THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
I have today signed into law H.R. 2378, the "Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 1998," which provides $12.8 billion in discretionary budget authority for various programs in the Department of the Treasury, the United States Postal Service, the General Services Administration, the Office of Personnel Management, the Executive Office of the President and several smaller agencies.
The Act provides funding for the Department of the Treasury of $11.4 billion, including $131 million for violent crime reduction programs. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is funded at $7.8 billion, including $325 million for Information Technology Investments. While this funding level is $175 million below my request, I believe that the funds will strengthen the IRS's ability to provide timely and accurate data for American taxpayers. The bill also includes $138 million for the Earned Income Tax Credit compliance initiative and $377 million for Year 2000 conversion requirements for IRS computer systems. Law Enforcement bureaus within the Department of the Treasury are funded at $3.1 billion.
The Act provides $195 million for the Office of National Drug Control Policy's (ONDCP) national media campaign. This money will enable ONDCP to develop a national media campaign targeting drug consumption by youth. The campaign will be a model public-private partnership, exposing 90 percent of all 9 to 17 year-olds to anti-drug messages at least four times a week.
The Act repeals cooperative purchasing authority that would have allowed States and localities to buy products off the General Services Administration's Federal supply schedule contracts. I am disappointed by this repeal, which will deprive us of the opportunity for potential savings achievable by leveraging the combined purchasing power of the Federal Government, States, and localities.
Section 640 of the bill prohibits the use of appropriations to pay the salary of any officer or employee of the Federal Government who interferes with certain communications or contacts between other Federal employees and Members of Congress or congressional committees. I understand this provision is intended to protect "whistleblower" employees who wish to inform the Congress of evidence of violations of law or other wrongdoing in the Government. Any broader interpretation of the provision that would apply to "nonwhistleblowers" would raise substantial constitutional concerns in depriving the President and his department and agency heads of their ability to supervise and control the operations and communications of the executive branch. I do not interpret this provision to detract from my constitutional authority in this way.
I urge the Congress to complete action on the remaining FY 1998 appropriations bills as quickly as possible, and to send them to me in an acceptable form.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
THE WHITE HOUSE,
October 10, 1997.
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