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July 27, 1999
This Statement of Administration Policy provides the Administration's views on the District of Columbia Appropriations Bill, FY 2000, as reported by the House Appropriations Committee. Your consideration of the Administration's views would be appreciated.
While the Administration appreciates the support of the Committee in developing a bill that provides requested funding for the Administration's priorities, and in voting to reduce the list of objectionable restrictions, we continue to strongly oppose several provisions included in the Committee bill that would seriously undermine local control. The Administration views the following highly objectionable provisions as unwarranted intrusions into the affairs of the District and would support amendments, if offered, to strike these provisions:
Resident Tuition Support
The Administration appreciates and strongly supports the Committee's inclusion of funding for a tuition assistance program for District of Columbia residents. We will continue to work closely with members of the authorizing committees on a bipartisan and bicameral basis, and with the Mayor, to determine how best to structure and administer the D.C. tuition assistance program.
The Administration strongly opposes the four amendments given special protections under the rule or other amendments that are intrusions into District self-government. One of the proposed amendments would prohibit the use of funds to carry out any joint adoption of a child between individuals who are not related by blood or marriage. This Administration is deeply committed to supporting adoptive families and to finding adoptive homes for children in foster care who are unable to return to their own families. The proposed amendment would stand as an unnecessary hindrance to providing children with loving adoptive families and the security, emotional and financial supports that two parents provide. We believe that decisions regarding the adoption of children should be guided by the best interests of the child and the individual circumstances of the case, consistent with State licensing and approval standards that assure the health, safety and well-being of the child.
The Administration appreciates the Committee's action to drop the ban on the use of local and private funds for needle exchange programs and strongly opposes the amendment to restore this restriction. The amendment would be an encroachment on the District's rights.
Reducing teen smoking is a high priority of the Administration; therefore, we support the objective of the amendment related to the possession of tobacco products by minors. However, for the same reasons that Congress has not legislated specific laws for individual States, it would be inappropriate to do so for the District.
The Administration objects to the amendment that would prohibit the District from legislating with respect to substances in a manner that all States are free to do, and would remain free to do, under the amendment.
If such amendments were adopted and included in the bill presented to the President, his senior advisers would recommend that the President veto the bill.