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Statement on Signing Bill Extending Special Assistance to Depressed Rural Areas.

August 05, 1971

IT IS essential that we encourage and maintain balanced economic growth in rural areas, especially in those regions where special assistance is needed. The enactment of S. 2317, which I have today signed, contributes significantly to this effort.

This bill provides for the extension of two acts: the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965 and the Appalachian Regional Development Act of 1965. It extends for 2 years the Economic Development Administration (EDA), and the title V regional action planning commissions, while also expanding the special impact area criteria for the purposes of EDA eligibility. It provides for a 4-year extension of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), and extends the Commission's highway program until June 30, 1978.

The experience, leadership, and example of the Appalachian Commission has been an important part of the basis for my proposal for a $1.1 billion program of rural community development special revenue sharing. The work of the Appalachian Commission has shown how effective regional cooperation and local initiative can be in planning and developing the economy of a depressed area.

It is both appropriate and necessary that the work of the Appalachian and other existing regional commissions, as well as the programs of EDA, be continued in the interim until the more comprehensive program of rural revenue sharing can be enacted. I again urge the Congress to enact my general and special revenue sharing proposals.

This Administration supports a program which will assure sound economic development rather than stopgap measures. This bill will focus on the areas which need concentrated assistance instead of diffusing economic development assistance. This Administration will resist the use of any criteria which would divert assistance from those areas of the country that need it most. We will also resist the temptation to endorse patchwork and short-run proposals to remedy economic distress. Such measures tend to treat the symptoms rather than the basic causes of unemployment.

I am gratified that the Congress has also passed a responsible appropriations bill to finance the Economic Development Administration's programs and has moved to final consideration of the bill containing funds for the Appalachian regional development program. Together with the recent passage of the Emergency Employment Act of 1971, these actions are a positive and reasonable response to my request that we provide a balanced national effort for economic assistance, rather than embarking on an ineffective and excessively costly new program for accelerated public works.

Note: The President signed the bill in a White House ceremony attended by Governors Arch A. Moore, Jr., of West Virginia and Louie B. Nunn of Kentucky, as well as Members of Congress and government officials.

As enacted, S. 2317 is Public Law 92-65 (85 Stat. 166).

Richard Nixon, Statement on Signing Bill Extending Special Assistance to Depressed Rural Areas. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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