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Public Papers - 1990

Statement on Signing the Military Construction Appropriations Act, 1991

1990-11-05

Today I signed H.R. 5313, the ``Military Construction Appropriations Act, 1991.''

The Military Construction Appropriations Act for fiscal year 1991 is within the funding levels of the Budget Summit Agreement. The Act provides funds for military construction, family housing, and base closure programs of the Department of Defense.

I am deeply disappointed with several provisions in the bill.

Most serious is language that would prohibit the obligation of funds to allow the United States to meet its obligations to the NATO alliance and relocate the 401st Tactical Fighter Wing to Crotone, Italy. I am especially troubled that some may perceive this as a reduction in our commitment to NATO during this period of dramatic change. Moving the 401st to this strategic location remains a crucial element of NATO defense strategy and a top priority for the United States. The Administration will continue to work with the Congress to resume our contribution and to proceed with this important effort. Meanwhile, I hope our NATO allies will continue construction of this essential base.

Appropriations for the NATO Infrastructure program are 3 million, 8 million less than the 0 million requested. This level of funding may prevent the United States from meeting its contractual obligations under treaties and agreements with our NATO allies and slow essential restoration and emergency repairs of existing overseas facilities.

Section 113 of the Act requires the Secretary of Defense to give 30 days' advance notice to certain congressional committees of any proposed military exercise involving construction costs that are over 0,000. In approving H.R. 5313, I wish to reiterate an understanding, expressed by President Reagan when he signed an Act containing a similar provision, that this section encompasses only exercises for which providing 30 days' advance notice is feasible and consistent with my constitutional authority and duty to protect the national security.

Finally, section 125 would purport to require the Department of Defense to proceed with military construction projects that may become unnecessary as we reshape the Armed Forces.

George Bush

The White House,

November 5, 1990.

Note: H.R. 5313, approved November 5, was assigned Public Law No. 101 - 519.

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