THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
Today I have signed into law H.R. 1817, the "Military Construction Appropriations Act, FY 1996," which provides funding for military construction and family housing programs of the Department of Defense.
I am pleased that the Act provides my full request for the vast majority of military construction projects, the military family housing program, other quality of life facilities for our military personnel and their families, and the Defense Department base closure and realignment program. Especially noteworthy, the bill funds my request for the Defense Department Family Housing Improvement Fund, which will give the Department a new vehicle for acquiring and improving military housing and supporting facilities more quickly and at lower cost than with conventional funding and acquisition methods.
Although I am disappointed that the Act provides more funding than required, most of the unrequested appropriations are for legitimate defense requirements. Funding was provided in FY 1996 rather than in future years.
I am concerned, however, that Congress has chosen to spend $70 million on unneeded projects. The Defense Department has not identified these projects as priorities, and they will not help improve the quality of life for our service members. These projects are clear examples of why the President needs line-item veto authority. The taxpayers deserve protection from this kind of wasteful spending, and if I had the line-item veto, I would use it to strike this $70 million. Unfortunately, Congress still has not completed action on legislation to provide the President with line-item veto authority. The American people have waited long enough. I strongly urge the Congress to complete action on line-item veto legislation now so I can eliminate wasteful spending this year.
The American people sent us here to change the way Washington does business. Passing the line-item veto would be a good place for this Congress to start.