Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed Senate amended (10/11/1978)

(Measure passed Senate, amended, roll call #479 (87-1))

Sunset Act - =Title I: Reauthorizations of Government Programs= - Sets forth a ten-year schedule for reauthorization of all Federal programs according to budget function and subfunction as set forth in the Budget of the United States Government for Fiscal Year 1979.

Sets forth the procedure in the House of Representatives and the Senate with respect to the consideration of any bill, resolution, or amendment which authorizes new budget authority. States that it is not in order for either House to consider any legislation which authorizs the enactment of new budget authority for a program for a period of more than ten years, for an indefinite period, or for any fiscal year beginning after the next reauthorization date applicable to such program.

Provides that before the Congress can appropriate funds for any program, after its first reauthorization date, there must be a specific authorization in law to support the appropriation.

Requires the committees of the Senate and House of Representatives to conduct a sunset review of programs during the Congress in which such programs are scheduled for review. Requires that the report accompanying such reauthorization contain specified information, and that the report be completed during the Congress in which the program is scheduled for reauthorization.

Exempts from the requirements of this Act specified programs such as interest on Federal debts, health care services, general retirement and disability payments, as well as litigation activities which have as their objectives the protection and implementation of civil rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States and specified retirement pay and benefits.

Allows the reauthorization schedule set forth in this Act to be changed by concurrent resolution of the two Houses of Congress. Sets forth the procedure to change such reauthorization schedule. Requires all legislation and other matters related to changes in the dates for programs under this Act to be referred to the committee with legislative jurisdiction over any program affected by the proposal and, sequentially, to the Committee on Rules in the House of Representatives and to the Committee on Rules and Administration in the Senate. Requires that such committees report any concurrent resolution or bill referred to it by a committee of legislative jurisdiction within 30 days, with a statement on each of its recommendations. Makes provisions for any proposed change which has been reported by a committee before June 1, 1980.

=Title II: Program Inventory= - Requires the Comptroller General and the Director of the Congressional Budget Office, in cooperation with the Director of the Congressional Research Service, to share the responsibility of providing information for an inventory of Federal programs.

Declares that such program inventory is to advise and assist Congress in carrying out the reauthorization and reexamination requirements and to link such reauthorization and review process with the budget process.

Requires the Comptroller General to submit such program inventory to each House of Congress no later than July 1, 1979. Sets forth the contents of the inventory program, including the type of authorization provided for such programs' new budget authority; and the manner in which related program areas may be grouped for evaluation and review.

Permits the congressional committees, the Congressional Budget Office, and the Congressional Research Service to review the program inventory and suggest revisions. Requires that the program inventory be revised at the end of each session of Congress, and that these revisions be reported to each House. Requires that periodic reports keep score of the progress of congressional action on bills and resolutions authorizing budget authority for programs in the inventory. Requires the Comptroller General and the Director of the Congressional Budget Office to submit periodic reports to the Congress on the adequacy of the functional and subfunctional categories for grouping programs of like missions or objectives.

=Title III: Program Reexamination= - Requires each committee of the Senate and the House of Representatives to reexamine selected programs or groups of programs over which it has jurisdiction.

Sets forth procedures for such review, and criteria for selection of program areas for evaluation. Directs each committee to consult with the appropriate committees of either the House of Representatives or the Senate in order to achieve coordination of program reevaluation and inform itself of the related activities of or available assistance from the General Accounting Office, the Congressional Budget Office, the Congressional Research Service, the Office of Technology Assessment, and appropriate instrumentalities in the executive and judicial branches. Requires each committee to deliver a report on the reexamination to the Secretary of the Senate at the date specified in the funding resolution first reported by such committee in 1980, and thereafter reported by such committee of the Senate in 1980, and thereafter for the first session of each Congress. Allows two or more committees which have legislative jurisdiction over the same programs or portions of the same programs to examine such programs jointly and submit a joint report. Stipulates that such report: (1) contain the findings, recommendations, and justifications of the program; and (2) include specified information including, but not limited to, an assessment of the cost-effectiveness of the program and an identification of any trends, developments, and emerging conditions which are likely to affect the nature and extent of the problems or needs which the program is intended to address.

Requires each executive department or agency which is responsible for a program selected for reexamination to submit a report to the Office of Management and Budget and to the appropriate committees of the Congress on its findings, recommendations, and justifications of specified aspects of the program.

=Title IV: Citizens' Commission on the Organization and Operation of Government= - Establishes, as an independent instrumentality of the United States, the Citizens' Commission on the Organization and Operation of Government to conduct a nonpartisan study and investigation of the organization and methods of operation of all departments, agencies, independent instrumentalities, and other authorities of the executive branch of the Government, and to make such recommendations as it determines are necessary to promote economic, efficient and improved services in the transaction of public business.

Requires the Commission and to submit interim reports to the President and the Congress, and to submit a final report with its findings and recommendations. Requires the Comptroller General to report once a year for two years after submission of the Commission's final report on the status of actions taken as a result of the report.

States that the Commission will be composed of 15 members, five of whom shall be appointed by the President, five of whom shall be appointed by the President pro tempore of the Senate, and five of whom shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Sets forth the duties and powers of the Commission.

States that the Commission shall cease to exist 90 days after submission of its final report.

Authorizes to be appropriated until September 30, 1983, without fiscal year limitations, $4,000,000 to carry out the provisions of this Title.

=Title V: Regulatory Impact= - Requires the President, over a period of ten years, to submit at least once in each Congress a plan designed to prevent unnecessary or harmful regulation which has led to inflationary consumer prices, a reduction of competition, and other economic inefficiencies that disrupt the operation of free enterprise system without correspondingly benefiting the health, safety, or economic welfare of the Nation. Encourages the Congress to act upon such plans.

Requires that regulation by the Federal Government be systematically and comprehensively reviewed and modified to assure that such regulation shall achieve substantial benefits to the Nation. Directs each regulatory agency to perform its responsibilities effectively and efficiently so as to maximize the intended benefits to the Nation.

Directs the President to submit an analysis of a comprehensive review of 16 regulatory agencies, a legislative plan of recommendations on such analysis, and a report on the cumulative impact of government regulatory activity on specific industry groupings.

Directs the Comptroller General and the Director of the Congressional Budget Office to assess each of the agencies included in the President's plan and to analyze the plan, and submit such information to the Congress.

=Title VI: Government Accountability= - Requires the President to submit to Congress a biannual report on the management of the executive branch. Requires the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to provide an evaluative report on Federal programs to the President to be included with the President's report.

=Title VII: Miscellaneous= - Amends the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 to permit the committees of the Congress to request and obtain from the agencies of the government estimates or requests for appropriations or requests for increases in an item of any such estimate or request, and recommendations as to how the revenue needs of the government should be met. Provides that nothing shall require the public disclosure of records which are specifically authorized under criteria established by an Executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy and are in fact properly classified pursuant to such Executive order, or which are otherwise specifically protected by law. Provides that the committees of the Senate or the House of Representatives shall not be required to publicly disclose any such records, except as otherwise provided by the rules of either House. Sets forth administrative procedures and requirements.

Directs the President, with the cooperation of the head of each appropriate agency, to submit to the Congress a "Regulatory Duplication and Conflicts Report" for all programs scheduled for reauthorization in the next Congress.

Stipulates that each such report identify duplicative or conflicting rules and regulations promulgated by executive departments, independent agencies, and State and local governments and contain recommendations which address such conflicts of duplications.

Defines the term "required authorization waiver resolution" for purposes of this Act. Sets forth procedure which the chairman of the committee of the Senate or the House of Representatives having legislative jurisdiction over programs must follow in order to introduce a required authorization waiver resolution.

Makes it the duty of the Committees on Governmental Affairs and on Rules and Administration of the Senate and the Committees on Government Operations and on Rules of the House of Representatives to review the operation of the procedures established by this Act and to submit a report every five years beginning December 31, 1986.

Authorizes to be appropriated through fiscal year 1990 such sums as may be necessary to carry out the review requirements and for the compilation of the inventory of Federal programs.