Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks Upon Signing Bill To Extend the Food Stamp Act of 1964

September 27, 1967

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, Senator Aiken, Senator Byrd, Senator Ellender, Senator Boggs, Chairman Poage, Congresswoman Sullivan, Congressman Purcell, and the other Members of the House and Senate who I did not get recorded here:

I welcome one and all of you for the good work that you have done. I think we all share the common view that we want no American in this country to ever go hungry. We believe that we have the knowledge, the compassion, and the resources to banish hunger and to do away with malnutrition, if we will only apply those resources and those energies.

The bill that I have asked you to be here with me when I sign, puts some of that abundance into the reach of the people of America.

Under the food stamp program a low-income family can take what little money it has for food and purchase food stamps. At the neighborhood grocery store these are worth more than they cost. The difference is made up by the Federal Government.

Food stamps are not the only weapon in the assault on hunger. The Food Stamp Act was passed 3 years ago. In that time, the program has expanded from 43 pilot areas in 22 States to 838 areas in 41 States. Today it is helping to feed nearly 2 million needy Americans. This extension will enable us to do still more.

We have nearly 20 million schoolchildren-more than ever before--receiving low cost or free meals under the school lunch program. That program today is in its 21st year.

More than 100,000 children have a better chance to learn because they began their day with a decent breakfast because of the Child Nutrition Act that we passed in 1966.

Three million needy Americans in family units are receiving better diets in the commodity donation program of the Department of Agriculture.

As I sign this act, I am asking the Secretary to help America's 300 poorest counties which do not now have food assistance to start a community distribution program to be available for the low-income families.

We are all mindful that the poor need more than food. The causes of poverty are complex. The answers to poverty are very difficult. The escape from poverty is not going to come soon, but we must all continue to try the best way that we can to give all that we can to banish poverty from our land.

Poverty's cruelest wound is hunger. The act that we will sign today, I think, will do some little something to relieve some of that hunger.

To those men and women in the House and Senate who have had the vision to help us prepare this bill by the long, drawn out hearings and the days in conference, and the debates on the floor, we owe them all a debt of gratitude which I want to acknowledge on behalf of the American people.

This will help our poor. This will help our farmers. And even though this is a bipartisan group, I hope it will help our Congress.

Note: The President spoke at 11 :58 a.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House. In his opening words he referred to Senators George D. Aiken of Vermont, Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, Alien J. Ellender of Louisiana, and J. Caleb Boggs of Delaware, and to Representatives W. R. Poage of Texas, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, Leonor K. (Mrs. John B.) Sullivan of Missouri, and Graham Purcell of Texas.
As enacted, the bill (S. 953) is Public Law 90-91 (81 Stat. 228),

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks Upon Signing Bill To Extend the Food Stamp Act of 1964 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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