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Letter to the Senate Majority Leader Urging Enactment and Funding of Programs for the Cities.

August 16, 1967

Dear Mike:

It has long been apparent that the health of our nation can be no better than the health of our cities.

Surely not a single American can doubt this any longer, after the tragic events of this summer.

Just two months after I became President-in January 1964--I sent to the Congress a Special Message on Housing and Community Development. In outlining a series of new proposals for the cities of America, I said: "Whether we achieve our goal of a decent home in a decent neighborhood for every American citizen rests, in large measure, on the action we take now."

Shortly thereafter, I called together some of the most brilliant minds, the most talented planners, and the most experienced urban experts in the nation. After exhaustive study, they recommended to me a number of proposals that hold vast promise for the future of every city in this nation. Chief among these proposals was the Model Cities Program--the most coordinated, massive, and far-reaching attack on urban blight ever proposed to the Congress. This was not just a federal program. It was designed to stimulate local initiative in the private sector, and at the state, county and local level.

I asked Congress to authorize $2.3 billion for the first six years of this program. Congress reduced that request to $900 million for 2 years.

This year, I requested full funding of the Model Cities--$662 million. The House has already cut that request to $237 million.

I urge that this request be restored in full. We can no longer be satisfied with "business as usual" when the problems are so urgent.

These problems demand the best that an enlightened nation can plan, and the most that an affluent nation can afford.

In addition, the Congress now has before it a number of other programs proposed by the Administration which are concerned entirely or significantly with the urban problems of our nation. These programs, taken together, represent an all-out commitment to the safety and well-being of our cities and the citizens who live in them:

Funds Requested--

Programs FY 68

Crime Control $50 million

Firearms Control

Civil Rights Act of 1967

Juvenile Delinquency $25 million

Economic Opportunity Act $2.06 billion

Model Cities $662 million

Rent Supplements $40 million

Urban Renewal $750 million

Urban Mass Transit, ad-

vance appropriation $230 million

Urban Research $20 million

Neighborhood Facilities $42 million

Home Rehabilitation $15 million

Family Relocation Assist-

ance $62 million

Rat Extermination $20 million

Elementary-Secondary Edu-

cation Act $1.6 billion

Manpower Development and

Training Act $439 million

Food Stamps $195 million

Child Nutrition and School

Lunch Program $348 million

Community Health Serv ices $30 million

Mental Health $96 million

Mental Retardation $25 million

Hospital Modernization

(Hill-Burton) $50 million

Maternal and Infant Care $30 million

All of these programs have been pending before the Congress since the beginning of this session and are included in our January budget.

The task before us is immense. But we have charted a beginning--and we have done so with the help of the best and most experienced minds in the Nation. I believe the enactment and funding of these programs is the first step in making this commitment a reality for the people of America.



[Honorable Mike Mansfield, United States Senate, Washington, D.C. ]

Note: For statements by the President following legislative action on the model cities program, see Items 370, 467.

With respect to the response by the Congress to the other programs listed in the President's letter, see note to Item 575.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Letter to the Senate Majority Leader Urging Enactment and Funding of Programs for the Cities. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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