Statement by the President Upon Signing the Disaster Relief Act.
I HAVE today signed S. 1861 which makes available additional disaster relief to American citizens and their communities in times of natural disaster.
The legislation augments existing Federal authorities in the disaster field in the following ways:
It establishes a single Federal agency--the Office of Emergency Planning--as the arm of Federal coordination for all disaster relief activities carried out by other Federal departments.
It provides additional assistance in rural areas by permitting the Farmers Home Administration to make loans and grants for public and quasi-public agencies and nonprofit corporations for repair or replacement of waste disposal systems and other public facilities damaged or destroyed by major disasters.
It allows the Department of Education to assist in the repair and reconstruction of public universities and .colleges stricken in major disasters and authorizes the Department to help maintain and operate the institutions following a major disaster.
It authorizes the Small Business Administration to make loans to private universities and colleges, and waive interest payments or defer principal as might be required.
It permits the Office of Emergency Planning to share the costs of repair and reconstruction of public facilities under construction at the time of natural disaster.
It directs the Office of Emergency Planning to investigate the use of additional air operational facilities in minimizing the impact of forest and grass fires.
I have asked Director Farris Bryant of the Office of Emergency Planning to bring together all elements of the Federal establishment so that these new authorities are fully understood and utilized. Everything we can do to minimize the consequences of natural disaster and to streamline Federal procedures for dealing with them should be accomplished as rapidly as possible.
Note: As enacted, S. 1861 is Public Law 89-769 (80 Stat. 1316).
The statement was released at San Antonio, Texas.
Lyndon B. Johnson, Statement by the President Upon Signing the Disaster Relief Act. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/238500