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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                         (New York, New York)
For Immediate Release                                   October 30, 1998


Today I am signing into law H.R. 1274, the "Technology Administration Act of 1998." The Act strengthens the technology programs of the Department of Commerce to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

The Act will enable the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to better serve the Nation's more than 380,000 smaller manufacturers by eliminating the 6-year sunset provision for Federal co-funding of NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership centers.

The Act also authorizes NIST to establish a program to help elementary and secondary school teachers to convey to their students important lessons in measurements, manufacturing, technology transfer, and other areas in which NIST researchers possess world-class expertise.

I am especially pleased to sign this legislation because it includes an initiative that I have sought for the past 2 years: expansion of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award to include education and health care organizations. The Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award deserves special credit for its work to endow this expansion, as does NIST, which manages the program in close cooperation with the private sector. Now the Federal Government can do its share to foster performance excellence in schools, health care, and business.

The Act also officially establishes within the Department of Commerce an Office of Space Commercialization and the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Technology. These programs address two important components of our overall competitiveness strategy: our wise use of commercial space capabilities, consistent with public safety and national security requirements, and enhancement of technological opportunities for the States.

This Act furthers my Administration's commitment to ensure that technology remains the engine of economic growth. We have more work to do. My Administration will work with the 106th Congress on legislation to reauthorize the Commerce Department's Technology Administration and other NIST programs.


                                THE WHITE HOUSE,
                                October 30, 1998.