Dear Mr. President:
I have the honor to transmit a request for a $75 million fiscal 1967 supplemental appropriation for the Office of Economic Opportunity.
This appropriation will provide urgently needed funds for supervised playgrounds and swimming pools, and for training, employment and education programs to take care of idle youth in our teeming cities.
The funds will be used to help finance programs such as these, which have been instituted by local officials as part of the summer program for young people in their communities.
This is an investment we can afford and should make. With these additional funds, we can help cities and local communities to:
--Bring jobs, skills and employment opportunities to 75,000 more young Americans.
--Provide recreation opportunities for more than one million more boys and girls.
--Keep their schools, libraries and playgrounds open, build swimming pools, provide special remedial education courses for children, light their basketball courts and baseball diamonds in the evenings.
Summer can be a time of opportunity and growth or emptiness and despair. It can mean fresh air and the out-of-doors, or closed playgrounds and a steaming tenement. It can mean new skills and the satisfaction of a meaningful job, or the endless search for decent work. It can be a time of renewal and strength through swimming, camping and hiking or it can be a time of frustration. It can be a time of enrichment through school and special courses, or a time of idleness.
Our course is clear. Over the past three years, I have proposed and you in the Congress have supported new programs which are now bringing new skills, new learning, and new spirit to millions of young Americans. These programs form the base for the efforts which hundreds of communities have launched over the past two summers.
The names and gains of these programs are familiar to all of you--Head Start, Upward Bound, the Youth Opportunity Campaign, the Neighborhood Youth Corps, and the special programs under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
Last February, in my Message to the Congress on America's Children and Youth, I urged:
--Every Federal agency to strengthen its programs for summer employment, training, education, recreation and health.
--Cities and local communities to help make summers more productive for the youth of America.
Communities across the country have responded. Many states, cities and local communities have developed useful and productive summer programs for their young people. Many of these communities are in need of special assistance to carry out their programs. We have reviewed all the Federal resources which can be used to help them.
That review shows that we will be providing about the same amount of funds as we provided last year--about $600 million--for a wide variety of education, training, employment and recreation programs. But that review also shows that many worthwhile programs planned by cities and local communities cannot be supported by funds now available. The supplemental funds requested in this letter are essential to fill that gap.
The problems of poverty, which are fostered by generations of neglect, cannot be solved in a single summer or in a single year.
The summer program is but a small part of our year-round effort to provide health, learning and training for millions of needy young citizens.
But this request will enable us to respond to plans which have been developed by local communities across the land.
We know that success will not be easily achieved. It will require the devotion and commitment of governors and mayors, private organizations and private citizens who recognize the importance of the task.
The President cannot--and should not-be the mayor of every city or the governor of every state. But the Federal Government can and should do its part. The supplemental appropriation which I am submitting to the Congress today is another example of the partnership we are building between the Federal Government and the states and dries of America.
I urge the Congress to act promptly on this request.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON
[Honorable Hubert H. Humphrey, President of the Senate, Washington, D.C.]