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(See front cover) Acts of God bear awesome names. Last week's was called Anticyclone. With His hand He described an Arctic Circle on the map of the U. S., and everywhere within that circle thermometers fell so low that only artificial warmth divided Life from Death.* Such icy weather found one out of every six inhabitants of the U. S.—20 million people — with no means of obtaining fire or food, except from the public purse.
Thus did the finger of God point at Harry Lloyd Hopkins. Also at him pointed the fingers of 435 Congressmen and 96 Senators, of George B. Terrell of Texas, of the Republican National Committee, of 4,000,000 Civil Works employes, of the director of the U. S. Budget. For in the midst of God's great Anticyclone, an accounting was taken of the $900,000,000 which Harry Hopkins has doled out to fulfill President Roosevelt's promise that no one in the U. S. shall go hungry or cold in the fifth winter of the Depression. And to Harry Hopkins last week was also given a sum of money even larger to carry on unemployment relief until May makes life easier. Without the latter, 4,000,000 people would have been turned off, payless, in the midst of the winter's bitterest cold.
Runaway Horse. When it came to voting $950,000,000 for Mr. Hopkins last week, the Congress became practically a runaway horse. Congressmen knew that there was some graft in Civil Works funds; knew that the Republican National Committee had just produced a pamphlet called CWA Scandals charging "gross waste of public funds . . . rank political favoritism . . . downright corruption"; knew that if CWA which has been spending at the rate of $2,000,000,000 per year* were not soon ended, all the President's plans to balance the budget after the middle of 1935 would be wrecked. But each Congressman also knew that in his district were hundreds and thousands of voters who were being kept alive only by Federal bounty.
"The Constitution is being violated here every day because there isn't a line in the Constitution that authorizes the expenditure of Federal money for any other than Federal purposes. . . . I think [CWA] is going to start civil war and revolution when we do stop it anyway. It means ... a never-ending drain on the resources of the Government. . . ."
Thus cried a voice in the wilderness, the voice of George B. Terrell, 71, Democratic Representative-at-large from Texas, serving his first term in the House. Declared Representative Terrell: "The others can go through on these things like dumb driven cattle if they want to, but I do not intend to do so. I won't sacrifice my independence for any office I ever heard of. My constituents may retire me if they wish."
His House colleagues agreed that next November his constituents would undoubtedly retire him when he attained the distinction of being the only member in Congress last week to record a vote against the new bill. Most of the other Democratic Representatives and Senators would gladly have boosted the $950,000,000 Mr. Hopkins asked for to $2,000,000,000.
Job. Important in keeping Congress from going that far was the account Harry Hopkins lately gave Congressmen of the work he had done. His report left two impressions at the Capitol: 1) he would never hesitate to keep relief going at as costly a rate as human misery demanded; 2) he had done a thoroughly professional job since last