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Handout E: Excerpts from the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964

AN ACT To mobilize the human and financial resource of the Nation to combat poverty in the United States.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That this Act may be cited as the “Economic Opportunity Act of 1964”.


SEC. 2. Although the economic well-being and prosperity of the United States have progressed to a level surpassing any achieved in world history, and although these benefits are widely shared throughout the Nation, poverty continues to be the lot of a substantial number of our people. The United States can achieve its full economic and social potential as a nation only if every individual has the opportunity to contribute to the full extent of his capabilities and to participate in the workings of our society. It is, therefore, the policy of the United States to eliminate the paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty in this Nation by opening to everyone the opportunity for education and training, the opportunity to work, and the opportunity to live in decency and dignity. It is the purpose of this Act to strengthen, supplement, and coordinate efforts in furtherance of that policy.

TITLE VI—Administration and Coordination


Office of Economic Opportunity

SEC. 601. a. There is hereby established in the Executive Office of the President the Office of Economic Opportunity. The Office shall be headed by a Director who shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. There shall also be in the Office one Deputy Director and three Assistant Directors who shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Deputy Director and the Assistant Directors shall perform such functions as the Director may from time to time prescribe…

Authority of Director

SEC. 602. In addition to the authority conferred upon him by other sections of this Act, the Director is authorized, in carrying out his functions under this Act, to—

  • appoint in accordance with the civil service laws such personnel as may be necessary to enable the Office to carry out its functions, and, except as otherwise provided herein, fix their compensation in accordance with the Classification Act of 1949 (5U.S.C. 1071 et seq.);
  • employ experts and consultants or organizations thereof as authorized by section 15 of the Administrative Expenses Act of 1946 (5 U.S.C. 55a), compensate individuals so employed at rates not in excess of $100 per diem, including travel time, and allow them, while away from their homes or regular places of business, travel expenses (including per diem in lieu of subsistence) as authorized by section 5 of such Act (5U.S.C. T3b-2) for persons in the Government service employed intermittently, while so employed: Provided, however, That contracts for such employment may be renewed annually;
  • appoint, without regard to the civil service laws, one or more advisory committees composed of such private citizens and officials of the Federal, State, and local governments as he deems desirable to advise him with respect to his functions under this Act; and members of such committees (including the National Advisory Council established in section 605), other than those regularly employed by the Federal Government, while attending meetings of such committees or otherwise serving at the request of the Director, shall be entitled to receive compensation and travel expenses as provided in subsection (b) with respect to experts and consultants;
  • with the approval of the President, arrange with and reimburse the heads of other Federal agencies for the performance of any of his functions under this Act and, as necessary or appropriate, delegate any of his powers under this Act and authorize the redelegation thereof;
  • utilize, with their consent, the services and facilities of Federal agencies without reimbursement, and, with the consent of any State or a political subdivision of a State, accept and utilize the services and facilities of the agencies of such State or subdivision without reimbursement;
  • accept in the name of the Office, and employ or dispose of in furtherance of the purposes of this Act, or of any title thereof, any money or property, real, personal, or mixed, tangible or intangible, received by gift, devise, bequest, or otherwise;
  • accept voluntary and uncompensated services, notwithstanding the provisions of section 3679(b) of the Revised Statutes (31 U.S.C. 665(b));
  • allocate and expend, or transfer to other Federal agencies for expenditure, funds made available under this Act as he deems necessary to carry out the provisions hereof, including (without regard to the provisions of section 4774(d) of title 10, United States Code) expenditure for construction, repairs, and capital improvements…

Economic Opportunity Counsel
SEC, 604.

  • There is hereby established an Economic Opportunity Council, which shall consult with and advise the Director in carrying out his functions, including the coordination of antipoverty efforts by all segments of the Federal Government.
  • The Council shall include the Director, who shall be Chairman, the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, the Secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, and Health, Education, and Welfare, the Housing and Home Finance Administrator, the Administrator of the Small Business Administration, the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, the Director of Selective Service, and such other agency heads as the President may designate, or delegates thereof.

National Advisory Counsel

SEC. 605. There is hereby established in the Office a National Advisory Council. The Council shall be composed of the Director, who shall be Chairman, and not more than fourteen additional members appointed by the President, without regard to the civil service laws, who shall be representative of the public in general and appropriate fields of endeavor related to the purposes of this Act. Upon the request of the Director, the Council shall review the operations and activities of the Office, and shall make such recommendations with respect hereto as are appropriate. The Council shall meet at least once each year and at such other times as the Director may request.

TITLE I—Youth Programs

Statement of Purpose

SEC. 101. The purpose of this part is to prepare for the responsibilities of citizenship and to increase the employee ability of young men and young women aged sixteen through twenty-one by providing them in rural and urban residential centers with education, vocational training, useful work experience, including work directed toward the conservation of natural resources, and other appropriate activities.


Statement of Purpose

SEC. 111. The purpose of this part is to provide useful work experience opportunities for unemployed young men and young women, through participation in State and community work-training programs, so that their employability may be increased or their education resumed or continued and so that public agencies and private nonprofit organizations (other than political parties) will be enabled to carry out programs which will permit or contribute to an undertaking or service in the public interest that would not otherwise be provided, or will contribute to the conservation and development of natural resources and recreational areas.

TITLE II—Urban and Rural Community Action Programs


Statement of Purpose

SEC. 201. The purpose of this part is to provide stimulation and incentive for urban and rural communities to mobilize their resources to combat poverty through community action programs.


Statement of Purpose

SEC. 212. It is the purpose of this part to initiate programs of instruction for individuals who have attained age eighteen and whose inability to read and write the English language constitutes a substantial impairment of their ability to get or retain employment commensurate with their real ability, so as to help eliminate such inability and raise the level of education of such individuals with a view” to making them less likely to become dependent on others, improving their ability’ to benefit from occupational training and otherwise increasing their opportunities for more productive and profitable employment, and making them better able to meet their adult responsibilities.


Statement of Purpose

SEC. 219. The purpose of this part is to allow individual Americans to participate in a personal way in the war on poverty, by voluntarily assisting in the support of one or more needy children, m a program coordinated with city or county social welfare agencies.

TITLE III—Special Programs to Combat Poverty in Rural Areas

Statement of Purpose

SEC. 301. It is the purpose of this title to meet some of the special problems of rural poverty and thereby to raise and maintain the income and living standards of low-income rural families and migrant agricultural employees and their families.

TITLE IV—Employment and Investment Incentives

Statement of Purpose

SEC. 401. It is the purpose of this title to assist in the establishment, preservation, and strengthening of small business concerns and improve the managerial skills employed in such enterprises; and to mobilize for those objectives private as well as public managerial skills and resources.

TITLE V—Work Experience Programs

Statement of Purpose

SEC. 501. It is the purpose of this title to expand the opportunities for constructive work experience and other needed training available to persons who are unable to support or care for themselves or their families. In carrying out this purpose, the Director shall make maximum use of the programs available under the Manpower Development and Training Act of 1962, as amended, and Vocational Education Act of 1963.

Full text can be found at: http://www. STATUTE-78-Pg508.pdf