Tariff: the First Test

The great House debate on the tariff fizzled. For four days, Republicans fumed and spumed the ancient theory that tariff cuts mean U.S. unemployment and economic ruin. Democrats, huffing & puffing under the attack, argued that renewal of the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act, with authority for further tariff cuts up to 50%, was vital to U.S. prosperity and U.S. world policy.

Finally, bald, persuasive Speaker Sam Rayburn went down to the floor, solemnly read a letter from President Truman: "I regard the pending measure . . . as of the first order of importance for the success of my administration." With...

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