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Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 4092 - Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994

March 22, 1994


(House Rules)
(Brooks (D) TX and 3 others)

The Administration strongly supports prompt passage of H.R. 4092, which embodies the central elements of the President's anti-crime legislative agenda. This critical legislation will enable the Federal Government to play a significantly enhanced role in the Nation's fight against the crime and violence that plague too many of our communities.

Passage of H.R. 4092 will assist the States and localities in their efforts against violent crime — particularly in the critical areas of police, prisons, and prevention. In addition, H.R. 4092 will provide necessary tools to Federal law enforcement officials, improving their effectiveness in combating violent crime. The bill will expand and advance proven crime prevention programs in an unprecedented way.

H.R. 4092 contains key elements of the President's anti-crime program, including:

  • A Substantial Start Towards Putting an Additional 100,000 Police Officers on Our Streets. Engaged in Community Policing. This is the centerpiece of the President's anticrime program. Putting more officers on the street — working with communities — is the best way to prevent crime and illegal drug use, to ensure that criminals are apprehended when crimes occur, and to return to our citizens the sense of security that has been taken from them.

  • Launching a "Smart and Tough" Approach to Youth Crime and Violence. This bill focuses our efforts to combat youthful violence with:

—        Proven and extensive crime prevention programs, to give kids something to say "yes" to (discussed below);

—        Boot camps for youthful offenders, as a second-chance for kids who get off-track;

—        Drug courts to get drug users turned around before they commit more serious crimes;

—        A ban on juvenile gun possession; and

—        For hardened young criminals, the authority to try 13- year olds as adults for serious violent offenses.

  • Measures to Stiffly Punish Violent Crime. In addition to the vital prison program discussed below, the bill contains several measures to ensure that violent offenders cannot continue to prey upon our communities. These include:

—        The President's "three strikes and you're out" life imprisonment provision, which is targeted on the career violent offenders who do so much violent harm.

—        Reinstating the Federal death penalty for the most heinous offenses, including the killing of Federal law enforcement officers.

  • Significant and Innovative Crime Prevention Programs that Give Our Young People Something to Say "Yes" To. While we must — and will — insist upon personal responsibility, and punish those who commit crimes regardless of their circumstances, we must also do what we can to keep young people from beginning to engage in crime. Among the prevention programs in the bill that the Administration strongly supports are:

—        The President's "YES" program (Youth Employment and Skills), to give employment opportunities to kids in hard-hit, high-crime areas;

—       "Ounce of Prevention" programs to keep schools open after hours and to expand after-school activities, like Boys and Girls clubs, that keep kids off the streets; and

—        Innovative alternatives like Midnight Sports and Police Partnerships with Youths.

Prevention programs make sense, and are an important part of any balanced attack on the crime and violence that plague our cities, towns, neighborhoods, and rural communities.

  • Assisting the States in Building and Operating More Prison Cells, to Get More Violent Offenders and Criminal Aliens Off Our Streets. It is incumbent upon the Federal Government to aid States that are struggling to make sure that violent criminals are not being released prematurely for lack of space. The Federal Government has built the prisons necessary to ensure that Federal offenders are not being prematurely released, and this Administration is committed to maintaining the necessary capacity. However, none of us will be safe until the States can do the same.

  • Attack on Violence Against Women. The bill includes a plan, strongly supported by the President, to increase penalties and prevention efforts aimed at domestic violence and sexual assaults that make American women unsafe in their homes or on the street.

  • Other Initiatives. Among the other Administration-supported provisions of H.R. 4092 are those that would promote victims' rights, prevent child abuse, provide a "safety- valve" from mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent offenders, and increase penalties for hate crimes.

The Administration supports Rep. Hoyer's amendment to authorize funds for increased Treasury law enforcement activities. Treasury's law enforcement bureaus have a crucial role to play in fighting street crime, gang violence, and smuggling, and in supporting gun control and State and local law enforcement. The inclusion of this amendment will complement the other provisions of H.R. 4092.

While the Administration does not agree with every program or provision in H.R. 4092, it firmly believes that, taken as a whole, the bill is a balanced approach to the problem of crime, and contains many much-needed crime-fighting measures. The Administration looks forward to working with the House to obtain prompt passage of this important legislation.

William J. Clinton, Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 4092 - Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project