Reagan Prods Congress to Pass 7 Funding Bills
With the new fiscal year 11 days away, President Reagan prodded Congress on Tuesday to finish work on seven remaining appropriations bills, reiterating his vow not to sign a “catch-all spending monstrosity” thrown together in the final hours of the congressional session.
Addressing the United States Jaycees, Reagan also warned that he will veto defense appropriations legislation--similar to an authorization bill he vetoed earlier--if it does not meet his approval.
In vetoing the earlier bill, Reagan asserted that it unfairly restricted his ability to negotiate arms control agreements with the Soviet Union and cut funds that he had requested for the space-based Strategic Defense Initiative program.
Would Continue Policies
Reagan told the Jaycees: “I want defense legislation that will continue the policies of the last eight years, the policies that brought the Soviets to the bargaining table and led them to begin pulling out of Afghanistan.”
Earlier, White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said that the Administration wants to negotiate with Congress and that it hopes to work out a solution on the defense measure.
However, Fitzwater indicated that there would be no negotiation on a catch-all spending measure, known as a continuing resolution. He said that Reagan had met with leaders of the Appropriations committees of both houses and quoted the President as saying: “I’m going to stand here and dig in my heels” on any continuing resolution. Congressional leaders have said that they too want to avoid a continuing resolution, in which pending spending measures of all kinds are rolled together into one huge package for passage.
Fitzwater said that Reagan has signed three appropriations bills for fiscal 1989--covering programs on housing, health, labor and energy.
Pleased by Provision
Announcing that Reagan signed a $39.4-billion appropriations bill for the departments of Labor and Health and Human Services, Fitzwater said that the President was pleased that lawmakers had refused to include a provision that would have allowed federal funding for abortions in cases of rape and incest. Current law allows payments only when the mother’s life is endangered.
“The President thanked the members who helped ensure that this bill did not expand federal funding for abortions,” Fitzwater said.
In addition to the three he has signed, three of the 13 appropriations bills referred to by Reagan have been passed and await his signature, while seven others are still in Congress.
“I want those seven bills on my desk and in shape to sign by Oct. 1,” Reagan told the Jaycee representatives. “And if we do that, it’ll be the first time it’s happened since 1948.”