Franklin D. Roosevelt photo

Veto of the Postal Substitutes' Bill.

April 30, 1934

To the House of Representatives:

I return herewith, without my approval, H. R. 7483 entitled, An Act to Provide Minimum Pay for Postal Substitutes. The bill is contrary to public policy in that it provides compensation to a certain class of employees regardless of the need for their services. It is discriminatory and establishes a precedent which, if followed, would undoubtedly lead to many abuses.

As a result of the depression, the postal business decreased to such an extent that the Department had no need for the services of thousands of its employees. By orderly processes, this surplus is being reduced without injustice to the personnel. During the period of declining business and with a surplus of regular employees, the Post Office Department had little or no need for the services of the substitutes, who are carried on the rolls for replacement purposes and to augment the regular forces in emergencies. However, at this time, the postal revenues are increasing and more work is being provided for the substitutes. Therefore, from a humanitarian standpoint, there appears to be no need for legislation of this character.

Aside from any consideration of conditions in the postal service with respect to its personnel, this appears to be a relief measure for a particular class of our citizens, and as such is clearly discriminatory.

This bill prohibits the Postmaster General from determining the needs of the postal service as to personnel in that it requires the Post Office Department to retain on its rolls all substitutes of record at this time. It fixes definitely the maximum number of substitutes that may be carried in certain groups, regardless of conditions, and is, therefore, not in the interest of good administration of the public business.

There is attached, the Postmaster General's statement which sets forth in detail the objections to this bill.

My disapproval of this measure is not based on the consideration of the additional expenditures it would require but on the deeper consideration of public policy. I trust that the Congress will continue to cooperate with me in our common effort to establish and follow policies that will be best for all of our people.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Veto of the Postal Substitutes' Bill. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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