Summary: H.R.4194 — 104th Congress (1995-1996)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed Senate amended (09/30/1996)

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 binding or nonbinding arbitration among ADR procedures, but excludes settlement negotiations. Repeals 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.

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

(Sec. 4) Amends ADRA and the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947 to require that each agency shall consult with the agency designated by, or the interagency committee established by, the President to facilitate and encourage agency use of alternative dispute resolution.

(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.

Requires that the President shall designate an agency or designate or establish an interagency committee to facilitate and encourage agency use of dispute resolution. Directs such agency or interagency committee, in consultation with other appropriate Federal agencies and professional organizations experienced in matters concerning dispute resolution, to encourage and facilitate agency use of ADR and develop procedures that permit agencies to obtain the services of neutrals on an expedited basis.

Repeals the requirement for the Government to enter into a contract with an individual on a roster of qualified neutrals or a roster maintained by other public or private organizations or individual.

(Sec. 8) Revises ADRA and other ADR law, with regard to judicial review of arbitration awards, to repeal the authority of Federal agency heads to vacate unilaterally any award issued pursuant to an arbitration proceeding.

Requires that each arbitration agreement shall specify a maximum award that may be issued by the arbitrator and may specify other conditions limiting the range of possible outcomes.

Revises provisions concerning authorization to use arbitration to prohibit an officer or employee of an agency from offering to use arbitration for the resolution of issues in controversy unless such officer or employee would otherwise have authority.

(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 convenors and facilitators for negotiated rulemaking.

Authorizes appropriations.

Requires the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to expedite the establishment of negotiated rulemaking committees and committees established to resolve disputes under ADRA.

(Sec. 12) Revises Federal judicial code provisions regarding the jurisdiction of the United States Court of Federal Claims. Grants that both the United States Court of Federal Claims and the district courts of the United States shall have jurisdiction to render judgment on an action by an interested party objecting to a solicitation by an agency for bids or proposals for a proposed contract or to a proposed award or the award of a contract or any alleged violation of statute or regulation in connection with a procurement or a proposed procurement.

Authorizes the courts to award any relief that the court considers proper, including declaratory and injunctive relief, except that any monetary relief shall be limited to bid preparation and proposal costs.

Requires that the courts shall give due regard to the need for expeditious resolution of the action.

Directs that the General Accounting Office, no later than two years after the effective date, shall undertake a study to determine whether the concurrent jurisdiction of the district courts of the United States and the Court of Federal Claims over bid protests is necessary. Requires that the study shall be completed no later than December 31, 1999, and shall specifically consider the effect of any proposed change on the ability of small businesses to challenge violations of Federal procurement law.

Terminates the jurisdiction of the district courts of the United States over the actions described on January 1, 2001 unless extended by the Congress.