Clinton Warns of Possible Veto Over Funding Bill
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, March 14) -- President Bill Clinton on Saturday warned Congress against adding unrelated amendments to an emergency spending bill, saying such a move would be "unwise" and indicating that he might veto the bill.
Speaking in his weekly radio address, Clinton criticized Republican efforts to attach an anti-abortion measure to a bill that would pay off $1 billion in past-due U.N. dues and provide aid for victims of natural disasters. The anti-abortion measure opposes funding for groups that lobby to liberalize overseas abortion laws.
Clinton urged Congress to approve the emergency spending bills "right now, in the next several days."
He also criticized GOP efforts to attach language to the bill that would block the Federal Communications Commission from ordering free broadcast time for political candidates. At Clinton's request, the FCC is drafting proposals that would require broadcasters either to provide free time or give
deeper discounts on ads than they do now.
The president accused Republican lawmakers of trying to slip
unrelated, controversial provisions into the emergency spending legislation, moves he said were "guaranteed to produce gridlock and delay."
Clinton did not directly threaten a veto, but he recalled that when Congress attached controversial measures to similar emergency legislation last year, "I said, no."
"Congress would be unwise to head down that road again," he
said. "Instead, let's work together to enact a straightforward emergency measure. No unacceptable provisions, no gimmicks."
Noting that Congress has 68 work days remaining in this session, Clinton said: "We must act now -- not over the next 68 days, but right now, in the next several days."
One of two emergency funding bills before Congress includes more than $1.8 billion to pay for keeping U.S. troops in Bosnia-Herzegovina longer than originally planned as well as for the recent buildup of U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf.
It also provides $642 million for recovery from storms and other natural disasters in Florida, California, New England and Guam.
Republicans do not oppose spending the money, but they want the added costs to be offset by cuts in domestic programs.
The other measure is to settle up on U.N. dues and to increase financing for the International Monetary Fund. That bill is unpopular among Republicans.
In his radio address, taped before he and his wife, Hillary,
left Friday for a weekend stay at Camp David, Maryland, Clinton called the emergency funding measures "vital to the national interest."
He said Republicans are to blame if the money is delayed by