Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (03/27/1990)

Rural Economic Development Act of 1990 - Title I: Reorganization of the Department of Agriculture - Amends the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act to establish in the Department of Agriculture the Rural Development Administration.

Title II: Local Prioritization of Project Funding - Amends the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act to set out the framework for certain rural development programs, which shall include: (1) an area plan for long range rural development; and (2) State rural economic development review panels. Makes such provisions effective October 1, 1991. Provides a good faith exception to specified State eligibility with regard to State review panel requirements.

Grants priority to health emergency projects.

Includes among the duties of the State coordinator the provision of program information to rural residents.

Authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary), upon request of a State panel, to make specified funds available (on a one-time basis) to capitalize a State revolving fund for loans to very small businesses (fewer than 30 employees) and business incubators.

Authorizes limited within-State and national ($90,000,000) transfer authority of direct loan funds for the water and waste or community facility program.

Directs the Secretary to allocate State loan quarantee authority under such program and the business and industry program similar to the manner used for direct loan and grant allocations for such programs. Authorizes within-State limited transfer of loan quarantee authority.

Provides for the inclusion on the State Rural Economic Review Panel of a representative from either a statewide rural development organization or a statewide association of publicly-owned electric utilities.

Title III: Enhancement of Existing Rural Development Programs - Amends the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 to establish in the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) a technical assistance unit.

Authorizes deferment of capital and interest payments on REA economic development loans. Stipulates that such deferments shall not be permitted based on an REA determination of borrower financial hardship. Authorizes: (1) 60-month deferrals for local business loans; and (2) 120-month deferrals for community or economic development loans. Limits a deferment to 50 percent of a project's cost. Requires borrowers to make a cushion payment equal to the deferred amount. Limits fiscal year total deferment amounts.

Amends the Farm Credit Act of 1971 to authorize banks for cooperatives to make loans for water or waste disposal systems.

Amends the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act with regard to the business and industry loan program, to: (1) authorize loans to small and very small (fewer than 30 employees) rural businesses; and (2) reduce individual loan limits from $25,000,000 to $5,000,000.

Authorizes the use of water or waste disposal loans for rural businesses.

Directs the Secretary to establish a rural wastewater treatment circuit rider grant program. Authorizes appropriations.

Amends the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act to: (1) repeal the authorization of appropriations limit on water and waste grants; and (2) prohibit the Secretary from conditioning approval of such grants or loans upon any requirement or condition other than those specified under such Act.

Title IV: Rural Development Information Sharing and Technology Transfers - Amends the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act to establish a rural technology grant program. Authorizes FY 1991 through 1993 appropriations.

Title V: Rural Business and Leadership Training - Establishes a Federal Extension Service rural business and leadership training program.

Title VI: Rural Economic Development Research - Establishes a grant program for: (1) nontraditional uses of agricultural commodities; (2) rural area economic viability research; and (3) rural demonstration areas.

Amends the Rural Development Act of 1972 to direct the Secretary to establish a research grant program to study the impact of Federal and State economic programs on rural economies. Authorizes appropriations.

Title VII: Rural Electrification Provisions - Rural Telecommunications Improvements Act of 1990 - States that it is the policy of the Congress that the Rural Telephone Bank and the Rural Electrification Administration make loans to enhance the rural telecommunications infrastructure.

Subtitle A: Amendment to Title I of the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 - Amends the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 to prohibit the Administrator of the REA (the Administrator) and the Governor of the Rural Telephone Bank (the Governor) from: (1) denying or reducing any loan based on a borrower's fund level; or (2) making any loan, guarantee, or grant, unless the borrower has obtained the consent of the State regulatory authority and the loan or grant will not duplicate existing facilities or systems.

Subtitle B: Amendments Relating to Title II of the 1936 Act - Prohibits the Administrator and the Governor from making or guaranteeing a telephone grant or a loan which would result in facilities or service duplication.

Revises the definition of telephone service.

Prohibits the Administrator and the Governor from requiring a telephone loan applicant to increase: (1) rates charged to customers or subscribers; or (2) the ratio of net income or margins before interest to the interest requirements on all the applicant's outstanding and proposed loans.

Prohibits the Administrator from treating certain rural development investments as dividends or capital distributions.

Requires the Administrator and the Governor to: (1) publish telephone policy standards; (2) use only specified depreciation rates in loan evaluations; and (3) make loans for all authorized purposes.

Prohibits the Administrator and the Governor from: (1) rescinding certain telephone loans without the borrower's consent; (2) regulating the order or sequence of advances of funds to any borrower under any combination of approved telephone loans from specified entities; or (3) denying a loan or taking adverse action against a borrower for any reason not based on a published policy standard, rule, or regulation.

Revises depreciation rates with regard to evaluations of certain telephone loans.

Directs the Administrator to report twice a year to specified congressional committees with regard to telephone loan processing.

Subtitle C: Amendments Relating to Title III of the 1936 Act - Directs the Administrator to maintain separate electric and telephone accounts within the Rural Electric and Telephone Revolving Fund.

States that the term of an insured telephone loan under this title shall be determined by the borrower at the time the loan is made.

Sets forth a tier requirement for the interest rates of insured telephone loans.

Prohibits the Administrator from providing guarantee assistance unless the borrower specifically applies for it.

Subtitle D: Amendments Relating to Title IV of the 1936 Act - Revises provisions for the Rural Telephone Bank (RTB) Board of Directors.

Repeals the FY 1991 ending date for Federal authority to fund purchase of RTB class A stock.

Provides for a five-percent pro rata borrower purchase of RTB stock.

Makes mandatory (currently discretionary) the Governor's authority to set RTB loan levels.

States that the term of an RTB loan under this title shall be determined by the borrower at the time the loan is made.

Provides for full use of RTB loan authority.

Subtitle E: Effective Date - Makes the provisions of this Act effective upon enactment, except for the technical amendments in subtitle D of title VII which shall take effect as if they had been included in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987.

Title VIII: Miscellaneous - Amends the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act to establish local income-based loan rates for health care and related facilities.

Directs the Secretary to: (1) establish a loan restructuring and servicing program for distressed community facility program borrowers; and (2) provide water and waste facility loans and grants to alleviate health risks. Authorizes appropriations.

Authorizes the Administrator of the Rural Development Administration (Administrator) to award a contract to a domestic firm that would otherwise be awarded to a foreign firm if: (1) the final product will be completely U.S.-assembled; (2) at least 51 percent of the assembled final product will be domestically produced; and (3) the difference between the bids submitted by the foreign and domestic firms is not more than six percent.

Directs the Secretary of Commerce to declare any person ineligible (for three to five years) to bid for a Federal contract who intentionally uses a fraudulent "Made in America" label. Authorizes enforcement in U.S. district court.

Directs the Secretary to establish a plan to increase the use of private contracts to promote rural job creation and investment.

Title IX: National Forest-Dependent Rural Communities - National Forest-Dependent Rural Communities Economic Diversification Act of 1990 - Authorizes the Secretary, upon the request of a rural community, to establish rural forestry and economic diversification action teams to prepare a technical assistance plan to promote economic diversification and enhancement of local economies dependent upon national forest resources. Authorizes the Secretary to provide such assistance through grants, loans, or cooperative agreements or contracts.

Authorizes specified appropriations.

Title X: Enhancing Human Resources - Rural Business Development and Telecommunications Act of 1990 - Subtitle A: Rural Business Development - Amends the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act to authorize loans for business telecommunications partnerships. Authorizes FY 1990 through 1994 appropriations.

Subtitle B: Rural Telecommunications Provisions - Directs the Administrator to prepare an annual list of State rural telecommunications zones. Requires: (1) the Administrator to provide such list to each Federal agency that is considering relocating data processing or other telecommunications operations; and (2) such agency to make a cost-benefit analysis of not relocating or relocating to a list or non-list area, and report to specified congressional committees if a non-list area is chosen.

Directs the Under Secretary of Agriculture for Small Community and Rural Development to provide grants to eligible rural local government units for emergency public safety telephone answering systems. Sets maximum amounts of: (1) $30,000 per local government; and (2) $3,000,000 aggregate per fiscal year. Authorizes FY 1990 through 1994 appropriations.

Directs the Secretary to conduct a study and report to the appropriate congressional committees with regard to the availability and use of the telecommunications infrastructure by rural businesses.