FDR Opens His New Deal Recovery Program
Source Dave Anderson
Date 08/11/04/22:41

On June 16, 1933, President Roosevelt opened his New Deal recovery
program, signing bank, rail, and industry bills and initiating farm
aid...Here is how it was reported in
the New York Times...

Dave Anderson

President Starts Recovery Program, Signs Bank, Rail and Industry
Bills; Wheat Growers Will Get $150,000,000

Roosevelt Hails Goal

He Calls Recovery Act Most Sweeping Law in Nation's History

Johnson Administrator
Col. Sawyer Is Named to Direct Public Works, Eastman as Railway Coordinator

'Million Jobs' By Oct. 1

Employers Urged to Hire More Men With Government Stopping Unfair Competition

Special to The New York Times

Washington, June 16.--Assuming unprecedented peacetime control over
the nation's economic life, President Roosevelt placed in operation
today his sweeping program for recovery from the depression.

Within two hours he signed acts of Congress giving him control over
industry, power to coordinate the railroads, and authority to start
work on a $3,300,000,000 public works program, and then began the
active administration of these and other major measures.

In signing the National Industrial Recovery Act the President declared
that it was "the most important and far-reaching legislation ever
enacted by the American Congress," and said that it "represents a
supreme effort to stabilize for all time the many factors which make
for the prosperity of the nation and the preservation of American

The Glass-Steagall Banking Reform Act, which the President described
as "the second most important banking legislation enacted in the
history of the country"; the long- disputed Independent Offices Act,
including the veterans legislation; the Deficiency Act, the Taxation
Act, and the Farm Credits Act received the President's signature
during the day.

Administrators Are Named

Turning to the administrative side of the industrial recovery program,
the President appointed General Hugh S. Johnson, former soldier and
manufacturer, as administrator of industry; made available
$400,000,000 under the public works title for State roads, and
allotted $238,000,000 to the Navy Department for laying down
thirty-two new war vessels under the terms of the London treaty.

A special recovery board was named by Mr. Roosevelt to work with
General Johnson. It consists of Secretary of Commerce Roper, chairman;
Attorney General Cummings, Secretaries Wallace, Perkins and Ickes,
Budget Director Douglas and Chairman March of the Federal Trade

General Johnson also will have an advisory council of business and
labor leaders, the personnel of which has not yet been announced.
Among those reported under consideration, however, are Myron C.
Taylor, Alfred P. Sloan, Walter C. Teagle, Gerard Swope and Will

Colonel Donald H. Sawyer was named temporary administrator of public
works and was directed, with a special Cabinet board consisting of
Secretary Ickes, chairman; Secretaries Wallace, Roper and Perkins,
Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Robert, Colonel George R.
Spaulding, and Budget Director Douglas, to submit to the President
without delay the works on which construction can be undertaken
promptly, and to outline a program for future work.

Eastman Rail Coordinator

Joseph B. Eastman, a member of the Interstate Commerce Commission, was
appointed coordinator of railroads and was directed to begin his work
at once. His most important immediate concern will be the railway wage
scale negotiations, following which, savings by the reduction of
duplicating facilities will be undertaken.

General Johnson conferred with the President late today and then left
by airplane for Chicago to meet with leaders of the bituminous coal
industry. He said that he would return late tomorrow night, and that
he hoped to name a large group of men to aid him in perfecting trade
codes. Most of the ten major industries, he said, had made rapid
progress in this respect, and he hoped to see final agreements reached
by the big trade associations within a very short time.

Expressing hope that unemployment would be decreased by at least
1,000,000 men by Oct. 1, President Roosevelt took an optimistic view
of the industrial situation in a long statement on the Industrial
Recovery Act. He called upon industry to cooperate by hiring more men
to do existing work, at shortened working hours and a living wage.

Roosevelt Pledges Government Aid

The President said that the act was a challenge to industry and labor,
and pledged the protection of the government to both against unfair
practices, if they would assist in raising price levels, increasing
wages and reducing work hours. He promised that "this is not a law to
foment discord, and it will not be administered as such."

While the anti-trust laws will be relaxed by the new legislation, the
public will be protected against the abuses which led to their
enactment, the President promised in his statement. He said that they
would still be enforced against "monopolies that restrain trade and
price fixing which allows inordinate profits or unfairly high prices."

The whole spirit of the act, he declared, would be to protect industry
that cooperates completely and endeavors to raise prices justly, and
at the same time keeps up wages and shortens the working hours so as
to increase employment.

Happy as He Signs Enactments

Mr. Roosevelt appeared to be in a happy frame of mind this morning as
he affixed his signature to the new measures. The first he signed
during the day was the Banking Reform Act, which was carried through
perseveringly by Senator Glass of Virginia in the face of many

As Senator Glass, accompanied by Senator Bulkley, Representative
Steagall and others, appeared in the circular office of the President
to be photographed during the ceremonies the President addressed Mr.
Glass affectionately, saying:

"You old warrior! If it had not been for the veterans, Congress would
have adjourned last Saturday and you would not have had your pet
measure on the statute books."

Describing the measure as having had more lives than a cat, he
declared it had been killed "fourteen times in this session," to be
revived in the final days.

The President's Statement

Senators Wagner and Robinson of Arkansas and Representatives Doughton
and Ragon were present at the signing of the Industrial Recovery Act.
President Roosevelt's statement follows:

History probably will record the National Industrial Recovery Act as
the most important and far-reaching legislation ever enacted by the
American Congress. It represents a supreme effort to stabilize for all
time the many factors which make for the prosperity of the nation and
the preservation of American standards.

Its goal is the assurance of a reasonable profit to industry and
living wages for labor, with the elimination of the piratical methods
and practices which have not only harassed honest business but also
contributed to the ills of labor.

While we are engaged in establishing new foundations for business
which ultimately should open a return to work for large numbers of
men, it is our hope through the so- called public works section of the
law to speedily initiate a program of public construction that should
early re-employ additional hundreds of thousands of men.

Obviously, if this project is to succeed, it demands the wholehearted
cooperation of industry, labor and every citizen of the nation.

Many Pens as Souvenirs

Senator Dill and Representative Rayburn attended the ceremonies
incident to the signing of the Railroad Control Act. The President
used many pens in attaching his signatures, and each of the sponsors
left with one of them as a souvenir.

The last of the bills was signed at 12:05 P.M., following which the
President devoted two hours to seeing departing members of Congress
and in discussion patronage. The seekers of patronage for their
constituents were told that jobs such as postmasterships and deputy
internal revenue collectorships would be filled without delay.

Late in the afternoon, before calling his last conference with the
press prior to going on his vacation, the President signed the
Independent Offices Appropriation Bill containing the veterans'
allotment plan which caused the controversy in the closing days of the
session of Congress, the Deficiency Bill with its appropriation for
the public works section of the Recovery Act and several other
measures. Among the acts signed to wipe the slate clean were those on
taxes and farm credits.

The Taxation Act continues for an additional year the current levies
on gasoline and on electric current, but provides that after Sept. 1
the electric power tax will be levied on power companies instead of
consumers. Total revenue from this act is expected to be $165,000,000.

The Farm Credit Act establishes a new organization for the purpose of
centralizing farm credit extensions. The amount of money to be at the
disposal of the agency is indefinite, as into it is to be paid the
remainder of the revolving fund of the Federal Farm Board. Its
resources are estimated at $175,000,000.

Fatigued by the Session

The men who had sponsored the bills that became law today were happy,
although most of them seemed tired and nerve-wracked by the turmoil
through which they had passed in the closing days of Congress.

Senator Glass, who was co-author of the Federal Reserve Act, admitted
that he had almost sent himself to the hospital in behalf of the
banking reform legislation. He said that he would do it again, and
declared he experienced a great thrill when the President signed it.

"The bank reforms provided in the act," Senator Glass said, "are
almost as important to the banks and the public as the Federal Reserve
Act itself. It supplements and strengthens the Federal Reserve Law."

The Glass-Steagall Act is directed toward a unified banking system,
provides a limited deposit guarantee, requires divorcement of security
affiliates from banks under government supervision, compels private
bankers to give up either the deposit or security business, and
requires stricter regulation of national banks.

Wagner Hails Recovery Act

Senator Wagner of New York, who helped frame the Industrial Recovery
Act and direct its passage, hailed that law as the greatest
achievement of the administration in an economic and industrial way.

"It will bring us on the road to recovery," he said. "Ultimately, if
it is intelligently administered, as I know it will be, it will bring
this country out of the depression."

The most far-reaching of the administration's legislation, the
Recovery Act gives the President, through administrators, wide power
to promote the self-regulation of industry under Federal supervision
as a means of curtailing overproduction, improving wages, shortening
hours of labor and, thereby increasing prices and employment. A bond
issue of $3,300,000,000 is authorized to finance the construction of
Federal, State and local public projects.

Representative Sam Rayburn of Texas, chairman of the House Interstate
Commerce Committee, thought the Railroad Bill would go a long way
toward affording financial aid to the carriers by permitting them to
reduce expenses, under the supervision of the Federal coordinator, and
through the repeal of the recapture clause.

"They will not be required to continue payments under the recapture
clause, and will be returned about $14,000,000 in interest and
payments already made," he said.

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