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Statement on Approval of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 1996

November 30, 1995

I have decided this evening to approve the Department of Defense appropriations bill. This legislation is vital to fund our national defense, so that the United States remains the strongest force for peace in the world.

This bill provides for a strong national defense, supports our commitments to the quality of life of our forces and their families, maintains high military readiness, and funds investment programs necessary to modernize the equipment used by our combat forces. Continuing American global leadership is ensured by the support the bill provides for our forces.

I made this decision because my Administration has reached agreement with Congressional leaders to provide funding, out of the funds contained in this bill, for the troop deployment and other efforts to secure peace in Bosnia. The pressing demands of peace and of our military service men and women compel my approval of this measure.

I have expressed my strong concerns that this legislation contains excessive spending for projects that are not currently needed for our defense. I will forward to Congress rescission legislation that would eliminate funding for those projects, and I urge Congress to act on it. We should spend no more than we need to at a time when we are determined to balance the budget.

I am also concerned that section 8117 of the Act contains certain reporting requirements that could materially interfere with or impede this country's ability to provide necessary support to another nation or international organization in connection with peacekeeping or humanitarian assistance activities otherwise authorized by law.

I will interpret this provision consistent with my constitutional authority to conduct the foreign relations of the United States and my responsibilities as Commander in Chief.

In addition, I remain very concerned about provisions of the Act that restrict service women and female dependents of military personnel from obtaining privately funded abortions in military facilities overseas, except in cases in which the mother's life is endangered or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. In many countries, these U.S. facilities provide the only accessible, safe source for these medical services.

My Administration is continuing discussions with the Congress on the remaining spending bills, in order to protect necessary priorities in education, the environment and law enforcement. Over the past several days we have made progress in good faith discussions with the leadership of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to close the gap between us on these issues. The decision I am making tonight is consistent with our understanding that these discussions will continue with the goal of reaching a satisfactory conclusion as rapidly as possible. We should promptly complete this task, so there is no unnecessary shutdown of the government.


The White House, November 30, 1995.

NOTE: H.R. 2126 became law without the President's signature on December 1, and it was assigned Public Law No. 104-61.

William J. Clinton, Statement on Approval of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 1996 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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