Letter to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House Proposing the Establishment of a National Service Corps.
I am transmitting herewith for the consideration of the Congress a legislative proposal to authorize the establishment of a National Service Corps to strengthen community service programs in the United States. This proposal is an outgrowth of a study by a Cabinet-level committee under the chairmanship of the Attorney General and composed of the Secretaries of Agriculture, Interior, Commerce, Labor, and Health, Education, and Welfare, the Administrators of the Housing and Home Finance Agency and the Veterans Administration, and the Chairman of the Civil Service Commission.
Poverty in the midst of plenty is a paradox that must not go unchallenged in this country. Ours is the wealthiest of nations, yet one-sixth of our people live below minimal levels of health, housing, food and education-in the slums of cities, in migratory labor camps, in economically depressed areas, on Indian reservations. In addition, special hardships are faced by our senior citizens, dependent children, and the victims of mental illness, mental retardation and other disabling misfortunes.
As I stated in my "Message on our Nation's Youth" to the Congress on February 14 recommending a National Service Corps, this legislation will provide for a carefully selected corps of men and women of all ages who are willing to serve and whose skills and knowledge can contribute in a most valuable and practical way to the ongoing attack upon these problems of national concern. These men and women will be made available, upon local invitation and in cooperation with interested governmental and nongovernmental agencies, to serve for a limited time in projects directed toward the critical human needs of our countrymen.
The example of men and women rendering full-time service within the corps should motivate additional Americans to volunteer their services in their own communities.
I am also enclosing a letter discussing the proposed legislation in greater detail which was sent to me by the Attorney General. Also enclosed is a section-by-section analysis of the proposed legislation.
JOHN F. KENNEDY
Note: This is the text of identical letters addressed to the Honorable Lyndon B. Johnson, President of the Senate, and to the Honorable John W. McCormack, Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The text of the draft bill and of the Attorney General's letter discussing the proposed legislation in greater detail was released with the President's letter.
John F. Kennedy, Letter to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House Proposing the Establishment of a National Service Corps. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/237189