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I did have a chance to read your statement, Dr. Flemming.
As usual, I am very impressed, Dr. Flemming, with your testimony and your grasp of the subject matter. It is good to see you back before the committee. You certainly have had a distinguished career in the field of public service and education. It is always a pleasure to see you before the committee.
I am also delighted to welcome the Assistant Secretary. It is my first opportunity to deal with you in committee. I have talked to you on the phone. I appreciate your concern and that of the department.
Having said these nice things, I hope you will bear with me. This is not meant in any spirit of complaint but more to set the record straight.
My recollection of your testimony, Mr. Secretary, was that you were comparing apples and oranges when the chairman asked you if the request for funding in this bill was not less than was appropriated by the Congress last year. The fact is that it is less.
You are asking in this bill for $103 million for the same programs that the Congress appropriated $120 million for last year.
Mr. THOMAS. That is true, Mr. Meeds.
What I meant was that the authorization requests in the new bill are consistent with the President's budget requests for the fiscal year 1975. He will be forwarding, as I understand it, within the next day or two, rescissions within the 1975 appropriation, rescissions for amounts above the budget request in the 1975 appropriation.
Mr. MEEDs. The concern of the chairman was well-founded when he said we are facing the question of rescissions down the line.
Mr. THOMAS. Yes.
As I said when the chairman posed this to me, the President was forwarding rescission requests. It is absolutely correct that the authorization request in this bill is lower than that which was appropriated by the Congress in fiscal 1975, but it is consistent with the President's budget request for fiscal 1975.
Mr. MEEDS. I might add, and this is no commentary on your own action, I might add it is also consistent with the President's action in attempting to put a 5-percent ceiling on social security.
It is also consistent with the President's action in cutting the amount available to elderly people for food stamps and some other things the President did, all of which I disagree with very heartily.
So, we have then the fact that in fiscal 1975 the Congress appropriated for the State plan portion $98 million. You are this year asking for $91 million. That is $7 million less. The Congress appropriated $7 million for the model projects. The Congress appropriated $7 million for research and for the latter two you are asking $5 million and $7 million.
So, we are talking about rescissions of some
Mr. TIOMAS. Mr. Meeds, the authorization request in the submitted bill are $200,000 for the national information and resource clearinghouse for the aging. $9 million for title III area planning, social service and State planning activity, $5 million for model projects, and $7 million for research and development projects.
Mr. MEEÐs. Which is $17 million less than the Congress appropriated last year.
Mr. FLEMMING. What we are doing here, we are using both title TII and title IV. Research is in title IV. The authorization is for
$7 million as contrasted with an appropriation for 1975 of $15 million, $7 million for research, $8 million for training. I have dropped out some for training.
Mr. MEEDS. Which makes it $8 million less than the Congress appropriated for training.
Mr. FLEMMING. That is for title IV. That would be $8 million less for title IV. It is $9 million less for title III. That gives you your $17 million.
Mr. Meeds. For the same programs that the Congress appropriated $120 million in fiscal 1975 you are with this bill asking $103 million.
Mr. FLEMMING. That is right.
Mr. BRADEMAS. At that point, I was fascinated by the approach that has been suggested here, namely, that Congress authorizes more money than the administration obviously wants to appropriate for these programs. I think we agree on that.
I believe I am correct in saying that Mr. Rockefeller made a big speech last night urging Congress to appropriate more money for Cambodia and Vietnam than we had so far done. By way of justifying his plea, he said, after all, the authorization was there and the President requested it.
I know Mr. Rockefeller is a new boy in town but this kind of argument can be turned on its head and I assure you some of us are going to use that kind of logic when it comes to some of these domestic programs because if the money is not there to provide Social Security increases as provided by law, then I don't see how the money is there to provide funds for Mr. Thieu.
I thank the gentleman for yielding.
Mr. CORNELL. I realize the position of the gentleman in making his request must be consistent as he says with the President's budget request but I have a little facetious observation as the chairman just said.
I would gather then that the gentleman would not be opposed if Congress would take the $522 million in emergency foreign military aid requests and give those to the emergency we have for older Americans appropriation.
Mr. MEEDS. I think probably I can speak for both the chairman of the committee and myself.
I think probably if the two witnesses were allowed to speak freely they would also agree.
Mr. LEHMAN. Mr. Chairman, in relation to Mr. Meeds' remarks, I went to see the movie last night, "Hearts and Minds." I suggest that we address ourselves to the hearts and minds of our older Americans with this $500 million.
Mr. MEEDS. Mr. Chairman, I was also very impressed with the emphasis that the Assistant Secretary put on his desire to provide services on a priority basis to those elderly persons who are most in need, those of low incomes and those who are members of racial minority groups. I am in accord with that emphasis.
What have you done to provide emphasis for native Americans in your proposal?
Mr. THOMAS. Mr. Meeds, as you can see in the new draft bill we have put specific emphasis on native Americans. We have been looking to the States to increase the allocation of resources to native Americans, particularly those on federally recognized reservations.
We plan in the coming year to require States to make specific reference in their State plans to precisely the activities that they will undertake for native Americans, particularly in those States where there is a high concentration of native Americans.
Mr. MEEDS. You are aware of the policy enunciated by former President Nixon in 1972 in his speech on native Americans, which was a very fine declaration of intent, that we look toward self-determination of native Americans, are you not?
Mr. THOMAS. Yes; I am.
Mr. MEEDS. You are aware that this is also the Ford administration policy.
You are aware, no doubt, that we have recently passed, and the President has signed, legislation which allows Indian tribes, recognized Indian groups, to contract directly with the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare.
You are aware of those things?
you know, Mr. Meeds, I just appeared before your committee to testify on the act.
Mr. MEEDS. Yes. I appreciated your testimony at that time.
Is it not true, however, that you at least envision, and within the Department had hoped to achieve by amendment to this act, direct contracting with recognized Indian groups?
Mr. THOMAS. Mr. Meeds, we in the Department had given some thought to the idea of providing resources directly from the Federal Government to federally recognized tribes. We looked at it. We analyzed it. In the final analysis, it was decided that it would not be a judicious policy at the present time but we should be very emphatic in our emphasis on service to native Americans by the States.
Mr. MEEDS. Are you opposed to this direct contracting? Mr. THOMAS. No. As you know, we were very much in support of the Self-Determination Act where the Indian Health Service will be contracting with federally recognized tribes. At the same time, we have to look at each program individually to determine whether or not, in a particular program, that is the most propitious thing to do.
I can envision a situation in which it would be more realistic if we emphasize the States' role in providing these services because the State may have resources that might otherwise not be available to the Indian tribes.
Mr. MEEDS. You are not aware of any objection to this direct relationship within the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, are you?
Mr. THOMAS. There were certain elements of the Department that were not consistent with other elements on this particular issue.
I think the Department feels that it is certainly something we should continue to look at as we get more information about the services the
States do provide to Indians and as we emphasize that they should provide more. The result will have great bearing on what we ultiinately do.
Mr. MEEDS. Wasn't an adverse decision made by the Office of Management and Budget and not by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare? At least, that is what my counsel for the subcommittee tells me.
Mr. THOMAS. In our discussion with the Office of Management and Budget we did emphasize our interest in at least pursuing this possibility. After discussions with them, it was decided that we should postpone action and look into the present situation.
Mr. MEEDS. You would not be opposed to the Congress not being submissive to the Office of Management and Budget, would you?
Mr. Thomas. Mr. Meeds, the Department really stands by the bill that was submitted in which we do emphasize our interest in assuring better provision of services by the States to native Americans.
Mr. MILLER. Will you yield?
Mr. MILLER. You mentioned a particular emphasis toward those native Americans on Federal reservations.
What do you propose for the urban native Americans?
Mr. THOMAS. First, Congressman, also in the Office of Human Development is the Office of Native American Programs. That office has been providing approximately $4.2 million in resources to establish urban Indian programs in approximately 50 cities.
One of the major purposes of those native Indian programs is to insure provision of services to native Indians through other service providers.
Mr. MILLER. You see this going through?
In addition, Dr. Flemming has put particular emphasis on the provision of services to low-income and minorities under title VII. We are hoping to do that with title III, also, as the new draft bill proposes and also emphasize that the State working with those area agencies must give special consideration to what is going to happen on federally recognized reservations and also area agencies providing service to low-income and minority groups, including Indians where located.
Mr. MEEDS. To respond more specifically to the gentleman from California's question, the amendment prepared and worked on by the Office of Native American Programs within the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare made provision for federally recognized native American needs in Oklahoma or Rancherio which would apply specifically to the California problem.
Just one quick question.
Dr. Flemming, you talked about $20 million obtained through the Department of Transportation. I am glad to see that you are moving forward on transportation, the specific transportation problem of the elderly. But you did not mention any money that had gone into the Department of Housing and Urban Development for the multipurpose centers, renovations, repair.
Are you aware if there is any money specifically earmarked within that?
Mr. FLEMMING. It is my understanding that in the midsixties, some funds that were available were used for that purpose. In recent years, no; I am not aware of any.
But, what I am counting on, Congressman Meeds, is the new Housing and Community Development Act which specifically authorizes the use of funds for senior centers. That is written into the act.
Mr. MEEDS. Would it not be better to count on it when we get the money?
What you are doing, it seems to me, by this proposal is that you are cutting and running before you are certain that somebody else has accepted the responsibility and is actually pre-empting the money. That probably is not true in regard to transportation.
Is the money actually in place, budgeted and requested for under the Department of Housing and Urban Development the $35 million for which you are asking revocation of authority in this bill?
Mr. FLEMMING. The senior center situation is this:
As I understand it, the Department of Housing and Urban Development has received an appropriation under the Housing and Community Development Act. They are in the process of allocating those funds. Mr. MEEDS. How much of that is specifically for this
purpose ? Mr. FLEMMING. Under the Housing and Community Development Act, at the Federal level, as I understand it, they cannot earmark money for specific purposes. They can authorize the use of money for a specific purpose. The decision has to be made at the State or community level. This is a specialized revenue-sharing act. Under the principles of specialized revenue sharing, the decision will have to be made there.
Now we are working with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to get messages out to the field which we hope that by using our network, the aging network, as well as the Housing and Urban Development network, will result in funds being used for senior centers.
Mr. MEEDS. You are asking then in the final analysis for revocation of authority for $35 million
Mr. FLEMMING. No.
Mr. FLEMMING. No; on senior centers, I think it is for such sums as may be required. The $35 million is in the transportation items, Congressman Meeds. There is a specific authorization of $35 million in the transportation section.
Of course, as we know, no funds have been appropriated.
Mr. FLEMMING. That was a 1-year authorization. I assumed it was made 1 year because it was recognized that the Older Americans Act would expire on June 30, 1975.
The senior center one is a part of the May 3, 1973, amendments to the Older Americans Act.
Mr. MEEDS. Has the administration ever asked for money for construction and renovation of multipurpose centers?
Mr. FLEMMING. No, the administration has not asked for funds.