Franklin D. Roosevelt

Memorandum Approving a Tax Bill

August 18, 1937

There has been before me for ten days an important and lengthy bill to provide additional revenue for the District of Columbia. To this bill, during its discussion in the Senate, was attached a wholly unrelated amendment pertaining to existing anti-trust laws, insofar as they affect retail sales.

This is the first instance during my term of office that this vicious practice of attaching unrelated riders to tax or appropriation bills has occurred.

The country will recognize the unfairness of placing any President in the position of having to disapprove a major bill just because an extraneous rider has been attached to it. In the present case, I have no hesitation in approving the tax legislation for the District of Columbia, but I have distinct hesitation in approving the rider which weakens the anti-trust laws.

Several of the Departments of the Government have pointed out, in reports they have given me, extremely objectionable features in this rider and recommended my veto of the whole bill on this account. There is, on the other hand, some estimable opinion that the effects of this rider will not be as serious as it is feared by the Departments that favor a veto.

I have decided to sign the bill in the hope that it will not be as harmful as most people predict, and I call attention to the fact that one of the principal objections to the rider is that the Departments opposing it believe it will seriously raise the cost of many articles to the consuming public.

But in signing it, I express again the objection to this unusual method of passing laws, and I sincerely trust that future sessions of the Congress of the United States will forego the practice of attaching unrelated riders to important and specific bills.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Memorandum Approving a Tax Bill Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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