Text: S.2875 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (12/11/2009)

 
[Congressional Bills 111th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[S. 2875 Introduced in Senate (IS)]

111th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                S. 2875

To establish the Commission on Measures of Household Economic Security 
 to conduct a study and submit a report containing recommendations to 
  establish and report economic statistics that reflect the economic 
             status and well-being of American households.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                           December 11, 2009

 Mr. Feingold introduced the following bill; which was read twice and 
referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
To establish the Commission on Measures of Household Economic Security 
 to conduct a study and submit a report containing recommendations to 
  establish and report economic statistics that reflect the economic 
             status and well-being of American households.

    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 ``Commission on Measures of Household 
Economic Security Act of 2010''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds that--
            (1) Federal and State governments, policymakers, 
        legislators, and private sector entities depend on the economic 
        statistics that are published by the Federal Government;
            (2) Federal economic statistics are used, among other 
        things--
                    (A) to judge our Nation's economic performance over 
                time; and
                    (B) to provide policymakers and legislators with 
                the information necessary to design appropriate 
                economic policies and other programs to address the 
                well-being of American individuals and households;
            (3) questions have been raised about the sufficiency of 
        existing reported economic measures and statistics to provide a 
        meaningful and accurate reflection and assessment of the 
        economic well-being of American individuals and households;
            (4) the most commonly reported economic statistics, such as 
        gross domestic product, unemployment rate, and consumer price 
        indices, do not adequately or accurately reflect the economic 
        status of average American individuals and households; and
            (5) a more accurate, transparent, coherent, and 
        comprehensive assessment of the economic well-being of American 
        households and regular reporting of such information would 
        allow Federal and State governments--
                    (A) to better track and judge the economic status 
                of average Americans; and
                    (B) to develop better, more accurate, and more 
                responsive policies to address concerns that are more 
                directly relevant to American households.

SEC. 3. ESTABLISHMENT OF COMMISSION ON MEASURES OF HOUSEHOLD ECONOMIC 
              SECURITY.

    (a) Establishment.--There is established the Commission on Measures 
of Household Economic Security (referred to in this Act as the 
``Commission'').
    (b) Membership.--
            (1) Composition.--The Commission shall be composed of 8 
        members, of whom--
                    (A) 2 shall be appointed by the majority leader of 
                the Senate, in consultation with the chairmen and 
                ranking members of the Committee on Health, Education, 
                Labor, and Pensions of the Senate, the Committee on 
                Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate, 
                the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of 
                the Senate, and the Joint Economic Committee, of whom 1 
                shall be an employee of the Bureau of Economic 
                Analysis;
                    (B) 2 shall be appointed by the minority leader of 
                the Senate, in consultation with the chairmen and 
                ranking members of the committees referred to in 
                subparagraph (A), of whom 1 shall be an employee of the 
                Census Bureau;
                    (C) 2 shall be appointed by the Speaker of the 
                House of Representatives, in consultation with the 
                chairmen and ranking members of the Committee on 
                Financial Services of the House of Representatives; the 
                Committee on Ways and Means of the House of 
                Representatives; and the Joint Economic Committee, of 
                whom 1 shall be an employee of the Bureau of Labor 
                Statistics; and
                    (D) 2 shall be appointed by the minority leader of 
                the House of Representatives, in consultation with the 
                chairmen and ranking members of the committees referred 
                to in subparagraph (C), of whom 1 shall be an employee 
                of the Federal Reserve.
            (2) Qualifications.--Members of the Commission shall be--
                    (A) appointed on a nonpartisan basis; and
                    (B) academic or government policy experts in the 
                field of economics, statistics, or other specialty 
                field that is directly related to the duties of the 
                Commission described in section 4(a).
            (3) Date.--The members of the Commission shall be appointed 
        not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this 
        Act.
    (c) Period of Appointment; Vacancies.--Members shall be appointed 
for the life of the Commission. Any vacancy in the Commission shall not 
affect its powers, but shall be filled in the same manner as the 
original appointment.
    (d) Chairman and Vice Chairman.--The Commission shall select a 
Chairman and Vice Chairman from among its members.
    (e) Meetings.--
            (1) Initial meeting.--Not later than 60 days after the date 
        on which all members of the Commission have been appointed, the 
        Commission shall hold its first meeting.
            (2) Regular meetings.--During the life of the Commission, 
        the Commission shall meet--
                    (A) at the call of the Chairman; and
                    (B) not less frequently than once every 3 months.
    (f) Quorum.--A majority of the members of the Commission shall 
constitute a quorum for purposes of transacting the business of the 
Commission, but a lesser number of members may hold hearings.
    (g) Rules.--The Commission may establish by majority vote any other 
rules for the conduct of the Commission's business, in accordance with 
the provisions of this Act and other applicable law.

SEC. 4. DUTIES OF THE COMMISSION.

    (a) Study.--The Commission shall identify, study, and evaluate--
            (1) existing economic statistics and data collected and 
        reported by agencies of the Federal Government that describe 
        the economic well-being of American households;
            (2) ways to synthesize, expand, augment, improve, and 
        modernize the statistical measures described in paragraph (1) 
        to provide a more accurate, transparent, coherent, and 
        comprehensive assessment of the economic well-being of American 
        households by--
                    (A) determining the cost, logistics, implementation 
                time, and reliability of producing new statistics;
                    (B) recommending improved standards and 
                methodologies for measuring and reflecting the economic 
                well-being of American individuals and households; and
                    (C) considering the development of statistical 
                measures to describe--
                            (i) the current debt situation of American 
                        individuals and households, including a 
                        description of the categories of debt, such as 
                        credit card debt, education related loans, and 
                        mortgage payments;
                            (ii) the movement of Americans between 
                        salaried jobs with benefits to single or 
                        multiple wage jobs with limited or no benefits, 
                        including a comparison of income that includes 
                        the value of benefits programs, such as health 
                        insurance and retirement plans;
                            (iii) the percentage of Americans who are 
                        covered by both employer-provided and 
                        individual health care plans and the extent of 
                        health care coverage per dollar paid by both 
                        employers and employees;
                            (iv) the savings rate, including both 
                        standard savings plans and pension plans;
                            (v) the disparity in income distribution 
                        over time and between different demographic and 
                        geographic groups;
                            (vi) the number of Americans receiving cash 
                        or near cash transfer payments from the Federal 
                        Government and a State government and the 
                        percentage of household income represented by 
                        such benefits; and
                            (vii) the breakdown of household 
                        expenditures between categories such as food, 
                        shelter, medical expenses, debt servicing, and 
                        energy;
                    (D) the relevance, development, and implementation 
                of nonmarket satellite accounts, including accounts 
                related to--
                            (i) household production;
                            (ii) investments in formal education and 
                        the resulting stock of skill capital;
                            (iii) investments in health and the 
                        resulting stock of health capital;
                            (iv) activities of the non-profit and 
                        volunteer sectors; and
                            (v) environmental assets and services.
    (b) Consultation.--In conducting the study under this section, the 
Commission shall consult with relevant government leaders, 
representative citizen groups, and experts, including--
            (1) the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors;
            (2) the Secretary of Commerce;
            (3) the Secretary of Labor;
            (4) the Secretary of the Treasury;
            (5) the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers;
            (6) the Comptroller General of the United States;
            (7) the Administrator of the Environmental Protection 
        Agency;
            (8) the Secretary of Health and Human Services;
            (9) the Director of the Bureau of Economic Analysis;
            (10) the Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics;
            (11) the Committee on National Statistics, National 
        Research Council at the National Academies; and
            (12) representative groups of citizens, from sample 
        populations selected through methodologies and procedures 
        recommended by appropriate experts, that represent national 
        geographic, economic, and employment diversity.
    (c) Report.--Not later than 18 months after the date of the first 
meeting of the Commission, the Commission shall submit a report to 
Congress that contains--
            (1) a detailed statement of the findings and conclusions of 
        the Commission; and
            (2) recommendations for such legislation and administrative 
        actions as the Commission considers appropriate, including--
                    (A) a list of economic statistics that should be 
                reported regularly to more accurately reflect the 
                economic status and well-being of American households, 
                and the uses and benefits of such statistics;
                    (B) the costs, logistics, estimated implementation 
                time, and reliability of producing the statistics 
                referred to in subparagraph (A); and
                    (C) the need for, and benefits of, establishing a 
                standing commission after the termination of the 
                Commission to address or recommend actions with respect 
                to--
                            (i) household economic information;
                            (ii) non-market satellite accounts; and
                            (iii) other economic indicators and 
                        measurements that are the subject of study and 
                        evaluation by the Commission.

SEC. 5. POWERS OF THE COMMISSION.

    (a) Hearings.--The Commission may hold such hearings, sit and act 
at such times and places, take such testimony, and receive such 
evidence as the Commission considers advisable to carry out this Act.
    (b) Information From Federal Agencies.--
            (1) In general.--The Commission may secure such information 
        directly from any Federal department or agency as the 
        Commission determines to be necessary to carry out this Act. 
        Upon request of the Chairman of the Commission, the head of 
        such department or agency shall furnish such information to the 
        Commission.
            (2) Confidentiality.--The Commission shall maintain the 
        same level of confidentiality for such information made 
        available under this subsection as is required of the head of 
        the department or agency from which the information was 
        obtained.
    (c) Postal Services.--The Commission may use the United States 
mails in the same manner and under the same conditions as other 
departments and agencies of the Federal Government.
    (d) Contract Authority.--
            (1) In general.--Subject to the Federal Property and 
        Administrative Services Act of 1949 (41 U.S.C. 251 et seq.), 
        the Commission may enter into contracts with Federal and State 
        agencies, private firms, institutions, and individuals for the 
        conduct of activities necessary to the discharge of its duties 
        and responsibilities.
            (2) Duration.--A contract, lease, or other legal agreement 
        entered into by the Commission may not extend beyond the date 
        of the termination of the Commission.

SEC. 6. COMMISSION PERSONNEL MATTERS.

    (a) Compensation of Members.--
            (1) In general.--Except as provided under paragraph (2), 
        each member of the Commission who is not an officer or employee 
        of the Federal Government may be compensated at a rate equal to 
        the daily equivalent of the maximum annual rate of basic pay 
        for level IV of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of 
        title 5, United States Code, for each day (including travel 
        time) during which such member is engaged in the performance of 
        the duties of the Commission.
            (2) Federal employees.--All members of the Commission who 
        are officers or employees of the United States shall serve 
        without compensation in addition to that received for their 
        services as officers or employees of the United States.
    (b) Travel Expenses.--The members of the Commission shall be 
allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, at 
rates authorized for employees of agencies under subchapter I of 
chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code, while away from their homes 
or regular places of business in the performance of services for the 
Commission.
    (c) Staff.--
            (1) In general.--The Chairman of the Commission may, 
        without regard to the civil service laws and regulations, 
        appoint and terminate an executive director and such other 
        additional personnel as may be necessary to enable the 
        Commission to perform its duties. The employment of an 
        executive director shall be subject to confirmation by the 
        Commission.
            (2) Compensation.--The Chairman of the Commission may fix 
        the compensation of the executive director and other personnel 
        without regard to chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 
        of title 5, United States Code, relating to classification of 
        positions and General Schedule pay rates, except that the rate 
        of pay for the executive director and other personnel may not 
        exceed the rate payable for level IV of the Executive Schedule 
        under section 5316 of such title.
            (3) Personnel as federal employees.--
                    (A) In general.--The executive director and any 
                personnel of the Commission who are employees shall be 
                employees under section 2105 of title 5, United States 
                Code, for purposes of chapters 63, 81, 83, 84, 85, 87, 
                89, 89A, 89B, and 90 of such title.
                    (B) Members of board.--Subparagraph (A) may not be 
                construed to apply to members of the Commission.
    (d) Detail of Government Employees.--Any Federal Government 
employee may be detailed to the Commission without reimbursement. Such 
detail shall be without interruption or loss of civil service status or 
privilege.
    (e) Procurement of Temporary and Intermittent Services.--The 
Chairman of the Commission may procure temporary and intermittent 
services under section 3109(b) of title 5, United States Code, at rates 
for individuals which do not exceed the daily equivalent of the annual 
rate of basic pay prescribed for level V of the Executive Schedule 
under section 5316 of such title.
    (f) Volunteer Services.--
            (1) In general.--Notwithstanding section 1342 of title 31, 
        United States Code, the Commission may--
                    (A) accept and utilize the services of volunteers 
                serving without compensation; and
                    (B) reimburse such volunteers for local travel and 
                office supplies, and for other travel expenses, 
                including per diem in lieu of subsistence, in 
                accordance with section 5703 of title 5, United States 
                Code.
            (2) Status.--A person providing volunteer services to the 
        Commission shall be considered an employee of the Federal 
        Government in the performance of those services for the 
        purposes of--
                    (A) chapter 81 of title 5, United States Code 
                (relating to compensation for work related injuries);
                    (B) chapter 11 of title 18, United States Code 
                (relating to conflicts of interest); and
                    (C) chapter 171 of title 28, United States Code 
                (relating to tort claims).
    (g) Administrative Support.--Upon the request of the Commission, 
the Administrator of General Services shall provide to the Commission, 
on a reimbursable basis, the administrative support services necessary 
for the Commission to carry out its responsibilities.

SEC. 7. TERMINATION OF THE COMMISSION.

    The Commission shall terminate 90 days after the date on which the 
Commission submits the report under section 4(c).

SEC. 8. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    (a) In General.--Of the amounts made available for the Bureau of 
Labor Statistics for fiscal year 2010, not less than $2,500,000 shall 
be made available for the activities of the Commission under this Act.
    (b) Availability.--The amounts made available for the activities of 
the Commission under subsection (a) shall remain available until the 
date on which the Commission is terminated pursuant to section 7.
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