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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release October 20, 1999


I am pleased that the Department of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act was signed into law today. This Act funds key, targeted investments that will benefit America's working families.

I am pleased that under this bill, we've increased health care funding for our nation's veterans. This nation was built on their courage and I feel it is America's obligation to ensure that they have access to the high quality health care they have earned.

I am also pleased that housing vouchers were funded above last year's level. This is a vital program and it merits continued expansion. And the other provisions of the bill relating to expanded science funding, especially information technology and space, were also welcome.

But while I am heartened that there were modest increases in funding for Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities -- programs that help turn distressed communities across America into engines of growth -- I feel these increases were not sufficient. I hope in the future we can build on the progress we've made and continue to meet the needs of our nation's distressed urban and rural communities.