The Commission on Intergovernmental Relations: A Report to the President for Transmittal to the Congress

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PREFACE

During the past several decades demands for a reappraisal of our federal system have become increasingly insistent. They have come from Governors' Conferences, National and State legislators, the first Hoover Commission, civic groups, and many other quarters. In 1953 they culminated in the establishment of the Commission on Intergovernmental Relations to conduct an intensive study of National-State-local relationships--the first official undertaking of its kind since the Constitutional Convention in 1787.

President Eisenhower in a message to Congress on March 30, 1953, observed:

In the state of the Union message I expressed my deep concern for the well-being of all of our citizens and the attainment of equality of opportunity for all. I further stated that our social rights are a most important part of our heritage and must be guarded and defended with all of our strength. I firmly believe that the primary way of accomplishing this is to recommend the creation of a commission to study the means of achieving a sounder relationship between Federal, State, and local governments.

The act creating the Commission on Intergovernmental Relations1 directed the Commission to examine the role of the National Government in relation to the States and their political subdivisions.

The duties of the Commission were both general and specific. Section 1 declared that "it is necessary to study the proper role of the Federal Government in relation to the States and their political subdivisions" with respect to fields which may be the primary interest and obligation of the States, but into which the Federal Government has entered, "to the end that these relations may be clearly defined and the functions concerned may be allocated to their proper jurisdiction," and that "it is further necessary that intergovernmental fiscal relations be so adjusted that

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1
Public Law 109 (83d Cong., 1st sess.), approved July 10, 1953, with subsequent amendments, appears in appendix A.

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