Message to the House of Representatives Returning Without Approval the Treasury Department, Postal Service, and Certain Independent Agencies Appropriations Bill

November 15, 1985

To the House of Representatives:

I am returning herewith without my approval H.R. 3036, making appropriations for the Treasury Department, the United States Postal Service and certain Independent Agencies for the fiscal year 1986.

In my budget last February I proposed reforms, reductions, and terminations in some 50 domestic programs to start us on a sensible path to lower budget deficits. Because Congress has accepted very few of these proposals, it is now clear that all of the non-defense appropriations bills will be far above my budget.

However, in the interest of accommodation, I have indicated that I would accept appropriations bills, even if above my budget, that were within the limits set by Congress' own budget resolution. This bill does not meet that test.

For discretionary programs the bill provides $900 million more than my budget and is $180 million above the level for budget authority and other discretionary resources implied in the budget resolution. For example, my budget proposed a major paring of the remaining postal subsidies, and the Congressional budget resolution envisaged a lesser saving. This bill provides $820 million for these subsidies, which represents little saving from current levels and is $72 million above the budget resolution level.

Apart from its spending levels, this bill contains a number of language provisions that are highly objectionable. Among them are provisions blocking performance-based regulations for civil servants issued by the Office of Personnel Management, curbing the authority of the General Services Administration to contract out certain services to the private sector, forbidding review by the Office of Management and Budget of marketing orders for agricultural products, and one section of the bill raises serious constitutional concerns with respect to presidential appointments.

The presidential veto is an instrument to be used with care. But until the Congress comes to grips with the problem of the large budget deficit, it is an instrument that I shall not hesitate to employ.

Ronald Reagan

The White House,

November 15, 1985.