HR 4871 - - 07/20/2000
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July 20, 2000

(Sponsors: Young (R), Florida; Kolbe (R), Arizona)

This Statement of Administration Policy provides the Administration's views on the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Bill, FY 2001, as reported by the House Committee. Your consideration of the Administration's views would be appreciated.

The President's FY 2001 Budget is based on a balanced approach that maintains fiscal discipline, eliminates the national debt, extends the solvency of Social Security and Medicare, provides for an appropriately sized tax cut, establishes a new voluntary Medicare prescription drug benefit in the context of broader reforms, expands health care coverage to more families, and funds critical investments for our future. An essential element of this approach is ensuring adequate funding for discretionary programs. To this end, the President has proposed discretionary spending limits at levels that we believe are necessary to serve the American people.

Unfortunately, the FY 2001 congressional budget resolution provides inadequate resources for discretionary investments. We need realistic levels of funding for critical government functions that the American people expect their government to perform well, including education, national security, law enforcement, environmental protection, preservation of our global leadership, air safety, food safety, economic assistance for the less fortunate, research and technology, and the administration of Social Security and Medicare. Based on the inadequate budget resolution, the Committee bill does not address critical needs of the American people. In addition, the Committee bill includes several objectionable provisions.

Across the appropriations bills, there is a pattern of underfunding core government operations such as air safety, park maintenance, and the administration of Social Security and Medicare. The Committee bill continues this pattern by underfunding the Internal Revenue Service, counterterrorism programs, Presidential transition expenses, and necessary construction and repair of Federal facilities. If the bill were presented to the President in its current form, his senior advisers would recommend that he veto it.

The attachment provides a discussion of our specific concerns with the Committee bill. We look forward to working with the House to address our mutual concerns.




(As Reported by the House Committee)

Department of the Treasury

The Administration appreciates the Committee's full funding of key provisions of our National Gun Enforcement Initiative. However, the Administration is very concerned with the large reductions in the Committee bill for key priorities of the Department of the Treasury. The bill provides $873.0 million less than the President's request for Treasury's programs, which would significantly reduce funding for vital programs in the IRS, counterterrorism, Customs, and other activities. Specific funding issues include:

General Services Administration

The Administration is disappointed by the Committee's funding levels for key priorities of the General Services Administration (GSA). The Committee bill provides $1.1 billion less than the President's request for GSA's programs, which would significantly reduce vital programs in courthouse construction, Presidential transition, and other activities. Specific funding issues include:

Drug Prevention Programs

The Administration appreciates the Committee's support of the President's drug control funding priorities but is disappointed that the bill does not fully fund the request for the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, the Drug-Free Communities Program, and the Criminal Justice Treatment initiative of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). Advertising costs have increased almost 40 percent in the past two years, and reduced funding would diminish ONDCP's ability to deliver messages to local media markets, where specific drug use problems, including use of ecstasy and methamphetamine, are of concern. The $5.0 million reduction in the Drug-Free Communities Program would cause 50 fewer communities to receive grants to support coalitions working to prevent youth substance abuse.

National Archives and Records Administration

The House Committee mark provides $201.2 million for the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), $108.0 million below the request and $23.4 million below the FY 2000 enacted level. The mark provides no funding for the Archives I renovation project, which includes eliminating serious fire safety threats. Delaying the renovation project could place the lives of visitors and staff at risk and endanger irreplaceable archival records, including the Charters of Freedom. The Committee mark also does not provide funding for essential repairs needed to the Kennedy Library due to severe water damage.

Office of Personnel Management

The Administration strongly objects to the elimination of $6.2 million in requested funding for the Federal Cyber Services (FCS) initiative. The President's overall critical infrastructure protection initiative is essential to ensuring that the Federal Government is protected from acts of cyber-terrorism and can maintain its information security infrastructure with a highly trained and competent workforce. FCS is a key element to ensure that adequate numbers of people are recruited, trained, and motivated to remain in Federal service.

Merit Systems Protection Board

The Administration is concerned that the Committee level for the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) does not reflect the June 5, 2000, budget amendment for $580,000. These funds are needed for MSPB to carry out its congressional mandate to adjudicate FAA appeals retroactively to March 1, 1996, and to pay for higher rent associated with the need to re-compete expiring leases, including relocating its Washington Regional Office to a location accessible to public transportation.

Office of Special Counsel

The Administration is concerned that the Committee bill does not include $828,000 requested by the Office of the Special Counsel (OSC) to support 10 additional FTEs needed to continue the Office's efforts to reduce its pending backlog. In 1994, Congress imposed upon the OSC a 240-day deadline for processing and investigating complaints, including those involving prohibited personnel practices and reprisal for whistleblowing. The request for additional staff is an essential part of an aggressive, multi-year strategy by the agency to meet the congressional mandate, in the face of an escalating number of complaints.

Food Aid

The Administration strongly objects to a provision added in Committee that would require OMB to apportion at least 75 percent of the FY 2001 funding for international food assistance provided by the Department of Agriculture no later than December 31, 2000. The provision would also limit OMB's involvement with the interagency Food Assistance Policy Council (FAPC) to administrative matters. OMB has played a positive and vital role in the Administration's recent record high food donation levels by helping to ensure that there is sound program management and interagency policy coordination. First, OMB, for decades, has been delegated by the President his statutory responsibility for execution of the budget. This provision would seriously restrict the President's ability to discharge his responsibilities. Second, the provision would hamper the President's ability to conduct foreign policy since the FAPC provides a forum for different agencies to work together to ensure that food donations are provided in a way that is consistent with U.S. international objectives.

Unanticipated Needs/Other Executive Office of the President Issues

The Committee bill includes neither the $1.0 million requested to meet general unanticipated needs related to the national interest, security, or defense, nor the $2.5 million specifically requested to facilitate public education in Puerto Rico on the islands' status options and a local choice among them. Although Puerto Rico was acquired over a century ago, its ultimate status still has not been determined. The situation raises questions of democracy and the appropriate economic and social policies for the islands. A primary reason for the situation -- and the requested funding -- is that Puerto Ricans have been unsure of the possible options for the islands' status. The United States has a responsibility to ensure that Puerto Ricans are aware of and can seek a fully democratic governing arrangement if they wish. This serious concern is one of several concerns regarding funding for the Executive Office of the President presented by the bill. The Administration will work with the Congress to address those concerns as the bill moves forward.

Objectionable Language Provisions

The Administration objects to several language provisions in a variety of programs. Specific issues include:

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