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Statement of Administration Policy: S. 386 - Persian Gulf War Veterans' Assistance Act of 1991

February 20, 1991

STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY

(Senate)
(DeConcini (D), AZ and 6 others)

The Administration objects to S. 386 because it does not include offsets to the increases in direct spending provided in the bill. Although the costs associated with this legislation are relatively small, full offsets are required under the Budget Enforcement Act. The Administration will work with Congress to identify appropriate offsets. In addition, the Administration objects to the provisions in the bill which would broaden eligibility for certain Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits for servicepersons who are not serving in the Persian Gulf Desert Shield area.

The Administration supports expanding certain veterans benefits for those serving in the Persian Gulf Desert Shield area. This is consistent with the principle established in P.L. 102-4, which expanded tax relief for Desert Shield/Storm participants. However, there does not appear to be adequate justification to expand benefits for servicepersons not stationed in this hostile environment. For example, some of the objectionable provisions would:

—   Extend eligibility for VA housing loan benefits to every veteran who served on active duty during the Persian Gulf War for 90 days or more, regardless of whether they are serving in the combat zone.

—   Make every veteran serving during the Persian Gulf War period eligible for the VA pension program, even if they were not serving in the combat zone.

The Administration supports expanding home loan and pension benefits for those serving in the Persian Gulf Desert Shield area. However, it does not believe there is sufficient justification to warrant extending these and other benefits to servicepersons who are not serving in the Persian Gulf.

Section 13 of S. 386 would not exempt the bill from the requirements of OBRA. Section 13 purports to designate all direct or discretionary spending in S. 386 as emergency expenditures related to Operation Desert Shield. However, S. 386 does not qualify for the Desert Shield exemption in OBRA because it is not Desert Shield specific and does not include defense discretionary spending.- In addition, S. 386 is not exempt from the pay-as-you-go requirement in OBRA because the President has not designated the increased spending in the bill as an emergency requirement. Accordingly, S. 386, if not offset, would result in a pay-as-you-go violation that would trigger a sequester.

Scoring for the Purpose of Pay-As-You-Go and the Caps

S. 386 would increase direct spending; therefore, it is subject to the pay-as-you-go requirement of OBRA. No offsets to the direct spending increases are provided in the bill. A budget point of order applies in the Senate against any bill that is not fully offset under CBO scoring. If, contrary to the Administration's recommendation, the Senate waives any such point of order that applies against S. 386, enactment of this legislation would add to the end of year pay-as-you-go requirement, which must be met to avoid sequester.

OMB's preliminary scoring estimates of this bill are presented in the table below. Final scoring of this legislation may deviate from these estimates. If S. 386 were enacted, final OMB scoring estimates would be published five days after enactment, as required by OBRA. The cumulative effect of all enacted legislation on the pay-as-you-go requirement will be issued in monthly reports transmitted to Congress.

Range of Estimates for Pay-As-You-Go
Fiscal Years
($ in millions)

  1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1991-95
Outlays 1-4 2-7 1-4 0-2 0-2 4-19
Receipts Not Applicable

Although there are relatively small costs attributed to this proposal within the next five budget years, increases in this program would take place 20 or more years from now.

George Bush, Statement of Administration Policy: S. 386 - Persian Gulf War Veterans' Assistance Act of 1991 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/330614