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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 18, 2002

Statement by the President

Today I have signed into law H.R. 5012, an Act to amend the John F. Kennedy Center Act, authorizing a construction project to improve, among other things, pedestrian, vehicular, and bicycle access to the Kennedy Center.

As added by H.R. 5012, however, section 12(b)(5) purports to make the Secretary of Transportation's (Secretary) entry into contracts "[s]ubject to the approval of the Board." Because the membership of the Board of Trustees of the Kennedy Center (Board) by law includes Members of Congress, the Board cannot constitutionally exercise executive power, such as the power to approve the exercise of contracting authority by the head of an executive department. The exercise of such power by Members of Congress would violate the separation of powers embodied in our Constitution.

It is not evident that the Congress would have withheld contracting authority from the Secretary absent the invalid Board approval requirement. Therefore the executive branch shall treat the Board approval requirement as severable from the remainder of section 12(b)(5), leaving fully operative the contracting authority granted to the Secretary. As a matter of comity, the Secretary shall consult the Board as appropriate in relation to the Secretary's exercise of the authority to enter into contracts under section 12(b)(5).

September 18, 2002.

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