Public Papers

Message to the Congress Transmitting the Fiscal Year 1992 Budget


To the Congress of the United States:

I am pleased to present the Budget of the United States Government for Fiscal Year 1992.

The budget is consistent with the 5-year deficit reduction law enacted last fall. It recommends discretionary spending levels that fall within the statutory caps for defense, international, and domestic discretionary programs. It implements the entitlement savings and reforms enacted in the Budget Agreement. It conforms to the new pay-as-you-go requirements.

By holding the overall rate of growth of Federal Government spending to approximately 2.6 percent -- below the inflation rate -- the budget puts into effect the concept of a ``flexible freeze,'' which is an essential means of bringing the budget into long-term balance.

The longest period of peacetime economic expansion in history has been temporarily interrupted. We can, however, return to growth soon -- and proceed on the path to a new era of expansion. With that goal in mind, the budget places special priority on policies that will enhance America's potential for long-term economic growth, and that will give individuals the power to take advantage of the opportunity America uniquely offers.

To this end, I am again proposing tax incentives to increase savings and long-term investment.

On the spending side of the budget, the existence of a cap on domestic discretionary outlays rightly creates a competition for resources. Priorities must be set. This budget proposes that domestic investment be increased in the following key areas:

Education and Human Capital. -- The budget proposes investments to prepare children better for school, to promote choice and excellence in our educational system, to improve math and science education, and to increase the access of low-income Americans to higher education.

Prevention and the Next Generation. -- The budget includes proposals to help reduce illness and death from preventable diseases, and to reverse the long-term trend of underinvestment in children.

Research and Development and the Human Frontier. -- The budget recommends an increase of .4 billion in the Federal investment in research and development, with special emphasis on basic research, high performance computing, and energy research and development. It proposes to extend permanently the tax credit for research and experimentation to encourage private sector R D investment. In addition, the budget reflects the Administration's continued commitment to expanding human frontiers in space and biotechnology.

Transportation Infrastructure. -- The budget supports an expansion of the Federal Government's investment in highways and bridges to over billion within 5 years, and proposes substantial increases to improve the condition of the Nation's airports, to modernize the air traffic control system, and to continue to develop the transportation infrastructure for exploration and use of space.

America's Heritage and Environmental Protection. -- The budget includes increased funds for the expansion and improvement of America's treasury of parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and other public lands; for the implementation of the Clean Air Act and other key environmental statutes; for the cleanup of pollution at various Federal facilities and at Superfund sites; and for protection and enhancement of coastal areas and wetlands.

Choice and Opportunity. -- The budget provides: funds to help give parents greater choice in child care, health care, education, and housing; the resources to allow all Americans, especially those with low incomes, to seize the opportunities that such choice provides; and a proposal to establish Enterprise Zones to bring hope to our inner cities and distressed rural areas.

Drugs and Crime. -- The budget further increases the Administration's investment in drug prevention, treatment, and law enforcement. And the budget substantially increases the resources available to help the Federal Bureau of Investigation fight crime, the Federal prosecutors prosecute criminals, and the Federal prison system accommodate those convicted of crimes.

To make such investments possible, the budget includes recommendations to terminate or reduce Federal investment in certain low-return programs, and proposes reforms to slow the continuing growth of mandatory entitlement programs and to increase fairness in the distribution of the benefits these programs provide.

In addition, the budget contains a new proposal to fund various programs now carried out by the States through a comprehensive block grant. The States are continuing to develop new and innovative ways to deliver services more effectively. The budget not only highlights several of these innovations; it proposes to reinforce and build upon them.

The budget contains several proposals that reflect my commitment to managing government better. These include measures to improve accountability, to reduce waste, to reform regulation, to employ risk management budgeting in addressing threats to health and safety, and to set clear objectives and measure performance in meeting them.

Finally, consistent with the statutory caps enacted last year, the budget provides the resources necessary to maintain national security, and to better advance American interests abroad. As the budget goes to press, the timing of the resolution of the multinational coalition's efforts to reverse the aggression in the Persian Gulf is uncertain. For this reason, the budget reflects only a placeholder for Operation Desert Shield. A supplemental request for the incremental costs of Desert Shield, which includes Desert Storm, will be forwarded to the Congress in the coming weeks.

The priority investments embodied in this budget will help America prepare for the requirements and opportunities presented by a rapidly changing world. I look forward to working with the Congress in developing a budget that lays the groundwork for a brighter future, protects our national interests, and helps create the conditions for long-term economic growth and prosperity.

February 4, 1991

George Bush

Note: The President's message was printed in the report entitled ``Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 1992.'' It was not issued as a White House press release.