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Statement by the President Upon Signing the Urgent Deficiency Appropriation Bill.

March 22, 1947

I HAVE today approved the Urgent Deficiency Appropriation Bill, 1947 (H.R. 1968). This bill provides deficiency funds that I requested for such critically important activities as the Veterans Administration, the Office of Defense Transportation, and the Division of Disbursement of the Treasury. It also includes rescissions of funds for a number of agencies.

The bill also contains certain provisions affecting the functions of the Office of Temporary Controls and two of its constituent agencies--the Office of Price Administration and the Civilian Production Administration. In signing the bill I am mindful of its effect upon the rent control and sugar rationing programs which are so important to the welfare of the American people. I believe that a brief explanation of the bill is necessary so that the country may be fully aware of the danger in which it places these programs and what needs to be done to protect the public interest.

The Urgent Deficiency Bill requires the complete liquidation of the Office of Temporary Controls, which is now administering these programs, by June 30, 1947. The Congress has not, however, decided that rent control and sugar rationing are to end by that date. On the contrary, the Congress is now considering legislation to extend sugar rationing beyond March 31 and rent control beyond June 30, 1947.

Although I believe that the establishment of the Office of Temporary Controls was a prudent method of carrying through to the end these wartime controls and of effecting their rapid liquidation through keeping them in a temporary agency, my principal concern at this time is not what agency of the Government shall be entrusted with the administration of these programs. My present concern is that these programs be continued effectively until such time as they are no longer necessary.

I have already directed that the utmost economies be made in the administration of these programs, but I know it is not the intent of the Congress to cripple rent control and sugar rationing before the policy of the Congress is determined with regard to the extension of these programs. Accordingly, I have requested the Temporary Controls Administrator to continue these programs on an effective basis, with the expectation that the Congress will take further timely action on rent control and sugar rationing. Legislation to authorize continuation of these programs is now before the Congress and prompt action is urgently needed to insure continuity. If the programs are to be maintained with full effectiveness, the legislation should include authorization to make available to the new administering agencies for operating purposes such amounts as are necessary out of funds already appropriated.

The Urgent Deficiency Bill rescinds $2,400,000 from the appropriations to the Civilian Production Administration and requires the liquidation of that agency by June 30, 1947. In the light of this action, it is necessary for that agency to terminate its important activities in support of the Veterans' Emergency Housing Program by March 31, 1947. These functions include the limitation of nonresidential construction and increasing the production of critical building materials.

It is of the utmost importance that an effective housing program be continued. Moreover, it is clear that the Congress did not intend that these important functions be discontinued. Accordingly, I am issuing an order today transferring these functions to the Housing Expediter, who is authorized under existing law to carry them out. These few but essential controls will be continued by him as long as they are necessary and will be fully enforced.

Note: AS enacted, H.R. 1968 is Public Law 20, 80th Congress (61 Stat. 14).

Harry S. Truman, Statement by the President Upon Signing the Urgent Deficiency Appropriation Bill. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232840

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