Franklin D. Roosevelt

Statement on Signing the Unemployment Relief Bill.

May 12, 1933

I want to make it very clear to citizens in every community that the Bill I have just signed, authorizing an appropriation of $500,000,000 of Federal funds for unemployment relief, does not absolve States and local communities of their responsibility to see that the necessities of life are assured their citizens who are in destitute circumstances.

The Bill in effect is a challenge to Governors, legislatures and local officials to stimulate their own efforts to provide for their own citizens in need.

For these and other good reasons citizens who are able should voluntarily contribute to the pressing needs of welfare services.

The giving of life's necessities by the Government, in ratio to contributions made by States and local communities, should lead to the giving of generous contributions to community chests and welfare organizations throughout the country.

The principle which I have on many occasions explained is that the first obligation is on the locality; if it is absolutely clear that the locality has done its utmost but that more must be done, then the State must do its utmost. Only then can the Federal Government add its contribution to those of the locality and the State.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Statement on Signing the Unemployment Relief Bill. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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