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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release August 5, 1999


                 President Clinton And Vice President Gore
      Strengthening The Partnership With State And Local Governments

President Clinton has signed an executive order entitled "Federalism" that substantially strengthens the governing partnership between the Administration and state and local governments. The new Executive Order ensures comprehensive consultations and enhanced sensitivity to the concerns of State and local Government by establishing requirements that the Federal government must follow as it develops and carries out policy actions that affect State and local governments.

In a letter to the President from leaders of the seven major intergovernmental organizations, the bipartisan group of state and local officials stated, "The executive order constructively responds to the concerns we raised during these consultations and provides to federal agencies strengthened guidance on the importance of federalism and state and local authority." The officials also expressed appreciation to the President for "consulting extensively" with them prior to issuing the new Federalism executive order.

The order directs executive agencies to: (a) closely examine statutory authority supporting any action that would limit the policymaking discretion of state and local governments and carefully assess the necessity for such action; (b) construe Federal statutes to preempt state law only where the exercise of State authority directly conflicts with the exercise of Federal authority under the Federal statutes or there is other clear evidence to conclude that Congress intended the agency to have the authority to preempt state law; (c) not submit legislation that would directly regulate the States in ways that would interfere with functions essential to the States' separate existence; and (d) not attach to Federal grants conditions that are not reasonably related to the purpose of the grant. At the same time, the Order makes clear that federal action is appropriate in the presence of a problem of national scope or significance.

The order requires each Federal agency to establish an accountable process to ensure meaningful and timely input by State and local officials in the development of regulatory policies that have Federalism implications. It also requires that each agency, within 90 days of the order, designate an official within the agency with principal responsibility for the agency's implementation of the order.

Further, the order requires that, when agencies transmit to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) proposed legislation or draft final regulations with Federalism implications, they certify that the requirements of the order have been met in a meaningful and timely manner.

The Federalism Executive Order builds upon the Clinton-Gore Administration's strong partnership with state and local governments on issues such as the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, welfare reform, the Children's Health Insurance Program, workforce development, and the Clean Water Act, among others. The companion Executive Order on Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments (E.O. 13084) will be reviewed and strengthened as well.