Franklin D. Roosevelt

Statement on Signing the Agriculture Appropriation Act.

June 30, 1939

This bill providing the appropriations for the Department of Agriculture and the Farm Credit Administration for the fiscal year beginning tomorrow, July 1, 1939, comes to me on the previous day, June 30, 1939. If I withhold my approval the Department and the Farm Credit Administration will stop functioning tomorrow.

The attention of our citizens should be called to the following facts:

1. In 1938 I approved a large addition chiefly for parity payments to farmers, with the definite gentlemen's agreement that the Congress, at the beginning of the following session, would enact some form of tax to make up for the extra appropriation.

2. I called the attention of the Congress to this at the beginning of the present session but no tax legislation has been passed to carry out the agreement by reimbursing the Treasury.

3. When the present farm bill was under consideration this spring, I called attention to the proposals for new parity payments running into several hundred million dollars, and asked that no appropriation be made therefor unless and until the additional revenue required to finance them was provided.

4. The Congressional debates on this farm bill indicated a complete understanding of this position.

5. Notwithstanding the above, an additional sum of two hundred and twenty-five million dollars has been added to this year's bill and no provision has been made by the Congress for raising the additional revenue needed.

While I have consistently taken the lead in insisting that agricultural prosperity is essential to the national welfare, I also hold that this happy condition can safely be brought about only with due. regard to its relationship to all other features of our budgetary structure.

Because the new fiscal year begins in a few hours, I am not withholding my approval of this appropriation bill. But the situation in regard to the financing of these parity payments remains what it was last year and no action has been taken by the Congress. It, therefore, seems clear that the duty of providing additional funds for the Treasury still rests directly with the Congress.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Statement on Signing the Agriculture Appropriation Act. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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