Letter to the Senate Majority Leader Urging Enactment and Funding of Programs for the Cities.
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:
Programs FY 68
Crime Control $50 million
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
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
(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.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON
[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 https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/237903