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law on the subject and following precedent, there is no rensou why it should not pass this House with an overwhelming majority.
Mr. CROWTHER. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike out the last word. I do not desire and I am not qualified to discuss the constitutionality of this measure. I am going to talk along another line for just a few minutes. I notice that in the House we frequently quote the Supreme Court, but I do not ever remember a Supreme Court decision that quoted the opinion of Members of the House of Representatives on the question of constitutionality. I say that with all deference to my collenguos of the legal profession.
Mr. BUSBY. I will cite
Mr. CROWTHEK. I do not yield.
Mr. BUSBY. No wonder the gentleman does not learn anything.
Mr. CKOWTHKR. I do not yield to the gentleman.
Mr. BUSBY. Will the gentleman yield now?
Mr. CROWTHEH. Yes.
Mr. BUSBY. The recent Myers case, decided by Chief Justice Taft, quoted the doings and the sayings of the Congress, and on those doings and sayings that court based the opinion of the court. [Aiiplau.se.]
Mr. CROWTHER. The gentleman will admit that that is rather unusual and very exceptional. That really was a reference to the Congress and not an individual Member who gave his opinion on constitutionality.
Mr. BUSBY. It surely was, yes, and I invite the gentleman's examination of that opinion.
Mr. CROWTHER. I do not believe the opinion was given by the distinguished gentleman from Mississippi.
Mr. BUSBY. No; nor by the equally distinguished gentleman from New York.
Mr. CROWTHER. I do not pretend to be able to render sucli an opinion, and I pay all deference to my colleagues who are members of the legal profession and wish I had half their ability. The gentleman from Mississippi is taking the matter entirely too seriously, however. This bill has been before Congress for a great many years, and the question of its constitutionality has been discussed not only in this session but in many others. It is of vital interest to the people who work in this country. I believe as some gentleman said the other day that I am vitally more concerned regarding the hardship and suffering of the men and women who are put out of employment by the keen competition of prison products than I am about prisoners who are incarcerated as a penalty for their crimes. [Applause.] The proponents of this bill have never denied the absolute necessity of men and women who are in jail being kept in active employment. That has been used as an argument against the enactment of any law on this subject, but we never have denied that, and I think every man and woman possessing good common sense realizes the absolute necessity of keeping these men and women in active employment while they are confined in Jails.
I have in my immediate territory seven or eight broom factories that arc vitally affected by this bill. There has not been very much said about the broom industry. There is used in this country about 50,000 tons of broomcorn, which is cut up annually for brooms and whisk brooms. At one time the factories in my immediate territory raised all their own broomcorn alongside the Mohawk River, on the banks, where there was a rich overflow of silt every spring when the ice broke up and bunks overflowed. We used to import some broomcorn into this country, and in the importation of that broomcorn we brought the corn borer to this country, which has caused from $10,000,000 to .$17,000,000 of appropriations to be made for its extermination. Out of the 50,000 tons of broomcorn that is cut up, nearly 40 per cent is made up into br<ioms in the jails.
Members have asked what percentage of shoes were made in the prisons. Those figures were given in the hearings and they were very misleading. It was said that only one-fourth of 1 per cent, or perhaps 1 per cent of the shoes made, were made in the prisons. The only fair comparison is to consider the kind of shoes that are made in jails. It is not fair to say that the kind of work shoe that is made in the prisons should be compared with the shoes made in outside industry for other purposes. You must compare the quantity with the quantity of the same type of shoes made in private industry.
The CHAIRMAN. The time of the gentleman from New York has expired.
Mr. CROWTHER. May I have five minutes more?
The CHAIRMAN. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from New York?
There was no objection.
Mr. CONNERY. The only argument brought before the committee was. What will we do with the men who are working? I think that was the only argument.
Mr. CHOWTHER. Yes. These eight broom factories, all in my district, employed three years ago a total of over 1,000 people, and 5.0UO people, counting five to a family, were dependent on that industry. We can not raise broomcorn along that strip of land now, as the land has become too valuable for market gardening and general farm purposes. In Nebraska and Kansas and Missouri most of it is now raised. The central shipping point. I understand, is Wichita, Kaos.
Mr. HOWARD of Oklahoma. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield'.
Mr. CROWTHER. Yes.
Mr. HOWARD of Oklahoma. You did not mention Oklahoma as producing three-fourths of the total crop.
Mr. AYRES. The gentleman from Oklahoma is mistaken. Wichita, Kans., is the central producing point.
Mr. CROWTHER. Yes. I referred to Wichita, Kaus., as the central shipping point, but Oklahoma does produce a tremendous crop. Our brooms are made and sold as the best in the world. They sell for about ?8 a dozen to the wholesaler. Prisonmade brooms are put into the department and chain stores at about $4 a dozen. The result is that instead of 1,000 or 1,100 people being employed, as was the case three years ago, now there are a little over 500 employed. For the past two years they have had n pay envelope representing only three days' work a week, due very largely to this unfair competition of prison-made brooms.
Mr. CONNERY. Is the gentleman going to speak of the blind?
Mr. CROWTHER. Yes. There are thousands of blind, not only in my State but in various States of the Union, to whom this industry is a great benefit, giving them a fair weekly wage as a reward for the skill they have developed as broom makers. It reduces the earning capacity of these unfortunates, just as it does all others engaged in this industry. You know that the industrial competition to-day is exceedingly keen between legitimate concerns doing business and striving to pay good wages and still leave a margin of profit for the stockholders. If you shut down the mills, they can not pay dividends; and if the factory is running at only half time the pay envelope of the worker will scarcely provide his family with necessities.
This bill is eminently just and fair in its purpose. I hope that exact justice will be done to the men and women in all occupations and branches of business in this country in fair and legitimate labor by doing away with this competition, wMch is so eminently unfair in the case of these products made in prisons and thrown on the market. [Applause.]
Mr. LOZIEIt. Admitting that there is a duty that we owe to the prisoners, is it not also true that we have a greater duty to the outside labor with which the convict labor comes into competition?
Mr. CROWTHER. Yes. I agree with the conclusions of the gentleman from Missouri [Mr. Lozier], and I trust the membership of this House will by an overwhelming vote pass the bill and that it may finally become the law of the land.
Mr. RAGON. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the pro forma amendment.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Arkansas is recognized.
Mr. RAGON. I shall give this bill my support, although I do not accord to it the great importance that is given to it by some. There is one feature of it that I want to call to the attention of the House. I expected the committee to offer an amendment to eliminate that objectionable feature. I do not know whether they have it yet in their mind to do so or not, but tlie amendment has particularly to do with agricultural products.
Mr. BUSBY. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. RAGON. Yes.
Mr. BUSBY. If I may be permitted to say
Mr. RAGON. I do not want the gentleman to take up my time.
Mr. BUSBY. It has been agreed that an amendment will be offered by the author of the bill, striking out the word "produce," which would naturally have the effect that the gentleman refers to.
Mr. RAGON. I understood there was to be an amendment offered, but it has not been offered.
Mr. BUSBY. Yes; we want to keep faith.
Mr. RAGON. I will emphasize the importance of that amendment by illustrating what will happen in my State. Our convicts do nothing to sustain themselves except to grow cotton.
Sixty-five per cent of the cotton crop is exported and it comes in competition with no one. Now, to cause the State of Arkansas to do away with a $1,000,000 investment and to turn the 1,300 to 1,500 men we have there loose as au expense upon the State would be an injustice to the taxpayers of that State, which I do not think the Congress or anyone else should impose upon them.
Mr. BROWNING. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. RAGON. Yes.
Mr. BROWNING. Will the gentleman tell us why the elimination of competition with labor should he any more in one branch than it is in another, and why agricultural products should not be protected from prison labor like everything else?
Mr. RAGON. That is not what is troubling my mind now. There is no competition with labor in the cotton feature.
Mr. BROWNING. It affects the gentleman and that is the reason he is troubled about it?
Mr. RAGON. But 65 per cent of your cotton is exported.
Mr. BROWNING. But the world market can take only so much.
Mr. RAGON. If the gentleman wants me to answer a question let me have it and then give me the chance to answer.
Mr. RAMSEYER. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. UAGON. I would prefer to answer one gentleman at a time, but I yield.
Mr. RAMSKYER. What is the difference between excepting the cotton grown on your prison plantations in Arkansas and excepting binder twine made in Michigan or Minnesota? If we are going to protect your prison farm why not protect the manufacture of binder twine in Michigan?
Mr. RAGON. I am not going into those things because they involve a rather complicated question about which it was not my purpose to speak.
Mr. RAMSEYER. No; it is a simple question.
Mr. RAGON. No; it is not simple from my standpoint. I am looking at the thing through to the end. I am interested in this thing because of my people. I do not want to bring up sob stories about the flood every time a question comes up, but the flood we had last spring almost ruined the State and it will not recover from it for 10 years, and my point is that if you take a $1.000,000 institution and render it impotent in the support of those convicts then you impose a burden upon the taxpayers of that State that will aggregate better than a half million dollars a year, which our people can not pay. That does not apply to your twine business and it does not apply, perhaps, to what the gentleman from Tennessee is interested in. I am talking about the people who are going to have to pay taxes in order to support these convicts and I say it is an injustice to impose that burden upon those taxpayers.
Mr. SCIIAFER. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. RAGON. Yes.
Mr. SCHAFER. If a majority of the cotton crop is exported, I do not see why the gentleman should be alarmed about this bill, because no State in the Union will regulate or prohibit the shipment of export cotton.
Mr. RAGON. But some of our cotton is sold in the States. I think Massachusetts, for instance, is a rather liberal purchaser of our cotton.
Mr. SCHAFER. But would the gentleman want the cotton farmer in his State, who has to pay $2, $3, $4. or $5 a day and board to his employees, to have his products come in competition with cheap labor at 50 cents a day?
The CHAIRMAN. The time of the gentleman from Arkansas has expired.
Mr. RAGON. Mr. Chairman. I believe I am justified in asking for three additional minutes.
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, the gentleman from Arkansas will be recognized for three additional minutes.
There was no objection.
Mr. RAGON. The gentleman from Michigan has just suggested to me that the amount of cotton that would be purchased by those prisons is only a small drop in the bucket compared to the manufacture of twine and other manufactured products. That might affect the price of your twine, but it would not happen in the case of cotton at all, because I think you will find that the hardship that is worked on the cotton that is produced by the State prisons would be in the injustice it would work upon the taxpayers of the individual States, so for that reason I hope the amendment to be offered by the gentle-man from Ohio will be adopted.
Mr. KINCHELOE. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. RAGON. Yes.
Mr. KINCHELOE. If I understand the theory of this bill it is to prevent the products of convict labor from coming into competition with the products of free labor in the various States. If an amendment to exempt agricultural products is adopted then the farmer will be the only one who is going to come in competition with the products of convict labor.
Mr. RAGON. The farmer?
Mr. KINCHELOE. Yes: the man who raises cotton.
Mr. RAGON. I think Arkansas raises over 1.500,000 bales of cotton and only 2,000 bales of it is raised on the convict farms. There is no use in making the argument that this would affect the farmer.
Mr. KINCHELOE. I am stating that to that extent it affects the cotton farmers of the United States if the theory of the bill is correct.
Mr. RAGON. Yes; as 2,000 bales would compare with over 1,500,000.
Mr. LOWREY. Will the gentleman yield for a suggestion?
Mr. RAGON. Yes.
Mr. LOWREY. In regard to cotton and in regard to grain and in regard to flax and some of these other things, they are raw materials that go into other States for processing and manufacturing. They go to the flour mills and to the factories and therefore furnish raw material for the labor for which these gentlemen are pleading.
Mr. RAGON. Sure.
Mr. LOWREY. And therefore they might be excepted on the ground that thoy will help the labor in the various factories.
Mr. RAGON. Yes.
Mr. CONNERY. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. RAGON. Yes.
Mr. CONNERY. The gentleman spoke of Massachusetts being a market, for instance, for the cotton of Arkansas, what reason would Massachusetts have for enacting a law forbidding your cotton to come into Massachusetts? We have not any cotton growers in the State.
Mr. RAGON. I think that is perhaps true, but what is the use of having the possibility. There may ba some other States with a different view. There might be some cotton-producing States in the South which might enact laws that would have a different view.
Mr. CONNERY. When you speak of your cotton raised by convicts are you not discriminating against your free labor down there?
Mr. RAGON. Not a bit in the world. The comparison is too small. The only thing I rose to do was to give you an illustration of what would happen in my own State with reference to the revenues of the State and with reference to the burden put on the taxpayers of the State. This bill carried to its fullest purport would cost the State of Arkansas $300,000 each year and you can not afford to further burden an overburdened people.
The pro forma amendment was withdrawn.
Mr. KOPP. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent that all delwte on the pending amendment and all amendments thereto close in 10 minutes.
Mr. RAMSEYER. Reserving the right to object, does this close debate on the section and all amendments thereto?
Mr. KOPP. No; on the pending amendment and any amendment to the pending amendment.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Iowa asks unanimous consent that all debate on the pending amendment and all amendments thereto close in 10 minutes. Is there objection?
There was no objection.
Mr. RAMSEYER. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, may I have your attention for a few moments? I spoke on this bill yesterday and I really did not intend to speak again. Yesterday, before I spoke, there was a suggestion made to exempt agricultural products. The mere suggestion of that, I thought, would cause every Representative from an agricultural section to revolt; in fact, I do not see h»w any person in the House who has any regard or respect for the business of farming can be in fuvor of a proposition like this.
I wish we had no prisoners. I am against prisoners, and I am against prison labor, but we have got prisoners and we have got them in increasing numbers from year to year. We have them on our hands, and everybody agrees we must keep these prisoners at work on something. The suggestion is made that in a few moments, after this amendment is disposed of, somebody will offer an amendment to the bill to strike out the word "produced."
The way the bill reads now is "that all goods, wares, and merchandise manufactured, produced, or mined," and so forth. Striking out the word "produced" leaves the words "manufactured or mined." which means that by indirection you prohibit in commerce all products except those produced on farms. You may say you are not prohibiting the transportation of these goods in interstate commerce, but you are enacting a law here which by subsequent enactments or with present enactments of the States will accomplish exactly the same thing as though you actually prohibited prison-made goods from interstate commerce.
Now, what are you doing? You are undertaking to prohibit from interstate commerce tilings that are manufactured or mined where you have organized labor, and yon are going to exempt farm products in order that the States that flow keep their prisoners employed in manufacturing things will have no choice except to shift them and push them on into producing agricultural products, cattle, hogs, cotton, dairy products, such Uk milk, butter, and cheese, sending them all over the country in competition with the already existing overproduction that we have on the farms. There can be no question but what if you Btrike out the word "produced" you are striking at nothing except agriculture.
Some one has suggested that you are striking out the word "produced" because it has an indefinite meaning. The word "produced'' has a very definite meaning. It means, according to Webster's Dictionary, "to bring forth, as young, or as a natural product or growth; to give birth to; to bear; generate; yield; furnish; as, the earth produces grass, trees produce fruit."
Strike out "produced" and then yon protect or undertake to protect the labor in the factory, while you shift the burden on agriculture where the farmers are unorganized. I am sure the bill in this form would not have the approval of the Federation of Labor.
You have them back of this bill now. I know their interest in agricultural legislation, and they wish to cooperate with the farmers and do not want the farmer to bear any greater burden than they have to. But here you intend to push an added burden on the farmer. I am sure this bill if amended in that way would not have the support of the most selfish manufacturer in New England. I am sure the bill would not have the support of the general Federation of Women's Clubs or representatives of the prison reform organizations. Ladies and gentlemen of the House, I hope that when this amendment is offered you will for once at least show some respect to agriculture and the men who have to toll on the farms to keep the people supplied with food and vote down such amendment. [Applause.]
Mr. BROWNING. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, every Member of the House whose State is in the business of producing anything in the shape of salable products by prison labor can make the same plea that is made by the gentleman from Arkansas [Mr. Kagon]. I want to protest that it is just as proper for the State of Tennessee to ask that we exempt the manufacturer of work shirts which are made in our penitentiary as is the gentleman from Arkansas to exempt the production of cotton. And really more so, because the only way that the farmers can have protection is to have their products protected from prison labor. There is no other protection for them. If you are going to except cotton I know of many cotton farmers that will be anxious to go to jail to work for the State government in order to get their bread and clothes rather than to compete with prison labor in the production of cotton. It is insisted that only a small amount of cotton Is Involved. But, gentlemen, the smallness of the amount does not affect the principle in any way whatever. I insist that if there is any class of people in need of protection from unfair discriminations it is the farmer, and if you are going to protect anybody from prison labor why not give him the benefit of it, however small.
Sir. LOZIER. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. BROWNING. I yield to the gentleman.
Mr. LOZIER. If this amendment be adopted what assurance have the agricultural classes that these growers of cotton will not diversify and produce iwtatoes, corn, and dairy products and hundreds of other things which will go into actual competition with the products of the farmer.
Mr. BROWNING. Yes; and not only diversify, but they might multiply it a thousand times.
Mr. LOZIEK. Is not this an affront to the agricultural classes of America? fApplause.]
Mr. BROWNING. Well, it affronts me.
Mr. CASEY. Is the gentleman speaking on the amendment, or a suggested amendment?
Mr. BROWNING. It is the suggested amendment to strike out the word "produce."
Mr. CASEY. That is not before the committee.
Mr. BROWNING. It is not?
Mr. CASEY. Well, I am opposed to it.
Mr. BROWNING. I thank the gentleman, and I think the majority of the House will be opposed to it.
Mr. CONNERY. If the gentleman will yield, I want to say that I am heartily with him, and I also concur in what the gentleman from Iowa h:is said. The word "produce" should be left in because we in New England are as much interested in the farmer as in any class of people.
Mr. BHOWNING. The farmer has an interest in this bill. The farmers of America are having difficulty enough now.
Some of us are hard pressed to oppose this bill because of tlie destruction of the great manufacturing plants of our States that have been built up under the system and which will be rendered partially useless. If we exempt cotton we might as well abandon the whole principle of the bill. If the principle is right apply it to everybody, and that is the only way we can do justice in passing a measure under these circumstances. [Applause.]
The CHAIRMAN. The time of the gentleman has expired, the pro forma amendments are withdrawn, and the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Minnesota.
The question was taken, ar.d the amendment was rejected.
Mr. COOPER of Ohio. Mr. Chairman, I offer the following amendment, which I send to the desk.
The Clerk read as follows:
Amendment by Mr. Coorcn of Ohio: Pnge 1, beginning In line 3, after the word "mnmifneturcd," strike oat the word "produced."
Mr. COOPER of Ohio. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I offer this amendment at the request of the proponents of the bill.
I had a conference with the proponents of the bill, manufacturers who are interested in it, who stated that if we had any amendments at all adopted we should strike out the word "produced." I submit it to the committee, and it is for the committee to accept or reject it. •
Mr. McKEOWN. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. COOPER of Ohio. Certainly.
Mr. McKEOWN. Would not the taking of this word out of the bill tend to put the States into the agricultural business?
Mr. COOPER of Ohio. Nothing is said about agricultural products in this bill at all. I merely am striking out the word "produced."
Mr. BRIGHAM. Has the gentleman submitted this amendment to the farm organizations to get their opinion?
Mr. COOPER of Ohio. No; I have not had the time to do that.
Mr. BRIGHAM. Does not the gentleman think that would have been tin; proper procedure?
Mr. COOPER of Ohio. The farm organizations, as far as I know, have never been interested in this bill in any shape or form. No representative of farm organizations appeared before the committee.
Mr. BRIGHAM. If the gentleman's bill is going to discriminate against agriculture, does not he think the farm organizations would be interested?
Mr. COOPER of Ohio. I am not so sure that the striking out of this word "produced" would discriminate against agriculture, which I do not want to do.
Mr. HUODLESTON. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. COOPER of Ohio. Yes.
Mr. HUDDLESTON. Some of us would like to support this legislation from the standpoint of principle. How can we do so when we make such exceptions as this that the gentleman proposes?
Mr. COOPER of Ohio. As I said before, the proponents of the bill are very anxious to have it considered and passed here at this session of Congress. Unless this amendment is adopted, I am told that the bill will have a very poor chauce of passing the Senate during this session.
The CHAIRMAN. The time of the gentleman from Ohio has expired.
Mr. CONNERT. Mr. Chairman, I dislike very much to rise in opposition to the amendment of my distinguished colleague Mr. Cooper of Ohio. Early this morning I talked with the gentleman from Ohio and with the chairman of the committee on the matter of the elimination of the word "produced."" I understood at that time that one of the reasons for its elimination is because Members from the agricultural sections of the country felt that it should be eliminated, and that the word is misleading. I wish to say now that that is the reason why at that time I told the Members I had no objection to the word being taken out. Since that time, after listening to the gentleman from Iowa [Mr. Ramskyeh] and the gentleman from Tennessee [Mr. Bbowning], and other Members who come from sections of the country interested in agriculture, I say that. I believe the word "produced" should bo left in the bill. [Applause.]
I do not see any reason why we should discriminate Mgninst any class of the people or any section of the country. The gentleman from Iowa [Mr. Ramseyer], in his talk, looked over at me and referred to the "most selfish manufacturer in New England," stating that he did not believe the word "produced" should be taken out. I would like to say to the gentleman from Iowa that I am not a manufacturer from New England, although sometimes I wish I were.
Mr. RAMSEYER. Oh, there was nothing personal In my remark. If I was looking at the gentleman at the time, it was because my eyes had wandered over and were glancing at the Democrats.
Mr. CON'NERY. I know that there was nothing personal In the remark, but I want the gentleman to know that the people of New England—manufacturers and workers alike, and especially the members of the American Federation of Labor there, and all union labor—are interested in the welfare of the farmer.
The workers in the cities of Lawrence and Lynn and Peabody and Haverhill and Fall River and New Bedford and other Industrial cities in Now England are interested in the fanner and his welfare. I will say no more, as I have explained my position with reference ti> members; of my committee, and say I believe the amendment should not pass, and I believe the word "produced" should be left in thu bill.
Mr. CASEY. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. C'ONNERY. Yes.
Mr. CASEY. I want to call the gentleman's attention to the language I used in my remarks yesterday on this question. It is as follows:
It Is not the amount of jjoods produced thnt concerns us so much ag it Is the principle involved, which we arc nil opposed to.
Mr. COXNERY. I agree with the gentleman. It is the principle that is involved. :md that is what we are opposed to. We do not want convict-made goods of any kind put in competition with goods made by free labor. I dislike to vote against the amendment of my distinguished colleague from Ohio [Mr. Cooper], who has worked so hard and conscientiously over a long period of time to obtain action on this bill, but I feel that I must do so.
Mr. KOPP. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent that the debate on the pending amendment close in five minutes.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Iowa?
Mr. Laguardia. Reserving the right to object, I want two minutes.
Mr. BANKHEAD. Reserving the right to object, I want to ask the chairman of the committee a question. I want to ask the chairman of the committee if it is the intention and purpose of the committee in agreeing to the elimination of this word '; produced" to except agricultural products from the pro visions of this bill?
Mr. KOPP. The committee has not had a meeting on this question.
Mr. BANKHEAD. What was the conclusion of the chairman?
Mr. COOPER of Ohio. I was not present.
Mr. BANKHEAD. What would be the effect of the adoption of the amendment? I will as--k the gentleman from Ohio this direct question, because I think it is important: Does the gentleman understand that the adoption of his amendment means the elimination of agricultural products from the terms of this bill?
Mr. COOPER of Ohio. I do not.
Mr. BANKHEAD. What does the gentleman understand?
Mr. COOPER of Ohio. I said a moment ago that the manufacturers interested in the bill and the American Federation of Labor suggested to me that the word be stricken out. I said I would introduce the amendment. What they have in the back of their heads I do not know.
Mr. BANKHEAD. Is it the gentleman's opinion that it exempts agricultural produce?
Mr. COOPER of Ohio. I do not know.
Mr. BANKHEAD. That is what I want to find out.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Iowa asks unanimous consent that the debate on the pending amendment close in five minutes.
Mr. KOPP. I move, Mr. Chairman, that the debate on the pending amendment close in 10 minutes.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Iowa moves that the debate on the pending amendment close in 10 minutes. The question is on agreeing to that motion.
The motion was agreed to.
Mr. BUSBY. Mr. Chairman, a parliamentary inquiry.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman will state it.
Mr. BUSBY. The debate has been limited to 10 minutes. Is it the purpose of the Chair to yield all this time to one side of the argument?
The CHAIRMAN. No. The Chair can not do that.
Mr. BUSBY. That is what I wanted to know. The three gentlemen asking for time are all on one side.
Mr. SCHAPBR rose.
The CHAIRMAN. For what purpose does the gentleman from Wisconsin rise?
Mr. SCHAFER. I rise in opposition to the amendment.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Wisconsin is recognized.
Mr. SCHAFER. Mr. Chairman. I hope this amendment will be defeated. The Labor Committee of this House has carefully considered this legislation for some time and reports it to the House by practically a unanimous vote. Now because of a few rumbling words of opposition, the proponents of the bill present an amendment which they say is desired by the farmers of the country.
Mr. COOPER of Ohio. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. SCIIAFER. Yes.
Mr. COOPER of Ohio. I took this up with the members of the committee who reported the bill, and they approved it.
Mr. SCIIAFER. All right; even if they did approve it, they have no more right as a matter of principle to approve an amendment of this kind at this late hour than the gentleman has. The committee held extensive hearings and carefully considered the bill, and I can not see how they can defend this amendment at this late hour. They might just as well support an amendment to strike out the enacting clause.
Although I have the honor to represent a city district, my record on farm legislation will favorably compare with the records of Members who represent rural districts. [Applause.] You say this will protect the farmer. You say it will prevent an injustice being done to him. L;'t me tell you that if this amendment is adopted, you will not help the producer of farm products but injure him. You will say that this Congress is willing to give to the States the right to protect the labor and industries of their people from unfair competition of cheap convict lalKjr, but they can not protect the farmer who produces and the farm labor. If this amendment is adopted, notice will be sent to every prison in the country that if they desire the product of cheap convict labor to compete with free labor and not be subject to regulation by the various States, all that is necessary is to change your system so that the convict labor in the future will be employed to produce farm products.
I can not support this amendment, which will place another handicap on the already overburdened farmers of the country.
Mr. KINCHELOE. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. SCHAFER. No; I have only one minute left. I agree with the gentleman from Iowa [Mr. Ramseyeb] in his opposition to this amendment. Those Members representing city districts as well as those from farming districts should Tote against this amendment which discriminates so unjustly against the farmer. The principle upon which this bill is based does not permit the exception provided in the amendment. The gentleman from Iowa [Mr. Ramseyer] is better qualified to speak for the farmers on this amendment than any manufacturer with whom the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Coopee] has conferred this morning.
Mr. COOPER of Ohio. Is the gentleman from Iowa supporting this bill?
Mr. SCHAFER. I understand he is opposed to this amendment.
Mr. COOPER of Ohio. Is he supporting this bill?
Mr. SCHAFER. His speech in opposition to the pending amendment was a wonderful argument in support of the bill without the amendment. [Applause.]
The CHAIRMAN. The time of the gentleman from "Wisconsin has expired.
Mr. BUSBY rose.
The CHAIRMAN. Is the gentleman from Mississippi in favor of the amendment?
Mr. BUSBY. I am.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Mississippi it) reeognied for five minutes.
Mr. BUSBY. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I am sure we have magnified the importance of convie-t labor. I read in the Senate hearings the statement made by Mr- •'°'m J. Illinium, president of the State board of control of tl»e State of Wisconsin, and that is the State from which the gentleman who has just spoken comes.
Mr. SCHAFER. But the gentleman does not agree with Mr. John ,1. Hannau. and the people of Wisconsin do not agr*e w1"1 Mr. John J. Hannan. either.
Mr. BUSBY. That statement was to the effect th^t only 10O.OOO convicts throughout the country are employed in t*"?'"^ which would be affected by this legislation, and that onlV TM'TM of that number are employed in activities where the prodt llcls?(! into other States. That is a very small number of peopl *• *"" you ever stop to think that 10 or 15 years ago there \vefe nl"re than 4,000,000 aliens coming into this country each year, and that under the present immigration law we are admitting each year legally 165,000 aliens, and perhaps that many more are bootlegged into the country V All these labor in competition with our citizen laborers who are already in America. This proposition of convict labor is being ovennagnified in importance, and the importance should not be given to it that has been given it by the gentleman from Wisconsin.
They say this proposition being considered is against the farmer. Why. the only States it would affect are States sneh as my State, Arkansas, and other Southern Stales that have built up (he management of convicts around the system of growing cotton. You can not grow truck and produce or run a milk plant or a cheese factory with convict labor. You have got to work this proposition en masse.
Mr. SCHAFEK. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. BUSBY. No; I can not yield just now.
Mr. SCHAFER. Why could you not operate a cheese factory with convict labor?
Mr. BUSBY. That might be possible in Wisconsin, but I am talking about States where they operate in a different way.
I am sure this amendment will not affect anybody who is interested in the farmer. I have seen farm advocates here on the floor since this amendment has been proposed that I have not seen before. They have been speaking for the farmer, and when they do that I get suspicious, and I think they are wearing a cloak they ought not to wear.
Mr. BURTNESS. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. BUSBY. Yes.
Mr. BURTNESS. Does the gentleman take the position that it might not injure agriculture or that you stand on any principle at all if you force some penitentiaries to go out of one line of business and then give them an incentive to proceed along agricultural lines in producing agricultural products?
Mr. BUSBY. I am certain it would not influence the agricultural situation one particle, because of the smallness of the number of convicts employed in producing agricultural products, but it would influence the State penal systems materially, and for that reason we of Mississippi, who are receiving and have received $729,000 profit out of the operation of our convicts during the last four years, would very much dislike to see you step in and close the doors of our own institutions, and compel us to support the convicts in idleness and to tax our farmers to do this.
Mr. BURTNESS. I can see the gentleman's position from that standpoint, and will the gentleman answer one other question?
Mr. BUSBY. Yes.
Mr. BURTNESS. Can the gentleman give us any reason why the bill should apply to sonic and not apply to all, and does not the same argument the gentleman makes with reference to his situation apply with reference to any other situation?
Mr. BUSBY. In answer to the gentleman, I will say that this is a raw-product proposition entirely. There is no skilledlabor feature entering into it, and therefore I am not surprised that the labor organizations are entirely behind the move to strike out of the bill this particular word "produced" that is proposed to be stricken out by the amendment. There is no skilled-labor element that enters into it, and for that reason I am sure we should adopt the amendment.
The CHAIRMAN. The time of the gentleman from Mississippi has expired.
Mr. LAGUARDIA rose.
The CHAIRMAN. Is the gentleman from New York opposed to the amendment?
Mr. LxGUARDIA. I am.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from New York is recognized for one minute.
Mr. LAGUARDIA. Mr. Chairman, there is no difference in convict labor, whether it produces a shirt, a broom, or a turnip. The purpose of this bill is to prevent the products of convict labor entering into the general markets of the country. You can not justify this bill by seeking to eliminate any one branch of convict labor. If you do that the very purpose of the bill is destroyed, and, as I pointed out before, if we close the doors to manufactured goods made by convicts we will simply open a new avenue of using this convict labor under the contract system. Those in favor of the general principle and purpose of the bill, to prevent the interstate commerce of convict-made goods, should vote down the amendment and stand by the bill. [Applause.]
The CHAIRMAN. The time of the gentleman from New York has expired. Without objection, the pro forma amendment will be withdrawn.
There was no objection.
The CHAIRMAN. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Ohio, which, without objection, the Clerk will again report.
There was no objection.
The Clerk again read the amendment offered by the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Cooper].
The question was taken ; and on a division (demanded by Mr. Busby and Mr. McDcFFiE) there were—ayes 37, noes 140.
So the amendment was rejected.
Mr. COOPER of Ohio. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment, which I send to the desk.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Ohio offers an anu-ndment, which the Clerk will report.
The Clerk read as follows:
Amendment offered by Mr. Coopkb of Ohio: Page 2, line 6, after the word "otherwise," insert "ProviicA, ftoicci-er. That nothing in this act shall be construed to apply to the products of uny Federal penal or correctional or reformatory Institution manufactured or produced for use by the Federal Government."
Mr. KOPP. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent that all debate on this amendment and all amendments thereto close in 10 minutes.
Mr. SUMNERS of Texas. Mr. Chairman, reserving the right to object, I submit to the gentleman that that is not a fair discussion of an important amendment of this sort, and I object. , Mr. KOPP. I arn not trying to unduly close debate on the section, but I do not think this amendment needs much debate.
Mr. COOPER of Ohio. Mr. Chairman
Mr. KOPP. Mr. Chairman
The CHAIRMAN. For what purpose does the gentleman from Iowa rise?
Mr. KOPP. Mr. Chairman, I simply want to say that the committee will accept this amendment.
[Cries of "Vote! " "Vote!"]
Mr. SUMNERS of Texas. We are not going to vote right now.
Mr. COOPER of Ohio. Mr. Chairman, I have offered this amendment for the reason that to-day all goods manufactured or produced in our Federal prisons are used only for Government purposes.
Mr. ABERNETHY. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. COOPER of Ohio. This amendment provides that any goods manufactured in our Federal penal institutions that are used for Government purposes only shall not be subject to the provisions of the bill.
Mr. ABERNETHY. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. COOPER of Ohio. Yes.
Mr. ABERNETHY. I am going to support the legislation, but I want to say to the gentleman that just this week I got a complaint from an iron manufacturer who manufactures various kinds of implements, complaining that the Government at a plant near Washington was selling products in competition with him. If we are going to keep the States from competing in this business, how can we by any proper reasoning put the Government in the same business?
Mr. LAGUARDIA. The Government does not sell the product*.
Mr. COOPER of Ohio. No; the Government does not sell its products. This amendment merely provides that the products made in our Federal penal institutions that are used for Federal purposes, that do not go on the market in competition with other goods, shall not be subject to the provisions of the bill.
Mr. ABERNETHY. If you are going to shut out the States, why let the Government in?
Mr. COOPER of Ohio. Some States are using prison products for their own State purposes. Ohio at the present time has a law providing that its prison-made goods shall he used only for State purposes.
Mr. HUDDLESTON. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. COOPER of Ohio. Yes.
Mr. HUDDLESTON. Let me suggest that so long as the Government conducts the business as it now does, and does not sell any of its product, this amendment is wholly unnecessary. The Government is already out from under this bill, and the gentleman's amendment would perhaps open up the field for the Government to enter it.
Mr. COOPER of Ohio. I will say to the gentleman from Alabama that I am following the suggestion of the Attorney General of the United States, who is of the opinion that the purpose of the bill might in some way interfere with our Federal penal institutions and he himself has suggested that an amendment of this kind be offered.
Mr. CONNERY. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. COOPER of Ohio. Yes.