Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1978 Statement on Signing H.R. 9375 Into Law.
The Supplemental Appropriations Act, H.R. 9375, which I am signing today, contains three major elements that I had requested: it rescinds funds for the B-1 bomber, makes available $4.5 billion in waste water treatment grants to local communities, and provides $1.4 billion for Small Business Administration disaster loans to farmers who suffered crop losses in last year's drought.
I am particularly pleased that the Congress has supported the rescission of the funds formerly planned for construction of the fifth and sixth B-1 bombers. In supporting this rescission, the Congress has saved the taxpayers nearly half a billion dollars.
The program of research and testing we will carry out, using the first four B-1 aircraft, will provide an adequate hedge against the unlikely possibility that our current plans for modernizing the B-52 bombers with cruise missiles do not work out.
I am especially grateful to Chairman George Mahon and Senators John Stennis and John Culver for their dedicated work in the passage of this bill, in keeping out additional B-1 funds.
The largest appropriation in this bill is for the waste treatment grants. The Congress has authorized funding of this program through fiscal year 1982, so that local governments can plan their projects better. I am committed to consistent longterm Federal support for the effort to clean up our water supplies. As a legislator and as a Governor, I saw the serious problems and needless expense that local communities often suffered when funds were inconsistent, delayed, or impounded.
Under current law, both the Farmers Home Administration in the Department of Agriculture and the SBA have authority to grant disaster loans to farmers. I have recommended legislation to remedy this overlapping jurisdiction by giving the Department of Agriculture sole responsibility in this area. In the meantime, the funds in this supplemental appropriation will enable SBA to handle current applications for low-cost loans.
Another important provision of this bill is the $124 million for welfare payments and medical and social services to refugees from Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos. This will reimburse States and local governments 100 percent for providing these basic services to refugees, as well as funds for special educational and training projects.
H.R. 9375 also appropriates $80 million for the Clinch River Breeder Reactor. I believe that a strong research and development program for the breeder reactor is essential to maintaining a diversity of energy supply options for this country. In my FY 1979 budget, I have recommended $367 million for continued research and development on the liquid metal fast breeder reactor. Our breeder program is the largest in the world. We can draw upon this technology—and build a demonstration plant—whenever it becomes necessary and economically feasible.
I believe just as strongly, however, that we cannot afford to waste vitally needed energy research and development funding on energy projects which are neither necessary to meet our projected energy needs nor economically sound. Development of coal technology and solar and renewable resources, resolution of issues hindering increased use of light water reactors, and improved oil and gas recovery methods all must be pursued on a high priority basis.
In view of these priorities, and my commitment to a strong breeder research and development program, I continue to believe that the construction of the CRBR is an unproductive use of our taxpayers' dollars, which will not enhance our ability to call upon the breeder to meet our energy needs. The $80 million contained in this bill for the CRBR will be used to complete the systems design for this reactor and to terminate further CRBR activities in an orderly way. I will continue to work with the Congress to ensure that our research and development resources are directed to those programs which will give us maximum assurance that we can meet our energy needs.
Note: As enacted, H.R. 9373 is Public Law 95-240, approved March 7.
Jimmy Carter, Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1978 Statement on Signing H.R. 9375 Into Law. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/244681