Summary: H.R.5612 — 96th Congress (1979-1980)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
House receded and concurred with amendment (10/01/1980)

(House receded from its amendment and agreed to Senate amendment with an amendment)

=Title I:= - Amends the Small Business Act to extend the Small Business Administration (SBA) minority procurement contract and Federal bond waiver programs to September 30, 1981.

Extends the due date for the General Accounting Office's report to Congress respecting such programs from June 30, 1980, to January 31, 1981. Requires the SBA and the participating Federal agency to submit separate quarterly evaluations (beginning January 2, 1981, and continuing through fiscal year 1981) to the Senate Select Committee on Small Business and the House Committee on Small Business including: (1) the number, dollar value, and description of all such contracts; (2) the status of all such contracts and any problems incurred in their performance; and (3) efforts made by the SBA to identify, match, and negotiate procurement requirements for use in uch programs.

Revises the responsibilities and authority of the Administrator of the SBA and the Associate Administrator for Minority Small Business and Capital Ownership Development regarding the minority procurement contract and management assistance programs.

Provides, with regard to the Capital Ownership Development Program, that: (1) the required business objectives plan shall include (a) ways to correct a participating concern's inability to compete with nondisadvantaged concerns; and (b) a fixed graduation date; (2) within one year a participating concern may request the SBA to review its development and to extend the period of Program participation; and (3) an SBA decision not to extend such period of participation shall not be considered a denial of total participation requiring an adjudicatory hearing.

Prohibits a small business from receiving SBA contract support unless such business plan is approved by the SBA.

Prohibits the SBA from changing the size standards used to determine whether a concern is a "small business" before March 31, 1981.

Small Business Export Expansion Act of 1980 - Empowers the SBA, either directly or in cooperation with lending institutions, to extend credit for export purposes to enable small business concerns to develop foreign markets. Limits the extension of such credit to periods of 18 months or less.

Allows the Administrator to authorize participating lending institutions to take certain actions on his behalf with respect to deferred participation loans.

Establishes within the SBA an Office of International Trade to promote sales opportunities for small business goods and services abroad. Requires such Office to: (1) provide small businesses with access to current and complete export information; (2) encourage greater small business participation in trade fairs, missions, and other domestic and overseas export development activities of the Department of Commerce; and (3) assign full-time export development specialists to each SBA regional office.

=Title II: Equal Access to Justice Act= - Equal Access to Justice Act- Excludes from the definition of "party" for purposes of this Act: (1) an individual whose net worth exceeds $1,000,000; and (2) any partnership, corporation, association, organization, or sole owner of an unincorporated business whose net worth exceeds $5,000,000, but includes a cooperative association (as defined in the Agricultural Marketing Act) or a tax-exempt organization (as defined in the Internal Revenue Code) regardless of their net worth.

Entitles a prevailing party (other than the United States) to be awarded fees and other expenses, including attorney fees, which were incurred by such party in: (1) an adversary administrative adjudication (excluding ratemaking and license application hearings); or (2) in any civil action, other than a tort brought by or against the United States, unless the administrative officer conducting such adjudication or the court having jurisdiction of such action finds that the position of the agency or the United States was substantially justified or that special circumstances made an award unjust.

Allows the administrative officer or the court to reduce any such award to the extent that the prevailing party unduly and unreasonably protracted the final resolution of the matter in controversy.

Directs each agency, after consultation with the Chairman of the Administrative Conference of the United States, to establish uniform procedures for the consideration of applications for such awards.

Stipulates that such awards in administrative adjudication shall be paid by the particular agency over which the party prevails from funds made available to the agency by appropriation or otherwise for such purpose.

Authorizes a party dissatisfied with such award in an administrative adjudication to petition for leave to appeal the decision in an appropriate Federal court.

Authorizes a court to award reasonable attorney fees to the prevailing party in any civil action brought by or against the United States or any agency or official of the United States acting in an official capacity where the court may award such fees in such suits involving private parties (thus applying to Government litigation the common law and statutory exceptions to the "American rule" which requires parties to be responsible for their own attorney fees).

States that the provisions for the payment of judgements, attorney's fees, and other expenses are effective only to the extent and in the amounts provided in advance in appropriations Acts.

Directs the Administrative Conference of the United States (after consultation with the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration) and the Administrative Office of the United States Courts to report annually to Congress on the amount of fees and expenses awarded during the preceding fiscal year in such agency adjudications and civil actions.

Authorizes necessary appropriations for fiscal years 1982 through 1984 for awards under this Act.

Makes this Act effective on October 1, 1981, and applicable to all actions pending or commenced after such date.

=Title III: Small Business Export Expansion Assistance= - Directs the Secretary of Commerce, after consultation with specified agencies, to establish an export promotion center in each of two regional offices of the SBA where field offices of the Department of Commerce and the Internal Revenue Service exist. Requires each such center to serve as a one-stop information center on Federal Government export assistance, financing programs available to small business, and other provisions of law governing exporting for small business. Requires: (1) a progress report on the establishment of such centers to the appropriate Congressional committees within six months of enactment of this Act; and (2) an evaluation, within two years after enactment, of the effectiveness of such centers in developing and expanding small business exports.

Authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to make grants to qualified applicants to encourage the development and implementation of small business international marketing programs. Limits the grant amount to each applicant to a maximum of $150,000 annually for three years. Sets forth eligibility requirements for applicants. Prohibits the use of any Federal funds to underwrite directly any small business participation in foreign trade missions abroad.

Requires each small business international marketing program to: (1) have a full-time staff director to manage program activities; (2) have access to export specialists to counsel and assist small business clients; and (3) establish an advisory board of nine members appointed by the staff director. Sets forth operational procedures for such board.

Directs the Secretary to require, as a condition to any grant, that an amount equal to such grant be provided from sources other than the Federal Government. Excludes from such additional amount indirect costs or in-kind contributions paid for under any Federal program. Prohibits any such indirect costs or in-kind contributions from exceeding 50 percent of the non-Federal additional amount.

Directs the Secretary to develop a plan to evaluate such programs to: (1) determine the impacts of such programs on the small business assisted; (2) determine the amount of export sales generated by such business; and (3) make recommendations concerning continuation and/or expansion of the program.

Requires the establishment of at least one small business international program within each region of the Department of Commerce.

Directs the Secretary of Commerce, through the International Trade Administration, to maintain a clearinghouse for the collection, dissemination, and exchange of information between such programs.

Authorizes appropriations for such grant program of $1,500,000 for each of fiscal years 1981, 1982, and 1983.