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Statement of Administration Policy: H.J. Res. 395 - FY 1988 Omnibus Full-Year Continuing Resolution

November 13, 1987


(House Rules)(Sponsor: Whitten (D) Mississippi)

The President's senior advisers would recommend veto of the full-year continuing resolution as reported by the House Appropriations Committee. There are four primary reasons for this position.

(1) The Administration opposes the current Congressional practice of funding the entire government in one omnibus continuing resolution. The appropriations process allows both the legislative and executive branches the opportunity to consider funding in thirteen separate and distinct appropriations bills. An omnibus continuing resolution such as H. J. Res. 395, that provides funding for all thirteen bills, denies the President the opportunity to make decisions on a bill-by-bill basis. An omnibus bill hinders seriously this type of decision process.

(2) The continuing resolution, by referencing House-passed or House-reported bills, includes language provisions that are seriously objectionable and, by themselves, call into question the acceptability of the resolution. The most seriously objectionable provisions, any of which would cause a veto recommendation, include:

  • Prohibiting the sale of Economic Development Administration loans without the borrower's approval (Commerce/Justice/State),
  • Prohibiting the development, testing, or deployment of an ABM System under certain circumstances (Defense),
  • Limiting U.S. strategic nuclear forces to the numerical sublimits of the SALT II agreement (Defense),
  • Prohibiting U.S. nuclear explosions exceeding one kiloton (Defense),
  • Imposing a one-year moratorium on the testing of the Space Defense System (ASAT) against objects in space (Defense),
  • Blocking the Bureau of Reclamation from moving to Denver or reorganizing as planned until Congress can review the plans (Energy/Water),
  • Including numerous unbudgeted construction starts and other add-ons for Army Corps of Engineers water projects, including mandated funding for: (1) the next segment of the uneconomic $1.6 billion Red River Waterway, LA; and (2) Helena Harbor, AR (Energy/Water),
  • Rescinding $64 million in previously appropriated funds that were committed to Korea (Foreign Operations),
  • Requiring that structures on the Outer Continental Shelf contain at least 50 percent U.S. materials (Interior),
  • Deleting the authority of the Secretary of Treasury to disallow any premium-free prepayment of REA-guaranteed FFB direct loans (Rural Development),
  • Prohibiting any effort to alter the method of computing normalized prices for agricultural commodities in effect January 1, 1987 (Rural Development),
  • Specifying detailed up-front appropriations for each of the CCC farm price support programs (Rural Development),
  • Authorizing GSA to acquire a building 1n Chicago, IL, and buildings for the EPA and DOT through lease purchase arrangements (Treasury/Postal), and
  • Requiring Treasury to use U.S. manufactured paper in currency (Treasury/Postal).

These and other objectionable provisions are identified in the attachment.

(3) The Administration is strongly opposed to efforts expected on the House floor to add entire authorizing bills to the continuing resolution. For example, inclusion of the Fairness Doctrine would cause a veto recommendation. An omnibus continuing resolution is not the appropriate vehicle to include legislation that should be debated and enacted separately. Any attempt to ensure passage of legislation in this way is objectionable.

(4) The funding levels provided in the House continuing resolution are unacceptable. Statements of Administration Policy have been sent forward on each of the bills already considered by the House. Not a single bill is supported by the Administration. Funding in this resolution for domestic discretionary programs exceeds the President's request by 16 percent and the 1987 enacted level by 6 percent. As Congress and the Administration negotiate vigorously for meaningful deficit savings, it is imperative that appropriations decisions be consistent with the Nation's priorities and that wasteful spending be eliminated. [As part of the ongoing negotiations on reducing the Federal deficit, the Administration supports a freeze on discretionary spending at the FY 1987 enacted level. The Administration supported such a measure during the House debate on the Reconciliation Act of 1987 (Policy Issue).]

Finally, the Administration continues to oppose efforts to establish statutory minimum employment floors, thus reducing the Administration's flexibility to allocate personnel resources to meet changing circumstances. Moreover, the resolution includes a number of provisions that unnecessarily infringe on legitimate Executive Branch policy and managerial functions.

The Administration urges the Congress to proceed expeditiously toward the completion of regular FY 1988 appropriations bills and present the President with individual bills that are consistent with the above criteria and earlier communications.

The attached objections to H.J. Res. 395 can be downloaded in PDF format by clicking this link

Related PDFs

Ronald Reagan, Statement of Administration Policy: H.J. Res. 395 - FY 1988 Omnibus Full-Year Continuing Resolution Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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