Hastert Disappointed at Clinton's Veto of DC Appropriations Bill

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:24 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) expressed disappointment Wednesday over President Clinton's veto of the District of Columbia appropriations bill. The bill contained an amendment calling for the banning of taxpayer dollars being used for buying needles for intravenous drug users.

On Capitol Hill, Hastert said President Clinton chose to "put the agenda of drug addicts over the needs of the citizens of Washington DC and the citizens of the country. Spending taxpayer dollars to fuel the habit of drug addicts is not only irresponsible, it is wrong."

Hastert went on to say, "Throughout my years in Congress, I have been at the forefront of trying to limit the supply and demand for illegal drugs in our country. But what kind of message do we send to our kids when our government tells them not to do drugs, but then supplies them with needles. This is not about local control for the District of Columbia, this is about saving the lives of our children and grandchildren."

The Speaker also took issue with Clinton's argument that spending taxpayer dollars on needles for drug addicts will help stop the spread of AIDS. "Many of the best studies cast serious doubt on the ability of Needle Exchange Programs to reduce HIV infection, " Hastert said. "Keeping drug users free from AIDS is surely a noble goal," he added, " but the best hope for keeping these people alive is to get them off drugs and into a treatment program."

Hastert also said, "another reason President Clinton vetoed this bill is because he believes that District residents should be allowed to legalize marijuana. It is time we sent a clear message to American taxpayers that Washington is going to stop wasting their tax dollars. The President should not be using programs like free needles for drug addicts and helping to legalize marijuana to prevent this year's budget from getting passed."