Making Bipartisan Progress On The Budget: The President Signs
VA/HUD/Independent Agencies Appropriations Bill Into Law
October 20, 1999
Demonstrating that progress can be made through bipartisan cooperation
and agreement on spending priorities and acceptable offsets, President
Clinton today will sign into law the Departments of Veterans Affairs and
Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies Appropriations
Act for FY 2000. In order to reach a successful resolution, the
Administration identified priorities and provided resources to pay for
them -- consistent with the President's commitment to fiscal discipline.
This legislation, which was negotiated on a bipartisan basis between the
Administration and Congress, provides $69.4 billion for these agencies
in fiscal year 2000, an increase of $2.8 billion from fiscal year 1999.
It maintains America's commitment to veterans, housing and science and
technology programs, supports critical investments that empower
communities, improves environmental clean-up, and promotes key research
in space and science programs.
Highlights of bipartisan progress in the bill include:
Empowering Communities and Providing Affordable Housing. President
Clinton and Vice President Gore are committed to tapping the potential
of America's urban and rural communities. This budget will help
revitalize our nation's communities so that all American's share in the
economic prosperity by:
Funding 60,000 New Housing Vouchers for America's Hard-Pressed
Working Families. The bill includes $347 million for 60,000 new housing
vouchers for low-income families. The President's budget had requested
100,000 new vouchers (building on last year's level of 50,000) and the
House and Senate-passed bills had approved zero funding. These vouchers
will subsidize the rents of America's hard-pressed working families and
enable families to move closer to economic opportunities. This is
particularly important in a booming economy where about two-thirds of
new jobs are being created in the suburbs far from where many low-income
families live. Families with such vouchers pay about a third of their
income in rent, with the vouchers paying the remainder of the cost.
Last year, the President secured the first new housing vouchers in four
Creating American Private Investment Companies (APICS) -- Part Of
The President's New Markets Initiative. The bill includes $20 million
in funding (if authorized) for America's Private Investment Companies, a
key element of the President's New Markets Initiative that would
leverage up to $800 million dollars of new investment in America's
underserved communities. The President requested $37 million for APICs
-- the House and Senate-passed bills included no funding.
Continuing To Build A Network Of Community Development Banks Across
The Nation. The bill included $95 million for the Community Development
Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund that will expand the capacity of the
network of community development financial institutions across the
country, spurring the flow of capital to distressed neighborhoods and
low-income residents. The President's budget requested $125 million for
the CDFI Fund -- the House appropriated $70 million and the Senate
appropriated $80 million. These added resources bring funding up to
Additional Funding For Empowerment Zones. The bill provides $70
million in funding for Rural/Urban Empowerment Zones. The President's
budget requested $165 million for next year -- the House and Senate
bills included no funding. All of the Urban and rural EZs (20 Zones)
and rural enterprise communities (20 ECs) that were designated by the
Vice President in January 1999 as Round II zones will receive funding.
Expanding Rent Subsidies For Low-Income Families. The bill includes
$10.8 billion for the renewal of all Section 8 contracts, an increase of
$1.2 billion from FY 1999. This will ensure continuation of HUD rental
subsidies for low-income tenants in privately-owned housing. In
addition, the bill includes expansion of funding for affordable housing
for the elderly and disabled by $911 million, $57 million above FY 1999,
enabling 150,000 people to have affordable housing. Also included was a
Housing Security Plan for older Americans that recognizes the dramatic
increase in our elderly population and the changing housing needs that
accompany this demographic shift.
HUD Fair Housing. The budget includes $44 million for efforts to
fight housing discrimination, a $4 million increase from last year's
enacted level, as part of his "One America" initiative.
IMPROVING HEALTH CARE FOR VETERANS. The bill provides $19.8 billion for
the medical care of our nation's veterans. This funding will help
improve the quality of veteran's medical care and cut down on waiting
times consistent with the President and Vice-President's commitment to
improving access and delivery of veteran's medical services. Funding
provided in this bill will improve service and allow for the provision
of a range of home and community-based care for those high priority
veterans who do not have access to such services, and provides resources
for the aggressive testing and treatment of Hepatitis C.
Investing in Space and Science. The bill increases the nation's
investment in scientific discovery and education, which has helped fuel
our remarkable economic growth for the past decade.
NASA - Investing in Our Future. The bill includes $13.7 billion for
NASA, an additional $100 million. This funding levels passed by the
House would have cut the NASA budget by almost $1 billion. These
investments offer the potential of new scientific breakthroughs through
an aggressive robotic series of exploration missions into the solar
system, as well as enhancing our ability to monitor important changes in
the earth's climate system, and strengthening aviation safety for the
NSF - Strengthening Our Commitment to Research and Education in
Science and Engineering. The bill includes an additional of $45 million
for the National Science Foundation, the only agency that supports
research in all science and engineering disciplines, for a total of $3.9
billion. The bill provides $126 million for the President's
"Information Technology for the 21st Century" Initiative, consistent
with the recommendations of the President's Information Technology
Advisory Committee. This investment is critical, since the information
technology sector accounts for 1/3 of U.S. economic growth, and is
generating jobs that pay almost 80 percent more than the private sector
Keeping Community Service Strong. The bill includes $438.5 million for
AmeriCorps, funding that will support nearly 50,000 AmeriCorps members
in their community service projects across the country. This funding
level is roughly at the last year's level; the President will continue
to push for an expansion of AmeriCorps so that 100,000 members can serve
every year and so that more of our young people can give back to their
communities through service.
Boosting Funding For Natural Disasters Such As Hurricane Floyd. So that
FEMA can continue its efforts to help victims of Hurricane Floyd, the
bill includes $2.5 billion in contingent emergency funds, along with the
$821 million appropriated, to ensure that the country is well-prepared
to deal with unforeseen natural disasters.
Investing in Cleaner Environment. The bill also includes investments
for improving water pollution and speeding up toxic cleanups.
- The bill includes $630 million for the Clean Water Action Plan, a
five-year initiative to help communities and farmers clean up almost 40
percent of America's surveyed waterways still too polluted for fishing
and swimming. In addition, the budget provides $820 million for
Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, $45 million above the House passed
bill which would have frozen funds at last year's levels.
The bill includes $1.4 billion for Superfund to keep the program on
track to meet the President's goal of 900 site cleanups by 2002.