Gerald R. Ford photo

Veto of the Departments of Labor and Health, Education, and Welfare Appropriation Act, 1976.

December 19, 1975

To the House of Representatives:

I return without my approval H.R. 8069, the Departments of Labor and Health, Education, and Welfare Appropriation Act, 1976.

As you know, I have just vetoed H.R. 5559, which would have extended for six months the temporary tax cut due to expire on New Year's Eve, because it was not accompanied by a limit on Federal spending for the next fiscal year. H.R. 8069 is a classic example of the unchecked spending which I referred to in my earlier veto message.

H.R. 8069 would provide nearly $1 billion more in spending authority than I had requested. Not only would the $45 billion total in this bill add significantly to the already burdensome Federal deficits expected this year and next, but the individual increases themselves are unjustified, unnecessary, and unwise. This bill is, therefore, inconsistent with fiscal discipline and with effective restraint on the growth of government.

I am not impressed by the argument that H.R. 8069 is in line with the Congress' second concurrent resolution on the budget and is, therefore, in some sense proper. What this argument does not say is that the resolution, which expresses the Congress' view of appropriate budget restraint, approves a $50 billion, or 15 percent, increase in Federal spending in one year. Such an increase is not appropriate budget restraint.

Effective restraint on the growth of the Federal Government requires effective limits on the growth of Federal spending. This bill provides an opportunity for such limitation. By itself, this bill would add $382 million to this year's deficit and would make next year's deficit $372 million more than if my recommendations had been adopted. In addition, the increases provided for this year would raise expectations for next year's budget and make the job of restraining spending that much more difficult. Thus, this bill would contribute to excessive deficits and needless inflationary pressures.

Furthermore, if this bill became law, it would increase permanent Federal employment by 8,000 people. I find it most difficult to believe the majority of the American people favor increasing the number of employees on the Federal payroll, whether by Congressional direction or by other means. On the contrary, I believe the overwhelming majority agree with my view that there are already too many employees in the Federal Government.

I am returning this bill without my signature and renewing my request to the Congress to approve a ceiling on Federal spending as the best possible Christmas present for the American people.


The White House,

December 19, 1975.

Note: On January 27, 1976, the House of Representatives voted to override the President's veto. With the vote in the Senate to override the veto
on January 28, H.R. 8069 was enacted as Public Law 94-206 (90 Stat. 3).

Gerald R. Ford, Veto of the Departments of Labor and Health, Education, and Welfare Appropriation Act, 1976. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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