S 3041 - - 09/19/2000
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September 19, 2000

(Sponsors: Stevens (R), Alaska; Hutchison (R), Texas)

This Statement of Administration Policy provides the Administration's views on S. 3041, the District of Columbia Appropriations Bill, FY 2001, as reported by the Senate Appropriations Committee. Your consideration of the Administration's views would be appreciated.

The Administration commends the Committee for fully funding many of the Administration's priorities, including the D.C. Courts and Defender Services, the New York Avenue Metro station, Resident Tuition Assistance, and D.C. Corrections. Nonetheless, the bill reported by the Senate Committee does not provide adequate funding for several programs that promote the economic health and fiscal strength of the District of Columbia. In addition, the Committee bill contains many objectionable provisions that continue a pattern of undermining Home Rule, the principle of local control over local matters. The Administration views these objectionable provisions as unwarranted intrusions into the affairs of the District and believes that the District should be allowed to manage its local affairs in a manner that all states are free to do. For these reasons, we urge the Senate to improve the bill, consistent with the concerns discussed below, so that it can be signed by the President.


Economic Growth

While the Administration is pleased that the Committee has provided the full request for the New York Avenue Metro station -- a critical project for the economic development of an important section of the Capital City -- the Committee mark misses several opportunities to fund critical investments in economic growth in the District of Columbia. These investments would help to revitalize our Nation's Capital and continue Federal support of the District's efforts to build a sound economic base that generates sufficient tax revenue for the city to ensure its fiscal health. Failing to fund these investments would undermine the Committee's own efforts to put the District on a path to economic growth and fiscal strength.

Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency

The Committee mark provides $109 million for the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA). The Administration's request for CSOSA totals $121 million -- $104 million in direct authority and $17 million as an earmark in the COPS program. The House has provided $116 million in direct authority for the Agency. Fully funding the President's request, both direct authority and the COPS earmark, would enable the Agency to provide substance abuse, mental health, and sex offender treatment to the supervised populations, and to build on its recent success in reducing the recidivism rate and preventing criminal activity among the 30,000 individuals under supervision in the District.


The Administration is pleased that the Committee has chosen to eliminate 37 of last year's General Provisions. However, the Committee bill still includes 46 General Provisions. This is unfortunate. The Administration believes that Congress need not re-enact any of the General Provisions included last year, since all the legitimate policy purposes addressed by the General Provisions are now addressed elsewhere in existing or proposed local or Federal law. Other General Provisions proposed by the Committee are unnecessary or would inappropriately interfere with local matters.

The following highly objectionable provisions of the Committee bill are particularly unwarranted intrusions into the affairs of the District, and we urge the Senate to strike them from the bill.

Resident Tuition Assistance

The Administration appreciates the Committee's provision of the full $17 million request for the Resident Tuition Support program. However, the current law restricts eligibility to students who graduated on or after January 1, 1998, which excludes students who will be entering their fourth year of college this fall. The Administration supports expanding the program to include students who graduated from high school on or after January 1, 1997. The Administration urges that an amendment be offered to ensure that all students in their first four years of college are included.

Flexibility in the Use of Local Funds

In addition, the Administration would support additional flexibility in the use of local funds requested by the Mayor, with respect to inter-appropriation transfers of local funds, use of local funds for one-time public health care system restructuring costs, and changes to the District public school system's fiscal year with respect to local funds. These are matters appropriately at the discretion of local officials under home rule.

Infringement on Executive Authority

The Administration objects to a number of provisions in the bill that would require congressional approval before Executive Branch execution. The Administration will interpret these provisions to require only notification of Congress, since any other interpretation would contradict the Supreme Court ruling in INS v. Chadha.

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