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Excerpts of the President's News Conference

April 17, 1928

I have talked with some of the leaders of the House relative to the flood control bill. They are working on it with the interested parties. Of course, the plan as proposed by General [Edgar] Jadwin [Chief of Army Engineers] had $110,000,000 in it for navigation of the Mississippi. The other $190,000,000 was for flood control. The bill that passed the Senate is thought would run as high as $1,500,000,000. Now, taking the $110,000,000 out, it leaves $1,400,000,000. So that bill boosts flood control from less than $200,000,000 to nearly $1,400,000,000, which is obviously a very large boost. That seems to be due in large part to the attitude of those that are interested in the lumber companies. That accounts for a good deal of the activity about here. And while I don't want to take any property that belongs to the lumber companies, or anybody else's—couldn't if I wanted to under the Constitution—without giving them just compensation for it, I don't think that in passing a bill of this kind the opportunity should be seized on to put the Government in a position where it would have to endow them with very large damages. That is the difficulty about the bill; the main difficulty about it. I don't know of any proposal that has been made, certainly since I have been President, and I doubt if any was ever made, of such an extortionate nature as that provided for in the bill passed by the Senate. I don't think the Senate understood it, what its implications were, or what is behind it. It went through there practically without discussion. It had been brought out of Committee very recently. I doubt if the Committee understood wrhat the implications were. If the administration was attempting to boost a $200,000,000 proposition up to $1,400,000,000, I think there would be a wide discussion in the press and a good deal of criticism. I should think it would be a fruitful source of exploration for anybody that had the opportunity to look into it, investigate it, undertake to find out what is behind it, and what the motives are that are supporting it.

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

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