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Excerpts of the President's News Conference

December 04, 1928

This is perhaps as good a time as any to comment on what I think has grown into an abuse. Congress makes holidays and every time there is a holiday it is the practice for one department to telephone over to another department and say we are going to have an extra holiday in this department and what is your department going to do about it. Of course, the message is taken to the head of the department and we have usually been put into the position that it has been expected that in addition to the holiday that is furnished by law the President would furnish one or two more. If it comes on Saturday, they want a holiday on Friday, and, of course they couldn't come back and travel on Sunday and so they want another holiday on Monday to get back on, and while I like all the employees of the Government to receive such holidays as can be given, if that practice is to continue I think it ought to be established by law and let Congress say by law when there is to be a holiday giving Government employees additional leave of absence. I haven't any plan as to what may be done at Christmas and New Year and Washington's birthday. I don't know whether Lincoln's birthday is a holiday. I think it isn't. Those are the only three that are to come up during my administration. But it really ought to be taken up and regulated by law, in order to prevent the President and the departments being subjected to pressure every time there is a holiday for additional leave of absence, because those are holidays that are fixed by law and everybody knows they are to come. There are times that an emergency arises. Some great event is to be celebrated or some catastrophe arises, so that the President is justified in having the departments closed. That would be the case in the death of the President or the Vice-President, but in the case of events that everybody knows will occur it ought either to be provided by law or not provided for at all.

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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