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Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 5488 - Treasury Postal Service, and General Government Appropriations Bill, FY 1993

June 29, 1992

STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY

(House Rules)
(Sponsors: Whitten (D), Mississippi, Roybal (D), California)

This Statement of Administration Policy expresses the Administration's views on the Treasury, Postal Service and General Government Appropriations Bill, FY 1993, as reported by the Committee.

The Administration commends the Committee for adequately funding several important governmental functions, including the U.S. Customs Service and the Tax System Modernization program within the Internal Revenue Service. The Administration also commends the Committee for including language in the bill that would require the Postal Service to pay the full Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program and Civil Service Retirement costs for certain annuitants.

Nevertheless, the Administration has serious concerns about several aspects of the bill. In particular, the President's senior advisers would recommend that the President veto the bill if it contains language approved by the Committee that prohibits use of funds in the bill for the President's Council on Competitiveness or any successor organization. These issues are discussed in more detail below.

Restrictions on Regulatory Review

An amendment adopted in Committee would prohibit the use of funds in the bill for the President's Council on Competitiveness or any successor organization. If it were enacted, the amendment would represent a highly objectionable encroachment on the ability of the President and the Vice President to discharge their constitutional responsibilities. The Administration strongly supports an amendment to strike this objectionable provision.

The President has made regulatory reform a top Administration priority. The Council on Competitiveness has worked to ensure that the benefits of health, environmental, and safety regulations are delivered to the American public in the most efficient, effective manner. The President's Regulatory Reform Initiative directed the Council to lead the effort in implementing reforms to stop government regulations that would slow the economy and to accelerate the implementation of regulations that promote economic growth. These efforts are critical in a time of economic recovery. Reforms completed in the first 90 days of this effort will reduce private-sector costs by an estimated $15 to $20 billion per year.

The President's Council on Competitiveness is critical in helping to ensure that the Executive Branch carries out its regulatory activities with efficiency and in a manner designed to protect the public welfare. The elimination of funding for the Council would restrict a core function of the Presidency, namely the President's authority to select advisers to assist in supervising the Executive Branch. For these reasons, the President's senior advisers would recommend that the President veto the bill if it contains such a restrictive provision.

Postal Service Revenue Foregone

The Committee has allocated $200 million in FY 1993 for payments to the Postal Service Fund for revenue foregone. Although this proposed reduction in Federal payments for subsidized postage rates for selected groups is $78 million above the President's request, it is a good first step, particularly if combined with real program reforms.

We understand the Committee's preference to await expected authorization committee action to enact reforms to eliminate current abuses. Lacking such reforms, however, we are concerned that the proposed language preventing a reduction in actual postage subsidies would simply shift the funding of these subsidies. Specifically, funding would be shifted from the discretionary Federal revenue foregone account to the off-budget, mandatory Postal Service fund account. We are currently reviewing the scoring implications of these provisions.

Limitation on Changes to Federal Health Benefits Plan

The bill's restrictions on the negotiating authority of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) would cause total FEHB premiums for Federal and postal employee annuitants to rise by $272 million in calendar year 1993 alone. The Administration proposes to reduce FEHB payments to doctors and to introduce modest cost-sharing for those FEHB annuitants for whom the Federal government pays 100 percent of prescription drug costs. Preventing those actions would raise Federal agency costs by as much as $1.2 billion over a five-year period, would increase Federal payments to physicians, and would increase premiums for all FEHB enrollees.

Public Building Projects

The committee bill contains a number of new public buildings construction projects as well as repair and alteration projects that are not needed. Such projects include three projects in Atlanta, Georgia, for the Centers for Disease Control; in Hammond, Indiana, for a Federal courthouse; in Newark, New Jersey, for a parking facility; and in San Francisco, California, for a new Federal building. Appropriation of funds in FY 1993 for these projects is not warranted.

George Bush, Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 5488 - Treasury Postal Service, and General Government Appropriations Bill, FY 1993 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/330384