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July 24, 2000
(Senate)

S. 2900 - TREASURY AND GENERAL GOVERNMENT APPROPRIATIONS BILL, FY 2001
(Sponsors: Stevens (R), Alaska; Campbell (R), Colorado)

This Statement of Administration Policy provides the Administration's views on the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Bill, FY 2001, as reported by the Senate Committee. Your consideration of the Administration's views would be appreciated.

The President's FY 2001 Budget is based on a balanced approach that maintains fiscal discipline, eliminates the national debt, extends the solvency of Social Security and Medicare, provides for an appropriately sized tax cut, establishes a new voluntary Medicare prescription drug benefit in the context of broader reforms, expands health care coverage to more families, and funds critical investments for our future. An essential element of this approach is ensuring adequate funding for discretionary programs. To this end, the President has proposed discretionary spending limits at levels that we believe are necessary to serve the American people.

Unfortunately, the FY 2001 congressional budget resolution provides inadequate resources for discretionary investments. We need realistic levels of funding for critical government functions that the American people expect their government to perform well, including education, national security, law enforcement, environmental protection, preservation of our global leadership, air safety, food safety, economic assistance for the less fortunate, research and technology, and the administration of Social Security and Medicare. Based on the inadequate budget resolution, the Committee bill does not address critical needs of the American people. In addition, the Committee bill includes several objectionable provisions.

Across the appropriations bills, there is a pattern of underfunding core government operations such as air traffic operations, park maintenance, and the administration of Social Security and Medicare. The Committee bill continues this pattern by underfunding the Internal Revenue Service, counterterrorism programs, firearms enforcement programs, an important anti-drug program, and necessary construction and repair of Federal facilities. If the bill were presented to the President in its current form, his senior advisers would recommend that he veto it.

The attachment provides a discussion of our specific concerns with the Committee bill. We look forward to working with the Senate to address our mutual concerns.

Attachment



Attachment

TREASURY AND GENERAL GOVERNMENT
APPROPRIATIONS BILL, FY 2001

(As Reported by the Senate Committee)

Department of the Treasury

The Administration is very concerned with the large reductions in the Committee bill for key priorities of the Department of the Treasury. The bill provides $940 million less than the President's request for Treasury's programs, which would significantly reduce funding for vital programs in the IRS, counterterrorism, firearms enforcement, Customs, and other activities. Specific funding issues include:

National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign

The Administration strongly objects to the proposed reduction in funding for the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign. To reduce the Campaign's funding by almost one-half would imperil the positive momentum the program has demonstrated just when the Campaign is beginning to take hold. The proposed reduction, coupled with increased advertising costs of almost 40 percent in the past two years, would significantly undercut our ability to meet our goal of reaching 90 percent of the youth audience with a Campaign message four times a week, every week. Cuts of the magnitude proposed also would require cancellation or major reduction of many of the Campaign's integrated communications programs.

The Campaign needs five years of adequate and consistent funding to reach its goal of educating America's youth and enabling them to reject illicit drugs. Not only would the Campaign lose the message recognition and cumulative audience impact it has built, but the interruption in sustained level messaging would make less effective much of the more than $500 million the Congress has invested in this Campaign thus far.

General Services Administration

The Administration is disappointed by the Committee's funding levels for key priorities of the General Services Administration (GSA). The Committee bill provides $853 million less than the President's request for GSA's programs, which would reduce construction and other program activities. Specific funding issues include:

National Archives and Records Administration

While the Committee bill is $94 million below the request, and would delay the Archives I renovation, the Administration appreciates the Committee's action to provide $88 million in advance appropriations for the project. However, the bill still does not provide funding for essential repairs needed to the Kennedy Library due to severe water damage.

Office of Personnel Management

The Administration strongly objects to the Committee's failure to provide the full request for the Office of Personnel Management. Specific funding issues include:

Office of Special Counsel

The Administration is concerned that the Committee bill does not include $414,000 requested by the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) to fully support all 10 FTEs needed to continue the Office's efforts to reduce its pending backlog. In 1994, Congress imposed upon the OSC a 240-day deadline for processing and investigating complaints, including those involving prohibited personnel practices and reprisal for whistleblowing. The request for additional staff is an essential part of an aggressive, multi-year strategy by the agency to meet the congressional mandate, in the face of an escalating number of complaints.

Morris K. Udall Foundation

The Administration objects to the Committee's 65 percent reduction to the request for the Morris K. Udall Scholarship and Environmental Dispute Resolution Funds, and urges the Senate to restore the level of funding to the President's request of $4.25 million. In particular, we are concerned with the cut in funding for the Environmental Dispute Resolution Fund of $750,000, or 60 percent, from the President's request. The Fund provides for the operation of the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution, established in 1999. The requested funding is necessary for the Institute's continued operation. Such a decrease in funding from the President's request would result in significant reductions in Institute personnel, preventing the Institute from carrying out existing commitments to Federal agencies for case work, including assistance in current mediation projects. The Institute's goal is to become self-sustaining, but it is still in a start-up mode. Without the requested funding level, it would be difficult for the Institute to continue operating.

Unanticipated Needs

The Committee bill includes neither the $1.0 million requested to meet general unanticipated needs related to the national interest, security, or defense, nor the $2.5 million specifically requested to facilitate public education in Puerto Rico on the islands' status options and a local choice among them. Although Puerto Rico became part of the U.S. over a century ago, its ultimate status still has not been determined. The situation raises questions of democracy and the appropriate economic and social policies for the islands. A primary reason for the situation -- and the requested funding -- is that Puerto Ricans have been unsure of the possible options for the islands' status. The United States has a responsibility to ensure that Puerto Ricans are aware of and can seek a fully democratic governing arrangement if they wish. The Administration will work with the Congress to address this concern as the bill moves forward.

Objectionable Language Provisions

The Administration objects to several language provisions in a variety of programs. Specific issues include:


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