THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
Yesterday's action by a Senate Appropriations subcommittee removing funding for the Office of National Drug Control Policy would seriously undermine the nation's battle against drug abuse and drug-related crime.
Removal of all funding for this office would severely curtail my ability to sustain a coordinated strategy among some fifty Federal agencies involved in drug control, including supply and demand, enforcement, interdiction, eradication, education, treatment, and prevention. Just when this coordinated effort is showing sustained success, the subcommittee is proposing we go back to the days when the nation did not have a coordinated drug-control strategy.
The Republican majority is already proposing severe cuts in anti-drug programs -- a 60-percent cut in Safe and Drug Free Schools, which teaches 39 million children about the dangers of drugs; a 26-percent cut in prevention and treatment services aimed at reducing the number of potential criminals; and a 50-percent cut in international anti-drug cooperation programs, a cut that could prevent the continued arrests of the world's top drug kingpins.
Members of Congress cannot tie our hands by cutting effective anti-drug programs, kill the very office that coordinates our national anti-drug strategy, and then expect to be taken seriously when they criticize the Administration for not doing more. It's time instead for the Congress to support our anti-drug initiatives.
Lee Brown, Director of the ONDCP, is doing an extraordinary job focusing the nation's attention on the need to fight drugs at all levels. He has helped me develop a comprehensive, effective, balanced anti-drug strategy and has worked to reduce duplication among those agencies who play a role in our counternarcotics efforts.
As this bill is now constructed, I will not sign it. I urge the full Appropriations Committee and the Senate to restore the funding of this office that is so critical to our battle against drugs.