Excerpts of the President's News Conference
I don't think I can make any suggestion about the achievements of the administration during the past year, for the reason that I think perhaps it would be more appropriate for somebody else to dwell on that than it would be for myself. I would like to reiterate though that I have been exceedingly pleased with the cooperation I have had from the present Congress, and I think the country is reflecting the satisfaction that it has had with the businesslike way in which they have transacted the governmental affairs.
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I saw a newspaper report that seemed to indicate that someone in the Treasury had undertaken to suggest that the statement I made about the coming deficiency wasn't correct. My statement was correct, and I think a careful reading of what the Treasury was said to have given out would have revealed that there was no conflict between what I said and what the Treasury said. I don't expect any deficiency for the present year. The indications now are, unless there are additional appropriations that do not now appear to be, that we should finish this year, the 30th of next June, with a small surplus. But for the year after that the indications are that there will be a deficit. I have suggested several times that if the Congress made a larger reduction in the tax bill than I thought was desirable, that I should expect them to take care of it by refraining from making appropriations that would cause a deficit. That is very important in relation to the business situation of the country. If Congress goes ahead and appropriates more money than there is in the Treasury, and makes it necessary to put in a bill increasing taxes, it won't encourage the business of the country. If Congress goes along as it is doing now, without increasing appropriations, I think the outlook for business would be very much more encouraging, and in that respect I want to commend the Congress for the prudent way in which it is making its appropriations. It is following the budget recommendations almost entirely. I don't think any bills that are coming along have had the recommendations that were made in the budget materially increased. There may be some trifling increases in some and some reductions in others, but the general result is just about what the budget recommended.
PRESS: If the Congress keeps within the budget recommendations next year, will there be a deficit?
PRESIDENT: NO, because we should make the budget recommendations next year so that the budget will balance, of course. But I am talking now of the expenditures that would be required under the present budget and those that would naturally be expected under the budget of next year. It means that we shall have to prune somewhat.
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I can't set any amount that would be said to be a practical amount for an Air Service appropriation. I think our present Air Service appropriation is about $70,000,000 a year. The present budget carries somewhat more than that. The total appropriations in the present budget for the Army and Navy would be $674,000,000. That is $11,000,000 more than last year. There are some bills pending in relation to the Air Service, one for the Naval Air Service, and there is a bill being drafted, I think, for the Army Air Service. With these large appropriations that are now being made, it seems to me that we ought to get along without enlarging appropriations. If more men are to be taken into the Air Service, why then I should think an arrangement should be made so that more men could be dispensed with in some of the other branches of the service. We have a force in this country, I think I have stated it, of about 558,000 men that could be put into the service almost overnight, which would appear to be ample for any needs we may have. The Army has 118,000 enlisted men, the Navy I think 82,000. Now, if it is desirable to have more men in the Air Service and more officers, why I think some provision ought to be made to meet that expenditure by a reduction of expenditures in some other direction, especially so on account of the present condition of the Treasury.
Source: "The Talkative President: The Off-the-Record Press Conferences of Calvin Coolidge". eds. Howard H. Quint & Robert H. Ferrell. The University Massachusetts Press. 1964.
Calvin Coolidge, Excerpts of the President's News Conference Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/349142