Draft extension approved and sent to White House (8-14-41)

The Pittsburgh Press (August 14, 1941)


Washington, Aug. 14 (UP) –
The Senate today completed Congressional action on the military service extension bill and sent it to the White House. It authorizes President Roosevelt to hold all men in the Army – selectees and all others – for 18 months beyond their original terms.

The Senate adopted, 36–19, a motion by Senator Elbert D. Thomas (D-UT) to accept minor House amendments to the bill, which carries a Congressional declaration that:

…the national interest is imperiled.

This avoided any need for further action by the House, which had passed it by only one vote.

The bill lifts the restriction of 900,000 on the number of men who may be conscripted for training and service at any one time.

Under the bill, the service period of any person now in the Army – including selectees, National Guardsmen and reservists – may be extended 18 months. Congress, however, reserved the right to give President Roosevelt authority to extend the service still further whenever it declares that such extension is:

…in the interests of national defense.

It reserved the right to revoke the newly-guaranteed 18-month extension at any time by concurrent resolution.

The bill also raises the pay of Army enlisted men from $30 a month to $40. Selectees, Guardsmen and reservists will get the $10 increase after serving 12 months; Regular Army men immediately on enactment of the bill, provided they have served 12 months. The pay raise, however, will be in effect only for the duration of the national emergency.

The measure also authorized President Roosevelt to mobilize the National Guard again if he permits it to leave the service.

After acting on the extension resolution, the Senate was to consider the $6,828,326,948 supplemental defense appropriation, providing equipment for an army of 3 million men, equipment and public works for the Navy, and 566 merchant ships for the Maritime Commission.

There was no evidence of an administration move to restore to the supplemental appropriation a $1,357,053,550 cut voted by the Senate Appropriations Committee. This slash, largest in history, eliminated funds requested by the Army for 6,100 tanks, anti-aircraft and anti-tank guns and other equipment to be put in a reserve pool in the event the Army was increased to more than 3 million men.

Congressional sources heard that next week President Roosevelt may ask for a second Lend-Lease appropriation of approximately the same size as the original $7 billion fund.

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