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Letter on Railroad Retirement and Unemployment Insurance Legislation.

January 22, 1945

Dear Mr. Chairman:

As You know, I have been for many years interested in the development of the Railroad Retirement and Railroad Unemployment Insurance Acts. I realize, as I am sure you do, that our early social insurance legislation, as is true of most ventures in new fields, needs to be reexamined from time to time in order to make sure that the provisions operate in practice so as effectively to carry out those beneficent purposes which all of us wish to see accomplished.

S. 293, now before your Committee for consideration, represents the results of a study, over a period of several years, of the operations of the Railroad Retirement and Railroad Unemployment Insurance Acts by the Railway Labor Executives' Association, representing the great bulk of railway workers, and the Railroad Retirement Board.

This study has included an analysis of many thousands of suggestions made by railroad workers and their local organizations. Many proposals were, of course, rejected; what remains represents an effort to make these railroad insurance systems function more effectively.

I am told by the Chairman of the Railroad Retirement Board that preliminary drafts of the bill were widely circulated to all groups in the industry in 1942 and 1943. Two bills, the major provisions of which were substantially the same as S. 293, were introduced in the recent session of the Congress, one of them as early as last May. There has therefore been ample opportunity for all interested groups to study the proposals; and all those involved should by now be fully prepared to state their views.

I am heartily in favor of the objectives of S. 293 and I hope that the Congress will see fit to act favorably on those objectives.

May I ask that your Committee take the necessary steps to hold hearings on the bill as soon as possible?

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter on Railroad Retirement and Unemployment Insurance Legislation. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/210127

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