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Statement on Signing the Railroad Retirement Solvency Act of 1983

August 12, 1983

I have today signed H.R. 1646, which will prevent drastic railroad pension reductions that would otherwise have been necessary to save the system from insolvency. According to the Railroad Retirement Board's actuary, this bill will assure the solvency of the railroad pension system at least until the end of the decade.

In signing this bill, I wish to note that section 416 of the bill requires the Board concurrently to submit to the Congress any "budgetary estimate, budget request, supplemental budget estimate, or other budget information, legislative recommendation, prepared testimony for congressional hearings, or comment on legislation" whenever it transmits such information to the President or the Office of Management and Budget. The section also specifically prohibits any agency of the United States from requiring the Board to submit this material to any officer or agency of the United States for approval or review prior to transmission to the Congress.

The Attorney General has advised me that such concurrent reporting provisions raise serious issues with respect to the separation of powers under the United States Constitution. Such a provision would be an impermissible violation of the constitutionally required separation of powers if applied to a purely executive agency. However, because it applies to the Railroad Retirement Board, which is an independent agency with quasi-judicial functions, the constitutional issues are less formidable.

Note: As enacted, H.R. 1646 is Public Law 98-76, approved August 12.

Ronald Reagan, Statement on Signing the Railroad Retirement Solvency Act of 1983 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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