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Federal Aid for School Construction

February 2, 1955

Report Outline
Congress and Federal Aid to Education
School Building Needs and Costs
Problems in Financing School Construction
New Channel for Federal Aid To Education

Congress and Federal Aid to Education

Democratic Moves for Speed on Aid Legislation

Holding of senate hearings on federal aid for school construction, more than a fortnight before receipt of the special message on the subject that President Eisenhower had said he would transmit to Congress on Feb. 15, signified the purpose of Democratic leaders to take the ball away from the administration on this particular issue. When the hearings opened, Jan. 27, Chairman Hill (D-Ala.) indicated that the Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare might even send his bill for a two-year, billion-dollar aid program to the floor before the White House program had been made known.

The bill sponsored by Hill, 26 other Democratic senators, two Republican senators, and Sen. Morse (Ind-Ore.) authorizes federal grants of $500 million to the states in each of the next two years to assist in construction of new school buildings. The apparent reason for seeking to give the bill a head start through the legislative mill is a belief on Capitol Hill that the President will refrain at this time from proposing arty program for substantial direct aid to meet the immediate emergency. However, Sen. Smith (R-N. J,), ranking minority member of the Labor Committee, said on Jan. 28 that, though he did not know the details, he did know that emergency provisions would be included in the administration program.

President Eisenhower said last year that decision on a comprehensive direct aid program should await completion of a series of conferences on educational needs that has now been initiated in the states and that is to culminate in a White House conference next November. But when the President, in the State of the Union message, voiced concern over the grave classroom shortage, it was assumed that he had abandoned that view in favor of immediate corrective action.

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