For the first time in history, the U.S. was getting ready to lower the ceiling on its national debt. With the blessing of Treasury Secretary Fred Vinson, the Senate Finance Committee sent up a bill to reduce the limit from $300 to $275 billion.* Crowed billion-pinching Senator Harry Byrd, watchdog of U.S. finances: "A concrete step toward the end of deficit financing."

Bayou Croaker

Big as a bayou bullfrog, Mississippi's Theodore Gilmore ("The Man") Bilbo hopped on the Senate floor.

He was there to denounce the loan to Britain, but—as he held the floor for parts of two days—other subjects caught his fancy....

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