[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book II)]
[November 13, 1998]
[Page 2033]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Statement on Signing the Economic Development Administration and 
Appalachian Regional Development Reform Act of 1998
November 13, 1998

    Today I have signed into law S. 2364, the ``Economic Development 
Administration and Appalachian Regional Development Reform Act of 
1998.'' This legislation reauthorizes the Economic Development 
Administration (EDA) and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), 
which provide grant assistance to help rural and urban distressed areas 
create economic opportunity and job growth in their communities.
    The EDA, a reinvented agency within the Department of Commerce, 
promotes economic development in distressed communities--communities 
with unemployment above the national average, low income, or special 
needs created by events such as natural disasters, military base 
closures, or defense industry downsizing. Title I of the Act 
reauthorizes the EDA and tightens eligibility criteria to ensure that 
the EDA can better serve the needs of distressed communities, simplifies 
application procedures, and streamlines statutory authorities by 
eliminating obsolete programs.
    Title II of the Act reauthorizes the ARC. Established by the 
Congress in 1965, the ARC is a Federal-State partnership providing 
social and economic support for a 13-State region stretching from 
southern New York to northern Mississippi. The ARC targets its resources 
to the region's most distressed areas. Since the mid-1960s, the region's 
poverty rate has been cut in half; the percentage of adults with a high 
school education has doubled; and the infant mortality rate has been cut 
by two-thirds.
    This Act recognizes that future growth requires improved physical 
infrastructure, a skilled workforce, an emphasis on creating 
entrepreneurial communities, the deployment of new technologies for 
business development, and a concerted effort to make the Nation more 
competitive in international markets. This legislation also maintains 
the critical role of local development districts in economic growth.
    Reauthorization of the EDA and the ARC represents an important step 
in my Administration's efforts to ensure that all parts of America 
participate in the economic growth that this country has enjoyed over 
the past 6 years.

                                                      William J. Clinton

The White House,

November 13, 1998.

Note: S. 2364, approved November 13, was assigned Public Law No. 105-