H.R.3546 - National Dialogue on Social Security Act of 1998105th Congress (1997-1998)
|Sponsor:||Rep. Archer, Bill [R-TX-7] (Introduced 03/25/1998)|
|Committees:||House - Ways and Means | Senate - Finance|
|Committee Reports:||H. Rept. 105-493|
|Latest Action:||Senate - 04/30/1998 Received in the Senate and read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance. (All Actions)|
|Roll Call Votes:||There have been 2 roll call votes|
This bill has the status Passed House
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Text: H.R.3546 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)
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Referred in Senate (04/30/1998)
[Congressional Bills 105th Congress] [From the U.S. Government Printing Office] [H.R. 3546 Referred in Senate (RFS)] 2d Session H. R. 3546 _______________________________________________________________________ IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES April 30, 1998 Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance _______________________________________________________________________ AN ACT To provide for a national dialogue on Social Security and to establish the Bipartisan Panel to Design Long-Range Social Security Reform. 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 ``National Dialogue on Social Security Act of 1998''. TITLE I--NATIONAL DIALOGUE ON SOCIAL SECURITY SEC. 101. ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL DIALOGUE. As soon as practicable after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Majority Leader of the Senate shall jointly convene a National Dialogue on the old-age, survivors, and disability insurance program under title II of the Social Security Act. The purpose of the National Dialogue shall be to engage, by means of regional conferences and national Internet exchanges, the American public in understanding the current program, the problems it faces, and the need to find solutions that will be workable for all generations and to generate comments, suggestions, and recommendations from the citizens for social security reform. SEC. 102. FACILITATORS. The National Dialogue conducted pursuant to section 101 shall operate under the administration and coordination of two Facilitators, one of whom shall be appointed by the President, in consultation with the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives and the Minority Leader of the Senate, and one of whom shall be appointed jointly by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Majority Leader of the Senate. The Facilitators shall be appointed within 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act. The Facilitators shall be appointed from among individuals known for their integrity, impartiality, and good judgment, who are, by reason of their education, experience, and attainments, exceptionally qualified to perform the duties of such office. The Facilitators may serve until termination of the National Dialogue under section 108. SEC. 103. PLANS FOR NATIONAL DIALOGUE. After consultation with the President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, the Majority Leader of the Senate, and the Minority Leader of the Senate, the Facilitators shall transmit the final plans for the development and operations of the National Dialogue to the President and each House of the Congress not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act. SEC. 104. DIALOGUE COUNCIL. (a) Establishment and Duties.--There is established a Dialogue Council. It shall be the duty of the Dialogue Council to advise the Facilitators in the development and operations of, and to promote nationwide participation in, the National Dialogue. (b) Membership.-- (1) In general.--The Dialogue Council shall be composed of 36 of the individuals nominated pursuant to paragraph (2), of whom-- (A) nine shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives; (B) four shall be appointed by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives; (C) nine shall be appointed by the Majority Leader of the Senate; (D) four shall be appointed by the Minority Leader of the Senate; and (E) ten shall be appointed by the President. To the extent practicable, the members shall include both men and women and shall be selected so as to ensure that individuals born before 1946, individuals born in or after 1946 and before 1961, and individuals born in or after 1961 are equally represented within the membership. (2) Nominations.--Individuals shall be appointed under paragraph (1) from a group of 54 individuals, consisting of individuals nominated in sets of two each, respectively, by each of the following 27 private organizations: (A) American Association of Retired Persons; (B) United Seniors Association; (C) American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations; (D) The National Hispanic Council on Aging; (E) The Older Women's League; (F) Association of Private Pension and Welfare Plans; (G) Cato Institute; (H) Employee Benefit Research Institute; (I) Americans Discuss Social Security; (J) Third Millennium; (K) The U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce; (L) Americans for Hope, Growth, and Opportunity; (M) National Federation of Independent Businesses; (N) The Concord Coalition; (O) National Caucus and Center on Black Aged; (P) Campaign for America's Future; (Q) The Heritage Foundation; (R) The Brookings Institution; (S) The 2030 Center; (T) National Council of Senior Citizens; (U) Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; (V) National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare; (W) United States Chamber of Commerce; (X) Pension Rights Center; (Y) Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities; (Z) National Association of Manufacturers; and (AA) National Association for the Self-Employed. (c) Administration.--The Dialogue Council shall meet at the call of the Facilitators. The Dialogue Council shall be subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act. Members of the Council shall receive no pay, allowances, or benefits by reason of their service on the Council (other than any private funding of costs pursuant to section 105). (d) Termination.--The Dialogue Council shall terminate upon the termination of the National Dialogue under section 108. SEC. 105. PRIVATE SPONSORSHIP AND OTHER REQUIREMENTS. The National Dialogue conducted pursuant to section 101 shall operate by means of sponsorship by private, nonpartisan organizations of conferences which shall be convened in localities across the Nation, which shall be geographically representative of the Nation as a whole, and which shall provide for participation which is representative of all age groups in the population. The Facilitators shall encourage and coordinate the sponsorship by such organizations of the National Dialogue and shall ensure that all costs relating to the functions of the Facilitators and the Dialogue Council under sections 104 and 107 and not referred to in section 109 are borne by such organizations or, as appropriate, by other private contributions. The source and amounts of contributions made pursuant to this section shall be made available to the public. SEC. 106. CONSTITUENCY INPUT. (a) In General.--In order to assure that the widest possible degree of opinion is received by Members of Congress regarding the future of the old-age, survivors, and disability insurance program under title II of the Social Security Act, each Member may, in connection with the National Dialogue, develop with grassroots organizations and other constituency groups within the Member's district ongoing systems of communication through the use of the Internet and other available electronic capabilities. Such groups include, but are not limited to, key opinion leaders, journalists, business representatives, union members, and students of all age groups. (b) Internet Dialogue Coordination.-- (1) Internet dialogue coordinator.--The Facilitators shall appoint an Internet Dialogue Coordinator who shall assist Members of Congress in establishing systems of communication as described in subsection (a). In carrying out the Coordinator's duties, the Coordinator shall-- (A) establish a national dialogue web site, which may include, but is not limited to, personal financial planning, Federal budget impact exercises, ongoing public opinion tallies regarding legislative proposals, moderated chat rooms, and threaded newsgroups; (B) assist Members' offices in establishing connections to the national dialogue web site; (C) assist Members in coordinating a national electronic town hall meeting on the future of social security; (D) advise Members regarding the most effective technological means for reaching out to constituent groups for purposes of this section; and (E) work with other Internet-oriented groups to broaden the reach of Internet capability for purposes of this section. (2) Internet advisory board.-- (A) Establishment.--There is established an Internet Advisory Board. It shall be the duty of the Board to advise the Internet Dialogue Coordinator in the most appropriate and effective means of employing the Internet under this section. (B) Membership.--The Board shall consist of 3 members appointed by the Facilitators from among individuals recognized for their expertise relating to the Internet. (C) Administration.--The Board shall meet at the call of the Internet Dialogue Coordinator. The Board shall be subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act. Members of the Board shall receive no pay, allowances, or benefits by reason of their service on the Board, except that any member of the Board who is not otherwise an officer or employee of the Federal Government shall receive travel expenses and per diem in lieu of subsistence in accordance with sections 5702 and 5703 of title 5, United States Code. (c) Reports.--The Internet Dialogue Coordinator shall periodically report in writing to the Facilitators the results of the systems of communication established pursuant to this section. (d) Termination.--The provisions of this section shall terminate upon the termination of the National Dialogue under section 108. SEC. 107. REPORTS. From time to time during the National Dialogue, the Facilitators shall catalog, summarize, and submit to the Bipartisan Panel to Design Long-Range Social Security Reform the comments, suggestions, and recommendations generated under the National Dialogue. SEC. 108. TERMINATION. The National Dialogue conducted pursuant to section 101 shall terminate January 1, 1999. SEC. 109. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS. There are authorized to be appropriated, from amounts otherwise available in the general fund of the Treasury, such sums as are necessary to provide for the compensation of the Facilitators and to carry out the provisions of section 106. TITLE II--BIPARTISAN PANEL TO DESIGN LONG-RANGE SOCIAL SECURITY REFORM SEC. 201. ESTABLISHMENT OF PANEL. There is established a panel to be known as the Bipartisan Panel to Design Long-Range Social Security Reform (in this title referred to as the ``Panel''). SEC. 202. DUTIES OF PANEL. The Panel shall design a single set of legislative and administrative recommendations for long-range reforms for restoring the solvency of the Social Security system and maintaining retirement income security in the United States. SEC. 203. MEMBERSHIP OF THE PANEL. (a) Number and Appointment.--The Panel shall be composed of eight members, of whom-- (1) four shall be appointed jointly by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Majority Leader of the Senate; (2) two shall be appointed by the President; and (3) two shall be appointed jointly by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives and the Minority Leader of the Senate. The members of the Panel shall consist of individuals who are of recognized standing and distinction, who can represent the multiple generations who have a stake in the viability of the system, and who possess a demonstrated capacity to discharge the duties imposed on the Panel. At least one of the members shall be appointed from individuals representing the interests of employees, and at least one of the members shall be appointed from individuals representing the interests of employers. (b) Co-Chairs.--The officials referred to in paragraphs (1) through (3) of subsection (a) shall designate two of the members of the Panel to serve as Co-Chairs of the Panel, who shall jointly chair the Panel, determine its duties, and supervise its staff. (c) Terms of Appointment.--The members of the Panel shall serve for the life of the Panel. (d) Vacancies.--A vacancy in the Panel shall not affect the power of the remaining members to execute the duties of the Panel, but any such vacancy shall be filled in the same manner in which the original appointment was made. SEC. 204. PROCEDURES. (a) Meetings.--The Panel shall meet at the call of its Co-Chairs or a majority of its members. (b) Quorum.--A quorum shall consist of five members of the Panel, except that a lesser number may conduct a hearing under subsection (c). (c) Hearings and Other Activities.--For the purpose of carrying out its duties, the Panel may hold such hearings and undertake such other activities as the Panel determines to be necessary to carry out its duties. Meetings held by the Panel shall be conducted in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act. (d) Obtaining Information.--Upon request of the Panel, the Commissioner of Social Security and the head of any other agency or instrumentality of the Federal Government shall furnish information deemed necessary by the Panel to enable it to carry out its duties. SEC. 205. ADMINISTRATION. (a) Compensation.--Except as provided in subsection (b), members of the Panel shall receive no additional pay, allowances, or benefits by reason of their service on the Panel. (b) Travel Expenses and per Diem.--Each member of the Panel who is not a present Member of the Congress and who is not otherwise an officer or employee of the Federal Government shall receive travel expenses and per diem in lieu of subsistence in accordance with sections 5702 and 5703 of title 5, United States Code. (c) Staff and Support Services.-- (1) Staff director.-- (A) Appointment.--The Panel shall appoint a staff director of the Panel. (B) Compensation.--The staff director shall be paid at a rate not to exceed the rate established for level III of the Executive Schedule. (2) Staff.--The Panel shall appoint such additional personnel as the Panel determines to be necessary. (3) Applicability of civil service laws.--The staff director and other members of the staff of the Panel shall be appointed without regard to the provisions of title 5, United States Code, governing appointments in the competitive service, and shall be paid without regard to the provisions of chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of such title relating to classification and General Schedule pay rates. (4) Experts and consultants.--With the approval of the Panel, the staff director may procure temporary and intermittent services under section 3109(b) of title 5, United States Code. (d) Contract Authority.--The Panel may contract with and compensate government and private agencies or persons for items and services, without regard to section 3709 of the Revised Statutes (41 U.S.C. 5). (e) Physical Facilities.--The Architect of the Capitol, in consultation with the appropriate entities in the legislative branch, shall locate and provide suitable office space for the operation of the Panel on a reimbursable basis. The facilities shall serve as the headquarters of the Panel and shall include all necessary equipment and incidentals required for the proper functioning of the Panel. (f) Detail of Federal Employees.--Upon the request of the Panel, the head of any Federal agency may detail, on a reimbursable basis, any of the personnel of such agency to the Panel to assist the Panel in carrying out its duties. (g) Use of Mails.--The Panel may use the United States mails in the same manner and under the same conditions as Federal agencies and shall, for purposes of the frank, be considered a commission of Congress as described in section 3215 of title 39, United States Code. (h) Administrative Support Services.--Upon the request of the Panel, the Architect of the Capitol shall provide to the Panel on a reimbursable basis such administrative support services as the Panel may request. (i) Printing.--For purposes of costs relating to printing and binding, including the cost of personnel detailed from the Government Printing Office, the Panel shall be deemed to be a committee of the Congress. SEC. 206. REPORT. (a) In General.--Not later than February 1, 1999, the Panel shall submit to the President, the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives, and the Committee on Finance of the Senate a report which shall contain a detailed statement of the findings and conclusions of the Panel, including the set of recommendations required under section 202. The report shall include only those recommendations of the Panel that receive the approval of at least six members of the Panel, including both Co-Chairs. (b) Sense of the Congress.--It is the sense of the Congress that, pending the report of the Panel under subsection (a), the Federal unified budget surplus should be dedicated to reducing the Federal debt held by the public, increasing the retirement income security of individuals and insuring the solvency of the Social Security system. SEC. 207. TERMINATION. The Panel shall terminate March 31, 1999. SEC. 208. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS. There are authorized to be appropriated from the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund such sums as are necessary to carry out the purposes of this title, but not to exceed $2,000,000. Passed the House of Representatives April 29, 1998. Attest: ROBIN H. CARLE, Clerk.