CONGRESSIONAL RECORD - SENATE
MARCH 29, 1961
AMENDMENT OF SECTION 314 OF PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE ACT OF
Mr. MUSKIE. Mr. President, I introduce, for appropriate reference, a bill which would simplify Federal grants-in-aid to States for public health services and provide greater flexibility in the allocation of certain categorical public health service funds in the States. Similar legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives. I ask unanimous consent that the bill remain at the desk through Thursday, April 6, 1961, to enable additional Senators to give consideration to joining as cosponsors.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. MUSKIE. Mr. President, the proposed legislation was drafted as the result of the second report to the President of the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, of which I am a member. Two weeks ago I introduced a bill -- S. 1344 -- proposed by the Commission to remove inequities in the Federal credit for inheritance and estate taxes paid to States. This proposal was recommended in the first report of the Advisory Commission.
The proposed legislation which I have introduced today would amend the Public Health Service Act of 1944, to permit States, at the discretion of the Governor in each case, to transfer up to one-third of the Federal funds granted in any one of five health categories to one or more of the other four such categories. The following five categorical grants are involved: general health assistance, cancer control, heart disease control, tuberculosis control, and venereal disease control. The bill would not affect the remaining categories of mental health, maternal and child health, and crippled children's services.
In addition, the bill would establish a uniform allotment and matching formula for Federal grants to States for the special categories listed above. A number of different formulas now apply to these five categories.
Under the bill, funds would be allocated to the States on the basis of population with matching requirements established according to per capita income in the individual States. Matching requirements would range from one-third State funds to two-thirds Federal funds for the lowest income States, to two-thirds State funds to one-third Federal funds for the highest income States. This formula follows the general principle established under the Hill-Burton program.
This proposed legislation, Mr. President, is designed to improve the flexibility of federally supported public health service programs administered by the States, without removing the present overall direction of these programs in accordance with the priorities set by Congress. Initially, several of these categories were established to allow the Federal Government to stimulate State activity. Today the major cost is borne by the States, with the Federal Government playing an important supporting role.
By allowing the States to transfer up to one-third of the funds in the five categories listed, we would provide sufficient flexibility for State administrators in meeting peculiar and changing local needs, without endangering the integrity of the overall program. It should be noted that the proposed allowance for transfers would not be applied to the categories of mental health, maternal and child health, and crippled children services, since functional lines of responsibility between the Federal Government and the States do not coincide in these categories.
This legislation, Mr. President, represents the considered opinion of members of the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, State and territorial health and budget officers and other experts in this field. It offers a sensible improvement in an important facet of intergovernmental relations. I hope a number of Senators will join me in sponsoring this legislation.
I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be printed in the RECORD at the conclusion of my remarks.
The PRESIDING OFFICER: The bill will be received and appropriately referred; and, without objection, the bill will be printed in the RECORD.
[Bill text omitted.]