Summary: H.R.2145 — 104th Congress (1995-1996)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.2145. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Introduced in House (07/31/1995)

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Title I: Public Works and Economic Development

Title II: Appalachian Regional Development

Economic Development Partnership Act of 1995 - Title I: Public Works and Economic Development - Amends the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965 (the Act, for purposes of this title) to establish in each of eight geographic regions of the United States an Economic Development Regional Commission (EDRC). Directs the Secretary of Commerce to serve as the Federal Cochairperson of each EDRC. Provides for: (1) necessary EDRC administrative powers; and (2) the establishment of the regions.

Authorizes each EDRC to: (1) make direct grants for the acquisition or development of land and improvements for public works, public services, or development facility usage, as well as related activities; and (2) make supplementary grants that enable States and other entities to take maximum advantage of designated Federal grant-in-aid programs for which they are eligible but for which they cannot supply the required matching share due to their economic situation. Provides supplementary grant requirements, with exceptions. Requires each EDRC, in determining the amount available to any project, to consider the relative needs of the area and the nature of the project to be assisted. Directs the Secretary to prescribe appropriate rules and regulations, including those to assure that appropriate local governmental authorities are given a reasonable opportunity to review and comment on proposed projects. Allows grants to be: (1) increased due to increased construction costs; and (2) reapproved for a project due to changed project circumstances.

Authorizes an EDRC to make direct grants to any eligible recipient in an area which the EDRC determines has: (1) experienced or is about to experience an expected rise in unemployment or other economic adjustment problems; or (2) demonstrated long-term economic deterioration. Allows such grant funds to be used to carry out or develop an investment strategy to counteract (1) or (2), above, and to be used directly by the recipient or redistributed to public and private entities (except for private profit-making entities). Authorizes an EDRC to make such assistance available when an economic need is created due to the closure or realignment of a military installation, either at the installation or in adversely affected surrounding communities. Requires an annual report from grant recipients to its EDRC. Authorizes the sale of financial instruments in revolving loan funds to accomplish the purposes of this title, requiring appropriate public review and comment.

Authorizes an EDRC, under specified procedures and terms, to provide technical assistance to alleviate or prevent conditions of excessive unemployment or underemployment in areas which the EDRC finds have substantial need for such assistance. Directs the EDRC to make technical information obtained available to all eligible recipients, and to furnish procurement departments of the Federal Government with a list of business firms located in distressed areas which desire Government supplies and services contracts.

Authorizes an EDRC to make grants to a State, city, political subdivision, or organization to pay up to 80 percent of the cost for economic development planning, including systematic efforts to reduce unemployment and increase incomes.

Defines as an eligible recipient for purposes of this Act an area which meets any of the following criteria: (1) has a per capita income of 80 percent or less of the national average or an unemployment rate one percent or more above such average; (2) has experienced or is about to experience a sudden economic dislocation resulting in significant job losses; or (3) is a community or neighborhood which has a large concentration of low-income individuals, is a rural area with substantial out migration, or has substantial unemployment.

Authorizes an EDRC to provide assistance under this Act only if the applicant submits, and the EDRC approves, an investment strategy which identifies the economic development problems to be addressed, as well as related information.

Authorizes an EDRC, in order to plan and carry out economic development projects of broader geographic significance, to designate appropriate economic development districts and economic development centers within such districts. Provides geographic, population, and other requirements with respect to each such designation. Authorizes an EDRC to provide assistance to an economic development district area which does not meet the requirements of an eligible recipient under this Act when such assistance will benefit other areas in the district which do meet such requirements.

Directs the Secretary to carry out all required duties under this Act through an Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. Directs the Secretary to establish an Office of Economic Development (Office). Requires the Under Secretary to serve as a central information clearinghouse on all matters relating to economic development and adjustment, disaster recovery, and defense conversion programs and activities of Federal and State governments, and to help applicants for such assistance. Requires appropriate consultation with other persons and agencies. Authorizes the President to establish an independent agency to carry out the Secretary's duties under this Act in the event that the Department of Commerce is abolished. Provides a preference for current Economic Development Administration (EDA) employees in considering employment applications at an EDRC or the Office.

Abolishes the EDA within the Department of Commerce. Provides for the conclusion of outstanding EDA business and other savings provisions.

Provides miscellaneous administrative powers and duties of the Secretary in carrying out this Act. Provides for the transfer of functions from the EDA to the Secretary.

Directs the Secretary, for each fiscal year after 1996, to transmit to the Congress a comprehensive and detailed report of the Secretary's and each EDRC's operations under this Act.

Authorizes the Secretary to delegate to other Federal departments and agencies any of the functions required under this Act.

Imposes penalties upon persons: (1) making false statements in order to obtain assistance under this Act; and (2) who embezzle or commit other fraud-related crimes while connected in any capacity with the Secretary or an EDRC in the administration of this Act. Provides conflict-of-interest provisions.

Directs the Secretary to: (1) maintain a permanent list of applications approved for financial assistance under this Act; and (2) make such list available for public inspection. Requires assistance recipients to maintain appropriate records and provide access for audit purposes.

States that all financial assistance provided under this Act is in addition to, and shall not be construed to reduce or diminish, any other Federal assistance available to a State or other eligible entity.

Authorizes appropriations for FY 1996 through 2000. Authorizes additional appropriations for defense conversion activities.

Title II: Appalachian Regional Development - Amends the Appalachian Regional Development Act of 1965 (the Act, for purposes of this title) to: (1) provide FY 1995 findings and purposes for the Act; (2) require the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to meet at least once a year, and allow the ARC to conduct additional meetings by electronic means as considered advisable; (3) require the ARC to obtain a quorum of State members before reaching certain decisions; (4) authorize appropriations for FY 1996 through 2000 for administrative expenses and expenses of the Federal Cochairman and staff; (5) extend through FY 2000 the authority to enter into contracts and leases under the Act; (6) extend through FY 2000 the authorization of appropriations for the Appalachian development highway system; and (7) reduce from 100 to 50 percent of program costs the Federal cost-sharing requirement with respect to demonstration health projects in the Appalachian region under the Act, with an exception of 80 percent of such costs for counties designated as distressed.

(Sec. 208) Repeals the following programs and provisions under the Act: (1) the land stabilization, conservation, and erosion control program; (2) the timber development program; (3) the mining area restoration program; (4) the water resource development and utilization survey; (5) the Appalachian airport safety improvements program; (6) the sewage treatment works program; and (7) amendments to the Housing Act of 1954.

(Sec. 214) Reduces from 100 to 50 percent of program costs the Federal cost-sharing requirement with respect to Appalachian vocational education and education demonstration projects, with an exception of 80 percent of such costs for counties designated as distressed. Makes an identical reduction with respect to Federal costs for Federal grant-in-aid programs in the Appalachian region.

(Sec. 218) Adds specified criteria and measurements to be considered when determining programs and projects to be given assistance under the Act.

(Sec. 219) Directs the ARC to designate as: (1) distressed counties those counties that are the most severely and persistently distressed and underdeveloped; and (2) economically competitive counties those counties which have attained substantial economic parity with the rest of the country. Prohibits assistance under the Act for a county designated as economically competitive (with exceptions).

(Sec. 220) Empowers the ARC (currently, the President)to make grants for administrative expenses and ARC research and development projects under the Act. Reduces from 75 to 50 percent of program costs the Federal share of such projects, with an exception of 80 percent for counties designated as distressed. Repeals provisions concerning such projects which: (1) require certain ARC studies and reports; (2) authorize appropriations through June 30, 1969; and (3) ensure public availability of all information obtained from such projects.

(Sec. 221) Extends through FY 2000 the authorization of appropriations and termination date under the Act.