Franklin D. Roosevelt

Veto of New York World's Fair Appropriation.

May 19, 1937

To the House of Representatives:

I return herewith, without my approval, House Joint Resolution 304, entitled "Joint Resolution Authorizing Federal participation in the New York World's Fair 1939."

The disapproval on my part springs from two causes.

The first reason is the amount of the appropriation. I have been fully advised of the importance of the World's Fair and celebration to. be held in the City of New York during the year 1939. I have given full support and encouragement to the plans for holding this Exposition. Nevertheless, in view of the efforts of the Congress and the Administration to bring Federal expenditures within the scope of Federal revenues as rapidly as possible, I am compelled to conclude that the sum of $5,000,000, proposed to be appropriated by the Federal Government, is excessive. Consultation with Executive Departments leads me to believe that a sum definitely smaller would be sufficient to provide adequate representation of the Federal Government at the World's Fair in New York City in 1939.

The second reason is equally compelling. The Joint Resolution establishes a Commission to be known as the United States New York World's Fair Commission, to be composed of the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Labor, the Chairman and the ranking majority and the ranking minority member of the Committee on Commerce of the United States Senate, the two United States Senators from the State of New York and the Chairman and the ranking majority and the ranking minority member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives. It is proposed that this Commission shall appoint a Commissioner General and that the latter shall appoint two assistants, with the approval of the Commission. The Commission shall prescribe the duties of the Commissioner General, delegate powers and functions to him, appoint clerks, etc., fix their salaries, purchase materials, contract for labor and services, and in general conduct, either directly or by delegation, all of the administrative functions of the Government of the United States in the expenditure of the appropriation authorized.

In other words, the Commission composed in greater part of members of the two Houses of the Congress is specifically given complete administrative authority for the expenditure of public funds.

I have consulted with the Attorney General of the United States and am advised by him as follows:

In my opinion those provisions of the Joint Resolution establishing a Commission composed largely of members of the Congress and authorizing them to appoint a United States Commissioner General and two Assistant Commissioners for the New York World's Fair, and also providing for the expenditure of the appropriation made by the Resolution and for the administration of the Resolution generally amount to an unconstitutional invasion of the province of the executive.

I shall be glad at any time to furnish a copy of the complete opinion of the Attorney General to the Congress.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Veto of New York World's Fair Appropriation. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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