The bill giving President Carter authority he sought to reorganize the government was cleared yesterday by the House Government Operations Committee, 40 to 3, for floor action the week after next.
The bill presidential plans to streamline government to take effect after 60 days unless disapproved by either house of Congress.
Committee Chairman Jack Brooks (D-Tex.) had contended that since only legislate, congressional approval Congress had constitutional power to should be required to put the plans into effect.
But realizing that he lacked the votes, Brooks gave away on this basic point in subcommittee on Tuesday and supported the bill after several of his amendments were adopted, including one that guarantees both houses a chance to vote on each plan.
Brooks supported the measure yesterday as "the best unconstitutional bill we could write." Rep. Frank Horton (N.Y.), the committee's senior Republican, called it a "rational compromise."
Brooks' amendment would automatically send each plan to the floor of both houses after 45 days if committees had failed to act. Any member could then demand a vote. Brooks said this would retain a "considerable amount of participation" by Congress.
Other amendments adopted by the committee limit the reorganization authority to three years instead of four, require that each plan deal with only one "logically consistent" subject, limit to three the number of plans that can be pending before Congress at one time and prohibit a plan from abolishing or transferring an independent regulatory agency or abolishing statutory programs. Otherwise, the President could reshape agencies short of creating Cabinet-level departments.
Earlier this month the Senate approved the reorganization authority bill, 92 to 0. The Senate bill closely resembles the House version, but does not contain Brooks' amendment on the voting procedure.
Legislation to reorganize the government agencies would come along after the authority bill is approved by the full Congress. In his campaign for the presidency, Carter promised a drastic consolidation of federal agencies, saying at one time that he would reduce agencies from 1,900 to 200.