THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
Today I have signed into law H.R. 4103, the "Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 1999."
Our military readiness must remain our top national security priority. This Act fully funds many of the Department's critical readiness programs and supports our commitments to a better quality of life for our military personnel and their families. I anticipate that the Congress shortly will act to include the emergency funds necessary for our ongoing participation in peacekeeping operations in Bosnia in a supplemental funding bill. I strongly urge them to do so. In addition, as I have said before, I believe we should examine near-term and long-term options to secure additional funds to address critical readiness shortfalls.
While the Act funds a number of modernization priorities, I have expressed my strong concerns that this legislation contains excessive funding for projects that are not currently needed for our Nation's defense at the expense of higher priority programs.
I am concerned about section 8115 of the Act, which forbids the obligation or expenditure of appropriated funds under this Act for any additional deployment of U.S. Armed Forces to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), Albania, or Macedonia until after transmittal of a burdensome report to the Congress on the deployment. Consistent with the plain language of section 8115 and the intent of the Congress, I shall interpret it to apply only to the deployment of additional ground forces to one or more of the three countries. Further, I shall interpret and implement section 8115 consistent with my constitutional authority to conduct the foreign relations of the United States and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive, and not in a manner that would encumber my constitutional authority.
I will continue to work with the Congress on the appropriate level of long-term funding for defense in order to adequately address the Nation's security needs.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
THE WHITE HOUSE, October 17, 1998. 30-30-30