This Statement of Administration Policy provides the Administration's views
on S. 2260, the Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related
Agencies Appropriations Bill, FY 1999, as reported by the Senate
Appropriations Committee. Your consideration of the Administration's views
would be appreciated.
The Administration appreciates efforts by the Committee to accommodate
certain of the President's priorities within the 302(b) allocation.
However, the allocation is simply insufficient to make the necessary
investments in programs funded by this bill.
The only way to achieve the appropriate investment level is to offset
discretionary spending by using savings in other areas. The President's FY
1999 Budget proposes levels of discretionary spending for FY 1999 that
conform to the Bipartisan Budget Agreement by making savings in mandatory
and other programs available to help finance this spending. In the
recently enacted Transportation Equity Act, Congress -- on a broad,
bipartisan basis -- took similar action in approving funding for surface
transportation programs paid for with mandatory offsets. We want to work
with the Congress on mutually agreeable mandatory and other offsets that
would be used to increase high-priority discretionary programs, including
those funded by this bill. In addition, we hope that the Committee will
reduce funding for lower priority and unrequested discretionary programs,
and redirect funding to programs of higher priority.
The Administration appreciates the Committee's support for many of the
President's priorities within the bill. For example, we appreciate the
Committee's funding of law enforcement programs in general and the COPS
program in particular. Funding COPS at the requested level of $1.4 billion
is consistent with the Balanced Budget Agreement and would enable us to
achieve the goal of hiring 100,000 additional police officers by the year
2000. However, the Administration is deeply concerned about the funding
level for certain important programs, and has additional concerns about
other aspects of the bill. These concerns are discussed below.
Small Business Administration
The Administration strongly objects to the Committee mark of $94 million to
administer the Small Business Administration's (SBA's) Disaster Loan
Program, a 43-percent reduction from the President's request. Such a
drastic reduction in funding to originate and service disaster loans would
severely curtail SBA's ability to respond to the needs of victims of
natural disasters. We also urge the Senate to provide for additional
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
The Administration strongly urges the Senate to fully fund the President's
request of $279 million for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(EEOC), $25 million above the Committee mark. The additional resources are
essential, and would allow EEOC to reduce the backlog of pending complaints
and implement much-needed reforms in the way all complaints are managed,
including an enhanced alternative dispute resolution program. We look
forward to working with Congress to provide funding for EEOC and other
programs included in the President's civil rights enforcement initiative.
Department of Commerce
The Administration appreciates the Committee's support for the Department
of Commerce overall, and in particular its full funding of the President's
request for the Decennial Census, the Nation's single largest statistical
operation. However, the Administration remains concerned about funding for
a number of high priority programs, including:
- Statistics initiatives that are necessary to upgrade the Nation's
core statistical infrastructure, particularly efforts to improve our
current measurements of the Gross Domestic Product, Poverty Rate, and
other fundamental economic indicators crucial to sound private and
public sector decision-making. Increased funding is also vitally
important to maintain the full development of the Continuous Measurement
program, which will provide critical demographic data about the Nation's
communities every year.
- The Advanced Technology Program (ATP) and its support of
cutting-edge research. A $39 million cap on new award grants is a
58-percent cut below the request. Also within the National Institute of
Standards and Technology, the absence of full funding for the new
Advanced Measurement Laboratory would result in insufficient funds to
complete this facility, and no funds are provided for the Climate Change
- The Clean Water and follow-on weather satellite initiatives, for
which funding levels are inadequate to fulfill existing contract
obligations and would jeopardize NOAA's ability to combat non-point
source pollution and ensure satellite continuity. The satellite
allowance would necessitate delayed launch vehicle delivery, elimination
of technology development currently underway to replace fifteen-year-old
instruments, and a restructuring of the converged satellite program -- a
complex and carefully negotiated multi-agency system.
- The National Information Infrastructure Grants Program, which
provides seed money for innovative projects that deploy, use, and
evaluate advanced information technology, would be severely curtailed
with the Committee's 50-percent reduction.
- The Economic Development Administration (EDA), which has achieved
impressive results in creating jobs, leveraging private sector dollars,
and increasing local tax bases. A reduction to EDA's Title IX
(emergency relief) and defense conversion programs would adversely
affect EDA's ability to help distressed communities deal with the
burdens imposed by industry down-sizing and international trade
Department of Justice
We appreciate the Committee's continued support for law enforcement and
other Department of Justice activities. However, the Administration is
concerned about non-hiring set- asides in the COPS program and the
Committee's action in a number of other areas:
- Winstar. The Administration strongly opposes the Committee's
approach to funding for Winstar, which would require substantial
reductions to the non-Winstar related activities of the litigating
divisions, including Civil Rights. We believe that the large, one-time
litigation costs arising out of the savings and loan rescue are
appropriately borne by the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance
Corporation (FSLIC) Resolution Fund (FRF). The Administration is
working with the Banking Committees to provide permanent funding for
Justice's Winstar costs from the FRF Fund.
- Immigration and Naturalization Service. The Administration
strongly opposes provisions in the bill that would use $166 million in
receipts from the Immigration and Naturalization Service's (INS)
Immigration Examination and User Fee accounts for expenses not directly
related to the immigration services for which they are assessed. Unless
these receipts were made available only for such services, the INS would
be severely hampered in its efforts to reduce the backlog of pending
citizenship applications. The Administration strongly urges the Senate
to ensure that all immigration fees are used solely to provide
immigration services, and to ensure that receipts from the Examination
Fee Account, in particular, are used to reduce the citizenship
The Committee mark of $2.4 billion for the INS is $350 million below
the Administration's request. This level would jeopardize the
Administration's bipartisan border management and enforcement strategy.
We strongly urge the Senate to fully fund the border infrastructure and
technology, detention support, and interior enforcement initiatives
requested by the President.
- Protection Against Chemical and Biological Weapons. We
appreciate the Committee's support of the Administration's effort to
combat terrorism involving the use of chemical and biological weapons.
However, we believe that the levels proposed in the President's June 8th
budget amendment reflect the appropriate balance among all aspects of
antiterrorism activities. In particular, we hope that the Senate will
provide the $49 million that the Administration has requested for bomb
squad equipment in direct appropriations.
- Juvenile Justice Block Grant. While juvenile justice
programs are an important element of effective law enforcement, the new
$100 million block grant program recommended by the Committee would
authorize a broad and unfocused range of spending. Rather than funding
the block grant, we urge funding for targeted activities, such as the
community prosecutors program, prosecutorial initiatives, and youth
- Drug Testing. The Committee bill does not provide the $85
million requested for the drug testing and intervention program.
Systematic drug testing is a proven, cost-effective means of using the
coercive power of the criminal justice system to move non-violent
offenders into drug treatment programs, and should be funded.
- Counterdrug Strategy. Report language that directs the
Attorney General to create a new interagency counterdrug strategy is
inappropriate. The Director of National Drug Control Policy is
mandated by statute to perform this function; it should not be
transferred to the Attorney General. The Administration strongly
opposes this report language.
- Controlled Substances Act. The Administration has serious
concerns about sections 118 and 119 of the Justice General Provisions,
which would weaken the Drug Enforcement Administration's authority to
regulate the flow of drugs classified as controlled substances. The
proposed provisions would allow relief for recordkeeping and reporting
violations. Careless, negligent, or unknowing violations create an
opportunity to divert drugs to illicit channels just as do knowing or
intentional violations, which are properly subject to misdemeanor
penalties under current law.
- Critical Infrastructure Protection. The Committee bill
provides only $19 million of the $34 million requested to reimburse
agencies for expenses related to protection of the Nation's critical
infrastructure. In particular, the Committee's funding level excludes
$6.6 million needed to create a national plan for protecting the
Nation's infrastructure, including funds for core staff in the Critical
Infrastructure Assurance Office.
- Narrowband Communications. The Administration is
disappointed that the Subcommittee has not provided the $86 million
requested to establish a fund for the consolidation and coordination of
the Department's conversion to narrowband communications systems.
- Bureau of Prisons/Abortion. The Administration urges the
Senate to strike section 102 of the Committee bill, which would prohibit
the Bureau of Prisons from funding abortions except in cases of rape or
where the life of the mother is endangered. The Department of Justice
believes that there is a great likelihood that this provision would be
Legal Services Corporation
The Administration commends the Committee for increasing the funding level
for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) to $300 million, $13 million above
the FY 1998 enacted level. The recent Supreme Court ruling that interest
on lawyer trust accounts (ILTAs) cannot be used to support civil legal
services eliminates a funding source that provided LSC programs with more
than $57 million last year. It is vitally important that the Congress
fully fund the President's request of $340 million to ensure equal access
to the judicial system.
International Affairs Programs
The Administration appreciates the Committee's support for the Department
of State accounts that fund diplomatic and consular activities and, in
particular, funding the request for the State Department's information
technology modernization effort, including year 2000 (Y2K) activities.
However, the Committee's cuts and unrequested earmarks in the Diplomatic
and Consular Programs and Salaries and Expenses accounts, totaling over $30
million, would prevent the Department from meeting expected wage and price
increases, covering critical overseas staffing gaps, and addressing other
While the Administration is encouraged by the Committee's recognition of
the Department's overseas facility requirements, we urge the Senate to
restore the $90 million reduction to the Security and Maintenance of United
States Missions account and to provide full funding of the President's
request for urgently needed embassy facilities in Beijing and Berlin. The
Administration appreciates the Committee's support for funding the Arms
Control and Disarmament Agency's activities, particularly in light of
recent events in South Asia.
The Administration appreciates the steps the Subcommittee has taken to fund
the request for arrearage payments this year. The Administration wants to
work with the Congress to ensure that these funds are available in a timely
fashion to retain our influence in these organizations and to identify
reform measures that further U.S. interests. However, we oppose the bill's
authorization requirement that is intended to subject this important
foreign policy measure to the unrelated issue of family planning policy.
There is legitimate disagreement over this issue, but none of the U.N. and
related international organizations arrears payments is related to this
issue. Therefore, it is wholly inappropriate to hold the payment of U.S.
arrears hostage to the family planning issue.
Further, the Committee bill significantly underfunds, by about $75 million,
the annual assessed contributions to these organizations. This would
increase arrears again and further inhibit chances for the reforms that we
are all seeking. In addition, the Committee has imposed a number of
certification requirements and conditions before payments by the United
States to these organizations can be made.
Taken together, the consequence of these provisions would likely be the
loss of the vote of the United States in the United Nations and other
international organizations. This would seriously diminish the ability of
the United States to influence issues before the U.N. General Assembly such
as selection of future Secretaries General and resolutions affecting the
Finally, the Administration strongly opposes section 403 and urges the
Senate to strike it from the bill. This provision would reduce funding for
arrears payments by 25 percent of the total expenditure of the United
States made to respond to efforts by Iraq to block United Nations weapons
inspections. The decision of the United States to incur these critically
important expenditures was made on the basis of our own national security
The Administration is very concerned that funding for the United States
Information Agency's overseas information and broadcasting programs has
been reduced by $80 million below the President's request. The funding
level of $427 million for International Information Programs is $34 million
below the President's request, $24 million of which results from the
omission of funding for overseas administrative costs. For broadcasting
programs, the Committee mark is $46 million below the President's request.
A reduction of this magnitude would require a personnel reduction-in-force,
eliminate broadcast language services, and defer necessary capital and
technical radio modernization improvements. We urge the Senate to provide
funding for core information and broadcasting programs at the President's
requested level. Finally, earmarks placed on the Educational and Cultural
Exchanges program should be removed.
This bill also contains provisions that raise serious constitutional
concerns. For example, the Administration opposes Section 405 regarding
Vietnam that unconstitutionally constrains the President's authority with
respect to the conduct of diplomacy, in addition to creating a new
unworkable standard for measuring progress on the POW/MIA issue beyond
those contained in similar provisions from previous years. In addition,
Section 613 on Haiti purports, in some circumstances, to limit the
President's unfettered constitutional authority to "receive ambassadors and
other public ministers."
Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Federal Communications
Commission (FCC). The Administration urges the Senate to provide funding
for the FCC's scheduled move to the Portals complex. Absent this funding,
the FCC's ability to implement the mandates of the Telecommunications Act
of 1996 and to carry out critical mission operations may be severely
Exxon Valdez Settlement Funds. The Administration strongly objects
to a provision of section 619 that would require certain Exxon Valdez
settlement funds to be spent only for grants for marine research and
community and economic restoration. This language is contrary to the Clean
Water Act and a court-ordered consent decree that require that the State
and Federal natural resource trustees determine how these funds should best
Teamsters Election. The Administration objects to the continuation
of last year's rider that prohibits the use of funds for supervising the
Teamster's election, despite a court order requiring the Federal Government
to pay for a supervised election.