Statement About Signing the Second Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1972
I HAVE signed H.R. 14582, the Second Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1972. This act contains appropriations of more than $4.4 billion, largely for increased pay costs and for other requirements which are mandatory under existing law.
I must comment briefly on one provision in the bill which I am advised by the Attorney General is an unconstitutional "coming into agreement" clause, infringing on the fundamental principle of the separation of legislative and executive powers.
This provision is in the appropriation for "Construction, Public Buildings Projects" of the General Services Administration. The bill appropriates definite sums for three public buildings projects but conditions the availability of the appropriation on the approval .by the committees on public works of revised prospectuses for these buildings.
Under the Public Buildings Act of 1959, no appropriations may be made for public buildings projects until the public works committees have approved GSA's prospectuses for such buildings. The Congress regards this "no appropriation may be made" provision, I understand, as internal Congressional rulemaking not affecting the executive branch, and this Administration has acquiesced in that construction.
On the other hand, H.R. 14582 makes an appropriation to the General Services Administration but then conditions its use by GSA on that agency's getting the approval of the public works committees on revised prospectuses. This reversal of the normal Public Buildings Act procedure is found by the Attorney General to be an unconstitutional "coming into agreement" provision.
I have no objection to the review and approval of revised prospectuses for the three buildings in question under the procedures of the Public Buildings Act, but I cannot act under a "coming into agreement" requirement. Accordingly, I will submit a budget amendment to the Congress to eliminate the unconstitutional problem.
Note: As enacted, H.R. 14582, approved May 27, 1972, is Public Law 92-306 (86 Stat. 163).
Richard Nixon, Statement About Signing the Second Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1972 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/254861