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•Mr. CRAMTON. I want the g 'ntleman from Tennessee [Mr. Bykns] to understand I did not have him in mind.
Mr. JAMES. Mr. Speaker, reserving the right to object, I may suggest to the chairman of the committee before asking unanimous consent to extend the time for general debate, we find out from the ones who are going to filibuster on the bill whether or not in case consideration of the Muscle Shoals bill is not concluded to-day we may have to-morrow for its consideration under unanimous consent; and if that is objected to, then a.sk for Friday, and if that is objected to, then ask for Saturday, and the committee will then know how far the filibusterers are going in their opposition to the bill. We do not want to have anybody play any hocus pocus with us.
Mr. BTRNS. May I say to the gentleman, with the permission of the gentleman frern Pennsylvania, I hardly think it ia fair to bold those who are desirous of presenting what we believe are thoroughly sound views upon this bill responsible for what some one else may do.
Mr. FREAR. If the gentleman will yield, would the gentleman be willing to have* the bill destroyed because some people want to talk about it or would the gentleman be willing to vote upon the bill at a particular hour to-morrow or to-day?
Mr. BYRNH. That, of course, is not for me to determine. What I am asking is not for myself but for those who have some views to present to the House, and I think the House should hear them. I think every Member of this House should he interested in having these views presented and I do not think extending general debate one hour is going to militate aguinst a final vote of the bill.
Mr. FREAR. Will the gentleman yield for the purpose of having a motion put that a vote shall he had to-night at some hour upon the conclusion of debate?
Mr. I5YRNS. I think it will probably take more than to-day to consider the bill, but I see no reason why H should not be concluded in two days, so far as I am personally concerned.
Mr. FREAR. I am just suggesting this.
Mr. CRAMTON. Reserving the right to object, if the House could understand that it is the policy of those who are responsible for the order of business in the House to complete the consideration of this bill. I believe it would save a lot of time to the House. I think this would discourage any waste of time in useless roll calls, and I would be glad if the gentleman from New York, the chairman of the Committee on Rules, or the gentleman from Connecticut, the majority floor lender, would give the House some assurance that would insure the completion of the consideration of this bill if that is possible.
Mr. TILSON. So far as I am concerned, I will say to (he gentleman that I thought there were some other things that ought to be considered ahead of this proposition, and therefore in making up the program, so far as I could determine it, this bill was either left to its rights under Calendar Wednesday or to follow some other bills that I have thought were more important than this one.
Mr. CRAMTON. This would perhaps he pertinent at this time: What would be the attitude of the gentleman from Connecticut toward a continuous session until at least 11 o'clock to-night if there seemed to be any disposition to waste time?
Mr. SNELL. That is a matter in the control of the House, anyway.
Mr. TILSON. So far as I am personally concerned, I should not lend encouragement to an attempt to hold the House in session for any such time as that indicated by the gentleman from Michigan.
Mr. CRAMTON. It is true the House has it in its disposal
Mr. TILSON (interposing). Absolutely; there is no question about that.
Mr. CRAMTON. But the position of the gentleman from Connecticut and the position of the gentleman from New York is very persuasive, and unless there is some word of assurance that there will be late sessions to meet the necessity of a filibuster, or that there will be given a rule for completion of the bill, I can foresee a lot of time wasted.
Mr. TILSON. The gentleman knows very well that there is another day to which this committee will be entitled.
Mr. CRAMTON. But if there should be a resolution for adjournment at any such date as the papers have mentioned, then next Wednesday ceases to be a Calendar Wednesday.
Mr. LINTHICl'M. If the gentleman will permit, I want to say to the gentleman, there have been several Members here who have spoken about a filibuster.
I presume they are referring to me. I want to say that it is not my purpose to filibuster, but this means ruin to my city, and I intend to have it considered by a quorum. If that is lese majesty I am guilty. I think the bill is of sufficient importance to be considered by the whole Congress.
Mr. WINGO. Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the chairman of the committee a question. The bill as reported from the committee strikes out, as I understand, the Senate bill and substitutes a new bill entirely. That lioing true, when the bill passes the House and goes to conference, the conferees will have complete jurisdiction over the whole subject matter, and can bring back an entirely new bill if they see fit to do so. I think all will agree to that. That being true, is it not evident to Members here that the real contest is going to come on what tlie conferees bring in here after the election? If it is assured that (he conferees will report "before we adjourn I shall l>e willing to sit here in a night session, but I have mi more idea that the particular provisions of the bill that will pass the House will become law. or that any bill will become law before election, than I have that I shall fly without using an airplane.
Mr. MORIN. I want to assure the gentleman that we will do everything we can to have the bill agreed on in conference before adjournment.
Mr. WIXGO. But it will not rest with the gentleman. I predict this bill will be held in conference until after the election, and then wholly different provisions will be submitted la us by the conference committee.
Mr. JAMES. I want to assure the gentleman that if I am one of the conferees I shall do the best I can to get a re[>ort and have it agreed upon before adjournment.
Mr. WINGO. I appreciate the gentleman's good intentions, but 1 doubt if the gentleman has the power to control the Senate conferees.
Mr. LAGT'ARDIA. What would the gentleman from Arkansas suggest?
Mr. WINGO. I would suggest that there be no filibuster, and no night sessions, and that we consider this bill in the usual way, realizing that the real contest will come when the conference report comes in. What it will contain no one can predict, so why worry and wear ourselves out with night sessions on this particular phase of the controversy?
The SPEAKER. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Pennsylvania that the time for debate be extended one hour?
Mr. MORIN. Mr. Speaker, has my request been acceded to to have one day more to-morrow?
The SPEAKER. The Chair has not put that yet. The Chair will put that first. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Pennsylvania that if the bill is not completed to-day, that on to-morrow it will be in order to take up Calendar Wednesday business?
Mr. HOUSTON of Delaware. I object.
Mr. MORIN. Mr. Speaker. I ask unanimous consent that if we do not complete the Muscle Shoals bill to-day we may have the next day on Friday.
The SPEAKER. The gentleman from Pennsylvania asks unanimous consent that if the bill is not completed to-day that it may be in order to take it up next Friday as of Calendar Wednesday. Is there objection?
Mr. LIXTHICUM and Mr. GRAHAM objected.
Mr. MORIN. Sir. Speaker, I a.sk unanimous consent that if we do not complete the Muscle Shoals bill to-day we may take it up on Saturday as of Calendar Wednesday.
The SPEAKER. The gentleman from Pennsylvania asks unanimous consent that if the Muscle Shoals bill is not completed to-day it may be in order to take it u-i on Saturday as of Calendnr Wednesday. Is there objection.
Mr. O'CONNOR of Louisiana. I object.
Mr. MORIN. Mr. Speaker, I withdraw my request for additional time for debate.
Mr. SNELL. Mr. Speaker, I wish to make a unanimonsconsent request for the orderly consideration of this bill. The bill before us is a Senate bill, and the committee have stricken out everything after the enacting clause, substituting a new bill. That practically is the same condition that, existed when we considered the farm relief bill and the merchant marine bill. But that condition was provided for under a special rule of the House.
In order to give this bill the same consideration, under the same conditions, I make the following unanimous-consent request: That the substitute for the purpose of amendment shall be considered under the five-minute rule as an original bill; that at the conclusion of such consideration the committee shall rise and report, the bill to the House, the committee substitute and amendments, and tliut any Member may demand a separate vote in the House on any amendment adopted in Committee of the Whole.
Mr. JAMES. Mr. Speaker, reserving the right to object, those particular bills were under a special rule from the Committee on Kules. Can the gentleman assure us thnt we will have an opportunity to finish on the two Calendar Wednesdays?
Mr. SNELL. Mr. Speaker, I shall answer the question in two ways. As far as my unanimous-consent request is concerned, it is made entirely for the gentleman's benefit. It does not make any difference to me whether it is grunted or not. It is made in order to help the committee to an intelligent and orderly consideration of the bill.
In regard to the other question, as fur as I am personally concerned, I am glad the gentleman lias asked me that question. I am not in favor of the present bill, but it is here before the House in a concrete form, the first time that we have had any proposition before the House denling witli this subject. As far as 1 am personally concerned, 1 hope the House gives careful attention to it and considers it and disposes of it in the next two days. | Applause.] There is ample time to consider this bill fully, and it is entirely within the control of the committee and the Members of the House how long they will sit here each night. The gentleman does not have to ask unanimous consent of anybody to accomplish that purpose. If the Members who are interested iu the passing of this legislation remain here, they can hold the House in session until 12 o'clock at night without the consent of anyone. It is my desire to have Ik) delays whatever, but to give strict attention to the passage of the bill. If we do that and work honestly, we can pass the hill in two days.
Mr. CRAMTON. Mr. Speaker, reserving the right to object, does the gentleman's request include the provision in the rules on the other bills mentioned that the entire substitute shall be held to be germane'/
Mr. SNELL. No; it does not provide anything ahout germaneness. My request is made simply for the purpose of orderly consideration.
Mr. CRAMTON. If orderly consideration only is desired, would not the gentleman include that request with his other request?
Mr. SNELL. I am perfectly willing to do that if it is desired to have, it done.
Mr. CRAMTON. So fur as I know it is all germane, but it would remove any question.
Tlie SPEAKER. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from New York [Mr. Snell]?
Mr. ABERNETHY. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the right to object.
Mr. O'CONNOR of Louisiana. Mr. Speaker, I object.
The SPEAKER. The gentleman from Louisiana objects. The bill is on the Union Calendar. The House will automatically resolve itself into the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union for the consideration of Senate Joint Resolution 46, providing for the completion of Uam No. 2 and the steam plant at nitrate plant No. 2 in the vicinity of Muscle Shoals for the manufacture and distribution of fertilizer, and for other purposes, and the gentleman from Minnesota [Mr. Newton] will take 41ie chair.
Mr. UNTHICUM. Mr. Speaker, I raise the question of consideration.
The SPEAKER. The gentleman from Maryland raises the question of consideration. The question is, Shall the House consider the joint resolution?
The question was taken, and the House decided to consider the joint resolution.
Accordingly the House resolved itself into the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union for the consideration of Senate Joint Resolution 46, with Mr. Newton in the chair.
The CHAIRMAN. The Clerk will report the joint resolution by title.
The Clerk read the title of the joint resolution.
Mr. LAGUARDIA. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent that the further reading of the joint resolution be dispensed with.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there objection?
Mr. O'CONNOR of Louisiana. Mr. Chairman, I object.
The CHAIRMAN. The Clerk will read the joint resolution.
The Clerk read the joint resolution.
The CHAIRMAN. Under the rule, the Chair will recognize the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. Mown], chairman of the committee, for one hour. Is there any member of the minority of the committee who desires recognition in opposition to the bill?
Mr. FROTHINGHAM. Mr. Chairman, there are several who are opposed to the bill on this side.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there members of the majority of the committee who are opposed to the bill?
Mr. RANSLEY. Mr. Chairman, I am the ranking member on the majority side of the Committee on Military Affairs and am opposed to the bill. I claim the time in opposition to the bill.
The CHAIRMAN. In default of anyone from the minority of the committee seeking recognition in opposition to the bill, the Chair will recognize the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. Ransley] for one hour in opposition to the bill.
Mr. O'CONNOR of Louisiana. Mr. Chairman, do I understand if there is no one on the committee on the minority side who is opposed to the bill that it is not in order for anyone else on the minority side of the House who is opposed to the bill to have control of the time in opposition to it?
The CHAIRMAN. The custom and practice is to recognize members of the committee who are opposed to the bill, first civing recognition to those on the minority of the committee. In default of anyone there claiming time, then it is the practice to recognize members of the majority side, members of the committee, who are opposed to the bill.
Mr. MORIN. Mr. Chairman, I yield 10 minutes to the gentleman from Mississippi [Mr. Quin].
Mr. QUIN. Mr. Chairman, we are a little late getting started on this program for the American farmer. I trust that his friends will stay on this floor during the consideration of this bill. [Applause.] There is no use iu fooling ourselves. We have been confronted, I am sorry to say, with opposition for the purpose of obstructing n reasonable and fair consideration of this important measure. No rule has been provided by the machinery iu control of the House under which to consider the bill. We call it up under our right on Calendar Wednesday from the Committee on Military Affairs. We have not the time to debate this measure fully, as only one hour is provided for the opponents and one hour for the proponents of the measure, which, in my judgment, is n measure that is vitally progressive for the benefit of agriculture iu this country.
For many years Congress has endeavored to pass some kind of legislation which will be satisfactory for the operation of the Government plant at Muscle Shoals. Nothing has been done. Finally, in desperation, our committee has brought forward what I believe to be a splendid bill. I believe that under it. we will really produce fertilizer. Of course, if there is any gentleman here who is fearful about the Government operating the great plant through a corporation, though it be not through choice but through necessity, then he might find fault with the legislation.
1 do not think that the manufacturers of fertilizers in the United States relish this bill very much, and the reason why they are not enthusiastic for this measure is that they know it will produce fertilizer.
I have not the time to tell you what the bill really means, but in a few years, stripping off the extraneous matter, $10.000,000 is to be put by the United States Government into this corporation to function for the siiecific purpose of utilizing that power that cost us $40,000.000 in the construction of the dam; to turn it into plant food to go out to the farms of the United States and enable the farmers of this country to feed and clothe the American people.
We have in this measure provided for a corporation to operate the plant, the same as we have a corporation to operate the Panama Railroad in connection with the Panama Canal, and the same as the Shipbuilding Corporation of the United States; nothing radical, yet a progressive, sound business measure, of which no one complains except those with whose business it would interfere in a competitive way.
I do not want to interfere with a single legitimate business in the United States. This measure is intended to produce 2.000.000 tons of fertilizer, if the plant is ruu at full capacity; 40,000 tons of nitrate, to put it in a form to be distributed to the farmers in a sensible, sound way; to farmers represented by organizations in any county or any State through those representing them or through any group of farmers, and then directly to the State itself, or, in addition to the State itself, the fertilizer merchant and the ingredients to fertilizer factories. By this measure the fertilizer is to be distributed throughout the Territories as well as the States of this Republic.
This bill also provides that concentrated fertilizers shall be produced in order to save freight rates—fertilizers which the consumer must mix and use on his land in order to bring forth crops and get the fertilizer at the lowest expense. Do you not believe it will he made in a cheap manner?
Tliis bill provides that the capital employed shall be $10,000,000, in installments of ,$100.000 each, until the whole $10,000.000 shall be put into the operating fund. The bill also provides that no salaries shall be paid except to executive officers to handle that business and to the employees producing the fertilizer, the fertilizer to be produced without profit. And in addition a subsidy by way of the excess power that will be sold, the proceeds to be used in the manufacture of fertilizer.
Is there any man in the United States who doubts that fertilizer will be produced in a cheap and reasonable manner? Is there any man who doubts that this is necessary? The people of the United States have borne the burden of high-priced fertilizer all these years. One reason is that we h:ive to get our nitrogen down in Chile and our potash from the Black Forest in Germany.
The cost of ammonia has been high. The essential ingredients and elements of all plant food come too high. The fertilizer factories themselves for these essential ingredients have been charged exorbitant prices, and in the natural order of business they are compelled to pass it on to the consumer, who is the farmer, and he must pay the price that is charged for these necessary and essential elements that must go on the soil In order to produce reasonable crops.
Our people from one end of this country to the other have realized the necessity of something being done for fertilizer production. You have a measure now before you that guarantees fertilizer at a reasonable price. This bill, if we finally make the entire 40,000 tons of product, will make 2,000.000 of the total 8,000,000, which the private factories are grinding out.
Why is a discrimination made against the people of the United States in carrying out the purposes of the national defense act? One purpose of that act was to produce explosives and munitions for use in time of war, and it was the intention also that in time of pence this plant should operate in a sane and sensible manner for the benefit of agriculture by producing fertilizer. The President of the United States in his message last December set forth the facts to justify this bill. However, he outlined three different schemes, and wound up by saying this plant should l>e dedicated to agriculture. That is what this committee has done, and no man on this floor need deceive himself. If he votes against this bill he can not stand up before Intelligent farmers in the United States and make those farmers believe he is their friend. No man need fool himself. .
This measure has in it the essential elements that will enable the Government to furnish fertilizer at a reasonable price, and every fertilizer manufacturer in the United States knr>ws that, and that is the reason why gentlemen here, representing that sentiment, are insisting on a quorum during the consideration of this bill, because they know the bill is going to produce fertilizer at a reasonable price for the farmers of this Republic. [Applause. 1
The CHAIRMAN. The time of the gentleman from Mississippi has expired. The gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. Ransley] is recognized for one hour.
Mr. RANSLEY. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself five minutes.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Pennsylvania is recognized for five minutes.
Mr. RANSLEY. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, if the bill now before the committee becomes a law it will be the duty of the United States to advance the necessary capital, to operate the plant at Muscle Shoals, sell fertilizer and power, if any Is surplus, and stand the losses.
Under the provisions of this bill a $10.000,000 corporation is formed, which is only the beginning of unlimited expenditure of the people's money. Its enactment will strike the first great blow, in time of pence, against individual initiative in this country. Surely this bill is socialistic.
This country has grown great because of the policy of the Government in protecting and encouraging its industries. Cut this bill forces the Government into the fertilizer business In competition with private industry. President Coolidge in a recent speech had this to say:
When the Government once enters a business it must occupy the field nlone, no one can compete with it. The result is a paralyzing monopoly.
The process for the manufacture of fertilizer with which Muscle Shoals is equipped, is pronounced by experts as obsolete. It is considered the most expensive method in the production of fertilizer in the world.
The business of the manufacture of fertilizer is to-day in a state of flux, all manufacturers believing the business will be greatly changed overnight. This thought was indorsed by the experts from the Department of Agriculture who appeared before the committee.
Under the provisions of this bill, for the first five years fertilizer is to be sold at cost or given away—after that period the basis for determining I he price to be charged is in no case to consider p;ist expenditure at the Shoals, which amounts to $124.000.000.
The bill also authorized the expenditure of $37,000,000 for a new dam.
The vested rights of the State of Tennessee are ignored, whicn means litigation.
The files of the Patent Office are opened to this Government corporation. The patent laws are swept aside.
Litigation will follow this, and private research will be discouraged.
At present the Government receives nn annual rental for tl'e water power at the shoals of $1.2r>0.000. This will be lost.
If you p:iss this bill, you discourage, if not destroy, a manufacturing business employing many men and millions of capital. At the same time remembering, that unless farmers can be induced to buy fertilizer in concentrated form, only those within normal shipping distance from the shoals will be benefited, for freight rates will prevent most of us from receiving the fertilizer.
We will, however, be compelled to pay the salary of the meml>ers of the board, the managers, the foremen, the chemists, attorneys, bookkeepers, agents, and laborers. This means an army of officeholders.
The people's money will be diverted for a special class. This, I contend, is socialistic. In this wonderful country of oi,rs, I ask you. are we facing a world gone mad? f Applause. 1
The CHAIRMAN. The time of the gentleman from Pennsylvania has expired.
Mr. RANSLEY. Mr. Chairman. I yield 10 minutes to the gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. Frotiu.ngiiam].
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Massachusetts is recognized for 10 minutes.
Mr. FROTHINGIIAM. Mr. Chairman. I hope everyone will be able to read this bill and realize what it does. We h.-ive had the Muscle Shoals proposition with us for a considerable time, and nobody wants it settled more than I do. I am on (lie committee which has had this proposition In-fore it for a number of years. Some years ago the Ford bill was passed by the House and knocked down in the Senate. This bill not only puts the Government in business and creates a $10,000.000 corporation but it also goes far iK-yond anything for which Muscle Shoals was started.
Under the national defense act of 191G Muscle Shoals was to l>e given over for the production of nitrates needed for munitions of war and useful in the manufacture of fertilizers and other useful products. This bill not only provides for the manufacture of nitrates but it goes far beyond the cyanamide process or anything else, because it provides for the manufacture of complete fertilizers.
Mr. WRIGHT. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. FROTHINGHAM. I have only a limited time, and if I can yie'd later I will be glad to do so. I have only 10 minutes.
Mr. WRIGHT. Does the gentleman contend that the provisions of the national defense act provide for the production of nitrates only?
Mr. FROTHINGIIAM. I read the provision, and I said nitrates useful in the manufacture of fertilizers. The bill not only provides for the production of nitrates by a process which is obsolete at Muscle Shoals, the cyanamide process, but it also provides for the manufacture of complete fertilizers. That is the whole point of this hill. The fertilizer i>eople, I suppose, would not object if it were a question of nitrates or if it were a question of investigations which will help everybody. But since Muscle Shoals was built the expert opinion that we had before the committee—not in relation to this bill, because this bill never had a hearing before the committee, and that is the outrageous part of it—was that the Muscle Shoals process was the most expensive. This bill was never given a hearing before our committee, and if that is the way to pass legislation it is foreign to anything I have ever seen in any legislative body I have ever heard of.
Mr. LAGUARDIA. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. FROTHINGIIAM. I would like nothing better than to yield to the gentleman, but I have only 10 minutes, and I can not cover what I want to say in that time. Not only is the cyauamide process obsolete, but you are putting in this bill the expenditure of money out of the Treasury in the most expensive way possible. You are not only going into Government ownership
Mr. JAMES. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. FROTHINGHAM. If the gentleman does not like -what I say bo can use his own time in answering me. If I had the time I would be glad to yield. Not only is this process obsolete and much more expensive, but now it is jierfectly well known—nnd that evidence was brought out before our committee—that it is not at Muscle Shoals, but it is near coal mines that the fixation of nitrogen can be utilized to better advantage; in other words, that the power coming over a dam in this way, from an overflow of water, is the most expensive way to obtain fixed nitrogen.
Now, there is a provision in the hill which provides that if any of these private manufacturers of fertilizers—and you have more of them in the South than we have in the North, because they do not obtain fertilizer in the North—should advertise, get together, and try to persuade the public that their private fertilizers are better than the fertilizers made by this Government business, then they would be liable to a fine of $25,000 or in lieu thereof imprisonment, for 15 years.
Now, the gentleman from Arkansas (Mr. Wingo 1 just now suggested that they could take up anything in conference. He did not realize that the Senate bill is a bill for Government operation, as this bill is a bill for Government operation, so the conferees will be absolutely limited under the bill to a form of Government operation.
Mr. WINGO. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. FROTHINGHAM. 1 will yield, since I have referred to the gentleman,
Mr. WINGO. I want to suggest to the gentleman that he had better refer to the precedents, because this bill strikes out all after the enacting clause and the conferees are confined to the disposition of Muscle Shoals and not to any particular plan. They are confined to the operation of Muscle Shoals and those dams, and that is all the limit they will have.
Mr. FROTHINGHAM. The Senate has one provision for Government operation of Muscle Shoals, and if this bill should happen to go through the House would have another.
Mr. WINGO. If the gentleman will permit, the substantive thing
Mr. FROTHINGHAM. I should be very pleased if they could do what the gentleman says.
Mr. WINGO. The substantive thing in the two bills is the disposition or operation of Muscle Shoals and its dams. The conferees can reject both plans, just so they provide for the objective of both bills.
Mr. FROTHINGHAM. Does the gentleman claim that a bill for granting private operation of Muscle Shoals could be substituted for this bill?
Mr. WINGO. I do not think there Is any doubt about it, under one of the precedents.
Mr. FROTHINGHAM. That is very interesting.
The farmers do not want this bill. There i.s evidence that they seriously object to it, because it is only to give fertilizer to those who can pay in cash, and those who can not afford to pay cash will be deferred.
In this bill the question of power also is put in a secondary position. Fertilizer is the great thing, and fertilizer only for those who can pay cash, and while the bill puts out of business to-day $300,000.000 legitimately invested in private fertilizer plants, it will chiefly benefit those people who are in the vicinity of the plant, and, as I have stated, the power is secondary. As long as this power is used for fertilizer the people in neighboring States, if they want the power, will not be able to get it under this bill.
Not only this, but provision is made in the bill to give away fertilizer up to 5 per cent, and under certain circumstances it may be as much as 15 per cent. Who is going to get the fertilizer? If anyone, it will be the people who are in the neighborhood.
I am not going into the constitutional question involved; but of course there is grave doubt of the constitutionality of a thing of this sort. We might as well go in there and raise cotton or we might put the Government into the coal business or the manufacture of goods or anything else.
There is no provision in the bill for the repayment of $125.000,000 or more that has already been spent at Muscle Shoals. We had other bills before us. We had the Madden bill, so called, in which the Cyanamid Co. made an offer that would have come under the water ]>ower act and in which they took the chance of losing money. That proposition would have come under the water power act, and if any losses were incurred they would have been on the private individuals and not on the taxpayers of the United States, and that bill would have paid back some of the money already expended there.
I sincerely hope a bill of this sort will not go through.
The CHAIRMAN. The time of the gentleman from Massachusetts has expired.
Mr. MORIN. Mr. Chairman, I yield 20 minutes to the gentleman from Georgia [Mr. Wright].
Mr. WRIGHT. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, the so-called Muscle Shoals project was brought into existence under a provision of what is known as the national defense act of 1916, and the particular part of the provision which relates to the production of nitrates at that plant reads as follows:
For the production of nitrates or other products needed for munitions of war and useful in (he manufacture of fertilizers and other useful products.
The statement has already been made that under the law which authorized the building of this plant it was not intended that anything in the form of fertilizer should be produced except nitrates. The law does not confine it to nitrates. It provides " nitrates or other useful products" in the manufacture of fertilizer.
Under the authority of the national defense act the Government of the United States determined to locate a plant at Muscle Shoals, and the preponderating reason that caused it to be located at Muscle Shoals was that on the Tennessee River at the point known as Muscle Shoals a great quantity of hydroelectric power could l»e produced, which was necessary in order to operate a nitrate plant.
The Government expended in the construction of what is known as nitrate plant No. 2. in round figures, .$1(7,000.000. It has expended in round figures in the construction of what I.s known as Wilson Dam No. 2, $50,000,000. It has expended in the construction of what is known as nitrate plant No. 1 the sum of $14.000.000, which makes the total expenditure up to this date at Muscle Shoals approximately $130,000,000.
You will understand the big nitrate plant was designed to fix nitrogen from the air under what Is known as the cyanamide process. The small plant near Sheffield, Ala., was designed to fix nitrogen under the Haber, or synthetic, process. The cyanamide plant has been tested and is a success. The Haber, or synthetic, plant is a failure.
The charge has been made, and made hero this morning, that the cyanamide process is absolutely obsolete and that nitrogen can not be economically and successfully fixed by this process at this time.
There is a great division of opinion in the United States among scientists and others as to which i.s the better process, the synthetic or the cyanamide. Gentlemen, nobody knows what process will finally be adopted. It may be a process other than either the cyanamide or the synthetic. This whole matter is practically in its infancy, but I deny the statement that the cyanamide process is obsolete.
Now, why do I say this? To begin with, the only big cyanamide plant in all the world that stands idle to-day "is at Muscle Shoals. Every other one is in operation. Again, all of the fixed nitrogen that goes into the manufacture of fertilizer at this time is nitrogen that is fixed by the cyanamide process, and practically none of it enters into fertilizer that i.s fixed by the synthetic process.
If the synthetic process is so much cheaper, requires so much less power to produce it, why has not capital in this country adopted this process in lieu of the cyanamide process?
Why, they point to Hopewell, Va. A great plant i.s going up down there.
To-day, gentlemen, nobody knows what they are going to do. So we go back to the fact that all the fixed nitrogen that is going into a fertilizer is under the cyanamide process.
Now, gentlemen, your committee has handled this matter since 1922. We have been making an effort to dispose of Muscle Shoals. In 1922, when it seemed that the whole project was a white elephant on the hands of the Government, Henry Ford came forward witli an offer. That was accepted by the House, but before it was reached in the Senate Mr. Ford withdrew the offer. Since then we have had various offers. Your committee has held hearings for months and months, and up to now these hearings cover over 7,000 pages of closely printed matter. Your committee has done its utmost to turn the project over to private enterprise for the purpose for which it was built, as laid down in the national defense act. But. aside from Mr. Ford's offer, we have never been able to get an offer that the committee or the House would accept. Hence we were driven to the proposition of turning it over to Government operation.
Now, personally, I am opposed to Government operation or Government ownership, but if there ever was a case -where Government operation was justified it is at Muscle Shoals.
It is not a question of the Government making an investment and going into the business—the Government has made an investment approximating .$180.0(10,000, and is already in hnsines-s to the extent of generating power at the great dam which is being sold by the Secretary of War to the Alabama Power Co.
In that connection it may be interesting to know that every kilowatt this is produced is sold to the Alabama Power Co. at an average price of 2.(i mills per kilowatt-hour.
Mr. LINTIIICUM. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. WRIGHT. Yes.
Mr. IJNTHICUM. The gentleman says that the Government is already iu the business. Do you not intend to put In $10,<K)0,000 more?
Mr. WRIGHT. To utilize and try to make profitable what we already have there.
Mr. LINTIIICUM. Do not you intend to turn over the $1,300,000 that you now receive for the sale of power?
.Mr. WRIGHT. For the present the power will be used to operate the plant and only the surplus will be sold. Now, I made the statement that the Alabama Power Co. is purchasing this power for 2.C mills per kilowatt-hour. It is retailing it at prices from 4 to 6, 8, and us high as 14 mills per kilowatt-hour.
It may btf interesting also to you to know that the Alabama Power Co. has an absolute monopoly iu the purchase of the power, because it is the only concern that lias a transmission line that leaches Muscle Shoals.
I wish I h3d time to explain all the provisions of this bill. The bill differs from the Senate bill in that the Senate bill proposes that the Secretary of Agriculture should operate the plant. Your committee did not think it wise to turn it over to the Secretary of Agriculture, because the Secretary of Agriculture and Doctor Cottrell, in charge of the nitrogen fixation plant, both appeared before the committee and practically admitted in advance that it would be a failure. They both said that the cyanamicle process is in fact obsolete. So your committee did not think it wise to turn over the project to men who avowedly admitted that it would be a failure.
Instead of that we create a board of five, and that board is to be appointed by the President of the United States by and with the consent of the Senate. The salaries are limited to a reasonable sum the first year and made less in the second year. They get a per diem and not a regular salary. Not more than three of the board shall be members of any one party.
The board will select what we call a general manager, who will be the executive officer. He must be a man who is a real business executive and of demonstrated ability. That general manager selects two assistant managers, one of whom must qualify as being an expert in the production and sale of commercial fertilizer. The other must be an expert in the production and distribution of hydroelectric power. These three men are not to receive a salary in excess of $50,000 a year.
Then we provide that the board shall begin the manufacture of concentrated fertilizer by utilizing the facilities of nitrate plant No. 2 under the cyanamide process and that process must be modernized and brought up to date.
You will appreciate the fact that since the plant was constructed the cyanamide process itself has undergone a wonderful improvement.
Mr. BYRNS. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. WRIGHT. I will yield.
Mr. BYRNS. How much will it cost to modernize the plant?
Mr. WRIGHT. A change of the plant and the installation of a phosphoric-acid plant will cost perhaps $10,000,000.
Mr. BYRNS. Is the $10,000,000 appropriated in the bill to be utilized for that purpose?
Mr. WRIGHT. Yes; and for the general purposes outlined in the bill.
Mr. BYRNS. If the bill passes, will any further appropriation be necessary from Congress?
Mr. WRIGHT. No; it will ultimately turn out to be a moneymaking plant.
Mr. BYRNS. Will it turn out to be a money-making plant very soon?
Mr. WRIGHT. After the first five years.
Mr. BYKNS. Then I understand it is the gentleman's opinion that it will cost only $10,000,000?
Mr. WRIGHT. That is correct.
Mr. BYRNS. The gentleman has referred to the fertilizer feature of this bill and the original act of 1916. I am sure the gentleman knows that I am in thorough accord with him in the fact that this great power should be used for fertilizer primarily.
Mr. WRIGHT. Yes.
Mr. BYRNS. Take this particular bill now pending before Congress with reference to its fertilizer feature. I wish to ask the gentleman if, in these hearings to which he refers, any farmer or any representative of any farm bureau or organization has appeared and approved the proposition or has appeared before the committee advocating the provisions in this particular bill now pending before the House.
Mr. WRIGHT. I do not know of any, and that is one of the most remarkable things that ever happened in the United States. They claim to want cheap fertilizer, and when we offer it to them in the cheapest form—at actual cost—these farm organizations say that they do not want it, and let me say, with respect to the so-called leaders of the agricultural or
ganizations and the farmers of this country, I have been persuaded from my observation here that the farmer is very poorly represented by many of these so-called representatives. [ Applause. 1
Mr. LINTIIICUM. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. WRIGHT. No; I huve not the time. The bill Roes further and provides that this board can install a phosphoric acid plant at Muscle Shoals to produce phosphoric acid. When the two elements are combined, when the ammonia, or nitrogen, which is fixed from the cyanamide, and the phosphoric acid are combined there can be produced at Muscle Shoals when the plant is running at full capacity, 370.0IK) tons of concentrated fertilizer, known as ammonium phosphate, which will contain 48 per cent of phosphoric acid sind 13 per cent of nitrogen, or, in round numbers, GO per cent of real plant fowl.
Mr. DICKINSON of Missouri. Within what time?
Mr. WRIGHT. In two years, and maybe get iu operation within a year. This bill calls for a campaign of education so far as the use of commercial fertilizer in this country is concerned. Those of you who perhaps do not understand commercial fertilizer fail to realize that as it is now used an average of about only 15 per cent of real plant food is contained in each ton and the balance, 1,700 pounds, is dirt or inert matter or filler, and on that tonnage the farmer must pay the freight and pay the cost of handling. What we are seeking to do is to teach the farmer to use fertilizer in a concentrated form and instead of 15 per cent of plant fowl in the ton to give him 60 per cent in the ton; but your committee felt it would require time to educate the farmer to use it in this concentrated form, and hence we provide here for the first five years that we give away 5 per cent of the output of the plant and distribute it among the farmers, so that they may test it out and get accustomed to using it.
Mr. VINSON of Kentucky. What is proposed to be done with Cove Creek?
Mr. WRIGHT. There is authorization for the construction of a dam at Cove Creek.
Mr. VINSON of Kentucky. Are there any proposals to submit in amendment form?
Mr. WRIGHT. There will be a limitation as to time or to provide an authorization for an appropriation within which the work shall commence. Coming to the power feature of Muscle Shoals, many gentlemen have sought to make this a power proposition instead of a nitrate proposition. You will see from the national defense act that the power that was to be generated at Muscle Shoals was a mere incident, that it was not the prime object.
The object was to construct a plant, and then to provide power with which to operate it, hence the Wilson Dam. The power that can be produced there is largely exaggerated. The prime power, the ix>wer that can be produced the year round is only about 90.000 horseiwwer, and yet some gentlemen will speak about millions of horsepower which can be produced there. It will require 100.000 horsepower to operate the cyanamide plant No. 2 alone, so as to fix 220.000 tons of cyauaniide, from which can be extracted 40.000 tons of pure nitrogen. Then, if the phosphoric acid plant is installed and the two plants run in conjunction, it will require 2(50,000 horsepower to operate the two plants, and the only available primary power we have there is 9<>,000 horsepower from Dam No. 2 and 80.000 horsepower from the steam plant at Muscle Shoals, making 170,000 horsepower.
About Cove Creek
Mr. ALMON. Before the gentleman goes to that, did not the Government undertake, after the war, to get the fertilizer industry of the country to take over this plant, and did not they refuse to do it?
Mr. WRIGHT. Absolutely. I sympathize with my friends who are manufacturing fertilizer. I think their troubles are mainly imaginary and largely exaggerated. I do not think they are going to be hurt as badly us they conceive. I say in all frankness that the owners of the fertilizer plants in this country and the power people of the country could have disposed of this proposition long ago if they had been inclined to do so. In other words, if they had come in here and cooperated with the Congress instead of pulling back and fighting everything that we proposed to do, this project would long since have been disposed of and in the hands of private enterprise.
Mr. HASTINGS. Before the gentleman goes to the Cove Creek proposition, will he not discuss the terms of sale of the fertilizer?
Mr. WRIGHT. The product will be sold for cash, free on board cars at Muscle Shoals, Ala. Practically all fertilizer is sold for cash, and why? Because if the cash price is. say, $30 a ton, sold iu March or April, and due in October, they charge $38 a ton, so that anybody who can afford to use