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Public Papers - 1990 - November

Statement on Signing the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, 1991


Today I signed H.R. 5158, the ``Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, 1991.''

This Act meets the needs of our Nation's veterans. The Act provides .3 billion for VA Medical Care, an increase of putmaincontenthere.9 billion over the 1990 enacted level. This increase will allow the Department to provide quality care to all eligible veterans expected to apply on a system-wide basis.

I am pleased that NASA was provided nearly a 13.5 percent increase over its fiscal year 1990 budget. While I am disappointed that the Congress would not provide the small amount of funding requested for technology development to enable future manned missions to the Moon and Mars, I am pleased that the Congress recognized the inevitability of human space exploration. NASA has the flexibility to reprogram funds to continue current in-house mission studies and synthesis activities. The human exploration of space is our destiny -- we must continue to move forward.

I am greatly concerned over the significant budget reduction in the Space Station Freedom (SSF) program. SSF remains, for me, a high priority. However, I am instructing NASA to reassess its current design and try to restructure a development effort within the funding envelope recommended by the Congress. The revised program will seek to achieve a permanently manned presence, to maintain a balance among science objectives, and to preserve our commitments to our international partners and to other users.

I am equally concerned that this Act did not fund the HOPE initiative, which would enable low-income persons to take control of their lives through homeownership. We must use available Federal housing funds more effectively to provide opportunity and hope for low-income Americans. I am also disappointed that the Congress has chosen to impose new restrictions on the ability of the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to manage his Department. It would be much better for the Congress to work cooperatively with the Administration to overcome previous HUD management problems.

I am also disappointed that the Congress failed to provide an adequate increase for the research activities of the National Science Foundation. Support for basic research, particularly individual researchers, underlies the Nation's long-term economic growth. The reductions made by the Congress are regrettable and will certainly contribute to the decline in support for individual investigators.

The Congress has an especially difficult task balancing the competing priorities funded in this diverse Act with the resources available. I appreciate their efforts. We will continue to work with the Congress to seek solutions for the deficiencies I have noted.

George Bush

The White House,

November 5, 1990.

Note: H.R. 5158, approved November 5, was assigned Public Law No. 101 - 507.

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