I HAVE withheld my approval from H.R. 14214, the "Health Revenue Sharing and Health Services Act of 1974."
H.R. 14214 conflicts with my strong commitment to the American taxpayers to hold Federal spending to essential purposes. The bill authorizes appropriations of more than $1 billion over my recommendations and I cannot, in good conscience, approve it. These appropriation authorizations are almost double the funding levels I have recommended for Fiscal Year 1975 and almost triple the levels I believe would be appropriate for 1976.
As part of my effort to see that the burden upon our taxpayers does not increase, I requested the Congress last month to exercise restraint in expanding existing Federal responsibilities, and to resist adding new Federal programs to our already overloaded and limited Federal resources. These recommendations reflect my concern with both the need to hold down the Federal budget and the need to limit the Federal role to those activities which can make the most necessary and significant contributions.
In H.R. 14214, the Congress not only excessively increased authorizations for existing programs but also created several new ones that would result in an unjustified expenditure of Federal taxpayers' funds. Although the purposes of many of the programs authorized in this bill are certainly worthy, I just cannot approve this legislation because of its effect upon the economy through increased unwarranted Federal spending.
Finally, it should be pointed out that the Federal Government will spend almost $20 billion in 1975 through Medicare and Medicaid for the financing of health services for priority recipients--aged and low-income persons. These services are provided on the basis of national eligibility standards in Medicare and State eligibility standards in Medicaid and therefore are available to individuals in a more equitable and less restrictive manner than many of the programs authorized in H.R. 14214.
GERALD R. FORD
The White House,
December 21, 1974.