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Public Papers - 1991 - August

Memorandum of Disapproval for the District of Columbia Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 1992

1991-08-17

I am withholding my approval of H.R. 2699, a bill providing appropriations for fiscal year 1992 for the District of Columbia.

While I do not object to the underlying legislation and the funding the bill would provide, language concerning the use of funds provided by the bill for abortion is unacceptable. I have stated my intention to veto any bill that does not contain language that prohibits the use of all congressionally appropriated funds to pay for abortions other than those in which the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term. The limitation I propose is identical to the one included in the District of Columbia Appropriations Acts for FY 1989, FY 1990, and FY 1991.

H.R. 2699 would place such a limitation on the use of Federal funds to pay for abortion, but would permit congressionally appropriated local funds to be used for abortions on demand with no restriction whatsoever. As a matter of law, the use of local funds in the District of Columbia must be approved by the Congress and the President through enactment of an appropriation act. Under these circumstances, the failure of H.R. 2699 to prohibit the use of all funds appropriated by the bill to pay for abortion, except in the limited circumstances mentioned above, is unacceptable.

From the outset of my Administration, I have repeatedly stated my deep personal concern about the tragedy in America of abortion on demand. As a Nation, we must protect the unborn. H.R. 2699 does not provide such protection. I am, therefore, withholding my approval of H.R. 2699.

The adjournment of the Congress has prevented my return of H.R. 2699 within the meaning of Article I, section 7, clause 2, of the Constitution. Accordingly, my withholding of approval from the bill precludes its becoming law. The Pocket Veto Case, 279 U.S. 655 (1929). Because of the questions raised in opinions issued by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, I am sending H.R. 2699 with my objections to the Clerk of the House of Representatives.

George Bush

The White House,

8 - 17 - 91

Note: The President's last day for action on this bill was August 17.

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