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The President's News Conference

April 24, 1931

THE BUDGET

THE PRESIDENT. At the Cabinet meeting this morning, its session was devoted to the consideration of expenditure for the next fiscal year. They had before them the compilations of the budget on a functional basis as has been customary for the last 2 years, and I thought perhaps you might want to see it.

If you will look at it you will see that the expenditures for the present fiscal year are about $4,435 million as compared with $4,994 [$3,994] million for the last fiscal year and $4,119 million for the next fiscal year, that is the appropriations for the next fiscal year. And in all of these tables the Post Office is included only as to the deficit--not as to the working expenditure or working basis.

The budget for by the increased employment and the whole of these years, of course, is greatly increased expenditures on construction work, in relief of unrelief to agriculture, and by the increase in expenditures on veterans, and as against that there have been some reductions of expenditures in other directions.

The heading of "Public Buildings and Public Works," this item 31, which amounts to $434 million for this present fiscal year and $458 million for the next fiscal year includes the highways, but it does not include the construction expenditures of the Army and Navy or military structures. It does not include the merchant marine loans to the Shipping Board or construction for aviation and park improvements and other minor items. Those are distributed by the budget over other items.

A total of all construction work including these items are now progressing, as you know, at the rate of about $725 million a year or somewhere about $500 million a year in excess of the rate under predepression conditions.

The expenditure shown as aids to agriculture is item no. 26. The total for this year of $341 million includes farm relief and Farm Board expenditures, together with the other expenditures of the Department of Agriculture, but does not include the highways, which is under "Public Works."

The expenditures on veterans' relief, which appear in items 11 and 12 show an increase for this fiscal year of about $190 million, but that includes $112 million of normal payment on the bonus fund, which was advanced by Congress from the next fiscal year budget for the present fiscal year. The statement does not cover the loans made on the bonus. They are represented there in the budget as $112 million a year of regular payments into that account. The loans on the certificates necessarily affect Treasury business, and for your information, General Hines informs me that the new loans made under the recent law, together with those already outstanding under the old law, now amount to $912 million. And in addition to this, the applications in hand which they have not yet reached amount to about $140 million more, making a total expenditure already in sight on loans to veterans on the bonus certificates of something about $1,050 million. Of course, the applications are still coming in. That latter figure corroborates the estimates we made at the time the act was passed.

I have no doubt you might find something in here that may be of interest to you. I cannot add much more to it.

QUESTIONS

Q. Mr. President, is there anything in there--I am trying to figure out on what the deficit was based. Did you get the deficit by taking $4,119 million from $4,435 million ?

THE PRESIDENT. No, this is wholly expenditures. There are no receipts. We are not able to make any calculation on receipts or revenues. This relates solely to the expenditures.

Q. Mr. President, the June 30, 1931, expenditures are represented as estimates. Aren't they amounts already appropriated ?

THE PRESIDENT. These budget matters of appropriation or expenditure do not always run accurately with appropriations. Of course, we are always striving to get below the appropriations where we can do it without injuring the major purpose of the appropriations themselves. The estimate for June 1931 would be as at the middle of this month, so there are 2½ months to run, and therefore, they are given as estimates rather than the actual fact.

Q. Mr. President, there is considerable of a cut there as between the figures for 1931 and 1932. Could you indicate where the economies come in?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, you can run down between '31 and '32--public debt charges are much the same--about $8 million increase. The War Department expenditure shows a decrease of $12 million. The Navy Department shows an increase of about $25 million. The veterans' services show a decrease of $203 million. A good part of that is due to the shift, however, of $112 million from next year into this year. Then there is a decrease of about $10 million in the estimated postal deficit. There is a decrease in agricultural aids from $341 million to $160 million showing thereby a saving there of about $180 million.

Q. Mr. President, that saving on agriculture--is that doing away with State assistance?

THE PRESIDENT. No, it has to do with the appropriations for farm relief. I think the appropriations were $200 million or thereabouts in the present fiscal year and $100 million for next year, and the drought relief is in this year's budget and not in next year's.

Q. Mr. President, on the items of veterans' relief. You said that the loans would amount to $1,050 million ultimately. How is that $112 million in that accounted for ? How do we account for that ?

THE PRESIDENT. Those are loans. They have to be arranged by corresponding loans from the Treasury.

Q. Will it appear, Mr. President, in the figure in the debt ?

THE PRESIDENT. It will be in the figure in the debt.

Q. Mr. President, am I right in believing that General Hines estimated that $1 billion would be the total required ?

THE PRESIDENT. His estimate was that the total would be a minimum of $1 billion.

Q. That includes past loans ?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, it is $1,050 million.

Q. Isn't there $700 million in the Treasury to meet that ?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, the previous annual payments for the bonus will aggregate about $750 million as I recollect--something about that figure. When it is paid out of cash it has to be borrowed from somewhere.

Q. Mr. President, is there any comparison between this 1932 expenditure and the amount appropriated by Congress for this purpose?

THE PRESIDENT. These are based upon appropriations.

Q. These are actual appropriations?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes.

Q. Mr. President, what big general lesson would you draw from these figures ?

THE PRESIDENT. Nothing but public information.

Q. These figures indicate that the fiscal year 1932 will be less than that for June 1931 ?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, and with the constant striving to reduce expenditures wherever we can, we are going into the necessary aid to unemployment, agriculture, et cetera--we may get it even less than this.

Q. You do not estimate any unusual expenditure to narrow that gap ?

THE PRESIDENT. No, unless we get it from Congress.

Note: President Hoover's one hundred and eighty-eighth news conference was held in the White House at 4 p.m. on Friday, April 24, 1931.

On the same day, the White House issued a text of the President's statement on the Federal budget (see Item 148).
Frank T. Hines was Administrator of Veterans' Affairs.

A copy of the question and answer portion of the news conference, as revised by the President, is available for examination at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library.

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/212292

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