Thursday, April 27, 2017

U.S. Senate Decides Jobless Need Assistance, 1933

The Journal-Patriot, North Wilkesboro, N.C., April 3, 1933

Senate Votes $500,000,000 to Help the Idle…Measure Passed 55 to 17 and Sent to the House; Would Aid Jobless

Washington, April 1—The Senate yesterday passed a bill providing $500,000,000 to halt the march of misery and hunger across the nation.

If the House approves the measure, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation soon will begin pouring a golden stream of dollars into the gaping pit of the depression. It will not be a loan but an outright gift that will attempt to erect a barrier of dollars between unemployed Americans and destitution.

Thirty minutes before the bill was driven through the Senate, 55 to 17, the cry of “dole” was raised and Senator Fess, Republican of Ohio, opposed the measure by pleading with his colleagues “not to let their hearts overcome their better judgment.”

The money will be dealt out to the various states. Supposing, for instance, Ohio has spent $3,000,000 of its own money on unemployment relief. It then is eligible to receive from the federal government one-third of that sum—or $1,000,000.

In addition, if Ohio can establish that all its money for unemployment relief is exhausted, it becomes eligible for an additional gift—the size of which shall be determined by the administrator appointed by the president.

Yesterday’s vote brought victory to “Young Bob” La Follette, the serious-minded son of “Old Bob,” who has fought this battle for a year.

In the last session of Congress he watched a similar bill die in the house. Months of extensive committee hearings convinced him that starvation and destitution were abroad in the land and that the only way to remedy it was to appropriate money quickly and pour it into the areas where want was most acute.

He dodged nervously around the floor yesterday, consulting with Senators Wagoner, New York, and Costigan, Colorado, who sponsored the bill with him. Occasionally he would pause, his thick black hair tumbling into his eyes, to beat down a sortie by the Republican old guard, which taunted him by shouting “dole.”

Senator Fess argued passionately against embarking “upon a policy we can never retrace.”

Around Fess’ banner rallied Repubicans from the conservative benches. Fundamentally it was a clash between two philosophies of life—that of La Follette who believes and says that economic theories will not feed a starving man and that of Fess, who insists on maintaining “sound principles” of government at any price.

But when the afternoon of violent oratory had ended and Vice President Garner shouted “the clerk will call the roll,” Fess could muster only 17 votes, among them being two Democrats, Bailey of North Carolina and Gore of Oklahoma.

No comments:

Post a Comment