Statement on Signing the Veterans' Health Care Act of 1984

October 19, 1984

I have signed H.R. 5618, the Veterans' Health Care Act of 1984. In signing the act, I must note my concern over sec. 101, which amends present law with respect to law enforcement powers of Veterans Administration personnel. This authority involves the most potentially intrusive of all government power, yet its utilization is critical to the preservation of ordered liberty. A responsible government must assure that it is granted cautiously and monitored closely. It is important that the Attorney General, as the Nation's chief law enforcement officer, play a key role in the coordination and use of such authority. Accordingly, I am instructing the Administrator of the Veterans Administration to coordinate and consult closely with the Attorney General on all aspects regarding law enforcement in this legislation, including any regulations promulgated thereunder.

I also note my concern over sec. 301, which will modify a reverter interest of the United States on some 35 acres of land in Los Angeles. In 1948, this land was transferred to UCLA on condition that UCLA would use the land for medical and research purposes only. This restriction was imposed because the property was originally part of a Veterans Hospital. Now, this section will direct the Veterans Administration to broaden the terms of the reverter. The value of the taxpayers' interest in this property has been placed at $100 million. I am concerned that this provision ignores both the justification for the original transfer in 1948 and the taxpayers' interest. This underscores the need for a better appreciation that Federal real property is an asset that deserves management in the interest of the taxpayer.

Note: As enacted, H.R. 5618 is Public Law 98 - 528, approved October 19.