October 21, 1997
H.R. 2610 - National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1997
(Hastert (R) Illinois and eight cosponsors)
The Administration strongly supports reauthorization legislation for the Office
of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), and has proposed legislation (H.R.
2407) for this purpose. Although H.R. 2610 contains several features of the
Administration's proposal, the Administration opposes the bill as reported
The Administration will seek amendments to address the objections cited above
and in the attachment.
- Establishes numerical statutory targets for reducing drug use by the
year 2001 that are unrealistic and unattainable in such a short time period
. The proposed goals do not take into consideration budget constraints, the
two- to three-year lag between noticeable changes in attitudes toward drugs and
noticeable changes in behavior, and the time needed to hire and train law
enforcement, drug treatment, and drug prevention personnel. The
Administration's bill, in contrast, would codify a process for establishing
meaningful performance measures without enacting inflexible specific numerical
targets into law. That bill, H.R. 2407, would require ONDCP to develop a
Performance Measurement System that includes a comprehensive set of objectives,
measures, and targets, and that works in conjunction with agency performance
plans required by the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993. The
specifics of this system will be submitted to the Congress by early 1998.
- Reauthorizes ONDCP for only two years. The Administration's
proposal included a 12-year authorization, which is critical to implementation
of the 10-year strategy, supported by five-year budgets, announced in the 1997
National Drug Control Strategy. Reauthorization must be of sufficient du
ration to allow ONDCP to compile data and evaluate the effectiveness of the
drug control programs through the Performance Measurement System it is
developing. A two-year reauthorization is also inconsistent with the four-year
goals established in H.R. 2610.
- Raises Constitutional questions. The bill would authorize the
Director of ONDCP to transfer funds among National Drug Control Program (NDCP)
agencies with the advance approval of specified congressional committees. The
committee approval mechanism is a violation of the Constitution's bicameral and
presentment requirements under the Supreme Court's INS v. Chadha
decision. Other provisions that raise Constitutional questions include: the
requirement that NDCP agency budget requests be provided to the Congress prior
to review by the Office of Management and Budget; the statutory designation of
the Director of ONDCP as a member of the President's cabinet; and the
designation of the Director of ONDCP as the "primary spokesperson of the
President on drug issues."