October 11, 2001
Statement of Administration Policy provides the Administration's views
on the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
Appropriations Bill, FY 2002, as approved by the House Appropriations
Committee. The Administration appreciates the manner in which the
Congress has worked to consider the FY 2002 appropriations bills.
The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress to ensure
that the policy and program content of each of the thirteen appropriations
bills is acceptable to the President and that the bill totals are
within the recently agreed upon aggregate funding level of $686 billion.
A number of the agencies and programs funded within this bill may have modified requirements as a consequence of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The Administration is currently reviewing these new requirements and anticipates funding them through the FY 2001 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Recovery from and Response to Terrorist Attacks on the United States.
The Administration appreciates the Committee's efforts to fund agencies and programs contained in this bill consistent with this agreed upon funding level. Further, the Administration applauds the Committee's elimination of language for earmarked projects and appreciates its restraint in providing funding for earmarked projects. The Administration's views on specific issues are discussed below.
Department of Education
The Administration appreciates the Committee's strong support for the President's elementary and secondary education reform initiatives. The Committee bill fully funds or exceeds the President's request levels for Title I Local Educational Agencies Grants, Reading First, Assessments, Teacher Quality, Transition to Teaching, Character Education, and Special Education. This funding, which we believe is contingent upon the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reforms that we are working with Congress to enact in the near future, will enhance accountability and foster improved student achievement. Outside of the elementary and secondary area, the Administration is pleased that the Committee has increased funding for Presidential priorities including Pell grants, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and the New Freedom Initiative.
The Administration is concerned that the bill does not direct a sufficient share of Education Department funding toward disadvantaged students through the Title I program. Instead, the bill funds over a dozen small, narrow-purpose programs that have not been shown to be effective. The Administration prefers that the House reallocate funds from these low-priority programs to the Title I program to enable low-performing schools to meet strict new accountability requirements as outlined in the pending ESEA reauthorization. This will help to meet the President's goal of ensuring that no child is trapped in a failing school.
The Administration is disappointed, however, that the Committee has not provided the President's funding request for the Charter School Homestead Fund or Impact Aid Construction. These initiatives are needed to help charter schools overcome infrastructure barriers that limit school choice, and to ensure the Federal Government meets its commitment to improve public school facilities for military dependents and students residing on Indian lands. In addition, the Administration appreciates that the House has included positive report language on the Reach Out and Read program, an initiative to improve early childhood literacy, and hopes to work with the Congress to provide the $2 million requested in the budget.
Department of Health and Human Services
The Administration is pleased that the Committee has funded the President's request for activities in the Department of Health and Human Services. The Administration appreciates the funding provided in support of the President's health initiatives, including the National Institutes of Health, Consolidated Health Centers, Drug Abuse Treatment services, and Global HIV/AIDS activities. The Administration is also pleased that the Committee has provided an additional $10 million for abstinence education and looks forward to working with the Congress to increase funding for this program within the resources available to the Committee.
The Administration commends the Committee for taking the first steps in funding the President's initiatives for children and families -- most notably the Compassion Capital Fund, to expand or emulate model charitable programs, and Promoting Safe and Stable Families, to promote child safety, permanency and well-being. We look forward to working with the Congress in identifying funds for the President's Mentoring Children of Prisoners initiative, to support family rebuilding programs, Education and Vocational Training Vouchers, to help youths who age out of foster care develop skills to lead independent and productive lives, and the Maternity Group Homes initiative, which will provide safe, stable and nurturing environments for teenage mothers and their children.
The Administration also recognizes that the additional funds for AIDS drug assistance and other Ryan White CARE Act programs will support additional services and treatment for individuals living with HIV/AIDS.
Department of Labor
The Administration is also pleased that the Committee has supported the President's request for the Department of Labor. In particular, the Administration appreciates the Committee's funding for dislocated worker assistance, and that the House has included funding for the Trade Adjustment Assistance and NAFTA Transitional Adjustment Assistance programs, whose authorizations expired on September 30, 2001. However, the Administration urges the House to delete the provision that would provide the appropriations contingent on enactment of legislation to reauthorize the programs.
The Administration appreciates that the House has retained the current law provision concerning Federal funding for needle exchange programs and the Hyde language regarding Federal funding of abortions.