Message to the House of Representatives Returning Without Approval a United States Coast Guard Bill

February 14, 1986

To the House of Representatives:

I am returning herewith without my approval H.R. 2466, a bill ``To make miscellaneous changes in laws affecting the United States Coast Guard, and for other purposes.''

This legislation was originally intended to make technical and editorial corrections to subtitle II of title 46 of the United States Code. These corrections were necessitated by errors made in the codification of that title in 1983. This bill contains sections that I do support; however, provisions were added that I simply cannot support.

Improving the management of the Federal government has been, and remains, a fundamental goal of my Administration. But close cooperation between our branches of government is critical if we are to conduct our affairs in a businesslike fashion. Far from giving the Executive branch requisite flexibility to manage efficiently, it creates significant new impediments and contains unwarranted private relief provisions that would set highly undesirable precedents.

For example, the bill would require that any funds expended under the Truman-Hobbs Act by the Coast Guard to alter the Burlington-Northern Railroad bridge be subject to the requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act, adding approximately $1.5 million to the cost of the project. It would prohibit the trial contracting out of certain aids to navigation functions on the Intracoastal Waterway in New Jersey, significantly diminishing the scope of this project. It would establish two unnecessary advisory committees, and exempt certain Coast Guard facilities from personnel ceilings.

It would also reimburse the owners of a bridge in Texas for costs of alterations that under current law are nonreimbursable. Finally, the bill would grant a specific vessel an inappropriate exception to the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, relieving that vessel of its statutory duty to repay a construction differential subsidy. Both of these provisions would discriminate unfairly and inequitably against those similarly situated. At a time when we are taking difficult steps to reduce the budget deficit, this strikes me as especially unwise.

For these reasons I am compelled to return H.R. 2466 without my approval.

Ronald Reagan

The White House,

February 14, 1986.