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HR 4942 - - 07/25/2000

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Office of Management and Budget


July 25, 2000
(House Rules)

(Sponsors: Young (R), Florida; Istook (R), Oklahoma)

This Statement of Administration Policy provides the Administration's views on the District of Columbia Appropriations Bill, FY 2001, as reported by the Committee. Your consideration of the Administration's views would be appreciated.

The Administration appreciates the Committee's approval of some of the requested funding for the Administration's priorities. Nonetheless, the bill fails to provide adequate funding for programs that promote the economic health and fiscal strength of the District of Columbia. We urge the House to fund these programs at the full, requested levels. In addition, the Committee bill contains many objectionable provisions that continue a pattern of undermining Home Rule, the principle of local control over local matters. The Administration views these objectionable provisions as unwarranted intrusions into the affairs of the District, and we urge the House to remove them. Therefore, we strongly oppose the Committee bill and urge the House to improve it, consistent with the concerns discussed below, so that it can be signed by the President.


Economic Growth

The Committee mark misses an opportunity to fund critical investments in economic growth in the District of Columbia. These investments would help to revitalize our Nation's Capital and continue Federal efforts to support the District's efforts to build a sound economic base that generates sufficient tax revenue for the city to ensure its fiscal health. Failing to fund these investments would undermine the Committee's own efforts to put the District on a path to economic growth and fiscal strength.

  • New York Avenue Metro Station. The Administration is concerned that the Committee mark provides only $7 million of the $25 million requested for the Federal share of the proposed New York Avenue Metro Station project. The development of this new station is critical to the economic development of an important section of the Capital City. When finished, the station will provide a vital link to the Metro system for the entire region. Although this project has the potential to benefit the Federal Government, the Federal share of this project is only one-third of the total cost, far less than what is normally provided for these types of transportation infrastructure projects. The proposed financing of the new station reflects an innovative mix of funding sources, with a third pledged from the private sector, a third from the District Government, and a third from the Federal Government. Under the Committee bill, the remaining $18 million would come from the Washington, D.C. Financial Authority's account. The Authority is using these funds, almost all of which have already been obligated to support other priorities, ranging from criminal justice programs to special education transportation. We urge the House not to jeopardize this project and to fund the full $25 million from Federal funds as proposed in the President's budget.

  • Brownfields Remediation at Poplar Point. The Committee bill fails to fund the Administration's request for $10 million for brownfields remediation and site preparation at Poplar Point. Failure to fund this initiative would undermine a central element of Mayor Williams' plan to rejuvenate historic Anacostia and the riverfront. The city's brownfields remediation and site preparation strategy for Poplar Point is a critical component of a three-phase effort to clean up and revitalize the city-owned and Federal-owned parcels at Poplar Point. The history of Federal ownership of and involvement with various parcels of land at Poplar Point makes participation in the cleanup a Federal responsibility. Adequate funding for the remediation and preparation plan is crucial to the completion of this initiative, which will help link Poplar Point and historic Anacostia with development across the river at the Southeast Federal Center.

  • National Museum of American Music. We appreciate the $250,000 in start-up funding provided for the National Museum of American Music, but believe that the museum should be funded at the full request of $3 million. Failure to fully fund the request could delay the project another year. The museum will significantly contribute to the revitalization of the Nation's Capital and to the preservation and celebration of the rich heritage of American music. Launching a National Museum of American Music at this time will bring critical momentum to the District's efforts to bring renewed vitality and growth to downtown Washington. The Committee bill misses an historic opportunity to take advantage of a critical time in the economic growth of the city by funding the museum.

Resident Tuition Assistance

The Committee mark provides only $14 million for the Resident Tuition Support program, $3 million below both the request and the FY 2000 enacted level of $17 million. This program, which equalizes educational opportunities for young people in the District of Columbia, is a priority of both the Mayor and the Administration and has strong bipartisan support in Congress. The current law restricts eligibility to students who graduated on or after January 1, 1998, which excludes students who will be entering their fourth year of college this fall. The Administration supports expanding the program to include students who graduated from high school on or after January 1, 1997. Expanding the program to include these students may not be possible if funding is reduced to $14 million. The Administration urges that an amendment be offered to fully fund the Resident Tuition Support program and ensure that all students in their first four years of college be included.

District of Columbia Courts and Defender Services

The Administration objects to the underfunding of the operating and capital budgets of the Courts by $3.5 million and to the $4 million cut to the request for Defender Services. This action would eliminate funding for some 4,000 attorney claims for reimbursement of legal services for the District's indigent population through the Criminal Justice Act program. Current funding problems with this program have made it harder for attorneys to receive just compensation for performing their vital role in the criminal justice system. The request would provide a one-time infusion of funds to the program to allow counsel and the Court to move beyond these funding difficulties. We urge the House to restore funding to the President's requested level for Defender Services.


The Committee bill includes 69 general provisions. This is unfortunate. The Administration believes that Congress need not re-enact any of the general provisions included last year, since all the legitimate policy purposes addressed by the general provisions are now addressed elsewhere in existing or proposed local or Federal law. Other general provisions proposed by the Committee are unnecessary or would inappropriately interfere with local matters. Provisions such as section 114, which would require Council approval of capital project borrowing, and section 118, which would require automobiles to be fuel efficient, duplicate existing Federal and DC law. Provisions such as section 113, which would require the Mayor to develop a plan by quarter and project for capital outlay borrowing, and section 120, which would require the Mayor to submit updated revenue estimates to the Council, would inappropriately interfere with local matters.

The following highly objectionable provisions of the Committee bill are particularly unwarranted intrusions into the affairs of the District.

  • Voting Representation. The Administration opposes section 146 of the bill, which would prohibit the use of District funds to provide assistance for petition drives or civil actions that seek to require voting representation in Congress for the District of Columbia.

  • Health Insurance Coverage of Contraceptives. The Administration objects to section 168 of the Committee bill, which would prohibit the Health Insurance Coverage for Contraceptives Act of 2000 from taking effect. While increased access to contraceptives is important to women's health, the Committee has raised an issue with respect to religious organizations. The Mayor and the City Council should be given an opportunity to address this issue within this legislation.

  • Controlled Substances. The Administration opposes section 158, which would prohibit the District from legislating with respect to controlled substances and from crafting effective diversion programs for non-violent, drug-dependent offenders in a manner that all States are free to do.

  • Abortion. The Administration strongly opposes Committee bill language that would prohibit the use of both Federal and District funds to pay for abortions except in those cases where the life of the mother is endangered or in situations involving rape or incest.

  • Domestic Partners. The Administration objects to a provision (section 131) of the Committee bill prohibiting the use of Federal and local funds to implement or enforce the Health Care Benefits Expansion Act of 1992 (the Domestic Partners Act).

  • Infringement on Contract Authority. The Administration objects to the House Committee bill infringing on the District's decision-making authority with respect to local contracts. This infringement also has the potential to result in inappropriate Medicaid billing for special education services, an issue that Congress and the Federal Government are working to eliminate.

  • Facilities Preference for Charter Schools. The Administration objects to section 128 of the House bill, which would encroach on the ability of the Mayor to manage surplus city properties.

The Administration objects to a number of provisions in the bill that would require congressional approval before Executive Branch execution. The Administration will interpret these provisions to require only notification of Congress, since any other interpretation would contradict the Supreme Court ruling in INS v. Chadha.

The Administration is pleased that the Committee has not included a ban on local or private funds for the purpose of needle exchange programs. Such provisions are encroachments on the District's prerogatives and could seriously disrupt the District's current HIV prevention efforts. The Administration would strongly oppose the introduction of such provisions as the bill moves forward.

The Administration is pleased that the Committee bill does not include the provision included in last year's bill to cap the award of fees for attorneys of plaintiffs in cases brought against the District of Columbia Public Schools under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This provision has had the effect of limiting the access of the District's poor families to quality legal representation, thus impairing their due process protections provided by the IDEA.

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