Franklin D. Roosevelt

Statement of Approval of the Railroad Retirement Bill.

June 30, 1934

S. 3231—An Act to provide a retirement system for railroad employees, to provide unemployment relief, and for other purposes.

Decision on this bill has been difficult.

The principal arguments against the measure include:

(a) The Federal Coordinator of Transportation at much public expense is now engaged in a thorough survey of the whole subject of employment security on railroads. He requested many months ago that legislation be deferred until the completion of these studies and the filing of his report.

(b) The bill, although much improved in its final form, is still crudely drawn and will require many changes and amendments at the next session of Congress.

(c) Although the bill does not create very large additional financial obligations on the part of the railroads during the next four years, the financial burden will increase progressively after that date, and the bill makes no sound provision for this increase. The arguments in favor of the bill are as follows:

(a) The actual burden on the railroads caused by enforced contribution will be far less than their figures would indicate.

(b) Superannuated employees will retire under the new pension plan and, though a considerable number of these older men will not be replaced, many others will be replaced by other employees. The net result will be to improve the morale of the entire force.

(c) The bill is in line with sound social policy.

(d) The bill provides for the creation of a board which will have the duty of accumulating all necessary data and recommending changes which will put the system on an adequate and permanent basis.

After a careful weighing of the advantages and disadvantages to the country I have come to the deliberate conclusion that I should approve the bill.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Statement of Approval of the Railroad Retirement Bill. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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