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Excerpts of Remarks of the Vice President of the United States, Wilkes-Barre-Scranton Airport, Scranton, PA

September 19, 1960

The Democratic leaders of Congress, with two-to-one majorities were more interested in seeking a political issue than in providing the assistance so badly needed by the depressed areas.

The original administration program provided far more real help to the areas which needed it, such as the Pennsylvania and West Virginia and other depressed coal-mining areas than the Democratic bill, which was passed deliberately to provoke a Presidential veto.

What the President asked for would have provided Scranton well over $1½ million in loans. What they passed would have provided well under $1 million.

What they passed would have helped Wilkes-Barre-Hazleton by about $1.6 million. What they rejected - the President's bill - would have provided $2.6 million.

Their approach allowed Charleston, W. Va., under $600 thousand. The program they rejected would have provided almost a million dollars.

What caused this difference? You may have heard already, and you will hear, that the bill they passed had more money for these areas than the one the President proposed.

But this is the difference:

Theirs was straight pork barrel. It spread more dollars so widely - into place after place that did not need this sort of help that places like Scranton, where help is critically needed, were left begging. They used the shotgun of politics instead of the rifle of national interest. No responsible President could have approved it.

Moreover, when the President urgently renewed his appeal for depressed areas legislation in the rump session of Congress, the Democratic leadership, once again ignored the recommendation. Again the issue was more important to them than the need of the people.

Nothing can now be done until the Congress reconvenes in January. At that time, I consider it to be of the highest urgency that the Congress put aside political considerations immediately and act at once on this question which involves a great deal of human anxiety and even suffering.

In my opinion, Congress should enact legislation along the lines of the legislation sponsored by Senator Scott and congressmen Van Zandt, Fenton, and Saylor to set up a $200 million program for the distressed areas, and for which two-thirds of the Republicans voted in the Senate. The bill exceeds the original administration request by $20 million and raises Federal participation in the development loans from 35 to 50 percent. I favor these and other aspects of the Scott-Van Zandt-Fenton-Saylor bill; which could already have been enacted by the Congress, and which I am confident the President would have approved.

Richard Nixon, Excerpts of Remarks of the Vice President of the United States, Wilkes-Barre-Scranton Airport, Scranton, PA Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/274011

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