Statement by the President: Signing of H.R. 4425 (7/14/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
                          (Camp David, Maryland)

Immediate Release                             July 13, 2000

                        STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

     Today I have signed into law H.R. 4425, the Military Construction
Appropriations Act, FY 2001, Emergency Supplemental Act, FY 2000, and Cerro
Grande Fire Supplemental, which provides funding for military construction
and family housing programs of the Department of Defense (DoD), and
urgently needed supplemental resources.

     I am gratified that my Administration and the Congress were able to
reach agreement on the FY 2000 supplemental legislation included in H.R.
4425.  This important supplemental appropriation provides urgently needed
resources to keep the peace and build stability in Kosovo, bolster
democracy and reform elsewhere in Southeast Europe, support the Colombian
government?s fight against drug traffickers, provide needed home energy
assistance for low-income families, provide further assistance to the
victims of Hurricane Floyd and other natural disasters, including the
crisis in Mozambique, and for other purposes.

     I commend the Congress for providing the critical resources needed to
continue our support for Plan Colombia, President Pastrana?s strategy to
address Colombia?s national security, socioeconomic, and drug-related
problems.  The $1.3 billion provided underscores our commitment to support
the fight against drug traffickers and benefits the United States by
bringing greater peace and prosperity to an important American ally.

     Nonetheless, I am concerned that certain provisions of the bill will
limit the effectiveness of our assistance.  Key initiatives, such as
ground-based radar, secure field communi-cations, and force protection are
funded at levels below my request.  Furthermore, the Congress substituted
its own judgement for that of the U.S. and Colombian militaries, and
provided funding for only 16 of the 30 Blackhawk helicopters requested for
the Colombian Army, providing instead funding for 30 Huey II helicopters.
The substitution of Huey IIs for Blackhawks creates logistical and pilot
training problems for an already stretched infrastructure in Colombia, and
fields a significantly less capable helicopter for the counterdrug mission.

     I am pleased that the bill fully funds our request for military
operations in Kosovo.  We will work to ensure that the additional resources
for readiness, military personnel, natural disaster recovery, defense
healthcare, fuel, equipment upgrades, and intelligence support high
priority activities within the Department of Defense.

     I am disappointed that the bill does not include funding I requested
for U.N. peacekeeping operations in the region, requested security and
operational needs for embassies in Kosovo, or assistance for economic and
democratic reforms in the region.  The U.N. mission in Kosovo is performing
an extraordinarily difficult but essential task of overseeing civilian
adminis-tration until the people of Kosovo are able to assume that
responsibility themselves.  Secure facilities are needed in
Kosovo to ensure the security of our employees serving U.S. interests and
working to achieve lasting peace in the region.  The requested funds
support essential civilian infrastructure that would facilitate a prudent
exit strategy for Kosovo and achieve long-term stability in the Balkans.

     I am also disappointed that the bill does not include requested
funding for the multilateral Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) debt
reduction initiative.  Debt relief is both a moral imperative and good
economics.  Each year, most countries eligible for the HIPC initiative
spend more on foreign debt service than on health.  In many, one in ten
children dies before his or her first birthday, one in three is
malnourished, the average adult has had only 3 years of schooling, and HIV
infection rates are as high as 20 percent.  The failure of the Congress to
provide this funding will result in delays in imple-menting debt reduction
for qualifying countries, especially those in Latin America that have
implemented far-reaching
economic reforms.  Similarly, while I am pleased that the Congress provided
some funding for reconstruction assistance to Mozambique and the other
Southern African countries devastated by recent flooding, these countries
require additional assistance to recover from natural disasters and
continue their progress in implementing economic and democratic reforms.

     I am disappointed that requested funding was not provided for a number
of other important programs including:

?    Projects designated to strengthen our critical infrastructure.

?    The Ricky Ray Hemophilia Relief Trust Fund.  This request was part of
my plan, announced in the Mid-Session Review Budget, to fully fund the $750
million Trust Fund by FY 2001.  I will work with the Congress to find other
ways to achieve this goal.  Delay in funding the Trust Fund will mean there
will be fewer hemophiliacs with HIV alive to benefit from this program.

?    Summer jobs and other education and training opportunities for
disadvantaged youth.  The request would have ensured that our Nation?s
young adults were not left behind as States and local areas transition to
the requirements of the Workforce Investment Act.

     I am pleased that the bill provides $40 million included in our
agreement with the Government of Puerto Rico related to the Navy training
facility on the island of Vieques.  This will be used for projects that
will meet the health, environmental, and economic concerns of the residents
as well as fund the referendum to determine the range?s future.

     I am especially pleased that this legislation includes over $300
million in relief funds for Hurricane Floyd and other natural disasters.
It also includes $600 million I requested for the Low-Income Home Energy
Assistance Program.  This funding will provide needed assistance for
low-income families.

     The bill provides $661 million to address the consequences of the
fires in Los Alamos, New Mexico, as well as $350 million for firefighting

     While the Congress dropped most of the objectionable riders from the
bill, regrettably, the Congress has included several objectionable language

?    Most objectionable is an anti-environmental rider that was not in
     either the House or Senate version of the bill, which could
     significantly slow efforts to clean up the 20,000 bodies of water the
     States have identified as too polluted for fishing or swimming.
     Before this problematic prohibition became effective, the
     Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its final clean water
     rule, which is the subject of this rider.  In the final rule, EPA
     responded to many of the comments it received, including comments from
     the States and Members of Congress.  The EPA rule grants to the States
     flexibility in deciding how reductions in water pollution can best be
     achieved, contains deadlines for the development of State clean water
     plans and additional time for achieving the pollution reductions
     States have chosen, and drops provisions that could require new
     permits for forestry, aquaculture, and animal feeding operations.
     Moreover, the rule's effective date coincides with the end of the
     congressional prohibition -- October 1, 2001.  This delayed effective
     date will allow States to develop their plans during FY 2001, under
     existing clean water rules.

?    The bill also includes a rider that would delay until the end of the
fiscal year environmental analysis of Central Arizona Project (CAP) water
allocations that must be made before major Indian water rights settlements
and litigation over the CAP repayment obligation can be finally resolved,
thus jeopardizing these important settlements.

?    The bill includes riders to Colombia assistance, limiting the use of
certain funds to support the initiative, placing caps on U.S. personnel,
and requiring detailed certifications concerning Colombian compliance with
specific human rights provisions and the Colombian drug eradication
strategy.  These riders may make it more difficult to provide effective
assistance as drug traffickers change their tactics.

?    There is also a provision that would create a burdensome reporting
requirement for the National Missile Defense Organization.

     I am pleased that the Congress has decided not to include statutory
language that would have interfered with the Department of the Army?s
management of the Army Corps of Engineers.  The proposed legislative rider
would have prevented the Secretary of the Army from clarifying the proper
relationship between senior Corps of Engineers officials and the appointed
civilian officials of the Army who have responsibility for overseeing the
Corps of Engineers' activities.  It is important and appropriate that the
Congress has retained for these civilian officials, who are confirmed by
and with the advice and consent of the Senate, the means to ensure a clear
chain of command necessary for effective organization performance.
Weakening this relationship statu-torily would raise serious constitutional
issues that extend to civilian-military relationships far beyond the Corps
of Engineers.  I am concerned, however, about language included in the
Conference Statement of the Managers setting out certain conditions related
to these management issues.  As this language does not prevent the Army
from proceeding with management improvements, to the extent the Congress
has requested additional consultation, this request will be fully honored.
The Congress has also requested that the Army not move forward with these
clarifying improvements until ongoing investigations regarding the Army
Corps of Engineers are made available and considered.  We take this
language to refer to the Army Inspector General?s
investigation of matters related to the Upper Mississippi study, which is
the only investigation the Army has underway regarding the Corps of
Engineers.  I am directing the Secretary of the Army to review potential
implications of the Inspector General?s investigation for the proposed
reforms, to take them into account if relevant, and to consult with the
Congress about these investigations as he proceeds with his management

     The Act funds the vast majority of my request for military
construction projects, the military housing program, and other
quality-of-life projects for our military personnel and their families.
The requested projects are critical to supporting military readiness and
the quality of life of our soldiers and their families.  However, I have
several concerns with the bill:

?    Continuing a trend of the past few years, the Congress has not
provided the requested level of construction funding for the Chemical
Weapons Demilitarization program, an important national program.  This
year?s reduction of my funding request by $20 million threatens the ability
of the United States to meet the 2007 Chemical Weapons Convention deadline
for the destruction of the U.S. stockpile of chemical weapons.  The sooner
these weapons are destroyed, the safer we will all be.

?    The Congress has chosen to add funds for projects that DoD has not
identified as priorities.  In particular, the bill includes $475 million
for 83 projects that are not in DoD?s Future Years Defense Program.

?    The Congress has again included a provision (section 124) that would
prevent the use of funds provided by this Act for Partnership for Peace
Programs in the New Independent States of the former Soviet Union.
Although this provision would have no practical effect in the short term, I
believe it could adversely affect U.S. foreign policy initiatives, aswell
as future NATO-led operations, if it were to become a permanent fixture in
future Military Construction Appropriations Acts.

     Today, I am designating as emergency requirements the funds -- with
two exceptions -- in the Act that the Congress has so designated.  The
exceptions are for the Department of Health and Human Services Low-Income
Home Energy Assistance Program and the Department of the Interior Wildland
Fire Management program.  The emergency designations are necessary so that
urgently needed funds are available for critical needs.

                              WILLIAM J. CLINTON

    July 13, 2000.

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