The Administration strongly opposes enactment of S. 1645 in its current
form. If the bill presented to the President fails to address the
concerns that are described below, the President's senior advisers will
recommend that he veto it.
As stated in recent letters from White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles
to the House and Senate Committees on the Judiciary, the Administration
would support properly crafted legislation that would make it illegal to
transport minors across State lines for the purpose of avoiding parental
involvement requirements. Unfortunately, S. 1645, as reported by the
Senate Committee on the Judiciary, fails to address a number of the
critical concerns raised by the Administration. Specifically, the bill
must be amended to:
The Administration is concerned that S. 1645 raises important federalism
issues, including the rights of States to regulate matters within their own
boundaries. The Administration believes, however, that legislation that
addresses the concerns noted above, and that is carefully targeted at
punishing non-relatives who transport minors across State lines for the
purpose of avoiding parental involvement requirements, would mitigate the
- Exclude close family members from criminal and civil liability.
Under the legislation, grandmothers, aunts, and minor and adult
siblings could face criminal prosecution for coming to the aid of a
relative in distress.
- Ensure that persons who only provide information, counseling,
referral, or medical services to the minor cannot be subject to
- Address constitutional infirmities that the Department of Justice
has identified in particular provisions of the legislation. These
concerns were transmitted to Congress on June 24, 1998.
S. 1645 could affect both direct spending and receipts; therefore, it is
subject to the pay-as-you-go requirement of the Omnibus Budget
Reconciliation Act of 1990. OMB's preliminary scoring estimate of this
bill is that it would have a net effect of less than $500,000.