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Statement on Signing the Military Construction Appropriations Act, 2000

August 17, 1999

Today I have signed into law H.R. 2465, the "Military Construction Appropriations Act, 2000," which provides funding for military construction and family housing programs of the Department of Defense (DOD).

The Act funds the vast majority of my request for military construction projects, the military housing program, and other quality-of-life projects for our military personnel and their families. The requested projects are critical to supporting military readiness and the quality of life of our soldiers and their families. However, I have several concerns with the bill:

  • For the second consecutive year, the Congress has not provided the requested level of construction funding for the Chemical Weapons Demilitarization program. This year's reduction of $93 million to my request substantially increases the risk that the United States will not meet the 2007 Chemical Weapons Convention deadline for the destruction of these chemical weapons. The sooner these weapons are destroyed, the safer we will all be.
  • The Congress has chosen to add funds for projects that DOD has not identified as priorities. In particular, $301 million is provided for 40 projects that are not in DOD's Future Years Defense Program (FYDP).
  • The Congress has again included a provision (section 113) that requires the Secretary of Defense to give 30 days advance notice to certain congressional committees of any proposed military exercise involving construction costs anticipated to exceed $100,000. In approving H.R. 2465, I wish to reiterate an understanding, expressed by Presidents Reagan and Bush when they signed Military Construction Appropriations Acts containing a similar provision, that this section encompasses only exercises for which providing 30 days advance notice is feasible and consistent with my constitutional authority and duty to protect the national security.

I urge the Congress to pass all of the FY 2000 appropriations bills as quickly as possible and send them to me in an acceptable form. As of today, the Congress has finished its work on only two of the thirteen appropriations bills. Moreover, many of the remaining bills would require deep cuts in essential government programs, including education, law enforcement, science and technology, the environment, and programs to advance global security through the peaceful use of diplomacy, helping minimize our chances of needing to use military force to the same ends.

When it returns in September, the Congress still has a great deal of work to do. I urge the Congress to approach this work responsibly in order to pass funding bills which are sufficient to meet our Nation's needs in the year 2000.


The White House, August 17, 1999.

NOTE: H.R. 2465, approved August 17, was assigned Public Law No. 106-52.

William J. Clinton, Statement on Signing the Military Construction Appropriations Act, 2000 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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