National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA)

  1. Depression-era legislation that created the Public Works Administration (PWA) and National Recovery Administration (NRA) to oversee a series of recovery measures. The PWA was allotted $3.3 billion to create public works operations, but because of time spent planning, the PWA did not become an important factor until late in the New Deal. The NRA was charged with administering codes of fair labor practice within certain industries. The codes were designed to stabilize production, raise prices, and protect labor and consumers. By February 1934, however, many critics felt that far too many codes had come into existence, containing innumerable provisions that were difficult to enforce. In May 1935 the Supreme Court invalidated the code system (Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States, 295 U.S.C. § 495 (1935)). Despite shortcomings, however, the NRA had aided several highly competitive industries, such as textiles, and brought reforms that were reenacted in other legislation: federal wages-and-hours regulation, collective bargaining guarantees, and abolition of child labor in interstate commerce.