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Another bill is by Mr. Johnson of Washington, to prevent the manufacture or sale or transportation of adulterated or misbranded or poisonous or deleterious foods, drugs, medicines, liquors, and regulating that traffic.
This bill is to preserve the health of our people and to prevent deceit.
Another bill is to prohibit the manufacture, sale, or transportation in interstate commerce of misbranded articles; that is, where the manufacturer put on a false brand to deceive the public.
Another bill is to protect the public against deceit and unfair prices, resulting from the presence of other than leather, wool, or silk in clothing and articles of apparel purporting to be made of certain materials.
Another bill intended to prevent deceit and sharp practice, to protect the consuming and wearing public.
Another bill by Mr. Haugen, chairman of the Agriculture Committee of the House, to regulate foreign commerce by prohibiting the admission into the United States of certain adulterated grains, seeds, unfit for seeding purposes. The evident intent of that bill is to prevent foreign seed manufacturers from selling to the farmers seeds which would not produce grain, that were dead or improperly marked, a measure of interest, as I assume, to all the farmers in the United States. It was given to the chairman of that committee because he was at the head of the great Committee on Agriculture.
Here is a bill by another Congressman, Mr. Reece, to safeguard the distribution and sale of certain dangerous caustic and corrosive acids and alkalis and other substances in interstate and foreign commerce. That is simply a bill intended to put upon the can or the jar the contents, to prevent poisons, to prevent general injury to public health.
Here is a bill from the gentleman from North Dakota, Mr. Burtness, which demands the labeling of flour in interstate commerce, so that substitutes of flour should not be called flour and sold as flour.
Here is another bill by Doctor Kindred, a Member of the House from New York, to provide for regulating traffic in certain clinical thermometers, and for other purposes. He claims, I believe, that thermometers for testing the temperature of people in hospitals are not properly marked so that frequently because of these improper thermometers there is great loss of life, the patient suffers, and the doctor can not properly diagnose a case.
I was interested in knowing from you, who I consider to be a man of unusual intelligence, representing, I believe, the largest organization of its kind in America, just how earnest and how emphatic and how real was the demand of the farmer for a bill which would protect him in two ways: First, one portion of the wool of the sheep sells for $1.50, and another portion, we will say, for 50 cents. The manufacturer puts the 50-cent wool in with the $1.50 wool and he gets the full $1.50 price, where the farmer only gets 50 cents. The farmer is interested when an article is sold as wool, which he produces, that the public should not be deceived in buying an article that is part wool and part cotton, eliminating entirely the question of whether it is all wool, a portion of it being virgin wool and a portion of it being shoddy. 1
How earnest is this great organization of yours in demanding the consideration of the House of this bill?
Mr. SILVER. You have enumerated quite a list of bills, and may I say that all bills pertinent to the welfare of agriculture are sent by me back not only to our Chicago office but the offices of the different States. We have our department of research and economics at Chicago and these matters are gone through and my instructions come back.
After considering the different measures mentioned by you in which there is much merit as to the things they set out to do, after having examined and passed on them by resolutions they asked me to urge upon you the favorable consideration of the French-Capper truth in fabrics bill. That was, I believe, the first question.
As to how earnest they are, they are just as earnest in this measure as they have been in any measure before Congress at this time or in previous days; just as earnest as they were in the advocacy of the pure food law or any of the things that have to do with our health and well-being.
Why, think of the mother who goes out, as I illustrated a moment ago, to buy a wrapping for the little child, just as interested in the quality of the wrapping as she is in the welfare of the child, because the wrapping has to do with the life and health of the child. Nothing could be closer to it.
We can not have healthy, worth-while, grown-up people if, while they are little babes, they are exposed to unnecessary danger, to coughs and colds, pneumonia, and perhaps death. They come along, you know, as weaklings, not protected as strong, able people. It has to do with the welfare of grown people, with the citizenship of the nation. It is hard to say that a group like ours is 100 per cent on any question, but it is as near 100 per cent on this measure as anything before Congress.
Mr. HAWES. I am asking you these questions in absolute sincerity, because the statement has been made on the floor of the House and it was intimated when I made the motion to bring up the truth in fabrics bills, and these bills relating to public health, honest seeds, and pure flour, that it was a political move, not made in good faith, but made for the purpose of displacing another bill, the so-called Barkley bill. I want to know whether there is a real, honest, sincere sentiment back of these bills. Mr. SILVER. Let me say one more word.
So far as this Congress is concerned, there are three measures that are legislatively possible, in which the farmers are vitally interested: Muscle Shoals, which the House has kindly passed; truth in fabrics, which you have under consideration; and the McNaryHaugen bill.
Those are the only three measures that, in a large way, affect agriculture; that are in the legislative position to be able to come to a conclusion at this session. They can; they may not, but they can. They are in such a position that they can be determined at that session.
Our people are just as strongly advocating all three of those measures. I am discussing one, but I am mentioning the others to illustrate the point that all three of those measures be considered and determined and I am here as their representative to urge upon you
that not only you consider it in committee, but that you report it and permit it to be disposed of on the floor.
Had there not been a lasting and worth-while interest in this bill, it would have flagged and been lost long ago. In 20 years or more, they have stood by all the time, urging and advocating that this be done, and they see it, as I said before, just as common honesty, that they might have an opportunity of knowing what they should know,
I want to assure you gentlemen that they will be back here at the opening of the next Congress asking for this legislation.
Mr. HAWES. Mr. Chairman, may I ask for an unusual privilege so that this record may be concluded. The representative of the National Grange is here and other great farmers', organizations. He has heard the questions that I have propounded. May I ask him a few questions?
The CHAIRMAN. If there is no objection. · The Chair hears none.
STATEMENT OF MR. A. M. LOOMIS, REPRESENTING THE
NATIONAL GRANGE, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Mr. Loomis. I am Doctor Atkinson's assistant. He is Washington representative of the National Grange, and I have been here with Doctor Atkinson since the 1st day of February, 1919, carrying on this work of legislative representation of the farmers of the United States.
Mr. Hawes. May I ask just a few questions? I did not want at this time to occupy too much time. How many members are there in your organizations ?
Mr. LOOMIS. Between 800,000 and 1,000,000.
Mr. LOOMIS. I might divert just a little at that point, as Mr. Silver did in relation to his organization.
Of those, there are a certain number that are active members, from whom we receive dues each year, which are transmitted to our treasury. So that we have a definite count of that number. That number will run between six and seven hundred thousand.
We always consider that there are a good 25 per cent of delinquent members.
Mr. HAWES. Doctor, has your organization taken up the various bills relating to truth in fabrics and misbranding and honest flour, drugs, etc.? Have they had those matters under discussion?
Mr. LOOMIS. Under the procedure which our organization follows, we adopt a legislative program at an annual meeting in November of each year. There has been no meeting of our organization since this large list of bills has come before Congress.
Therefore, there has been no action definitely on this list of bills which you have read. But there has been definite and repeated action for years on this particular truth-in-fabrics legislation, which is before the committee. I think I can say with absolute certainty that there is no bill pending in Congress, which is so absolutely, uniformly, unanimously approved and asked for by the National Grange as this truth-in-fabrics legislation.
Mr. HAWES. That is all.
Mr. LOOMIS. I do not want to make any further statement. If I came on my own time, I would not have to cared say any more than I have said now
The CHAIRMAN. Is there any duplication between your membership and that of the federation represented by Mr. Silver?
Mr. LOOMIS. I would say there is a considerable amount of duplication between the two organizations. I would say that the membership is duplicated to the extent that in comparing legislative programs between the two organizations ever since the American Farm Bureau Federation was organized, we practically find no difference in the legislative program of the two organizations.
The CHAIRMAN. That is what I had in mind; I meant duplication of membership; that is, whether you are representing eighteen hundred thousand people or nine hundred thousand.
Mr. LOOMIS. In the States east of Louisiana there is a good sized duplication of members. We have not a large membership west of Indiana, and consequently, their memberships there largely does not duplicate the grange membership.
The CHAIRMAN. What do you think the average membership of the two organizations is ?
Mr. LOOMIS. Combined ?
The CHAIRMAN. If you have a million people in the federation and a million people in the grange, that would be 2,000,000 people. But if 500,000 were on the rolls of both you would only represent a million people and not 2,000,000 people. What would you say it was?
Mr. LOOMIS. I would say the duplication would be two hundred and fifty or three hundred thousand of people belonging to both organizations.
Mr. HAWES. Doctor, just this other question. Then the joint statement presented by the grange and the farm bureau you would state represented an intelligent appeal and an understanding appeal of approximately how many farmers in the United States?
Mr. LOOMIS. A million and a half.
I would say in addition to that, I am sure it represents the opinion of more than 90 per cent of all the farmers in the United States who are taking any part or any interest in agricultural organization.
The CHAIRMAN. One more question, please. Then I shall ask Mr. Silver to resume. To what extent do you feel that the membership of your organization has had an opportunity to hear an intelligent discussion on the side which the manufacturers of cloth and clothing and the distributors thereof set out in defense of their attitude ? · Mr. LOOMIS. I could not answer that question very intelligently, Congressman Winslow. The discussion of this measure, which the members of our organization have had a chance to hear, has related to a different situation than that which the manufacturers present. That situation is the broad question which has been underlying all this class of legislation within the past 25 years. That is, the essential right of the public to expect that Congress will provide that the exact character of merchandise which is offered for sale in this country shall be plainly stated, so that there may be no misunderstanding about it.
The CHAIRMAN. You do not apprehend that they have ever had the opportunity to hear a discussion as to the practicability of working out the theory, which we all agree is meritorious ?
Mr. LOOMIS. As to the question of how many people have heard that, I would not venture to answer. I certainly would not say that they had had a full opportunity. Of course, if I get into that phase of it, I would like a lot more time.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you ever read the full contention of the opponents of the bill?
Mr. LOOMIS. Yes; I have tried to read every hearing which this committee and the Senate committee have held on the subject.
The CHAIRMAN. But you have not given any views of your own? Mr. Loomis. I have not. I have not had time.
Mr. HAWES. I assume, Mr. Chairman, the gentleman will be given the opportunity to be heard, and that Mr. Silver also will be given the opportunity to conclude his remarks.
The CHAIRMAN. Certainly. Do you want to appear again, Doctor? Mr. LOOMIS. I would like to appear here either in person or for Doctor Atkinson. I want to express Doctor Atkinson's regret and apologies for not being able to come to-day. He had a previous engagement at the office and could not get away.
Mr. BURTNESS. What I am interested in hearing from these men, both the wool growers and the representatives of farmers' organizations, etc., is really what their answer is to the argument made by the representatives of the manufacturers as to the practical aspect of it. That is by way of rebuttal, so to speak.
The CHAIRMAN. That is not exactly the purpose of our appearing here. You may remember they came early as proponents, and in order to be helpful to those who are coming from a distance and expecting to stay here they very courteously allowed themselves to be shunted off, or rather wait over until they could be taken care of.
On the question of rebuttal some of those who have been here, on hearing that these gentlemen representing the farm organizations were to be here later, made a demand-you know what I mean by a demand--for an opportunity to come in in rebuttal.
I told them that it is not a question of rebuttal at all. It is a question of telling us what they knew and what they had to say. These people have stood aside for their convenience, and that we would not open on rebuttal. We would size up their statements as respectively made and conclude for ourselves.
Mr. BURTNESS. Just so as to make myself perfectly plain on that; I take it we are all in favor of the general theory of truth-in-fabrics legislation, if it is practical. I do not know that we need any arguments particularly to establish the wisdom of such legislation. But representatives of manufacturers have come in and have given a great many objections, presented a great many objections which appear to one who is pretty strong for this kind of legislation as being rather practical objections. It is really upon that question and that question alone that I would like some light from the proponents of the bill.
The CHAIRMAN. I assume Mr. Silver has come here prepared with an argument. Will you try to conclude your statement, Mr. Silver ?