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NSF & Congress

Summary of Legislation of Interest to NSF: H.R. 2779, Savings in Construction Act of 1996

The bill was introduced in the House of Representatives on Thursday, December 14, 1995 by Rep. Christopher Cox (R-CA). At the present time there are 86 cosponsors of this bill, 15 Democrats and 71 Republicans.

The bill's official title stated its purpose as follows: "A bill to provide for appropriate implementation of the Metric Conversion Act of 1975 in Federal construction projects, and for other purposes."

The latest major action in the House was on Tuesday, July 23, 1996: Passed (agreed to), as amended (by Voice Vote); the latest action in the Senate was on Monday, July 29, 1996: Referred to Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

Also, one other bill has been located that is a counterpart or companion bill to H.R.2779:

S.1386 by BURNS (R-MT) -- Small Business Metrification Amendments of 1995

The bill [H.R.2779] would eliminate certain federal metric measuring requirements imposed on contractors. Federal agencies presently require many federal contractors to use products measured in round metric units. These are known as "hard- metric" requirements. They are often imposed only to achieve rounded numbers, and impose substantial costs and difficulties on contractors, the author, Rep. Christopher Cox, R-Calif., claims.

Cox also asserted that conformity to the guidelines often necessitate unwarranted changes in product sizes and shape. To remedy these problems, the bill would allow contractors, under certain circumstances, to use "soft metrics," simply converting products to their true metric measurements without rounding.

First, the use of soft metrics must be technologically feasible. Once that condition is met, contractors could use "soft-metric" products in certain instances. These would include when:

  • conversions would place small business in a competitive disadvantage with foreign firms; or
  • when conversions would substantially reduce competition for federal contracts.

Last Update: 8/12/96