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incidence and location of serious hunger and malnutrition in the United States. The report of the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare accompanying S. 2138, summed up the need for such a survey in the following words:
“Knowledge of the extent and location of serious problems of hunger and malnutrition in the United States is almost non-existent. The Surgeon General of the L'nited States, for example, testified that the Federal Government does not know the extent of hunger or malnutrition anywhere in the United States. Nor, he said, is it the specific job of any Federal agency to find out.”
Subsequently, the amendment was incorporated as section 14 of the Partnership for Health Amendments of 1967. Under the terms of section 14, HEW must report to Congress on or before June 5, 1968.
I suggest that immediate steps be taken to assure the adequate funding of the survey so that the report which is sent to Congress on June 5 of this year will fulfill the intent of the Congress and its Committees.
I am taking the liberty of sending a copy of this letter to the Director of the Bureau of the Budget. Sincerely yours,
JOSEPH S. CLARK. Reverend ABERNATHY. Thank you very kindly, Mr. Chairman. In the face of this overwhelming evidence, we do not understand why the Surgeon General has not yet begun to study the extent of hunger and malnutrition in this country as directed by this committee many months ago.
Senator CLARK. May I say, Dr. Abernathy, I don't understand it either.
I have two unanswered letters from the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare asking him why. I hope in due course I will receive the courtesy of a reply.
Reverend ABERNATHY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Senator Javits. Mr. Chairman, one other thought. I know the Chair will want an executive session calling as witnesses again the Secretary of Agriculture, the Surgeon General, and Secretary of HEW so that we may hear why, as the Chair so very properly says, none of our requests have been answered.
Senator CLARK. Senator Javits, may I say the McGovern resolution dealing with hunger has been referred to the full Committee on Labor and Public Welfare.
I will be happy to join you in a request to Senator Hill and members of the full committee to see that we take that testimony in executive session.
Senator Javits. I will be glad to be a party to that request.
Reverend ABERNATHY. Thank you, Nr. Chairman. As you know, we hare the greatest respect and confidence in you as the chairman of this subeommittee and the members of this subcommittee, and especially our long-standing friend, Senator Javits, who has been the champion for the rights of poor people in this country for many, many years, long before he was a Member of the Senate.
Does this country care so little for us?
And if we count for so little, how can our country expect us to continue to care for it when it is so unmindful of our most basic needs to survive?
We ask your assistance.
We request that this committee obtain information from the Department of Agriculture on the steps it has taken to alleviate conditions of hunger and malnutrition within the last 12 months.
We request that you ask the Department of Agriculture what action it will take in the immediate future to bring food to the neediest counties and the neediest people of this Nation.
We ask that this committee give serious and prompt consideration to the recommendations of the Citizens' Board of Inquiry Into Hunger and Malnutrition in the United States. Senator CLARK. Doctor, you can rest assured that it is being done will
press forward until we get some kind of answer.
Access to food programs on the basis of need, not on the basis of place of residence;
Proposal of a free food stamp program keyed to income, dependents, and medical expenses;
Special recognition of the dietary needs of children, pregnant women, the aged and the sick; and
School lunch programs that are available to every child.
The poor and the hungry of this Nation cannot understand how you can do less.
We do not believe that it should be too hard to know where the choice of a wise and just Government must lie.
Senator Clark. Thank you very much, Dr. Abernathy.
We appreciate your candid and splendid statement with which I find myself largely in accord.
In order to expedite the hearing, I will not undertake to ask you questions at this point but refer to my colleagues to see if they care to comment.
Senator Prouty. Mr. Chairman, I believe some of the other associates wish to be heard.
Senator CLARK. Yes. Would you prefer that we hear them first? Senator PROUTY. Why not let them go ahead.
Senator CLARK. Is that the view of the other members of the committee
Senator MURPHY. Mr. Chairman, I would like to say at this point, if I may, it was just about a year ago, Dr. Abernathy, that representatives of this committee were in Mississippi holding hearings.
About a year ago, the young lady sitting behind you, Reverend Abernathy, the very able counsel, Miss Marian Wright, made the statement that the people were starving, that there was, exactly as you put it, an emergency situation. I said that the matter should be called to the attention of the President of the United States immediately.
Where people are hungry and starving, they should be fed; there is not time to write legislation.
Your statement, Dr. Abernathy, underscores what has been said before. I don't understand, as the chairman and my distinguished colleague from New York have said, why the disagreement between members of this committee and the witnesses who have testified and the Secretary of Agriculture still continues. I don't understand why people in Mississippi could not be helped by the food stamp and other programs because they had no money, their jobs had disappeared, and there was no time and the food had to be provided immediately.
I am as embarrassed as I could be to have to sit here today a year later and have you come and say it has not been done.
I am also glad to say that I have been very conscious for the 3 years that I have served on this committee on the need for jobs; this is immediate; this is the first necessity.
I want you to know, Doctor, that your suggestions today are being received very sympathetically by this committee.
Reverend ABERNATHY. Thank you very kindly, Senator Murphy, for your very kind words and for your deep concern and for all you have done in the past, and for all that I know you as well as this committee will do in the future.
Mr. Chairman, I would like for Rev. Andrew Young to be the first of my colleagues to speak, if you will permit it.
Senator CLARK. Dr. Young, we will be happy to hear you. I suggest you pull that microphone in front of you so that we can hear you better.
STATEMENT OF REV. ANDREW J. YOUNG, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESI
DENT, SOUTHERN CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE Reverend Young. Thank you very much, Senator Clark.
Without referring to the specific bills I think the largest issue we face is: Are the poor going to become a part of the American economy, of American life? And I think that the big problem we have here is that everybody wants to know whose side they are coming in on.
I think it is extremely important for us to have a nonpartisan domestic policy where operations like OEO have some kind of independent, ombudsman status. I don't know how you do it, something like a Federal judge where the poor can come into the country and be a part of American life without having to be political football at every step of the way.
We see the Green amendment, we see this as another way to control the poor.
I think unanimously our delegations are struggling to have a say about how they can run their own affairs.
Senator CLARK, I think you understand that this subcommittee in conference put up the strongest fight we could against the Green amendment.
We found if we had to get any part of a bill at all we had to yield to the House. I hope you will make your views clear on the House side.
Reverend YOUNG. Another thing is the supplemental funds that are now pending for summer jobs and Headstart and additional funds that are needed generally for the war on poverty.
For all of our complaints against the war on poverty, we think it ought to get the same kind of treatment that the space program gets.
When they blow up a rocket they don't abandon the program. They refinance it and go on to find out what is wrong with it.
Senator CLARK. The Senate has been pretty good about a few things, going along on the rejection of the supplemental appropriation bill by restoring funds for the poverty program, but we are having trouble with the other side of the Hill.
Senator YARBOROUGH. Mr. Chairman, I would like to say a word at this point.
I cosponsored with Senator Javits and Senator Stennis a bill for a $20 million emergency appropriation to combat hunger.
It passed in the Senate and House. This year we passed an appropriation in the Senate for $75 million for the summer work programs, $25 million for summer Headstart. That was likewise stricken out in the House.
The House action in striking out was rejected by the Senate and it is in conference at this time. This Senate has tried to do, a good many times in the last few years, what you have recommended here with reference to feeding the poor.
But that was not enough. But they were beginning bills, $20 million one time, $70 million. The bill that Senator Javits and I introduced was for $150 million.
It was cut back by the Appropriations Committee in the Senate to $75 million. We also got $100 million for the program for summer jobs and Headstart together. That likewise was turned down in the House.
Senator Clark. I think I would like to say, and I think I speak on behalf of all my colleagues regardless of whether they are Republicans or Democrats, the Senate is going to continue to try. We will not give up.
Senator Javits. I think one thing should be added. I have no desire to delay the witnesses or the committee but they are hearing a good deal about what we have done. We have done well, we have done righteously. But the Congress has not always agreed with us and they want it done.
This is a forum for you to invoke the conscience of the Nation. Members of the IIouse represent people in the Nation, too, just like we cio.
So I say that, with the dignity you are showing today and the rigor you are showing today, that is your job and that is our job. Nothing is done unless it is completed and the money is there and the programs are actually performed.
Senator CLARK. And the poor are fed.
Senator Javits. And much as we may be virtuous in what we have tried to do, it has not been done and we must all share a collective responsibility.
Reverend YOUNG. I will say to you, Senator Javits, that we certainly appreciate your Equal Opportunity Employment Commission bill and that bill or some bill like it should be passed immediately because there are jobs in existence from which minorities are excluded. I think one of the reasons you see the tide of bitterness and resentment among young black intellectuals is that they find themselves graduating from places like Los Angeles City College, Wayne University. and they find themselves discriminated against by industry in America.
We do hope, however, that any equal employment bill will preserve the right of private suit as well as strengthen the EEOC.
We would like to put that in the record. I think our main testimony should come from the people who are part of this delegation.
Reverend ABERNATHY. I was about to say that I think we should hear now from some of the poor people, themselves. I think that the American Indians, since they were here first, should speak first.
STATEMENT OF MRS. MARTHA GRASS, PONCA CITY, OKLA.
Mrs. Grass. I am Mrs. Martha Grass from Ponca City, Okla. I have come to represent my Indian people all over North America here. I want to speak about jobs and labor. This is really a foreign language to us. By that I mean too many of my people are out of jobs. It is just a miracle how we exist as Indian people.
Wherever we go we do not have education, we can't qualify for the jobs. In my hometown we can't even qualify for dishwashing jobs. Our men go out and pitch a bale of hay for 2 cents a bale for long hours, breaking their health down.
We even had to send my son out only 16 or 17 years old to help feed us at home because we have to have something to at,
We have other children, small children in our homes. I have 11 children. My husband is a disabled veteran. He fought for this country like everyone else did but still we can't get what we need.
We were very lenient with all the foreign people when they came to our country. We shared with you all. Now you took all of it.
Now we are back there just starving and hungry and suffering. I, for myself, am sort of tired of living like we are living in poverty. We go to bed at night, sometimes we hate to get up in the morning because our cupboards are bare.
When a child asks for something to eat we have to give him something to eat even if it is just watered gravy or something like that when this country is so rich.
Everywhere we look we see everything growing so bountifully. Yet we have to starve. We can't even get jobs. We are not educated because we do not have the money.
You talk about educational funds. Who gets it? We are not even allowed to get that because we don't have the grade school education. We don't even have high school education. We have to have college education or some kind of degree before we get these jobs.
That is why we don't have jobs at home. Then employment offices. Men are standing, leaning against the wall all day long, written all over their faces begging for something to do, at least a few hours, to take something home to their children, their families.
It is unbelievable how we have to live and exist as Indian people. Today, I say, I come begging for my Indian people. I am begging for something to eat at least, because if you don't eat today you ain't going to have strength tomorrow. You don't have the knowledge to think for yourself when you are hungry and nothing on your stomach.
I have a lot of people, I even hate to go outside my door in the community I live. Little children, I don't see how they exist, how they have the energy to run and play. They eat but just one meal a day. That is the way they eat.
So these commodities, these stamp things you are talking about, I don't know nothing about the stamp program or whatever you are talking about.