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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 26, 2001
President's Statement on H.R. 2620, the "Departments of Veterans Affairs and HUD, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, 2002"
Today I have signed into law H.R. 2620, the "Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, 2002."
I appreciate the bipartisan effort that has gone into producing this Act. The Act abides by the agreed upon aggregate funding level for Fiscal Year 2002 of $686 billion and supports several of my Administration's key initiatives with:
$955 million for the Veterans Affairs Duty to Assist initiative to improve performance in claims processing and assist veterans with their claims;
Several additional initiatives I have proposed were worthy of funding but are not part of this bill:- the Community Technology Centers and Improving Access programs in HUD, the Silver Scholarships and Veterans Mission for Youth programs under the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the VA/DOD Medical Care Choice initiative.
The Silver Scholarship Program would have provided Silver Scholarships to 10,000 older Americans who volunteer 500 hours of service tutoring and mentoring students in after-school programs. Each $1,000 scholarship could be deposited in an education savings account for use by seniors' children, grandchildren, or another child. The Veterans Mission for Youth program would have provided matching grants to community organizations that connect veterans and retired military personnel with America's youth through mentoring, tutoring, after-school, and other programs.
The VA/DoD Medical Care Choice initiative would ensure that all military retirees annually choose either the Department of Defense or the Department of Veterans Affairs as their health care provider. This would enhance quality and continuity of care and prevent duplication of services and costs.
Several provisions in the Act purport to require congressional approval before executive branch execution of aspects of the bill. My Administration will interpret such provisions to require notification only, since any other interpretation would contradict the Supreme Court ruling in INS v. Chadha.
GEORGE W. BUSH
THE WHITE HOUSE,
November 26, 2001.
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