Report text available as:

  • TXT
  • PDF   (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip ?
                                                       Calendar No. 405
106th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                    106-223
_______________________________________________________________________




 
     FEDERAL REPORTS ELIMINATION AND SUNSET ACT AMENDMENTS OF 1999

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

                   COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                          UNITED STATES SENATE

                              to accompany

                                S. 1877

     TO AMEND THE FEDERAL REPORT ELIMINATION AND SUNSET ACT OF 1995




               November 17, 1999.--Ordered to be printed

                               __________

                    U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
79-010                     WASHINGTON : 1999

                   COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                   FRED THOMPSON, Tennessee, Chairman
WILLIAM V. ROTH, Jr., Delaware       JOSEPH I. LIEBERMAN, Connecticut
TED STEVENS, Alaska                  CARL LEVIN, Michigan
SUSAN M. COLLINS, Maine              DANIEL K. AKAKA, Hawaii
GEORGE VOINOVICH, Ohio               RICHARD J. DURBIN, Illinois
PETE V. DOMENICI, New Mexico         ROBERT G. TORRICELLI, New Jersey
THAD COCHRAN, Mississippi            MAX CLELAND, Georgia
ARLEN SPECTER, Pennsylvania          JOHN EDWARDS, North Carolina
JUDD GREGG, New Hampshire
             Hannah S. Sistare, Staff Director and Counsel
                        Robert J. Shea, Counsel
                      Henry R. Wray, GAO Detailee
      Joyce A. Rechtschaffen, Minority Staff Director and Counsel
          Peter A. Ludgin, Minority Professional Staff Member

                 Darla D. Cassell, Administrative Clerk
                                                       Calendar No. 405
106th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                    106-223

======================================================================




 AMENDING THE FEDERAL REPORT ELIMINATION AND SUNSET ACT AMENDMENTS OF 
                                  1999

                                _______
                                

               November 17, 1999.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Thompson, from the Committee on Governmental Affairs, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 1877]

    The Committee on Governmental Affairs, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 1877) to amend the Federal Report 
Elimination and Sunset Act of 1995, having considered the same, 
reports favorably thereon without amendment and recommends that 
the bill do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
  I. Summary and Purpose..............................................1
 II. Background.......................................................2
III. Legislative History..............................................2
 IV. Section-by-Section analysis......................................3
  V. Regulatory Impact Statement......................................5
 VI. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................5
VII. Changes to Existing Law..........................................6

                         I. Summary and Purpose

    S. 1877, the Federal Reports Elimination and Sunset Act 
Amendments of 1999, preserves certain statutory requirements 
for reports to Congress that would otherwise cease to be 
effective at the end of this year under a ``sunset'' provision 
enacted by the Federal Reports Elimination and Sunset Act of 
1995 (Public Law 104-66). The bill also adds clarifying 
language to affirm the original Congressional intent concerning 
the scope of the sunset provision. Finally, the bill 
temporarily extends the authority of the Director of the Office 
of Management and Budget (OMB) to consolidate certain financial 
management reports.


                             II. Background

    The Federal Reports Elimination and Sunset Act of 1995 
(Public Law 104-66) (hereafter ``the Sunset Act'') eliminated 
several hundred no-longer-needed reports to the Congress. In 
addition, it established a mechanism for the subsequent 
``sunsetting,'' effective December 21, 1999, of many more laws 
that require reports to the Congress.
    Section 3003 of the Sunset Act provided that each law 
``requiring the submittal to Congress (or any committee of the 
Congress) of any annual, semiannual, or other regular periodic 
report'' listed in a 1993 document issued by the Clerk of the 
House of Representatives ``shall cease to be effective'' four 
years after the date of enactment of the Act, i.e., on December 
21, 1999. The Clerk's document referred to in the Sunset Act, 
entitled ``Reports to be Made to Congress'' (House Document 
103-7), was issued on January 5, 1993.
    The Sunset Act itself exempted from sunset certain specific 
reports and categories of reports. The sponsors of the Act, 
Senators Levin and McCain, anticipated that, over time, 
Congress would identify additional reports that warranted 
exemption from sunset. Indeed, the 4-year lead time before the 
sunset became effective was provided for this purpose. Thus, 
Senator Levin observed during Senate consideration of the 
legislation enacted as the Sunset Act:

          * * * The legislation also includes a modified 
        version of Senator McCain's sunset provision which will 
        eliminate those reports with an annual, semi-annual, or 
        regular periodic reporting basis 4 years after the 
        bill's enactment, while allowing Members of Congress to 
        reauthorize those reports it deems necessary in 
        carrying out effective Congressional oversight.'' \1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\ Congressional Record for July 17, 1995, at S10168.

    The Federal Reports Elimination and Sunset Act Amendments 
of 1999 exempts from sunset a few additional reporting 
requirements. In the judgment of the Committee, there is a 
continuing need for the reports covered by these 
requirements.\2\ The bill also adds clarifying language to the 
Sunset Act in order to explicitly affirm the original intent 
that the sunset provision applies only to reports that are 
required at regular time intervals. The bill also temporarily 
extends for 6 months OMB's authority to consolidate certain 
financial management reports into single agency 
``accountability reports.'' This temporary extension will allow 
the accountability reports to continue while the Committee and 
OMB develop legislation to provide permanent and enhanced 
statutory authority for the consolidation of management 
reports.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\ Other committees are reviewing reporting requirements within 
their jurisdictions that are subject to sunset in order to determine 
whether they should propose legislation to retain any of them.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                        III. Legislative History

    S. 1877 is an original bill introduced by Chairman 
Thompson. The Committee on Governmental Affairs considered the 
bill on November 3, 1999, and ordered the bill reported by 
voice vote.

                    IV. Section-by-Section Analysis

    Section 1 provides that the bill may be cited as the 
``Federal Reports Elimination and Sunset Act Amendments of 
1999.''
    Section 2 clarifies the scope of the sunset provision. 
Section 3003(a) of the Sunset Act provided for the sunset of 
requirements listed in the 1993 Clerk's document for ``annual, 
semiannual, or other regular periodic'' reports. The Clerk's 
document was designed to list all statutory requirements then 
in effect for agency reports to Congress, including one-time 
reports, regular periodic reports, and ad hoc reports triggered 
on some basis other than a fixed time period.
    As its plain terms indicate, the sunset applies only to a 
portion of the reports listed by the Clerk-specifically, those 
required to be submitted at regular time intervals. It was not 
intended to reach reports required by the occurrence of events, 
as opposed to the passage of time. For example, it was not 
intended to sunset reports of proposed rescissions, 
reservations, and deferrals of budget authority (2 U.S.C. 683 
and 684); reports of determinations to withhold agency records 
from the Comptroller General (31 U.S.C. 716); or reports of 
violations of the Federal Records Act (44 U.S.C. 2115). 
Likewise, the sunset was not intended to cover reports lacking 
a fixed time interval, such as reports required ``from time to 
time,'' or ``periodically,'' or ``as appropriate.'' Out of an 
abundance of caution that some confusion may arise over the 
scope of the sunset, section 2 of the bill amends section 
3003(a) of the Sunset Act to make explicitly clear that the 
sunset covers only reports required to be submitted at regular 
predetermined time intervals.
    Concerning the scope of the sunset, the Committee also 
notes that section 3003(a) applies by its terms to reports 
listed in the 1993 Clerk's document. It follows that the sunset 
affects only reporting requirements as they existed at the time 
of the Clerk's list. Thus, reporting requirements that were 
subsequently enacted, reenacted, or modified are beyond the 
scope of the sunset. Sections 104(j) and 502(g) of title 23, 
United States Code, as amended by the Transportation Equity Act 
for the 21st Century (Public Law 105-178), are examples of such 
requirements.
    Section 3 of the bill amends section 3003(d) of the Sunset 
Act by adding several paragraphs that contain additional 
exemptions of reporting requirements from sunset.
    The new paragraph (33) deals generally with reports 
associated with the annual budget submission process set forth 
in chapter 11 of title 31, United States Code. Subparagraph 
(33)(A) exempts from the sunset requirement three specific 
annual reports to the Congress-under sections 1105(a), 1106(a) 
and (b), and 1109(a) of title 31--that are fundamental to that 
process. Section 1105(a), for example, is the requirement for 
the President to submit his proposed budget to the Congress.
    Subparagraph (33)(B) exempts section 446 of Public Law 93-
198, which requires the Mayor of the District of Columbia to 
submit the District's annual budget to the President ``for 
transmission by him to the Congress.'' The President's annual 
budget would be incomplete without this report.
    Subparagraph (33)(C) exempts reports under other laws 
relating to the annual budget. The Committee is aware that 
there are other agency-specific requirements, similar to the 
one for the District's budget, that require submission of 
budget materials to the Congress. However, it would be 
impractical to sort through the Clerk's list to identify all 
such requirements. Therefore, subparagraph (33)(C) provides a 
categorical exemption for budget-related reports.
    Paragraph (34) deals with the budget enforcement process 
set forth in chapter 20 of title 2, United States Code, under 
which funding that exceeds congressionally-established 
limitations is subject to sequestration. The Committee intends 
to assure that any regular and periodic reports to the Congress 
that are part of that process be preserved.
    Paragraph (35) exempts a report that is an integral part of 
the process of reapportioning seats in the House of 
Representatives based on the Census. The President is required 
by 2 U.S.C. 2a(a) to transmit to the Congress ``a statement 
showing the whole number of persons in each State * * * as 
ascertained under the seventeenth and each subsequent decennial 
census of the population and the number of Representatives to 
which each State would be entitled under an apportionment of 
the then existing number of Representatives * * *.'' Under 
subsection (b) of this provision, each State is entitled to the 
number of Representatives set forth in the President's 
statement until the next such report or until a reapportionment 
is enacted. The report required by section 2a(a) of title 2 is 
regular and periodic, and thus subject to sunset, since it is 
made every 10 years. If this statement were discontinued, it is 
not clear that any Census-based reapportionment could occur 
without legislative action.
    Paragraph (36) exempts an annual report to Congress by the 
Director of OMB on paperwork reduction and information 
management activities. Among other things, the report describes 
the extent to which agencies have (A) reduced information 
collection burdens; (B) improved the quality and usefulness of 
statistical information; (C) improved public access to 
government information; and (D) improved program performance 
through information resources management. The Committee 
considers this report to be an important oversight tool.
    Paragraph (37) and (38) exempt two reports by the 
Administrator of the General Services concerning agency 
property disposition activities that the Committee likewise 
considers important for oversight. The first is an annual 
report on agency activities relating to the disposition of 
excess personal property. The second is a biennial report on 
the donation of surplus and excess property.
    Paragraph (39) exempts two annual reports by the Director 
of the Congressional Budget Office. The first is a report to 
the Senate and House Budget Committees on budgetary information 
and budget-related legislation. The second is a report to 
Congress on appropriations for which there is no current 
authorization.
    Paragraph (40) exempts monthly reports by the President on 
cumulative proposed rescissions, reservations, and deferrals of 
budget authority under the Impoundment Control Act. This is the 
only report under the Impoundment Control Act that would be 
subject to sunset.
    Paragraph (41) exempts a requirement that the Archivist of 
the United States transmit to Congress copies of certificates 
of ascertainment of electors.
    Section 4 of the bill extends until April 30, 2000, OMB's 
authority to conduct pilot projects that consolidate certain 
agency financial management reports into single agency 
``accountability reports.'' This authority is scheduled to 
expire at the end of calendar year 1999. The Committee supports 
the objective of consolidated reporting, but believes that the 
content and format for the consolidated reports can be 
improved. The Committee considers it particularly important 
that management reports address the substantial data challenges 
that affect most agencies. The extension through next April is 
a stopgap measure. The Committee intends to work with OMB to 
develop permanent and enhanced reports-consolidation authority 
next year.

                     V. Regulatory Impact Statement

    Pursuant to paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the Standing 
Rules of the Senate, the Committee has considered the 
regulatory impact that would be incurred in carrying out the 
bill. The Committee finds that enactment of the bill will not 
have significant regulatory impact.

             VI. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                  Washington, DC, November 5, 1999.
Hon. Fred Thompson,
Chairman, Committee on Governmental Affairs,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for the Federal Reports 
Elimination and Sunset Act Amendments of 1999.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contacts are John R. 
Righter (for federal costs) and Susan Sieg (for the state and 
local impact).
            Sincerely,
                                          Barry B. Anderson
                                    (For Dan L. Crippen, Director).
    Enclosure.

S. 1877--Federal Reports Elimination and Sunset Act Amendments of 1999

    Subject to the availability of appropriated funds, CBO 
estimates that implementing the bill would not significantly 
increase annual federal reporting costs. Because the 
legislation would not affect direct spending or receipts, pay-
as-you-go procedures would not apply. This bill contains 
intergovernmental mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates 
Reform Act (UMRA); however, CBO estimates that the costs to 
state and local governments would not be significant and would 
not exceed the threshold established in the act ($50 million in 
1996, adjusted annually for inflation). The legislation 
contains no private-sector mandates as defined in UMRA.
    Beginning on December 21, 1999, the Federal Reports 
Elimination and Sunset Act of 1995 generally terminates regular 
periodic reporting requirements established in 1992 or before. 
This bill would exempt 12 specific reports from elimination, as 
well as any other report that relates to the budget of the 
federal government. In addition, the legislation would clarify 
that the sunset provision included in the 1995 act applies only 
to reports with regular time intervals and not to reports that 
are triggered by specific events. Finally, the legislation 
would extend by four months the authority granted to the 
Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the 
Government Management Reform Act of 1994 (GMRA) to consolidate 
certain financial management reports.
    CBO expects that agencies would continue to submit most, if 
not all, of the reports listed in the legislation. For 
instance, the bill includes the annual budget and related 
reports submitted by the President; reports relating to the 
budget enforcement and sequestration process under the Balanced 
Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act; the decennial census 
report that provides the basis for apportioning seats in the 
U.S. House of Representatives; the requirement that the 
District of Columbia submit its budget to the Congress, which 
is the basis for its annual appropriation; and the 
Administration's annual report on implementing the Federal 
Paperwork Reduction Act. Consequently, CBO estimates that, 
subject to the availability of appropriated funds, any increase 
in costs from exempting the reports would not be significant.
    In addition, we expect a few reports with irregular time 
intervals would continue under this bill and that the 
additional costs of continuing such reports would not be 
significant. Finally, based on information from OMB, CBO 
estimates that the amount of savings in 2000 from temporarily 
extending the Administration's authority under GMRA would be 
negligible. Any change in spending from either provision would 
be subject to the availability of appropriated funds.
    Under current law, state executives must report 
Presidential election results to the National Archivist, and 
the Mayor of the District of Columbia must submit its budget to 
the President. These reporting requirements on state executives 
and the mayor would sunset under current law, but would be 
continued under this bill. Restoring these requirements would 
be mandates as defined in UMRA, but the costs would not be 
significant and would not exceed the UMRA threshold ($50 
million in 1996, adjusted annually for inflation).
    The CBO staff contacts are John R. Righter (for federal 
costs) and Susan Sieg (for the state and local impact). This 
estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                      VII. Changes to Existing Law

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by 
the bill are shown as follows (existing law proposed to be 
omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new matter is printed in 
italic, and existing law in which no change is proposed is 
shown in roman):

                           Public Law 104-66


          FEDERAL REPORTS ELIMINATION AND SUNSET ACT OF 1995

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



SEC. 3003. TERMINATION OF REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

    (a) Termination.--
          (1) In general.--Subject to the provisions of 
        paragraph (2) of this subsection and subsection (d), 
        each provision of law requiring the submittal to 
        Congress (or any committee of Congress) of any annual, 
        semiannual, or other [regular] periodic report at 
        predetermined and regular time intervals, specified on 
        the list described under subsection (c) shall cease to 
        be effective, with respect to that requirement, 4 years 
        after the date of the enactment of this Act.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

    (d) Specific Reports Exempted.--Subsection (a)(1) shall not 
apply to any report required under--

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

          (31) section 240A of the Foreign Assistance Act of 
        1961 (22 U.S.C. 2200a); [and]
          (32) section 604 of the United States Information and 
        Educational Exchange Act of 1948 (22 U.S.C. 1469) [.];
          (33)(A) sections 1105(a), 1106(a) and (b), and 
        1109(a) of title 31, United States Code;
          (B) section 446 of the District of Columbia Self-
        Government and Governmental Reorganization Act (Public 
        Law 93-198; 87 Stat. 801), and
          (C) any other law relating to the budget of the 
        United States Government;
          (34) the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit 
        Control Act of 1985 (2 U.S.C. 900 et seq.);
          (35) section 22(a) of the Act entitled ``An Act to 
        provide for the fifteenth and subsequent decennial 
        censuses and to provide for apportionment of 
        Representatives in Congress'', approved June 28, 1929 
        (2 U.S.C. 2a(a));
          (36) section 3514(a)(1)(B) of title 44, United States 
        Code;
          (37) section 202(e) of the Federal Property and 
        Administrative Services Act of 1949 (40 U.S.C. 483(e));
          (38) section 203(o) of the Federal Property and 
        Administrative Services Act of 1949 (40 U.S.C. 484(o));
          (39) section 202(e)(1) and (3) of the Congressional 
        Budget Act of 1974 (2 U.S.C. 602(e)(1) and (3));
          (40) section 1014(e) of the Congressional Budget and 
        Impoundment Control Act of 1974 (2 U.S.C. 685(e)); and
          (41) section 6 of title 3, United States Code.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


          Public Law 103-356, as amended by Public Law 104-208


                GOVERNMENT MANAGEMENT REFORM ACT OF 1994

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



SEC. 404. SIMPLIFICATION OF MANAGEMENT REPORTING PROCESS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


    (b) Application.--The authority provided in subsection (a) 
shall apply only to reports of agencies to the Office of 
Management and Budget or the President and of agencies or the 
Office of Management and Budget to the Congress required by 
statute to be submitted between January 1, 1995, and [December 
30, 1999] April 30, 2000.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *