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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 4, 1998
                 PRESIDENT SEEKS $2.5 BILLION FOR 1998 
                        PROVIDE DISASTER RELIEF

President Clinton asked Congress today to provide $2.5 billion in emergency 1998 funding to support military operations in Bosnia and Southwest Asia and meet urgent needs created by recent natural disasters in California, Florida, New England, Guam, and other locations. In addition, the President requested $1.86 billion in emergency 1999 funding to support operations in Bosnia during that year.

      For 1998, the request includes $1.85 billion in supplemental 
     funds for Bosnia and Southwest Asia, to fund the extension of the 
     U.S. mission in Bosnia beyond June 30 and the build-up of U.S. 
     forces in Southwest Asia pursuant to Iraqi intransigence with 
     regard to United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) inspections; 
     and $642 million in supplemental funds, which includes $255 
     million in contingent funding, for unanticipated emergencies 
     resulting from recent flooding, ice storms, El Nino, and other 
     natural disasters.

      For 1999, the President's budget contains an allowance for
     emergencies and natural disasters.  The President is submitting an
     amendment to his 1999 budget request to use $1.86 billion of those
     funds to pay for the full cost of Bosnia operations for that fiscal

     Along with the supplemental package, the President transmitted to

Congress a statement, required by both the fiscal 1998 Department of Defense Appropriations and Authorization Acts, to certify that the continued presence of U.S. forces in Bosnia beyond June 30 is required to meet the security interests of the United States.


America has major national interests in peace in Bosnia. We have learned from hard experience in the twentieth century that America's security and Europe's stability are intimately linked. The United States and its allies have made much progress in forging a lasting peace, but much more work remains to be done. Continued American leadership is required to sustain this peace and support the NATO-led Stabilization Force (SFOR) mission. A U.S. military presence in Bosnia will enable the people of that country to lay a firm foundation of peace and cooperation for the future. Funds totaling $487 million in 1998, and $1.86 billion in 1999, will sustain this effort.

Southwest Asia

Seven years after agreeing to submit to United Nations-sponsored inspections of sites suspected of harboring weapons of mass destruction, Iraq has flaunted the will of the international community by turning away repeatedly the U.N. inspectors. This deliberate intransigence threatens the surrounding region and the entire world, and cannot go unanswered. The deployment of U.S. forces to Southwest Asia will ensure the protection of our interests, and will remind Iraq of the severe penalties of non-compliance. U.S. military action still may be required; accordingly, our additional forces will remain in Southwest Asia for the foreseeable future. For purposes of the 1998 supplemental, the President's $1.36 billion request will cover the costs that would be associated with sustaining the current force levels and operations in the region for the remainder of the fiscal year.

Disaster Relief

In addition to the Defense Department emergency funds requested for Bosnia and Southwest Asia, the President is requesting $642 million for 1998 emergency requirements resulting from recent flooding, ice storms, El Nino, and other natural disasters. This includes $152 million in contingent funding for anticipated needs arising from these disasters that have not yet been documented.

"The funds I am requesting today will help to bolster our efforts to reduce the suffering of the countless Americans who have been hardest hit by disasters in recent months," said the President. "We are committed to helping them and their families as they work to put their lives back together."

The funds include:

           $224 million for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) 
          to repair highway damage resulting from the floods in 
          California and the Northeastern United States and other 
          disasters Nationwide.

           The President is also requesting $35 million in contingent
          funding for FHWA, to be made available upon his submission 
          of a later budget request to Congress designating the entire 
          amount requested as an emergency requirement.

           $122.8 million for the Defense Department.  The request 
          includes $120.7 million for damage in Guam resulting from 
          Typhoon Paka and $2 million for damage in the United States 
          resulting from ice storms.

           In addition, the President is requesting $50 million in
          contingent funding for damage to military facilities caused 
          by recent natural disasters

           $143 million, including $103 million in contingent funding, 
          for the Agriculture Department.  The requested funds include: 
          $10 million for the Farm Service Agency, of which $6 million 
          in subsidy budget authority would support $25 million in 
          emergency loans to assist family farmers; $5 million for 
          watershed and flood prevention operations such as opening 
          dangerously restricted channels and waterways; $10 million 
          for the Forest Service to repair damage caused by recent ice 
          storms; $48 million for State and private forestry; $40 
          million for watershed and flood prevention operations; and 
          $4 million for dairy and livestock assistance.

           $36.8 million in contingent funding for the Interior 
          Department.  These funds include:  $25 million for the Fish 
          and Wildlife Service to repair damage to national wildlife 
          refuge property and structures; $8.5 million for the National 
          Park Service to repair and replace facilities; $2.3 million 
          for the Bureau of Reclamation to repair flood control levees 
          and dikes; and, $1 million for the U.S. Geological Service 
          to repair damage to its facilities and monitoring equipment.

           $30 million in contingent funding for the U.S. Army Corps 
          of Engineers.  These funds would be used to complete repairs 
          of damage to navigation channels and harbors, flood control
          channels, and reservoir facilities due to El Nino in 
          California, the Pacific Northwest, and Florida.