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] ...


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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.

Pages: 1

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