June 17, 1999
The Administration supports Senate passage of S. 886, but reserves support for final congressional action on the bill pending the disposition of a number of key provisions. The Administration's concerns regarding these provisions must be resolved before the President's senior advisers will recommend that the bill be signed.
The Administration supports the bill's United Nations (UN) arrears payments and reform provisions, which provide authorization or credits equaling $926 million of the $1,021 million requested to help pay U.S. arrears and leverage the reform agenda, and welcomes the inclusion of authorities sought by the Administration. However, the Administration has concerns related to certain appropriation authorizations, embassy security, reorganization, arms control and nonproliferation, and foreign policy provisions, which are described below.
Foreign Relations Appropriation Authorizations
S. 886 provides authorization of FY 2000 appropriations that are generally consistent with the Administration's request; however, the authorizations for the annual assessed Contributions to International Organizations and International Peacekeeping Activities are $43 million less than the President's request, which may lead to more arrears just as our efforts to pay past arrears and implement related reforms begin. Making our full, annual assessed contributions to the United Nations and the Food and Agriculture Organization is an essential first step for the United States to avoid losing its vote in those organizations. In addition, overall appropriation authorizations for FY 2001 are equal to the amount for FY 2000. The Administration notes that its appropriation authorization request for FY 2001 was for "such sums as may be necessary" and reflects the fact that the global foreign policy and security environment is not static.
The Administration appreciates provisions in S. 886 that provide appropriations authorization for embassy security construction and enhancements. The bill, however, imposes excessive restrictions that will affect the Department's flexibility to fund security construction and enhancements and to manage overseas diplomatic sites to the potential detriment of national security and foreign affairs activities. For example, it is unnecessary and burdensome to require co-location of all U.S. agencies on a single compound (except those under U.S. military command). The Administration maintains a policy requiring co-location unless precluded for specific operational, programmatic, or security reasons. Further, the bill would impose an unnecessary and burdensome new waiver and certification requirement on the Secretary of State for such operational decisions that the Department of State's security professionals are already well positioned to make.
Reorganization and Management Issues
The Administration strongly opposes legislation that would micromanage executive authority and prolong the debate on the reorganization of the foreign affairs agencies. After extensive consultations with Congress on the reorganization, the Administration is eager to implement the President's revised Reorganization Plan and demonstrate its effectiveness. Mandating the position of Assistant Secretary for Verification and Compliance and specifying duties for that position is counterproductive to the Department's streamlining efforts and would impede effective integration of the foreign affairs community.
In addition, the Administration opposes the staffing requirements, caseload limitations, and reporting requirements mandated for the Office of Children's Issues. S. 886 also imposes a number of unnecessary and burdensome reporting requirements on the State Department.
Arms Control and Nonproliferation
A number of the arms control verification and compliance provisions would intrude on the President's foreign affairs authorities, micromanage the Secretary's authority, and raise resource and constitutional concerns. These include:
Foreign Policy Restrictions
A number of provisions of S. 886 restrict the ability of the President and the Secretary of State to conduct American foreign policy. Some of these provisions would also impermissibly infringe on the President's constitutional authorities. These provisions include:
Other Constitutional Concerns
With respect to other constitutional issues raised by the bill, several sections of S. 886 impermissibly infringe on the President's sole constitutional authority over the conduct of negotiations with foreign nations and international organizations. The provisions are Section 801(g), which states that the United States "shall continue to insist" that the UN make certain credits or refunds of excess contributions; Section 811(b) which provides that it shall be U.S. policy to seek the abolition of certain UN groups; and Section 941(b)(4)(D), which provides that it shall be U.S. policy to seek adoption by the UN of a resolution requiring UN programs to be subject to an evaluation and have specific termination dates.
S. 886 would affect direct spending and revenues; therefore, it is subject to the pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) requirement of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) of 1990. OMB's preliminary scoring estimate is that the net PAYGO effect of this bill would be negligible. Final scoring of this legislation may deviate from this estimate.