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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 5, 1997


By attaching a political wish list to the much-needed disaster relief legislation, the congressional majority has chosen politics over the public interest.

The people of the Dakotas and Minnesota have been hit hard by devastating floods. They, and the people in other states around the country that have suffered disasters, urgently need funds from the enactment of a straightforward disaster relief bill. I have asked the Congress for such legislation.

Instead, the Republican majority in Congress has insisted on attaching to this vital legislation political provisions that they know are unacceptable. Among them, the bill would violate our balanced budget agreement, cutting critical investments in education and the environment, instead of providing important increases in investments in these and other areas. In addition, it would prohibit the Commerce Department from taking steps to improve the accuracy and cut the costs of the Year 2000 decennial census. There are other unacceptable provisions as well. None of them have any place in this legislation.

Disaster relief legislation is neither the time nor the place for these matters. Congress needs to appropriate this disaster relief, so communities can begin long-term recovery, and funds can continue for families to rebuild homes and businesses and farmers to dig out their fields to plant crops.

I call on the Republican leaders of Congress to keep the politics off disaster relief legislation. They should now, without delay, send me straightforward legislation without provisions that are not in the interest of the American people and that they know I will not accept.