Summary: H.R.2977 — 104th Congress (1995-1996)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Conference report filed in House (09/25/1996)

Administrative Dispute Resolution Act of 1996 - Amends the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act (ADRA) and other Federal law with regard to alternative means of dispute resolution (ADR) in the administrative process.

(Sec. 2) Includes the use of ombuds and arbitration among ADR procedures, but excludes settlement negotiations. Repeals: (1) the current exclusion and permits parties to use ADR to resolve certain Federal employee-related disputes involving such matters as retirement, life or health insurance, and suspension or removal from duty, as well as prohibited personnel practices; and (2) a requirement that a procedure used be in lieu of an adjudication to come within the definition of ADR.

(Sec. 3) Limits applicability of confidentiality requirements only to communications involved in the proceeding, and no longer, also, to any information concerning such communications. Provides that a dispute resolution communication generated by a neutral which may not be disclosed under such provisions is exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

(Sec. 4) Makes certain amendments under ADRA and the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947 to reflect the closure of the Administrative Conference of the United States.

(Sec. 5) Authorizes a Federal agency to use the services and facilities of State, local, and tribal governments for ADR purposes.

(Sec. 6) Amends the Contract Disputes Act of 1978 to: (1) require contractors using ADR procedures to resolve a claim against the Federal Government to comply with the same certification procedures applicable to any other claim subject to such Act; and (2) repeal its termination date.

(Sec. 7) Provides for expedited hiring of neutrals in civilian and defense agency contracts for use in any part of an ADR process.

Amends ADR law on neutrals to: (1) repeal requirements for the Government to establish professional standards for neutrals and maintain a roster of qualified neutrals; and (2) require the President to designate an agency or designate or establish an interagency committee to facilitate and encourage agency use of dispute resolution. Directs such agency or committee to encourage and facilitate agency use of ADR and develop procedures that permit agencies to obtain the services of neutrals on an expedited basis.

(Sec. 8) Revises ADRA and other ADR law, with regard to judicial review of arbitration awards, to: (1) repeal the authority of Federal agency heads to vacate unilaterally any award issued pursuant to an arbitration proceeding; (2) require each arbitration agreement to specify a maximum award that may be issued by the arbitrator and allow it to specify other conditions limiting the range of possible outcomes; (3) prohibit an agency officer or employee from offering to use arbitration for the resolution of issues in controversy unless he or she has authority to enter into a settlement concerning the matter or is otherwise specifically authorized by the agency to consent to the use of arbitration; and (4) require the head of an agency, prior to using binding arbitration, to issue guidance on its appropriate use or when an agency officer or employee has authority to settle an issue in controversy through binding arbitration.

(Sec. 9) Amends ADRA to repeal its termination date and provide for permanent authorization.

(Sec. 10) Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 11) Repeals the reauthorization for the Administrative Conference under the Negotiated Rulemaking Act of 1990. Directs the President to designate an agency or designate or establish an interagency committee to facilitate and encourage agency use of negotiated rulemaking.

Modifies Federal provisions regarding defense agency contracts and Federal contracts to provide for expedited hiring of conveners and facilitators for negotiated rulemaking.

Authorizes appropriations.

Requires the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to: (1) take action to expedite the establishment of negotiated rulemaking committees and committees established to resolve disputes under ADRA; and (2) submit recommendations to the Congress for any necessary legislative changes.

(Sec. 12) Revises Federal judicial code provisions regarding the jurisdiction of the United States Court of Federal Claims. Grants such court jurisdiction to review the agency's decision pursuant to specified standards.