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Statement on the Intention To Veto of a Resolution Providing Funding for Continued Government Operation

October 05, 1990

The hour of reckoning is at hand. At midnight tonight, the Congress of the United States must face up to the shutdown of government services and resulting confusion that will be strewn across this land because we could not produce a budget. It is deeply discouraging that the governing bodies of this country would wrangle with the Nation's fiscal affairs for nearly a year and fail.

Tonight, because there is no budget, the United States Government, under existing law, does not have the authority to continue operations. And I will not be a party to the process that would once again put off meeting this responsibility for a few more days. I will not sign the continuing resolution passed by the House and Senate tonight, which simply delays once again the most serious constitutional responsibility of government: to manage the people's money.

At midnight tonight, our national parks and monuments will close. Cleanup at hazardous waste sites will cease. Social Security offices will accept no new applications. Border inspections will be delayed. In one government agency after another, thousands of Federal employees will no longer be able to serve public tasks necessary for the public good. The people of America did not send their representatives to Washington to produce these consequences.

As I said in my Inaugural Address, they did not send us here to bicker. And tonight I challenge the Congress to act as quickly as possible to produce an acceptable budget. Don't wait for people to lose confidence in their government. Act now, tomorrow, as soon as possible to produce a budget that reduces the deficit, avoids recession, and puts our economy on the path of sustained growth.

I stand ready to work with the Members of Congress to produce a responsible plan. After months of hard work, we produced a budget agreement that would have cut a real $500 billion off our deficit over the next 5 years. The White House and the congressional leadership of the Democratic and Republican Parties worked hard to put together that agreement and put in place the largest deficit reduction in history. It's a sad commentary that the full House did not have the courage of those convictions. But surely the reality of a government closedown will convince everyone that a solution must be found. It is time to act responsibly on this problem and produce a fiscal year 1991 budget.

Note: The President returned H.J. Res. 660 without approval on October 6.

George Bush, Statement on the Intention To Veto of a Resolution Providing Funding for Continued Government Operation Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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