THE WHITE HOUSE AT WORK
Tuesday, May 25, 1999
PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE:
TAPPING AMERICA'S POTENTIAL
"All across America, communities are coming together, taking responsibility and creating new opportunity. As we rebuild American communities, we restore the American dream for many who had once thought it out of reach."
President Bill ClintonToday, in Edinburg, Texas, President Clinton and Vice President Gore attended the Community Empowerment conference, which brought together over 500 participants and representatives of Empowerment Zones across the country. The conference, which included seminars to help EZ residents with revitalization efforts, builds on the Administration's six-year record of promoting growth and opportunity for America's underserved communities. The President announced the creation of an interagency task force to assist our Southwest border with its unique economic challenges.
May 25, 1999
Empowering Communities. Today, the President and Vice President attended this year's Community Empowerment conference in Edinburg, Texas, amid a successful Empowerment Zone (EZ) in the Rio Grande Valley. More than 500 participants attended the conference, including representatives from EZs throughout the country. The conference provided a forum for community members to share valuable lessons and participate in seminars designed to assist EZ residents in their revitalization efforts.
Taking Executive Action to Assist Our Southwest Border. Increased interaction with our Mexican neighbors along the border is creating unique economic development opportunities and challenges. President Clinton has taken executive action to establish an Interagency Task Force on the Economic Development of the Southwest Border. The task force's goal is to coordinate federal and local efforts to raise the living standards and overall economic profile of the Southwest border on a sustained basis.
Building on a Six-year Record of Promoting Growth and Opportunity. Since 1993, President Clinton and Vice President Gore have been working with the private sector, states, and localities to help revitalize America's communities by bringing capital, jobs, and opportunity to distressed areas and cleaning up the urban environment. President Clinton and Vice President Gore have created or expanded the following initiatives over the past six years:
- 135 Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities. The Clinton Administration proposed, and Congress passed, the creation of 105 EZs and ECs across the country, which has generated more than $2 billion of new private-sector investment in community development. The President also signed into law a second round of EZs which will include tax incentives, small business expensing, and private activity bonds.
- Empowerment Zones and Job Training. EZs and ECs are engaged in more than 550 job training programs, with 42,000 EZ residents having received job training. Nearly 30,000 EZ residents have been placed in jobs as a result of these programs.
- Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). In April 1995, the Clinton Administration reformed the CRA regulations to emphasize performance. The private sector has reportedly pledged more than $1 trillion in loans to distressed communities. Lending to minority and low-income borrowers is also on the rise.
- Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI). Proposed and signed into law by the President in 1994, the CDFI Fund, through grants, loans, and equity investments, is helping to create a network of community development financial institutions in distressed areas across the United States.
- Economic Development Initiative and Section 108 Loan Guarantee. EDI grants are used to infuse capital into community development projects, enhancing the debt financing provided by the Section 108 loan guarantee program. Together, the programs support critical economic development in distressed communities.
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