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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release October 9, 1998
                     ON PASSAGE OF NEXT GENERATION 
                         INTERNET RESEARCH ACT

I am pleased that Congress has passed the Next Generation Internet Research Act with strong bipartisan support. This legislation encourages federal research needed to ensure continued U.S. leadership in critical computer and communication technologies in the years to come.

The Next Generation Internet initiative, which President Clinton and I first proposed in October 1996, will keep America at the cutting-edge of Internet technology. The NGI will establish the foundation for the networks of the 21st Century in the same way that government investments in networking beginning in the late 1960's led to today's Internet.

Today, more than 70 million Americans are using the Internet to educate their children, communicate with their elected officials, and find the best deal on a new car or a home mortgage.

The Internet is driving a $2 trillion global information and communications industry that has accounted for roughly one-third of U.S. economic growth in recent years. More than 7.4 million Americans work in information technology industries and in related occupations, earning wages that are more than 60 percent higher than the private sector average.

But the Information Revolution is just beginning. The Next Generation Internet initiative will lead to networks that are more secure, reliable, and thousands of times faster. It will enable revolutionary new applications such as telemedicine and distance learning and will accelerate of the pace of scientific discovery.

I urge Congress to provide full funding for this important initiative, and not to take any steps that would delay it.