HOME

TheInfoList




The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 () authorized the formation of local Community Action Agencies as part of the
War on Poverty The war on poverty is the unofficial name for legislation first introduced by President of the United States, United States President Lyndon B. Johnson during his State of the Union address on January 8, 1964. This legislation was proposed by John ...
. These agencies are directly regulated by the federal government. "It is the purpose of The Economic Opportunity Act to strengthen, supplement, and coordinate efforts in furtherance of that policy".


Purpose

*Eliminate poverty *Expand educational opportunities *Increase the safety net for the poor and unemployed *Tend to health and financial needs of the elderly


War on Poverty

The War on Poverty was declared by President
Lyndon B. Johnson Lyndon Baines Johnson (; August 27, 1908January 22, 1973), often referred to by his initials LBJ, was the 36th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the ...

Lyndon B. Johnson
in his
State of the Union Address The State of the Union Address (sometimes abbreviated to SOTU) is an annual message delivered by the president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United Stat ...
on January 8, 1964:
W. Willard Wirtz
W. Willard Wirtz
,
Secretary of Labor A secretary, administrative professional, or personal assistant A personal assistant, also referred to as personal aide (PA) or personal secretary (PS), is a job title describing a person who assists a specific person with their daily busine ...
during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, was a major proponent of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. During a June 17, 1967, hearing before the Select Committee on Poverty of the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare of the
United States Senate The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress The United States Congress is the legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, politi ...
, Secretary Wirtz stated, "It has become clear that America is not going to put up with poverty amidst prosperity. We realize that by itself prosperity is not going to get rid of poverty." He emphasized that the War on Poverty had two central objectives: The War on Poverty attacked the roots and consequences of poverty by creating job opportunities, increasing productivity, and enhancing the quality of life. The aim was not to end poverty but to eradicate the principal causes of it.


History

On March 16, 1964, President Johnson called for the act in his Special Message to Congress that presented his proposal for a nationwide war on the sources of poverty. The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 was passed as a part of LBJ's
War on Poverty The war on poverty is the unofficial name for legislation first introduced by President of the United States, United States President Lyndon B. Johnson during his State of the Union address on January 8, 1964. This legislation was proposed by John ...
. Encompassing the
Civil Rights Act of 1964 The Civil Rights Act of 1964 () is a landmark civil rights Civil and political rights are a class of rights Rights are law, legal, social, or ethics, ethical principles of Liberty, freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fund ...
, the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 was created "to eliminate the paradox of poverty on the midst of plenty in this nation by opening…. To everyone… the opportunity for education and training, the opportunity to work, and the opportunity to live in decency and dignity." In his 1964 Special Message to Congress, President Johnson declared "The Act does not merely expand on old programs or improve what was already being done. It charts a new course. It strikes at the causes of poverty…Not just the consequences of poverty. It can be a milestone in our 180-year search for a better life for your people."


Legislation

In January 1964, President Johnson gave
Sargent Shriver Robert Sargent Shriver Jr. (November 9, 1915 – January 18, 2011) was an American diplomat, politician and activist. As the husband of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, he was part of the Kennedy family. Shriver was the driving force behind the creation ...
the task of developing a bill to wage the war against poverty in the United States. The bill was presented to
Congress Congresses are formal meetings of the representatives of different countries A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, ...

Congress
in March, 1964. It was introduced in the House by Representative
Phil M. Landrum Phillip Mitchell Landrum (September 10, 1907 – November 19, 1990) was a Democratic Party (United States), Democratic United States House of Representatives, U.S. Representative from Georgia (U.S. state), Georgia. Born in Martin, Georgia, Landru ...
, (D Georgia), and in the Senate by Senator Pat McNamara, (D Michigan). In the Senate, the bill was debated for two days and then passed on July 23, 1964, with 61 Senators in favor, 34 opposed. In the House, the Senate-passed bill was debated for four days and passed by a vote of 226 to 185, on August 8, 1964. The debate and voting in both the House and Senate was highly partisan with Republicans questioning states' rights and southern Democrats the racial integration provisions (see Tables below). The Senate adopted the House-passed bill that same day and twelve days later on August 20, 1964, the bill was signed by President Johnson. The Economic Opportunity Act was announced by the president in his first
State of the Union Address The State of the Union Address (sometimes abbreviated to SOTU) is an annual message delivered by the president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United Stat ...
as the keystone of the war on poverty.


Vote totals


Major features

The act included eleven major programs: # The Job Corps provides work, basic education, and training in separate residential centers for young men and young women, from ages sixteen to twenty-one. #Neighborhood Youth Corps provides work and training for young men and women, ages sixteen to twenty-one, from impoverished families and neighborhoods. #Work Study provides grants to colleges and universities for part-time employment of students from low-income families who need to earn money to pursue their education. #Urban and Rural Community Action provides financial and technical assistance to public and private nonprofit agencies for community action programs developed with "maximum feasible participation" of the poor and giving "promise of progress toward elimination of poverty." #
Adult Basic Education Adult education, distinct from child education, is a practice in which adults engage in systematic and sustained self-educating activities in order to gain new forms of knowledge, skills, attitudes, or values. Merriam, Sharan B. & Brockett, Ral ...

Adult Basic Education
provides grants to state educational agencies for programs of instruction for persons eighteen years and older whose inability to read and write English is an impediment to employment. #Voluntary Assistance for Needy Children establishes an information and coordination center to encourage voluntary assistance for deserving and needy children. #Loans to Rural Families provides loans not exceeding $2,500 that assist low income rural families in permanently increasing their income. #Assistance for Migrant Agricultural Employees provides assistance to state and local governments, public and private nonprofit agencies or individuals in operating programs to assist migratory workers and their families with basic needs. #Employment and Investment Incentives provides loans and guarantees, not in excess of $25,000 to a single borrower, for the benefit of very small businesses. #Work Experience provides payments for experimental, pilot, and demonstration projects to expand opportunities for work experience and needed training of persons who are unable to support or care for themselves or their families, including persons receiving public assistance. # Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) recruits, selects, trains, and refers volunteers to state or local agencies or private nonprofit organizations to perform duties to combat poverty. The legislation also authorized the Economic Opportunity Council, which led to the launch of smaller independent groups that worked with communities to establish better economic climates. Government took charge for providing a means to provide basic literacy to adults. The idea was not wealth distribution, but to provide poor families with a means to provide for their family to a decent standard of living. One of the main provisions of the act was the federal government's authority to bypass states in sending funds directly to local governments. This was one of the ways the federal government was able to bypass the southern states that did not cooperate with federal law.


Evaluation

The act was part of President
Lyndon Johnson's
Lyndon Johnson's
War on Poverty The war on poverty is the unofficial name for legislation first introduced by President of the United States, United States President Lyndon B. Johnson during his State of the Union address on January 8, 1964. This legislation was proposed by John ...
, which sought to eliminate poverty which President Johnson saw as: "... it's wastage of resources and human lives...." The aim was to bring Americans closer, away from "the outskirts of hope." By 1966, the program was under scrutiny from Republicans. They pointed out the waste and inefficiency in local programs and Nixon pledged to "take the profit out of poverty." LBJ was proud of the progress he had made with the passage of his bill, including 9.1 million acres of forestry that was set for harvest, the creation of Medicare, and funding injected into state schools. Funding that was for his poverty legislation were diverted to
The Vietnam War {{Infobox military conflict , conflict = Vietnam War{{native name, vi, Chiến tranh Việt Nam , partof = the Indochina Wars The Indochina Wars ( vi, Chiến tranh Đông Dương) were a series of wars fought in Southea ...
. In 1967, Congress directed the
Government Accountability Office The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is a government agency that provides ing, , and investigative services for the . It is the of the . It identifies its core "mission values" as: accountability, integrity, and reliability. It is ...
, then General Accounting Office, to review anti-poverty programs by the federal government. The conclusion was that programs such as Head Start were effective in providing for children, but the primary objective of parent participation was insufficient. Community Action Programs were behind administratively and underachieved given the amount of money designated. Overall, the GAO determined that the poverty programs were working at the time. While there is debate about the impact of the act, the fact is that poverty rate fell dramatically within 10 years of its passage. According to the US Census Bureau the poverty rate in America 1964 stood at 19.0%. By 1973 the poverty rate was 11.3%, according to the Census Bureau. The act was essentially repealed under the
Ronald Reagan Ronald Wilson Reagan ( ; February 6, 1911June 5, 2004) was an American politician who served as the 40th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of ...

Ronald Reagan
administration in 1981, although much of the main features still remain. The remaining pieces of social legislation are reconfigured and adjusted, such as Head Start, which is now under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Head Start. The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 was replaced by The
Community Services Block Grant The Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) provides federal funding for Community Action Agencies (CAAs) and other programs that seek to address poverty at the community level. Like other block grants, CSBG funds are allocated to the states and other ...
(CSBG) which replaced the funding from direct funding to block grants with over 1200 plus community action agencies.


References


External links


Johnson's Great Society Speech

Johnson's Inaugural Address

Johnson's Website

The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964
{{DEFAULTSORT:Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 1964 in American law Poverty in the United States Great Society programs 88th United States Congress 1964 in economics