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"Clearly Vicious as a Matter of Policy": The Fight Against Federal-Aid
PART TWO: Unease in the Golden Age (Page 3 of 3)
Public Works for Prosperity
On April 4, 1930, President Hoover approved legislation increasing Federal-aid highway funds to $125 million for FY 1931, a $50 million increase over 1930, with similar amounts for the next 2 years. The additional 1931 funds were made available to the States for immediate use; the 1932 funds were made available in September 1930 instead of December as in past years. However, with State legislatures out of session, many States could not provide the required 50-percent matching funds for the $175 million in increased Federal-aid highway funds. In response, Congress appropriated $80 million in advances the States could use for matching funds, to be repaid from authorizations in later years. President Hoover signed the Emergency Construction Act containing the advances on December 20, 1930.
Hoover had been willing to fund public works to create jobs even though the Federal Government could not afford the expenditures. This was several years before the economist John Maynard Keynes formalized this concept in The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, which was published in 1936. Gordon called Hoover "perhaps the most economically sophisticated man ever to be president." During a cabinet meeting in May 1931, according to Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson, the President had compared the situation to wartime and indicated (in Stimson's words) that "in war times no one dreamed of balancing a budget. Fortunately we can borrow."123
"Unfortunately," as Gordon put it, "Hoover changed his mind in late 1931." Biographer Gene Smith described the situation:
The United States government was spending two and a half million dollars a day more than it took in. If that continued, America, like any other bankrupt, would be unable to pay its bills. If bankruptcy came, it would bring what had happened to Germany: hideous inflation, wheelbarrows of dollars to pay for a loaf of break, meals doubling in price as the diner ate, the end of the middle classes, Bolshevism.
Together, Hoover and [Secretary of the Treasury Ogden] Mills formulated the most brutal peacetime revenue bill the country had ever seen. The bill called for a rise in estate taxes from 23 percent to 45 percent, an increase in personal income taxes from 23 percent to 45 percent, a rise in corporation taxes, a sales tax, a drastic modification of capital gains advantages. With the unheard of taxes must come ruthless reductions in government expenditures: a cut in the pension paid to General [John J. "Black Jack"] Pershing [hero of World War I], a one-week vacation without pay each month for the majority of government employees, decreases in the salary of each member of the Cabinet, $12,000 instead of $15,000, and of the President, $60,000 instead of $75,000.124
The President's proposal faced a House of Representatives that had been controlled by the Democrats since the election of 1930, 220 to 214. The Republicans retained control, just barely, in the Senate. Nevertheless, the House passed a version of the Revenue Act on April 1, 1932. An oil tariff (1 cent per gallon of imported gasoline and fuel oil) had been included by amendment on March 27.
That same day, April 1, the President issued a brief statement on a different but related subject, car sales:
The motor manufacturing companies have all launched their spring models. There is nothing that provides widespread employment more than automobile construction. Every person contemplating buying a new car this year can make a real contribution to employment by putting in his order now even though he does not take immediate delivery.125
As the Senate struggled with the revenue legislation, the President made his views clear in a letter, dated May 23, 1932, to Herbert S. Crocker, president of the American Society of Civil Engineers. In a May 19th letter to the President, Crocker had explained the society's commitment to a $3 billion public works program. The President acknowledged that similar proposals had been made "from other quarters and have been given serious consideration during the past few days." He explained that the back of the Depression "cannot be broken by any single Government undertaking" but required "the cooperation of business, banking, industry, and agriculture in conjunction with the government." As for public works, he said:
The vice in that segment of the proposals made by your society and others for further expansion of "public works" is that they include public works of remote usefulness; they impose unbearable burdens upon the taxpayer; they unbalance the budget and demoralize Government credit.
He thought that "income-producing works," which he said were also called "self-liquidating works," would be more effective. As examples, he said, "I mean such projects of states, counties and other sub-divisions which charge for their service and whose earning capacity provides a return upon the investment." For that reason, he had proposed creation of a Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) to furnish credits that would help reestablish the normal commercial operations of the economy. He illustrated the difference by comparing an RFC loan of $27 million to the Pennsylvania Railroad Company to electrify some of its lines with a House bill that would appropriate $132 million for highways. The loan, which would be repaid with interest, was secured "on sound securities" and, combined with other revenue the railroad secured, would generate 28,000 jobs:
On the other hand the proposal of the House of Representatives is to spend $132,000,000 for subsidies to the states for construction of highways. This would be a direct charge on the taxpayer. The total number of men to be directly employed is estimated at 35,000 and indirectly 20,000 more. In other words, by this action we would give employment to only 55,000 men at the expense by the Government of $132,000,000, which will never be recovered.
Since the budget was in deficit, funds for the highway work would have to be financed by increased taxes or bonds. "Whatever the method employed, they are inescapably a burden upon the taxpayer [and] will upset all possibility of balancing the budget."
He acknowledged that he had previously operated on a different concept:
I have for many years advocated the speeding up of public works in times of depression as an aid to business and unemployment. That has been done upon a huge scale and is proceeding at as great a pace as fiscal stability will warrant. All branches of government - Federal, state and municipal - have greatly expanded their "public works" and have now reached a stage where they have anticipated the need for many such works for a long time to come. Therefore, the new projects which might be undertaken are of even more remote usefulness... They represent building of a community beyond its necessities. We cannot thus squander ourselves into prosperity.
Further, future public works programs would be confronted in Congress by "a log-rolling process" that he said "will include dredging of mud creeks, building of unwarranted post-offices, unprofitable irrigation projects, duplicate highways and a score of other unjustifiable activities." Moreover, the employment on public works was "largely transitory." He favored "normal jobs under normal conditions at the normal place of abode" as a way of reestablishing "normal processes in business and industry."126
As reflected in an editorial in Better Roads, the highway community objected to what it considered the President's "misleading and evasive" answer to the society:
Clearly, Mr. Hoover has been closeted with the bogey-men again and their warnings about "economy" and "impairing national credit" are still ringing in his ears.
Taking exception to most aspects of the letter, the editorial said that the "most irritating of the objections are those which controvert known facts." The idea that public works had been overbuilt "is too ridiculous to call for a reply." The idea that the Federal Government had undertaken construction on as large a scale as possible prompted the observation that "the huge federal construction outlays probably seem huge to no one but Mr. Hoover." The idea that public works do not increase employment substantially was refuted by statistics from the President's own BPR as well as AASHO and many State and county highway departments.
Finally, the editorial criticized "the wholly mythical distinction between the returns on an investment in, for example, Mr. Hoover's 'self-liquidating' toll bridges and the returns paid by highways." While pointing out that State and county governments had repaid millions of dollars in bonds through gasoline taxes and other means, the editorial pointed out that many of the "self-liquidating" enterprises were of a "speculative nature." As for highway construction, the editorial stated:
Even if the government never received a cent in payment on its highway loans, the money might be counted well spent by virtue of the very real and practical returns to the communities of the nation and to industry as well.
The editorial concluded that the President's "whole economic philosophy" was based on the belief "that a solution can be pulled out of a tall hat." Instead, the editorial said, "Let us abandon this belief in magic and pin our faith to recovery through constructive activity."127
The President reiterated his concerns a few days later in a May 27 statement on the proposed Emergency Relief and Construction legislation developed in the House of Representatives. Although it contained some proposals from the Administration, it also proposed $900 million for public works:
A total of over 3,500 projects of various kinds are proposed in this bill, scattered into every quarter of the United States. Many of these projects have heretofore been discredited by Congress because of useless extravagance involved... This is not unemployment relief. It is the most gigantic pork barrel ever proposed to the American Congress. It is an unexampled raid on the Public Treasury.
Detailed lists of all these projects have been broadcast to every part of the country during the past 24 hours, to the cities, towns, villages and sections who would receive a portion of this pork barrel. It is apparently expected that the cupidity of these towns and sections will demand that their Congressmen and Senators vote this bill or threaten to penalize them if they fail to join in this squandering of money.
He did not believe the people were so lacking in intelligence:
Our Nation was not founded on the pork barrel, and it has not become great by political logrolling.
He hoped that Members of Congress who opposed the bill would receive "the definite support of the people in their districts in resisting it."128
With the Senate still unable to complete work on a revenue bill, the President surprised observers by appearing before the Senate at noon on May 31 to discuss the urgent need for the bill. He told the Senators that people "know from bitter experience that the course of unbalanced budgets is the road of ruin." He understood the complexities facing the Senators, but was convinced that they had three major duties in completing their work on the bill, namely drastic reduction of expenditures, passage of adequate revenue legislation, and passage of adequate relief legislation to aid in employment. Regarding the latter, he favored increased RFC loans rather than a "wasteful expansion of public works." With his support, the government had expended over $1.5 billion on public works, with over $550 million in the budget for the next year. "We have already forced every project which we have justification [for] with any regard to the taxpayer and the avoidance of sheer waste."
In your hands at this moment is the answer to the question whether democracy has the capacity to act speedily enough to save itself in emergency. The Nation urgently needs unity. It needs solidarity before the world in demonstrating that America has the courage to look its difficulties in the face and the capacity and resolution to meet them.129
Shortly after midnight, the Senate completed work on its bill, which included $1.115 billion in new tax revenue. The bill included a 1-cent per gallon excise tax on gasoline sales, not just on imported fuel. This tax had emerged in the hours before the President's speech when Secretary Mills was working with the Senate Finance Committee to adjust the Senate bill to meet Administration revenue targets. At a 10 am meeting, the committee approved a proposal to restore the 1922 income tax rates and went on the Senate floor to secure a vote on the change. After the Senate approved the amendment, the Secretary recommended the committee adopt a general manufacturers' sales tax. Learning that the committee had already rejected the idea, he suggested a 1-cent per gallon gasoline tax, to be paid at the refinery, and readjustment of the amusement tax.
The committee adjourned to hear the President's speech, then defeated the sales tax but adopted the gasoline tax, which was expected to raise $150 million. The Senate adopted the gasoline tax without a recorded vote. Senator J. W. Elmer Thomas, a Democrat from the oil State of Oklahoma, offered an alternative to the gasoline tax. His proposal that the RFC sell $150 million in debentures and repay the cash into the general treasury was defeated 80 to 8.130
Conferees meeting to resolve differences between the House and Senate bills reached agreement on June 2. The House approved the Revenue Act on June 4 in what The New York Times characterized as a "stormy session." Despite objections to elements of the bill, including the gas tax, the bill was adopted without a recorded vote. The Senate approved the bill on June 6 by a vote of 46 to 35. As the vote was completed, Speaker of the House John Nance Garner (D-Tx.) signed the officially engrossed copy of the bill that had been placed on his desk. He sent it to Vice President Curtis, who signed it in the presence of the Senate and gave the bill to a messenger for delivery to the President.
President Hoover signed the bill, without ceremony, an hour and a half after the Senate approved it.131 He issued a brief statement:
The willingness of our people to accept this added burden in these times in order impregnably to establish the credit of the Federal Government is a great tribute to their wisdom and courage. While many of the taxes are not as I desired, the bill will effect the major purpose of assurance to the country and the world of the determination of the American people to maintain their finances and their currency on a sound basis.132
The Revenue Act of 1932 enacted dozens of taxes, including those mentioned and taxes on such consumer products as admissions to any place by ticket or subscription; auto bodies, tires and inner tubes; cameras, candy, chewing gum, furs, soft drinks, and sporting goods; firearms, shells, and cartridges; coal, coke, and copper ore; telegraph, telephone, cable, and radio dispatches; and checks, electrical energy, jewelry, matches, refrigerators, stamps, and toiletries.
Although the President said the Revenue Act had put the Nation's finances on "a sound basis," Congress was still working on the relief bill. The Senate Banking and Currency Committee was considering a bill introduced by Senator Robert F. Wagner (D-NY.) that provided $500 million for public works as well as $1 billion for self-liquidating construction and $300 million for relief loans to States. In the House, Speaker Garner had introduced a bill that included $100 million the President could disburse to individuals as gifts or loans; broadened powers for the RFC to make loans to individuals or corporations; and $1.1 billion for public works, including post office construction, flood control, and road building.
On the same day conferees agreed on the Revenue Act language, Secretary Mills denounced the Garner Bill. "It is difficult," the Secretary told the House Ways and Means Committee, "to find words to characterize this proposal." He continued:
After a great effort to bring our budget into balance by drastic economies and by imposing on the people of the United States the most severe taxation ever imposed in peace time for the all-important purpose of preserving unimpaired the credit of the United States Government, and thus laying a foundation for economic recovery, this bill would undo all our efforts, unbalance the budget on a huge scale, impair the credit of the United States Government, destroy the confidence of the people in their government and indefinitely postpone all hope of early recovery.
He denounced the public works portion of the bill as "fifty-one pages of solid print, enumerating the cities, villages and hamlets in which it is proposed to erect public buildings." Now, he asked, "do you understand why impartial critics call this a 'pork barrel' rather than an unemployment relief bill?"133
The bill also contained a highway provision that drew no objections from the White House. With the fiscally strapped States unable to match the 50-50 Federal-aid highway funds, the Act appropriated $120 million in advances to the States for matching purposes. The funds had to be used to obligate projects before July 1, 1933. Consistent with the President's demand that public works expenditures be self-liquidating, the bill provided for the advances to be repaid by deductions from regular Federal-aid highway fund apportionments over 10 years.
At Secretary Mills' request, the Senate committee considered the Administration bill authorizing the RFC to lend $1.5 billion for self-liquidating construction projects, such as toll bridges, and make loans to aid in the marketing of staple commodities, among other provisions. It omitted bond issues for public works, as proposed by the Garner Bill.
On June 7, the House passed the Garner Bill by a vote of 216 to 182. Before doing so, the House voted 218 to 183 to reject a version of bill that coincided with the Administration proposal. The following day, the Senate Banking and Current Committee rejected President Hoover's bill, and forwarded the Wagner Bill to the Senate for a vote. Following Senate approval of the Wagner Bill, House-Senate conferees quickly developed a single bill that retained the features that had drawn veto threats from the Administration. Congress completed work on the bill with the understanding that the President would issue a veto immediately.
On July 11, Speaker Garner and Vice President Curtis signed the bill shortly after noon and dispatched it by messenger to the White House. As soon as the bill reached the White House, a messenger left with a veto message, which had been drafted the day before. The President explained that he approved the portion of the bill that provided RFC loans totaling $300 million for immediate unemployment relief work, to be made available to the States on the basis of need. He objected to the $322 million in public works funding, referring to "the extreme undesirability of increasing expenditure on non-productive public works beyond the $500,000,000 of construction already in the budget." However, he said he was "not prepared to withhold my assent to the bill provided there is a proper provision that... these works should not be initiated except on certificate of the Secretary of the Treasury that the moneys necessary for such expenditures are available or can be obtained without interference with current financing operations of the government." He accepted the $120 million in advances to the States for use in matching Federal-aid highway funds, since they were self-liquidating in that they would be repaid from future apportionments over a 10-year period.
What prompted his veto was the extension of RFC authority to make $1.5 million in loans to individuals, trusts, estates, partnerships, corporations, associations, joint stock companies, States, political subdivisions of States, municipalities, or their political subdivisions. The President said:
This proposal violates every sound principle of public finance and of government. Never before has so dangerous a suggestion been seriously made to our country. Never before has so much power for evil been placed at the unlimited discretion of seven individuals.134
The individuals were the commissioners of the RFC.
At 1.12 p.m., the Reading Clerk of the House began reading the message. The New York Times described the scene:
The reading of the message in the House took considerable time, but a large part of the membership remained to hear all of it, which is unusual. One of the few members who did not remain was Speaker Garner, who relinquished the gavel to Representative [Clifton A.] Woodrum [D] of Virginia and retired to the cloak room.
Riotous applause came from the Republican side as the reading ended.
When it was announced that the message did not mean the relief bill was dead, and that a bill that could become law would soon be completed, "Applause from both Democrats and Republicans greeted this announcement, substantiating forecasts that Speaker Garner would submit to a compromise."135
With the expected veto out of the way, Congress quickly revised the bill by eliminating the element of the Garner loan program that allowed RFC loans to individuals or private industries. For parliamentary reasons, the Senate adopted the revised bill as a substitute for a $136 million road and trails bill approved by the House that reflected the self-liquidating provision for matching loans in the vetoed bill so the new relief bill could go to conference immediately. The House of Representatives took the more complicated path of voting to substitute its version of the relief bill for the Senate version of the road bill that was now the relief act.
Conferees completed work on July 13. The House and Senate approved the bill, which was ready for the President's approval on July 16. He delayed action on the bill to give the RFC time to prepare for the expected influx of applications for loans, but issued a statement on July 17 indicating he would sign the bill. He said that he was pleased the "obnoxious features which had been injected into the legislation" by the House of Representatives had been eliminated. He summarized them:
The $100,000,000 charity feature has been abandoned. The pork barrel infection that the loans to the States for relief of distress should be based upon population instead of need has been eliminated, and also the sum of $1,300,000,000 non-productive public works ultimately payable by the taxpayer has been reduced to $322,000,000, of which about $120,000,000 are advances to the States for highways, and most of the balance is not to be expended if the necessities of the Federal Treasury prevent it.
He concluded the brief statement by noting that while he objected to some features of the bill, "It is a strong step toward recovery."136
Finally, President Hoover signed the Emergency Relief and Construction Act, on July 21, 1932, without ceremony or public comment.
In addition to the advances to the State highway agencies to help with their 50-percent matching share, the legislation contained several provisions to increase the number of workers employed on road projects:
- Prohibited the use of convict labor on Federal-aid projects;
- Restricted the work week to 30 hours;
- Gave hiring preference to ex-servicemen with dependents; and
- Required all contracts to establish minimum wage rates, to be predetermined by the State highway department, that contractors were to pay to skilled and unskilled labor.
Despite these and other efforts, the public blamed Hoover for the country's continuing economic problems. It did not help that while working on his bold legislative initiatives to cut expenditures, increase taxes, and reduce the deficit, he also faced a crisis in Washington that resulted from the Bonus Bill for World War I veterans that had surfaced while Congress considered the Federal Highway Act of 1921. Congress had tabled the measure in 1921 following an appeal by President Harding, but passed the bill in 1922. The President vetoed the bill on September 19, 1922, and Congress sustained the veto although the vote to override was close. The World War Adjusted Compensation Act of 1924, known as the Bonus Act, became law on May 19, 1924, after Congress overrode President Coolidge's veto. The main feature of the bill was that all veterans who served more than 50 days were given a 20-year endowment life insurance certificate, with the principal payable in 1945.
In 1931, under pressure from hard-hit veterans, Congress had approved, over the President's veto, a law granting half the bonus as loans carrying interest payments that reduced the payout. Representative Wright Patman (D-Tx.), a World War I veteran, introduced a bill in 1932 calling for immediate payment of the bonus in cash. Thousands of veterans descended on Washington by road and rail to demand immediate payment of the bonus. The "Bonus Expeditionary Force" camped in parks, along Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and the Capitol and in a makeshift "Hooverville" along the Anacostia River.
On July 21, the same day the President signed the Emergency Relief and Construction Act, Superintendent of Police Pelham D. Glassford announced that the city's Board of Commissioners had ordered him to evict the marchers by August 4. At the request of Secretary of War Patrick Hurley, the commissioners also ordered Glassford to evict marchers who had camped on sites being demolished for new Federal buildings along Pennsylvania Avenue. When Glassford attempted to carry out the order at the construction sites, a fight broke out that resulted in the death of two veterans.
With this battle as justification and convinced that Communists were directing the marchers, the President ordered Secretary Hurley to remove the Bonus Expeditionary Force from the city. The Army Chief of Staff, Major General Douglas MacArthur, was given the assignment. He implemented it on July 28, 1932, determined to lead the troops himself. His aide, Major Dwight D. Eisenhower, tried to convince General MacArthur that the task was beneath the dignity of an Army Chief of Staff. MacArthur, however, considered the Bonus Expeditionary Force a serious test of the government's strength, and it must not fail. He directed Major Eisenhower to return to his home near Dupont Circle and change into full uniform for the coming battle.
MacArthur, with Eisenhower reluctantly at his side, directed a force that evicted the marchers from the downtown site, then chased them across the 11th Street Bridge to the Anacostia Flats. He gave the inhabitants of the shanty and tent Hooverville an hour to leave, then sent his troops to complete the job. The camp was soon on fire. Reporter Bess Furman described the fire as "a blaze so big that it lighted the whole sky... a nightmare come to life."
Governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt of New York, the former Assistant Secretary of the Navy who had once been on the Democratic ticket that lost to Senator Warren G. Harding, read about the battle in The New York Times on July 29. He had secured the Democratic Party's nomination to run against Hoover for the presidency. He asked an aide, "Why didn't Hoover offer the men coffee and sandwiches, instead of turning Doug MacArthur loose? They're probably camping on the roads leading out of Washington. They must be in terrible shape."
With the images of July 28 in the public's mind, Governor Roosevelt was confident of victory in November. His instinct proved correct. The expulsion of the Bonus Expeditionary Force would haunt Hoover throughout the campaign. Convinced that he had dealt properly with the mob, he was shocked and bewildered by the angry reaction of some of the crowds he addressed.
On November 8, 1932, Governor Roosevelt defeated President Hoover by more than 7 million votes, winning 42 States and 472 electoral votes, compared with 59 electoral votes for the President. The new Vice President would be former Speaker Garner.138
The new President would take office on March 4, 1933, the last time such a long interregnum would occur between the election and Inauguration Day. Beginning with Inauguration Day, 1937, Presidents would take the oath of office on January 20. In this case, during the delay of nearly 5 months, the economy continued to deteriorate. The worldwide Depression was too deep for these initial efforts to revive the economy. Gordon summarized the situation:
The government deficit in 1932, despite Hoover's tax increases, was $2.7 billion. Revenues had been a mere $1.9 billion. It was the worst peacetime deficit in the nation's history. Gross national product that year was $58 billion, a mere 56 percent of what it had been three years earlier. Unemployment stood at an entirely unprecedented 23.6 percent... Another 1,453 banks had failed, bringing the depression total to a staggering 5,096... The Dow-Jones Industrial Average fell as low as 41.22, down 90 percent from its high of three years earlier and less than a point above where it had stood the first day it had been calculated in 1896.139
On December 5, 1932, President Hoover signed his final budget message to Congress, released December 7. It presented his proposed budget for FY 1934. Among his recommendations was continuation of the Federal tax on gasoline, which was to expire on June 30, 1933. Public works, he said, were underway "well in advance of the country's immediate need by virtue of the vast appropriations made for this purpose as a means of increasing employment." He encouraged authorization of "large programs of self-liquidation works" through the RFC. For the Federal-aid highway program, the budget recommended an appropriation of $40 million, the amount needed to meet current demands under the program. He added:
I earnestly recommend to the Congress that there be no further grant of legislative authority for appropriation for Federal-aid highways until the financial condition of the Treasury justifies such action.
He noted the increased authorizations, from $75 million to $125 million beginning with FY 1931 and the advances to the States provided by emergency legislation, totaling $200 million. Although he recognized the advances were to be repaid by reductions from Federal-aid, he said:
I do not, however, view this as a commitment which of itself necessitates further authorization for Federal appropriations until such time as the financial condition of the Treasury justifies such action.140
As is usually the case with a change of Administration, President Hoover's final budget recommendations would be ignored by the incoming President.
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- Gordon, p. 325.
- Smith, Gene, The Shattered Dream, William Morrow and Company, 1970, p. 99.
- "Statement on New Car Sales," Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Herbert Hoover, January 1 to December 31, 1932, Government Printing Office, 1976, p. 131.
- Hoover, Herbert, "Letter to the President of the American Society of Civil Engineers on the Economic Recovery Program," Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Government Printing Office, 1977, May 21, 1932, p. 227.
- "Public Works and the President," Better Roads, June 1932, p. 5.
- "Statement on Emergency Relief and Construction Legislation," Public Papers, May 27, 1932, p. 239.
- "Address to the Senate on the National Economy," Public Papers, May 31, 1932, p. 243.
- "Senate Passes $1,115,000,000 Tax Bill; Balances Budget After Hoover Plea; $238,000,000 Economy Measure Reported," The New York Times, June 1, 1932.
- "President Signs $1,118,500,000 Tax Bill; Sees Finances Now on a 'Sound Basis'; Dawes Quits the Reconstruction Board," The New York Times, June 7, 1932.
- "Statement on Signing the Revenue Act of 1932," Public Papers, July 17, 1932, p. 253.
- "Public Works Loan Assailed by Mills," The New York Times, June 3, 1932.
- "Veto of the Emergency Relief and Construction Bill," Public Papers, July 11, 1932, p. 305.
- "Relief Bill Vetoed in Sharp Message; Compromise Ready," The New York Times, July 12, 1932.
- "Statement About Signing the Emergency Relief and Construction Act of 1932," Public Papers, July 17, 1932, p. 322.
- America's Highways 1776-1976, p. 123-125.
- Dickson, Paul, and Allen, Thomas B., The Bonus Army: An American Epic, Walker and Company, 2005. Although President Roosevelt would veto several Bonus Bills, Congress finally overrode his most recent veto on January 27, 1936. The final bill called for the issuance of bonds that could be redeemed immediately or held at 3-percent interest until 1945. The events surrounding the Bonus Expeditionary Force were among the forces that led to the landmark G.I. Bill, approved by President Roosevelt on June 22, 1944.
- Gordon, p. 328.
- "Annual Budget Message to the Congress, Fiscal Year 1934," Public Papers, December 5, 1934 (released December 7), p. 855.