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, we strongly oppose a number of 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:
Abortion. The Administration strongly opposes a provision of the Committee bill that would prohibit the use of both Federal and District funds to pay for abortions except in those cases where the life of the mother is endangered or in situations involving rape or incest.
Domestic Partners Act. The Administration objects to a provision of the bill prohibiting the use of Federal and local funds to implement or enforce the Health Care Benefits Expansion Act of 1992 (the Domestic Partners Act).
Limit on Attorneys' Fees in Special Education Cases. The Administration strongly objects to a provision of the Committee bill that would cap the award of plaintiffs' attorneys' fees in cases brought against the District of Columbia Public Schools under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). In the long-run, this provision would be likely to limit the access of the District's poor families to quality legal representation, thus impairing their due process protections provided by the IDEA. We look forward to working with the Congress to address this issue.
Voting Representation. The Administration opposes a provision of the bill that would prohibit the use of Federal or District funds to provide assistance for petition drives or civil actions that seek to require voting representation in Congress for the District of Columbia.
Prohibiting the DC Ballot Initiative. The Administration opposes efforts by Congress to interfere with the District's authority to conduct ballot initiatives and therefore opposes section 151.
The Administration appreciates the Committee's action to drop the ban on the use of local funds for needle exchange programs and looks forward to working with the Congress to ensure that no such prohibition is enacted. However, we continue to oppose the provision prohibiting the use of Federal funds for such programs and ask that this provision be struck from the bill.
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 understands that amendments may be offered to provide funding for private school vouchers in the District, to restore the prohibition on the use of local funds for needle exchange programs, and to include other objectionable provisions that are intrusions into the affairs of the District. 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.