Letter from President Lyndon B. Johnson to John E. Fogarty
Johnson replied to Fogarty's letter of March 15, 1967, acknowledging his concerns about the budgets proposed for HEW,
and explaining that the Great Society program needs had to be balanced with America's international commitments (i.e.
the war in Vietnam.)
Number of Image Pages:
2 (244,544 Bytes)
1966-04-25 (April 25, 1966)
Johnson, Lyndon B.
Fogarty, John E.
Original Repository: Phillips Memorial Library, Special and Archival Collections at Providence College
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
"Mr. Public Health": Later Career, 1960-1967
Letter from John E. Fogarty to President Lyndon B. Johnson (March 15, 1966)
Box Number: 57
Folder Number: 665
April 25, 1966
I very much appreciated your thoughtful letter of March 15 in which you express
the concern of yourself and other members of the Subcommittee regarding the
adequacy of the 1967 budget for the National Institutes of Health. I fully
recognize the strength of your convictions and the sincerity of your views. Accept
my assurance that they have had my personal and lengthy consideration.
For many months now we have had the Federal budget under constant review. Only the
other day I talked at length with the Mayors and later with the heads of all
departments and the major Federal independent agencies about the economic
situation of the country and the need to practice restraint and make sure that we
spend only that which we must spend. During our budget reviews last November and
December we strove to provide the Congress a budget which would meet our
international commitments, and would also permit us to press confidently forward
towardthe Great Society. I did not want to stop progress on any front, but it was
clear that we could not meet all our goals at one time. Therefore, with the
greatest reluctance, I found it necessary to request the Congress for a slower
rate of advance in many programs than I would have liked. I still believe that our
choices were right.
Yet in our Great Society programs -- health, labor, training, education, war on
poverty, housing and community development -- the 1967 budget proposed
administration budget expenditures of $12.9 billion, an increase from 1964 of $6.2
billion. Exclusive of added Viet Nam costs and unavoidable interest paying
payments, all other budget expenditures were cut back by $3.7 billion between 1964
I found the budget choices particularly difficult in the field of health, for as
you know, I am personally dedicated to the need for the highest quality of medical
care for all Americans. Taking all Federal programs into account, including trust fund payments for Medicare, Federal health
expenditures rise from $5.1 billion in
1964 to $10.3 billion in 1967. The NIH expenditures are more than 10 percent of
these total health expenditures.
I share your view that the budget for NIH does not propose to do all the
researchers -- or you and I -- would like to see done in 1967. But for all NIH
except construction the budget increase of $93.5 million is the largest single
increase for NIH proposed by a President in his January budget. No Institute was
cut below 1966, funds are requested for all newly authorized programs, and as
explained in the budget document, funds for an artificial heart will be requested
if important new breakthroughs occur. The amounts requested for health research
construction will be channeled to new medical schools so that no delay will occur
in their planned progress toward expanding our enrollment of medical students.
Reasonable men may differ when these difficult choices are made. I understand the
positive sentiments which motivate your statement of views, and after you have
considered the balance which must be maintained in our economy and among our Great
Society programs I know that you will decide in terms of what you think is the
best national interest.