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The President's News Conference

March 08, 1932

WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENTS' ASSOCIATION DINNER

THE PRESIDENT. I hear from all sides fine compliments on the entertainment which you gentlemen provided the other night--the most distinguished dinner that has been had in Washington of its character. 1

1 The President referred to the association's 10th annual dinner, held in the Willard Hotel on March 5, 1932. The President was guest of honor.

EFFORTS TO BALANCE THE BUDGET

The administrative officials of the Government are cooperating with the special Economy Committee in the House in a general drive to bring about very drastic economies in Federal expenditure. You will recollect that the budget sent to the Congress showed a reduction of expenditure during the next fiscal year as compared to this fiscal year by about $365 million. The House Appropriations Committee has reduced the amounts of the bills so far reported out by about $112 million. Of this, however, between $60 million and $70 million is a deferment until the deficiency bills in the next session. So that related to matters that are positive obligations of the Government and to that extent they won't help us so much with the actual expenditures in the fiscal year.

So that in order to meet the requirements of the Ways and Means Committee that the expenditures should be reduced by $125 million in order to balance the budget, in the steps which they propose under the tax program, still further cuts will have to be made. There is very little room left for reductions on the administrative side as indicated by the fact that in dealing with something over 30 billions of total expenditure, the House committee has not been able to find opportunities for reduction of more than $112 million, of which, as I say, some 60 or 70 millions is deferments. So that further economies have to be brought about by changing the fundamental authorizations of Congress, either by reorganization of the Federal machinery or a change in the legal requirements as to the conduct of the departments.

In that line the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs proposed to the special House Economy Committee changes in the law relating to allowances and pensions, et cetera, in their administration which would produce economies between 50 and 60 millions a year in the Veterans' Bureau. The Postmaster General has placed before the committee changes in the legal requirements of the Post Office which would bring about a very considerable amount. The Secretary of Agriculture has suggested certain changes in the laws in relation to the agricultural department's expenditures, and the heads of all the other departments are canvassing the Government from that point of view as to what changes in fundamental legal requirements could be made.

That, of course, is in addition to the proposals which I sent up for economies through reorganization of the Federal structure itself. So that I believe that the Committee on Economy through these avenues and the reorganization can find a large area for economy and will be able to find the amount necessary to balance the budget. And there is nothing more important than the balancing of the budget with the very least increase in taxes. The Federal Government should be in such a position that after the first of July we will not be required to issue any further Government securities in order to keep the Government going. That becomes of vital importance, of course, to business and to agriculture and employment because it gives assurance to the country that the Government will keep out of the money market and allow business and agriculture to use the available capital of the country. So that I cannot too much overemphasize the importance and the able nonpartisan effort being made by both the Economy Committee of the House and the Ways and Means Committee, whose work naturally complements each other.

RECONSTRUCTION FINANCE CORPORATION

I have a matter here of background--of information that I can give you, in answer to questions. I do not particularly care to make this sort of announcement from the White House, but I like to accommodate you with information where I can.

It is as to the character of the business that has been undertaken by the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. The loans so far undertaken to banks, trust companies, building and loan and other financial institutions, as provided in the act, amounts in round numbers to $61,800,000. This includes 255 different institutions, the great majority of them being country banks. The loans made to railroads amount to $47 million. A very considerable part of this $47 million will be repaid at an early date by the Railway Credit Corporation as fast as its revenues come in. Advances have been made by the Reconstruction Finance Corporation pending the revenues which, under the Interstate Commerce Commission increase of rates, are payable into the Railway Credit Corporation, and they have not, as yet, cash to meet certain obligations and are being helped out by the Reconstruction Finance Corporation temporarily. The money placed at the disposal of agriculture through Secretary Hyde and the intermediate credit banks amounts to $75 million. So that the Corporation has dealt with a total of about $183 million of loans.

And that is all I have got today.

Q. Mr. President, have you the number of railroads that have been loaned to?

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't--probably can get it for you.

Note: President Hoover's two hundred and thirty-seventh news conference was held in the White House at 12 noon on Tuesday, March 8, 1932.

On the same day, the White House issued texts of the President's statements on efforts to balance the budget (see Item 77) and the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (see Item 78).

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/208479

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