Statement on Proposed Emergency Employment and Humanitarian Aid Legislation

February 24, 1983

On January 31, Speaker O'Neill, Majority Leader Baker, and I discussed the possibility of accelerating needed public improvements to help relieve the current burden of unemployment. Following this discussion, and subsequent staff-to-staff conversations, we developed a possible bipartisan compromise on jobs and humanitarian aid. On February 10, members of my staff presented this to the congressional leadership. The possible compromise we outlined included $4.3 billion in accelerated job creation and humanitarian assistance. I was pleased that Speaker O'Neill found this proposal to be an acceptable framework for bipartisan cooperation.

Today, I have reviewed the $4.4 billion package developed by the House Appropriations Committee chairmen. I am encouraged that it is largely consistent with the bipartisan framework in both size and approach. We have come a long way toward bipartisan agreement.

Seventy-five percent of the House committee chairmen's package consists of funding for necessary Federal construction, repair, and renovation work, and appropriate humanitarian aid. However, some elements of the package do not constitute acceleration of already budgeted items and thus would unnecessarily increase the deficit. These, and other elements of the package that are not fully consistent with the bipartisan framework, could and should be better targeted on higher priority, job-related Federal expenditures.

I am hopeful that these needed improvements in the House committee chairmen's package will be achieved in the legislative process. I look forward to prompt bipartisan action on these matters.