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Statement on Signing the Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine Act of 1983

May 27, 1983

I have signed today S. 653, which amends title 10, United States Code, to establish a Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, and for other purposes.

The bill establishes a foundation to perform a variety of functions that are within the scope of those vested by statute in Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Although not mentioned in the bill's statement of purposes, the Senate committee report indicates that the Foundation would be designed primarily to receive gifts, grants, and legacies from private sources and channel them to the University, and thus to further the University's teaching, research, and services without additional government expenditures. I am in full sympathy with this worthy purpose behind the bill.

The bill provides, however, that of the nine members of the Council of Directors, the governing body of the Foundation, four ex officio members of the Council are to be Members of Congress and the four operating members of the Council are in effect to be appointed by the congressional members.

The Attorney General has advised me that this reservation by Congress of the power to appoint the officers who are to discharge the legal responsibilities of the Foundation with the intent to remain involved in the direction and supervision of the Foundation constitutes a violation of the principle of the separation of powers. The separation of powers requires that after a statute has been enacted by the legislature it may be enforced or interpreted only by the executive or judicial branches.

I fully support proper effort to shift to the private sector some of those functions and funding methods which are now being performed by the government. However, this valid and worthy objective should be carried forward consistent with the principle of the separation of powers under our Constitution. In this regard, the sponsors of the legislation have agreed to give full and fair consideration to constitutional concerns. Accordingly, with this understanding, I have approved S. 653.

Note: As enacted, S. 653 is Public Law 9836, approved May 27.

Ronald Reagan, Statement on Signing the Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine Act of 1983 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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