March 17, 1988

The President today requested the Congress to transfer funds to critical programs, make other offsetting reductions, and provide additional support for some entitlement programs, such as veterans. This request is fully in accord with our 2-year bipartisan budget agreement.

These transfers are few, but of critical importance. First, the Coast Guard is currently hampered in its drug interdiction efforts because the Congress failed to appropriate sufficient funds. This change would restore $60 million to allow the Coast Guard to maintain its efforts to stop drugs from entering this country. Second, within the Department of Justice, program revisions are necessary to cover ongoing expenses as a result of the Mariel Cuban prison riots. A budget amendment for FY 1989 is also included to provide for the reconstruction of these prisons. Third, NASA's request is necessary to support additional personnel for shuttle recovery operations -- personnel previously approved by the Congress. And fourth, the Small Business Administration is experiencing an unforeseen demand for disaster loans.

In addition to these transfers, other changes are needed to make additional funds available. For example, unanticipated currency fluctuations have severely depleted accounts for the Board for International Broadcasting. The Department of Defense requires additional authority to reprogram funds later in the year for INF verification. This request also includes several entitlement programs that are not under the control of the appropriations committees nor subject to the strictures of the budget agreement. There are several veterans' programs, including replenishment of the revolving fund for housing loans, that require immediate action. Finally, the judiciary is requesting $57 million in additional funding to cover FY 1988 pay raises. The executive branch is required by law to simply transmit this request without review or alteration.

As with the President's FY 1989 budget submission, this package complies fully with the budget agreement. The President urges the Congress to act expeditiously on this request while maintaining the integrity of our 2-year budget plan.