|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:||CONTACT: CHRISTI HARLAN|
|Wednesday, February 2, 2000||202-224-0894|
Export Administration Act of 2000 (S. 1712). The bill was passed by the committee Sept. 23, 1999, in a 20-0 vote and is awaiting consideration by the full Senate. The Act provides the legal framework for the Department of Commerce to implement export controls for both national security and foreign policy reasons. The bill exempts from controls certain products available in the mass market or in foreign markets, under specific conditions. The bill also increases penalties for criminal and civil violations of the Export Administration Act.
Rural Television Loan Guarantees. Under an agreement reached at the end of the 1999 session of Congress, the Banking Committee has until March 30 to bring legislation to the Senate floor dealing with loan guarantees for the provision of local television service to rural homes. The committee will work closely with Senator Conrad Burns and the Administration to write and report legislation that will ensure that loan guarantees are applied to successful, sustainable programs targeted on rural populations.
Securities Legislation. In 1999, the committee collected recommendations from the private sector and from state and federal agencies for regulatory relief. The committee is nearing the end of reviewing those proposals and preparing legislation to implement the suggestions. The legislation may include provisions to reduce the so-called user fees collected by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which are several times the cost of funding the SEC. In FY2000, for example, the SEC's budget is $370 million, but it will collect more than $1.8 billion in fees.
IMF Third World Debt Relief. Last fall, Chairman Gramm worked with the Treasury Department to produce debt relief legislation that was focused on promoting economic growth in the recipient countries. Some of the funds (5/14ths) were placed on hold to be sure that the IMF actually used the funds for promoting economic growth. The Banking Committee will review those efforts this year and determine whether providing the remaining funds is justified.
Reauthorization of the Commodity Exchange Act. The Banking Committee will work closely with the Agriculture Committee to review the Commodity Exchange Act, particularly the Shad-Johnson Accord, which delineates the regulatory boundary between the securities and futures industries. The main issue is whether futures on individual stocks would be allowed. The committees also intend to work very closely on efforts to give more legal certainty to the swaps markets without increasing regulation that could drive this market overseas.