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Letter to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House Transmitting Bill for the Establishment of a Commission on the Coal Industry.

March 07, 1950

Dear Mr.___________:

In my message of March 3, 1950, to the Congress, I urged the Congress to act immediately on legislation to authorize the Government to take possession of and operate the coal mines. I submitted with that message a draft of a bill appropriate for carrying out that recommendation.

Since my message to Congress, the representatives of the miners and the representatives of the operators have negotiated a new contract and the miners are returning to work. The emergency situation which was the basis of my request for seizure authority no longer exists, therefore, and, accordingly, it is not necessary for the Congress to give further consideration to such legislation at this time.

I also recommended in my message of March 3 that the Congress establish a commission, including members from the Congress, the Executive Branch, and the public, to make a thorough study of the coal industry in terms of national economic, social, and security objectives, and to recommend positive and constructive solutions for the basic problems of that industry. I stated that I expected to submit a draft of legislation for that purpose to the Congress at an early date.

Pursuant to this statement in my message of March 3, I attach for the consideration of the Senate (House of Representatives) a draft of legislation to establish a commission on the coal industry. The end of the coal strike has in no way diminished the need for a long-range study of the coal industry with the view of finding and putting into effect the best solutions of its problems from the standpoint of the miners, the operators, and, above all, the national interest. I, therefore, hope that the Congress will enact legislation of this character as soon as possible.

Sincerely yours,


Note: This is the text of identical letters addressed to the Honorable Alben W. Barkley, President of the Senate, and to the Honorable Sam Rayburn, Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The draft bill proposed a 9-member commission to be made up of two Senators, two Representatives, and five members to be named by the President. The proposal was studied by the Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, but it was not considered by the House.

The 8-month controversy in the coal industry ended on March 5 with the signing of a new contract between the mine operators and the miners, represented by the United Mine Workers of America. The new agreement provided that the miners receive 70 cents more a day, and increased by 10 cents a ton the operators' payments to the miners' welfare fund.
See also Items 27, 35, and 49.

Harry S Truman, Letter to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House Transmitting Bill for the Establishment of a Commission on the Coal Industry. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/230726

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