The President's News Conference
THE PRESIDENT. I have no public statement to make. I have one or two matters of background.
EMERGENCY CONSTRUCTION APPROPRIATIONS
One item on the legislation passed yesterday in the Senate. 1 It is not for quotation--merely for your own information. The deletion of the President's authority to transfer from one item to another in that legislation relieves me of a great deal of responsibility, because I might otherwise become the center of public hearings as to sections, regions, and works. I had originally proposed, as you know, that a definite Cabinet committee should be set up for the purpose, but it will produce less actual employment in the next 6 months because it authorizes the appropriations to certain works. If it should turn out that preparations are not available in all of those cases, or any delays in any of the items mentioned, it would mean that the appropriation could not be applied. So it reduces the actual relief which we can give, to some measurable extent. The various items in the bill were proposed before the House committee as an indication of the works which the Government could undertake, rather than things that are not absolutely fixed and certain. So that undoubtedly the matter will be planed out in conference. I think it is a mistaken understanding of the purposes of that responsibility which the House committee had injected into the bill.
1 The administration initially submitted emergency requests totaling $151 million, but the House Appropriations Committee decided that only $110 million of these required immediate action. The Senate added another $8 million and, on December 11, passed H.R. 14804. Although this measure authorized the expenditure of $118 million for emergency public works, it refused to allow the President to transfer funds from one item to another. The House did not accept some of the Senate amendments and restrictions, and, on December 18, the Senate voted to restore the President's discretionary powers and to accept a compromise figure of $116 million. The President signed the legislation (Public No. 550; 46 Stat. 1030) on December 20, 1930.
The Red Cross Central Committee convened this week, and I was very much gratified at their undertaking to continue in the drought section. It is very important that we should keep the Red Cross at work in that area. They are organized in every county. They can take care of a vast amount of assistance that would not be covered by any legislation, and they do it with a sympathetic hand and a local understanding that will be invaluable. So that they have made a real contribution. If their funds are not sufficient to carry out their work, they are quite prepared to appeal to the country for further funds, and I have no doubt they can command whatever funds are necessary. That is indicated by the extraordinarily encouraging responses that the various distress committees, community chests, and unemployment relief committees in the various States are finding in their appeals. There has not been a single appeal that has not gone over the top earlier than usual and in larger sums. They are finding no difficulty in charity responses in any section of the country to take care of whatever situation arises there.
During this week I have had the men connected with the various relief committees, community chests, or whatever the local function may be, from Cleveland, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, Buffalo, Kansas City, and some of the smaller towns in to discuss their problems. And they have all given unqualified assurance that they are able to take care of their situations over the forthcoming winter. It is a tribute to the response which they have found from the public, and some to the ingenuity of the men who are managing these various occasions. But in any event, they are finding the problem less difficult than they had anticipated, and they are finding public response to be much better than they had any reason to anticipate.
That is all I have for this occasion.
Note: President Hoover's one hundred and sixtieth news conference was held in the White House at 4 p.m. on Friday, December 12, 1930.
The President met with the Central Committee of the American National Red Cross on Wednesday, December 10, 1930.
Herbert Hoover, The President's News Conference Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/210981