September 22, 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 Senate Committee. Your
consideration of the Administration's views would be appreciated.
The Administration issued a senior advisors veto threat on the House version of this legislation due to deep cuts in science and technology programs, reductions in essential housing and environmental programs, inadequate funding for National Service, inadequate funding for FEMA disaster relief and cuts in other important programs. The Administration appreciates the Senate Committee's efforts to develop a bill that makes important improvements to the House bill. However, there continue to be significant problems with the Senate Committee bill that must be satisfactorily addressed before it is presented to the President. Regrettably, the Committee bill under funds important programs for our nations's cities, for the environment, for disaster relief and for National Service. Unless these concerns with the House and Senate bills are addressed in a satisfactory manner in a conference agreement, the President's senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.
The Administration strongly objects to the Committee's failure to fund the critical housing needs of low-income families and Administration initiatives to invest in our nation's cities. Most importantly, the Administration objects to the Committee's decision not to fund new incremental Section 8 housing assistance vouchers in FY 2000 and to the elimination of the Community Builders Program. If forced to terminate these employees, HUD would have to eliminate local service in almost two dozen communities, leaving up to seven States without any HUD presence.
The Administration also strongly opposes the Committee's decision not to fund, or to under fund, a number of the Administration's critical investment initiatives, including the New Markets Initiative, Regional Connections, Regional Empowerment Zones, and the redevelopment of abandoned buildings. In addition, the bill also under-funds Administration priorities such as the Corporation for National and Community Service, Revitalization of Distressed Public Housing (HOPE VI), Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI), Brownfields redevelopment, Community Empowerment Fund, and Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA). Finally, the Administration would like to work with the Congress to secure the funding requested for the Round II Empowerment Zone program.
The Administration strongly opposes the Committee's $186 million reduction to the request for the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Operating Programs, including the $114 million cut to the Climate Change Technology Initiative (CCTI), elimination of funding for the Montreal Protocol, and the $35 million cut in personnel costs. The Administration also opposes the $100 million reduction to Superfund and the elimination of funding for the Clean Air Partnership Fund. In addition to these severe reductions, the Administration opposes spending $197 million on the 123 earmarked projects in the Committee bill, which were not requested by the President and would come at the expense of important environmental programs. These reductions would severely hamper EPA's efforts to protect public health and the environment and should be restored.
The Administration strongly opposes the Committee's failure to fund the request for $2.5 billion in contingent emergency funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA's) disaster relief fund. This reduction would hinder FEMA's ability to respond quickly and appropriately to disasters as they occur.
Detailed discussions of certain of these issues, as well as additional Administration concerns with the Committee bill, are provided in the attachment. We look forward to working with the Congress to address our mutual concerns.