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Statement on Allowing the Emergency Community Facilities Act of 1970 To Become Law Without Signature.

October 06, 1970

TODAY H.R. 17795, which authorizes the expenditure of $1 billion for construction of sewer and water lines, becomes law without my signature. I have not signed this measure because I very deeply disapprove of it.

This bill authorizes $850 million more than the administration's program level; beyond this, it does not have the redeeming feature of contributing to our attack on water pollution since it does not authorize any expenditure for additional sewage treatment facilities. Its most redeeming feature is that it merely authorizes--but does not appropriate--spending of the funds involved. For this reason and because the Congress has so much other vital business to consider without reconsidering this bill, I have not vetoed it.

H.R. 17795 is, however, another example of how this Congress is raising false hopes by authorizing excessive spending when there is little hope of appropriating a like sum without an increase in revenues. Numerous other bills are still before Congress which, like H.R. 17795, would authorize lavish spending far beyond the Federal budget. The country is misled by this type of action. For appropriations cannot match these figures without producing a disastrous fiscal effect. I urge the Congress to stop this deception and to bring the funding of these measures down to realistic levels before sending them to me for action. If Congress refuses to make such reductions, I must and will act to avoid the harmful fiscal consequences of this legislation. I will be compelled to withhold any overfunding.

If excessive spending of the kind authorized in this bill is appropriated, then Congress will have to face up to the consequences. Either it will further fuel inflation, itself the cruelest tax of all, or it will force up the taxes of the American people.

It is plainly irresponsible to call for spending without regard to how the cost is to be borne. Our Nation has had far too much of fiscal legerdemain in years past. I believe the people now see through such irresponsibility--and, as I have demonstrated by vetoing excessive funding measures earlier this year, I will not be party to fiscal recklessness.

I urge the Congress, in considering remaining spending measures, to take the responsible road and to play fair with the taxpayers of the United States.

Note: As enacted, H.R. 17795 is Public Law 91-431 (84 Stat. 886).

Richard Nixon, Statement on Allowing the Emergency Community Facilities Act of 1970 To Become Law Without Signature. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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