EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20503
STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY
(THIS STATEMENT HAS BEEN COORDINATED BY OMB WITH THE CONCERNED AGENCIES.)
March 29, 2000
H.R. 3908 - FY 2000 EMERGENCY SUPPLEMENTAL
(Sponsor: Young (R) Florida)
This Statement of Administration Policy provides the Administration's views on the FY 2000 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Bill as reported by the House Appropriations Committee. The Administration is pleased that the Committee has acted expeditiously on the President's supplemental requests to keep the peace and build stability in Kosovo, to support the Colombian government's fight against drug traffickers, to provide needed heating and cooling assistance for families that have been badly affected by increased oil prices, and to provide further assistance to the victims of Hurricane Floyd.
The Administration does, however, have a number of concerns with the Committee bill, and we ask that you consider our views. We urge your prompt action on this bill so that assistance can be provided in a timely way, as this legislation is time-sensitive. For example, if the bill is not enacted soon, the Department of Defense will have to make irreversible decisions to curtail training and maintenance activities essential to readiness; victims of Hurricane Floyd may have to spend a second winter in temporary shelters; Emergency Low Income Home Energy Assistance may not be available for the summer cooling season; and, urgent assistance needed to reduce the incidents of ethnic violence in Kosovo will be delayed.
The Administration strongly opposes amendments made in order in the rule that would unnecessarily grow the size of the supplemental, place objectionable restrictions on funding provided in the bill, or strike critical funding from the bill. We urge the House to reject such amendments so that this time-sensitive legislation can move forward expeditiously.
Support for the U.S. Military
The Administration appreciates the House approving our funding request for military activities in Kosovo. Given the timing of the deployment and the constraints of last fall's appropriations cycle, it was impossible to include this funding in the President's FY 2000 Budget or FY 2000 Defense Appropriations Act. Therefore, the Administration submitted a supplemental request for the funding. We urge the Congress to act expeditiously on the supplemental to ensure that our military readiness is maintained.
We understand the House will consider a Lewis amendment to provide an additional $4 billion to the Department of Defense for a total increase to defense spending of almost $7 billion above the President's supplemental request. We oppose amendments such as this that could seriously risk derailing the passage of the supplemental by the Congress.
We share the Congress' concern that our European allies carry the lion's share of the burden of the civilian effort in Kosovo. We continue to press our allies to meet their commitments and to uphold a fair burdensharing arrangement. We believe these commitments will be met. But we would resist congressional efforts that would result in termination of our mission in Kosovo prematurely, would terminate funding necessary to support our troops, or would undermine our efforts to restore stability and democracy to Kosovo. Such efforts would put at risk the considerable progress we have made in this troubled region. In particular, we oppose the Kasich amendment made in order in the rule.
Support for Eastern European Democracies
The Administration appreciates the Committee's support for programs designed to foster democracy in Croatia, Montenegro, and Serbia. Similarly, the Administration appreciates the Committee's support for funding our share of the costs of the international civilian police force for Kosovo. This police force is critical to ensuring the safety of all citizens of Kosovo and equally important as the key to relieving our armed forces from the burden of police work.
The Administration, however, strongly opposes the elimination of the $80 million in funding for critical programs to support civil implementation and revitalize Kosovo's economy and civil society. Short-changing the U.S. contribution to these programs would retard the establishment of effective local authorities, prolong the region's dependence on foreign aid, and delay the achievement of conditions under which we can reduce the international presence, including U.S. forces, in Kosovo. We also urge that funding be provided for establishment of vetted anti-organized-crime units among the local police in Albania, Kosovo, and Bosnia. Hand in hand with these programs is the requirement for adequate staff and facilities to ensure they are run effectively. Therefore, the Administration requests that the Congress reconsider the reduction to USAID administrative funds as well.
Contributions to International Peacekeeping
The Administration is particularly concerned about the lack of funding for expected assessments to support critical United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations in Kosovo and East Timor. These payments are critical if we are to help restore peace to these troubled areas. These are bills we must pay. We expect to receive an assessment for East Timor in the next month and for Kosovo in early July. These bills will become new arrears if they are not paid in thirty days. We have requested $91 million for the UN mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), which is performing an extraordinarily difficult but essential task of overseeing civilian administration until the people of Kosovo are able to assume that responsibility themselves. Our $16 million request for the UN mission in East Timor (UNTAET) would help the UN perform a similar mission to facilitate the transition of East Timor to full independence. The absence of full and timely U.S. payment of our assessments would severely impede the success of these missions. Having won important progress for democracy and stability in both of these areas, we should invest in their stability by paying our share of the cost.
Security and Maintenance of U.S. Missions/Diplomatic and Consular Programs
The Administration appreciates the action taken by the House Committee to ensure the safety of Americans serving in Sarajevo by providing funding to construct a new, secure facility. However, the Administration is disappointed that no funding has been provided in the Committee bill for other requested security and operational needs in Kosovo and the region. Secure facilities are also needed for Pristina, Kosovo, to support a continuing presence to allow the United States to remain engaged in an area that has a long and turbulent history of ethnic violence and repression, and Tirana, Albania, to accommodate staffing needed to manage a more complex U.S.-Albania relationship on a range of political, humanitarian, development, and military issues. Also left unfunded are the increased costs of diplomatic operations in Southeast Europe. The Administration urges the Congress to provide additional funds to ensure the security of our employees serving U.S. interests in Kosovo and working to achieve lasting peace in the region.
The Administration appreciates the House Committee's support for U.S. assistance to Plan Colombia. Colombia is the source of more than 90 percent of the cocaine and 65 percent of the heroin seized in the United States. Cutting off the drug supply at its source is an important component of America's overall counter-drug strategy. Plan Colombia, President Pastrana's strategy to address Colombia's national security, socioeconomic, and drug-related problems, presents the United States with a window of opportunity to further U.S. interests and increase stability in South America. The Administration also appreciates the Committee's support for the important human rights, alternative development, and governmental reform initiatives in Colombia. Congress' timely support of Plan Colombia will help to stem the flow of drugs into the United States and will further benefit the United States by bringing greater peace and prosperity to an important American ally.
However, the Administration is concerned about the House Committee's funding reduction of $47 million of Counter-narcotic Battalion (CNBN) support and of certain items under interdiction support. The creation, training and equipping of these special CNBNs is critical to Colombian efforts to enter the southern coca-growing areas. U.S. assistance to Plan Colombia was carefully designed as an integrated package, and the Administration looks forward to working with Congress to try to restore this funding to ensure that this program is successfully implemented as an integrated whole.
The Rules Committee has made in order amendments by Representatives Ramstad and Obey which would eliminate or reduce funding for the Colombia counternarcotics program. The Administration strongly opposes these amendments.
Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Trust Fund
The Administration is concerned that the Committee bill includes none of the $210 million requested for a contribution to the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Trust Fund to support the participation of regional development banks and other international financial institutions in the enhanced HIPC initiative. This initiative, a key outcome of the Cologne G-8 Summit, has broad international support as well as bipartisan support in the Congress, and is designed to ease the debt burden of strong economic reformers such as Mozambique, Uganda, and Bolivia. The failure of the United States to provide any funding for the HIPC Trust Fund would significantly restrict the ability of some of the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) to participate fully in this important initiative. This would delay the objectives of easing the debt burden and providing an incentive for the poorest countries to implement the macroeconomic and structural reforms necessary to improve their economic performance and increase their ability to address, with their own resources, critical social issues such as education and health.
In particular, failure to provide these funds would jeopardize multilateral debt reduction for eligible Latin American countries. Without early Congressional action this year on the supplemental appropriation request, debt relief to some of the strongest economic reformers, such as Bolivia, cannot move forward, undermining poverty reduction and economic growth efforts. Each dollar that the U.S. provides will leverage $27 from other creditors.
Agricultural Assistance for Areas Affected by Natural Disasters
The Administration commends the Committee for including requested funds needed to assist farmers and rural residents in recovering from Hurricanes Dennis, Floyd, and Irene. These provisions will allow funds to be used to replace damaged farm structures and equipment that are essential for producers to continue their operations in the coming year, and they will help producer-owned marketing associations recover from severe losses sustained in last year's hurricanes. In addition, the rural housing assistance in the Committee bill will ensure that low-income rural residents who were displaced by the hurricanes have safe, decent, and affordable housing long after the temporary FEMA housing assistance expires.
Princeville, North Carolina
The Administration appreciates the Committee's provision of $1.5 million for the Corps of Engineers to study the feasibility of providing additional flood protection for the city of Princeville, North Carolina. Given the recent devastation this community has experienced, as well as its unique place in American history, we need to move quickly to evaluate flood protection measures needed to protect this community adequately.
Economic Development Administration/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The Administration appreciates the funding provided by the Committee in response to the recent hurricane-related fisheries disasters and the Long Island Sound lobster fishery disaster. We urge that funding likewise be provided to address the West Coast groundfish disaster, as well as contingency funding for other disasters that may be declared.
Assistance to Vieques, Puerto Rico
We commend the Committee for providing the requested funding to implement the President's directives on Vieques, Puerto Rico. The training facility at Vieques is important to sustaining the readiness of our Naval forces. We are working to accommodate our training needs while addressing the concerns of the people of Vieques. The Administration's plan will help balance national security with the health, safety, and environmental concerns of Vieques's residents. We look forward to working with the House to ensure that the funding is spent effectively and efficiently in support of these goals. We strongly oppose the Fowler amendment made in order in the rule that would place objectionable constraints on funding.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
The Administration commends the Committee for funding the President's request for $600 million in contingent emergency funds under the Department of Health and Human Services' Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The emergency fund has been exhausted responding to the winter fuel price increases. Requested funds will ensure sufficient resources in the event of unusual heat this summer.
Federal Aviation Administration
The Administration has requested authority to reallocate $39 million within the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for FAA Operations, as well as language authorizing the Secretary of Transportation to transfer funds to Operations from other Transportation accounts. The requests are necessary to allow FAA to meet better the operational requirements of the air traffic control system, including addressing increased delays and maintaining safety and security. While the pending FAA authorization bill provides $26 million, we are disappointed that the House Committee has not approved this high-priority supplemental requirement.
In addition, the Administration has requested a $77 million, fully offset FAA Operations supplemental. The FY 2000 appropriation for FAA Operations is $184 million below the President's request. Although the FAA has done its best to maintain high levels of safety, security, and system efficiency within the appropriated level, it is unable to do so. Therefore, we urge the House to approve these supplementals, thereby assuring smooth and efficient operations.
Rescission of Mandatory Research and Rural Development Funds
The Administration strongly opposes provisions that would block further spending from the mandatory Fund for Rural America and agricultural research grants authorized by the Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food Systems. These provisions would deny vitally needed funding to support economic development in rural areas, such as water and waste disposal grants and loans, farm labor housing, and outreach to socially-disadvantaged farmers. In addition, the House Committee bill would cut research on human nutrition, methods to improve farm efficiency and profitability, and food safety. These programs serve ends that are supported by the vast majority of both urban and rural Americans, and we urge the House to strike these provisions.
Department of Energy
The Administration urges the House to provide the full $19 million requested for low-income home weatherization in the energy conservation account in FY 2000, as opposed to providing the funds in FY 2001, as specified in the Committee bill. These funds are needed for building rehabilitation of an additional 9,000 - 9,500 low-income homes -- work that is best done before the heating season. In order to be helpful next winter, the funds would need to be disbursed to States this summer. If the funds are not available until October, there is little chance that they will make it to local service agencies and into weatherization improvements for the next heating season.
The Administration appreciates the Committee's provision of funds for: (1) environment, health, and safety activities at the gaseous diffusion plants in Portsmouth, OH, and Paducah, KY; (2) physical and cyber-security activities across the Department of Energy complex; and, (3) personnel and other funding requirements at the Department's weapons production plants.
Restoring Budgetary Conventions
The Administration commends the Committee for approving the President's proposal to restore budgetary conventions by repealing the pay date delay, the Department of Defense prompt payment delay, and the Department of Health and Human Services obligation delays.
The Administration also proposes to replace FY 2001 advance appropriations, where such appropriations departed from budgetary conventions, with full, up-front funding in FY 2000. The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress to shift those advance appropriations that are not required for programmatic reasons.
Other Funding Issues
- Mozambique. With the assistance of the Department of State, the Agency for International Development, and other agencies, OMB is reviewing the need for assistance to ameliorate the humanitarian and economic crisis caused by heavy rains in Mozambique and neighboring countries. We expect to finish this expedited review shortly. We will work with the Congress to meet these urgent requirements.
- Summer Youth. As the bill moves forward, the Administration urges the Congress to approve the recently transmitted FY 2000 supplemental request of $40 million for the Employment and Training Administration. These funds would support youth activities by providing summer jobs or other opportunities to about 24,000 low-income youth. Consistent with both the Congress' and the Administration's comprehensive approach to improving services to, and the outcomes for, low-income youth, these resources would provide support to local communities while they develop strategies for leveraging private sector involvement in -- and resources for -- youth transition programs, including the summer jobs component.
- Ricky Ray. As the bill moves forward, we recommend that the Congress provide the $100 million supplemental requested for payments authorized by the Ricky Ray Hemophilia Relief Trust Fund Act. The $750 million trust fund was established for the purpose of disbursing payments to persons with hemophilia who contracted HIV through the use of tainted blood products between July 1982 and July 1987. The Administration is committed to full funding for the Ricky Ray Trust Fund. This request for $100 million is possible due to the availability of Y2K remediation funds no longer needed.
- Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust Assets in the United States. As the bill moves forward, the Administration urges the Congress to approve the recent FY 2000 supplemental request of $1.4 million for the Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust Assets in the United States. The supplemental funds would support additional activities related to the completion of a comprehensive statutorily mandated report on the acquisition and disposition of Holocaust-era assets in the United States due to Congress by December 31, 2000.
- Social Security Administration. As the bill moves forward, we urge that the Congress approve the recently transmitted FY 2000 supplemental request of $35 million for the Social Security Administration. This request would fund the one-time cost of repealing the retirement earnings test for workers at or above the normal retirement age. This funding is needed to cover the administrative costs of processing retroactive benefit payments and additional claims, handling the expected increases in telephone calls and field office visits, and reprogramming computer systems, while ensuring no deterioration in FY 2000 service levels.
- Critical Infrastructure. The FY 2001 Budget requested an FY 2000 supplemental of $9 million to "jump start" some of the highest priority cyber-terrorism programs. This funding will be used to design and develop the programs in FY 2000 so that in FY 2001 they will be ready for full implementation. The Committee's elimination of the funding would delay these components of the Government-wide effort to protect the Nation's critical infrastructure. The Administration urges the Congress to fully fund this important program.
- Internal Revenue Service. We strongly recommend that the House fund the $40 million supplemental for IRS staffing requested in the President's budget. The IRS has recently faced increased workload with reduced staffing, resulting in falling audit rates (threatening the level and fairness of tax compliance) and difficulty in meeting customer service standards. The President's budget addresses this issue by proposing nearly 3,000 new FTE in FY 2001 to stabilize IRS staffing as its modernization effort is implemented. The FY 2000 supplemental is necessary to begin hiring and training these personnel immediately so they can begin to deliver performance improvements as soon as possible.
- Small Business Administration General Loans. The Administration is disappointed that the Committee bill fails to provide $6.1 million to address increased demand for 7(a) loans, including increased demand by businesses that have been particularly affected by rising oil prices; $1.0 million for the Program for Investment in Microentrepreneurs Act of 1999 (PRIME); and, $0.5 million to help implement the Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act of 1999.
- Devils Lake. The Administration strongly urges the House to approve the $6.6 million request to address emergency flood conditions confronting communities surrounding Devils Lake, North Dakota. Extraordinary flood conditions persist in this area despite extensive Federal and State efforts to date, including over $300 million of Federal spending for flood response actions. These supplemental funds are critically needed for planning and design of an emergency outlet as well as to meet fully the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and other environmental laws and of the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909, which must be completed before construction of an outlet may begin.
- Commission on Civil Rights. The Committee bill does not provide the additional $800,000 requested for the Commission on Civil Rights, which would fund completion in FY 2000 of a number of research projects currently underway at the Commission, including reports on racial tensions Nationwide, Federal enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the crisis of African-American men in inner cities, and Federal enforcement of fair employment law.
- Committee for Purchase from People Who are Blind or Severely Disabled. The Committee bill fails to fund the President's request of $687,000 for the Committee for Purchase from People Who are Blind or Severely Disabled, which administers the Javits-Wagner-O'Day (JWOD) Program. JWOD uses the purchasing power of the Federal Government to provide employment and training opportunities to approximately 34,000 people who are blind or have other severe disabilities. These funds would substantially expand marketing of JWOD products to Federal employees as a response to fundamental shifts in Federal acquisition of commercial-type products. While the President's budget addresses this issue by proposing $4.158 million to administer the JWOD program, the FY 2000 supplemental is necessary to expand marketing of JWOD products and services this year.
- National Technical Information Service. The Administration notes that the House Committee bill does not provide closure costs for the National Technical Information Service (NTIS). If actions are not taken in FY 2000, the strategy for handling NTIS's mission will need to be addressed in the context of legislation for FY 2001.
- Transfer Authority for the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services. The Administration objects to the Committee bill's repeal of the Department of Education's authority in section 304 of the FY 2000 Labor/HHS/Education Appropriations Act to transfer between appropriations up to one percent of discretionary funds appropriated to the Department. Congress has routinely provided this flexibility so that the Secretary can respond to unanticipated events, and the Secretary has always promptly notified and consulted with the Congress before using this authority. The Administration strongly urges that this authority be retained.
The Administration also objects to the Committee bill's reduction of the Department of Health and Human Services' transfer authority. The Committee bill would exclude the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from this authority for the remainder of FY 2000. The Administration strongly urges that the Congress maintain the Department's flexibility to address emerging issues.
- Plant Pest and Disease Assistance. The Administration opposes House report language that would direct the Secretary of Agriculture to submit simultaneously to the Congress and OMB copies of apportionment requests for funding to implement certain emergency declarations. The consideration of these apportionment requests solely within the Executive Branch is necessary for effective exchange of information and views, to the same extent and for the same reasons that apply to the intra-Administration development of the annual President's budget.
The Committee bill provides $40 million to compensate lost profits of growers affected by citrus canker in Florida. The Administration is concerned that the language appears to override the usual provisions guiding farm assistance, granting broad assistance to these producers. For example, unlike income assistance the Congress has provided in the last two years for other farmers, there would be no gross revenue eligibility determination or limitation on the size of payments. This could create disparate treatment for farmers and ranchers.
There are a number of unrequested funding items in the House Committee bill that the Administration does not believe are necessary. Growth in the size of the supplemental puts passage of time-sensitive issues at risk. We would like to work with the House as the bill moves forward to address such items. We request that the House not add extraneous riders to the bill -- riders that would adversely affect the environment or public health or generate controversy that could unnecessarily delay the urgently needed emergency assistance contained in this bill.
In addition, we oppose the Sanford amendment made in order in the rule that would strike the emergency designation from the bill, resulting in across-the-board cuts in all discretionary programs including law enforcement, veterans, defense, public health, and other programs.