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Public Papers - 1990 - January

Message to the Congress Transmitting the Fiscal Year 1991 Budget

1990-01-29

To the Congress of the United States:

I have the honor to present the Budget of the United States Government for Fiscal Year 1991.

The American economy is now in its eighth consecutive year of expansion and growth. It is essential that the growth of the economy continue and increase in the future. The budget is designed to achieve that goal.

The budget has five broad themes:

Investing in Our Future -- With an eye toward future growth, and expansion of the human frontier, the budget's chief emphasis is on investment in the future. It proposes: a capital gains incentive for long-term private investment and new incentives for family savings; record-high amounts for research and development, space, education, and Head Start; a major investment in civil aviation; and a large increase in spending to attack the scourge of drugs. At the same time, the budget maintains a strong national defense while reflecting the dramatic changes in the world political situation that are taking place; and it fulfills responsibilities to protect the environment, and preserve America's cultural heritage.

Advancing States as Laboratories -- The budget recognizes the emergence of new ideas and initiatives originating at the State and local level. The Federal Government will foster such innovation and experimentation in numerous fields, from transportation to health, through waivers of certain rules and regulations, and through demonstration grants.

Reforming Mandatory Programs -- Entitlement and other mandatory spending now constitutes nearly half the budget, not counting an additional 14 percent for interest. The budget provides for full payment of social security benefits and funds growth in health, low income and other mandatory programs. However, it proposes reforms where warranted to slow the growth in some of these programs and thus leave more room in the budget for priority initiatives.

Acknowledging Inherited Claims -- The budget faces up to such inherited claims as the cleanup of decades old environmental damage at nuclear weapons facilities. It analyzes potential claims from unfunded annuities and Federal insurance programs. It assesses the growing volume of defaults in Federal credit programs and proposes essential credit reforms.

Managing for Integrity and Efficiency -- The budget contains suggestions for reforms in the way Congress deals with the budget. It provides more resources and suggests improved methods for managing the vast Federal enterprise better. It identifies low-return domestic discretionary programs where a smaller investment of budgetary resources is warranted.

The budget meets the deficit target of billion for 1991 established by the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings law, without raising taxes. It would balance the budget by 1993 as required by that law, begin reducing debt, and protect the integrity of Social Security.

Each of the themes outlined above is discussed in more detail in Section One of the budget, the Overview. The customary tabular and appendix material is contained in Section Two.

I look forward to working with the Congress in the weeks and months ahead to produce a budget that meets the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings target, advances the Nation's essential interests, and keeps the economy on the path of continued growth.

January 29, 1990

George Bush.

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