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Public Papers - 1989 - November

Statement on Signing the Rural Development, Agriculture, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1990


Today I signed into law H.R. 2883, the Rural Development, Agriculture, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1990. I consider this Act to be an improvement over earlier versions passed by the House and Senate, and it includes funds for many important programs supported by the Administration.

Consistent with the initiatives outlined in my ``Building a Better America'' budget transmittal of February 1989:

-- The Act provides most of the funding requested for the Department of Agriculture's portion of the Federal Water Quality Initiative to reduce groundwater and surface water pollution from agricultural sources. As part of a coordinated Federal effort in partnership with State institutions, the Department of Agriculture will use most of these resources to develop and demonstrate farming practices that avoid water quality degradation.

-- The Act provides full funding for the Administration's FY 1990 request for soup kitchen funds, which responds to my initiative to combat homelessness by providing emergency food assistance for needy, homeless persons.

-- The Act provides full funding for the Food and Drug Administration's efforts to combat AIDS. The Food and Drug Administration will use these resources to study HIV -- the infection that causes AIDS -- to review and approve new AIDS drugs, to inspect blood banks, and to review drug-test kits.

The Act also addresses the needs of many other important programs, such as the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children.

I also want to commend the Congress for removing, at the Administration's urging, a provision that would have required the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) to make highly subsidized direct loans of 2 million, in addition to the .8 billion in REA loans provided in the bill. These loans would have resulted in the taxpayers paying million in additional subsidies to lower the loan costs of these borrowers, the vast majority of whom are financially healthy.

There are some provisions in this Act that I oppose. Specific objectionable funding and language provisions have been discussed previously in various Statements of Administration Policy and other communications from officials of our Administration. I decided, however, that on balance the bill's positive features were sufficient to warrant its approval.

In closing, I want to express my desire to work with the Congress on the 1990 Farm bill and on other related agriculture and rural development legislation so that the FY 1991 Rural Development, Agriculture, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill addresses the rural development and agricultural needs of the Nation in the most efficient and effective manner.

George Bush

The White House,

November 21, 1989.

Note: H.R. 2883, approved November 21, was assigned Public Law No. 101 - 161.

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