Richard Nixon photo

Statement About Signing the Older Americans Comprehensive Services Amendments of 1973

May 04, 1973

I HAVE SIGNED S. 50, the Older Americans Comprehensive Services Amendments of 1973. This legislation extends through fiscal year 1975 the appropriation authorization for the Older Americans Act of 1965 and expands the range of services provided for the elderly under that and other acts.

Last fall I felt compelled to veto another bill extending the older Americans programs.1 I am particularly pleased that S. 50 eliminates many of the significant problems which were present in the earlier legislation while also building upon the strengths of existing programs.

1See 1972 volume, Item 391.

Specifically, S. 50 provides authorization levels which avoid the cruel overpromises implied by the levels in the earlier bill. I applaud the Congress for taking such a responsible stand and ask that it show similar restraint as it considers other authorizing and spending bills which will come before it.

S. 50 also authorizes financial assistance for area-wide planning within individual States, thus opening the way to more comprehensive and coordinated systems for the delivery of services. Within those systems, the bill encourages more effective focusing of resources so that we can set up programs to meet needs identified by State and local leaders. I am sure that many older Americans who have volunteered thousands of hours of their time to serve others will also be gratified that S. 50 provides for a continuation of the Foster Grandparent and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program--two efforts which have my wholehearted support.

In sum, S. 50 represents another step forward to assist older Americans, and I am proud and pleased to sign it into law.

In recent years, the executive and Congressional branches, working together, have strengthened programs for the elderly in a number of ways that should be a source of pride for all Americans:

--Levels in the Administration on Aging will have risen from $28 million in fiscal year 1970 to $196 million in fiscal year 1974, a seven-fold increase in only 4 years.

--Social security benefits rates have been increased by 51 percent in the last 4 years, and cash benefits paid to the elderly will have increased from $22.5 billion in 1970 to $41 .5 billion in fiscal year 1974.

--Medicare and Medicaid benefits for the elderly will have increased from $7.8 billion in 1970 to $11.5 billion in the coming fiscal year.

--Total Federal outlays which benefit the elderly will have increased 71 percent from fiscal year 1970 to 1974, rising from $37.2 billion to $63.8 billion.

--In fiscal year 1974, Federal outlays to benefit the elderly will represent almost 24 percent of the total Federal budget, up from less than 18 percent in 1970.

All of this progress helps to fulfill the hope of older men and women throughout America of achieving lives of independence and dignity. It represents, as well, the continuing commitment of this Administration to improving the lives of all our elderly citizens.

Note: As enacted, S. 50, approved May 3, 1973, is Public Law 93-- 29 (87 Stat. 30).

The statement was released at Key Biscayne, Fla.

Richard Nixon, Statement About Signing the Older Americans Comprehensive Services Amendments of 1973 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Simple Search of Our Archives