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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 29, 1999
                             TO THE PRESS
                           The White House 

11:25 A.M. EST

SECRETARY CUOMO: Good morning -- I'm Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo. As you heard from the mayors, we had a great discussion with the President and with the mayors of this nation. It followed a meeting that we had with the mayors yesterday at the Conference of Mayors.

And basically the President's point was what the mayors were talking about yesterday at the Conference, which is this economy is doing extraordinarily well. Really some of the best growth ever. The economy is breaking records almost on a daily basis. But that doesn't mean the economy is working well everywhere. And you have a lot of places in our cities across the nation that need more help, and that now is the time to do that. When we have this strength, when we have this economic growth is when we should invest in the places that have been left behind.

The vehicle to do that is through the cities and through the local leadership and through the mayors of this nation. The President is focusing on job development, job creation, and incentivizing the private markets, private businesses to come into those cities, create jobs, move people off welfare. We have a host of federal initiatives that are designed to do just that -- the empowerment zone program; the American Private Investment Corporation, which the President spoke about at length today; and we're very excited about the economic initiatives that we have going on, as well as the housing programs at HUD.

The President last year really put HUD back in business -- a $1.8 billion increase last year, the best budget for HUD in over a decade. This morning, the President announced a $2.5 billion increase for HUD in this year's budget. So we have the federal funds to do the job. We have the leadership in the mayors across this nation. The combination is a working one. There was a lot of excitement in the room. There was a lot of energy. The mayors know what needs to be done, and they have a federal partner that wants to make it happen.

Q Why did you not run for the Senate?

SECRETARY CUOMO: Because of just what I spoke of --

Q Because he wanted to stay at HUD.

SECRETARY CUOMO: That's right. (Laughter.) The Conference of Mayors took a vote, Sam, and they had me stay at HUD.

Q Do you know something -- is Mrs. Clinton going to run for the Senate?

SECRETARY CUOMO: No, I have a four-year commitment at HUD. I'm only halfway through. We're doing a lot of good things, but there's still more to do. I want to see through my commitment. It may be a novel concept for a politician, but let's -- I wanted to finish the job I now have before I went on to the next one.

Q There's not a question of Cuomo shrinking from higher office?

SECRETARY CUOMO: No, it would never be.

Q I've got to get on your horse -- I mean, he wouldn't -- the old man wouldn't -- (laughter).

SECRETARY CUOMO: I'll tell him you said that.

THE PRESS: Thank you.

END 11:28 A.M. EST