International Security and Development Cooperation Act of 1980 Statement on Signing H.R. 6942 Into Law.
Today I am signing H.R. 6942, the International Security and Development Cooperation Act of 1980. This act authorizes appropriations for fiscal year 1981 security and development assistance programs and related activities and makes certain substantive changes in the statutory standards, procedures, and requirements governing such programs.
The programs and activities made possible by this legislation are vital to United States foreign policy interests. They are our principal means of helping our friends and allies meet their defense needs and of contributing to the economic development of countries less favored than our own.
In requesting these authorizations, my administration drew the attention of the Congress to the fact that the legislation governing these programs is sadly in need of reform. Over the years, this legislation has grown increasingly complex and cumbersome. In many cases, it has made it more difficult for the United States to respond promptly and effectively to unforeseen emergencies and to changes in international circumstances. As a result, we proposed several carefully selected changes to the law. While the bill that I am approving today differs in a number of respects from the proposals put forth by the administration, I am nonetheless pleased to note that the Congress has responded to my concern over the rigidity of the statutory bases for our security and development assistance programs.
Nevertheless, I am seriously concerned about sections 107 and 202 of H.R. 6942. Section 107 amends section 36(c) of the Arms Export Control Act to permit the Congress to disapprove, by adoption of a concurrent resolution, proposed major commercial exports of defense articles and services to any country except NATO members, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. This provision conflicts with Article I, section 7 of the Constitution, which states that legislative measures having the force and effect of law must be presented to the President for approval. Because of its potential for involving the Congress in the day-to-day implementation of the law, this responsibility was allocated solely to the President under the Constitution. Moreover, this is the first time that the Congress has sought to impose such a legislative veto on private transactions regulated by the Arms Export Control Act. Not only will this veto power inject an unnecessarily disruptive element into legitimate commercial enterprise by subjecting proposed exports to disapproval even after they have been approved by the executive branch, but it may also erode the position of U.S. industry abroad and cause legal action to be taken against the U.S. Government should the Congress disapprove a proposed export.
Section 202 extends the Congress authority to disapprove, by concurrent resolution, the use of economic support funds for the Middle East.
While I am signing H.R. 6942 into law because of its overall importance to the foreign policy and national security of the United States, I must express my deep reservations about sections 107 and 202. My action today does not mean that I accept the constitutional validity of these provisions.
The ultimate importance to the United States of our security and development assistance programs cannot be exaggerated. The programs and activities pro, vided for in H.R. 6942 will enable the United States to continue its contribution to the achievement of a secure and stable world.
Note: As enacted, H.R. 6942 is Public Law 96-533, approved December 16.
Jimmy Carter, International Security and Development Cooperation Act of 1980 Statement on Signing H.R. 6942 Into Law. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/250625