Description: TO ADOPT THE CONFERENCE REPORT ON H.R. 5247, THE PUBLIC WORKS EMPLOYMENT ACT.
Bill summary: (Conference report filed in House, H. Rept. 94-733)
Public Works Employment Act - =Title I: Local Public Works Capital Development Act= - Authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to make grants to State and local governments for the construction, renovation, repair, or other improvement of public works projects. Includes grants for projects for which Federal financial assistance is authorized by other acts and grants for architectural design, engineering and related planning expenses. Authorizes
grants for completion of plans, specifications, and extimates where either architectural design or preliminary engineering or related planning has already been undertaken and where additional architectural and engineering work or related planning is required to permit construction of the project.
Prohibits using any portion of a grant for the purchase of any interest in land. Provides that the Federal share of the cost of any project for which a grant is made under this Act shall be 100 percent of the cost. Stipulates that grants can be made only when it is shown that, if funds are available, on-site labor can begin within 90 days of project approval.
Makes provision for supplemental grants, raising to 100 percent the Federal contribution to federally-assisted public works projects where construction has not yet begun.
Authorizes the Secretary to make grants for all or any portion of the State or local share of the cost of any public works project authorized by any State or local law. Prohibits a grant from providing both the State and local share. Requires that the matching share be immediately available and construction not yet underway.
Directs the Secretary to prescribe rules and regulations necessary to carry out this Act, considering: (1) the severity and duration of unemployment in the project areas; (2) the extent of underemployment in the project area; and (3) the extent to which the project will contribute to the reduction of unemployment.
Requires final determination of each project application within 60 days of recipt, failure to so determine being deemed as approval. Prohibits use of funds to affect natural watercourses, acquisition of interest in real property, and maintenance costs.
Assures that at least 1/2 of 1 percent but not more than 10 percent of funds appropriated will be granted within any one State. Gives priority to applications of local governments and high unemployment areas within specified bounds. Declares that 70 percent of the funds appropriated must be used for projects in areas that exceed the national unemployment rate.
Directs the Secretary, in determining the unemployment rate of a local government, to consider the unemployment in adjoining areas from which labor forces may be drawn. Advises applicants to relate their projects to local and regional development plans and, where possible, to submit projects that would implement long range-plans.
Makes the Davis-Bacon Act applicable to all grants for projects under this Act.
Prohibits sex discrimination on any project receiving assistance under this Act.
Authorizes the appropriation of up to $2.5 billion to carry out this title for the period ending September 30, 1977.
=Title II: Antirecession Provisions= - Declares it to be the national policy to make states and local government budget- related actions more consistent with Federal efforts to stimulate national economic recovery.
Authorizes financial assistance for each of five succeeding calendar quarters (starting with the quarter beginning April 1, 1976) in the amount of $125,000,000 when the nationally seasonally adjusted unemployment rate reaches six percent. Authorizes an additional $62,500,000 for each one-half percentage point over six percent. Forbids the authorization of funds for any calendar quarter during which the national unemployment rate averaged under six percent or for any quarter in which the last month's unemployment rate was below six percent.
Directs the Secretary of the Treasury to reserve one-third of the authorized funds for distribution to State governments and two-thirds for distribution to local governments. Provides formulas for allocation of funds to State and local governments.
Instructs the Secretary to reserve from the amount authorized for this program for each calendar quarter an amount equal to that not paid to jurisdictions with unemployment less than six percent, but in no case more than 10 percent of the total authorized amount for the purpose of making additional emergency support grants to State and local governments which are in severe fiscal difficulty. Requires the Secretary to spend at least 70 percent of this contingency fund for such grants, and sets forth the criteria for determining severe fiscal difficulty.
Restricts the use of emergency support grants to State and local maintenance of basic services ordinarily provided and the acquisition of supplies and materials or construction essential to such maintenance.
Establishes an application procedure for State and local governments eligible for emergency assistance. Declares that the Secretary shall approve any application which meets the requirements of this Act within 30 days and shall not finally disapprove, in whole or in part, any application for an emergency support grant without first affording the State or local government reasonable notice and an opportunity for a hearing.
Requires each State or local government receiving such grant to report to the Secretary, within six months, any increase or decrease in any tax which it imposes and substantial reductions in employment levels or in services which that jurisdiction furnishes. Directs State governments to report any decreases in the amount of assistance they provide local governments.
Gives the Secretary authority to make payments from the funds authorized under this Act, allowing payments to be made in installments in advance or by way of reimbursement. Directs each recipient to certify in good faith to the Secretary that it has taken steps of its own to economize and that without countercyclical assistance it would not be able to maintain essential service levels without increasing taxes.
Requires the Secretary to withhold funds from any jurisdiction which fails to comply substantially with any of the provisions set forth in the application it submitted for funds, until the Secretary is satisfied that compliance has been achieved. Mandates that the Secretary shall report to Congress as soon as practical after the end of each calendar quarter on the implementation of the program.
Instructs the Comptroller General, in cooperation with the Congressional Budget Office and the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, to study this program and its impact, and to submit to Congress within two years a report on the program's macroeconomic impact, its impact on State and local government, and related suggestions on the most effective means of stabilizing the national economy during periods of excess expansion and high inflation.
=Title III:= Increases, under the Public Works and Economic Development Act, the authorization for appropriations for fiscal year 1976 from $75,000,000 to $200,000,000 for interest subsidies for borrowers of guaranteed loans for public works. Allows an interest subsidy of up to four percent to private firms of 1,500 employees or less on working capital loans obtained from a nongovernmental source. Limits this subsidy to one calendar year.
Authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to designate as a "redevelopment area" any city with a population of 50,000 or more which has submitted a plan, approved by the Secretary, for an overall economic development program. Permits the Secretary to make a grant to the city to carry out the plan under specified conditions regarding use and repayment of loans.
Authorizes the Secretary to assist eligible areas in making applications for grants. Gives priority to programs and projects effective in creating and maintaining productive employment, including permanent and skilled employment, and those which are appropriate to the needs of unemployed persons in the area.
Requires a review within 45 days of enactment or appropriation by every Federal department or agency of its development plans and budget to: (1) evaluate their programs and projects for job creation for which funds are proposed or could be obligated with Federal assistance; and (2) to submit to the Secretary programs and projects which have the greatest job stimulation potential. Declares that the Secretary, within 45 days of receipt, shall review projects and allocate funds. Stipulates that States and political subdivisions in any eligible area may submit their project applications to the appropriate Federal agency.
Authorizes, under such Act, $500,000,000 for fiscal year 1976 for title X of such Act and makes the funds available for obligation until September 30, 1976, and extends the termination date of said Act to the same date.
Allows funds to be used to cover construction cost overruns if the project meets the other requirements of this Act.
Authorizes an appropriation of $1,417,968,050 for fiscal year 1976 for grants for the construction of publicly-owned wastewater treatment works, pursuant to Title II of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act. Requires the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, within 15 days of enactment of these provisions, to report to Congress his recommendations for a formula to be used to allot equitably new authorization of funds under such Act.
Click to hide full description.
Bill titles: A bill to authorize a local public works capital development and investment program.
Original source documents: Digest of the Congressional Record vol. 122-9, p. H488;
Links for more info on the vote: congress.gov