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Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 2216 - Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2014

June 03, 2013


(House Rules)

(Rep. Rogers, R-KY)

The President is committed to the care of our veterans and funding other important priorities within a budget framework that strengthens our economy and advances middle-class priorities. The Administration believes H.R. 2216, making appropriations for military construction, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014, and for other purposes, funds critical priorities, and looks forward to working on its provisions as part of an acceptable budget framework.

However, enacting H.R. 2216, while adhering to the overall spending limits in the House Budget's topline discretionary level for fiscal year (FY) 2014, would hurt our economy and require draconian cuts to middle-class priorities. These cuts could result in hundreds of thousands of low-income children losing access to Head Start programs, tens of thousands of children with disabilities losing Federal funding for their special education teachers and aides, thousands of Federal agents who can't enforce drug laws, combat violent crime or apprehend fugitives, and thousands of scientists without medical grants, which would slow research that could lead to new treatments and cures for diseases like cancer and Alzheimer's, and hurt America's economic competitiveness.

Prior to consideration of appropriations bills the Congress should complete an appropriate framework for all the appropriations bills. More than a month has passed since the deadline for action and the Congress has yet to appoint conferees and agree on a budget resolution.

Unless this bill passes the Congress in the context of an overall budget framework that supports our recovery and enables sufficient investments in education, infrastructure, innovation and national security for our economy to compete in the future, the President's senior advisors would recommend that he veto H.R. 2216 and any other legislation that implements the House Republican Budget framework.

The Administration would like to take this opportunity to share additional views regarding the Committee's version of the bill.

Military Construction. The Administration appreciates the Committee's support for critical military construction projects but objects to the use of incremental funding for the Public Health Command Lab Replacement project at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. Incremental funding of military construction projects runs counter to sound budgeting principles and fiscal discipline.

Arlington National Cemetery (ANC). The Administration appreciates the Committee's continued support for ANC programs, which will help the Cemetery achieve and maintain the highest standards of service and accountability. The Administration also appreciates the Committee's support for the ANC Advisory Commission's efforts to meet future burial needs.

Civilian Pay Raise. The Administration urges the Congress to provide the proposed 1.0 percent pay increase for Federal civilian employees. As the President stated in his FY 2014 Budget, a permanent pay freeze is neither sustainable nor desirable.

Detainee Matters. The Administration strongly opposes section 413, which would prohibit the use of funds to construct, renovate, or expand any facility in the United States to house individuals held in the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. This prohibition would constrain the flexibility that the Nation's Armed Forces and counterterrorism professionals need to deal with evolving threats, intruding upon the Executive Branch's ability to carry out its mission.

The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress as the FY 2014 appropriations process moves forward.

Barack Obama, Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 2216 - Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2014 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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