Statement on Signing the Public Works Employment Appropriations Act of 1976.
I HAVE signed H.R. 15194, the Public Works Employment Appropriations Act of 1976.
In July I vetoed the authorizing legislation which made this $3.95 [$3.73] billion appropriation necessary. I said then, and I still believe, that these funds will not create lasting jobs but will create new inflationary pressures.
I said then, and I still believe, that the best and most effective way to create new jobs is to pursue balanced economic policies that encourage the growth of the private sector without risking a new round of inflation. Congress rejected my veto.
This Congress has not recognized the fallacy of having the American taxpayer finance pork-barrel projects and make-work jobs. Congress refuses to recognize the inflationary risk in this public works appropriation. However, another confrontation with Congress on this bill is pointless.
We must, nevertheless, continue to challenge the Congress on the underlying principle of this pork-barrel, make-work legislation.
I am therefore signing H.R. 15194 and directing the appropriate departments of this administration to make, over the next year, a careful month-by-month audit of expenditures under this appropriation to determine just how many jobs are created, how much it costs the taxpayer to create each job, and just what impact there is on inflation.
In accepting this appropriation, I call upon the Congress to request the General Accounting Office to conduct a parallel audit of the results of this legislation. This is an expensive test, but Congress will not see the fallacy of its approach until we can show through an audit what we know to be the facts.
Note: As enacted, H.R. 15194, approved October 1, 1976, is Public Law 94-447 (90 Stat. 1497).
Gerald R. Ford, Statement on Signing the Public Works Employment Appropriations Act of 1976. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/241568