THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
STATEMENT OF VICE PRESIDENT GORE TO STATE MUNICIPAL LEAGUE PRESIDENTS AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS ON SENATE TAKINGS LEGISLATION
Recently, the Senate Judiciary Committee ignored your protests, as well as those of our Nation's governors, mayors, and other local officials, by approving a bill --H.R. 1534 -- that would burden taxpayers, put federal courts in charge of local zoning, and put special interests ahead of community interests.
This bill would radically change the American tradition of working out land use disputes at a local level. Instead, those disputes would go directly into Federal court. As a result, this so-called takings bill would actually take away the rights of your communities to control their future.
Across the country, cities and towns are confronting tough choices about whether and how their communities should grow. Currently, a town deciding whether a farm or open space should give way to development works with developers to find a way to protect the interests of both the community and the property owner. Under H.R. 1534, developers would have little incentive to cooperate with local governments because they could take their case to federal court. As a result, this bill would give developers a new club to wield in their negotiations with local officials and citizens groups -- the threat of premature and costly litigation in federal court. Remarkably, a number of Senators on the Committee agreed with this view but, under pressure from special interests, decided to vote for the bill. I thank Senator Leahy for his leadership in opposing this threat to our communities.
This week, the House leadership has scheduled a vote on H.R. 992. Under the same misleading guise used for H.R. 1534 -- that of providing immediate access to federal courts -- this bill would raise constitutional concerns and lead to greater delay in federal litigation and uncertainty in the law.
I want to assure you today that the President has heard your protests, even if the Congress has not. If H.R. 1534, or any similar measure that would undermine local prerogatives and waste taxpayer money, comes to the President's desk, he will veto it.