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Statement on Signing the Disaster Relief Act of 1970.

December 31, 1970

I HAVE TODAY signed S. 3619, the Disaster Relief Act of 1970.

This bill establishes a permanent, comprehensive program to extend emergency relief and necessary assistance to individuals, organizations, businesses, and States and local communities suffering from major disasters. It also strengthens the administration and coordination of Federal disaster assistance efforts.

On April 22, 1970, I sent a message to the Congress outlining this administration's proposals for improving the assistance which the Federal Government can provide in time of major disasters. My recommendations included:

--a property tax revenue maintenance plan for local communities whose tax bases have been partially destroyed;

--authority to permanently repair or fully replace damaged public facilities;

--improvement in the programs that provide disaster loans to stricken individuals; and

--authority to assist States and localities in averting or lessening the effects of potentially major disasters.

The Congress, while altering the particulars of many of these proposals, has incorporated all of the essential features of a sound disaster assistance program. I am pleased with this bill which responds to a vital need of the American people. The bill demonstrates that the Federal Government in cooperation with State and local authorities is capable of providing compassionate assistance to the innocent victims of natural disasters.

Note: As enacted, S. 3619 is Public Law 91606 (84 Stat. 1744).

Executive Order 11575, providing for the administration of the Disaster Relief Act of 1970, was signed by the President on the same day.

Richard Nixon, Statement on Signing the Disaster Relief Act of 1970. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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