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Asst. Comm. Sec. Pushes Bush Plan in St. Louis

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Assistant Commerce Secretary David Sampson was in St. Louis Thursday to tout President Bush's proposal for strengthening community development.

The proposal would consolidate 18 federal programs, including community development block grants. St. Louis officials have expressed concern that budget cuts could jeopardize the $27 million in block grants the city now spends.

But Sampson says the goal is to preserve the funding for eligible communities: "Those communities that continue to be eligible will receive more funding; they'll have broad flexibility in how they use that funding, but strong accountability measures, so they'll have to demonstrate that they're actually making progress."

The Commerce Department will meet with governors and mayors to determine eligibility criteria. Sampson says legislation on the matter could reach Congress by early summer.


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