EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20503
STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY
(THIS STATEMENT HAS BEEN COORDINATED BY OMB WITH THE CONCERNED AGENCIES.)
March 18, 1998
H.R. 2294 - Federal Courts Improvement Act
(Coble (R) North Carolina)
The Administration supports several provisions of H.R. 2294 that would improve the administration of Federal courts. The Administration, however, opposes House passage of the bill as reported because it would:
- Require an annual transfer of funds from the Justice and Treasury Asset Forfeiture Funds to the Judiciary to cover certain costs, including the costs of adjudicating civil and criminal forfeiture cases and providing counsel to indigent defendants in such cases. This provision could appear to represent a conflict of interest for the Judiciary in that it may obtain a pecuniary benefit from decisions forfeiting assets or funds to the United States. In addition, asset forfeiture funds already are used to pay lien holders, victims of crime committed by the defendant, or others with superior rights. (Section 101)
- Require the transfer of employer contributions from the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund (CSRD) to a Judicial branch courts operation fund when judges elect to transfer service credit from the CSRD retirement systems to the judicial officers retirement system. This transfer of funds is inappropriate. These funds should remain in the CSRD because they represent assets used to provide survivorship protection to judges while they were covered by the CSRD retirement systems. (Section 102)
- Vest magistrate judges with criminal contempt authority in certain instances. Giving contempt authority to non-Article III judges raises constitutional concerns. (Section 202)
- Extend to jurors coverage under the Federal Employees' Compensation Act while going to and from jury duty. This provision undercuts the longstanding general principle that workers' compensation coverage is not provided for travel to and from work. (Section 407)
The Administration also has concerns regarding provisions of H.R. 2294 that would provide 90-day annual leave carryover to designated executives.
H.R. 2294 is subject to the "pay-as-you-go" requirement (PAYGO) of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990. The Administration's PAYGO estimate for this bill is under development, but the preliminary analysis of the bill suggests that H.R. 2294 would result in increases in direct spending. Any bill that would increase mandatory spending or result in a net revenue loss could contribute to a sequester of mandatory programs as called for in the Budget Enforcement Act. As a result, if the bill were enacted, any deficit effects could contribute to a sequester of mandatory spending.