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Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 1827 - Supplemental Appropriations Bill, 1987

April 15, 1987


(Sponsor: Whitten (D), Mississippi)

The Administration has serious objections to the Supplemental Appropriations bill, as reported by the House Appropriations Committee. Unless the bill is amended to provide adequately for defense and foreign assistance, to delete its unnecessary funding increases and restrictive language provisions (especially those that undercut national security and our negotiating leverage), and to be made consistent with the deficit reduction goals of the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act, the President's senior advisers will recommend that it be vetoed by the President.

Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Deficit Targets

In accordance with its policy to reduce spending and to meet Gramm-Rudman-Hollings deficit targets, the Administration proposed FY 1987 supplementals that offset funding increases with reductions in lower priority programs. The President's net request for this bill was actually a reduction of about $350 million in budget authority. The Committee accepted none of the President's rescissions and proposed few offsets of any sort, thus increasing budget authority by $6.6 billion above the request. The resultant $3 billion increase in FY 1987 outlays is a major breach in the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings law.

Excessive and Unnecessary Funding

The Committee proposes additions of $913 million in unrequested program supplementals, including $425 million for the homeless. There is already substantial funding available for these programs in FY 1987 to meet the needs identified to date. In view of our severe fiscal condition, now is not the time to propose funding increases that are not absolutely essential. If the funds proposed by the President for FY 1987 and FY 1988 to meet the needs of the homeless prove to be inadequate, the Administration will work with Congress to find additional amounts from existing appropriations.

The Administration further objects to the inclusion of H.R. "58, the "Urgent Relief for the Homeless Act," in H.R. 1827. Appropriations bills are not proper vehicles for enacting controversial authorizing legislation.

Defense and Foreign Affairs: Reduced Funding and Restrictive Language Provisions

The Committee bill includes two amendments that would undermine the credibility of our nuclear forces — on which the Western Alliance must rely for the foreseeable future to deter aggression — and seriously damage our ability to achieve arms control agreements providing for deep, equitable, and effectively verifiable reductions in Soviet and American nuclear arsenals. The proposed cut-off of funding for U.S. nuclear testing above one kiloton would preclude the very testing needed to maintain the safety, effectiveness, reliability, and survivability of our nuclear weapons. In addition, such a ban would not be effectively verifiable.

The proposal to mandate U.S. compliance with certain limitations in the SALT II Agreement — which has never been ratified, which would have expired had it been ratified, and which has been violated in numerous and important ways by the Soviets — would tell the Soviets that there is no cost to violating solemn agreements. It would allow them to discard the limitations that constrained them the most, while perhaps choosing to stay within those that constrained the United States the most. And by writing into law parts of an agreement that has permitted, and would continue to permit, large increases in Soviet strategic forces, we would destroy the foundation for deep reductions that this Administration has been working so vigorously to secure.

The President told Congress, during his State of the Union address on January 27, 1987 that: "Enacting the Soviet negotiating position into American law would not be the way to win a good agreement. So I must tell you in this Congress I will veto any effort that undercuts our national security and our negotiating leverage." These amendments would do just that and, by themselves, would cause the President's senior advisers to recommend that the bill be vetoed. Furthermore, the President's advisers will recommend a veto of any legislation that contains similar provisions.

The Administration also strongly objects to the Committee's approval of only $1.7 billion of the requested $4.1 billion for defense and international affairs. The Committee disapproved additional funding requests for the Strategic Defense Initiative, Chemical Agents and Munition Destruction, and several foreign assistance programs. Furthermore, the Committee has failed to repeal restrictions on other national security programs, such as Anti-Satellite Testing, and has proposed language that restricts the Administration's ability to provide essential assistance to the Central American Democracies.

Domestic Programs: Restrictive Language Provisions

The Administration commends the Committee for deleting objectionable language that would have authorized generic exemptions from water project cost-sharing recently enacted in P.L. 99-662. However, the bill still contains many objectionable language provisions. The most seriously objectionable provisions would:

  • Prohibit the use of funds to implement Executive Order 12564 relating to the drug testing of Federal workers;

  • Modify the Administration's request for farm price support programs. Most objectionable is language that provides $10 million for conducting a poll of farmers, analyzing farm programs, and measuring agricultural commodities in order to study mandatory production limitations of agricultural commodities. Returning to strong Federal controls offers no hope of providing relief to American farmers;

  • Amend the Food Stamps Act to give a small minority of beneficiaries a windfall costing $365 million (FY 1987-1992). Although the provisions purport to aid the homeless, less than 2 percent of the increase would actually go to this target population;

  • Prevent the Department of Transportation from proceeding with a rulemaking on the repayment of Construction Differential Subsidies (CDS) that addresses issues raised by a recent court decision, and participating in any judicial proceeding including an appeal of the court decision. If the CDS language is enacted, the government is faced with repaying vessel owners $106 million those vessel owners previously paid to the Treasury, plus $8 million of interest. The Administration has grave concerns over the constitutional and policy implications of these provisions;

  • Prevent the Department of Transportation from funding the Amtrak Commission. By killing an Advisory Commission formed to explore policy options, this language is detrimental to sound policy making;

  • Restrict severely the ability of the Department of Health and Human Services to implement sound personnel management policies for the Indian Health Service; and

  • Fail to treat newly authorized harbor maintenance user fees as an offset against the Army Corps of Engineers operation and maintenance appropriations, as proposed by the Administration. Instead, $67 million is provided in new appropriations.

The attached objections to H.R. 1827 can be downloaded in PDF format by clicking this link

Related PDFs

Ronald Reagan, Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 1827 - Supplemental Appropriations Bill, 1987 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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