Rep. Birmingham faced stiff opposition from 52 Democrats and 9 Republicans over a bill providing for a 10 percent to 15 percent payroll reduction for state employees. The bill was sponsored by the Ways and Means Committee and backed by Gov. Ely, according to an op-ed by W.E. Mullins in the Boston Herald (March 26, 1933, p. 4, via Genealogy Bank).
A number of the Democratic opponents to the bill planned to call a caucus to remove Birmingham as Democratic floor leader, Mullins related.
The opposition group, mostly Boston Democrats, also threatened a filibuster of the general appropriations bill in order to extend the House session into midsummer in retaliation for passage of the pay cut.
They planned to ask for debate on every one of the more than 100 appropriations items. Only 30 members are required for a roll-call on each item, so this could delay the process for weeks, Mullins noted.
In particularly, the opposition group threatened to hold up appropriations items beneficial for farmers because rural district had been supportive of the pay cut for state employees. One appropriations item they plan to oppose was reimbursement for farmers whose cattle had died from disease.
Mullins noted that Birmingham had been “unwavering in his loyalty” to Gov. Ely. However, two other representatives, Rep. John P. Higgins and Rep. John V. Mahoney, who had been supportive of the governor’s agenda, joined the opposition to the pay-cut bill.
The bill was scheduled to go to the Senate for a vote, where it was expected to pass.