Statement by the President Upon Signing the Department of Agriculture and Related Agencies Appropriation Bill.
I HAVE signed H.R. 14596--the Department of Agriculture and Related Agencies Appropriation Act of 1967.
With the funds in this bill, we can move ahead to bring a better life to farmers and to improve conditions in rural areas. We can continue to help the developing nations help themselves in our common war against world famine and hunger.
I am deeply disturbed, however, about three provisions in this measure.
First, the bill adds $312.5 million of appropriations to the total requested in my budget.
In its appropriation actions, the Congress often adds to or reduces specific items proposed in the President's budget. While the President may not always agree with the changes, this is a proper exercise of congressional prerogative.
In this case, however, the total of appropriations effectively provided in the bill-after taking into account both increases and decreases--is $312.5 million above my budget request. During a period when we are making every effort to moderate inflationary pressures, this degree of increase is, I believe, most unwise.
Rather than veto this bill and add still further to an already crowded congressional calendar, I intend to exercise my authority to control expenditures. I will reduce expenditures for the programs covered by this bill in an attempt to avert expending more in the coming year than provided in the budget.
I will exert such control in an even manner, reducing selectively both those items which the Congress has added to my budget and items which I myself have proposed.
In this way, we can fulfill our pledge to the American people to combat inflation and to maintain a healthy and flourishing economy.
Second, the bill contains a provision that would automatically bar any needy nation from receiving U.S. food aid for its poor and starving people if that nation engages in any trade or shipping with North Vietnam.
This absolute bar goes far beyond a measured response to the problem, for such transactions by countries receiving our food aid are currently very small. It is inconsistent with the humanitarian and foreign policy goals of the food for freedom program. It will tie the hands of this administration and succeeding administrations.
Third, there is a provision in this bill which restricts the authority of the President in proposing a financial plan for agricultural research in the fiscal year 1968 budget.
The provision thus clearly intrudes upon the Executive function of preparing the annual budget. In developing the budget for fiscal 1968, I will give careful consideration to the views of Congress expressed in this act--but I will propose an agricultural research program designed and financed to make the best possible use of the resources available to us at the time.
Note: As enacted, the Department of Agriculture and Related Agencies Appropriation Act of 1967 (H.R. 14596) is Public Law 89-556 (80 Stat. 689).
Lyndon B. Johnson, Statement by the President Upon Signing the Department of Agriculture and Related Agencies Appropriation Bill. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/238725