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Public Papers - 1990 - November

Statement on Signing the National and Community Service Act of 1990


Today I am signing S. 1430, the ``National and Community Service Act of 1990.'' There can be no nobler goal than to strengthen the American ethic of community service and to help translate this ethic into meaningful action. S. 1430 will make an important contribution to achieving this goal.

I am particularly pleased that S. 1430 includes provisions for the initial funding of a private, nonprofit foundation that will promote the ethic of community service, disseminate information about successful local activities to other communities across the Nation, and stimulate the development of new leaders and their community service initiatives. Government cannot rebuild a family or reclaim a sense of neighborhood, and no bureaucratic program will ever solve the pressing human problems that can be addressed by a vast galaxy of people working voluntarily in their own backyards. The Points of Light Foundation will help that galaxy to grow and flourish in the years ahead.

S. 1430 also includes a number of new programs that use more traditional techniques of fostering community service, including Federal grants and demonstration projects. An important role can be played by programs of this kind, and I am committed to ensuring that these new initiatives are administered in an effective fashion. I note that participants in some of the new programs will be paid by the Government to engage in community service. Although the use of financial incentives may be appropriate in some circumstances, I have reservations about the wisdom of employing ``paid volunteers'' to the extent contemplated by S. 1430.

I must also note that there are constitutional defects in two provisions of S. 1430. Section 190 creates a Commission on National and Community Service to administer several of the programs established by the Act. The Commission in turn is to be administered by a Board of Directors composed of 21 members appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Section 190(b), however, purports to limit the President's choice of nominees to the Board. Under section 190(b), the Board must be ``balanced according to the race, ethnicity[,] age and gender of its members''; must include no more than 11 members of the same political party; must include seven members nominated by the Speaker of the House of Representatives; and must include seven members nominated by the Majority Leader of the Senate.

Under the Appointments Clause of the Constitution, article II, section 2, clause 2, congressional participation in such appointments may be exercised only through the Senate's advice and consent with respect to Presidential nominees. Accordingly, the restrictions in section 190(b) on my choice of nominees to the Board of Directors are without legal force or effect. I direct the Attorney General to prepare remedial legislation for submission to the Congress during its next session, so that the Act can be brought into compliance with the Constitution's requirements.

In addition, section 602(b) of S. 1430 purports to condition my authority to transfer certain funds from one account to another on the subsequent approval of congressional committees. This attempt to condition my authority constitutes a legislative veto device of the kind declared unconstitutional in INS v. Chadha, 462 U.S. 919 (1983), and I will treat it as having no legal force or effect.

George Bush

The White House,

November 16, 1990.

Note: S. 1430, approved November 16, was assigned Public Law No. 101 - 610.

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