| Home > 107th Congressional Bills > S. 395 (rs) To ensure the independence and nonpartisan operation of the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration. [Reported in Senate] ...
S. 395 (rs) To ensure the independence and nonpartisan operation of the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration. [Reported in Senate] ...
107th CONGRESS 1st Session S. 395 _______________________________________________________________________ IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES March 27, 2001 Referred to the Committee on Small Business _______________________________________________________________________ AN ACT To ensure the independence and nonpartisan operation of the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration. 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 ``Independent Office of Advocacy Act of 2001''. SEC. 2. FINDINGS. The Congress finds that-- (1) excessive regulations continue to burden United States small business concerns; (2) Federal agencies are reluctant to comply with the requirements of chapter 6 of title 5, United States Code, and continue to propose regulations that impose disproportionate burdens on small business concerns; (3) the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (referred to in this Act as the ``Office'') is an effective advocate for small business concerns that can help to ensure that agencies are responsive to small business concerns and that agencies comply with their statutory obligations under chapter 6 of title 5, United States Code, and under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-121; 106 Stat. 4249 et seq.); (4) the independence of the Office is essential to ensure that it can serve as an effective advocate for small business concerns without being restricted by the views or policies of the Small Business Administration or any other executive branch agency; (5) the Office needs sufficient resources to conduct the research required to assess effectively the impact of regulations on small business concerns; and (6) the research, information, and expertise of the Office make it a valuable adviser to Congress as well as the executive branch agencies with which the Office works on behalf of small business concerns. SEC. 3. PURPOSES. The purposes of this Act are-- (1) to ensure that the Office has the statutory independence and adequate financial resources to advocate for and on behalf of small business concerns; (2) to require that the Office report to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Committees on Small Business of the Senate and the House of Representatives and the Administrator of the Small Business Administration in order to keep them fully and currently informed about issues and regulations affecting small business concerns and the necessity for corrective action by the regulatory agency or the Congress; (3) to provide a separate authorization for appropriations for the Office; (4) to authorize the Office to report to the President and to the Congress regarding agency compliance with chapter 6 of title 5, United States Code; and (5) to enhance the role of the Office pursuant to chapter 6 of title 5, United States Code. SEC. 4. OFFICE OF ADVOCACY. (a) In General.--Title II of Public Law 94-305 (15 U.S.C. 634a et seq.) is amended by striking sections 201 through 203 and inserting the following: ``SEC. 201. SHORT TITLE. ``This title may be cited as the `Office of Advocacy Act'. ``SEC. 202. DEFINITIONS. ``In this title-- ``(1) the term `Administration' means the Small Business Administration; ``(2) the term `Administrator' means the Administrator of the Small Business Administration; ``(3) the term `Chief Counsel' means the Chief Counsel for Advocacy appointed under section 203; ``(4) the term `Office' means the Office of Advocacy established under section 203; and ``(5) the term `small business concern' has the same meaning as in section 3 of the Small Business Act. ``SEC. 203. ESTABLISHMENT OF OFFICE OF ADVOCACY. ``(a) Establishment.-- ``(1) In general.--There is established in the Administration an Office of Advocacy. ``(2) Appropriation requests.--Each appropriation request prepared and submitted by the Administration under section 1108 of title 31, United States Code, shall include a separate request relating to the Office. ``(b) Chief Counsel for Advocacy.-- ``(1) In general.--The management of the Office shall be vested in a Chief Counsel for Advocacy, who shall be appointed from civilian life by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, without regard to political affiliation and solely on the ground of fitness to perform the duties of the office. ``(2) Employment restriction.--The individual appointed to the office of Chief Counsel may not serve as an officer or employee of the Administration during the 5-year period preceding the date of appointment. ``(3) Removal.--The Chief Counsel may be removed from office by the President, and the President shall notify the Congress of any such removal not later than 30 days before the date of the removal, except that 30-day prior notice shall not be required in the case of misconduct, neglect of duty, malfeasance, or if there is reasonable cause to believe that the Chief Counsel has committed a crime for which a sentence of imprisonment can be imposed. ``(c) Primary Functions.--The Office shall-- ``(1) examine the role of small business concerns in the economy of the United States and the contribution that small business concerns can make in improving competition, encouraging economic and social mobility for all citizens, restraining inflation, spurring production, expanding employment opportunities, increasing productivity, promoting exports, stimulating innovation and entrepreneurship, and providing the means by which new and untested products and services can be brought to the marketplace; ``(2) assess the effectiveness of Federal subsidy and assistance programs for small business concerns and the desirability of reducing the emphasis on those programs and increasing the emphasis on general assistance programs designed to benefit all small business concerns; ``(3) measure the direct costs and other effects of government regulation of small business concerns, and make legislative, regulatory, and nonlegislative proposals for eliminating the excessive or unnecessary regulation of small business concerns; ``(4) determine the impact of the tax structure on small business concerns and make legislative, regulatory, and other proposals for altering the tax structure to enable all small business concerns to realize their potential for contributing to the improvement of the Nation's economic well-being; ``(5) study the ability of financial markets and institutions to meet the credit needs of small business concerns, and determine the impact of government demands on credit for small business concerns; ``(6) determine financial resource availability and recommend, with respect to small business concerns, methods for-- ``(A) delivery of financial assistance to minority and women-owned enterprises, including methods for securing equity capital; ``(B) generating markets for goods and services; ``(C) providing effective business education, more effective management and technical assistance, and training; and ``(D) assistance in complying with Federal, State, and local laws; ``(7) evaluate the efforts of Federal agencies and the private sector to assist minority and women-owned small business concerns; ``(8) make such recommendations as may be appropriate to assist the development and strengthening of minority, women- owned, and other small business concerns; ``(9) recommend specific measures for creating an environment in which all small business concerns will have the opportunity-- ``(A) to compete effectively and expand to their full potential; and ``(B) to ascertain any common reasons for the successes and failures of small business concerns; ``(10) determine the desirability of developing a set of rational, objective criteria to be used to define the term `small business concern', and develop such criteria, if appropriate; ``(11) make recommendations and submit reports to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Committees on Small Business of the Senate and the House of Representatives and the Administrator with respect to issues and regulations affecting small business concerns and the necessity for corrective action by the Administrator, any Federal department or agency, or the Congress; and ``(12) evaluate the efforts of each department and agency of the United States, and of private industry, to assist small business concerns owned and controlled by veterans, as defined in section 3(q) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 632(q)), and small business concerns owned and controlled by serviced- disabled veterans, as defined in such section 3(q), and to provide statistical information on the utilization of such programs by such small business concerns, and to make appropriate recommendations to the Administrator and to the Congress in order to promote the establishment and growth of those small business concerns. ``(d) Additional Functions.--The Office shall, on a continuing basis-- ``(1) serve as a focal point for the receipt of complaints, criticisms, and suggestions concerning the policies and activities of the Administration and any other department or agency of the Federal Government that affects small business concerns; ``(2) counsel small business concerns on the means by which to resolve questions and problems concerning the relationship between small business and the Federal Government; ``(3) develop proposals for changes in the policies and activities of any agency of the Federal Government that will better fulfill the purposes of this title and communicate such proposals to the appropriate Federal agencies; ``(4) represent the views and interests of small business concerns before other Federal agencies whose policies and activities may affect small business; ``(5) enlist the cooperation and assistance of public and private agencies, businesses, and other organizations in disseminating information about the programs and services provided by the Federal Government that are of benefit to small usiness concerns, and information on the means by which small business concerns can participate in or make use of such programs and services; and ``(6) carry out the responsibilities of the Office under chapter 6 of title 5, United States Code. ``(e) Overhead and Administrative Support.--The Administrator shall provide the Office with appropriate and adequate office space at central and field office locations of the Administration, together with such equipment, office supplies, and communications facilities and services as may be necessary for the operation of such offices, and shall provide necessary maintenance services for such offices and the equipment and facilities located therein.''. (b) Reports to Congress.--Title II of Public Law 94-305 (15 U.S.C. 634a et seq.) is amended by striking section 206 and inserting the following: ``SEC. 206. REPORTS TO CONGRESS. ``(a) Annual Reports.--Not less than annually, the Chief Counsel shall submit to the President and to the Committees on Small Business of the Senate and the House of Representatives, the Committee on Governmental Affairs of the Senate, the Committee on Government Reform of the House of Representatives, and the Committees on the Judiciary of the Senate and the House of Representatives, a report on agency compliance with chapter 6 of title 5, United States Code. ``(b) Additional Reports.--In addition to the reports required under subsection (a) of this section and section 203(c)(11), the Chief Counsel may prepare and publish such reports as the Chief Counsel determines to be appropriate. ``(c) Prohibition.--No report under this title shall be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget or to any other department or agency of the Federal Government for any purpose before submission of the report to the President and to the Congress.''. (c) Authorization of Appropriations.--Title II of Public Law 94-305 (15 U.S.C. 634a et seq.) is amended by striking section 207 and inserting the following: ``SEC. 207. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS. ``(a) In General.--There are authorized to be appropriated to the Office to carry out this title, such sums as may be necessary for each fiscal year. ``(b) Availability.--Any amount appropriated under subsection (a) shall remain available, without fiscal year limitation, until expended.''. (d) Incumbent Chief Counsel for Advocacy.--The individual serving as the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration on the date of enactment of this Act shall continue to serve in that position after such date in accordance with section 203 of the Office of Advocacy Act, as amended by this section. Passed the Senate March 26, 2001. Attest: GARY SISCO, Secretary.
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