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Public Papers - 1989

Statement on Signing the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 1990


Today I signed into law H.R. 3072, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 1990.

The Defense Appropriations Act for fiscal year 1990 is within the funding levels of the Bipartisan Budget Agreement. The Act provides funds for our critical national defense operations and satisfactorily accommodates most of the Administration's major concerns.

I am disappointed in the deep reductions made to our budget request for the Strategic Defense Initiative. I am hopeful that, in the future, the Congress will support the Administration's request for this program.

I also believe that certain provisions, unless carefully construed, would raise substantial constitutional concerns.

Appropriations language under Title I restricts the availability of certain members of the Armed Forces to fill positions in a new light infantry battalion. Section 9068 restricts the establishment or transfer of certain naval functions and billets until 60 days after a report to the Committees on Appropriations. Appropriations language under Title II prohibits the Air Force and Air Force Reserve WC - 130 Weather Reconnaissance Squadrons from being operated at a reduced level. While I will respect the intent of these provisions as far as possible, I signed the bill with the understanding that such provisions do not constrain my constitutional power as Commander in Chief to deploy military resources in the interest or the security of the Nation.

Section 9024 prohibits the use of funds ``to influence congressional action on any legislation or appropriation matters pending before the Congress.'' I signed the bill with the understanding that this provision does not restrict the normal course of communications of the Department of Defense on legislation before the Congress.

Finally, I understand that the report to this bill may contain language purporting to require prior congressional approval before funds appropriated by this bill may be expended for certain activities. Apart from the fact that the Congress cannot create legal obligations through report language, constitutionally the Congress cannot require me to obtain its prior approval before obligating or expending appropriated funds, see Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Chadha, 462 U.S. 919 (1983). Accordingly, any such language has no legal force or effect.

George Bush

The White House,

November 21, 1989.

Note: H.R. 3072, approved November 21, was assigned Public Law No. 101 - 165.

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