research Staff, made similar statements and, in particular, re-

iterated the notion that "the utmost priority of national leader-

ship is a vision of a workable future." His recommendations

for the committee system were to list emerging problems and to

match the committee structure to these problems; to list the

opportunities inherent in a "high quality future," defined by

the believable vision he called for; and to structure the commit-

tees to optimize the likelihood of bringing that vision into

being (SCC, 1973b: 479-87).

The reaction of committee members and staffers was mixed.

Some were enthusiastic; others, interested but unsatisfied; and

one member and two staffers interviewed expressed dissatisfac-

tion with the futurist panel. John Culver thought the futurist panel

provocative and challenging. They raised, Culver believed, the most

difficult aspect of the Bolling committee's responsibility:

that is to give consideration struc-
turally here in the Congress as to how we
equip ourselves better to anticipate the
problems that our country and the world are
going to be forced, necessarily, to deal
(SCC, 1973b: 507)

The futurist panel, Culver went on, forced a confrontation be-

tween "rather basic judgments about whether we want to be able

to shape and influence various trends in society." Culver

stressed that "futurism" "should be instilled as a responsibility

within any committee jurisdictional inquiry." Otherwise, with

futurism isolated in one committee, "it reduces itself all too

easily into esoteric irrelevance" (SCC, 1973b: 509).

The lack of prediction of political activity in the futurists'

testimony was noted by Paul S. Sarbanes (D., Md.), especially in

relation to their social and economic predictions. He tried three

times unsuccessfully to get the futurists to "relate these trends

to the kinds of pressures or strains that may appear in our political

life" (SCC, 1973b: 53).

THE BUDGET PROCESS PANELS. The panels on the budget process

raised some issues of forcing the conscious interrelationship of

decisions by using the budget to set national priorities. Alice

Rivlin, of the Brookings Institution, suggested that forcing could

occur in terms of three-year budgets; that this year's votes on

the third year to come would focus the attention of Congress, the

executive, and the public on "the big decisions that must be made

now if the budget priorities are to be altered two or three years

in the future" (SCC, 1973b: 151). During these panels scattered

mention was made of other SPA functions, but these were not pursued.

For example: Boiling had been influenced while on the Joint Economic

Committee by his chairmanship of a subcommittee concerned with macro-

economic analysis and by his part in the joint committee's activity

on "the restoration of sovereignty to solve social problems," which

had proposed a national planning system (JEC, 1971), and so he

raised the question of the need for national planning:

It seems to me that we are
going to have to insist on the development
of national planning for policy. The

great gap in governmental institutions is
that we simply don't ever take the trouble
to look ahead and see what kind of trouble
we are going to be in on energy or education
until after we have had the crisis. I am
not trying to cut off discussion [of budget,
tax expenditures, and the appropriations
process], but we are really talking in a
vacuum. We are trying to deal with a piece
of the problem.
(SCC, 1973b: 179-80)

No one on the budget panel responded to his inquiry, and the

discussion returned to the subject of tax expenditures (SCC,

1973b: 179-80).


interpreted general trends in society, the panel on committee

information sources told the Bolling committee how committees

might alter their decision-making activities to better search

for emerging problems and to be cognizant of trends in policy


Bertram Gross, a formulator of the Employment Act of 1946

and early advocate of developing social indicators, suggested

that committees and subcommittees of the House be given a mandate

to keep ahead of the docket:

The kinds of studies that would look at
these [basic trends and emerging problems]
in terms of the new kinds of legislation
needed, the adjustments in the existing
status, this kind of review would go beyond
the mere post audit operation in the moni-
toring and surveillance functions discharged
by various committees. It would go beyond

that by trying to help to keep the various
members of Congress ahead of the game.
A little advance intelligence which
goes beyond looking at the past and the
bills ahead of you, that kind of intelli-
gence is perfectly feasible in properly
staffed subcommittees and committees.
(SCC, 1973b: 335)

Through futures analyses or scenario generation or goal projec-

tions, Gross suggested that committees would build a framework

for looking at measures that would or should come before them

(SCC, 1973b: 335).

In testimony close to the terms actually used in the fore-

sight provision, "futures research and forecasting," Walter Hahn,

senior specialist in science and technology and acting director

of the science policy division of CRS, agreed with other panelists

that Congress had too little information on the larger or more

comprehensive context of current decisions. Hahn offered several

suggestions, among them the greater use of forecasts, technology

forecasts in particular, and consideration of a larger range of

options, or future alternatives, through futures research. "Where-

as technology forecasting addresses the question of where are we

likely to go and emphasizes the technological element," Hahn noted,

"futures research talks more about where we can go and it deals

more with social aspects of the situation and the larger concept

in which we are seeing the events that are going on" (SCC, 1973b:

338). Hahn had noted that nowhere in Congress were technological

forecasts synthesized and assessed for potential legislative


The panel on information sources produced some interesting

statements on Congress and its information needs, prompting Repre-

sentative William A. Steiger (R., Wis.) to remark that the infor-

mation systems of Congress might be less at fault than incurious


Perhaps what bothers me about this panel is
that it doesn't answer the significant ques-
tion of whether or not Congress doesn't al-
ready have all the resources available to
it dependent on one fact, the initiative of
the Member to search out and find people,
groups, individuals, who can help guide and
direct him or her in doing this work.
(SCC, 1973b: 352)

Speaking of the generalist role of members of Congress, Bertram

Gross cautioned against reforms that would convert Congress into

a bureaucracy and destroy the generalist function, but "the real

answer to your question," Gross replied, "has to go into the

more difficult area of values and interest." Once a congressman's

values and interests are known, the question becomes how he may

"escape being flooded by information and misinformation and out-

right deception and unintended deception on all sorts of very

critical issues" (SCC, 1973b: 354). Walter Hahn answered comment

by saying that Congress would profit from better synthesis and

packaging of the information available to it, so that this infor-

mation would be "more easily grasped and more purposefully used"

(SCC, 1973b: 354). Edward Schneier, political scientist and former

Senate staffer, answered in terms of the impact of information

systems on congressional use of time. The larger the number of

critical and well-known issues, the less time Congress has for

creativee intelligence." He advised that Congress should keep its

information sources pluralistic and diverse, not defining how to

spend time because of an over-defined system of information

resources (SCC, 1973b: 354-55).


legislative committees made useful suggestions for the foresight

provision. The panelists agreed that three functions deserved special

attention: budgeting, oversight, and foresight or policy planning,

but they disagreed whether to make these functions mandatory in each

committee or in separate committees set up for the purpose.

Larry Margolis, of the Citizens Conference on State Legisla-

tures, suggested a task force on policy planning within substan-

tive committees as well as task forces on fiscal and oversight

matters and governmental structure. The task forces were to

result in a "platoon system where a team of Members and a staff

is working on long-range policy studies while the same Members

differently staffed and organized, are working on the immediate

concerns of legislation in the session." A separate task force was

needed, Margolis said, because "it simply does not contribute to

the effectiveness of long-range policy deliberations to conduct

them in the same atmosphere as specific legislation is made"

(SCC, 1973b: 376).

Alan Rosenthal, a political scientist at Rutgers associated

with the Eagleton Institute of Politics, would have a separate

functional committee for policy planning. The fact that standing

committees have not done policy planning may mean that they won't:

there is no way to jazz up the present structure. Let

the committees do what they want to do and create other committees

to do what should be done" (SCC, 1973b: 382). Oversight should

have a separate committee because oversight "gets lost in the

hurly-burly of manufacturing bills and raising batting averages"

and because "you can't really expect congressmen who devised a

program and enacted it to look at that and say, 'it is lousy'"

(SCC, 1973b: 383).

Representative Culver responded in a manner indicative of

things to come, on the idea of futures committees or anticipatory

planning. Every committee should be "anticipating impact and al-

ternative policy choices. We should try to develop that type of

rigor as part and parcel of the operation of each of these com-

mittees," Culver noted (SCC, 1973b: 384).

THE EXECUTIVE ORGANIZATION PANEL. The panel on executive organi-

zation brought lively and thoughtful discussion of strategic

policy assessment issues but often left questions of SPA in Con-

gress unanswered. For instance, Representative Sarbanes asked

whether Congress should have an institution such as the Office of

Management and Budget to develop policy, anticipate policy judg-

ments, and coordinate policy, but the subject was quickly changed

(SCC, 1973b: 406). Likewise, in response to testimony favoring a

national goals and policies committee for each house, Culver

asked how we may "require this type of systematic attention to

future requirements and needs in all of the various areas of

public policy under [the committee's] consideration" (SCC, 1973b:

450). Robert Seamans, president of the National Academy of Engineer-

ing, replied that research and development should be considered

planning for the future, but he was not able to be more specific

about what committees should do (SCC, 1973b: 450).

In the fall, hearings were again held, this time for representa-

tives of citizen interest groups and members of the House who had

not testified in the spring. The major exchange relevant to the

Bolling committee's work on strategic policy assessment took place

between John Culver and John Gardner, speaking as chairman of

Common Cause. Culver pressed Gardner to describe the "futurist

components" in committee policy making. Gardner replied that

sophisticated forecasting was essential for national policy making.

He suggested that each committee, rather than generate its own

forecasts, should have someone to keep in touch with forecasting

in the executive branch, the private sector, and the universities.

Gardner concurred with Culver on the decentralized approach for

this "futurist" function.

Thus ended the hearing phase of the Bolling committee's work.

Some information relevant to strategic policy assessment had

been gathered, but at the wrong time, as with Representative John

Davis. The futurists presented much information on conditions,

but little on specific congressional strategies. The panels on

information systems and state legislative committees provided

information that was later to be used in drafting the foresight

provision and, at the time, sparked discussion. The panels on

budget and executive organization raised the decision-forcing

questions relevant to a central committee. Despite some interest

in the centralized approach, Representative Culver was searching

for means to decentralize policy planning into the committees.

Most experts could not respond, although the testimony of Bertram

Gross, Walter Hahn, Alan Rosenthal, Larry Margolis, and John

Gardner supplied some specific ideas.


Besides topic-oriented hearings, a way to gather information

on the committee system is to design such a system. Seven committee

plans were prepared in order to examine various assumptions or

theoretical approaches. Whereas the panel discussions dealt with

all three SPA functions, the committee system plans dealt mainly

with the third function: forcing the conscious interrelationship

of decisions. The alternative committee systems were designed

either by Bolling committee members or staffers or outside con-

sultants--prior to the Sarbanes-Steiger draft prepared for the

committee mark-up sessions.

THE BOLLING-SHELDON PLAN. The first plan was introduced "for

the record" by Richard Bolling on June 26, 1973, during the futurist

testimony, the last summer panel. SPA activities figured promi-

nently in this document. A House central policy committee, ba-

sically a leadership committee, would set overall revenue and

budget goals to "deal with broad issues of policy extending beyond

any simple grouping of committees." In addition, the plan provided

for a budget committee and a national policy planning committee.

The latter would

have a major role in supporting the work of
the House Central Policy Committee by identi-
fying national goals emerging from the work
of their committees, and other sources by
providing early warning on emerging issues
and trends, by providing oversight and pro-
gram analysis. In addition it would be re-
sponsible for most matters involving advanced
technology and futures work. Hence its con-
cern with technology assessment, its support
of basic science, its responsibility for the
space program.
(SCC, 1973b: 495; emphasis added)

The first plan would create four primarily substantive and four

primarily functional committees presided over by the House

central policy committee:

House Central Policy Committee
Primarily Substantive Primarily Functional
Economics committee Budget committee
Human resources committee National policy planning
National resources and committee
environmental committee Intergovernmental affairs
International affairs and committee
defense committee Legislative branch policy
and management committee

This first plan grew out of informal discussions between chairman

Richard Bolling and chief of staff Charles Sheldon, who wrote the

plan (SCC, 1973b: 413), and it reflects Sheldon's science policy

background: a rationalistic, problem-solving approach.

THE AUGUST STUDY: THE STAFF GAME. The staff simulated the

work of the actual committee by debating and formulating their

own policies and plans. In the major staff plan, SPA concerns

were shown in the formation of a budget committee, but a proposed

long-range study committee was voted down 4 to 4 with two absten-

tions. In terms of activity within committees the staff recom-

mended that each subcommittee have an oversight subcommittee, a

budget subcommittee, and no more than three subcommittees (SCC,

1973c: 419). No foresight activities were mentioned for the


Within the staff was a rough division between the lawyers or

"political types," Linda Kamm and Robert Ketchum; the political

scientists, Roger Davidson and Terry Finn; and the science policy

or "hard science types," Spencer Beresford and Charles Sheldon.

While all had various kinds of operational experience with legis-

latures, they came with diverse backgrounds and orientations.

Beresford, joined by Gerald Grady and Charles Sheldon, was

pushing national goals or growth policy activities by a central

committee with more enthusiasm than was shown for foresight by

each committee. The political types saw little value in futures

research and forecasting activities in either approach. As one

staff member put it, this view resulted from the problem of

linking general goals to the specifics of implementation. "This

problem," the staffer noted, "exists within planning groups .

Planning that is done by nonoperational types often is looked

on as pious hopes and thoughts not related to needs or day-to-day


In making additional comments on the staff report, Spencer

Beresford and Gerald Grady urged that the long-range study com-

mittee be reconsidered:

The proposed committee would provide a
mechanism for coordinating the work of the
standing committees so as to develop coher-
ent and comprehensive House positions and
policies. It would not have legislative
authority. Its responsibilities would in-
clude future legislative problems and
options, long-range planning, and evaluation
of major federal activities in terms of
their long-range effectiveness and cost.
(SCC, 1973c: 438)

Beresford noted that this type of activity was performed in

various places within Congress but was narrowly focused and

occurred principally in response to requests and inquiries rather

than to meet recognized needs. Gerald Grady,who was familiar with

the SPA proposal of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for

Scholars (WWICS) agreed with Beresford and used a description

similar to that provided by WWICS: the governmental units should

analyze, more thoroughly and systematically, long-term trends

and problems, to identify the key issues, to formulate and evaluate

policy choices and courses of action, and to evaluate the effects

of actions that have been taken" (SCC, 1973c: 442).

While there was disagreement over the role and utility of

futures analysis and a central committee, the staff showed more

agreement on the need to force decisions, and this agreement was

reflected in three other plans, based on assumptions of a small

number of committees, a large number of committees, and minimal



drawn by the political scientists Davidson and Finn for a small

number of committees did not mention foresight for either sub-

committee or committee, it did attempt to force the conscious

interrelationship of decisions by establishing a small number of

multi-interest committees and strengthening the Office of the

Speaker as a coordinating mechanism. Davidson and Finn, as one

staffer put it, were "intrigued with the possibilities to achieve

politically what Beresford and, to some extent, Grady proposed

doing with a special body. In that sense [Davidson & Finn] fell

between the politicos, Kamm and Ketchum, and the science types,

Beresford and Sheldon."


on a large number of committees contained thirty-six committees

and six select committees. In addition to the budget committee,

it would establish a national goals and growth policies committee.

This new committee, which would not have
legislative authority, would be responsible
for long-range studies and plans of alter-
native national goals, and growth policies.
It would analyze long-term trends, problems,
and evaluate the major Federal activities
in terms of their long-range effectiveness,
cost, and impact on national growth.
(SCC, 1973c: 469)

THE MINIMAL CHANGE PLAN. The plan assuming minimal change

from the existing situation made no committee or subcommittee

changes relevant to SPA although it did suggest that growth

policy could be added by leadership, joint, or select committee

or by an independent office similar to the Office of Technology

Assessment. In a paper appended to this plan, Spencer Beresford

described this option in some detail. Noting that the present

congressional approach to national problems was typically short-

sighted and fragmented, that Congress as an institution seemed

reluctant to make, often even to recognize, hard choices,

Beresford described what is needed:

an arrangement for the systematic,
long-range, integrated study of our princi-
pal future national problems. Such studies
could identify and analyze these problems,
on a time scale of five to fifteen years or
longer, formulate alternative courses of
action for dealing with them, and consider
the probable effects of such alternatives
and of any relevant programs and other
actions that are already underway.
(SCC, 1973c: 483)

THE DICK PLAN. The next committee plan was suggested by

Bess E. Dick, former staff director of the Judiciary Committee:

watching the House of Representatives
in action, one would almost conclude that
Mother Chaos was married to Father Time.
The House of Representatives looks at what
is before it and behind it. It does not look
ahead; it responds to crises but does not
foresee them. It lacks the strength of sim-
plicity and it lacks direction.
(SCC, 1973c: 487)

Dick called for more active partisan leadership that would be

accomplished by a congressional policy committee manned "entirely

by the majority party." It would set congressional priorities and

draw a direct line from the leadership to the committees.

THE HUDDLE PLAN. The last plan in the information-gathering

efforts of the Bolling committee was, according to a staff member,

the most theoretical, the most futurist, and the least attended

to. Walter Huddle, senior specialist in the science policy divi-

sion of.the Congressional Research Service, tried to develop

theoretically a system that would organize committees around

function rather than substantive categories. In introducing the

plan, Lester Jayson, director of the Congressional Research Ser-

vice, noted that the distinction between functional and substan-

tive organization is that functional requirements do not seem to

change as rapidly or radically as substantive requirements. A

leadership committee was also suggested by the plan, presumably

to force coordination among decisions.

The Huddle plan, Jayson noted, was based on the assumption

that "the substantive problems facing the Congress would be

subject to radical and increasing rates of change; given this

assumption it was then proposed that a target concept of organi-

zation (perhaps toward the year 2000) might help to provide some

insights as to the general and incremental changes in a coherent

way (SCC, 1973c: 558). In discussing the need for this approach

Huddle raised the problem of constituent attitude:

Whatever the mechanism that determines how
long-term the future outlook of the Congress,
the point can be offered that there is a
tendency for the public at large to be con-
cerned with short-range problems, needs, and
The problem facing the House, then, is
to strike a proper balance in legislative
actions between short-range and long-range
effects. To do this requires, in turn, the
identification of both short- and long-range
concerns, even though the public attends
mainly to the former.
(SCC, 1973c: 562)

Huddle spoke of the goal of continuous planning for the House

and its organizational requirements:

The function of anticipating the future and
providing for it cannot be safely neglected
in a modern and rapidly changing world. Two
elements are indispensable for this purpose:
(1) an institution charged with looking
ahead, defining future problems, estimating
their probability, and exploring the ways of
coping with them; and (2) an organization
that is flexible and adaptable enough to
take up these future problems legislatively
before they turn into catastrophic certainties.
(SCC, 1973c: 571)

Huddle's first element entails the SPA function of searching for

emerging problems. His second element implicitly includes inform-

ing current decisions and forcing their conscious interrelationship.

What pictures emerge from these seven committee plans regard-

ing the treatment of strategic policy assessment in this aspect

of the Boiling committee's information gathering? Those plans

formulated in whole (Huddle) or in large part (Sheldon) by CRS

science policy personnel included explicit mention of the SPA

functions. However, in both cases there was a detached quality

about the analysis. Sheldon's plan would place the national goals

function in a central committee that did not have the power to

act on those goals. Huddle's "systems analysis" approach to the

House tended to ignore the legitimate clash of values and the

need to structure this conflict; rather it would simply solve

problems. The plan for a small number of committees tried to

force decisions by aggregating jurisdictions, and the plan for

a large number included a budget committee and a national goals

and growth policy committee. Spencer Beresford's suggestions for

the SPA functions were appended to the other two staff plans.

The plan by Bess Dick was concerned with SPA only from the

perspective of stronger party leadership.

How much and what parts of the information gathered by the

Boiling committee through hearings, panel discussions, and com-

mittee plans were actually used? On what basis were the options

chosen? The answers to these questions were found in the formula-

tion stage of House Resolution 988.


In the formulation stage, specific legislative remedies are

devised and advocated. In the process, boundaries are drawn around

an issue, and a focal point is established. Formulation of House

Resolution 988 was concentrated into the last two months of 1973

and the early months of 1974:

The transition from an advanced seminar in
the legislative process to a working group
willing to make hard political choices was
a critical one, and was accomplished during
the fall of 1973 through a series of three
steps. First, an intensive working session
was held one weekend at the Chairman's home.
Second, Paul Sarbanes (D-Md) and William
Steiger (R-Wis) were delegated to work with
the staff on a draft report to serve as a
basis for discussion. The full Committee then
refined this draft in a series of informal
sessions, releasing the preliminary proposal
just before legislators scattered for the
Christmas recess. (Davidson, 1974: 11)

In February and March, open mark-up sessions (SCC, 1974b) were held

to work on adjustments to the Steiger-Sarbanes draft (SCC, 1974a).


The formulation of the foresight provision can be seen in two

stages: (1) the decision against any central planning, goals, or

futures committee and (2) the decision to add foresight to each

committee's oversight responsibility by requiring futures research

and forecasting.

Representative Culver was interested in the central approach

early in the work of the Bolling committee; yet the problem of

leadership was often raised. As a staff member put it, "You can't

put a steel rod in a plate of spaghetti." Therefore Culver raised

questions, as we have said, regarding the decentralization of

foresight. The central committee issue remained alive, however,

until the weekend meeting at Bolling's home, when it was rejected

in a close vote.

Another reason the central committee question was rejected

stemmed from the simultaneous consideration of budget reform

elsewhere in Congress. The possibility of the formation of budget

committees and a budget office displaced much of the Bolling com-

mittee's concern for a central committee, although Culver and,

to a lesser extent, Bolling and Lloyd Meeds (D., Wash.) were still

interested in a central committee, which was intensely interest-

ing to Spencer Beresford and other staff members.

An outcome of their interest, despite the decision against

such a committee, was Appendix L of the final report, entitled

"National Goals Function." This brief statement written by

Spencer Beresford suggested that when budget committees were

established, they should work in the context of national goals

and priorities and long-range cost projections. "National goals

can provide a framework for priorities and budget allocations,

as well as for program selection, emphasis and timing" (SCC,

1974e: 353). In Chapters 4 and 5 we have considered the question

of the national goals approach in the 1974 budget reform, for

the Senate was much more concerned to use the budget to set

national goals and priorities than the House.


Two major components of the decision to decentralize futures

concern were (1) making it part of the oversight responsibility

of committees and (2) describing specifically what was required,

namely futures research and forecasting.

THE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEES. The foresight provision, as a

staffer put it, was "not a hot issue." Culver remained intensely

interested in some type of SPA or futurist reform, as was evident

during the hearings. On the staff Beresford and Sheldon continued

to be concerned about it. Among other committee members and

staff, these were not major issues; generally, the realization was

that the irrational structure of committee jurisdictions posed a

major problem. Restructuring committee jurisdictions would force

a more coherent consideration of interrelated decisions; this problem

occupied the largest amount of committee member and staff time

(Davidson & Oleszek, 1975: 16). This jurisdictional issue would

prove most influential for the course and ultimate product of

the Bolling committee.

Another background factor was the generally strong interest

in oversight among committee members. Much discussion throughout

the course of hearings and panels had centered on how to make

committees more effective in overseeing programs and policies.

Among several approaches to oversight, most members agreed with

Larry Margolis that each committee should be given an explicit

oversight responsibility. They were opposed to leaving oversight

as solely the responsibility of the Committee on Government Opera-

tions. This activity should be taken more seriously by the author-

izing committees, they agreed, but a dispute occurred over the

establishment of separate oversight subcommittees. Some, par-

ticularly William Steiger, felt that some committee members should

not be isolated in an oversight subcommittee to watchdog the prod-

ucts of other committee members. However, the majority of the

Bolling committee favored separate oversight subcommittees.

A problem with the foresight provision was that it called for

analysis not directly related to the day-to day committee activity

of considering specific bills. Oversight suffered from a similar

problem. The immediate incentives in Congress are for processing

bills--"raising one's batting average," to paraphrase Rosenthal

(SCC, 1973b: 383). Although oversight and foresight may be viewed

as separate operations, given the political support for oversight,

it made sense to attach foresight to it. Culver and David Martin

were the leading advocates of greater oversight (Davidson & Oleszek,

1975: 26), and Culver persuaded Martin that foresight should be

part of the separate oversight subcommittee's responsibilities.


could be heard in amorphous form in John Culver's comments and

questions throughout the hearings and panel discussions. The

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