Text: H.R.1887 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (04/02/2009)


111th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. R. 1887


To establish a Presidential Commission on Women, and for other purposes.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

April 2, 2009

Ms. Speier (for herself, Mrs. Capps, Ms. Clarke, Mrs. Dahlkemper, Ms. DeGette, Ms. Roybal-Allard, Ms. Shea-Porter, Ms. Tsongas, Ms. Edwards of Maryland, Mrs. Halvorson, Ms. Kaptur, Ms. Kilroy, Ms. Lee of California, Ms. Zoe Lofgren of California, Mrs. Lowey, Ms. Markey of Colorado, Ms. Waters, Mrs. Napolitano, Ms. Pingree of Maine, Ms. Richardson, Ms. Loretta Sanchez of California, Ms. Wasserman Schultz, Ms. Schwartz, Ms. Titus, Ms. Velázquez, Ms. Woolsey, and Ms. Eshoo) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform


A BILL

To establish a Presidential Commission on Women, and for other purposes.

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 “Presidential Commission on Women Act of 2009”.

SEC. 2. Establishment.

There is established a commission to be known as the “Presidential Commission on Women” (hereinafter in this Act referred to as the “Commission”).

SEC. 3. Findings and policy.

Congress makes the following findings and statement of policy:

(1) It is the role of Government to examine the circumstances that contribute to discrimination, inequality, and economic hardship faced by women throughout the country.

(2) It is the role of Government to establish initiatives and programs that promote equality for women, and protect against discrimination of women, in all areas of public and private life.

(3) Women in our country continue to face inequalities and discrimination in many areas of public and private life, including but not limited to these examples:

(A) The United States ranks 71st in the world in the number of women in elected office. In 2009, women make up 17 percent of Congress and 24 percent of State legislative office-holders. Women of color make up 4 percent of Congress and 2 percent of State legislative office-holders.

(B) Women earn 77 cents on the dollar compared to men. African-American women earn 69 cents on the dollar compared to men. Latinas earn 59 cents compared to men.

(C) Of workers earning minimum wage, 68 percent are women. Of workers earning less than the minimum wage, 69 percent are women. Nineteen percent of women, as compared to 10 percent of men, have annual family incomes of less than $19,000. Of Fortune 500 CEOs, 2 percent are women.

(D) With only 76 percent of women in the labor force, the United States ranks sixth from the bottom among industrialized nations. Among college-educated women, the United States ranks last among industrialized nations.

(E) While 57 percent of men are employed full-time, only 38 percent of women are employed full-time. Eight out of ten single-parent families are headed by women; 28 percent of people living in female-headed households are living below the poverty line.

(F) There is a continuing decline in mothers’ employment largely due to a lack of support for working parents, such as sufficient paid time off, subsidized child care, or flexible working arrangements. There is also discrimination in the labor market specifically against mothers as well as weakness on the demand side of the labor market in areas that have traditionally employed large numbers of women.

(G) One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Eighty-five percent of domestic violence victims are women. The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year, $4.1 billion of which is for direct medical and mental health services.

(H) Eighteen percent of women in the United States do not have health insurance; 36 percent of American Indian/Native Alaskan women are uninsured; 38 percent of Hispanic women do not have health insurance.

(I) Women of color are disproportionately affected by the inequalities women face.

(J) Gender bias and discrimination remain pervasive in almost all aspects of our culture, including but not limited to the media, family life, the workplace, sports, education, health care, the military, entertainment, and financial matters.

SEC. 4. Duties of the Commission.

(a) Review required.—The Commission shall hold meetings and hearings to—

(1) review the status of women nationwide, and the progress made since the establishment of the President’s Commission on the Status of Women in 1961;

(2) review the role of the Federal Government in aid to, and the promotion of women; and

(3) review data collection procedures with regard to women Federal initiatives and procurement, with a view toward recommending improvements.

(b) Conference.—The Commission shall, in coordination with the White House Council on Women and Girls, hold a conference (hereinafter in this Act referred to as the Conference) to assist in the review required by subsection (a).

(c) Recommendations required.—Based on the review required by subsection (a), the Commission shall make recommendations to the President and Congress and conduct oversight of implementation.

SEC. 5. Membership.

(a) In General.—The Commission shall be composed of 15 members appointed as follows:

(1) Four members appointed by the President.

(2) Three members appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and two members appointed by the minority leader.

(3) Three members appointed by the majority leader of the Senate and two members appointed by the minority leader.

(4) The director of the White House Council on Women and Girls, who shall serve ex officio.

(b) Qualifications.—Appointments under subsection paragraphs (1) through (3) of subsection (a) shall be made from individuals who are specially qualified to serve on the Commission by virtue of their education, training, or experience, and who are not officers or employees of the Government or Members of Congress.

(c) Requirement for appointment of young women.—Of the individuals appointed by President under paragraph (1), the Speaker of the House of Representatives under paragraph (2), and the majority leader of the Senate under paragraph (3) of subsection (a), at least one member appointed under each paragraph shall be a young woman between the ages of 18–24.

(d) Geographical balance.—In making the appointments under subsection (a), the appointing authorities should give consideration to achieving a geographical balance.

(e) Term.—Members shall be appointed for 5 years of the Commission, except that, if any member of the Commission becomes an officer or employee of the Federal Government or a Member of Congress, such individual may continue as a member of the Commission for not longer than the 30-day period beginning on the date such individual becomes such an officer or employee or Member of Congress.

(f) Vacancies.—A vacancy in the Commission shall be filled in the manner in which the original appointment was made.

(g) Pay.—Members of the Commission shall serve without pay, except members of the Commission shall be entitled to reimbursement for travel, subsistence, and other necessary expenses incurred by them in carrying out the functions of the Commission, in the same manner as persons employed intermittently in the Federal Government are allowed expenses under section 5703 of title 5, United States Code.

(h) Quorum.—Eight members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum but a lesser number may hold hearings.

(i) Chairperson and Vice Chairperson.—The Chairperson and Vice Chairperson of the Commission shall be designated by the President. The term of office of the Chairperson and Vice Chairperson shall be 5 years of the Commission.

(j) Meetings.—The Commission shall meet not less than 4 times nor more than 6 times each year. Meetings shall be at the call of a majority of its members.

SEC. 6. Director and staff of the Commission.

(a) Director and Staff.—(1) The Commission shall have a Director who shall be appointed by the Commission. The Commission, with the recommendation of the Director, may appoint and fix the pay of 4 additional personnel.

(2) The Director and staff of the Commission may be appointed without regard to section 5311(b) of title 5, United States Code, and without regard to the provisions of such title governing appointments in the competitive service, and may 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, except that no individual so appointed may receive pay in excess of the annual rate of basic pay payable for GS–18 of the General Schedule.

(b) Services.—The Commission may procure temporary and intermittent services under section 3109(b) of title 5 of the Unites States Code, but at rates for individuals not to exceed the daily equivalent of the maximum annual rate of basic pay payable for GS–18 of the General Schedule.

(c) Details.—Upon request of the Commission, the head of any department or agency may detail, on a reimbursable basis, any of the personnel of such agency to the Commission to assist the Commission in carrying out its duties under this Act.

SEC. 7. Powers of the Commission.

(a) In General.—The Commission may, for the purpose of carrying out this Act, hold such hearings, sit and act at such times and places, take such testimony, and receive such evidence, as the Commission considers appropriate.

(b) Delegation.—Any member or agent of the Commission may, if so authorized by the Commission, take any action which the Commission is authorized to take by this section.

(c) Access to Information.—The Commission may secure directly from any department or agency of the United States information necessary to enable it to carry out this Act. Upon request of the Chairperson of the Commission, the head of such department or agency shall furnish such information to the Commission.

(d) Use of Mails.—The Commission may use the United States mails in the same manner and under the same conditions as other departments and agencies of the United States.

(e) Administrative Support.—The Administrator of General Services shall provide to the Commission on a reimbursable basis such administrative support services as the Commission may request.

SEC. 8. Conference and conference delegates.

The Commission in coordination with the White House Council on Women and Girls shall convene a conference of delegates invited by the Commission, who shall be fairly balanced and diverse in terms of geography and ethnicity without regard to political affiliation or past partisan activity, who shall include—

(1) the directors of commissions for women of the States and local levels of government;

(2) elected officials of State and local governments;

(3) advocates for women at colleges and universities; and

(4) representatives of nonprofit organizations and community-based organizations.

SEC. 9. Conference administration.

(a) Administration.—In conducting and planning the Conference, the Commission and the White House Council on Women and Girls shall—

(1) request the cooperation and assistance of the heads of such other Federal entities as may be appropriate, including the detailing of personnel;

(2) prepare and make available appropriate background materials for the use of delegates to the Conference;

(3) employ such personnel, in addition to those appointed under section 6 and without regard to provisions of title 5, United States Code, governing appointments in the competitive service, and without regard to chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of such title, relating to classification and General Schedule pay rates;

(4) ensure that the proposed agenda for the Conference is—

(A) published in the Federal Register not less than 180 days before the Conference is convened; and

(B) made available for public comment for a period of not less than 60 days;

(5) ensure that the final agenda for the Conference, prepared after the Commission and the White House Council on Women and Girls takes into consideration comments received under paragraph (4), is published in the Federal Register, and transmitted to the chief executive officers of the States, not later than 30 days after the close of the public comment period required by that paragraph;

(6) ensure that the personnel employed are fairly balanced in terms of their points of view with respect to women and are appointed without regard to political affiliation or past partisan activity;

(7) the recommendations of the Conference are not inappropriately influenced by any public official or special interest, but instead are the result of the independent and collective judgment of the delegates of the Conference; and

(8) ensure that before the Conference is convened—

(A) current and adequate statistical data (including decennial census data) and other information on the well-being of Women in the United States; and

(B) such information as may be necessary to evaluate Federal programs and policies relating to Women; which the Commission may obtain by making grants to or entering into agreements with, public agencies or nonprofit organizations, are readily available in advance of the Conference to the delegates.

SEC. 10. Reports.

The Commission shall transmit to the President and to Congress a first report no later than 2 years after the date of the Commission’s first meeting. That report shall include a statement of the Commission’s objectives and goals for the remainder of the Commission’s work. Thereafter the Commission shall report annually. Each of those annual reports shall contain a statement of any findings and conclusions of the Commission, together with its recommendations for such legislation and administrative actions as it considers appropriate.

SEC. 11. Definition.

In this Act, the term “State” means any of the several States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

SEC. 12. Authorization of appropriations.

(a) In General.—There is authorized to be appropriated $2,000,000.00 to carry out this Act in each of fiscal years 2011 through 2015.

(b) Limitation on Appropriations.—Authority provided in this Act to make expenditures or to enter into contracts under which the United States is obligated to make outlays shall be effective only to the extent that amounts are provided, and only to the extent of the amounts provided, in advance in appropriations Acts.