June 30, 1999
This Statement of Administration Policy provides the Administration's views on the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Bill, FY 2000, as reported by the Senate Appropriations Committee. As the Senate considers the Committee-reported bill, your consideration of the Administration's views would be appreciated.
The Administration appreciates the Committee's efforts to accommodate some of the Administration's priorities within its 302(b) allocation. However, the inadequacy of the 302(b) allocation has forced the Committee to make choices that are simply unacceptable.
The allocation of discretionary resources available to the Senate 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.
This legislation is a critical element of America's national security budget. As a result of the inadequate 302(b) allocation for Foreign Operations, the Committee bill is more than $1.9 billion, or 13 percent, below the program level requested by the President, which would result in the severe under-funding of a number of crucial programs. A bill funded at this level would be grossly inadequate to maintain America's leadership around the world. It inevitably would require severe reductions from previously enacted levels for programs managed by the Departments of State and Treasury, the Agency for International Development, and other agencies.
The bill provides neither the $500 million requested by the President to support the Wye River Agreement, nor any of the $800 million requested as an FY 1999 supplemental appropriation. It also would significantly increase our arrears to various multilateral development banks, after three years of bipartisan progress in reducing these arrears, thus undermining our leadership in these institutions. The Committee's decision not to fund the Expanded Threat Reduction Initiative undermines our ability to reduce the proliferation threat and continue the elimination of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The cut in funding for debt reduction programs would preclude our leadership in reducing debt of the poorest countries. Given current tensions on the Korean peninsula and the 37,000 U.S. troops stationed there, the reduction for the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) is ill-advised.
Moreover, the bill contains substantial earmarks and objectionable restrictions on language which, when combined with the reduced funding level, would seriously limit the President's flexibility to conduct an effective foreign policy. Various provisions concerning Kosovo, in the context of difficult and fluid circumstances on the ground, are particularly ill-advised. For example, the earmark to train and equip a security force in Kosovo would reduce the Administration's flexibility and, given current intra-Kosovar rivalries, could threaten the lives of American military and civilian peacekeepers. The designation of Serbia as a terrorist state would have the unintended consequence of cutting off aid to Front Line and other states, even if they provide only humanitarian assistance to the Former Republic of Yugoslavia. The total prohibition on assistance to Russia pending certification that Russia is not assisting Iran's development of nuclear and ballistic missile technologies would complicate our efforts to achieve those very goals and would undermine other vital American interests in ensuring constructive relations with a more stable Russia.
If the Congress were to enact a bill that does not resolve the significant funding and language problems in the current Committee bill, as discussed in this Statement of Administration Position and its attachment, the President's senior advisers would have no choice but to recommend that he veto the bill.
Detailed comments on the Senate Committee-reported bill are provided in the attachment.