FACT AND FABLE FROM WASHINGTON

Jr, Robert M. La Follette

Fact and Fable from Washington By ROBERT M. LA FOLLETTE, JR. January 18,1921 Note: The purpose of this column will be to give the readers of La Follette's odds and ends of news and events in...

...THE so-called Nitrate Bill has been before the Senate for over two weeks...
...Much of the rumor and gossip often has no foundation in fact, but since it is such an "important" part of the daily life here I pass it along for your amusement and to help you to visualize the environment of "your" National Legislature.ŚR...
...Good, Bad, or Indifferent...
...and it was rumored about the Capitol that altho the Senator from Pennsylvania had .just returned from a long vacation enforced by illness, that his strength was sufficient to endow his embrace with the force that kills...
...M. L., Jr...
...This measure is a strange and peculiar mixture of good and bad features...
...Maintenance and repair being an item which can properly be charged off to operating expenses, it was possible, and there is no question that it has been done, to greatly increase the charges for repair work done in these shops, and under the guarantee provisions of the Esch-Cummins Law, this excessive charge must come out of the public treasury...
...THE past month has seen much activity on the part of the Congress to bring relief to the farmer, but sad to relate, altho there seems to be lots of relief, the lack of help is acute...
...At least two members of the committee who might have been supposed to be opposed to the extension of the time, were not even consulted or informed of the fact that the bill was to be reported...
...January 18,1921 Note: The purpose of this column will be to give the readers of La Follette's odds and ends of news and events in Washington from month to month, leavened by gossip and rumor which would reach their ears were they to be about the capital...
...By this time I am sure you have grasped the fact that most of the help for the farmer must come from almost any other place than Congress * * * Great Britain Puts Over Another One IT may interest you to know that Great Britain has not paid any interest on our loan to her since April, 1919, Secretary Glass having taken it upon himself to permit this lapse of interest after consulting with three members of the House Ways and Means Committee, they having agreed that the law gave him such power...
...Fairly reliable information says that the plan Messrs...
...that is, a sufficient number of the committee were asked concerning their position on this bill to secure a majority for its report...
...A Step in the Right Direction THERE has been reported from the Commit-tee on Military Affairs in the Senate a resolution instructing the Secretary of War to cease recruiting and reduce the Army to 175,000 men...
...A fair sa of their tactics was the introduction of en amendment by Senator Harrison to the farmer's tariff of the bill to codify the laws, which, by the way, is twelve hundred pages in length and about as germane to this measure as poetry is to mathematics...
...It was on this day that the so-called Poindexter anti-strike bill passed with only seven Senators on the floor, and upon the heels of the Poindexter bill there was this bill extending the time for one year of the going into effect of the provisions of Section 10 of the Clayton Act...
...Esch in his report laid stress on this letter as though it reflected the attitude of the entire commission...
...This measure passed the House only to be received with open arms by Senator Penrose, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance...
...There has been so much discussion of this project pro and con that one who has had to listen to much of it feels that it is not so important how the measure is disposed of just so it is finally taken from its position as the unfinished business of the Senate...
...In the House the bill passed with much the same methods of procedure, except that there was a committee meeting held to consider the bill...
...Since that time the veto has lain on the table, there apparently being no disposition on the part of the men who secured its passage to at-tempt to pass the bill over the President's veto...
...The cup-shaped tops of the extinct craters around Honolulu are known to act as collecting and storage reservoirs for immense amounts of water...
...To that extent it lessens the number of private munition manufacturers and war profiteers...
...Experts testifying before the Committee on Agriculture of the Senate, expressed it as their opinion that this plant and site could be sold for practically nothing...
...On the 9th of December, Senator Cummins reported the bill favorably without a written report, and it went to the calendar...
...Colby and Houston have is to allow Great Britain to pay one-thirtieth of this one billion and a half of defaulted interest per year for four years' and then one-fifteenth per year until it is paid...
...The Committee on Interstate Commerce of the Senate was not called together to consider this bill...
...I think the measure will pass by a large majority at 175,000, and there is more than a fair chance of its being reduced to 150,000...
...A great deal of this has been seeping out throught the sides of the former volcanic hills...
...How It Is Done ON December 7, Senator Cummins, of Iowa, introduced in the Senate a bill which was referred to the Committee on Interstate Commerce...
...It furthermore promises a cheap fertilizer for our depleted agricultural land...
...Now England is sending a clever diplomat, one Sir MacKenzie Dulzelle Chalmers, here to meet with Secretary Houston and the Secretary of State, Mr...
...While Honolulu has been experimenting with water, Hilo has been discussing the possibility of fire, as embodied in the great overactive volcano Kilauea, thirty miles from that city's door...
...This is the section of the Clayton Act which prevents the railroad companies from letting contracts for repair work to companies in which they have an interest or in which they hold offices, except that it be established by open bidding that such a company can perform the work more cheaply than anyone else...
...In spite of defects, it has great value as a new precedent...
...In other words, the officers of this administration, so lately repudiated at the polls and about to retire to the limbo of the defeated, proposes to enter into an agreement with Great Britain for the settlement of a matter which will take effect after 1922...
...That you might understand just exactly what is going on and why this measure was so important to the railroad companies, I want to explain that they have, for a period of months since the return of the roads to private management, been turning more and more of their repair business over to companies in which they are interested...
...A Senator about to vote on this bill, therefore, is confronted with the problem of either appropriating money in an effort to complete the plant and thereby secure some return upon the investment of 162 million dollars, or to vote against the bill and charge this tremendous item to profit and less...
...Then at the behest of Secretary Houston it was vetoed by the President only to be passed "the objections of the President to the contrary notwithstanding...
...Colby, to decide on the terms for the payment of this defaulted interest AFTER 1922...
...Houston, who has taken every occasion that offered to state that it would be a flat failure...
...Hilo, on the island of Hawaii, is raising a fund to tap the active volcano of Kilauea and utilize the tremendous volume of gases there for industrial and other purposes...
...Of course, one may easily undaf stand England's desire not to pay this interest until she has to, and then in as small driblets as possible because she has a war debt of thirty-five billion, but it is a little hard to understand the attitude of the Administration because we have a little item of debt ourselves which runs up into the twenties of billions of dollars...
...On December 16, the Senate took up, under Rule 8, the calendar...
...For you must understand that the tariff is the first opportunity for log rolling we have, and what might the result be to the high duties on manufactured products and basic raw materials which business demands, if the farmers got all they needed now...
...On the other hand, one hears stories of the wasteful use of money at Muscle Shoals which equal, if not surpass, those of Hog Island...
...This interest amounts to four hundred and seventy million dollars per year, and as he permit-mitted the interest to lapse until 1922, it is the same as though he had loaned to Great Britain a billion and a half of the people's dollars without interest...
...Even the friends of the farmer, the real friends I mean, have little hope that this measure will afford any help because it must be administered by Mr...
...Under this rule bills are only taken up for action when there is no objection to their consideration...
...They, of course, are deprived of a part of the golden harvest which is reaped quadrennially from the visitors at inauguration time...
...Already $1,500 has been subscribed to the fund for experiments at Kilauea and this, it is hoped, soon will be swelled to the $5,000 necessary to do preliminary work.Ś Exchange...
...I have recited this rather lengthy story in order that you might see how easy it is to slip measures through the Congress when they are in the interests of special privilege...
...On the 26th of December, the President's veto message came in, and it dropped like a bombshell among the members of the Interstate Commerce Committee, who, I have no doubt, were congratulating themselves on having slipped this important measure through...
...It provides government ownership lor the manufacture of nitrogen as a munition of war...
...At that meeting the bill was said to be merely a routine matter, and a letter was produced from the legislative committee of the Interstate Commerce Commission, setting forth that the legislative committee saw no objection to the passage of the bill...
...The committee was polled...
...Recently the Honolulu water works department went prospecting for new sources of supply, decided to bore into the side of Palola crater and when the boring was completed obtained a rush of sparkling water that totaled 1,500,000 gallons the first day and then jumped to 2,000,000 gallons daily...
...Nearly 162 million dollars have been spent on this project and it is not completed...
...This bill provided for the extension of one year's time before Section 10 of the Clayton Act should go into effect...
...A Blow to the Washington Hotel Banditti PRESIDENT-ELECT HARDING'S action, in indicating his desire for a simple inauguration, coming as it did, on the heels of Senators Borah and Norris' fight for a less extravagant appropriation for inaugural expenses, is, I think, receiving general approbation, except among the Washington business and hotel men...
...The bill apparently has been very little considered in committee, and it is common knowledge that it has not drawn in the committee, but at the War Department...
...Hawaii Uses Volcanoes THE volcanoes of Hawaii, whether dead or alive, are working for, or going to be made to work for, the people...
...A determined fight is being made by the progressives to reduce this figure to 150,000...
...First of all, we had the joint resolution reviving the War Finance Corporation, which had most of its teeth extracted by the painless method in the Senate, passed after much discussion...
...The gossips said that the wise leader of the Grand Old Party in the Senate was not going to allow the chocolate coating of the real tariff bill to be passed at the extra session to be licked off by the farmers now...
...Honolulu has just tapped the extinct crater of Palola, overlooking the city, and is getting therefrom 2,000,000 gallons of drinking water daily...
...Scientists declare that its pent up gases have limitless possibilities from an industrial and power standpoint, while they also contain all the food elements necessary to sustain the human bodyŚcarbon, nitrogen, hydrogen and lime...
...The bill having gone to the President, every effort was made to secure a veto...
...It has since developed that there is much dissension in the commission on this question...
...Next on the program of first aid to the injured farmer is the emergency tariff bill imposing high duties on the farm produce, said by its friends to be a panacea for all the present ills which prevail in the farm markets...
...The Democrats in the Senate are fighting the measure too on the ground of party policy...
...A brief was filed by the International Association of Machinists, setting forth the milking process which was going on due to the extension of Section 10 of the Clayton Act and Senator La Follette addressed his first letter in four years to the President...

Vol. 13 • January 1921 • No. 1


 
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