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where things are. It is hard frequently for people to find a place to eat. Our cafeterias and restaurants are crowded with Congressmen and staffs and our individual guests. It is difficult sometimes for a person to find a restroom in the Capitol.
It strikes me these things really ought to be corrected. While this particular bill is not the vehicle by which to correct them,
I am glad the gentleman has brought them to our attention because I think we ought to move with some dispatch to get those items corrected. And I believe this is a step in the direction of recognizing the responsibility we all hold to the millions of visitors who come to their Nation's Capital.
I think the gentleman performed a real service bringing these thoughts to our attention.
Mr. ROBERTS. I would agree with the comments of my colleague from Texas; I have worked with the gentleman for a long time.
Mr. GROVER. I want to compliment my good friend from Texas. I think he has put his finger right on the pulse of this problem.
I, too, have found myself embarrassed having constituents of mine come down from New York to find that very, very willing reception maybe in the Congressman's office, but to find any of the conveniences that one would normally expect just simply not available when you travel these many, many miles to the Nation's Capital.
I think perhaps the Congress over a period of years has been shortsighted in this regard. It does indeed leave somewhat of a bad taste with our constituents when they come these many miles to visit here. But the gentleman's discussion was very frank and very much to the point and I concur with him.
Mr. PICKLE. Thank you.
Mr. CRAMER. I want to compliment the gentleman for having rendered very fine service on the Commission. He appreciates the problem we all have as to what Congress might reasonably do under our present spending problems. I think his testimony is to be commended.
Mr. PICKLE. Thank you very much.
Mr. SCHWENGEL. I want to pay tribute to the gentleman also, and recall to the committee the fact I agree with him on the other question you mention. I felt also this was not the ideal place to have a visitors' center for the District, but it is a valuable and practical and possible beginning now or very soon.
I had much the same experience you did in coming to the conclusion you did that this is a good place to start providing something.
I also agree with you about having a place in the Capitol where people can come to get information so somebody can help them to learn and understand. The west front, as I would recall to the members' attention, calls for the building of an auditorium which would hold up to a thousand people. I can envision a plan where we can provide a place for student groups to come and persons appear before those people briefly, or maybe we can have an intercom field system where a Congressman can be in his office and be interrupted just briefly to talk to people and make himself available to questions by video intercom system that we could provide at very nominal cost, I believe it would be a very valuable arrangement.
I share the experience with you on the committee. We have had many private visits about the possibilities for visitors. I know the man's deep feeling about this and want to commend him and say it has been an honor to serve with him.
Mr. CRAMER. I am trying to think the thing through as to who will be administering this and who will have the say-so on what kind of programs will be shown, to what extent will they be representative of the executive and legislative and possibly judicial branches of our Federal Government.
In reading the bill, I see no provision whatsoever for a continuation of any commission of any kind or any consultative group representative, in particular, of Congress.
I would like to also suggest to the chairman of the subcommittee as to what the thinking is with regard to a continuing voice by Congress in the makeup of the program itself.
I, for one, voted for this particular Union Station recommendation because we have a facility close enough to the Capitol to be of value to the Congress as well as the executive.
Mr. GRAY. I think this is a very important point and it is going to be my suggestion I would say to the gentleman from Florida we set out some guidelines calling for reports directly to Congress, and particularly this committee would be further consulted on the establishment of these satellites. And if the committee were constrained to do so, I would see no objection in amending the Public Buildings Act to where GSA and the Secretary of the Interior would submit to us a prospectus, as we do on public buildings, for any further authorizations of additional satellites.
I might say here at the Capitol the Speaker of the House and the Capitol Buildings Commission would have the authority for the establishment of adequate space without any additional legislation. The same thing would apply over in the Senate. And any satellites established elsewhere of course would require specific authorization.
Mr. CRAMER. I appreciate that response as it relates to additional facilities. What I am concerned about is a continuing voice by Congress over how this particular facility is going to be operated.
Mr. Gray. I misunderstood the gentleman.
In that connection, I would have no objection to writing a proviso in stating that they should submit annual reports to Congress, and possibly the present 21-member Commission could be maintained for
Mr. CRAMER. I think some consideration ought to be given to providing specifically for a continuing voice by Congress in the operation of the Center.
Mr. GRAY. I think that is a very forthright suggestion, and I would certainly entertain an amendment to the bill to that effect.
Mr. SCHWENGEL. This is a very good point the gentleman from Florida brings up, and I think the gentleman from Texas would agree. I have worked out a bill that provides an Information Center and Education Center in the Capitol that is before the House Administration Committee. In this bill we include the Members of the Congress from both sides and people who understand history and understand something about the proper interpretation of history to guide the management of the Information Center. This might be a guideline we put in this bill. Certainly any Members of Congress and members of the public who understand American history ought to be a part of a commission to determine what program, how you have a display, what pictures, or a plan to have a moving picture comparable to the picture you see at Williamsburg before you visit that area.
This committee or the proper committee ought to make such a valuation or final judgement on just what it should be. I think we ought to have a continuing committee in Congress itself which would have a voice in cooperation with people who are authorities in this area.
Mr. Gray. I might say, in that connection, I would not see too much wrong with keeping this 21-man Commission intact as an Advisory Commission. We could write that in the bill.
Mr. SCHWENGEL. That would be one very good suggestion.
Mr. CRAMER. Whatever program is available should be equally representative of the executive and legislative and possibly judicial branches of the Government, and the way to assure that equal representation would be some sort of an advisory group, perhaps a continuation of the Commission, or maybe a different advisory group.
Mr. GRAY. I think that is a very forthright suggestion and I think we should consider writing something in the bill.
Mr. PICKLE. May I add my general endorsement to those expressed by Mr. Cramer. I have also been impressed, I might say, with the practical hardnosed, hardheaded approach with which the Department of Interior and GSA have addressed themselves to this particular proposal. I am confident they will give to the Congress and American people a good leadership.
In addition to that, I think it would be well to have an Advisory Commission or continuation of the Commission so that Congress would have a voice, and I certainly concur.
Mr. GRAY. Thank you very much.
Mr. JOHNSON of California. I want to commend Mr. Pickle for his statement here and his work as a member of the Commission. I am glad to see this legislation moving forward.
I also agree with the gentleman from Florida that Congress should have a further look after this particular bill is passed and we set up the initial Center, which is very much needed. But if created by Congress, Congress is responsible for what they place in it. There should be some oversight, some continuation of the Commission, or an annual report back to the Congress so the Congress could take action if they see fit to.
The visitors now coming here certainly need a Center. If created, I think it should be operated as a Visitors Center to benefit the visitors. A lot can take place in a Visitors Center that can affect many people. I think we should see that it is a true Visitors Center.
Mr. Gray. Thank you very much.
I might say that we will have a very exciting model of what we propose at Union Station when the Secretary of Interior does testify, we hope later this week or sometime next week. Congress provided only $10,000 last year and the Interior Department engaged the services of a planner and he has come up with a very exciting model. I hope all of you will be able to see it when presented at the time the Secretary testifies.
I think it speaks very well for what we propose down at Union Station.
Are there other questions?
In expressing the hope we have a Visitor Center here in the Capitol, I suggested the west front might be the appropriate place. The appropriate committee might determine some other location at the Capitol. But whether or not it is on the west front, since this is the Committee of Public Works I hope the committee keeps in mind the very great urgency of doing something about the west front of the Capitol. I think it is personally embarrassing to bring a group of people to the Capitol, approach the west front, and be stopped by a sign that says “Danger-No visitors allowed.” This condition has existed for over 2 years.
This is unthinkable and surely we ought to reach some kind of agreement between the architects and historians and those interested in seeing visitors and do something about that west front.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Our next witness this morning will be Mr. William D. Toohey, chairman of the Government Relations Committee of the National Association of Travel Organizations, from Chicago, Ill. Mr. Toohey, will you please come forward? On behalf of the committee we want to welcome you and thank you for coming. You may proceed in your own fashion.
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM D. TOOHEY, CHAIRMAN, GOVERNMENT
RELATIONS COMMITTEE, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF TRAVEL ORGANIZATIONS
Mr. Tooney. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee on Public Buildings and Grounds, my name is William D. Toohey, I am executive vice president of the Tourism Council of Greater Chicago, Civic Center, Chicago, Ill. I submit this statement in my capacity as chairman of the Government Relations Committee of the National Association of Travel Organizations.
NATO, as we will refer to our organization, is headquartered at 900 17th Street NW., Washington, D.C. NATO was founded in 1941. Today NATO represents all components of the U.S. travel industry. Membership in our travel industry trade association includes the State travel offices, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, city and area travel promotion organizations, public carriers, accommodations, travel attractions, automobile clubs, petroleum firms, newspapers, magazines, and other businesses having to do with selling and conducting travel and serving the traveler in the United States.
The purpose of our association is to increase travel to and within the United States, and this purpose, of course, is accomplished by making all modes of travel within the United States easy, enjoyable, and educational.
To encourage our citizens to travel in this country NATO also wholeheartedly supports the “Discover America" campaign. NATO Executive Director James C. Gross, who is present here this morning, serves as special assistant to Mr. Robert E. Short, chairman of Discover America, Inc.
At present NATO is coordinating the staffing and operation of a U.S. travel information booth in the U.S. pavilion at Expo 67. At this facility we have gathered materials from each of the States and a staff knowledgeable concerning visitor attractions in the United States. Visitors to the U.S. pavilion can get an introduction to enjoyable and educational experiences awaiting them in the States.
We strongly support a National Visitor Center in the Nation's Capital that would provide orientation to past and present Washington, D.C., and would offer information on the variety and attractiveness of all our States and possessions.
By encouraging visitors from abroad and U.S. citizens to discover all of America, the Visitor Center would contribute to our Nation's economic growth. The travel industry now ranks third in its economic contribution to our Nation, generating over $30 billion annually. In every State travel is one of the top three income producers. The combined payrolls of 12 of the Nation's largest companies are equal to only one-half of this country's annual tourist expenditures.
The stimulation of travel within this country creates employment for Americans in all levels of our work force. Hundreds of thousands of new jobs for the unskilled and the semiskilled, the very people we are trying to help under other Federal programs, is aided through development of the U.S. travel industry.
In addition, a traveler who visits à community pays taxes--sales tax, cigarette tax, gas tax, lodging tax, and entertainment tax, and more tax-and this is almost clear profit to an area because the traveler is not a major tax consumer in the area in which he is visiting.
Recognizing the new dollars that travel pours into their States, State travel director members of NATO are anxious to make known their States special appeal that facilities at the National Visitor Center should provide such opportunity.
By encouraging the discovery of all America, the National Visitor Center would develop in the foreign visitor an empathy for America, as well as contributing to our own citizens' sense of national pride.
The foreign visitor, as he travels the States, will see the great America our citizens of different religions and colors and countries have built. They will watch us working together today to build a better America for us all. And this lesson will not be lost on our own citizens as they travel the States. We the people of the United States need to discover America. We need to see and share the common heritage and aspirations which can cement us together as Americans.
In recognition of the importance of encouraging domestic travel, Congress in 1965 passed a joint resolution calling upon the President to issue a proclamation urging our citizens and those of other lands to travel in the United States. This the President has done each year since. The establishment of a National Visitor Center would enhance these efforts to increase domestic travel.