|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:||CONTACT: CHRISTI HARLAN|
|Thursday, June 17, 1999||202-224-0894|
Sen. Phil Gramm, chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, and Sen. Mike Enzi, chairman of the Subcommittee on International Trade and Finance, today released a staff draft of legislation to reauthorize the Export Administration Act.
"As the new chairman of this committee, I have said that I intend to pass an Export Administration Act reauthorization bill this year," Gramm said. "We're going to be in a full-court press in trying to make this happen.
"We have written a rough draft, and we're going to begin bipartisan discussions tomorrow on that draft," he said. "We hope to have a bipartisan bill."
The Export Administration Act provides the legal framework for export controls based on national security and foreign policy. The EAA lapsed in 1994, and its provisions since then have been continued by executive order. The draft legislation would reauthorize the EAA and update its provisions. The draft follows a series of hearings by the full Banking Committee and the International Trade and Finance Subcommittee, led by Enzi.
"In crafting a rewrite of the Export Administration Act, we strove to find the balance between the need to control some very sensitive items for national security purposes and the need to promote healthy exports of the goods, services and technologies that keep our economy running strong," Enzi said. "This draft provides a framework that focus more resources on the critical technology exports and fewer resources on those items that have a marginal benefit to our national security."
The full committee will hold two more hearings on the EAA during the week of June 21, and Gramm is planning markup during the week of June 28.
"Basically, the logic of the bill is pretty simple," Gramm said. "Number one, we want stiff penalties for people who willingly violate the law. The current penalties were written at a time when $10,000 was real money to corporate America.
"The second thing that we're trying to do is recognize the realities of the marketplace," Gramm said. "While it might be good if a potential adversary didn't have the technology in a certain product, if you can buy it on the Internet or go to Radio Shack and purchase it, then it's too late to try to prevent anybody from getting it. So the bill offers a totally new concept of general availability in the marketplace.
"It's that blending -- stiff penalties for violators and a system for determining general market availability -- that represents the heart of the bill."
Copies of the draft of the legislation to reauthorize the EAA are available in the Banking Committee's main office, Room 534 of the Dirksen Senate Building, phone 202-224-7391.