Statement on Signing a Nuclear Regulatory Commission Appropriations Bill
I have today signed into law S. 1291, an act to authorize appropriations to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in accordance with section 261 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, and section 305 of the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974.
In signing this act, I note that one of its provisions, section 102(c)(2), purports to authorize congressional committees to waive all or part of a report-and-wait period otherwise required with respect to certain reallocations of funds by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The Attorney General has advised me that, under the Supreme Court's decision in INS v. Chadha, 103 S.Ct. 2764 (1983), the Congress, including committees of the Congress, may not be given power that has "the purpose of altering the legal rights, duties, and relations of persons, including... Executive Branch officials . . .," through procedures that bypass the constitutional requirements for valid legislative action. This important constitutional principle applies regardless whether the grant of such authority is intended to check or, as here, to facilitate, executive action. Because section 102(c)(2) of this act would authorize committees of the Congress, without participation by both Houses of the Congress and the President, to allow the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to implement proposed reallocations prior to expiration of the otherwise required waiting period, it does not conform to the requirements for legislative action articulated in Chadha. I strongly urge the Congress to discontinue the inclusion of such devices in legislation, because doing so serves no constructive purpose after Chadha beyond introducing confusion and ambiguity into the process by which the executive's obligations are discharged.
Note: As enacted, S. 1291 is Public Law 98-553, approved October 30.
Ronald Reagan, Statement on Signing a Nuclear Regulatory Commission Appropriations Bill Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/260509