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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 13, 2002

Statement by the President

I am today signing into law H.R. 2646, the "Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002." This Act will provide a safety net for America's farmers, who feed America and much of the world. The Act also will expand nutrition programs and improve the conservation and effective use of our natural resources.

A few provisions of the Act raise constitutional concerns.

The method of appointment of the board of trustees of the fellowship program prescribed in section 4404 of the Act is inconsistent with the requirements of the Appointments Clause of the Constitution. I am prepared to work with the Congress to enact legislation to cure this constitutional defect before the effective date of the program.

Sections 6027 and 6028 of the Act establish and continue multi-member regional authorities to implement development programs. Serious doubts arise concerning the constitutionality of these regional authorities because the members are likely Federal officers for purposes of the Appointments Clause, but many of the members are not appointed in the manner required by that Clause. Again, I am prepared to work with the Congress to enact legislation that will cure this constitutional shortcoming by establishing the role of the members as advisory only, or by providing for appointment of all the members in accordance with the Appointments Clause.

May 13, 2002.

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