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Statement of Administration Policy: Senate Amendment to H.R. 5325 - Continuing Appropriations and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017 and Zika Response and Preparedness Act, 2016

September 28, 2016

STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY

(Senate)
(Sen. Cochran, R-MS)

The Administration supports passage of Senate Amendment to H.R. 5325, making: 1) continuing appropriations for fiscal year (FY) 2017; 2) appropriations for military construction, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and related agencies for the FY ending September 30, 2017; 3) additional resources available to combat the Zika virus; and 4) for other purposes.

By providing a short-term funding bridge, the bill would allow critical Government functions to operate without interruption. To minimize the negative impacts of a short-term funding measure on Federal agencies, the Congress should act quickly to enact full-year appropriations legislation for the remainder of FY 2017. The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress to support investments equally balanced between defense and non-defense spending that will create jobs, support middle-class families, contribute to long-term growth, and safeguard national security.

The Administration is disappointed the legislation continues a provision that would bar the Securities and Exchange Commission from taking action to increase transparency in public companies' political spending. The Administration strongly objects to the inclusion of problematic provisions that are beyond the scope of funding legislation.

The Administration is also disappointed that—despite overwhelming bipartisan, bicameral support—the Congress failed to ensure that the Export-Import Bank is able to fully assist American businesses and workers by restoring a board quorum to the Bank.

The Administration appreciates that the Congress is finally taking bipartisan action to address the Zika virus. The funding provided in the bill supports the Administration's efforts to reduce the risk of the Zika virus, particularly in pregnant women, by better controlling the mosquitoes that spread the Zika virus, develop new tools, including vaccines and better diagnostics to protect the Nation from the Zika virus, and to conduct crucial research projects needed to better understand the impacts of the Zika virus on infants and children. The Administration appreciates that the bill is free of provisions that would inhibit the Administration's ability to target resources to best protect the American people from the Zika virus. However, the Administration continues to believe that funding to fight the Zika virus should be treated as an emergency, the same as past public health emergencies, and is disappointed that the funding is partially offset.

The Administration is pleased that there appears to be a path forward to provide targeted funding to support people in communities impacted by natural disasters and catastrophic events, including in Louisiana, Flint, Michigan, and other areas. The Administration welcomes the bill's investments in communities ravaged by natural disasters, but notes that the funding provided is insufficient to fully address needed recovery efforts in these and other communities. Upon its return in November, the Administration urges the Congress to take immediate action to provide funding, whether in an appropriations bill or another vehicle, that supports those who have been most impacted by natural disasters and other catastrophic events.

In addition, the Administration welcomes the bill's investments in military infrastructure, housing, and services for men and women in our Armed Forces and their families. The Administration also appreciates the Congress' commitment to fund the benefits and services our veterans have earned.

Barack Obama, Statement of Administration Policy: Senate Amendment to H.R. 5325 - Continuing Appropriations and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017 and Zika Response and Preparedness Act, 2016 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/319396