Transition Years: 1969 -
By 1969, many successful self-help programs had been initiated
by OEO and the community action agencies, including Head Start, Family
Planning, Community Health Centers, Legal Services, VISTA, Foster Grandparents,
Economic Development, Neighborhood Centers, Summer Youth Programs, Adult Basic
Education, Senior Centers, Congregate Meal Preparation, and others.
Picking up on the concept of using OEO and CAAs as "innovators
and the testing ground" for new programs, and spinning off successful programs
to be administered by other federal agencies, President Nixon's Administration
saw the transfer of several large programs from OEO to the Department of
Health, Education and Welfare and the Department of Labor. Along with the
program went administrative oversight responsibility for a substantial part of
At the start of his second term in 1973, Nixon did not request
any funds for OEO's Community Action Program division. Congress
nevertheless provided funds. Nixon appointed Howard Phillips as Director
of OEO and told him to dismantle and close the agency, and not to spend the
money Congress provided.
After a series of lawsuits, the Federal District Court in
Washington, D.C., ruled that the President could not refuse to spend funds that
had been appropriated by Congress. Phillips resigned without having been
confirmed by the Senate.
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