THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release October 26,
TEXT OF A LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT
TO THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
THE MAJORITY LEADER OF THE SENATE, AND
THE DEMOCRATIC LEADERS OF THE HOUSE AND SENATE
October 26, 2000
Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. Leader:)
I am writing to raise my serious concerns with the FY 2001 Commerce,
Justice, and State appropriations bill that was filed this morning as part
of the FY 2001 District of Columbia conference report. Although neither my
Administra-tion nor virtually any Member of Congress has had an opportunity
to review this bill, it is our understanding that it fails to adequately
address a number of high-priority issues that the Administration has
previously brought to your attention. Therefore, I have no choice but to
veto this bill.
It is our understanding that this bill fails to redress several injustices
in our immigration system as called for by the Latino and Immigrant
Fairness Act. Those provisions would help normalize the immigration status
of individuals and their families who have been living for many years in
the United States, and, as such, would restore fairness and equity to our
immigration laws. Current Republican proposals would not help most of the
people who need relief and would perpetuate the current patchwork of
contradictory and unfair immigration policies.
In addition, it is our understanding that this bill fails to provide the
resources needed for the Department of Justice to let justice work its
course by pursuing tobacco litigation to address the need for tobacco
companies to bear responsibility for the staggering costs of
tobacco-related illnesses. Congress should not block the judicial process,
especially in a matter that is of supreme importance to the public health
and the public interest.
This bill also fails to include hate crimes legislation that would cover
crimes motivated by bias on the basis of a victim's gender, disability, or
sexual orientation. Both the House and Senate have had bipartisan votes
indicating their support for strong hate crimes legislation and it should
become law this year.
The bill fails to address in any meaningful way the real privacy concerns
about Social Security numbers raised by the Administration. Regrettably,
it does not include needed protections against the inappropriate sale and
display of individual citizens' social security numbers. Moreover, the
bill creates loopholes that seriously undermine the goal of the legislation
to protect privacy. In addition, by not reauthorizing the Violent Crime
Reduction Trust Fund, the bill fails to support successful Federal efforts
to protect critical law enforcement funding and reduce violent crime.
We also understand that a range of anti-environmental, anti-competitive,
and other damaging riders have been under consideration and may have been
added to this bill. I urge Congress to refrain from adding riders that
would reward special interests at the expense of the public interest. I
also urge Congress to drop the rider that would prevent the Federal
Communi-cations Commission from licensing new low-power FM radio stations
to provide for a diversity of voices in communities around the country.
And regrettably, Congress has attached a deeply flawed Commerce, Justice,
and State bill to an otherwise signable District of Columbia bill.
I urge the Congress to complete its work by sending me acceptable bills. I
regret that the bipartisan discussion to resolve these issues in this bill
were abandoned. The recent passage of several other appropriations bills
shows that when we work together and Congress puts progress over
partisanship, we are able to deliver real results for the American people.
It is long past time for Congress to do the same for the Commerce, Justice,
and State bill and to produce a bill I can sign.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
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