Statement by Assistant to the President for Press Relations Fitzwater on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 1988 and 1989


December 4, 1987


The President today signed into law H.R. 1748, the Department of Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 1988 and 1989.


The President is pleased that the objectionable provisions of this bill pertaining to arms control have been deleted or modified in an acceptable form. We hope that partisan or unilateral action can be avoided in this area in the future and that the Congress will work cooperatively with the executive branch as we continue high-level discussions with the Soviet Union. It is imperative that our government speak with one voice in order to protect and advance U.S. interests in these negotiations. The authorization bill allows $3.9 billion for the Strategic Defense Initiative, up slightly from $3.6 billion in 1987. This funding level will permit a strong technology program, however there will be delays in important experiments in both space- and ground-based technologies.


We are also pleased to note that yesterday the Senate Appropriations Committee showed bipartisan support for the Strategic Defense Initiative by approving the same $3.9 billion level and by passing language unanimously that supports the program fully. Their bill also contains no harmful arms control provisions.


Note: H.R. 1748, approved December 4, was assigned Public Law No. 100 - 180.