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Message to the House of Representatives Returning Without Approval Legislation for Emergency Supplemental Appropriations and Rescissions for Fiscal Year 1995

June 07, 1995

To the House of Representatives:

I am returning herewith without my approval H.R. 1158, a bill providing for emergency supplemental appropriations and rescissions for fiscal year 1995.

This disagreement is about priorities, not deficit reduction. In fact, I want to increase the deficit reduction in this bill.

H.R. 1158 slashes needed investments for education, national service, and the environment, in order to avoid cutting wasteful projects and other unnecessary expenditures. There are billions of dollars in pork—unnecessary highway demonstration projects, courthouses, and other Federal buildings—that could have been cut instead of these critical investments. Indeed, the Senate bill made such cuts in order to maintain productive investments, but the House-Senate conference rejected those cuts.

For example, H.R. 1158 would deprive 15,000 young adults of the opportunity to serve their communities as AmeriCorps members.

It would deprive 2,000 schools in 47 States of funds to train teachers and devise comprehensive reforms to boost academic standards.

It would reduce or eliminate antiviolence and drug prevention programs serving nearly 20 million students.

It would prevent the creation and expansion of hundreds of community development banks and financial institutions that would spur job growth and leverage billions of dollars of capital in distressed communities across the country.

And it would seriously hamper the ability of States to maintain clean drinking water, thus jeopardizing the health of residents.

In the end, the Congress chose courthouses over education, pork barrel highway projects over national service, Government travel over clean water.

At my instruction, the Administration has provided alternatives to the Congress that would produce greater deficit reduction than H.R. 1158, cutting even more in fiscal year 1995 spending than is included in H.R 1158. But the spending reductions would come out of unnecessary projects and other spending, not investments in working families.

My position on this legislation has been made clear throughout the legislative process. The Administration strongly and consistently opposed the House version of the bill because it would have unnecessarily cut valuable, proven programs that educate our children, invest in our future, and protect the health and safety of the American people. We worked closely with the bipartisan leadership of the Senate to improve the bill, and I indicated my approval of those improvements. Regrettably, the conference went well beyond the spending reductions contained in the bipartisan compromise despite my Administration's consistent urging to adhere to the Senate bipartisan leadership amendment.

In addition, I continue to object to language that would override existing environmental laws in an effort to increase timber salvage. Increasing timber salvage and improving forest health are goals that my Administration shares with the Congress. Over the last 6 months, my Administration has put in motion administrative reforms that are speeding salvage timber sales in full compliance with existing environmental laws. It is not appropriate to use this legislation to overturn environmental laws. Therefore, I urge the Congress to delete this language and, separately, to work with my Administration on an initiative to increase timber salvage and improve forest health.

My Administration has provided the Congress with changes that would enable me to sign revised legislation. I urge the Congress to approve a bill that contains the supplemental funding included in H.R. 1158—for disaster relief activities of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, for the Federal response to the bombing in Oklahoma City, for increased antiterrorism efforts, and for providing debt relief to Jordan in order to contribute to further progress toward a Middle East peace settlement—along with my Administration's alternative restorations and offsets.

I will sign legislation that provides these needed supplemental appropriations and that reduces the deficit by at least as much as this bill. However, the legislation must reflect the priorities of the American people. H.R. 1158, as passed, clearly does not.


The White House, June 7, 1995.

William J. Clinton, Message to the House of Representatives Returning Without Approval Legislation for Emergency Supplemental Appropriations and Rescissions for Fiscal Year 1995 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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