President Clinton on Friday signed legislation making it easier for the Small Business Administration to guarantee year-2000-related loans.

The "Small Business Year-2000 Readiness Act" explicitly authorizes companies to use SBA-backed loans to purchase the computer systems and services needed to eradicate the millennium bug. It also lets businesses harmed by year-2000 failures use the SBA loan guarantee program.

"The legislation I am signing today will help ensure that the nation's small businesses have access to the capital they need to be Y2K-O.K. in the year 2000," the President said.

The President also urged all small businesses to immediately assess their exposure to the millennium bug, to quiz vendors on their readiness for the new millennium, and to develop contingency plans in case troubles arise. "Every small business must take responsibility for making sure it is ready for the year 2000," he said.

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