Statement by the President Upon Signing Bill Making Appropriations for Certain Federal Agencies, Including the Civil Functions of the Corps of Engineers.
I HAVE TODAY approved H. R. 11319, "Making appropriations for the Tennessee Valley Authority, certain agencies of the Department of the Interior, and civil functions administered by the Department of the Army, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1957, and for other purposes." However, I am concerned about the large increase in the number of new construction starts for the Corps of Engineers which the Congress has provided for in this bill, and the serious effect that these additions will have on the future financial commitments of the Federal Government. This is the second consecutive year that the Congress has taken this kind of action.
I firmly believe that the Federal Government, in cooperation with the States and local interests, must proceed with needed water resources projects if we are to conserve and wisely use these valuable resources; but we must proceed in an orderly fashion with due regard for other essential services and for our national defense. To achieve a proper balance between water resource development and other Federal programs some system of priorities must be established. My budget proposals were directed to this objective as well as the need for a sound overall budgetary and fiscal policy not only for the fiscal year 1957 but also for the years ahead.
Under these policies, it was possible to recommend a forward looking program of water resource development. However, the action of the Congress in adding 52 unbudgeted projects for the Corps of Engineers, involving direct future commitments in excess of three-quarters of a billion dollars jeopardizes the balance between future commitments for water resource development and other Federal programs.
Three of these unbudgeted projects are major structures in the authorized Arkansas River basin comprehensive navigation development. By providing for starting these projects, the Congress has committed the United States to eventual appropriations totaling another three-quarters of a billion dollars to complete other features of this development, which, although authorized, have not yet been scheduled for construction. In my Budget Message in January, I recommended deferral of this development and pointed out that the major benefits of the structures, for which the Congress has now provided funds, will not be realized until the entire navigation development is completed.
In making this statement, I want to make it clear that I have always placed among my most important objectives, the wise conservation, development and use of the Nation's water resources. I shall continue to do so. At the same time, I shall also continue to submit my budget recommendations to the Congress in an effort to maintain the finances of the Federal Government on a sound basis.
Note: As enacted, H. R. 11319 is Public Law 641, 84th Congress (70 Stat. 474).
This statement was released at Gettysburg, Pa.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, Statement by the President Upon Signing Bill Making Appropriations for Certain Federal Agencies, Including the Civil Functions of the Corps of Engineers. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232947