This Statement of Administration Policy provides the Administration's views
on the Veterans, Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies
Appropriations Bill, FY 2000, as approved by the Senate Committee. Your
consideration of the Administration's views would be appreciated.
The Administration issued a senior advisors veto threat on the House
version of this legislation due to deep cuts in science and technology
programs, reductions in essential housing and environmental programs,
inadequate funding for National Service, inadequate funding for FEMA
disaster relief and cuts in other important programs. The Administration
appreciates the Senate Committee's efforts to develop a bill that makes
important improvements to the House bill. However, there continue to be
significant problems with the Senate Committee bill that must be
satisfactorily addressed before it is presented to the President.
Regrettably, the Committee bill under funds important programs for our
nations's cities, for the environment, for disaster relief and for National
Service. Unless these concerns with the House and Senate bills are
addressed in a satisfactory manner in a conference agreement, the
President's senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.
The Administration strongly objects to the Committee's failure to fund the
critical housing needs of low-income families and Administration
initiatives to invest in our nation's cities. Most importantly, the
Administration objects to the Committee's decision not to fund new
incremental Section 8 housing assistance vouchers in FY 2000 and to the
elimination of the Community Builders Program. If forced to terminate
these employees, HUD would have to eliminate local service in almost two
dozen communities, leaving up to seven States without any HUD presence.
The Administration also strongly opposes the Committee's decision not to
fund, or to under fund, a number of the Administration's critical
investment initiatives, including the New Markets Initiative, Regional
Connections, Regional Empowerment Zones, and the redevelopment of abandoned
buildings. In addition, the bill also under-funds Administration
priorities such as the Corporation for National and Community Service,
Revitalization of Distressed Public Housing (HOPE VI), Neighborhood
Reinvestment Corporation, Community Development Financial Institutions
(CDFI), Brownfields redevelopment, Community Empowerment Fund, and Housing
Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA). Finally, the Administration
would like to work with the Congress to secure the funding requested for
the Round II Empowerment Zone program.
The Administration strongly opposes the Committee's $186 million reduction
to the request for the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Operating
Programs, including the $114 million cut to the Climate Change Technology
Initiative (CCTI), elimination of funding for the Montreal Protocol, and
the $35 million cut in personnel costs. The Administration also opposes
the $100 million reduction to Superfund and the elimination of funding for
the Clean Air Partnership Fund. In addition to these severe reductions,
the Administration opposes spending $197 million on the 123 earmarked
projects in the Committee bill, which were not requested by the President
and would come at the expense of important environmental programs. These
reductions would severely hamper EPA's efforts to protect public health and
the environment and should be restored.
The Administration strongly opposes the Committee's failure to fund the
request for $2.5 billion in contingent emergency funding for the Federal
Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA's) disaster relief fund. This
reduction would hinder FEMA's ability to respond quickly and appropriately
to disasters as they occur.
Detailed discussions of certain of these issues, as well as additional
Administration concerns with the Committee bill, are provided in the
attachment. We look forward to working with the Congress to address our