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gentleman from Iowa (Mr. WEAVER] seeming to put great stress upon the name, " Reagan bill," I say to him on my authority, and I venture to say that the gentleman from Texas (Mr. REAGAN] will sustain me, that that gentleman did approve this language, and thought it was an improvement upon the section as he had it in his bill, in the interest of preventing discriminations. [Laughter and applause.]
Mr. WEAVER, of Iowa. It is a very strange thing, Mr. Speaker, that the gentleman from Texas approved that section at the instance of the author of the Senate bill, and approved it in this conference committee, although he had never approved it before at any time in the long history of this controversy. How can it possibly be an improvement upon the corresponding section of the Reagan bill, which prohibits rebates under all circumstances ?
I pass to the section of this bill which relates to " preferences and advantages.'
.” This third section of the pending bill is shrouded in the same mystery and uncertainty as the second section. It is taken bodily from the Cullom bill, and provides as follows:
SEC. 3. That it shall be unlawful for any common carrier subject to the pro visions of this act to make or give any undue or unreasonable preference or advantage to any particular person, company, firm, corporation, or locality, or any particular description of traffic, in any respect whatsoever, or to subject any particular person, company, firm, corporation, or locality, or any particular description of traffic, to any undue or unreasonable prejudice or disadvantage in any respect whatsoever.
Does anybody know what is the meaning of this language, "undue or unreasonable?” I will tell you what it means. It means that the railroad companies are to be the judges of whether the preference or advantage is “undue or unreasonable.” Where will the people be compelled to go to ascertain whether the construction of the railroad companies is right? Into the Federal courts, where business is three years behind hand, or before a commission sitting a thousand miles away from their homes. If they go into the Federal courts they must await the slow process of litigation in those tribunals, during which time the railroad companies will be allowed to put their own construction upon the meaning of that section. That is what it means.
Mr. CRISP. The gentleman understands that a railroad company can not continue to do what it has been enjoined from doing.
Mr. WEAVER, of Iowa. I know that; but the party injured must go into a Federal court to enjoin the company.
Mr. CRISP. But he can obtain an injunction pending the suit; and while the injunction continues to operate the railroad company can not collect the tariff in question.
Mr. WEAVER, of lowa. Is it to be supposed that a poor man, such as I spoke of awhile ago, transporting only 4 car-loads or less per annum, and whose loss under the discrimination is only $80 or less, will go to a Federal court for an injunction or to litigate with these powerful corporations, who can transport their own witnesses without expense to them from one State or one part of the Union to another? The remedy suggested is without value.
Now, take the long and short haul clause, and let us see whether we have any of the Reagan bill in that. The following is seetion 4 of the Reagan bill, as it passed the House, in regard to long and short hauls; and the language is clear and unmistakable:
Sec. 4. That it shall be unlawful for any person or persons engaged in the transportation of property, as provided in the first section of this act, to charge or receive any greater compensation for a similar amount and kind of property, for carrying, receiving, storing, forwarding, or handling the same for a shorter than for a longer distance, which includes the shorter distance, on any one railroad; and the road of a corporation shall include all the road in use by such corporation, whether owned or operated by it under a contract, agreement, or lease by such corporation.
This is the whole of section 4 of the Reagan bill. Is there any doubt about what it means ? Now, observe that the committee of conference have abandoned this fourth section as they have the other section of the Reagan bill to which I alluded, and have adopted the fourth section of the Cullom bill:
SEC. 4. That it shall be unlawful for any common carrier subject to the provisions of this act to charge or receive any greater compensation in the aggregate for the transportation of passengers or of like kind of property, under substantially similar circumstances and conditions, for a shorter than for a longer distance over the same line, in the same direction, the shorter being included within the longer distance; but this shall not be construed as authorizing any common carrier within the terms of this act to charge and receive as great compensation for a shorter as for a longer distance: Prorided, howerer, That upon application to the commission appointed under the provisions of this act, such common carrier may, in special cases, after investigation by the commission, be authorized to charge less for longer than for shorter distances for the transportation of passengers or property; and the commission may from time to time prescribe the extent !o which such designated common carrier may be relieved from the operation of this section of this act.
Now, this is substantially the Cullom bill, the only difference being that the commission, while probibited from niaking general rules for the exemption of common carriers in special cases, are clothed with the dangerous power of prescribing the extent to which the common carrier may be relieved, which means practically the same thing. And their action is final; there is no appeal from it to any court. Can all the lawyers in Philadelphia combined tell me what is meant by "in the aggregate," or "under substantially similar circumstances and conditions," in this section?
Why, the Senate conterees disagree. So do the House conferees. They each disagree among themselves. The Senate disagrees and the House disagrees. And can it be supposed that the tive commissioners appointed under the provisions of this act will agree? Is it not to be presumed that they will disagree also as to the meaning of the section?
One other word. The act of the commission is final; and it is an ex parte hearing. It is done on application of the railroad company, and there is no provision whatever in the section for the apperance of anybody in behalf of the people. It is purely and simply a provision for the railroad companies to the exclusion of the interests and rights of the people.
Gentlemen may say the commissioners will gladly hear persons representing localities. How may we know in the long years during which this commission will exist, in all probability, there will not come a time when the right of the people to be heard will be denied by this commission, or when this commission may hear in a star-chamber the application of a railroad company to be exempted from the fourth section of the bill.
I protest agaiust it, Mr. Speaker, in the name of the people who have the right to have ample provision for their appearance and for their right to be heard in a tribunal which is to pass upon their rights.
Mr. BUTTERWORTH. Suppose they were disposed to hear these complaints, at what time might an applicant hope to be heard in view of the number of questions which would arise, what time in the century? (Laughter.]
Mr. WEAVER, of Iowa. That is only a repetition of the question that John asked on the Island of Patmos, How long, O Lord, how long? [Renewed laughter.]
Mr. BUTTERWORTH. Now, how long? (Laughter.]
Mr. CRISP. Suppose the gentleman from Iowa was charged with the investigation of a particular question, would he or would he not give both sides au opportunity to be heard ?
Mr, WEAVER, of Iowa. There is not any doubt about that, but I shall not be on the commission. [Laughter and applause.)
Mr. CRISP. I am glad we have material, then, out of which to make an honest commission.
Mr. WEAVER, of Iowa Now, Mr. Speaker, let us come to the clause of the Reagan bill prohibiting combinations for pooling. It is as follows:
It shall be unlawful for any person or persons carrying property as aforesaid to enter into any contract, agreement, or combination for pooling of freights, or pooling freights of different or competing railroads by dividing between them the aggregate or net proceeds of such railroads or any portion of them, and in any case of an agreement for the pooling of freights or earnings as aforesaid, each day of its continuance shall be deemed a separate offense.
It will be observed the freight pools were alone referred to in the Reagan bill, but the Reagan bill only relates to the freight traffic, and this is in harmony with the other provisions of that bill. But the bill now under consideration undertakes to deal with freight and passenger traffic, and why should it stop with a proposition for freight pools and leave the passenger pool undisturbed. There can be no question this is the plain meaning of section 5, and I will quote the exact language. It is as follows:
Sec. 5. That it shall be unlawful for any common carrier subject to the provisions of this act lo enter into any contract, agreement, or combination with any other common carrier or carriers for the pooling of freights of different and competing railroads, or to divide between them the aggregate or net proceeds of the earnings of such railroads, or any portion thereof; and in any case of an agreement for the pooling of freights as aforesaid, each day of its continuance shall be deemed a separate offense.
Now in construing that section, and I doubt whether there is any one on this floor who will differ with me, pooling of freight and freight earnings is alone prohibited. Does the gentleman from Georgia take issue with me on that point?
Mr. CRISP. He does.
Mr. CRISP. I can give you the reason for the transposition of those words.
Mr. WEAVER, of Iowa. I shall be glad to hear it.
Mr. CRISP. The Reagan bill prohibited the pooling of freights. That was the language of the bill. It was conceived that that might relate to pools, some of which exist in the United States, by which railroads agree what proportion of freight each one will carry. The other provision was put in to reach the other character of pool, which is not a pooling of freights, but a pooling of the earrings of the road. In the case of pooling freights of course it can apply only to the transportation of freights, while in the case of pooling the aggregate receipts of the roads it applies to the receipts from all sources.
Mr. WEAVER, of Iowa. Now the gentleman from Georgia avoids Scylla but strikes Charybdis. He jumps from one difficulty into an
other if he takes that position. It will not be claimed that the Reagan bill prohibited pooling of anything but freights and freight earnings.
Mr. CRISP. Not freight rates.
Mr. WEAVER, of Iowa. Well, freights. But I will read the language of the bill itself, so that there can be no question about it:
Or to pool the freights of different and competing railroads by dividing between them the aggregate or net proceeds of the earnings of such railroads or any portion of them. And in any case of an agreement for the pooling of freights or earnings, as aforesaid, each day of its continuance shall be deemed a separate offense.
The gentleman will not claim, then, that the Reagan bill prohibited passenger pools. It clearly did not relate to passenger traffic in any sense whatever.
Mr. CRISP. It did not.
Mr. WEAVER, of Iowa. It did not, as is admitted now by the gentleman from Georgia himself.
Now you have copied almost exactly the language of the fifth sec. tion of the Reagan bill. You have not changed its meaning at all; and one thing is certain, that the penalty prescribed bere :
And in any case of an agreement for the pooling of freights or earnings, as aforesaid, each day of its continuance shall be deemed a separate offense.
In no event could a passenger pool be guilty of a separate offense for each day under the plain language of this section.
Mr. CRISP. I know the gentleman from Iowa wants to be entirely frank.
Mr. WEAVER, of Iowa. Of course.
Mr. CRISP. I must have been unfortunate in my explanation of the bill. The Reagan bill provided that it should be illegal for the carrier to pool--have you got the language there of the bill ?
Mr. WEAVER, of Iowa. I have. Mr. CRISP. Will you be kind enough to read that provision ? Mr. WEAVER, of Iowa. Certainly. It shall be unlawful for any person or persons carrying property as aforesaid to enter into any contract, agreement, or combination for the pooling of freights, or to pool the freights of different and competing railroads, by dividing, &c.
Mr. CRISP. “By dividing ;'' and I ask the attention of the House to this, for that is a clear distinction. It provided that it should be unlawful to pool freights of competing roads, by dividing the aggregate of the net proceeds of the earnings of the roads.
Mr. WEAVER, of Iowa. Yes, sir.
Mr. CRISP. Now, there are pools in the country, as I said a moment ago, that do not relate to money received for the transportation of freight, but which relate to the freight itself. Railroads agree that a certain road shall carry so much of the freight, another so much, and so on, but this is a pool of the freight itself. The language of the Reagan bill we thought was improved when we said we prohibited that, and . also the division of money arising from freights.
Mr. WEAVER, of Iowa. That is entirely another interpretation of a doubtful section. But one thing is certain, that the penalty prescribed by this section making each day of its continuance a separate offense would not apply. The maximum fine of $5,000 would alone apply. If they pool the earnings, it will be but one offense, if it continues for a year. If they pool passenger rates or earnings even under the gentleman's construction, it is only one offense, for which $5,000 is the maximum fine, although the pool may continue throughout the
year. It is a mere bagatelle, not sufficient to deter the railroads from entering into a passenger pool, or sufficient to deter them from pooling their earnings from that source where they perhaps make millions of dollars each out of the pool. It might be only the minimum penalty of $1. Is that, I ask, sufficient to deter the railroads from pooling or from going into a passenger pool? Certainly not.
Mr. CRISP. I beg the gentleman's pardon-
Mr. CRISP. The provision to which you refer makes each day a separate offense.
Mr. WEAVER, of Iowa. Yes, sir; in the Reagan bill.
Mr. CRISP. That clause is not the clause under which the railroad would be punished for a violation of this law. The punitory provision says that for the commission of every act declared by this act to be unlawful the officers shall be punished by a fine.
Mr. WEAVER, of Iowa. By a fine of $5,000. Now suppose they make a pool that lasts twelve months, of the passenger earnings or the freight earnings, what is the penalty under your bill ?
Mr. CRISP. Why, undoubtedly the penalty would be the $5,000 fine put upon the corporation, and every day would be a separate offense.
Mr. WEAVER, of Iowa. If it were the pooling of freights.
Mr. CRISP. It would, in my humble judgment, if it were the pooling of passenger fares. But did the gentleman ever know of a passenger pool ?
Mr. WEAVER, of Iowa. Certainly. I am astonished at the question. There have been such pools all over the country. They were referred to in the debates in the Senate. They exist. There are passenger pools all over the country. And there are instances where railroads have cut passenger rates to one dollar and kept it up for months to force their way into a passenger pool, and they had to be received into that passenger pool in order to save the other roads and restore the old rates.
Here you have another section which is doubtful.
Now, these are the controlling provisions of this bill except the provisions which relate to the commission and that portion which relates to the courts that shall have jurisdiction to hear complaints under this act. Neither the commission clause nor the court clause that you have in this bill were in the Reagan bill. Neither were your rebate section, your preference section, your long and short haul section-none of those were in the Reagan bill, and they are the controlling and important sections of the bill.
It seems to be the theory of the pending bill to do as little for the people as possible; and in making that remark I wish to say I am entirely impersonal in everything I say here, and desire to be so. It seems to be the theory of the pending bill, I repeat, to do as little for the peo'ple as possible and to render those sections of the bill relating to the rights of the people
as obscure and unintelligible as human ingenuity can make them. To use the language of a distinguished member of this House, “If the hand of a Talley rand was not present in the construction of this bill then all appearances are deceptive."
Suppose the great Lawgiver had constructed the Ten Commandments with the same uncertainty. Suppose he had said: “Thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not bear false witness; thou shalt not covet-contemporaneously or under substantially similar circumstances and conditions” [laughter); or suppose, at the conclusion of the decalogue