Text: H.R.5408 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (11/19/2004)

 
[Congressional Bills 108th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 5408 Introduced in House (IH)]






108th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 5408

To provide emergency relief to small businesses affected by significant 
   increases in the prices of electricity, heating oil, natural gas, 
             propane, and kerosene, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                           November 19, 2004

  Mr. Larson of Connecticut introduced the following bill; which was 
  referred to the Committee on Small Business, and in addition to the 
Committee on Agriculture, for a period to be subsequently determined by 
the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall 
           within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
To provide emergency relief to small businesses affected by significant 
   increases in the prices of electricity, heating oil, natural gas, 
             propane, and kerosene, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Small Business and Farm Energy 
Emergency Relief Act of 2004''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    The Congress finds that--
            (1) a significant number of small businesses in the United 
        States, non-farm as well as agricultural producers, use heating 
        oil, natural gas, propane, kerosene, or electricity to heat 
        their facilities and for other purposes;
            (2) a significant number of small businesses in the United 
        States sell, distribute, market, or otherwise engage in 
        commerce directly related to heating oil, natural gas, propane, 
        and kerosene; and
            (3) sharp and significant increases in the price of heating 
        oil, natural gas, propane, or kerosene--
                    (A) disproportionately harm small businesses 
                dependent on those fuels or that use, sell, or 
                distribute those fuels in the ordinary course of their 
                business, and can cause them substantial economic 
                injury;
                    (B) can negatively affect the national economy and 
                regional economies;
                    (C) have occurred in the winters of 1983-1984, 
                1988-1989, 1996-1997, and 1999-2000; and
                    (D) can be caused by a host of factors, including 
                global or regional supply difficulties, weather 
                conditions, insufficient inventories, refinery 
                capacity, transportation, and competitive structures in 
                the markets, causes that are often unforeseeable to 
                those who own and operate small businesses.

SEC. 3. SMALL BUSINESS ENERGY EMERGENCY DISASTER LOAN PROGRAM.

    Section 7(b) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 636(b)) is 
amended by inserting after paragraph (3) the following:
            ``(4)(A) In this paragraph--
                    ``(i) the term `heating fuel' means heating oil, 
                natural gas, propane, or kerosene; and
                    ``(ii) the term `sharp and significant increase' 
                shall have the meaning given that term by the 
                Administrator, in consultation with the Secretary of 
                Energy.
            ``(B) The Administration may make such loans, either 
        directly or in cooperation with banks or other lending 
        institutions through agreements to participate on an immediate 
        or deferred basis, to assist a small business concern that has 
        suffered or that is likely to suffer substantial economic 
        injury as the result of a sharp and significant increase in the 
        price of heating fuel or electricity.
            ``(C) Any loan or guarantee extended pursuant to this 
        paragraph shall be made at the same interest rate as economic 
        injury loans under paragraph (2).
            ``(D) No loan may be made under this paragraph, either 
        directly or in cooperation with banks or other lending 
        institutions through agreements to participate on an immediate 
        or deferred basis, if the total amount outstanding and 
        committed to the borrower under this subsection would exceed 
        $1,500,000, unless such applicant constitutes a major source of 
        employment in its surrounding area, as determined by the 
        Administration, in which case the Administration, in its 
        discretion, may waive the $1,500,000 limitation.
            ``(E) For purposes of assistance under this paragraph--
                            ``(i) in lieu of the requirement of the 
                        declaration of a disaster area, a declaration 
                        that an area is affected by a sharp and 
                        significant increase in the price of heating 
                        fuel or electricity shall be required and shall 
                        be made by the President or the Administrator; 
                        or
                            ``(ii) if no declaration has been made 
                        pursuant to clause (i), the Governor of a State 
                        in which a sharp and significant increase in 
                        the price of heating fuel or electricity has 
                        occurred may certify to the Administration that 
                        small business concerns have suffered economic 
                        injury as a result of such increase and are in 
                        need of financial assistance which is not 
                        available on reasonable terms in that State, 
                        and upon receipt of such certification, the 
                        Administration may make such loans as would 
                        have been available under this paragraph if a 
                        declaration under clause (i) had been issued.
            ``(F) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, loans 
        made under this paragraph may be used by a small business 
        concern described in subparagraph (B) to convert from the use 
        of heating fuel or electricity to a renewable or alternative 
        energy source, including agriculture and urban waste, 
        geothermal energy, cogeneration, solar energy, wind energy, and 
        fuel cells.''.

SEC. 4. AGRICULTURAL PRODUCER EMERGENCY LOANS.

    (a) In General.--Section 321(a) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural 
Development Act (7 U.S.C. 1961(a)) is amended--
            (1) in the first sentence--
                    (A) by striking ``operations have'' and inserting 
                ``operations (i) have''; and
                    (B) by inserting before ``: Provided,'' the 
                following: ``, or (ii)(I) are owned or operated by such 
                an applicant that is also a small business concern (as 
                defined in section 3 of the Small Business Act (15 
                U.S.C. 632)), and (II) have suffered or are likely to 
                suffer substantial economic injury on or after November 
                1, 2004, as the result of a sharp and significant 
                increase in energy costs or input costs from energy 
                sources occurring on or after November 1, 2004, in 
                connection with an energy emergency declared by the 
                President or the Secretary'';
            (2) in the third sentence, by inserting before the period 
        at the end the following: ``or by an energy emergency declared 
        by the President or the Secretary''; and
            (3) in the fourth sentence--
                    (A) by inserting ``or energy emergency'' after 
                ``natural disaster'' each place it appears; and
                    (B) by inserting ``or declaration'' after 
                ``emergency designation''.
    (b) Funding.--Funds available on the date of enactment of this Act 
for emergency loans under subtitle C of the Consolidated Farm and Rural 
Development Act (7 U.S.C. 1961 et seq.) made to meet the needs 
resulting from natural disasters shall be available to carry out the 
amendments made by subsection (a).

SEC. 5. GUIDELINES.

    Not later than 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the 
Administrator of the Small Business Administration and the Secretary of 
Agriculture shall each issue such guidelines as the Administrator and 
the Secretary, as applicable, determines to be necessary to carry out 
this Act and the amendments made by this Act.

SEC. 6. REPORTS.

    (a) Small Business.--Not later than 18 months after the date of 
final publication by the Administrator of the Small Business 
Administration of the guidelines issued under section 5, the 
Administrator shall submit to the Committee on Small Business and 
Entrepreneurship of the Senate and the Committee on Small Business of 
the House of Representatives, a report on the effectiveness of the 
program established under section 7(b)(4) of the Small Business Act, as 
added by this Act, including--
            (1) the number of small businesses that applied to 
        participate in the program and the number of those that 
        received loans under the program;
            (2) the dollar value of those loans;
            (3) the States in which the small business concerns that 
        participated in the program are located;
            (4) the type of heating fuel or energy that caused the 
        sharp and significant increase in the cost for the 
        participating small business concerns; and
            (5) recommendations for improvements to the program, if 
        any.
    (b) Agriculture.--Not later than 18 months after the date of final 
publication by the Secretary of Agriculture of the guidelines issued 
under section 5, the Secretary shall submit to the Committees on Small 
Business and Entrepreneurship and Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry 
of the Senate and the Committees on Small Business and Agriculture of 
the House of Representatives, a report on the effectiveness of loans 
made available as a result of the amendments made by section 4, 
together with recommendations for improvements to the loans, if any.

SEC. 7. EFFECTIVE DATE.

    The amendments made by this Act shall apply with respect to 
economic injuries suffered or likely to be suffered as the result of 
sharp and significant increases in energy prices which occur on or 
after November 1, 2004.
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