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Public Papers - 1992 - April

Message to the Congress Transmitting Proposed Legislation on Accountability in Government


To the Congress of the United States:

I am pleased to transmit today for your immediate consideration and enactment the ``Accountability in Government Act of 1992.''

The legislation would extend to the Congress and the White House the relevant portions of five laws that apply to the private sector. The laws in question are the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (minimum wage law), the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the damages remedy created by the Civil Rights Act of 1991. The proposal also makes available the remedies currently available to other employees for violations of these laws, rather than special remedial schemes based entirely or in large part on internal congressional grievance mechanisms.

The legislation would also extend to the analogous portions of Congress five laws that presently apply to various portions of the executive branch. The laws in question are Title VI of the Ethics in Government Act, conflicts of interest laws, the Hatch Act, the Freedom of Information Act, and the Privacy Act. The scope of this proposal has been carefully tailored to take into account the unique characteristics of the Congress and its Members. Moreover, none of the provisions of this legislation except those implicating criminal penalties calls for executive branch enforcement. Rather, all are to be enforced either by private suit, entities within the General Accounting Office (an instrumentality of the legislative branch), or both. This legislation therefore does not present the constitutional separation-of-powers questions that might be presented by general executive branch administration of laws applied to the legislative branch.

I urge the Congress to give this legislation prompt and favorable consideration.

George Bush

The White House,

April 9, 1992.

George Bush Presidential Library and Museum
1000 George Bush Drive West, College Station, Texas 77845
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