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The legislation enacted in the first session of the 89th Congress places vast new responsibilities on the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. All of the Department's constituent agencies face a new set of challenges. Two new agencies--for Water Pollution Control and Aging--have been added to the Department's structure. The Department clearly is entering into a new phase of its history, as is our society as a whole.
The Nation is going through an intensely creative period. It is a period marked by rapid social and technological change, by widespread recognition of the need for innovation, and by extraordinarily vigorous national leadership.
It may be some time before we will be able to grasp the true magnitude of the legislative achievements recorded in these pages. It is a task that will occupy historians for many years to come.
The laws reveal much that is characteristic of our time. First, they reveal a rebirth of our deepest national conviction--the belief in equality of opportunity. This applies not only to the Civil Rights Act, but to every major education and health measure.
Second, the new legislation reveals the way in which our major social problems interweave. Civil Rights and education are inextricably related. Problems such as poverty, juvenile delinquency, aging, and mental retardation defy bureaucratic lines. More and more we see that our major social programs involve a mix of health, employment, housing, education, and income security.
The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare is seeing the dramatic consequences of such interrelationships. Medicare is administered by the Social Security Administration, but both the Public Health Service and Welfare Administration are heavily involved in the professional aspects of the program. The new legislation, therefore, pulls the Department together instead of dividing it. Cooperation among the constituent agencies is not a distant goal of management, but a day-to-day necessity in order to get the job done.
The third characteristic of the new legislation is that every major social program includes a "manpower" component--a provision for education of the specialists who will be needed to carry out the programs. This is uniquely a concern of our time--the result of massive technological progress.
Fourth, the new legislation gives frequent emphasis to research and development. It recognizes explicitly that we cannot hope to solve our problems by doing the same old things in the same old ways. We must learn more about the nature of our problems. We must learn to apply modern technology to many of them.
Fifth, the new legislation makes varied and effective use of cooperative arrangements with non-Federal and non-governmental agencies. The Department works with all the States and with many of their political subdivisions, with the Nation's 24,000 school districts, with almost all the institutions of higher learning, with most of the hospitals and nursing homes, and with numerous professional and voluntary agencies. We reinforce and stimulate the work of these institutions and agencies. We put within their reach the tools they can use and the resources they can draw upon.