September 8, 1999
This Statement of Administration Policy provides the Administration's views
on the Veterans, Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies
Appropriations Bill, FY 2000, as approved by the House Committee. Your
consideration of the Administration's views would be appreciated.
The allocation of discretionary resources available to the House under the Congressional Budget Resolution is simply inadequate to make the necessary investments that our citizens need and expect. The President's FY 2000 Budget proposes levels of discretionary spending that meet such needs while conforming to the Bipartisan Budget Agreement by making savings proposals in mandatory and other programs available to help finance this spending. Congress has approved and the President has signed into law nearly $29 billion of such offsets in appropriations legislation since 1995. The Administration urges the Congress to consider such proposals as the FY 2000 appropriations process moves forward.
The Administration appreciates efforts by the Committee to accommodate certain of the President's priorities within its 302(b) allocation. However, the Committee bill is $2.2 billion below the program level requested. In order to meet this allocation, the Committee has eliminated the Corporation for National and Community Service as well as made deep cuts to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Environmental Protection Agency's Operating Program, the National Science Foundation, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Selective Service System, and other Administration priorities.
The Administration strongly opposes the Committee's action to terminate the Corporation for National and Community Service. Eliminating funding for the Corporation would deny over 1.4 million young Americans the opportunity to provide vital community services and become better citizens as participants in the Corporation's AmeriCorps (66,000 participants) and Learn and Serve (1.4 million participants) programs. If the final bill presented to the President were to provide inadequate funding for the Corporation for National and Community Service, his senior advisers would recommend that the President veto the bill.
The Committee bill would adversely affect the environment and natural resources, undermine investments in our future through science and technology, limit our ability to help families struggling to work their way out of poverty to find affordable housing, inadequately fund the Corporation for National and Community Service, and adversely affect our ability to fund unforeseen disasters properly. The Committee bill also includes objectionable language provisions. The Administration urges the House to strike these provisions and to keep the bill free of additional riders. For these reasons, if the bill were presented to the President in its current form, the President's senior advisers would recommend that he veto the bill.
The Committee has approved a $4 billion reduction in the 302(b) allocation for the Labor/HHS/Education appropriations bill in order to reallocate funds to the VA/HUD/Independent Agencies and other appropriations bills. Such an action is irresponsible and underscores the fact that the broader budget plan that the Appropriations Committees are being forced to operate under is simply unworkable.
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.