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.