Box 7, Folder 12, Document 12

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The Urban Coalition Action Council
.1819 H Street, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20006

(Tom Mathews) August 14, 1969




The following statement was issued on behalf of the Urban
Coalition Action Council today by John W. Gardner, Council
Chairman, following a meeting of the Council"s Executive

Committee in Washington, D.C.:

President Nixon has taken the initiative to reform
America's outmoded welfare system. The Urban Coalition Action
Council welcomes this major departure and commends the President
for moving to correct the serious deficiencies of the current

The President's proposals are significant on several

(a) They will provide assistance te the millions of
- working poor who are totally ignored by the present system.

_(b) They will provide income to unemployed parents who
are seeking work or training, thereby keeping families together.
(In most states today unemployed fathers have to desert their

families to make the families eligible for aid.)

(c) They remove the powerful barrier to work which
is a gross defect of the present system, and introduce a
positive incentive for the individual to enter the job market.

(d) Though the level of support is modest, they take
the enormously important step of accepting federal responsibility
to place a floor under the income of those eligible for

(e) They will provide national eligibility standards

for those receiving federal assistance under the new program.

We have strongly advocated such measures and we will
do all that we can to make them a. legislative reality. If
that is to come about, all who nee ecasaened for the nation's
future must work together to ensure that the best program we

can devise is finally written into law. To assure the ultimate

success of the program, it must be strengthened in every way

possible during the public debate and the legislative deliber-
ations to come. Here are some of the ways in which strengthening
could be accomplished:

1. The Administration proposals could be further
strengthened by raising the javel of funding in order to
increase the level of minimum income, to afford relief for
those states and municipalities which are being crushed by
the spiraling welfare burden and to include single persons

and childless couples who are not now covered.

2. The plan proposed by the President exempts
mothers of pre-school children from the provision requiring
recipients of assistance to register for work and training.
This is a step forward over the present law and should be
retained. But the plan could be strengthened further if it
recognized that even mothers of children over six might serve
the society best by staying home and doing a good job of
bringing up their children. It is a decision for the |
mother, not the government, to make. All evidence indicates
that the number of mothers who want .to work.exceeds our capability
to provide jobs and daycare facilities. |

3. The Administration proposals can be effectively
strengthened by the formulation of explicit federal standards
governing work referral and wages to be paid, and hy provieiens
to assure that present welfare recipients do not end up with
a lower level of benefits than they presently receive. :

4, The proposals could be made more effective if they
were supplemented by a job creation program. There is a danger
that the new training opportunities proposed by the President
will simply become a revolving door through which potential
employees pass without obtaining employment. The Coalition
has long advocated a public service employment program which
would solve the problem,

5. Finally, the proposal should assure that the food stamp
program only be phased out as cash payments approach the

minimum necessary to lift a family out of poverty.

The Urban Coalition Action Council looks forward
to joining with other concerned citizens in the monumental
task we now face of winning the public and political support
necessary to assure enactment of constructive measures to

meet these problems.

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