"he said it was because the National Recovery Act was dead."

The National Recovery Act (or National Industrial Recovery Act) was an American statute which authorized the President of the United States to regulate industry and permit monopolies in an attempt to stimulate economic recovery. The legislation was enacted in June 1933 during the Great Depression by the then President Franklin D. Roosevelt. 

The National Industrial Recovery Act was widely considered a failure, although the cause of its failure is still debated. Among the suggested causes are that the Act promoted economically harmful monopolies, that it lacked critical support from the business community, and that it was poorly administered.