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July 24, 1997
This Statement of Administration Policy provides the Administration's views on
S. 1022, the Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies
Appropriations Bill, FY 1998, as reported by the Senate Appropriations
Committee. Your consideration of the Administration's views would be
The Committee has developed a bill that provides requested funding for many of the Administration's priorities. For example, we appreciate the Senate's funding of law enforcement programs in general and the COPS program in particular. Funding COPS at the requested level of $1.4 billion is consistent with the Bipartisan Budget Agreement and will enable us to achieve the goal of hiring 100,000 additional police officers by the year 2000. While below the request, the Administration also appreciates the funding level provided for the Legal Services Corporation. We strongly urge full funding of the President's request.
As discussed below, the Administration will seek restoration of certain of the Committee's reductions. We recognize that it will not be possible in all cases to attain the Administration's full request and will work with the Senate toward achieving acceptable funding levels. The Administration is committed to working with the Senate to identify reductions in the bill in order to find offsets for the restoration of funds that the Administration seeks. For example, funding could be reduced for the Local Law Enforcement Block Grant and the new Juvenile Justice Block Grant. We urge the Senate to reduce funding for lower priority programs, or for programs that would be adequately funded at the requested level, and to redirect funding to programs of higher priority.
Department of Commerce
The Administration opposes the Committee's termination of the Ounce of Prevention Council. Elimination of this program would hinder the Federal Government's ability to help neighborhoods implement balanced strategies to reduce crime through enforcement, prevention, and intervention. The Council awards discretionary grants for promising community collaborative crime prevention programs, publishes a catalog of crime prevention grants and programs, and provides information and technical assistance. It plays a critical role in helping communities gain access to information on crime prevention best practices. The Administration strongly urges the Senate to provide funding for the Council and has identified an appropriate offset.
The Judiciary: Ninth Circuit
The Administration opposes the provision in the Committee bill that would reorganize the Ninth Circuit by splitting it into two separate circuits. We understand that other substantive amendments to divide the Ninth Circuit may be offered on the Senate Floor. The Administration strongly objects to using the appropriations process to legislate on this important matter. The division of the Ninth Circuit is an important issue not just for the bench and the bar of the affected region, but also for the citizens of the Ninth Circuit. The Administration believes that a much better approach would be passage of legislation, H.R. 908 -- already passed by the House and currently pending at the desk in the Senate -- that would create a bipartisan commission to study this difficult and complex question and make recommendations to the Congress within a date certain. This would allow for substantive resolution of the issue in a deliberative manner, allowing all affected parties to voice their views.
Legal Services Corporation
Of the $300 million appropriated for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), $17 million is earmarked for "pro se" legal education programs. Funding for the provision of legal services remains at the FY 1997 level. The Administration recommends full funding of the President's request.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
The Administration appreciates the Committee's desire to provide additional resources over the FY 1997 level for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). However, we urge the Senate to go further and fully fund the President's request of $246 million, given the importance of the EEOC's work in addressing unlawful discrimination.
Department of State
The Administration appreciates the Committee's strong support for the State Department's accounts that fund diplomatic and consular activities, which would help reverse the erosion of the Department's worldwide operations. We are also pleased that the Committee provided the transfers as requested to support the International Cooperative Administrative Support Services (ICASS) program.
While the Administration welcomes the first-year funding of $100 million for arrears payments, we are greatly concerned about the funding levels for the FY 1998 annual assessments provided in Contributions to International Organizations and Contributions for International Peacekeeping Activities (CIPA). United States leadership in these organizations on a host of issues of importance to the American people will be compromised if we fail to meet our binding obligations to them. It is important that funding for these activities be protected so that the Administration can pay annual costs, avoid new arrears, and be given some flexibility to address unforeseen needs relating to peace and security around the world.
Funding for both accounts is significantly below what is necessary to pay annual costs, avoid new arrears, and provide some flexibility for the President to address unforeseen needs relating to peace and security around the world. We believe it is premature to direct that FY 1997 CIPA funds be reallocated given continuing uncertainties in some regions of the world. Further, we are disappointed that the bill does not provide a commitment for three years of arrears payments, consistent with the Senate-passed authorization bill. These appropriations levels are inconsistent with the extensive negotiations between the Administration and Congress on reform and funding of the U.N. system.
The Administration urges the Senate to strike two provisions that raise serious Constitutional concerns, sections 406 and 408. Section 406 would condition the use of funds for diplomatic relations with Vietnam on Presidential certification that Vietnam has satisfied specific conditions contained in this section. This unworkable requirement would unconstitutionally constrain the President's exercise of his power to recognize foreign governments. Section 408 would mandate that the United States withdraw from an international organization if the President determines that amounts appropriated for payment of all contributions to such organization are less than the actual amount of contributions to such organization. This congressional mandate would infringe on the President's constitutional power to conduct U.S. diplomatic affairs.
Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
The Administration strongly opposes the Committee mark of $32.6 million for the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA), which would severely undercut the Administration's efforts to reduce the threat of nuclear and other weapons to the security of the American people. In addition to the $46.2 million request included in the FY 1998 Budget, a fully-offset budget amendment for Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty requirements was transmitted on July 17th, bringing ACDA's FY 1998 request to $59.2 million. The full revised request is needed for these important national security activities.
National Endowment for Democracy
The Administration strongly objects to the Committee's elimination of funding for the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), particularly given the Committee's increases above the request for other USIA-funded grants. The President's request of $30 million is needed to support democracy-building programs throughout the world. We urge the Senate to provide funding for NED at the requested level of $30 million.
Additional Administration concerns with the Committee bill are contained in the attachment.
DEPARTMENTS OF COMMERCE, JUSTICE, AND STATE, THE JUDICIARY
AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS BILL, FY
1998 (AS REPORTED BY THE SENATE COMMITTEE)
The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress to address the
following additional concerns:
Department of Commerce