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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                           (Edinburg, Texas)
For Immediate Release                                       May 25, 1999


                       OF THE SOUTHWEST BORDER

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order provide a more rapid and integrated Federal response to the economic development challenges of the Southwest Border region, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Establishment of an Interagency Task Force on the Economic Development of the Southwest Border. (a) There is established the "Interagency Task Force on the Economic Development of the Southwest Border" (Task Force) that reports to the Vice President, as Chair of the President's Community Empowerment Board (PCEB), and to the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, as Vice Chair of the PCEB.

(b) The Task Force shall comprise the Secretary of State, Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of Education, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Secretary of Energy, Secretary of Labor, Secretary of Transportation, Secretary of the Treasury, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Director of National Drug Control Policy, Administrator of General Services, Administrator of the Small Business Administration, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, or their designees, and such other senior executive branch officials as may be determined by the Co-Chairs of the Task Force. The Secretaries of the Treasury, Agriculture, and Labor shall Co-Chair the Task Force, rotating annually. The agency chairing the Task Force will provide administrative support for the Task Force.

(c) The purpose of the Task Force is to coordinate and better leverage existing Administration efforts for the Southwest Border, in concert with locally led efforts, in order to increase the living standards and the overall economic profile of the Southwest Border so that it may achieve the average of the Nation. Specifically, the Task Force shall:

(1) analyze the existing programs and policies of Task Force members that relate to the Southwest Border to determine what changes, modifications, and innovations should be considered;

(2) consider statistical and data analysis, research, and policy studies related to the Southwest Border;

(3) develop and recommend short-term and long-term options for promoting sustainable economic development;

(4) consult and coordinate activities with State, tribal, and local governments, community leaders, Members of Congress, the private sector, and other interested parties, paying particular attention to maintaining existing authorities of the States, tribes, and local governments, and preserving their existing working relationships with other agencies, organizations, or individuals;

(5) coordinate and collaborate on research and demonstration priorities of Task Force member agencies related to the Southwest Border;

(6) integrate Administration initiatives and programs into the design of sustainable economic development actions for the Southwest Border; and

(7) focus initial efforts on pilot communities for implementing a coordinated and expedited Federal response to local economic development and other needs.

(d) The Task Force shall issue an interim report to the Vice President by November 15, 1999. The Task Force shall issue its first annual report to the Vice President by April 15, 2000, with subsequent reports to follow yearly and a final report on April 15, 2002. The reports shall describe the actions taken by, and progress of, each member of the Task Force in carrying out this order. The Task Force shall terminate 30 days after submitting its final report unless a Task Force consensus recommends continuation of activities.

Sec. 2. Specific Activities by Task Force Members and Other Agencies. The agencies represented on the Task Force shall work together and report their actions and progress in carrying out this order to the Task Force Chair 1 month before the reports are due to the Vice President under section 1(d) of this order.

Sec. 3. Cooperation. All efforts taken by agencies under sections 1 and 2 of this order shall, as appropriate, further partnerships and cooperation with organizations that represent the Southwest Border and with State and local governments.

Sec. 4. (a) "Agency" means an executive agency as defined in 5 U.S.C. 105.

(b) The "Southwest Border" or "Southwest Border region" is defined as including the areas up to 150 miles north of the United States-Mexican border in the States of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and California.

Sec. 5. Judicial Review. This order does not create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by a party against the United States, its agencies, its officers, or any person.


                            THE WHITE HOUSE,
                            May 25, 1999.

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