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Statement on Signing Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Legislation

June 17, 1997

I am pleased to have signed into law H.R. 1871, the "1997 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Recovery from Natural Disasters, and for Overseas Peacekeeping Efforts, Including Those in Bosnia."

This bill provides over $5.8 billion so that Federal agencies can help the hundreds of thousands of people who have suffered terribly from the flooding and other natural disasters that have ravaged the Dakotas, Minnesota, California, and 29 other States. The bill also provides $1.8 billion to replenish Department of Defense accounts in connection with our peacekeeping efforts in Bosnia and Southwest Asia, and to assure that the Department can maintain maximum readiness of the troops.

With regard to the funds described above, I hereby designate as emergency requirements all funds in this Act so designated by the Congress that I have not previously designated pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(D)(i) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, as amended.

I commend the Congress for approving my request to extend Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid benefits through the end of fiscal 1997 to all legal immigrants who would otherwise lose them. This approach ensures that the Congress has the time to restore SSI and Medicaid benefits for disabled legal immigrants, consistent with the recent Bipartisan Budget Agreement.

I am disappointed that the Congress chose to include several objectionable items that I identified in my veto message of June 9. Funding included in the bill for the Commission for the Advancement of Federal Law Enforcement not only will waste valuable Federal resources but also could interfere with Federal law enforcement policy and operations. As I indicated in my veto message, this type of oversight is more properly the role of the Congress, not an unelected commission.

I am also disappointed that the Congress chose to rescind funds for the Ounce of Prevention Council and the Department of Defense Dual-Use Applications Program. The Council will be forced to reduce the level of grants for youth substance abuse prevention, for which about 300 applications are under review. The reduction in the Dual-Use Applications program will result in higher costs of future defense systems.

On balance, however, this bill is a vast improvement over the legislation that I vetoed on June 9. It includes the desperately needed resources for our Nation's hard-hit areas, but it does not include extraneous riders that had nothing to do with the goal of providing disaster relief. I am pleased that my Administration and the Congress worked together in a bipartisan fashion.


The White House, June 17, 1997.

NOTE: H.R. 1871, approved June 12, was assigned Public Law No. 105-18.

William J. Clinton, Statement on Signing Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Legislation Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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