[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book I)]
[May 1, 1998]
[Pages 662-663]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Statement on Signing the 1998 Supplemental Appropriations and 
Rescissions Act
May 1, 1998

    Today I have signed into law H.R. 3579, the FY ``1998 Supplemental 
Appropriations and Rescissions Act.'' This emergency supplemental 
legislation makes urgently needed funds available for victims of natural 
disasters and for our troops in Bosnia and the Persian Gulf. While it is 
disappointing that the Congress has failed to meet the Nation's 
financial responsibilities by not approving funds for the International 
Monetary Fund (IMF) and the United Nations (U.N.), the Congress has 
provided funds that I requested for victims of natural disasters at home 
and for our military troops overseas.
    I am pleased that this legislation will enable us to meet our 
commitment to our troops in Bosnia and the Gulf, to support readiness 
worldwide, and to aid victims of natural disasters at home. This Act 
provides more than $2 billion for these purposes.
    The Act also includes $2.4 billion for disaster relief programs for 
the Federal Emergency Management Agency, for emergency highway repair, 
for repairing levees and other flood control systems, for repairing 
national wildlife refuges and national park property, and for State and 
private forestry, farm loans, dairy, and other agricultural assistance.
    I am also pleased that the Congress has decided to omit a number of 
extraneous and objectionable items in this legislation, such as 
provisions to increase the number of assault weapons on the street, to 
subsidize banks excessively for making student loans without fully 
offsetting the costs, and to undermine our ability to provide food 
stamps to certain legal immigrants.
    It is very troubling, however, that the Congress placed politics 
above sound science by insisting on two measures that would diminish our 
public lands. One of these provisions permits the building of a six-lane 
commuter highway near Albuquerque, New Mexico, through the Petroglyph 
National Monument. This is a dangerous departure from the practice of 
managing National Parks based on sound science and resource protection. 
Another objectionable section is intended to interfere with the Forest 
Service's ability to manage the National Forests. This rider is directed 
at a proposed regulation that would temporarily suspend road 
construction in roadless areas of our National Forests. It imposes 
difficult and burdensome paperwork and potentially costly compensation 
requirements on the Forest Service. In addition, I am very concerned 
about the limitations placed on the Government's ability to ensure a 
fair return for oil and gas resources extracted from Federal lands. My 
Administration will oppose any efforts to make these limitations 
    I am deeply disappointed that this Act extends the comment period 
and delays the effective date of the ``Organ Procurement and 
Transplantation Network'' final rule, allowing an unfair organ 
allocation system to continue. This inequitable system violates the 
intent of the National Organ Transplant Act, which requires a national, 
equitable system, free of geographic bias, as well as the American 
Medical Association's Code of Medical Ethics, which prohibits the 
distribution of organs on the basis of geographic conditions. The final 
rule would ensure that organs are allocated to the sickest candidates 

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    It is also regrettable that in order to pay for the emergency 
funding for victims of natural disasters, this legislation demands 
unnecessary and unwarranted cuts in existing housing programs for low-
income Americans. In response to my Administration's strong objections, 
the Congress pledged to restore this funding fully in the next fiscal 
year. I call upon the Congress to honor that promise, and to do so 
without draining resources from any of the housing programs contained in 
my budget for FY 1999. Instead of cutting housing assistance to low-
income Americans, the Congress should provide funding for the 100,000 
new housing vouchers proposed in my FY 1999 Budget.
    It is imperative that the Congress act quickly so that we may meet 
our commitment to the IMF and the U.N. Delay or failure to meet the full 
IMF requests could undermine our capacity to deal with threats to world 
economic stability and could leave us unable to protect American 
workers, farmers, and businesses in the event of an escalation or spread 
of the Asian financial crisis or a new crisis. In addition, failure to 
provide the full request for U.N. arrears could jeopardize our chance to 
affect negotiations on lowering U.S. dues and would undermine U.S. 
leadership in the international community. I call on the Congress to 
pass new legislation quickly, with workable terms, so that the United 
States is able to maintain its position as a world leader and to meet 
its obligations to the IMF and the U.N.

                                                      William J. Clinton

The White House,

May 1, 1998.

Note: H.R. 3579, approved May 1, was assigned Public Law No. 105-174.