Statement of Administration Policy provides the Administration's views
on the Department of Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations
Bill, FY 2002, as reported by the House Committee.
commend the Committee's efforts to accommodate many of the Administration's
priorities in the bill. We welcome the bill's funding of highway,
transit, and aviation programs consistent with the Transportation
Equity Act for the 21st Century and the Aviation Investment and
Reform Act for the 21st Century. The Administration is also pleased
that the Committee has provided the requested levels for Coast Guard
operating expenses and provided the funding requested for motor
carrier safety inspections at the U.S.-Mexico border. This funding
is to be used to increase Federal and State inspection and safety
review activities, and to permit the construction of necessary border
inspection facilities, which will enable the United States to open
the border to commercial vehicles, pursuant to NAFTA, while maintaining
a high level of truck safety.
Administration is committed to working with the Congress to enact
all 13 appropriations bills in a timely manner and within the framework
of the recently adopted budget resolution. The President believes
that this level of funding will moderate the recent rapid growth
in spending while funding important national priorities. In developing
the FY 2002 Budget, he sought to make reductions in one-time spending,
unjustified or duplicative programs, and programs that have completed
their mission. The Administration urges the Congress to support
the President's overall approach to the FY 2002 Budget.
the Administration supports the bill, we would like to take this
opportunity to share some concerns with the Committee version of
the bill. We look forward to working with the Congress to resolve
these issues as the bill moves forward.
in Aviation, Highway, and Transit Programs
Administration is very concerned about the level of earmarking in
this bill. The bill contains approximately $1.6 billion in earmarks
for more than 900 projects, approximately $300 million and more
than 300 projects over the FY 2001 House Committee version of the
bill. In some Departmental activities, such as bus and bus facilities
programs, the Committee has earmarked 100 percent of the available
funding. The Committee's level of earmarked funding diminishes the
Department's ability to distribute these funds based on merit or
in support of an overall transportation infrastructure funding strategy.
Administration strongly urges the House to provide the $145 million
requested to fund alternative transportation programs for people
with disabilities under the President's New Freedom Initiative.
The New Freedom Initiative is a comprehensive set of proposals to
fulfill America's promise to the 54 million Americans with disabilities.
The President's request includes $45 million for pilot programs
that promote new and innovative transportation solutions and $100
million in grants to state and local governments and non-profit
organizations to promote access to alternative methods of transportation.
Motor Carrier Applicants
Administration appreciates the clarifying report language adopted
by the Committee regarding truck safety along the U.S.-Mexico border.
This language supports the efforts of the Department to ensure compliance
with U.S. safety laws and regulations while permitting free trade.
The Administration remains strongly opposed to any amendment that
would require Mexican motor carrier applicants to undergo safety
audits prior to being granted authority to operate beyond commercial
zones on the U.S.-Mexico border, as this would violate the NAFTA
agreement and the President's strong commitment to open the U.S.-Mexico
border to free and fair trade.
on Executive Authority
Administration objects to a provision of the bill which raises constitutional
concerns. The section in Title I of the bill entitled "Transportation
Administrative Service Center" provides that "no assessments may
be levied against any program, budget activity, subactivity or project
funded by this Act unless notice of such assessments and the basis
therefor are presented to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations
and are approved by such Committees." This provision violates the
requirement that Congress act only within the constitutionally prescribed
legislative process. See INS v. Chadha, 462 U.S. 919, 952 (1983).
If the bill is enacted, the President will construe this provision
only as a notification requirement, since any other interpretation
would contradict the Supreme Court ruling in INS v. Chadha.
President's budget proposes a pay raise of 3.6 percent for Federal
civilian employees. We believe this proposal is both reasonable
and responsible and urge the Congress to support the President's
budget. While recruiting and retaining the skilled and dedicated
Federal civilian work force necessary to provide high-quality services
to the American public is very important, we believe that civilian
employees are already benefitting from several recent enhancements
to their compensation package. We do not believe that military pay
and civilian pay raises should necessarily be automatically linked.
We will continue to review Federal pay policy annually, and evaluate
military and civilian pay raise policies on the basis of the particular
circumstances applicable to each (for example, recruiting and retention
needs), consistent with prudent use of taxpayers' dollars. The additional
cost of a Government-wide 4.6 percent civilian pay raise is nearly
$900 million over what is currently included in the President's
request, and would, if funded, divert critical resources from programs
such as those funded in this bill.