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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release September 28, 1999


H.R. 2587, the "District of Columbia Appropriations Act, 2000" approves local funding and provides for targeted federal funding for the District of Columbia that we all support. The bill includes essential funding for District Courts and Corrections and the D.C. Offender Supervision Agency, and makes some progress towards providing requested funds for a new tuition assistance program for District of Columbia residents.

However, I have decided to veto this bill because Congress has added a number of unacceptable riders that prevent local residents from making their own decisions about local matters. Congress has interfered in local decisions in this bill in a way that it would not have done to any other local jurisdiction in the country. For example, this bill bars the District from spending its own funds to seek voting rights for the citizens of the District of Columbia.

Congress should not impose such conditions on the District of Columbia. And it is wrong for some in Congress to threaten to cut funding that would fight crime, expand educational opportunity by providing tuition assistance, and improve children's health simply because they are unwilling to let the people of the District of Columbia make local decisions about local matters, as they should under home rule.