Summary: S.914 — 96th Congress (1979-1980)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (11/14/1979)

(Measure passed House, amended, in lieu of H.R. 2063)

National Economic Development and Public Works Act of 1979 - =Title I:= - Public Works and Economic Development Act Amendments of 1979 - Amends the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965 to authorize the Secretary of Commerce to include grants for design, engineering, and environmental assessments when making grants for acquiring land and improvements (including surplus Federal property for public works development. Raises the ceiling on the maximum amount of such grants that may be made. Authorizes the Secretary to make grants to enable eligible applicants to pay a portion of the costs of private sector economic development. Extends the authorization of appropriations for such projects through fiscal year 1981.

Authorizes the Secretary to make direct loans for eligible projects located in designated redevelopment areas consistent with an economic development plan. Sets forth the formula for determining the interest rate and other conditions of such loans. Authorizes the Secretary to guarantee the payment of such loans under specified circumstances. Directs the Secretary to assess a fee to cover the costs of the loan guarantee program. Authorizes the Secretary to contract to pay a portion of each interest payment in connection with such loans or loan guarantees in specified circumstances.

Sets forth the activities which will be eligible for such assistance if (1) they are related to industrial or commercial purposes; and (2) they will generate or retain private sector employment. Sets forth conditions for such assistance. Sets ceilings on the amount of guaranteed or direct loans for any one firm.

Authorizes appropriations for such assistance through fiscal year 1981. Establishes a ceiling on the value of loans guaranteed. Provides for the confidentially of applications for such financial assistance.

Authorizes the Secretary to make grants to redevelopment areas for non-Federal revolving loan funds (previously was authorized to make interest free loans) to carry out redevelopment plans. Repeals provisions: (1) concerning repayment of such interest free loans; and (2) exempting certain redevelopment areas from such program. Authorizes appropriations for such program through fiscal year 1981.

Authorizes the Secretary to provide assistance to aid employee ownership plans to encourage broader employee ownership of business, if: (1) such plans are formed to preserve jobs or to purchase businesses which would otherwise cease operation and (2) the businesses operated by such plans have a reasonable prospect for success. Directs the Secretary to consult with the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission to determine whether simplified procedures may be developed for the registration of securities issued by such plans receiving assistance. Requires at least five per cent of loans made or guaranteed under this title to be provided to such plans.

Exempts the steel loan guarantee program from restrictions contained in this title.

Stipulates that applications for assistance under this title be processed only by the Secretary or the organization receiving assistance under this Act.

Authorizes the Secretary to provide assistance to aid entrepreneurial energy enterprises for the purpose of energy conservation and cost saving.

Directs the Comptroller General to review operations of the loan guarantee program and report the results to the appropriate congressional committees.

Authorizes the Secretary to provide general capacity building assistance adjustment planning assistance, and technical assistance (including assistance to applicants for development financing assistance) in order to increase long-term permanent private sector employment and develop stable private sector economies as part of a continuous and comprehensive process. Authorizes the Secretary to provide such assistance to States, substate regional planning and development organizations, local governments, Indian tribes, and nonprofit organizations. Sets forth requirements applicable to such assistance. Requires that any plans or strategies prepared with such assistance be submitted to the Secretary for approval. Stipulates that the Secretary give priority to applicants from designated redevelopment areas in providing assistance. Limits the amount of grants (except grants for environmental impact analyses and for Indian Tribes) under this title. Authorizes appropriations through fiscal year 1981.

Permits State grants to economic development district projects from supplemental grant funds only if such project is in conformity with the development plan of such district. Requires States to submit a list of approved projects for which apportioned funds will be obligated during the fiscal year. Requires any such expenditures to be approved by the Secretary.

Extends the authorization of appropriations for such supplemental grants through fiscal year 1981. Requires States to obligate funds received for such supplemental grants during the fiscal year for which apportioned. Directs the State (formerly the Secretary of Commerce) to certify that projects receiving supplemental grants meet all Federal requirements.

Authorizes the Secretary to conduct: (1) program analysis to determine the causes of and remedies for unemployment and other economic problems; and (2) demonstration programs to alleviate problems of economic distress.

Directs the Secretary to study the long-term economic effects of the accident at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant, Pennsylvania, in the area of such plant. Requires the Secretary to report to Congress every six months on the status and results of such study.

Authorizes the Secretary to designate as a redevelopment area those areas suffering: (1) chronic economic distress; (2) persistent underdevelopment; or (3) incipient decline or short-term economic distress. Lists additional criteria such areas must meet. Authorizes the Secretary to designate as a pocket of distress those areas partially meeting the aforementioned criteria. Sets forth limitations on such designations. Repeals the prohibition against the Secretary terminating a redevelopment area designation if that is the only such area in a State.

Repeals provisions requiring the Secretary to review annually redevelopment area eligibility. Prohibits the Secretary from terminating such designations.

Extends the authorization of appropriations for economic development districts and Indian economic development through fiscal year 1981.

Requires the Secretary to issue regulations establishing criteria to be used for determining whether the economic well-being of a redevelopment area is significantly dependent on defense contracts, taking into consideration specified factors. Directs the Secretary to assist any such defense-dependent redevelopment area in diversifying its economy.

Provides for the appointment of an Under Secretary for Economic Development by the President to assist the Secretary in administering this Act, (formerly was aided by the Assistant Secretary of Commerce). Repeals the position of Administrator for Economic Development. Repeals the requirement that the Secretary be satisfied that projects receiving Federal assistance are properly administered.

Authorizes the Secretary to renew any loans despite restrictions contained in the provisions authorizing the loan assistance programs. Requires the Secretary to retain a specified portion of any grant until the recipient provides assurances that the project meets all Federal requirements.

Permits financial assistance to economically distressed geographical areas, even if the result would be to increase the production of goods where there is insufficient demand for such goods, if the project would retain existing employment in the area.

Includes the Northern Mariana Islands and the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands within the coverage of this Act. Requires information concerning expediters and administrative employees be included in the annual reports to Congress.

Prohibits extending financial assistance to aid: (1) establishments relocating from one area to another; or (2) subcontractors divesting other contractors of contracts customarily performed by them.

Repeals programs providing: (1) economic recovery for disaster areas; and (2) job opportunities.

Authorizes the Secretary to include within the special economic development and adjustment assistance program grants facilities for the production of alcohols (other than that for beverages) and methane from renewable resources. Authorizes the Secretary to make such grants to areas experiencing sudden major economic changes.

Directs the Secretary, as a demonstration program, to make weekly assistance payments to employees whose employment is terminated as a result of cancellation or substantial reduction in the value of a major defense contract. Sets forth provisions for computing such weekly payments. Requires the Secretary to report to the appropriate congressional committees on the results of such demonstration program.

Extends the authorization of appropriations for such programs through fiscal year 1981.

Requires that the Secretary be notified of the anticipated closure of realignment of any military installation or of the anticipated termination or conclusion of any major defense contract, with recommendations concerning the economic consequences of such anticipated action. Directs the Secretary to notify all public officials for economic development planning in the area involved and the general public of such recommendations and the assistance available under this Act. Directs the Secretary to make a defense-related grant to the most qualified eligible recipient to be used to plan for adjustment to the economic problems resulting from such closure or contract termination.

=Title II: - Regional Development Commission Act of 1979= - Amends the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965 to authorize the Secretary of Commerce to recognize development regions within the United States upon the written request of the Governors of the States in which such region will be wholly or partially located if the Secretary and the Governors find that there are common cultural, economic, geographic, natural resource, and social relationships among the areas within such region.

Stipulates that every region shall consist of two or more States, but that no area shall be included in more than one region. Directs the Secretary to take steps to include specified development regions in Michigan in the Mid-America region.

Directs the States to establish development commissions for such regions, composed of a Federal Cochairman and the Governor of each State in the region.

Directs such commissions to: (1) prepare a multiyear development plan for their respective regions; (2) coordinate the development activities within the region; and (3) advise Federal agencies on their programs in the region.

Provides for a Presidentially appointed Federal Cochairman for each regional commission to be responsible for the coordination and cooperation between the regional commission and Federal agencies. Requires the State members of each commission to select the State cochairman. Declares that any decision involving basic commission policy of project approvals shall be made by a majority of State members present. Directs each commission to employ an executive director as its chief administrative officer. Sets forth the administrative powers of the commissions.

Authorizes the regional commissions to provide financial assistance to development projects including, but not limited to, the following: (1) transportation; (2) energy conservation and development; (3) agriculture; (4) business and industrial development; (5) forestry; and (6) vocational, educational and training programs. Prohibits the funding of profit-seeking business enterprises.

Directs the regional commissions to transfer funds to Federal agencies whenever possible to finance development projects. Authorizes such regional commissions to make direct grants and to increase the Federal share in matching grant programs to finance such projects. Limits the type of projects which may receive assistance.

Authorizes the regional commissions to make studies and provide planning and research assistance to the States and local areas, including grants for administrative expenses to certified substate planning and development districts.

Requires each regional commission to prepare a multiyear development plan and an annual investment program for its region, including specified elements in such plans. Requires the Federal Cochairman to review such plans to assure consistency with national policies and trends. Provides for concurrence by the Secretary of Commerce.

Authorizes the President to establish or use an interagency mechanism to provide program coordination and support for the commissions.

Authorizes the regional commissions to require State members to prepare and submit development plans for their States. Authorizes Governors to certify substate planning and development districts to coordinate planning in their areas. Requires States to base the development planning process and the regional growth policy process on the goals and recommendations of development districts and local governments. Stipulates that public and private sector participation be provided for in the development of such goals.

Permits the regional commissions to hold hearings. Requires the commissions to keep accurate and complete records.

Sets forth prohibited activities by commission employees or officers. Provides for insurance and the bonding of designated commission employees. Requires each commission to keep records showing the amount and disposition of appropriated funds.

Authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to provide technical assistance and incentive grants to the regional commissions. Requires the commissions to submit to the Secretary annual applications for administrative expenses (half to be paid by the member States).

Requires the Secretary of Commerce to coordinate and provide Federal policy guidance to the Federal Cochairmen. Establishes regional development council, composed of the Federal Cochairmen, to serve as the mechanism for consultation about policy and administrative improvements. Establishes an Office of Regional Development in the Department of Commerce to provide support to the regional commissions. Directs the Secretary to develop procedures to ensure that commission activities are consistent with this title.

Requires the regional commissions to submit to the Congress: (1) an annual report on their past and proposed activities; and (2) a biennial report consisting of economic and social data for their regions.

=Title III: Appalachian Regional Development Act Amendments of 1979= - Amends the Appalachian Regional Development Act of 1965 to include the provision of services and investments to people, distressed cities, and remote areas in Appalachia within the purposes of such Act. Repeals the provision requiring that a quorum of State members be present before modifying the Appalachian Regional Commission Code.

Authorizes the Appalachian Regional Commission to lease office space through September 30, 1981. Specifies that the Executive Director shall receive a salary equivalent to an ES-6.

Increases the total mileage authorized for the Appalachian development highway system. Authorizes appropriations for such system through fiscal year 1983. Increases the Federal share authorized to be paid to a State constructing a segment of a development highway.

Repeals the provision extending child development demonstrations for two additional years. Stipulates that such demonstrations may be considered for assistance under the State Development Plan.

Authorizes the Commission to make grants to the States for demonstration projects designed to meet the human services needs of the region. Permits funding for reclaiming strip-mined areas to be used for economic development purposes.

Authorizes the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to make grants for the acquisition of housing project sites. Increases the percentage limitation on such grants. Requires the Secretary to make sure that reductions in the cost of housing accrue to the benefit of buyers or tenants.

Authorizes the Commission to make grants for: (1) aiding State and local governments in programs of business-related technical assistance; and (2) establishing non-Federal revolving funds to be used for business, agricultural, and forestry enterprise development loans.

Directs the Secretary of Energy to make grants for feasibility studies, planning, development, and construction of small scale, medium-BTU coal gasification projects. Sets forth requirements for such projects.

Provides for supplements to Federal grants-in-aid programs authorized by this Act on or before October 1, 1981. Exempts specified road construction programs from such supplemental grants.

Permits the financing under this Act of industrial and commercial facilities, but exempts the financing of the costs to private for-profit establishments for such purposes.

Authorizes appropriations through fiscal year 1981. Limits the amounts to be obligated for human services needs, enterprise development activities, and coal gasification projects.

Stipulates that this Act shall terminate October 1, 1981 (presently 1979).

=Title IV:= Amends the Local Public Works Capital Development and Investment Act of 1976 to repeal the prohibition of local public work grants if applications were not timely filed. Authorizes additional appropriations for such grants only if the national unemployment average is greater than 6.5 percent. Stipulates that first priority and preference be given to specified public works projects.

Makes contracts effective only to the extent provided in advance in an appropriation Act.