Memorandum of Disapproval of Two Bills Concerned With Programs for the Elderly.
I HAVE announced today the signing of H.R. I--a bill which represents a tremendous forward step in improving the income position and health services for older Americans. Two other bills concerning the elderly have also come to me for signature--the Older Americans Comprehensive Service Amendments of 1972 (H.R. 15657) and the Research on Aging Act of 1972 (H.R. 14424). Although I support some of the goals of these two bills, careful review has persuaded me that neither bill provides the best means of achieving these goals. Both authorize unbudgeted and excessive expenditures and would also require duplications or fragmentations of effort which would actually impair our efforts to serve older Americans more effectively. I have decided therefore to withhold my approval from these two pieces of legislation
OLDER AMERICANS COMPREHENSIVE
OF 1972 (H.R. 15657)
Last March, I submitted to the Congress a plan for strengthening and expanding service delivery programs under the Older Americans Act. This program would begin the development of more comprehensive and better coordinated systems for delivering services at the local level. In addition, I submitted a proposal to broaden the highly successful Foster Grandparents Program. The Administration will continue its vigorous pursuit of both these objectives.
However, the Congress added to the bill containing these provisions a range of narrow, categorical service programs which would seriously interfere with our effort to develop coordinated services for older persons. This is particularly the case with two categorical manpower programs which were added on the floor of the Senate and were considered without regard to manpower programs already serving older persons. Furthermore, this bill would authorize new funding of more than $o billion between now and fiscal year 1975---far beyond what can be used effectively and responsibly.
I cannot responsibly approve H.R. 15657.
RESEARCH ON AGING ACT OF 1972
In my Special Message to the Congress on Older Americans last March, I also emphasized the need to develop a comprehensive, coordinated program of aging research--one which includes disciplines ranging from biomedical research to transportation systems analysis, from psychology and sociology to management science and economics. The Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare has since ,appointed a new Technical Advisory Committee for Aging Research to develop a plan for bringing together all the resources available to the Federal Government in the aging research field.
H.R. 14424, however, would set up an entirely separate aging research institute that would duplicate these activities. This bill would create additional administrative costs without enhancing the conduct of biomedical research for the aging. In fact, it could even fragment existing research efforts. This bill also contains a new grant program for mental health facilities for the aging which duplicates the more general and flexible authorities contained in the Community Mental Health Centers Act.
In sum, I feel that both research and mental health programs for the aging should be carried out in the broader context of research on life-span processes and comprehensive mental health treatment programs now underway.
H.R. 14424 would not enhance and could inhibit Federal efforts to respond to the needs of the elderly, and I cannot give it my approval.
THE WHITE HOUSE,
October 30, 1972.
Richard Nixon, Memorandum of Disapproval of Two Bills Concerned With Programs for the Elderly. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/255527