19 May 2006
HOOVER, Herbert. Draft speech typescript. Statement by Herbert Hoover before the Senate Committee on Government Operations as to the proposal for an Administrative Vice President, 16 January 1956. 7 pages, 4to, with numerous autograpgh emendations in Hoover's hand, mostly in pencil, a few in ink; paperclip burn in top left corner.
HOOVER ADVOCATES THE CREATION OF A SECOND VICE PRESIDENT
Hoover makes a bold proposal for a second Vice President, devoted to handling the routine administrative duties of the Executive Branch: "The problem here is not [to] diminish the constitutional responsibilities of the President, but to reduce the unnecessary activities and detail imposed upon him. The purpose should be not only to lessen physical strain, but to allow him time for the determination of executive policies in this multitude of government agencies, and for cooperative work with, and preparation of, recommendations to the Congress." The 1950 McCormack Act delegated a number of administrative functions away from the President and to the relevant Cabinet and agency heads. And the Eisenhower administration had taken further steps to simplify the President's workload. But there remained an annoying number of "unnecessary burdens" that still rested on the President's shoulders. Hoover lists some of the more absurd examples: "Approve of concert tours for the Navy Band...Determine the kinds and quality of items that go up to make up the Army rations," even the issuance of "diplomas for graduating classes of Gallaudet College." There were some 65 agencies reporting to the President. "One hour a week on the problems of each of them would exhaust the vitality of any one man," Hoover says. Sheer lack of time results in the President simply ignoring much of what goes on in the departments under his "supervision."
Yet why not get the existing Vice President off his duff to do these chores? "He is an independently elected official," Hoover explains, "and with his Constitutional duties as a member of the Legislative Branch, he could not be made by law subject to the President such as would be required in Executive responsibility." Hoover ends on a light note: "I am sure Presidents would find many...fields in which an Administrative Vice President could be of service. He might even approve the Concert Tours of the Navy Band."
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