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                                                       Calendar No. 112
108th Congress                                         Report
 1st Session                     SENATE                108-53
_______________________________________________________________________


    NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2003

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 OF THE

           COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION

                                   on

                                 S. 579



                                     

                  May 22, 2003.--Ordered to be printed



       SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
                      one hundred eighth congress
                             first session

                     JOHN McCAIN, Arizona, Chairman
TED STEVENS, Alaska                  ERNEST F. HOLLINGS, South Carolina
CONRAD BURNS, Montana                DANIEL K. INOUYE, Hawaii
TRENT LOTT, Mississippi              JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, West 
KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON, Texas              Virginia
OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, Maine              JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts
SAM BROWNBACK, Kansas                JOHN B. BREAUX, Louisiana
GORDON SMITH, Oregon                 BYRON L. DORGAN, North Dakota
PETER G. FITZGERALD, Illinois        RON WYDEN, Oregon
JOHN ENSIGN, Nevada                  BARBARA BOXER, California
GEORGE ALLEN, Virginia               BILL NELSON, Florida
JOHN E. SUNUNU, New Hampshire        MARIA CANTWELL, Washington
                                     FRANK LAUTENBERG, New Jersey
           Jeanne Bumpus, Staff Director and General Counsel
                   Ann Begeman, Deputy Staff Director
                  Robert W. Chamberlin, Chief Counsel
               Kevin D. Kayes, Democratic Staff Director
                Gregg Elias, Democratic General Counsel



                                                       Calendar No. 112
108th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                     108-53
======================================================================
 
    NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2003
                                _______
                                

                  May 22, 2003.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

       Mr. McCain, from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
                Transportation, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 579]

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to 
which was referred the bill (S. 579) ``A Bill To reauthorize 
the National Transportation Safety Board, and for other 
purposes'', having considered the same, reports favorably 
thereon without amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

  The purpose of this bill, S. 579, the National Transportation 
Safety Board Reauthorization Act of 2003, as reported, is to 
authorize appropriations for the National Transportation Safety 
Board for Fiscal Years (FY) 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006, and for 
other purposes.

                          Background and Needs

  The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB or Board), was 
established as an independent agency in 1974 when it was 
removed from the Department of Transportation (DOT). The NTSB 
is charged with determining the probable cause of 
transportation accidents and promoting transportation safety. 
The Board investigates accidents in all modes of 
transportation, conducts safety studies, and evaluates the 
effectiveness of other government agencies' programs for 
preventing transportation accidents. In addition, the NTSB 
coordinates all Federal assistance to families of victims of 
catastrophic aviation accidents. When resources allow, the NTSB 
also provides family assistance for accidents occurring in 
other transportation modes.
  Most importantly, the NTSB makes safety recommendations, 
based on its investigations, to Federal, State, and local 
government agencies and to the transportation industry 
regarding actions that it believes should be taken to prevent 
accidents. It is a unique agency in that its views and 
decisions on safety are separated from regulatory 
responsibilities, which are vested with other agencies.
  The Board also serves as the ``court of appeal'' for airmen, 
aviation mechanics, and mariners whenever the Federal Aviation 
Administration (FAA) or the U.S. Coast Guard takes an adverse 
certificate action against them. In P.L. 106-181, the Wendell 
H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century 
(AIR 21), Congress expanded the Board's jurisdiction to include 
review of FAA emergency revocations of pilot licenses. These 
emergency revocations take effect immediately, and prior to AIR 
21, the pilot's only recourse was to take the FAA to court.
  Since 1967, the Board has investigated more than 114,000 
aviation accidents, and at least 10,000 additional accidents in 
other modes of transportation. The NTSB also investigates 
accidents involving hazardous material transportation and is 
the sole U.S. accredited representative authorized at foreign 
aviation accident investigations under the Convention on 
International Civil Aviation.
  The NTSB has no authority to issue regulations covering the 
transportation industry. Therefore, its effectiveness is 
dependent upon timely and accurate determinations of accident 
causation and issuing safety recommendations. According to the 
NTSB, since its inception in 1967, the Board has issued almost 
12,000 safety recommendations in all modes of transportation. 
Over 82 percent of those recommendations have been adopted by 
the regulatory and transportation communities.

                            NTSB OPERATIONS

  Each year, the NTSB investigates more than 2,000 aviation 
accidents and incidents, including all fatal aviation 
accidents, and hundreds of railroad, highway, maritime, and 
pipeline transportation accidents. To leverage its limited 
resources, the Board typically designates other government 
agencies, organizations, corporations, or foreign authorities 
(for example, in the case of investigations involving foreign 
aircraft) as parties to the investigation. According to the 
NTSB, the participation of these other parties not only greatly 
multiplies the Board's resources, it also ensures general 
agreement on the facts developed during an investigation, and 
allows first-hand access to information so that the parties can 
take appropriate and timely corrective actions.
  When the NTSB is notified of a major accident, it launches a 
``go-team'' that varies in size depending on the severity of 
the accident and the complexity of the issues involved. Go-
teams consist of Board investigators who are experts in 
appropriate technical specialties based on the mode of 
transportation and the nature of the accident. Each NTSB expert 
manages an investigative group made up of other experts from 
industry and government organizations that are parties to the 
investigation in the collection of the facts surrounding the 
accident. Eventually, each Board expert prepares a factual 
report that is verified for accuracy by each of the party 
representatives in the group. These reports are placed in the 
public docket and, after completion of a formal technical 
review by the team, they constitute the factual record of the 
investigation.
  After investigating an accident, the NTSB determines the 
probable cause and issues a formal report. Parties do not 
participate in the analytical or report-writing phases of the 
NTSB's investigations, although they may submit their proposed 
findings of probable cause and proposed safety recommendations 
directly to the Board.
  The NTSB is statutorily required to make a cause 
determination for all aviation accidents. Although the NTSB 
investigates all fatal aviation accidents, the Board may 
request that the FAA investigate non-fatal aviation accidents. 
Other Federal agencies or States often investigate accidents in 
other modes of transportation.

                      NTSB REAUTHORIZATION REQUEST

  On June 25, 2002, the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
Transportation held a hearing on the reauthorization proposal 
of the NTSB. At the hearing, the NTSB requested a three-year 
reauthorization along with two statutory changes. While the 
Senate passed an NTSB reauthorization proposal, S. 2950, during 
the 107th Congress, the House of Representatives failed to act 
on the bill. Subsequently, in the 108th Congress, both chambers 
passed, and the President signed, the Consolidated 
Appropriations Resolution FY 2003 (P.L. 108-007). Included in 
that legislation was an appropriation of $72 million for the 
NTSB for FY 2003. To ensure that no gaps exist in fiscal year 
authorization funding levels, S. 579 would provide an 
authorization for FY 2003 as well as for the next three fiscal 
years, through FY 2006.
  With regard to the statutory changes requested by the NTSB, 
the first involves the NTSB's investigative priority for major 
marine accidents, and the second concerns its responsibility 
for family assistance in transportation incidents resulting 
from intentional criminal acts. The Coast Guard and the NTSB 
reached an agreement on the issue of marine accident 
investigations on September 13, 2002, obviating the need for 
legislation on that issue. A family assistance provision is 
included in S. 579.
  The NTSB's reauthorization request includes funding for 
operating expenses and for the cost of running the NTSB 
training academy. The following table shows the NTSB's FY 2003 
appropriations level and the authorization levels requested by 
the NTSB for FYs 2004-2006.

     FY 2003 Appropriation and FYs 2004-2006 Authorization Request


                             (IN MILLIONS)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                    FY 2003                           FY 2005         FY 2006
                                                 Appropriation   FY 2004 Request      Request         Request
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      Salaries and Expenses            $72.0             $78.8           $83.0           $87.5
                                    Academy                *              $4.9            $5.0            $5.2
                                      Total            $72.0             $83.7           $88.0       $92.76601
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    * The appropriations Act
                   did not differentiate
                   between salaries and
                   academy funding.

  The NTSB's FY 2004 reauthorization request of $83.7 million includes 
funding for laboratory equipment and improvements to the Board's 
information technology infrastructure to enhance the NTSB's investigative 
tools and technical competence, as well as to improve public access to the 
NTSB's accident investigation, safety recommendation, and safety promotion 
information. It also includes five additional Academy positions, as well as 
26 positions needed to fill shortages in investigative and technical 
specialty areas. The $4.3 million increase in funding requested for FY 2005 
would maintain NTSB operations at the FY 2004 level. The President's FY 
2004 budget submission requested $71.5 million for the NTSB, slightly below 
the appropriated level in FY 2003.

                          Summary of Provisions

  S. 579 would provide a four-year authorization for the NTSB's general 
expenditures of $73.325 million in FY 2003, $78.757 million in FY 2004, 
$83.011 million in FY 2005, and $87.539 million in FY 2006. In addition to 
this authorization of funding, the bill would allow for sufficient funding 
to maintain the NTSB emergency fund at a level of $3 million.

  The bill also would provide a four-year authorization for the NTSB 
Training Academy of $3.347 million in FY 2003, $4.896 million in FY 2004, 
$4.995 million in FY 2005, and $5.200 million in FY 2006.

  The total authorization amount that would be provided for the NTSB is 
$322 million over the four fiscal years. S. 579 also would allow the NTSB 
to collect fees for the use of the Academy which would be credited as 
offsetting collections and could only be used to cover costs for the 
activities and services of the Academy. The bill would require the NTSB to 
report to Congress on the progress and use of the Academy.

  S. 579 would provide that in situations when the NTSB relinquishes 
responsibility for the investigation of an aviation incident, as in the 
case of an intentional criminal act, the NTSB would be allowed to forgo its 
statutory responsibility to assist families of passengers involved in such 
incidents. However, this transfer is conditioned on the willingness and 
ability of another Federal agency to assume the responsibility from the 
NTSB. Even after relinquishing responsibility, the Board would be expected 
to assist the other Federal agency to the maximum extent practicable. The 
Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) currently receives priority in the 
event of intentional criminal acts and has recently hired over 100 victims 
assistance staff to be responsive on this issue. The bill section also 
would require the NTSB and FBI to revise, within one year of enactment, the 
1977 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two agencies on the 
investigation of accidents to take into account changes made by this bill.

  The Committee supports the NTSB's request for a statutory change to the 
Board's responsibility to provide assistance to families of passengers 
involved in aircraft accidents resulting from intentional criminal acts. 
Current law triggers the NTSB's family affairs response irrespective of the 
suspected cause of the accident. This is necessary to provide family 
assistance without any delay due to uncertainty about which agency will 
lead the investigation. Although the NTSB Amendments Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-
424) establisheda mechanism for the transfer of investigative priority from 
the NTSB to the FBI in the event of an accident caused by an 
intentional criminal act, no mechanism for the transfer of family 
affairs responsibility was requested or provided.
  Based on the events of September 11, 2001, the NTSB believes 
that such a mechanism is needed. The NTSB believes that, if 
investigative responsibility is transferred to the FBI, the 
responsibility for family assistance should be transferred as 
well. The rationale being that when the FBI has investigative 
priority, the site of the crash is considered a crime scene and 
access to the scene and release of information about the 
investigation are much more restricted than when the NTSB has 
investigative priority.
  According to the NTSB, since September 11, 2001, the FBI has 
recognized the need to have a stronger program to respond to 
victims for events of this magnitude. In January 2002, the 
Director of the FBI announced a reorganization of the Office of 
Victims Assistance (OVA). The new Program Director of OVA is 
responsible for designing a program to work with the NTSB and 
other agencies to support victims in terrorist and criminal 
events resulting in mass fatalities. This should provide the 
necessary infrastructure for the FBI to assume the NTSB's 
family assistance responsibilities in the event of an aircraft 
accident caused by an intentional criminal act.
  The bill further would allow the NTSB relief from competition 
requirements in contracting laws if it is necessary to expedite 
an investigation. The NTSB has had several investigations where 
its work was delayed because competitive bidding was required 
for unique and specific work, with few capable entities able to 
provide the needed expertise. The Department of Veterans 
Affairs and the Medicare Integrity Program have exemption 
authority similar to the provision provided in this 
legislation. The exemption would not cover competitive 
requirements for non-investigative procurements, and would 
require an accounting of each contract of $25,000 or more in 
annual reporting. A letter from the NTSB specifically 
requesting this change was sent to Senators Hollings and 
McCain.

                          Legislative History

  On June 25, 2002, the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
Transportation held a hearing on the activities of the NTSB and 
its legislative reauthorization proposal. On September 17, 
2002, Senator Hollings introduced S. 2950, a bill to authorize 
appropriations for the NTSB. The bill was cosponsored by 
Senators McCain, Rockefeller, Hutchison, Breaux, and Smith. The 
Committee ordered the amended bill reported favorably on 
September 30, 2002, by a voice vote. S. 2950 was passed by the 
full Senate on November 11, 2002, however the bill was not 
considered by the House of Representatives before the 107th 
Session of Congress expired.
  On March 7, 2003, Senator McCain introduced S. 579, a bill to 
authorize appropriations for the NTSB, which is essentially 
identical to legislation reported by the Committee during the 
107th Congress. The bill was cosponsored by Senators Hollings, 
Lott, Rockefeller, and Hutchison. The bill was reported 
favorably by the Committee without amendments on March 13, 
2003.

                            Estimated Costs

  In accordance with paragraph 11(a) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate and section 403 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee provides the 
following cost estimate, prepared by the Congressional Budget 
Office:

S. 579--National Transportation Safety Board Reauthorization Act of 
        2003

    Summary: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) 
investigates every civil aviation accident and significant 
accidents in other modes of transportation. Over the 2003-2006 
period, S. 579 would authorize the appropriation of $270 
million for NTSB activities and its training academy. The bill 
also would authorize the appropriation of amounts necessary for 
the agency to maintain an emergency fund of $3 million at all 
times.
    Assuming appropriation of amounts authorized by the bill, 
CBO estimates that implementing S. 579 would cost $270 million 
over the 2003-2008 period. Enacting the bill would not affect 
direct spending or revenues.
    S. 579 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) 
and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary impact of S. 579 is shown in the following table. The 
costs of this legislation fall within budget function 400 
(transportation).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                  By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                           -----------------------------------------------------
                                                              2003     2004     2005     2006     2007     2008
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
 NTSB spending under current law:
    Budget authority \1\..................................       72        0        0        0        0        0
    Estimated outlays.....................................       70        7        0        0        0        0
Proposed changes:
    Authorization level...................................        6       84       88       93        0        0
    Estimated outlays.....................................        4       76       88       93        9        0
NTSB spending under S. 579:
    Authorization level...................................       78       84       88       93        0        0
    Estimated outlays.....................................       74       83       88       93        9        0
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The 2003 level is the amount appropriated thus far for that year for the National Transportation Safety
  Board.

Basis of estimate

    For this estimate, CBO assumes that S. 579 will be enacted 
in fiscal year 2003 and that the authorized amounts will be 
appropriated for each year. Estimates of spending are based on 
information from NTSB and historical spending patterns for 
these programs.
            NTSB and its Academy
    For fiscal year 2003, S. 579 would authorize the 
appropriation of $77 million. Because $72 million has already 
been appropriated for these activities in 2003, CBO estimates 
that implementing this provision of the bill would require 
appropriation of an additional $5 million. CBO assumes that the 
additional budget authority would be provided in a supplemental 
appropriations act in 2003. Over the 2004-2006 period, the bill 
would authorize the appropriation of $265 million for the NTSB.
            Emergency fund
    Current law authorizes the appropriation of amounts 
necessary to maintain balances in the emergency fund of $2 
million. S. 579 would increase this authorization to $3 
million. (The emergency fund currently has a balance of about 
$1.5 million.) Implementing this provision of S. 579 would cost 
1 million in 2003.
    NTSB does not use the emergency fund on a regular basis, 
and CBO does not estimate any outlays from the fund over the 
2003-2008 period. Consequently, we estimate that the emergency 
fund would not require any additional appropriations to 
maintain the funds at $3 million over the next five years.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: S. 579 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA and would impose no costs on state, local, or 
tribal governments.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal costs: Rachel Milberg; impact 
on state, local, and tribal governments: Greg Waring; impact on 
the private sector: Jean Talarico.
    Estimate approved by: Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                      Regulatory Impact Statement

  In accordance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides the 
following evaluation of the regulatory impact of the 
legislation, as reported:

                       NUMBER OF PERSONS COVERED

  S. 579 would authorize appropriations to fund the operations 
of the NTSB for Fiscal Years 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006. The 
funding levels are similar to previous years, and the number of 
persons covered should be consistent with current levels.

                            ECONOMIC IMPACT

  No negative impact to taxpayers is expected from the 
enactment of S. 579 as it would authorize appropriations for 
the NTSB at levels similar to previous authorization levels. 
The NTSB also would be authorized to collect reimbursements for 
the activities and services of the NTSB Training Academy. These 
fees are to be credited to the NTSB as offsetting collections.

                                PRIVACY

  S. 579 would not have an adverse effect on the personal 
privacy of any individuals that would be impacted by this 
legislation.

                               PAPERWORK

  The Committee does not anticipate any significant increase in 
paperwork burdens as a result of S. 579.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis


Sec. 1. Short title

  The short title of the bill is the ``National Transportation 
Safety Board Reauthorization Act of 2003.''

Sec. 2. Authorization of appropriations

  This section would authorize appropriations of $73,325,000 
for Fiscal Year 2003, $78,757,000 for Fiscal Year 2004, 
$83,011,000 for Fiscal Year 2005, and $87,539,000 for Fiscal 
Year 2006. It also would authorize $3,000,000 for the NTSB's 
emergency fund. For the NTSB Academy, this section would 
authorize $3,347,000 for Fiscal Year 2003, $4,896,000 for 
Fiscal Year 2004, $4,995,000 for Fiscal Year 2005, and 
$5,200,000 for Fiscal Year 2006. The Board would be authorized 
to collect fees for services provided by the Academy, which 
would be credited as offsetting collections to pay for such 
services. The Board would be required to transmit annual 
reports to Congress on the activities and operations of the 
Academy.

Sec. 3. Assistance to families of passengers involved in aircraft 
        accidents

  In situations when the NTSB relinquishes responsibility for 
the investigation of an aviation incident, this section would 
allow the Board to also relinquish its statutory responsibility 
to assist families of passengers involved in such incidents. 
This transfer is conditioned on the willingness and ability of 
the other Federal agency to assume the responsibility from the 
NTSB. Even after relinquishing responsibility, the Board would 
assist the other Federal agency to the maximum extent 
practical. The NTSB Amendments Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-424) 
established a mechanism for the transfer of investigation 
priority from the NTSB to the FBI in the event of an accident 
caused by an intentional criminal act. This section would 
establish a mechanism for the Board to transfer its family 
assistance responsibilities under the same circumstances. This 
section also would require the NTSB and FBI to revise within 
one year the 1977 MOU between the two agencies on the 
investigation of accidents to take into account changes made by 
this section. A copy of the revised MOU would be provided to 
the congressional authorizing committees.

Sec. 4. Relief from contracting requirements for investigations 
        services

  This section would allow the NTSB to enter into private 
contracts or agreements without engaging in competitive bidding 
if such actions are needed to expedite an investigation. It 
would further require the NTSB to include an accounting for 
each contract of $25,000 or more in the annual report for the 
preceding year. The NTSB has indicated that, in several cases, 
its investigations were delayed because it had to use 
competitive bidding for what is usually unique and specific 
work, with few capable entities involved in the bidding 
process. Similar exemption provisions have been provided to the 
Department of Veterans Affairs and the Medical Integrity 
Program. The exemption provision would not cover competitive 
requirements for non-investigative procurements.

                        Changes in 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, 
as reported, are shown as follows (existing law proposed to be 
omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new material is printed 
in italic, existing law in which no change is proposed is shown 
in roman):

                      Title 49, United States Code


                 SUBTITLE II. OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES

            CHAPTER 11. NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD

SUBCHAPTER II. ORGANIZATION AND ADMINISTRATIVE

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 1113. Administrative

  (a) General Authority.--
          (1) The National Transportation Safety Board, and 
        when authorized by it, a member of the Board, an 
        administrative law judge employed by or assigned to the 
        Board, or an officer or employee designated by the 
        Chairman of the Board, may conduct hearings to carry 
        out this chapter, administer oaths, and require, by 
        subpena or otherwise, necessary witnesses and evidence.
          (2) A witness or evidence in a hearing under 
        paragraph (1) of this subsection may be summoned or 
        required to be produced from any place in the United 
        States to the designated place of the hearing. A 
        witness summoned under this subsection is entitled to 
        the same fee and mileage the witness would have been 
        paid in a court of the United States.
          (3) A subpena shall be issued under the signature of 
        the Chairman or the Chairman's delegate but may be 
        served by any person designated by the Chairman.
          (4) If a person disobeys a subpena, order, or 
        inspection notice of the Board, the Board may bring a 
        civil action in a district court of the United States 
        to enforce the subpena, order, or notice. An action 
        under this paragraph may be brought in the judicial 
        district in which the person against whom the action is 
        brought resides, is found, or does business. The court 
        may punish a failure to obey an order of the court to 
        comply with the subpena, order, or notice as a contempt 
        of court.
  (b) Additional Powers.--
          (1) The Board may--
                  (A) procure the temporary or intermittent 
                services of experts or consultants under 
                section 3109 of title 5;
                  (B) make agreements and other transactions 
                necessary to carry out this chapter without 
                regard to section 3709 of the Revised 
                [Statutes;] Statutes, and, for investigations 
                conducted under section 1131, enter into such 
                agreements or contracts without regard to any 
                other provision of law requiring competition if 
                necessary to expedite the investigation; and
                  (C) use, when appropriate, available 
                services, equipment, personnel, and facilities 
                of a department, agency, or instrumentality of 
                the United States Government on a reimbursable 
                or other basis;
                  (D) confer with employees and use services, 
                records, and facilities of State and local 
                governmental authorities;
                  (E) appoint advisory committees composed of 
                qualified private citizens and officials of the 
                Government and State and local governments as 
                appropriate;
                  (F) accept voluntary and uncompensated 
                services notwithstanding another law;
                  (G) accept gifts of money and other property;
                  (H) make contracts with nonprofit entities to 
                carry out studies related to duties and powers 
                of the Board; and
                  (I) negotiate and enter into agreements with 
                individuals and private entities and 
                departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of 
                the Government, State and local governments, 
                and governments of foreign countries for the 
                provision of facilities, accident-related and 
                technical services or training in accident 
                investigation theory and techniques, and 
                require that such entities provide appropriate 
                consideration for the reasonable costs of any 
                facilities, goods, services, or training 
                provided by the Board.
          (2) The Board shall deposit in the Treasury amounts 
        received under paragraph (1)(I) of this subsection to 
        be credited as offsetting collections to the 
        appropriation of the Board. The Board shall maintain an 
        annual record of collections received under paragraph 
        (1)(I) of this subsection.
          (3) The Board, as a component of its annual report 
        under section 1117, shall include an enumeration of 
        each contract for $25,000 or more executed under this 
        section during the preceding calendar year.
  (c) Submission of Certain Copies to Congress.--When the Board 
submits to the President or the Director of the Office of 
Management and Budget a budget estimate, budget request, 
supplemental budget estimate, other budget information, a 
legislative recommendation, prepared testimony for 
congressional hearings, or comments on legislation, the Board 
must submit a copy to Congress at the same time. An officer, 
department, agency, or instrumentality of the Government may 
not require the Board to submit the estimate, request, 
information, recommendation, testimony, or comments to another 
officer, department, agency, or instrumentality of the 
Government for approval, comment, or review before being 
submitted to Congress.
  (d) Liaison Committees.--The Chairman may determine the 
number of committees that are appropriate to maintain effective 
liaison with other departments, agencies, and instrumentalities 
of the Government, State and local governmental authorities, 
and independent standard-setting authorities that carry out 
programs and activities related to transportation safety. The 
Board may designate representatives to serve on or assist those 
committees.
  (e) Inquiries.--The Board, or an officer or employee of the 
Board designated by the Chairman, may conduct an inquiry to 
obtain information related to transportation safety after 
publishing notice of the inquiry in the Federal Register. The 
Board or designated officer or employee may require by order a 
department, agency, or instrumentality of the Government, a 
State or local governmental authority, or a person transporting 
individuals or property in commerce to submit to the Board a 
written report and answers to requests and questions related to 
a duty or power of the Board. The Board may prescribe the time 
within which the report and answers must be given to the Board 
or to the designated officer or employee. Copies of the report 
and answers shall be made available for public inspection.
  (f) Regulations.--The Board may prescribe regulations to 
carry out this chapter.
  (g) Overtime Pay.--
          (1) In general.--Subject to the requirements of this 
        section and notwithstanding paragraphs (1) and (2) of 
        section 5542(a) of title 5, for an employee of the 
        Board whose basic pay is at a rate which equals or 
        exceeds the minimum rate of basic pay for GS-10 of the 
        General Schedule, the Board may establish an overtime 
        hourly rate of pay for the employee with respect to 
        work performed at the scene of an accident (including 
        travel to or from the scene) and other work that is 
        critical to an accident investigation in an amount 
        equal to one and one-half times the hourly rate of 
        basic pay of the employee. All of such amount shall be 
        considered to be premium pay.
          (2) Limitation on overtime pay to an employee.--An 
        employee of the Board may not receive overtime pay 
        under paragraph (1), for work performed in a calendar 
        year, in an amount that exceeds 15 percent of the 
        annual rate of basic pay of the employee for such 
        calendar year.
          (3) Limitation on total amount of overtime pay.--The 
        Board may not make overtime payments under paragraph 
        (1) for work performed in any fiscal year in a total 
        amount that exceeds 1.5 percent of the amount 
        appropriated to carry out this chapter for that fiscal 
        year.
          (4) Basic pay defined.--In this subsection, the term 
        ``basic pay'' includes any applicable locality-based 
        comparability payment under section 5304 of title 5 (or 
        similar provision of law) and any special rate of pay 
        under section 5305 of title 5 (or similar provision of 
        law).
          (5) Annual report.--Not later than January 31, 2002, 
        and annually thereafter, the Board shall transmit to 
        the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
        Transportation and the House Transportation and 
        Infrastructure Committee a report identifying the total 
        amount of overtime payments made under this subsection 
        in the preceding fiscal year, and the number of 
        employees whose overtime pay under this subsection was 
        limited in that fiscal year as a result of the 15 
        percent limit established by paragraph (2).

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Sec. 1118. Authorization of appropriations

  (a) In General.--There are authorized to be appropriated for 
the purposes of this chapter $57,000,000 for fiscal year 2000, 
$65,000,000 for fiscal year 2001, [and] $72,000,000 for fiscal 
year 2002, [such sums to] $73,325,000 for fiscal year 2003, 
$78,757,000 for fiscal year 2004, $83,011,000 for fiscal year 
2005, and $87,539,000 for fiscal year 2006. Such sums shall 
remain available until expended.
  (b) Emergency Fund.--The Board has an emergency fund of 
$2,000,000 available for necessary expenses of the Board, not 
otherwise provided for, for accident investigations. [Amounts 
equal to the amounts expended annually out of the fund are 
authorized to be appropriated to the emergency fund.] In 
addition, there are authorized to be appropriated such sums as 
may be necessary to increase the fund to, and maintain the fund 
at, a level not to exceed $3,000,000.
  (c) Academy.--
          (1) Authorization.--There are authorized to be 
        appropriated to the Board for necessary expenses of the 
        National Transportation Safety Board Academy, not 
        otherwise provided for, $3,347,000 for fiscal year 
        2003, $4,896,000 for fiscal year 2004, $4,995,000 for 
        fiscal year 2005, and $5,200,000 for fiscal year 2006. 
        Such sums shall remain available until expended.
          (2) Fees.--The Board may impose and collect such fees 
        as it determines to be appropriate for services 
        provided by or through the Academy.
          (3) Receipts credited as offsetting collections.--
        Notwithstanding section 3302 of title 31, any fee 
        collected under this paragraph--
                  (A) shall be credited as offsetting 
                collections to the account that finances the 
                activities and services for which the fee is 
                imposed;
                  (B) shall be available for expenditure only 
                to pay the costs of activities and services for 
                which the fee is imposed; and
                  (C) shall remain available until expended.
          (4) Refunds.--The Board may refund any fee paid by 
        mistake or any amount paid in excess of that required.

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SUBCHAPTER III. AUTHORITY

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Sec. 1136. Assistance to families of passengers involved in aircraft 
                    accidents

  (a) In General.--As soon as practicable after being notified 
of an aircraft accident within the United States involving an 
air carrier or foreign air carrier and resulting in a major 
loss of life, the Chairman of the National Transportation 
Safety Board shall--
          (1) designate and publicize the name and phone number 
        of a director of family support services who shall be 
        an employee of the Board and shall be responsible for 
        acting as a point of contact within the Federal 
        Government for the families of passengers involved in 
        the accident and a liaison between the air carrier or 
        foreign air carrier and the families; and
          (2) designate an independent nonprofit organization, 
        with experience in disasters and posttrauma 
        communication with families, which shall have primary 
        responsibility for coordinating the emotional care and 
        support of the families of passengers involved in the 
        accident.
  (b) Responsibilities of the Board.--The Board shall have 
primary Federal responsibility for facilitating the recovery 
and identification of fatally-injured passengers involved in an 
accident described in subsection (a).
  (c) Responsibilities of Designated Organization.--The 
organization designated for an accident under subsection (a)(2) 
shall have the following responsibilities with respect to the 
families of passengers involved in the accident:
          (1) To provide mental health and counseling services, 
        in coordination with the disaster response team of the 
        air carrier or foreign air carrier involved.
          (2) To take such actions as may be necessary to 
        provide an environment in which the families may grieve 
        in private.
          (3) To meet with the families who have traveled to 
        the location of the accident, to contact the families 
        unable to travel to such location, and to contact all 
        affected families periodically thereafter until such 
        time as the organization, in consultation with the 
        director of family support services designated for the 
        accident under subsection (a)(1), determines that 
        further assistance is no longer needed.
          (4) To communicate with the families as to the roles 
        of the organization, government agencies, and the air 
        carrier or foreign air carrier involved with respect to 
        the accident and the post-accident activities.
          (5) To arrange a suitable memorial service, in 
        consultation with the families.
  (d) Passenger Lists.--
          (1) Requests for passenger lists.--
                  (A) Requests by director of family support 
                services.--It shall be the responsibility of 
                the director of family support services 
                designated for an accident under subsection 
                (a)(1) to request, as soon as practicable, from 
                the air carrier or foreign air carrier involved 
                in the accident a list, which is based on the 
                best available information at the time of the 
                request, of the names of the passengers that 
                were aboard the aircraft involved in the 
                accident.
                  (B) Requests by designated organization.--The 
                organization designated for an accident under 
                subsection (a)(2) may request from the air 
                carrier or foreign air carrier involved in the 
                accident a list described in subparagraph (A).
          (2) Use of information.--The director of family 
        support services and the organization may not release 
        to any person information on a list obtained under 
        paragraph (1) but may provide information on the list 
        about a passenger to the family of the passenger to the 
        extent that the director of family support services or 
        the organization considers appropriate.
  (e) Continuing Responsibilities of the Board.--In the course 
of its investigation of an accident described in subsection 
(a), the Board shall, to the maximum extent practicable, ensure 
that the families of passengers involved in the accident--
          (1) are briefed, prior to any public briefing, about 
        the accident, its causes, and any other findings from 
        the investigation; and
          (2) are individually informed of and allowed to 
        attend any public hearings and meetings of the Board 
        about the accident.
  (f) Use of Air Carrier Resources.--To the extent practicable, 
the organization designated for an accident under subsection 
(a)(2) shall coordinate its activities with the air carrier or 
foreign air carrier involved in the accident so that the 
resources of the carrier can be used to the greatest extent 
possible to carry out the organization's responsibilities under 
this section.
  (g) Prohibited Actions.--
          (1) Actions to impede the board.--No person 
        (including a State or political subdivision) may impede 
        the ability of the Board (including the director of 
        family support services designated for an accident 
        under subsection (a)(1)), or an organization designated 
        for an accident under subsection (a)(2), to carry out 
        its responsibilities under this section or the ability 
        of the families of passengers involved in the accident 
        to have contact with one another.
          (2) Unsolicited communications.--In the event of an 
        accident involving an air carrier providing interstate 
        or foreign air transportation and in the event of an 
        accident involving a foreign air carrier that occurs 
        within the United States, no unsolicited communication 
        concerning a potential action for personal injury or 
        wrongful death may be made by an attorney (including 
        any associate, agent, employee, or other representative 
        of an attorney) or any potential party to the 
        litigation to an individual injured in the accident, or 
        to a relative of an individual involved in the 
        accident, before the 45th day following the date of the 
        accident.
          (3) Prohibition on actions to prevent mental health 
        and counseling services.--No State or political 
        subdivision thereof may prevent the employees, agents, 
        or volunteers of an organization designated for an 
        accident under subsection (a)(2) from providing mental 
        health and counseling services under subsection (c)(1) 
        in the 30-day period beginning on the date of the 
        accident. The director of family support services 
        designated for the accident under subsection (a)(1) may 
        extend such period for not to exceed an additional 30 
        days if the director determines that the extension is 
        necessary to meet the needs of the families and if 
        State and local authorities are notified of the 
        determination.
  (h) Definitions.--In this section, the following definitions 
apply:
          (1) Aircraft accident.--The term ``aircraft 
        accident'' means any aviation disaster regardless of 
        its cause or suspected cause.
          (2) Passenger.--The term ``passenger'' includes--
                  (A) an employee of an air carrier or foreign 
                air carrier aboard an aircraft; and
                  (B) any other person aboard the aircraft 
                without regard to whether the person paid for 
                the transportation, occupied a seat, or held a 
                reservation for the flight.
  (i) Statutory Construction.--Nothing in this section may be 
construed as limiting the actions that an air carrier may take, 
or the obligations that an air carrier may have, in providing 
assistance to the families of passengers involved in an 
aircraft accident.
  (j) Relinquishment of Investigative Priority.--
          (1) General rule.--This section (other than 
        subsection (g)) shall not apply to an aircraft accident 
        if the Board has relinquished investigative priority 
        under section 1131(a)(2)(B) and the Federal agency to 
        which the Board relinquished investigative priority is 
        willing and able to provide assistance to the victims 
        and families of the passengers involved in the 
        accident.
          (2) Board assistance.--If this section does not apply 
        to an aircraft accident because the Board has 
        relinquished investigative priority with respect to the 
        accident, the Board shall assist, to the maximum extent 
        possible, the agency to which the Board has 
        relinquished investigative priority in assisting 
        families with respect to the accident.