Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks to the President's Advisory Council on Federal Reports

September 18, 1964

I am very happy and glad to have the opportunity this morning to meet in the Cabinet Room with the members of the President's Advisory Council on Federal Reports.

We have been talking about the elimination of unnecessary reports to the agencies of the Federal Government.

The question is not whether we should do away with these reports. The question is whether we are getting the right reports from the right sources or whether we are burdening the American businessman by asking him for reports that we could do without.

There are two ways, we think, to deal with this problem.

The first and the best is to question the need for every new report. Once we cross that bridge and launch a new report, there is not much we can do about it.

Working with the Bureau of the Budget, these men have been able to point out the effects on business and the cost of business that these report requirements make.

We have suggested better and simpler ways of getting the information, and these men have given us very important advice at the right time before it is too late. We are trying to search out and eliminate all reports that the Government requires that may have outlived their usefulness.

Last March I put out a memorandum to every agency of the Government to launch a four-point drive:

First, to simplify all Government reports.

Second, to abolish as many reports as possible.

Third, to save time for the individual businessman as well as the industry he represents.

Fourth, to make better use of the efforts of Government employees.

Through last July 31, we eliminated or simplified 536 reports. This reduced the annual number of responses by almost 3 million. A total of 260 forms involving 2 million responses were completely eliminated and 276 forms eliminating an additional million responses were simplified.

In the same period 146 new reports were started.

So, in the net, we managed to discontinue or simplify 390 reports, and they represented a total net reduction of about 2¼ million annual responses.

I think that is a good record, but it is not good enough.

These men have made a tremendous contribution, and I have called upon them not only to give me additional advice on how we can encourage business instead of harassing it, how we can eliminate reports and simplify them, but to give me any other constructive suggestions that would improve the relationship of private enterprise and the United States Government which the enterprise system supports.

We have had a very constructive meeting. I plan to meet with them in the future. And next week I will discuss this matter with the Cabinet as well as the managers of the independent agencies of the Government.

We have made progress but we have much more progress in the offing.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 1:35 p.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House.

In the course of his remarks the President referred to his memorandum of March to, 1964, "Simplification or Elimination of Reports to the Government" (see Bureau of the Budget Bulletin 64-11).

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks to the President's Advisory Council on Federal Reports Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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