Statement of Administration Policy provides the Administration's views
on the Veterans, Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies
Appropriations Bill, FY 2002, as approved by the Senate Committee.
Administration appreciates the Committee's support of the Housing
and Urban Development's Community Technology Centers initiative
and the Corporation for National and Community Service's Veterans
Mission for Youth initiative. While we appreciate the Committee's
efforts to fund programs at the President's requested levels, we
would like to take this opportunity to share some concerns with
the Committee's version of the bill.
and Urban Development (HUD)
Administration is committed to improving HUD's performance by funding
those programs which are at the heart of its housing and community
revitalization mission. For this reason, the FY 2002 budget proposals
built specifically on HUD's core mission and proposed terminating
programs that fall outside that mission. We therefore appreciate
the Committee's efforts to provide most of the requested funding
for housing assistance, including public housing operating subsidies,
and the HOME and Community Development Block Grants.
the Administration has concerns with a number of funding decisions
made by the Committee that deviate from HUD's core mission, including:
the Committee's decision to limit opportunities for affordable homeownership
by not providing funds for the Down Payment Assistance initiative
in HOME; denying funding for the Improving Access initiative, which
would increase the ability of individuals with disabilities to participate
in civic and community organizations; and, providing only one-half
of the $197 million requested for 34,000 incremental vouchers to
aid additional low-income families.
the Administration is disappointed that the Committee choose to
continue to fund the Public Housing Drug Elimination and Rural Housing
and Economic Development programs, which fall outside HUD's core
mission. Other Federal agencies with expertise in these areas are
better suited to provide such services, and consolidating these
programs into areas where they are better managed creates efficiency
gains that translate into the government's ability to serve more
families in need.
the Administration strongly objects to a provision in the bill that
transfers the HUD Housing Certificate Fund and Annual Contributions
for Assisted Housing unobligated balances for FY 2002 and prior
years, on a pro-rata basis, to a variety of science and housing
programs. Determinations concerning the use of such balances are
inappropriate when made separate from the development of the President's
budget. The Administration also urges the Committee to adopt the
proposal to fully fund the Housing Certificate Fund, and avoid the
use of advance appropriations to circumvent spending limitations.
There is no programmatic justification for an advance appropriation
in this account.
Administration looks forward to working with the Committee to identify
those programs that fall within the core mission of HUD --providing
community and housing services.
Emergency Management Administration (FEMA)
Administration appreciates Congress' attentiveness to the needs
of FEMA, however, the Administration objects to the Senate's significant
underfunding of the base program for FEMA while providing $2.0 billion
in contingent emergency funding. We are also seriously concerned
with the manner in which the Senate version of the bill uses the
emergency designation to provide resources for FEMA above the committee's
the uncertain costs of responding to emergencies and natural disasters,
the Administration's budget plan for FY 2002 was meant to accomplish
three important objectives: (1) provide a reasonably adequate base
of funding for FEMA; (2) plan for additional unforeseen emergencies
and natural disasters in a comprehensive manner; and, (3) adhere
to budget discipline. The Administration is disappointed that the
Congress did not agree to establish a National Emergency Reserve
as part of the FY 2002 budget resolution. The Administration continues
to believe that the annual budget should anticipate some level of
emergency response to natural disasters. Such a reserve would be
useful in stemming abuses of the emergency designation provisions
of the Budget Enforcement Act (BEA).
the absence of such a reserve, the Administration will only allocate
spending contained in appropriations bills, designated as an emergency,
if the requirement is a necessary expenditure that is sudden, urgent,
unforeseen, and not permanent. The Administration will also recommend
the use of an emergency designation only to the extent that adequate
base funding for a normal year has been provided for the applicable
program. The classification of particular spending as an emergency
requirement depends on common sense judgment, made on a case-by-case
basis, about whether the needs can be absorbed within the existing
level of resources available.
sum, the Administration will only consider contingent emergency
funding if that funding meets the definition of an emergency and
is for a program for which adequate base funding has already been
provided. The House bill has met both of these requirements. In
contrast, the Senate has not funded the base disaster relief program
before providing emergency funding.
the Administration cannot support a specific level of contingent
emergency appropriations at this time, the Administration would
support the use of a contingent emergency designation for the reasons
noted above. The Office of Management and Budget will continue to
work closely with FEMA to determine the actual level of need required
to meet all of the FY 2002 obligations before the bill reaches the
President's desk. Based on this assessment, the Administration would
submit a formal recommendation for additional funding to Congress
as may be required.
the Administration appreciates the Committee's support of improved
benefits and services to our Nation's veterans, the Committee recommended
VA funding level currently exceeds the requested level. We look
forward to working with the Congress to assure mutual priorities
are addressed within the 302(b) allocations. The Administration
is particularly pleased with the Committee's decision to support
the Presidential initiative to improve the quality and timeliness
of veterans' disability claims processing. The Administration is
concerned, however, that the Committee did not include language
to eliminate vendee loans. Elimination of support for this non-veteran
program could provide up to $227 million over 10 years for other
VA priorities. In addition, we urge the Congress to reconsider inclusion
of the requested language that would ensure sufficient funding for
the payment of veterans' entitlements by eliminating the annual
need for mandatory supplemental requests.
Protection Agency (EPA)
Administration appreciates the Committee's support for Administration
initiatives to improve environmental data collection activities.
However, the Administration is disappointed that the Committee has
not funded either the newly-authorized sewer overflow control grant
program that would address the largest remaining municipal wastewater
problem, or the $25 million requested for the State enforcement
grant program that would assist States in their enforcement efforts.
States conduct more than 90 percent of the Nation's environmental
compliance inspections and enforcement actions. The Senate is urged
to restore the funding requested for these two programs. The Administration
also urges deletion of legislative provisions blocking the tolerance
fee rule, a user fee that would provide $37 million in outlay offsets
to restore Presidential priorities.
Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Administration has serious concerns about the Committee's $150 million
reduction to the International Space Station (ISS) because it would
lead to further delays and cost increases. While we urge the Senate
to fully restore the Administration's request for the ISS, we share
the Committee's concern over rising costs and are supportive of
the Committee's request that the Administration certify any new
Space Station content or additional funding above the Space Station
budget through FY 2006. However, the Administration requests that
such certification responsibilities be given to the Administrator
of NASA requiring concurrence from Director of the Office of Management
and Budget, instead of to the President as it is highly inappropriate
to require the President to make certifications regarding project-specific
management and cost control decisions. We look forward to working
with the Congress to address our mutual concerns.
Science Foundation (NSF)
appreciate the Committee's efforts to fund NSF programs at the President's
request level. However, the Administration is concerned that the
Committee did not fully fund the President's Math and Science Partnerships
initiative and that $60 million of the total for the initiative
is derived from mandatory H-1B nonimmigrant petitioner receipts.
Diverting these mandatory funds would displace funding for other
important K-12 math and science education programs, such as the
After School Centers for Explorations and New Discovery, which provide
out-of-school experiences in science and math for middle and high
school students from under-represented groups.
for National and Community Service (CNCS)
Administration urges the Senate to include funding for the President's
Silver Scholarship program within the total that the Committee has
provided for the Corporation.
Administration is very concerned about the level of earmarking in
the Committee bill. The Committee has included $254 million in earmarked
projects for EPA, $57 million over the level included in last year's
Senate version of the bill. This level of earmarking diminishes
EPA's ability to implement programs, such as the newly-authorized
sewer overflow control and State enforcement grant programs, that
would be more effective in addressing the Nation's most pressing
environmental quality needs.
Administration is also very concerned that there is $140 million
in earmarks representing over 250 projects in HUD, which is $10
million above the level earmarked in last year's Senate version
of the bill. This level of earmarked funding still diminishes HUD's
ability to distribute these funds based on merit or in support of
an overall economic and community development funding strategy.
addition, the Administration has serious concerns with the Committee
bill's extensive earmarks for NSF and NASA, displacing higher-priority
science and space programs. The Administration is concerned that
the Committee has chosen to fund six lower priority, unrequested
projects within NSF for a total of $67 million. The Administration
also has serious concerns with the bill's extensive earmarks for
funding that would displace over $190 million in higher-priority
NASA science and technology programs. For example, the bill cuts
critical technology funding that would support the next decade of
Mars missions, faster and more capable planetary missions, and lower-cost
space transportation, while directing funding toward museums, planetariums,
libraries, and college dormitories. Earmarks for NASA in the Committee
bill total $252 million, $38 million over last year's Senate version
of the bill. The bill also partially funds missions the Administration
canceled due to cost overruns or schedule delays. NASA will be unable
to begin development of these missions because the bill only funds
a small fraction of their total cost. We urge the Senate to minimize
the amount of unrequested projects and fully restore funding to
higher-priority programs in NASA's Space Science, Earth Science,
and Aerospace Technology Enterprises.
on Executive Authority
Administration objects to a number of provisions in the bill that
would require Committee approval before Executive Branch execution.
The Administration will interpret these provisions to require only
notification of Congress, since any other interpretation would contradict
the Supreme Court ruling in INS v. Chadha.