[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: George H. W. Bush (1992, Book I)]
[June 23, 1992]
[Pages 1005-1006]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Message to the House of Representatives Returning Without Approval the 
National Institutes of Health Revitalization Amendments of 1992

June 23, 1992
To the House of Representatives:
    I am returning herewith without my approval H.R. 2507, the 
``National Institutes of Health Revitalization Amendments of 1992,'' 
which would extend and amend biomedical research authorities of the 
National Institutes of Health (NIH).
    Before discussing the flaws of H.R. 2507, I must clarify two 
misperceptions. First, H.R. 2507 is not necessary to assure that Federal 
spending continue for biomedical research, or for research related to 
any disease, disorder, or condition. Second, H.R. 2507 is not necessary 
to increase support for research targeted at women's health needs. Great 
progress is being made in the area of women's health under the valued 
leadership of the first female director of the NIH.
    H.R. 2507 is unacceptable to me on almost every ground: ethical, 
fiscal, administrative, philosophical, and legal. I repeatedly warned 
the Congress of this at each stage of the legislative process. The 
bill's provisions permitting the use of tissue from induced abortions 
for federally funded transplantation research involving human subjects 
are inconsistent with our Nation's deeply held beliefs. Moreover, it is 
clear that this legislation would be counterproductive to the attainment 
of our Nation's health research objectives.
    H.R. 2507 is objectionable because it would lift the current 
moratorium on the use of Federal funds for fetal tissue transplantation 
research where the tissue is obtained from induced abortions. Let it be 
clear: this is not a moratorium on research. It is only a moratorium on 
the use of one source of tissue for that research. I believe this 
moratorium is important in order to prevent taxpayer funds from being 
used for research that many Americans find morally repugnant and because 
of its potential for promoting and legitimatizing abortion.
    My Administration is strongly committed to pursuing research to find 
cures and treatments for such disorders as Parkinson's disease, 
diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease that have been held out as areas where 
fetal tissue research might be pursued. Fetal tissue transplantation 
research relating to these disorders can proceed without relying on 
tissue from induced abortions. Medical experts at the Department of 
Health and Human Services have assured me that ectopic pregnancies and 
spontaneous abortions provide sufficient and suitable tissue to meet 
anticipated research needs. Therefore, on May 19, 1992, I issued an 
Executive order establishing a fetal tissue bank that will collect 
tissue from these sources so as to meet the needs of the research 
community. The bank will provide tissue directly to scientists for their 
research. This approach truly represents the pro-research and ethical 
alternative that will allow this research to go forward without relying 
on a source of tissue that many find to be morally objectionable.
    H.R. 2507 also contains fiscally irresponsible authorization levels. 
The total cost of the provisions in this legislation could exceed the FY 
1993 Budget I presented to the Congress by $3.2 billion. It is 
exceedingly unlikely, if not impossible, that the Con-

[[Page 1006]]

gress can fund the programs contained in H.R. 2507 while complying with 
the requirements of the Budget Enforcement Act. That being the case, the 
expectations that this bill will create are unreasonable. Those who 
suffer from the many diseases and disorders that are the subject of this 
unrealistic legislation will be sadly disappointed.
    H.R. 2507 is also objectionable because its provisions regarding the 
appointment of ``Ethics Advisory Boards'' are inconsistent with the 
Appointments Clause of the Constitution. H.R. 2507 would effectively 
give these boards unilateral authority to make decisions concerning 
major research initiatives. As a policy matter, these decisions should 
be made by the President's chief officer on health issues: the Secretary 
of Health and Human Services. More fundamentally, however, the 
Appointments Clause requires that officers vested with this type of 
power be appointed by the President by and with the advice and consent 
of the Senate. Instead, H.R. 2507 provides that they are to be appointed 
by the Secretary of Health and Human Services and then purports to 
circumscribe the discretion of the appointing authority by imposing 
various requirements concerning the boards' composition. H.R. 2507's 
provisions regarding the Scientific and Technical Board on Biomedical 
and Behavioral Research Facilities and the Office of Research on Women's 
Health likewise raise Appointments Clause problems.
    In addition, H.R. 2507 contains reporting requirements that impair 
the separation of powers. For example, the bill would require the 
Director of the National Cancer Institute to submit to specified 
committees of the Congress the original plan, and any revisions to that 
plan, regarding certain cancer research. This requirement to submit to 
the Congress what is in essence a draft plan without the prior review 
and approval of the executive branch clearly interferes with the 
deliberative process of the executive branch. The internal workings of 
the executive branch should be just that--internal. To require the 
executive branch to display each step in its deliberative process to the 
Congress would destroy my ability to speak as the single voice of a 
unitary executive.
    I am also troubled by the increasingly frequent imposition of 
reporting requirements. H.R. 2507 imposes a significant number of new 
reporting requirements on an executive branch that already suffers under 
the burden of literally thousands of such requirements. Last October, I 
noted that ``taken together such reports put a heavy burden on the 
reporting agencies at a time of scarce resources.'' Thus, I called for 
``an effort to minimize reporting requirements, both in terms of the 
number and frequency of reports that must be submitted, as well as the 
level of detail required.'' Bills such as H.R. 2507 move us in the 
opposite direction.
    For these reasons, I am returning H.R. 2507 without my approval, and 
I ask the Congress to adopt a simple extension of those appropriations 
authorizations for the National Institutes of Health that need to be 

                                                             George Bush

The White House,
June 23, 1992.