[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book II)]
[August 7, 1998]
[Page 1414]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Statement on House of Representatives Action on District of Columbia 
Appropriations Legislation
August 7, 1998

    I am deeply disappointed that the District of Columbia 
appropriations bill passed by the House imposes unacceptable 
restrictions on our Nation's Capital City.
    Early this morning, the House adopted a series of objectionable 
amendments. They include provisions to establish a school voucher 
program that would drain resources and attention from the hard work of 
reforming the District's public schools, to prohibit adoptions in the 
District by unmarried or unrelated couples, and to prohibit the use of 
Federal and local funds for needle exchange programs or to deny any 
funding in the bill to private agencies that operate such programs. 
These measures all undermine local control, are unacceptable, and should 
be dropped before Congress completes action on the bill.
    I am concerned that other shortcomings in this bill undermine the 
District of Columbia's autonomy by imposing severe restrictions on local 
operations. For example, this bill would also bar the use of local 
District funds for abortions and strip local funds from the advisory 
neighborhood commissions, which are a foundation of local government.
    I am also disappointed that the House fails to fund the much-needed 
economic revitalization plan for the District of Columbia. I urge 
Congress to provide appropriate resources for the economic development 
plan in order to capitalize the locally chartered National Capital 
Revitalization Corporation, which is key to the future economic growth 
of the Nation's Capital.
    At a time when the District of Columbia has made enormous strides 
toward financial responsibility and the eventual return of self-
government, it is wrong for Congress to turn the clock backward by 
imposing unwarranted restrictions on broad policymaking and on day-to-
day decisionmaking at the local level.