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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
January 14, 2004
Press Briefing by Scott McClellan
The James S. Brady Briefing Room
12:41 P.M. EST
MR. McCLELLAN: Good afternoon, let's get started. The President this afternoon looks forward to going to NASA headquarters. The President is strongly committed to the exploration of space. Our space program has a proud history of expanding human knowledge and advancing technology for the benefit of all. Our history is one that is built on our desire to pursue new frontiers and seek new discoveries. And today the President will set a new course for America's space program that will give NASA a new focus and long-term vision for future exploration and discovery. It will focus on a renewed spirit of discovery.
The President will talk about a new plan to explore space and extend a human presence across our solar system. This new plan will give NASA a new focus and clear objectives as it pursues this long-term vision.
We have had great successes in our space program, yet there is much that remains for us to explore and learn. And the President will also talk about how the long-term vision he outlines today for further exploration of space is a journey, not a race anymore, that we want to pursue together with other nations in a spirit of cooperation and friendship.
Then later this evening, the President looks forward to welcoming President Aznar of Spain back to the White House. Spain is a -- President Aznar is a good friend of the President's and Spain is certainly a close ally of America, and we are working together closely on a number of issues, ranging from cooperation with Europe to the greater Middle East to Latin America, to counterterrorism and to our counter-proliferation efforts. And so the President looks forward to hosting him this evening in a meeting and then participating in a social dinner with the President of Spain.
And with that, I'll be glad to go into questions.
Q How can this shift in the space program be affordable at a time of such high deficits that you have now, Scott?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, Steve, in the aftermath of the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy, the President made it very clear that we remain committed to exploration of space, and that he remains firmly committed to continuing our journey into space and building upon our past successes.
And the vision that the President is outlining today was arrived at after he had directed his administration to do a review of our space policy, and that was headed by the Domestic Policy Council staff here at the White House and the National Security Council staff, working with a number of agencies and departments involved in that effort.
And when we looked at this, part of this was laying out a new course for NASA, a long-term vision for NASA. And we went and looked back at the resources that were currently available to NASA, or currently in the budget for NASA. And much of the funding for this effort over the next five years will come from reallocating existing resources that is currently part of NASA's five-year budget. There will be some additional funding to this, but the President certainly believes that this is something that is affordable. And it is important, because of the many benefits that we realize from space exploration and the discoveries that we realize, as well.
Q But, Scott, how do you address the critics within your own party that say, if you look at this deficit amount, and despite the fact that this is a long-term vision, a long-term goal, that this is fiscally irresponsible for the administration to take on a project of this kind?
MR. McCLELLAN: What part of it is? One, look at what I just said, that right now NASA spends less than 1 percent of the total federal budget. We have outlined a plan to address the deficit and reduce it in half over the next five years. We've got a plan to do that. Certainly, we had a number of important priorities that required our immediate attention, and that's the reason we are where we are, in terms of the deficit, from the war on terrorism to getting our economy out of recession and getting it growing even stronger.
And the President strongly committed to acting decisively on those priorities and making sure that we were meeting our commitments to protect the American people and promote prosperity here in America, which will increase revenues. And the President always outlines a budget that is responsible. It will meet our priorities -- particularly our highest priorities -- and then it will hold the line on spending elsewhere in the budget.
And so we've got a plan to address that, and we will move forward on that plan.
Q How much will it cost to go to the moon? First -- obviously unmanned, first, how much will that cost?
MR. McCLELLAN: One, as I indicated to you all earlier today, the President's remarks are later this afternoon, there will be a briefing by NASA following that. I think they can get into some more specifics. The President will touch on this. But that's why I pointed out that much of the funding over the next five years, in the five-year budget proposal will come from reallocating the budget resources that we have already proposed for NASA at this point. There will be some increase over the next five years, but also keep in mind that this is a long-term vision and what we're talking about is -- will be done in steps, and you'll reevaluate as you go, to determine the next steps that you take in that process.
Q Some say the first phase in that long-term vision, just going to the moon in an unmanned mission would cost about $50 billion. Is that roughly what the President's space policy review group --
MR. McCLELLAN: Again, the President is going to address this later today, then we're going to have a briefing after that; we're going to provide you with some additional documents that will provide you with that kind of information, so let's wait for that.
Q One other question for you, sort of the opposite criticism from one that's been discussed up until now, and that is, if you're only increasing the budget by less than 5 percent a year and only reallocating over the next five years about $11 billion, how in the world are you going to mount a brand new mission to go to the moon in an unmanned mission, then a manned mission, and on to Mars?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, one, I am not announcing certain things from this podium. You're, I think, talking of things that may be discussed later this afternoon, when the President talks about our long-term space policy. And I think that it will become very clear to you how we go about that.
Q Well, just talk in general terms. The President obviously has a long-term vision. How do you get there by only adding a small amount each year to NASA's budget over the next few years and reallocating a few billion other dollars?
MR. McCLELLAN: It's important to keep this in perspective, and the President will address this, I expect, in his remarks. He will talk about each step along the way. We will evaluate the resources we have available. We will evaluate what we're learning and what experience teaches us. Certainly as we develop new technologies, that will help bring down the cost as we go into the future. So when you're talking 10, 20, 30, 40 years from now, you have to continue to evaluate those costs as you go on, and those will be based on what we are learning at the time and what resources we need to meet those steps.
Q Scott, does he -- beyond the five-year figure that he's going to talk about today, does he give a long-range price tag for putting -- for his eventual goal of --
MR. McCLELLAN: He touches on -- I think that, again, NASA is going to -- will have a more detailed briefing. Obviously, there's so much that you can see in a presidential speech. But he will touch on the cost of this, as well -- as well as, the important benefits of it. Let's keep that in mind. There are a lot -- many benefits we've realized from the exploration of space, and there's much that we have yet to learn. But we must continue to pursue those new frontiers.
Q But what are the benefits as it relates to the average American citizen? And do the benefits outweigh the total cost for this expensive package of colonizing the moon?
MR. McCLELLAN: Let me -- well, one, I don't know that I would necessarily agree with your description. This is something we're going to -- a journey that we will pursue along with other nations. As I said, this is no longer viewed as a race, it's viewed as a journey. And it's a journey that we can work together to pursue for the benefit of all humankind.
But I think the President will specifically talk about some of the things that we have realized when it comes to space. Let me just mention that NASA and other space technologies have contributed to improving our quality of life in helping saving lives, from image processing used in CAT scanners and MRI technology in hospitals, worldwide -- that came from technology developed -- to computer-enhanced pictures of the moon for the Apollo programs. Kidney dialysis machines were developed as a result of a NASA-developed chemical process. And insulin pumps were based on technology used on the Mars Viking spacecraft. Programmable heart pacemakers were first developed in the 1970s using NASA satellite electrical systems. So those are just a few right there. But there are a number of benefits -- global positioning systems -- from our space technology.
Q Nothing more --
MR. McCLELLAN: And certainly when you talk about Mars, for instance, and past robotic missions to Mars have suggested that Mars may once have been a warm, wet planet that could have supported life. And finding water evidence of life would be among one of the most profound scientific discoveries of all time, indicating that life can thrive in more than one place in the solar system, and possibly in the universe. So extensive robotic exploration of Mars is underway right now, as you all are aware, with the Spirit Rover. And the robots will continue to search for water and evidence of life so that we can understand the history or Mars and any insight that that history may yield for Earth, and to prepare the way for humans possibly.
Q So far the moon is the focus medicine, mostly?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think, again, he's going to talk about this later, but I think you should view it in terms of it would be a step to go further into space and beyond, go into space beyond the moon and seek further discovery.
Q Scott, briefly, on the FCC issue --
MR. McCLELLAN: Anything else on space?
MR. McCLELLAN: I'll stick with that.
Q Does the President think that this initiative will create jobs?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I don't think that we've done an analysis of that, but certainly there's a lot of benefit from the technology that we develop, or that we learn as we go into space, so that will certainly have an impact. But I think we've looked at in terms of the benefit to all humankind, in the sense of improving the quality of life for humans and helping us learn more about the universe in which we live.
Q But direct jobs, in a way that affects this initiative, not spin-off effects.
MR. McCLELLAN: Oh, you're talking about the number of jobs created --
Q That might be created or --
MR. McCLELLAN: I don't have any numbers on that. You might be able to direct some of those questions to NASA later, after his remarks.
Q On the cost, in the short-term, whatever additional money that NASA gets, can we expect that its budget will remain within the 4 percent that the President has decreed for other than homeland defense?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think that -- well, one, we're going to have the budget proposal coming out soon, but I think you will hear specifically about the proposals for NASA later today. And I would just reiterate that this vision is going to be implemented on an affordable and sustainable basis. And as I said, most of the funding we need for new endeavors will come from reallocating money that was in NASA's current five-year budget -- and that current five-year budget was $86 billion. And we will continue to look at the needs as we go forward, each step of the way and what the President is proposing.
Q Scott, you said, it's no longer a race, it's a journey. Why is it no longer a race? And when you talk about international cooperation --
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think there was a lot of competition back in the Cold War, if you'll recall, between the United States and Russia. And if you go back to some of President Kennedy's early remarks, that's what I would refer you back to. And the President will touch on this in his remarks.
Q And when you talk about international cooperation, are you speaking of traditional allies, like Britain? Or new partners, like Russia, China, India?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think you can expect that Russia would have some important contributions to play in our efforts to further explore space --
Q And China?
MR. McCLELLAN: -- and we'll talk a little bit more about that later today. We'll talk a little bit more about it later today. Anything else on space?
MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead.
Q Could you say in the President's mind what were the aspects that were foremost? Was it giving NASA a new focus, giving the space program a new focus? Or was it the issue of the science driver effects of the space program, in terms of technologies going into the economy and boosting productivity? And, secondly --
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think it's looking at it from the aspect of that the President has always been strongly committed to the exploration of space. Certainly, as governor of Texas he knew that firsthand from NASA having their location in Houston, Texas, with the Johnson Space Center. And the President believes that we should continue our journey into space and continue to build upon the successes that we have achieved. There is much that we can learn. There is much that we can learn from a technological standpoint, there is much that we can learn from just better understanding our universe. That's the way the President looked at it.
Q And could you say, was the success of the Rover, did that play any role in strengthening a commitment or --
MR. McCLELLAN: I don't know if I'd necessarily tie the two together, because the recommendations of the review that was undertaken by the administration -- those recommendations went to the President just before we departed for the holidays.
Q On the -- the reallocation involves pulling together a pot of about $11 billion or so that would be committed to the project?
MR. McCLELLAN: I would say you're in the range. But, again, I'm going to leave it for the President to talk about later.
Q And the new money is on top?
MR. McCLELLAN: You're talking about the reallocation aspects?
MR. McCLELLAN: You're in the range.
Q The money is on top of that?
MR. McCLELLAN: You're in the range. You'll get it all here shortly.
Q Okay, great. And the 5 percent overall increase for the budget, part of that had been previously planned?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, you have to look back at their previous five-year budget, and I'll leave it to the briefers to discuss this more after the President's speech. But I think that for the first three years, you'll see an increase. And then that increase will come down after that for the next couple years beyond that in the five-year budget proposal.
MR. McCLELLAN: Space?
MR. McCLELLAN: Space, space.
Q Yes, space.
MR. McCLELLAN: Space, Mark.
Q Scott, the last few questions have really tied together what I think is the principle cost question about the President's proposal. The Mars Rover is on Mars right now. You cited a list of benefits. The Mars Spirit Rover is in a position to look for and find water and signs of life right now at a fraction of the cost of the President's plan, even in the immediate years, let alone the huge cost in the out years. At the same time --
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think you're making some assumptions about the timing and what may happen at different points along the way. I think -- remember, this is a step-by-step process.
Q I understand that.
MR. McCLELLAN: But it is important to have clear objectives and clear priorities set
Q I understand all that.
MR. McCLELLAN: That's what the President will talk about.
Q Regardless, even in the current years, the Mars Rover mission is a fraction of the cost of what the President is proposing to spend. At the same time, there are millions of people who are without work here on Earth, and crying domestic needs -- education, for example. Why could the President not take the same money, spend it on education, health care and other things that will, A, address needs now on Earth, and, B, create a lot more jobs?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I went over some very important health benefits from space exploration just a few minutes ago that have helped to improve the quality of life for people here, as well as to save lives. I went through some specific examples --
Q -- to the moon to improve health care --
MR. McCLELLAN: No, some health benefits when I talked about -- in response to April's question, when I talked about some of the technology that we've developed because of space exploration, from the kidney dialysis machines, to the insulin pumps, to the CAT scanners and MRI technology. So there have been some important benefits.
But I think what the President will talk about here is, again, the step-by-step process. This is a long-term vision. And, certainly, as we develop technology, cost will come down. He will talk about the robotic aspects of this, how we're continuing those. And those are going to be continuing in the foreseeable future.
And then he'll talk about his commitment to manned space exploration, as well. There's a lot more we can learn in person, and there's a lot we need to relearn about the moon.
Q But as you know, though, a lot of scientists say that manned exploration shuts out a lot of the money that could be going to robotic efforts.
MR. McCLELLAN: But let me -- let me dispute the premise of your question, because this President is meeting our priorities in those areas that you mentioned. This President has provided historic levels of increases in funding for our public schools. But, more importantly, this President has made a commitment to insist on results and insist on accountability and results in return for those resources.
Q But he'd rather --
MR. McCLELLAN: So we've provided historic levels -- no, that's not the way you look at it, Mark. I think you look at it, you set clear priorities, you make sure you meet the funding for those priorities and then you hold the line on spending elsewhere. And certainly I think space exploration is an important priority for the very reasons that I stated earlier in this briefing.
Q Scott, as far as going on the moon and Mars is concerned, there are a number of Indian Americans --
MR. McCLELLAN: Did I announce that? (Laughter.)
Q -- there are a number of Indian Americans also working on this problem at NASA, including especially going onto Mars. And few days ago, just before President announces today at NASA, he called Prime Minister of India, as far as nuclear technology and space technology agreement between the United States and India is concerned. If that has anything to do with something he's seeking, some kind of help from the Indian --
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, certainly the agreement that the President announced with India was an important milestone in the transformation of our relations. And we will work to expand our cooperation on a number of areas, and one of those would be the peaceful uses of space technology that was spelled out in the President's statement, as well.
Q -- seeking some Indian scientists that would work together here on this program, here, where President --
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think that NASA can address some of your questions later today.
Are we off space?
Q Can I have another topic?
MR. McCLELLAN: Connie goes first, then Jacobo.
Q Thank you. On FCC, does the administration have any advice to the FCC on the use of obscenity on the air? And if the President opposes it, why allow obscenity between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think that the FCC is working to address those issues and they do a good job in staying on top of those issues. The President, you've often heard him talk about the importance of promoting responsibility in our society. And all of us have a responsibility to adhere to high standards.
Q Does he ever give them any advice? This is very -- becoming a very controversial --
MR. McCLELLAN: This is a matter being addressed by the FCC, and they will continue to pursue --
Q Does he talk to them? Does he --
MR. McCLELLAN: -- that they will continue to pursue, I'm sure. I think they're staying on top of it, and the President appreciates the work that they're doing at the FCC.
Q Is the White House or the President, himself, satisfied with some of the clarifications or retractions -- I think Secretary of Treasury Paul O'Neill made some corrections, some clarifications?
MR. McCLELLAN: I saw that. Again, I think that the way we look at it is, we've got a lot to do here in Washington, D.C. on behalf of the American people. The President is focused on the people's business. I know there's some media interest and that you all get caught up in these kind of things, but the President of the United States is focused on getting things done and continuing to build upon the results that we are achieving for the American people -- particularly when it comes to bringing about a more prosperous America and a safer and better world. And that's where the President is going to continue to keep his focus.
We've got enough to do here. We're keeping our focus on the business at hand that we are working on for the American people.
Q Sure, Scott. But some of the charges that were leveled were pretty serious, because he was an insider, he was at Cabinet meetings and he held a very important post. So the source --
MR. McCLELLAN: I saw the interview where he said that he would take back some of those remarks if he could. I saw that, just like you did. But let me reiterate what the President said the other day in Mexico. The President appreciates his service. That's the way the President looks at this and the President is going to continue to be forward-looking, focusing on the results we're working to achieve for the American people.
Q There are some people, however, who are looking at O'Neill's words very seriously, and Senator Kennedy, just within the hour, said -- accused the President of putting a spin on the truth to justify a war that could well become one of the worst blunders in more than two centuries of American foreign policies. He goes on to say, if Congress and the American people knew the whole truth, America would have never gone to war, that the administration has broken faith with the American people, aided and embedded by a congressional majority willing to pursue ideology at any price, even at the price of distorting the truth.
Is there any concern that there's a group of Americans who do not trust the President and they don't believe his argument, that they're using -- they're accusing him of using the fear of September 11th to support making the case for war?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think the case that we outlined was very clear. Let me remind you that the world is safer and better because of the action that we took to remove a brutal regime from power in Iraq. The President worked to exhaust all diplomatic means possible before taking the action that we took. If you will recall, the international community, through the United Nations Security Council, gave Saddam Hussein one final opportunity to comply after some 12 years of defiance of his international obligations. That resolution, passed unanimously by the United Nations Security Council, called for serious consequences.
The international community recognized for a long time that Saddam Hussein was a dangerous man. Certainly the policy of the previous administration was one of regime change. The President took the action he did because his most solemn obligation is to protect the American people. And America is more secure because of the action that we took in Iraq.
Q Scott, The Washington Post quotes the New Yorker's Ken Auletta, as reporting that Karl Rove says the media is elitist; Andrew Card says that journalists don't represent the public any more than --
MR. McCLELLAN: I can't imagine anyone was referring to you in those comments, Les. (Laughter.)
Q While Elisabeth Bumiller of The New York Times is quoted as saying, "too often, they treat us with contempt." And my question -- and I have a follow-up -- since the Post also reports, "Things have improved under Scott McClellan," surely you can give us some reaction to all this, can't you, Scott?
MR. McCLELLAN: Now, Les, here's my reaction. I don't think it's my position to be a media critic. There are some good media critics out there, and I'll let them continue to do their work. My job is to work closely with you all to help keep the American people informed about the important decisions being made here in Washington, D.C. I have great respect for the job that the people in this room and beyond do, in representing the American people. And I have great respect for the hard work that you all put in. And I think that our relationship is one that's built on trust and respect, and I want it to continue to be that way. I'll leave the media critics -- I'll leave the media analysis to others.
Q Since the Post reports that at that press conference, the media was glared at by Jenna Bush, who reportedly told a Secret Service officer, you know if anything happens to me, my dad would have your ass, my question --
MR. McCLELLAN: Now, Les --
Q If there's no truth to this --
MR. McCLELLAN: Les --
Q -- you would say so, wouldn't you?
MR. McCLELLAN: Les --
Q Rather than inevitably suggesting it is true with a "no comment" or a charming evasion?
MR. McCLELLAN: Les, there has always been a lot of respect given to the children of Presidents by the media here in Washington, D.C.
Q Scott, you could tell us this is not true.
MR. McCLELLAN: And I would hope that there would continue to be a level of respect for their --
Q I didn't report it. The Post --
MR. McCLELLAN: -- for the children, for the privacy of children of Presidents. And so I really think that that's just uncalled for here in this briefing room.
Go ahead, Sarah.
Q Thank you.
MR. McCLELLAN: I'm getting to you.
Q Scott, according to published reports, a South American diplomat said at the summit, Bush is not talking to Latin America, he's talking to Latinos in America. Specifically, what was accomplished at the summit?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think we went over this specifically yesterday, and we put out a fact sheet with all the accomplishments. It was a very successful summit. The President was pleased to go there and talk about the goals that we -- that were laid out prior to the summit.
The goals focused on three areas, as you are aware. Those were to continue to encourage economic growth in reducing poverty by providing opportunity for all. That was one important objective. A second one was certainly to continue to invest in people, invest in the health and education of people. And I talked a minute ago about education and accountability. And that was something we went into the summit to talk about, to promote accountability within education and to talk about the President's emergency relief plan to combat HIV/AIDS. Certainly there are two countries in our hemisphere that will receive some important resources under that initiative.
And then finally, it was about continuing to strengthen democracy in our own hemisphere, and encouraging good governance by fighting corruption, bringing about more transparent societies. And we accomplished a lot in those areas, and we put that all out in the fact sheet that was released yesterday. And the President was also pleased to have a number of bilateral meetings with some of the leaders in the region, and those were very good discussions he had, to continue to build upon our relationships with leaders here in the Western Hemisphere. The President has always been strongly committed to this hemisphere and I think that what we accomplished at this summit further highlighted his commitment to the hemisphere.
Q A follow-up, please, on Sarah's question, and then a related question. During the Americas summit, were there any discussions about dealing with the pro-Castro axis that has emerged, that includes Venezuela, Ecuador and Brazil?
MR. McCLELLAN: We discussed a number of those issues there. The President discussed that, as well, in some of his meetings. The President, as you are aware, stands strongly on the side of the people of Cuba and their struggle for freedom. And that's why he appointed the commission that he did to help plan for that day, when Castro's regime will no longer be in power and that they will have a free and democratic society in Cuba.
Q That's good for Cuba, but I'm talking about what is occurring in Venezuela --
MR. McCLELLAN: If you look back at the fact sheet, again, one of the important priorities was to continue to focus on strengthening democracy.
And certainly one important aspect of strengthening democracy is fighting corruption. And we are pleased with the statement that came out of the Summit on that area, because when you have corruption, that becomes a tax on lower income people.
And so we're continuing to work with the leaders in the region to strengthen democracy even more. There were 14 new leaders, I would point out, at the Summit -- from the previous one in Quebec -- who were democratically elected.
Let me keep moving. Terry, you had a question.
Q Secretary Rumsfeld said yesterday there were three or four countries on the list who would be able to bid for Iraq reconstruction projects, along with Canada. He said that he could remember one or two of the countries on the list, but he couldn't remember all of them. Could you tell us what those countries are, the three or four?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, first of all, you're talking about the second round of contracts that will be going out under the reconstruction funds and the supplemental that was passed last year.
Q Can I shorten my question to just say, is France, Germany, or Russia on that list?
MR. McCLELLAN: Actually, this question came up yesterday and I addressed it then. I said this is a recognition that Canada made some important contributions at the Madrid donors conference. And so Canada will be able -- they already were able to participate in the subcontracts available under the first round of contracts. Now they will be able to participate in the actual contracts -- or be eligible for, I should say. And we've always said that if there are other countries that want to join in our efforts in Iraq, that circumstances can change. We said that from the very beginning. And so there may be other nations, as well. But I'm not announcing any nations from this podium at this point, but there may be other nations, as well.
Q What are the other countries? Were they similarly supportive of Madrid?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think I just said that I'm not announcing any countries from this podium at this point. But I said that there may be other nations, as well, that could be involved. I said circumstances can change.
Q Is the President offering any new proposals on marriage promotions, part of the welfare reform reauthorization? Or is he going to continue to press the program that he outlined in 2003?
MR. McCLELLAN: One, the President has always been strongly committed to strengthening families and encouraging healthy marriages. And so I think that's what you're referring to. He did make some proposals previously in this administration. We remain committed to those proposals, and he will continue to work under the welfare reauthorizations to implement these proposals and get these proposals passed. And so I think you can expect that that will continue to be a part of his budget proposal.
The President is working to strengthen families by moving more people from welfare to work, by building upon the successes of the 1996 law that achieved great success in moving people from welfare to work. He will continue working to streamline adoption laws to get children in safe, stable, loving homes as quickly as possible. He will continue to promote responsible fatherhood, to encourage fathers to be actively involved in the lives of their families. And he will also continue to work for some -- what are principally demonstration projects to encourage healthy marriages. And that was all outlined previously by this President. And the new budget will be coming out soon. And so you can see the funding levels for that when it comes out.
Q When he did propose it, on the marriage promotion part of that demonstration projects that you mentioned, he proposed $300 million over five years. Can we expect a big increase in that?
MR. McCLELLAN: Part of this was in -- that included state matching funds. I think that you can expect that there may be some increases, but there are really three areas that we're talking about when it comes to what he previously proposed, which is a five year welfare reform plan, that includes proposals, taken together with state matching funds, that total $1.5 billion over five years.
And that one includes a state-based, competitive matching grant program to support healthy marriages. With the state match, the total available funds under his previous budget proposal for that effort would be $200 million annually. Then you have the fatherhood initiative, which I believe was a proposal of $20 million a year.
And then the administration, on children and families, would establish a $100 million annual fund to conduct research and demonstration projects, and provide technical assistance, primarily focusing on family formation and healthy marriage activities. But I think you can expect there may be some increases in some of those proposals, but that those proposals will remain something that he will continue to work to implement under the welfare reform reauthorization.
I might point out that the House passed these welfare reforms back in February, and the Senate needs to act. We continue to urge the Senate to act, to build upon the past successes of our welfare to work efforts.
Q Didn't he say at one point that if necessary -- and a related question -- if necessary, he was for broader efforts, perhaps even constitutional amendments, to preserve the sanctity of marriage? And has he made --
MR. McCLELLAN: I think we're talking about some different things here. One, the welfare proposals --
Q I understand that.
MR. McCLELLAN: -- are something that we've previously talked about, that he talked about during the campaign, that he's proposed in previous budgets, that he's worked on since the beginning of this administration. Now you're talking about the sanctity of marriage issue.
Q I am talking about a related, but different issue. He has said, if necessary, he might support such an effort. Has he made a decision about whether or not it is necessary?
MR. McCLELLAN: The President strongly supports the sanctity of marriage. He believes strongly in the sanctity of marriage being between a man and a woman. And the President has made it very clear that he will do what is necessary to protect and defend the sanctity of marriage. He certainly has been a strong supporter of the Defense of Marriage Act, which for federal law, says that marriage is between a man and a women.
And as you mentioned, in light of some court rulings, he has looked at additional ways that may be needed to protect the sanctity of marriage, and protect what he views as a sacred institution. And there's no update I have to give you at this point on that. But let me make it very clear that he is strongly committed to protecting and defending the sanctity of marriage.
Q So he hasn't decided if any new measures would, in fact, be needed?
MR. McCLELLAN: I just said he continues to believe strongly in the sanctity of marriage, as he always has. And he will do what he believes is necessary to protect and defend the institution.
All right, thank you all.
END 1:15 P.M. EST