I have a couple of very brief statements to make.
First of all, I'm particularly pleased with the action that was taken this afternoon by the Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee when they accepted by, I think, a 22-to-21 vote the administration's proposal which retains ceilings for the time being on natural gas prices, but still provides adequate incentives for production of natural gas.
This fight, of course, is still not over. But I commend the members of the committee for their courage in the face of strong lobbying pressure. And I hope that their position will be maintained throughout the legislative process. I believe that their action is a major victory for American consumers..
The other item that I have is one that's very important to me, and I think to the American people. Over the last 2 years, there has been no theme that I have emphasized more often than a need to reorganize the Federal Government.
The American people overwhelmingly support this idea and that's one reason I was erected President. They know that reorganization is desperately needed, and neither they nor I underestimate the difficulty.
I've been encouraged by the progress that the administration and the Congress have already made together in the last 5 months, especially the legislation that I signed in April, which will now permit me to submit to the Congress reorganization plans during the next 3 years.
All of us know that the task will be a long one; it's taken these problems a long time to develop. And we must be patient in taking both small steps and large steps leading to a more effective and more efficient Government.
We've already begun many reorganization efforts, some of which have already been announced. But today I'm pleased to announce the beginning of four new reorganization studies which will bring order and simplicity and efficiency to major parts of our Government.
The four areas that we will study are, first of all, law enforcement; secondly, local and community economic development; third, human services; and fourth, administrative services, primarily under GSA. Together these areas account for $60 billion of Federal spending each year.
Our preliminary review indicates that there are at least 41 separate agencies involved in police and investigative activities. Twelve separate agencies are conducting personnel background investigations; 36 separate agencies have guard duties or security forces, for a total cost per year of about $2 1/2 billion--I think about 164,000 employees in the District of Columbia area alone. There are 23 different Federal police forces.
A different study shows that a welfare mother with two children may now have to deal with 11 different agencies to get the services that she needs. And if there's an elderly person in the home, there are several .additional agencies who are supposed to serve that same family.
In economic development, we now have more than a hundred different programs in 10 different agencies, all working to promote business in local areas, by doing so in a wasteful and uncoordinated way.
There are 46 different Federal sewer programs, for instance. And no one, either in or out of Government, benefits from this kind of confusion. All of us will profit from a more sensible and efficient organization.
These studies that I've announced will take from 5 to 9 months. These are very complicated agencies and programs, and we want to do a thorough and good job. The studies will depend upon how closely we can involve the Members of Congress, the officials of State and local governments, and private citizens from all parts of the country for their success.
I believe it's especially important for us to get continuing advice and counsel from the Members of the House and the Senate about the way our Federal programs are being .administered, because they spend a good part of every day helping people cut through Government redtape, and they know first hand how the Government looks from the receiving end of the services.
On the day in 1974 when I announced my campaign for this office, I pledged to undertake this major task. At that time I said, and I quote: "This is no job for the faint-hearted. It will be met with violent opposition from those who enjoy a special privilege, those who prefer to work in the dark, or those whose private fiefdoms are threatened."
Well, it's still no job for the fainthearted, but I intend to honor that pledge. I look forward to the cooperation of everyone involved--the Congress, the Federal employees, and the American people--to move toward that goal, which we all share, of having a Government that's efficient and effective but also sensitive to the needs of our people.
This afternoon Bert Lance and those who work with hint on the reorganization studies will be available to answer your specific questions.
I have a full-scale press conference scheduled for tomorrow morning, at which time I'll answer your questions on any subject, including that one that interests you. [Laughter]