THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release September 12, 1996
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
I have sent to the Congress $1.097 billion in proposals to strengthen our antiterrorism, counterterrorism, and security efforts in this country and abroad.
These proposals include fiscal 1996 supplemental appropriations for the Department of Defense as well as fiscal 1997 budget amendments to my appropriations requests now pending before the Congress.
On July 29, I met with the bipartisan leadership of the Congress to discuss an appropriate Federal response to the threat of terrorism, adding to the strong antiterrorism initiatives my Administration had already taken. This package of budget proposals is the product of an interagency review that I ordered, subsequent to that meeting, in the wake of recent acts of domestic and international terrorism. It is a comprehensive, balanced program to address this urgent requirement, and I urge the Congress to act expeditiously on it.
Over the past year, the danger to U.S. forces and installations from international terrorism has grown. At my direction, the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community identified measures to enhance programs to deter and thwart terrorism. My requests for 1996 supplemental appropriations will fund the most urgent of them. These requests total $353 million for various antiterrorism activities to increase physical security at overseas installations and to improve intelligence capabilities to detect and combat terrorist activity.
We have already begun to address the problems resulting from heightened terrorist activity. Last month, I approved the relocation of U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf region to lower threat areas. Though the Saudi Arabian government agreed to cover some costs to support this relocation, our forces have had to redirect funds from ongoing operations. Thus, to limit the adverse effects to the Department of Defense operations and provide sufficient funds for these critical antiterrorism measures, I urge the Congress to act upon these supplemental requests as soon as possible.
The rest of the $1.097 billion in proposals is comprised of $728 million in 1997 budget amendments for my antiterrorism, counterterrorism, and security proposals as well as requests for contingent emergency funding.
It includes $207 million for the Department of Justice, $154 million of which would go to the FBI for additional positions and antiterrorism support; $201 million for the Department of Transportation, $198 million of which would go to the Federal Aviation Administration to purchase explosives detection devices and perform passenger profiling and screening; and $147 million for the Department of the Treasury, $66 million of which would go to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to enhance its ability to respond to terrorist threats and investigate crimes involving explosives, and $60 million of which would go to the U.S. Customs Service to increase its capacity to screen passengers and detect dangerous materials.
This package of proposals reflects my comprehensive strategy to fight terrorism on three fronts: (1) beyond our borders, to work more closely with our friends and allies; (2) at home, giving law enforcement the most powerful counter-terrorism tools available; and, (3) in our airports, by increasing aviation security.
Congressional spending levels for defense contain substantial increases over my budget request -- in particular, for certain procurement and research and development projects that are not contained in the Department of Defense's long-term planning requirements. I believe that we can provide for our military readiness, antiterrorism activities, and for other important national needs in the context of an agreement with the Congress on FY 1997 spending levels.
I strongly urge the Congress to enact this package as quickly as possible.
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