STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS; Congressional Record Vol. 152, No. 42
(Senate - April 05, 2006)

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          STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS

      By Mr. MENENDEZ:
  S. 2508. A bill to authorize grants to carry out projects to provide 
education on preventing teen pregnancies, and for other purposes; to 
the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
  Mr. MENENDEZ. Mr. President, as we approach May, the National Month 
to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, I rise to introduce the Teen Pregnancy 
Prevention, Responsibility and Opportunity Act. This legislation will 
establish a comprehensive program for reducing adolescent pregnancy 
through education and information programs, as well as positive 
activities and role models both in and out of school.
  As parents, there is nothing more important than protecting our 
children and giving them a future filled with hope and opportunity. As 
leaders, we also have a responsibility to our young people--to provide 
resources for communities, parents, and children to help them achieve 
those goals. There are many ways we can provide parents with the tools 
they need to help kids make responsible decisions and avoid destructive 
behavior such as drug and alcohol abuse or sexual activity which can 
lead to unintended pregnancies.
  The U.S. continues to have the highest teen pregnancy rate and teen 
birth rate in the Western industrialized world. In a fiscal context, it 
costs the U.S. at least $7 billion annually, and in a human context, 
this impacts one third of all teenage girls. It is time to do something 
about it.
  Whi1e we have done a good job of progressively decreasing teen 
pregnancy, we can do much better.
  With the sons of teen mothers more likely to end up in prison, and 
the daughters of teen mothers more likely to end up teen mothers 
themselves, we must act now to break this problematic cycle.
  Our schools, community and faith-based organizations need access to 
funds to teach age-appropriate, factually and medically accurate, and 
scientifically-based family life education.
  We need programs that encourage teens to delay sexual activity.
  We need to provide services and interventions for sexually active 
teens.
  We need to educate both young men and women about the 
responsibilities and pressures that come along with parenting.
  We need to help parents communicate with teens about sexuality.
  We need to teach young people responsible decision making.
  And, we need to fund after school programs that will enrich their 
education, replace destructive behavior time with constructive 
activities, and offer character and counseling services.
  We know that after-school programs reduce risky adolescent behavior 
by involving teens in positive activities that also provide positive 
life skills. Teenage girls who play sports, for instance, are more 
likely to wait to become sexually active, and to have fewer partners. 
They are consequently less likely to become pregnant.
  Let us join together to recommit ourselves to continuing to decrease 
the incidence of teen pregnancy, and recommit ourselves to offering 
family life education and positive after school programs that will 
foster responsible young adults.
  The time is now to invest in our teens. As all parents know, we place 
overwhelming pressure on ourselves to make sure we raise our children 
well. Decisions we make--and they make--will affect them for the rest 
of their lives. We cannot afford to let the doors close on them. 
Instead we must continue to open the door of opportunity. I urge my 
colleagues to join me in supporting this important legislation.
  I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be printed in the 
Record, as follows:
  There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be 
printed in the Record as follows:

[[Page S2904]]

                                S. 2508

       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 ``Teen Pregnancy Prevention, 
     Responsibility, and Opportunity Act of 2006''.

     SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

       Congress finds as follows:
       (1) The United States has the highest teen-pregnancy rate 
     and teen birth rate in the western industrialized world, 
     costing the United States not less than $7,000,000,000 
     annually.
       (2) About 1 out of 3 of all young women in the United 
     States becomes pregnant before she reaches the age of 20.
       (3) Teen pregnancy has serious consequences for young 
     women, their children, and communities as a whole. Too-early 
     childbearing increases the likelihood that a young woman will 
     drop out of high school and that she and her child will live 
     in poverty.
       (4) Statistically, the sons of teen mothers are more likely 
     to end up in prison. The daughters of teen mothers are more 
     likely to end up teen mothers too.
       (5) Teens that grow up in disadvantaged economical, social, 
     and familial circumstances are more likely to engage in risky 
     behavior and have a child during adolescence.
       (6) Teens with strong emotional attachments to their 
     parents are more likely to become sexually active at a later 
     age. 7 out of 10 teens say that they are prepared to listen 
     to things parents thought they were not ready to hear.
       (7) 78 percent of white and 70 percent of African American 
     teenagers report that lack of communication between a teenage 
     girl and her parents is frequently a reason a teenage girl 
     has a baby.
       (8) One study found that the likelihood of teens having sex 
     for the first time increased with the number of unsupervised 
     hours teens have during a week.
       (9) After-school programs reduce teen risky behavior by 
     involving teens in activities that provide alternatives to 
     sex. Teenage girls who play sports, for instance, are more 
     likely to delay sex and have fewer partners and less likely 
     to become pregnant.
       (10) After-school programs help prevent teen pregnancy by 
     advancing good decision-making skills and providing teens 
     health education and positive role models in a supervised 
     setting.
       (11) 8 in 10 girls and 6 in 10 boys report that they wish 
     they had waited until they were older to have sex.

     SEC. 3. EDUCATION PROGRAM FOR PREVENTING TEEN PREGNANCIES.

       (a) In General.--The Secretary of Health and Human Services 
     (referred to in this Act as the ``Secretary'') may make 
     grants to local educational agencies, State and local public 
     health agencies, and nonprofit private entities for the 
     purpose of carrying out projects to provide education on 
     preventing teen pregnancies.
       (b) Preference in Making Grants.--In making grants under 
     subsection (a), the Secretary shall give preference to 
     applicants that will carry out the projects under such 
     subsection in communities for which the rate of teen 
     pregnancy is significantly above the average rate [in the 
     United States?] of such pregnancies.
       (c) Certain Requirements.--A grant may be made under 
     subsection (a) only if the applicant for the grant meets the 
     following conditions with respect to the project involved:
       (1) The applicant agrees that information provided by the 
     project on pregnancy prevention will be age-appropriate, 
     factually and medically accurate and complete, and 
     scientifically-based.
       (2) The applicant agrees that the project will give 
     priority to preventing teen pregnancies by--
       (A) encouraging teens to delay sexual activity;
       (B) providing educational services and interventions for 
     sexually active teens or teens at risk of becoming sexually 
     active;
       (C) educating both young men and women about the 
     responsibilities and pressures that come along with 
     parenting;
       (D) helping parents communicate with teens about sexuality; 
     or
       (E) teaching young people responsible decision-making.
       (d) Matching Funds.--
       (1) In general.--With respect to the costs of the project 
     to be carried out under subsection (a) by an applicant, a 
     grant may be made under such subsection only if the applicant 
     agrees to make available (directly or through donations from 
     public or private entities) non-Federal contributions toward 
     such costs in an amount that is not less than 25 percent of 
     such costs ($1 for each $3 of Federal funds provided in the 
     grant).
       (2) Determination of amount contributed.--Non-Federal 
     contributions required in paragraph (1) may be in cash or in 
     kind, fairly evaluated, including plant, equipment, or 
     services. Amounts provided by the Federal Government, or 
     services assisted or subsidized to any significant extent by 
     the Federal Government, may not be included in determining 
     the amount of such non-Federal contributions.
       (e) Maintenance of Effort.--With respect to the activities 
     for which a grant under subsection (a) is authorized to be 
     expended, such a grant may be made for a fiscal year only if 
     the applicant involved agrees to maintain expenditures of 
     non-Federal amounts for such activities at a level that is 
     not less than the level of such expenditures maintained by 
     the applicant for the fiscal year preceding the first fiscal 
     year for which the applicant receives such a grant.
       (f) Evaluation of Projects.--The Secretary shall establish 
     criteria for the evaluation of projects under subsection (a). 
     A grant may be made under such subsection only if the 
     applicant involved--
       (1) agrees to conduct evaluations of the project in 
     accordance with such criteria;
       (2) agrees to submit to the Secretary such reports 
     describing the results of the evaluations as the Secretary 
     determines to be appropriate; and
       (3) submits to the Secretary, in the application under 
     subsection (g), a plan for conducting the evaluations.
       (g) Application for Grant.--A grant may be made under 
     subsection (a) only if an application for the grant is 
     submitted to the Secretary and the application is in such 
     form, is made in such manner, and contains such agreements, 
     assurances, and information, including the agreements under 
     subsections (c) through (f) and the plan under subsection 
     (f)(3), as the Secretary determines to be necessary to carry 
     out this section.
       (h) Report to Congress.--Not later than October 1, 2011, 
     the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report describing 
     the extent to which projects under subsection (a) have been 
     successful in reducing the rate of teen pregnancies in the 
     communities in which the projects have been carried out.
       (i) Definitions.--In this section:
       (1) Age-appropriate.--The term ``age-appropriate'', with 
     respect to information on pregnancy prevention, means topics, 
     messages, and teaching methods suitable to particular ages or 
     age groups of children and adolescents, based on developing 
     cognitive, emotional, and behavioral capacity typical for the 
     age or age group.
       (2) Factually and medically accurate and complete.--The 
     term ``factually and medically accurate and complete'' means 
     verified or supported by the weight of research conducted in 
     compliance with accepted scientific methods and--
       (A) published in peer-reviewed journals, where applicable; 
     or
       (B) comprising information that leading professional 
     organizations and agencies with relevant expertise in the 
     field recognize as accurate, objective, and complete.
       (3) Local educational agency.--The term ``local educational 
     agency'' has the meaning given such term in section 9101 of 
     the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 
     7801).
       (j) Authorization of Appropriations.--For the purpose of 
     carrying out this section, there is authorized to be 
     appropriated $20,000,000 for each of the fiscal years [2007 
     through 2011].

     SEC. 4. REAUTHORIZATION OF CERTAIN AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAMS.

       (a) 21st Century Community Learning Centers.--Section 4206 
     of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 
     U.S.C. 7176) is amended--
       (1) in paragraph (5), by striking ``$2,250,000,000'' and 
     inserting ``$2,500,000,000''; and
       (2) in paragraph (6), by striking ``$2,500,000,000'' and 
     inserting ``$2,750,000,000''.
       (b) Carol M. White Physical Education Program.--Section 
     5401 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 
     (20 U.S.C. 7241) is amended--
       (1) by striking ``There are'' and inserting ``(a) In 
     General.--There are''; and
       (2) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(b) Physical Education.--In addition to the amounts 
     authorized to be appropriated by subsection (a), there are 
     authorized to be appropriated $73,000,000 for each of fiscal 
     years [2007 and 2008] to carry out subpart 10.''.
       (c) Federal TRIO Programs.--Section 402A(f) of the Higher 
     Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1070a-11(f)) is amended by 
     striking ``$700,000,000 for fiscal year 1999, and such sums 
     as may be necessary for each of the 4 succeeding fiscal 
     years'' and inserting ``$883,000,000 for fiscal year [2007] 
     and such sums as may be necessary for each of the 5 
     succeeding fiscal years''.
       (d) GEARUP.--Section 404H of the Higher Education Act of 
     1965 (20 U.S.C. 1070a-28) is amended by striking 
     ``$200,000,000 for fiscal year 1999 and such sums as may be 
     necessary for each of the 4 succeeding fiscal years'' and 
     inserting ``$325,000,000 for fiscal year [2007] and such sums 
     as may be necessary for each of the 5 succeeding fiscal 
     years''.

     SEC. 5. DEMONSTRATION GRANTS TO ENCOURAGE CREATIVE APPROACHES 
                   TO TEEN PREGNANCY PREVENTION AND AFTER-SCHOOL 
                   PROGRAMS.

       (a) In General.--The Secretary may make grants to public or 
     nonprofit private entities for the purpose of assisting the 
     entities in demonstrating innovative approaches to prevent 
     teen pregnancies.
       (b) Certain Approaches.--Approaches under subsection (a) 
     may include the following:
       (1) Encouraging teen-driven approaches to pregnancy 
     prevention.
       (2) Exposing teens to realistic simulations of the 
     physical, emotional, and financial toll of pregnancy and 
     parenting.
       (3) Facilitating communication between parents and 
     children, especially programs that have been evaluated and 
     proven effective.
       (c) Matching Funds.--

[[Page S2905]]

       (1) In general.--With respect to the costs of the project 
     to be carried out under subsection (a) by an applicant, a 
     grant may be made under such subsection only if the applicant 
     agrees to make available (directly or through donations from 
     public or private entities) non-Federal contributions toward 
     such costs in an amount that is not less than 25 percent of 
     such costs ($1 for each $3 of Federal funds provided in the 
     grant).
       (2) Determination of amount contributed.--Non-Federal 
     contributions required in paragraph (1) may be in cash or in 
     kind, fairly evaluated, including plant, equipment, or 
     services. Amounts provided by the Federal Government, or 
     services assisted or subsidized to any significant extent by 
     the Federal Government, may not be included in determining 
     the amount of such non-Federal contributions.
       (d) Evaluation of Projects.--The Secretary shall establish 
     criteria for the evaluation of projects under subsection (a). 
     A grant may be made under such subsection only if the 
     applicant involved--
       (1) agrees to conduct evaluations of the project in 
     accordance with such criteria;
       (2) agrees to submit to the Secretary such reports 
     describing the results of the evaluations as the Secretary 
     determines to be appropriate; and
       (3) submits to the Secretary, in the application under 
     subsection (e), a plan for conducting the evaluations.
       (e) Application for Grant.--A grant may be made under 
     subsection (a) only if an application for the grant is 
     submitted to the Secretary and the application is in such 
     form, is made in such manner, and contains such agreements, 
     assurances, and information, including the agreements under 
     subsections (c) and (d) and the plan under subsection (d)(3), 
     as the Secretary determines to be necessary to carry out this 
     section.
       (f) Report to Congress.--Not later than October 1, 2011, 
     the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report describing 
     the extent to which projects under subsection (a) have been 
     successful in reducing the rate of teen pregnancies in the 
     communities in which the projects have been carried out. Such 
     reports shall describe the various approaches used under 
     subsection (a) and the effectiveness of each of the 
     approaches.
       (g) Authorization of Appropriations.--For the purpose of 
     carrying out this section, there is authorized to be 
     appropriated $5,000,000 for each of the fiscal years [2007 
     through 2011].
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. DURBIN (for himself, Mrs. Lincoln, Mr. Reid, Mr. Baucus, 
        Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Kerry, Mr. Bingaman, Mr. Carper, Mr. Dayton, 
        Mr. Harkin, Mr. Kohl, Mr. Nelson of Florida, Ms. Cantwell, Mrs. 
        Clinton, Mr. Dodd, Mr. Leahy, Ms. Mikulski, Mr. Pryor, Mr. 
        Lieberman, Mr. Lautenberg, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Menendez, Mr. 
        Rockefeller, and Mrs. Boxer.
  S. 2510. A bill to establish a national health program administered 
by the Office of Personnel Management to offer health benefits plans to 
individuals who are not Federal employees, and for other purposes; to 
the Committee on Finance.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President. I ask unanimous consent that the text of 
the bill be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be 
printed in the Record, as follows:

                                S. 2510

       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 ``Small Employers Health 
     Benefits Program Act of 2006''.

     SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

       (a) In General.--In this Act, the terms ``member of 
     family'', ``health benefits plan'', ``carrier'', ``employee 
     organizations'', and ``dependent'' have the meanings given 
     such terms in section 8901 of title 5, United States Code.
       (b) Other Terms.--In this Act:
       (1) Employee.--The term ``employee'' has the meaning given 
     such term under section 3(6) of the Employee Retirement 
     Income Security Act of 1974 (29 U.S.C. 1002(6)). Such term 
     shall not include an employee of the Federal Government.
       (2) Employer.--The term ``employer'' has the meaning given 
     such term under section 3(5) of the Employee Retirement 
     Income Security Act of 1974 (29 U.S.C. 1002(5)), except that 
     such term shall include only employers who employed an 
     average of at least 1 but not more than 100 employees on 
     business days during the year preceding the date of 
     application. Such term shall not include the Federal 
     Government.
       (3) Health status-related factor.--The term ``health 
     status-related factor'' has the meaning given such term in 
     section 2791(d)(9) of the Public Health Service Act (42 
     U.S.C. 300gg-91(d)(9)).
       (4) Office.--The term ``Office'' means the Office of 
     Personnel Management.
       (5) Participating employer.--The term ``participating 
     employer'' means an employer that--
       (A) elects to provide health insurance coverage under this 
     Act to its employees; and
       (B) is not offering other comprehensive health insurance 
     coverage to such employees.
       (c) Application of Certain Rules in Determination of 
     Employer Size.--For purposes of subsection (b)(2):
       (1) Application of aggregation rule for employers.--All 
     persons treated as a single employer under subsection (b), 
     (c), (m), or (o) of section 414 of the Internal Revenue Code 
     of 1986 shall be treated as 1 employer.
       (2) Employers not in existence in preceding year.--In the 
     case of an employer which was not in existence for the full 
     year prior to the date on which the employer applies to 
     participate, the determination of whether such employer meets 
     the requirements of subsection (b)(2) shall be based on the 
     average number of employees that it is reasonably expected 
     such employer will employ on business days in the employer's 
     first full year.
       (3) Predecessors.--Any reference in this subsection to an 
     employer shall include a reference to any predecessor of such 
     employer.
       (d) Waiver and Continuation of Participation.--
       (1) Waiver.--The Office may waive the limitations relating 
     to the size of an employer which may participate in the 
     health insurance program established under this Act on a case 
     by case basis if the Office determines that such employer 
     makes a compelling case for such a waiver. In making 
     determinations under this paragraph, the Office may consider 
     the effects of the employment of temporary and seasonal 
     workers and other factors.
       (2) Continuation of participation.--An employer 
     participating in the program under this Act that experiences 
     an increase in the number of employees so that such employer 
     has in excess of 100 employees, may not be excluded from 
     participation solely as a result of such increase in 
     employees.
       (e) Treatment of Health Benefits Plan as Group Health 
     Plan.--A health benefits plan offered under this Act shall be 
     treated as a group health plan for purposes of applying the 
     Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (29 U.S.C. 
     1001 et seq.) except to the extent that a provision of this 
     Act expressly provides otherwise.

     SEC. 3. HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR NON-FEDERAL EMPLOYEES.

       (a) Administration.--The Office shall administer a health 
     insurance program for non-Federal employees and employers in 
     accordance with this Act.
       (b) Regulations.--Except as provided under this Act, the 
     Office shall prescribe regulations to apply the provisions of 
     chapter 89 of title 5, United States Code, to the greatest 
     extent practicable to participating carriers, employers, and 
     employees covered under this Act.
       (c) Limitations.--In no event shall the enactment of this 
     Act result in--
       (1) any increase in the level of individual or Federal 
     Government contributions required under chapter 89 of title 
     5, United States Code, including copayments or deductibles;
       (2) any decrease in the types of benefits offered under 
     such chapter 89; or
       (3) any other change that would adversely affect the 
     coverage afforded under such chapter 89 to employees and 
     annuitants and members of family under that chapter.
       (d) Enrollment.--The Office shall develop methods to 
     facilitate enrollment under this Act, including the use of 
     the Internet.
       (e) Contracts for Administration.--The Office may enter 
     into contracts for the performance of appropriate 
     administrative functions under this Act.
       (f) Separate Risk Pool.--In the administration of this Act, 
     the Office shall ensure that covered employees under this Act 
     are in a risk pool that is separate from the risk pool 
     maintained for covered individuals under chapter 89 of title 
     5, United States Code.
       (g) Rule of Construction.--Nothing in this Act shall be 
     construed to require a carrier that is participating in the 
     program under chapter 89 of title 5, United States Code, to 
     provide health benefits plan coverage under this Act.

     SEC. 4. CONTRACT REQUIREMENT.

       (a) In General.--The Office may enter into contracts with 
     qualified carriers offering health benefits plans of the type 
     described in section 8903 or 8903a of title 5, United States 
     Code, without regard to section 5 of title 41, United States 
     Code, or other statutes requiring competitive bidding, to 
     provide health insurance coverage to employees of 
     participating employers under this Act. Each contract shall 
     be for a uniform term of at least 1 year, but may be made 
     automatically renewable from term to term in the absence of 
     notice of termination by either party. In entering into such 
     contracts, the Office shall ensure that health benefits 
     coverage is provided for individuals only, individuals with 
     one or more children, married individuals without children, 
     and married individuals with one or more children.
       (b) Eligibility.--A carrier shall be eligible to enter into 
     a contract under subsection (a) if such carrier--
       (1) is licensed to offer health benefits plan coverage in 
     each State in which the plan is offered; and
       (2) meets such other requirements as determined appropriate 
     by the Office.
       (c) Statement of Benefits.--
       (1) In general.--Each contract under this Act shall contain 
     a detailed statement of

[[Page S2906]]

     benefits offered and shall include information concerning 
     such maximums, limitations, exclusions, and other definitions 
     of benefits as the Office considers necessary or desirable.
       (2) Ensuring a range of plans.--The Office shall ensure 
     that a range of health benefits plans are available to 
     participating employers under this Act.
       (3) Participating plans.--The Office shall not prohibit the 
     offering of any health benefits plan to a participating 
     employer if such plan is eligible to participate in the 
     Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.
       (4) Nationwide plan.--With respect to all nationwide plans, 
     the Office shall develop a benefit package that shall be 
     offered in the case of a contract for a health benefit plan 
     that is to be offered on a nationwide basis that meets all 
     State benefit mandates.
       (d) Standards.--The minimum standards prescribed for health 
     benefits plans under section 8902(e) of title 5, United 
     States Code, and for carriers offering plans, shall apply to 
     plans and carriers under this Act. Approval of a plan may be 
     withdrawn by the Office only after notice and opportunity for 
     hearing to the carrier concerned without regard to subchapter 
     II of chapter 5 and chapter 7 of title 5, United States Code.
       (e) Conversion.--
       (1) In general.--A contract may not be made or a plan 
     approved under this section if the carrier under such 
     contract or plan does not offer to each enrollee whose 
     enrollment in the plan is ended, except by a cancellation of 
     enrollment, a temporary extension of coverage during which 
     the individual may exercise the option to convert, without 
     evidence of good health, to a nongroup contract providing 
     health benefits. An enrollee who exercises this option shall 
     pay the full periodic charges of the nongroup contract.
       (2) Noncancellable.--The benefits and coverage made 
     available under paragraph (1) may not be canceled by the 
     carrier except for fraud, over-insurance, or nonpayment of 
     periodic charges.
       (f) Requirement of Payment for or Provision of Health 
     Service.--Each contract entered into under this Act shall 
     require the carrier to agree to pay for or provide a health 
     service or supply in an individual case if the Office finds 
     that the employee, annuitant, family member, former spouse, 
     or person having continued coverage under section 8905a of 
     title 5, United States Code, is entitled thereto under the 
     terms of the contract.

     SEC. 5. ELIGIBILITY.

       An individual shall be eligible to enroll in a plan under 
     this Act if such individual--
       (1) is an employee of an employer described in section 
     2(b)(2), or is a self employed individual as defined in 
     section 401(c)(1)(B) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986; 
     and
       (2) is not otherwise enrolled or eligible for enrollment in 
     a plan under chapter 89 of title 5, United States Code.

     SEC. 6. ALTERNATIVE CONDITIONS TO FEDERAL EMPLOYEE PLANS.

       (a) Treatment of Employee.--For purposes of enrollment in a 
     health benefits plan under this Act, an individual who had 
     coverage under a health insurance plan and is not a qualified 
     beneficiary as defined under section 4980B(g)(1) of the 
     Internal Revenue Code of 1986 shall be treated in a similar 
     manner as an individual who begins employment as an employee 
     under chapter 89 of title 5, United States Code.
       (b) Preexisting Condition Exclusions.--
       (1) In general.--Each contract under this Act may include a 
     preexisting condition exclusion as defined under section 
     9801(b)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
       (2) Exclusion period.--A preexisting condition exclusion 
     under this subsection shall provide for coverage of a 
     preexisting condition to begin not later than 6 months after 
     the date on which the coverage of the individual under a 
     health benefits plan commences, reduced by the aggregate 1 
     day for each day that the individual was covered under a 
     health insurance plan immediately preceding the date the 
     individual submitted an application for coverage under this 
     Act. This provision shall be applied notwithstanding the 
     applicable provision for the reduction of the exclusion 
     period provided for in section 701(a)(3) of the Employee 
     Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (29 U.S.C. 
     1181(a)(3)).
       (c) Rates and Premiums.--
       (1) In general.--Rates charged and premiums paid for a 
     health benefits plan under this Act--
       (A) shall be determined in accordance with this subsection;
       (B) may be annually adjusted subject to paragraph (3);
       (C) shall be negotiated in the same manner as rates and 
     premiums are negotiated under such chapter 89; and
       (D) shall be adjusted to cover the administrative costs of 
     the Office under this Act.
       (2) Determinations.--In determining rates and premiums 
     under this Act, the following provisions shall apply:
       (A) In general.--A carrier that enters into a contract 
     under this Act shall determine that amount of premiums to 
     assess for coverage under a health benefits plan based on an 
     community rate that may be annually adjusted--
       (i) for the geographic area involved if the adjustment is 
     based on geographical divisions that are not smaller than a 
     metropolitan statistical area and the carrier provides 
     evidence of geographic variation in cost of services;
       (ii) based on whether such coverage is for an individual, 
     two adults, one adult and one or more children, or a family; 
     and
       (iii) based on the age of covered individuals (subject to 
     subparagraph (C)).
       (B) Limitation.--Premium rates charged for coverage under 
     this Act shall not vary based on health-status related 
     factors, gender, class of business, or claims experience
       (C) Age adjustments.--
       (i) In general.--With respect to subparagraph (A)(iii), in 
     making adjustments based on age, the Office shall establish 
     no more than 5 age brackets to be used by the carrier in 
     establishing rates. The rates for any age bracket may not 
     vary by more than 50 percent above or below the community 
     rate on the basis of attained age. Age-related premiums may 
     not vary within age brackets.
       (ii) Age 65 and older.--With respect to subparagraph 
     (A)(iii), a carrier may develop separate rates for covered 
     individuals who are 65 years of age or older for whom 
     medicare is the primary payor for health benefits coverage 
     which is not covered under medicare.
       (3) Readjustments.--Any readjustment in rates charged or 
     premiums paid for a health benefits plan under this Act shall 
     be made in advance of the contract term in which they will 
     apply and on a basis which, in the judgment of the Office, is 
     consistent with the practice of the Office for the Federal 
     Employees Health Benefits Program.
       (d) Termination and Reenrollment.--If an individual who is 
     enrolled in a health benefits plan under this Act terminates 
     the enrollment, the individual shall not be eligible for 
     reenrollment until the first open enrollment period following 
     the expiration of 6 months after the date of such 
     termination.
       (f) Continued Applicability of State Law.--
       (1) Health insurance or plans.--
       (A) Plans.--With respect to a contract entered into under 
     this Act under which a carrier will offer health benefits 
     plan coverage, State mandated benefit laws in effect in the 
     State in which the plan is offered shall continue to apply.
       (B) Rating rules.--The rating requirements under 
     subparagraphs (A) and (B) of subsection (c)(2) shall 
     supercede State rating rules for qualified plans under this 
     Act, except with respect to States that provide a rating 
     variance with respect to age that is less than the Federal 
     limit or that provide for some form of community rating.
       (2) Limitation.--Nothing in this subsection shall be 
     construed to preempt--
       (A) any State or local law or regulation except those laws 
     and regulations described in subparagraph (B) of paragraph 
     (1);
       (B) any State grievance, claims, and appeals procedure law, 
     except to the extent that such law is preempted under section 
     514 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974; 
     and
       (C) State network adequacy laws.
       (g) Rule of Construction.--Nothing in this Act shall be 
     construed to limit the application of the service-charge 
     system used by the Office for determining profits for 
     participating carriers under chapter 89 of title 5, United 
     States Code.

     SEC. 7. ENCOURAGING PARTICIPATION BY CARRIERS THROUGH 
                   ADJUSTMENTS FOR RISK.

       (a) Application of Risk Corridors.--
       (1) In general.--This section shall only apply to carriers 
     with respect to health benefits plans offered under this Act 
     during any of calendar years 2007 through 2009.
       (2) Notification of costs under the plan.--In the case of a 
     carrier that offers a health benefits plan under this Act in 
     any of calendar years 2007 through 2009, the carrier shall 
     notify the Office, before such date in the succeeding year as 
     the Office specifies, of the total amount of costs incurred 
     in providing benefits under the health benefits plan for the 
     year involved and the portion of such costs that is 
     attributable to administrative expenses.
       (3) Allowable costs defined.--For purposes of this section, 
     the term ``allowable costs'' means, with respect to a health 
     benefits plan offered by a carrier under this Act, for a 
     year, the total amount of costs described in paragraph (2) 
     for the plan and year, reduced by the portion of such costs 
     attributable to administrative expenses incurred in providing 
     the benefits described in such paragraph.
       (b) Adjustment of Payment.--
       (1) No adjustment if allowable costs within 3 percent of 
     target amount.--If the allowable costs for the carrier with 
     respect to the health benefits plan involved for a calendar 
     year are at least 97 percent, but do not exceed 103 percent, 
     of the target amount for the plan and year involved, there 
     shall be no payment adjustment under this section for the 
     plan and year.
       (2) Increase in payment if allowable costs above 103 
     percent of target amount.--
       (A) Costs between 103 and 108 percent of target amount.--If 
     the allowable costs for the carrier with respect to the 
     health benefits plan involved for the year are greater than 
     103 percent, but not greater than 108 percent, of the target 
     amount for the plan and year, the Office shall reimburse the 
     carrier for such excess costs through payment to the carrier 
     of an amount equal to 75 percent of the difference between 
     such allowable costs and 103 percent of such target amount.
       (B) Costs above 108 percent of target amount.--If the 
     allowable costs for the carrier with respect to the health 
     benefits plan involved for the year are greater than 108

[[Page S2907]]

     percent of the target amount for the plan and year, the 
     Office shall reimburse the carrier for such excess costs 
     through payment to the carrier in an amount equal to the sum 
     of--
       (i) 3.75 percent of such target amount; and
       (ii) 90 percent of the difference between such allowable 
     costs and 108 percent of such target amount.
       (3) Reduction in payment if allowable costs below 97 
     percent of target amount.--
       (A) Costs between 92 and 97 percent of target amount.--If 
     the allowable costs for the carrier with respect to the 
     health benefits plan involved for the year are less than 97 
     percent, but greater than or equal to 92 percent, of the 
     target amount for the plan and year, the carrier shall be 
     required to pay into the contingency reserve fund maintained 
     under section 8909(b)(2) of title 5, United States Code, an 
     amount equal to 75 percent of the difference between 97 
     percent of the target amount and such allowable costs.
       (B) Costs below 92 percent of target amount.--If the 
     allowable costs for the carrier with respect to the health 
     benefits plan involved for the year are less than 92 percent 
     of the target amount for the plan and year, the carrier shall 
     be required to pay into the stabilization fund under section 
     8909(b)(2) of title 5, United States Code, an amount equal to 
     the sum of--
       (i) 3.75 percent of such target amount; and
       (ii) 90 percent of the difference between 92 percent of 
     such target amount and such allowable costs.
       (4) Target amount described.--
       (A) In general.--For purposes of this subsection, the term 
     ``target amount'' means, with respect to a health benefits 
     plan offered by a carrier under this Act in any of calendar 
     years 2007 through 2011, an amount equal to--
       (i) the total of the monthly premiums estimated by the 
     carrier and approved by the Office to be paid for enrollees 
     in the plan under this Act for the calendar year involved; 
     reduced by
       (ii) the amount of administrative expenses that the carrier 
     estimates, and the Office approves, will be incurred by the 
     carrier with respect to the plan for such calendar year.
       (B) Submission of target amount.--Not later than December 
     31, 2006, and each December 31 thereafter through calendar 
     year 2010, a carrier shall submit to the Office a description 
     of the target amount for such carrier with respect to health 
     benefits plans provided by the carrier under this Act.
       (c) Disclosure of Information.--
       (1) In general.--Each contract under this Act shall 
     provide--
       (A) that a carrier offering a health benefits plan under 
     this Act shall provide the Office with such information as 
     the Office determines is necessary to carry out this 
     subsection including the notification of costs under 
     subsection (a)(2) and the target amount under subsection 
     (b)(4)(B); and
       (B) that the Office has the right to inspect and audit any 
     books and records of the organization that pertain to the 
     information regarding costs provided to the Office under such 
     subsections.
       (2) Restriction on use of information.--Information 
     disclosed or obtained pursuant to the provisions of this 
     subsection may be used by officers, employees, and 
     contractors of the Office only for the purposes of, and to 
     the extent necessary in, carrying out this section.

     SEC. 8. ENCOURAGING PARTICIPATION BY CARRIERS THROUGH 
                   REINSURANCE.

       (a) Establishment.--The Office shall establish a 
     reinsurance fund to provide payments to carriers that 
     experience one or more catastrophic claims during a year for 
     health benefits provided to individuals enrolled in a health 
     benefits plan under this Act.
       (b) Eligibility for Payments.--To be eligible for a payment 
     from the reinsurance fund for a plan year, a carrier under 
     this Act shall submit to the Office an application that 
     contains--
       (1) a certification by the carrier that the carrier paid 
     for at least one episode of care during the year for covered 
     health benefits for an individual in an amount that is in 
     excess of $50,000; and
       (2) such other information determined appropriate by the 
     Office.
       (c) Payment.--
       (1) In general.--The amount of a payment from the 
     reinsurance fund to a carrier under this section for a 
     catastrophic episode of care shall be determined by the 
     Office but shall not exceed an amount equal to 80 percent of 
     the applicable catastrophic claim amount.
       (2) Applicable catastrophic claim amount.--For purposes of 
     paragraph (1), the applicable catastrophic episode of care 
     amount shall be equal to the difference between--
       (A) the amount of the catastrophic claim; and
       (B) $50,000.
       (3) Limitation.--In determining the amount of a payment 
     under paragraph (1), if the amount of the catastrophic claim 
     exceeds the amount that would be paid for the healthcare 
     items or services involved under title XVIII of the Social 
     Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395 et seq.), the Office shall use 
     the amount that would be paid under such title XVIII for 
     purposes of paragraph (2)(A).
       (d) Definition.--In this section, the term ``catastrophic 
     claim'' means a claim submitted to a carrier, by or on behalf 
     of an enrollee in a health benefits plan under this Act, that 
     is in excess of $50,000.
       (e) Termination of Fund.--The reinsurance fund established 
     under subsection (a) shall terminate on the date that is 2 
     years after the date on which the first contract period 
     becomes effective under this Act.

     SEC. 9. CONTINGENCY RESERVE FUND.

       Beginning on October 1, 2010, the Office may use amounts 
     appropriated under section 14(a) that remain unobligated to 
     establish a contingency reserve fund to provide assistance to 
     carriers offering health benefits plans under this Act that 
     experience unanticipated financial hardships (as determined 
     by the Office).

     SEC. 10. EMPLOYER PARTICIPATION.

       (a) Regulations.--The Office shall prescribe regulations 
     providing for employer participation under this Act, 
     including the offering of health benefits plans under this 
     Act to employees.
       (b) Enrollment and Offering of Other Coverage.--
       (1) Enrollment.--A participating employer shall ensure that 
     each eligible employee has an opportunity to enroll in a plan 
     under this Act.
       (2) Prohibition on offering other comprehensive health 
     benefit coverage.--A participating employer may not offer a 
     health insurance plan providing comprehensive health benefit 
     coverage to employees other than a health benefits plan 
     that--
       (A) meets the requirements described in section 4(a); and
       (B) is offered only through the enrollment process 
     established by the Office under section 3.
       (3) Offer of supplemental coverage options.--
       (A) In general.--A participating employer may offer 
     supplementary coverage options to employees.
       (B) Definition.--In subparagraph (A), the term 
     ``supplementary coverage'' means benefits described as 
     ``excepted benefits'' under section 2791(c) of the Public 
     Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300gg-91(c)).
       (c) Rule of Construction.--Except as provided in section 
     15, nothing in this Act shall be construed to require that an 
     employer make premium contributions on behalf of employees.

     SEC. 11. ADMINISTRATION THROUGH REGIONAL ADMINISTRATIVE 
                   ENTITIES.

       (a) In General.--In order to provide for the administration 
     of the benefits under this Act with maximum efficiency and 
     convenience for participating employers and health care 
     providers and other individuals and entities providing 
     services to such employers, the Office is authorized to enter 
     into contracts with eligible entities to perform, on a 
     regional basis, one or more of the following:
       (1) Collect and maintain all information relating to 
     individuals, families, and employers participating in the 
     program under this Act in the region served.
       (2) Receive, disburse, and account for payments of premiums 
     to participating employers by individuals in the region 
     served, and for payments by participating employers to 
     carriers.
       (3) Serve as a channel of communication between carriers, 
     participating employers, and individuals relating to the 
     administration of this Act.
       (4) Otherwise carry out such activities for the 
     administration of this Act, in such manner, as may be 
     provided for in the contract entered into under this section.
       (5) The processing of grievances and appeals.
       (b) Application.--To be eligible to receive a contract 
     under subsection (a), an entity shall prepare and submit to 
     the Office an application at such time, in such manner, and 
     containing such information as the Office may require.
       (c) Process.--
       (1) Competitive bidding.--All contracts under this section 
     shall be awarded through a competitive bidding process on a 
     bi-annual basis.
       (2) Requirement.--No contract shall be entered into with 
     any entity under this section unless the Office finds that 
     such entity will perform its obligations under the contract 
     efficiently and effectively and will meet such requirements 
     as to financial responsibility, legal authority, and other 
     matters as the Office finds pertinent.
       (3) Publication of standards and criteria.--The Office 
     shall publish in the Federal Register standards and criteria 
     for the efficient and effective performance of contract 
     obligations under this section, and opportunity shall be 
     provided for public comment prior to implementation. In 
     establishing such standards and criteria, the Office shall 
     provide for a system to measure an entity's performance of 
     responsibilities.
       (4) Term.--Each contract under this section shall be for a 
     term of at least 1 year, and may be made automatically 
     renewable from term to term in the absence of notice by 
     either party of intention to terminate at the end of the 
     current term, except that the Office may terminate any such 
     contract at any time (after such reasonable notice and 
     opportunity for hearing to the entity involved as the Office 
     may provide in regulations) if the Office finds that the 
     entity has failed substantially to carry out the contract or 
     is carrying out the contract in a manner inconsistent with 
     the efficient and effective administration of the program 
     established by this Act.
       (d) Terms of Contract.--A contract entered into under this 
     section shall include--

[[Page S2908]]

       (1) a description of the duties of the contracting entity;
       (2) an assurance that the entity will furnish to the Office 
     such timely information and reports as the Office determines 
     appropriate;
       (3) an assurance that the entity will maintain such records 
     and afford such access thereto as the Office finds necessary 
     to assure the correctness and verification of the information 
     and reports under paragraph (2) and otherwise to carry out 
     the purposes of this Act;
       (4) an assurance that the entity shall comply with such 
     confidentiality and privacy protection guidelines and 
     procedures as the Office may require; and
       (5) such other terms and conditions not inconsistent with 
     this section as the Office may find necessary or appropriate.

     SEC. 12. COORDINATION WITH SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS.

       Benefits under this Act shall, with respect to an 
     individual who is entitled to benefits under part A of title 
     XVIII of the Social Security Act, be offered (for use in 
     coordination with those medicare benefits) to the same extent 
     and in the same manner as if coverage were under chapter 89 
     of title 5, United States Code.

     SEC. 13. PUBLIC EDUCATION CAMPAIGN.

       (a) In General.--In carrying out this Act, the Office shall 
     develop and implement an educational campaign to provide 
     information to employers and the general public concerning 
     the health insurance program developed under this Act.
       (b) Annual Progress Reports.--Not later than 1 year and 2 
     years after the implementation of the campaign under 
     subsection (a), the Office shall submit to the appropriate 
     committees of Congress a report that describes the activities 
     of the Office under subsection (a), including a determination 
     by the office of the percentage of employers with knowledge 
     of the health benefits programs provided for under this Act.
       (c) Public Education Campaign.--There is authorized to be 
     appropriated to carry out this section, such sums as may be 
     necessary for each of fiscal years 2007 and 2008.

     SEC. 14. APPROPRIATIONS.

       There are authorized to be appropriated to the Office, such 
     sums as may be necessary in each fiscal year for the 
     development and administration of the program under this Act.

     SEC. 15. REFUNDABLE CREDIT FOR SMALL BUSINESS EMPLOYEE HEALTH 
                   INSURANCE EXPENSES.

       (a) In General.--Subpart C of part IV of subchapter A of 
     chapter 1 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (relating to 
     refundable credits) is amended by redesignating section 36 as 
     section 37 and inserting after section 35 the following new 
     section:

     ``SEC. 36. SMALL BUSINESS EMPLOYEE HEALTH INSURANCE EXPENSES.

       ``(a) Determination of Amount.--In the case of a qualified 
     small employer, there shall be allowed as a credit against 
     the tax imposed by this subtitle for the taxable year an 
     amount equal to the sum of--
       ``(1) the expense amount described in subsection (b), and
       ``(2) the expense amount described in subsection (c), paid 
     by the taxpayer during the taxable year.
       ``(b) Subsection (b) Expense Amount.--For purposes of this 
     section--
       ``(1) In general.--The expense amount described in this 
     subsection is the applicable percentage of the amount of 
     qualified employee health insurance expenses of each 
     qualified employee.
       ``(2) Applicable percentage.--For purposes of paragraph 
     (1)--
       ``(A) In general.--The applicable percentage is equal to--
       ``(i) 25 percent in the case of self-only coverage,
       ``(ii) 35 percent in the case of family coverage (as 
     defined in section 220(c)(5)), and
       ``(iii) 30 percent in the case of coverage for two adults 
     or one adult and one or more children.
       ``(B) Bonus for payment of greater percentage of 
     premiums.--The applicable percentage otherwise specified in 
     subparagraph (A) shall be increased by 5 percentage points 
     for each additional 10 percent of the qualified employee 
     health insurance expenses of each qualified employee 
     exceeding 60 percent which are paid by the qualified small 
     employer.
       ``(c) Subsection (c) Expense Amount.--For purposes of this 
     section--
       ``(1) In general.--The expense amount described in this 
     subsection is, with respect to the first credit year of a 
     qualified small employer which is an eligible employer, 10 
     percent of the qualified employee health insurance expenses 
     of each qualified employee.
       ``(2) First credit year.--For purposes of paragraph (1), 
     the term `first credit year' means the taxable year which 
     includes the date that the health insurance coverage to which 
     the qualified employee health insurance expenses relate 
     becomes effective.
       ``(d) Limitation Based on Wages.-- With respect to a 
     qualified employee whose wages at an annual rate during the 
     taxable year exceed $25,000, the percentage which would (but 
     for this section) be taken into account as the percentage for 
     purposes of subsection (b)(2) or (c)(1) for the taxable year 
     shall be reduced by an amount equal to the product of such 
     percentage and the percentage that such qualified employee's 
     wages in excess of $25,000 bears to $5,000.
       ``(e) Definitions.--For purposes of this section--
       ``(1) Qualified small employer.--The term `qualified small 
     employer' means any employer (as defined in section 2(b)(2) 
     of the Small Employers Health Benefits Program Act of 2006) 
     which--
       ``(A) is a participating employer (as defined in section 
     2(b)(5) of such Act),
       ``(B) pays or incurs at least 60 percent of the qualified 
     employee health insurance expenses of each qualified employee 
     for self-only coverage, and
       ``(C) pays or incurs at least 50 percent of the qualified 
     employee health insurance expenses of each qualified employee 
     for all other categories of coverage.
       ``(2) Qualified employee health insurance expenses.--
       ``(A) In general.--The term `qualified employee health 
     insurance expenses' means any amount paid by an employer for 
     health insurance coverage under such Act to the extent such 
     amount is attributable to coverage provided to any employee 
     while such employee is a qualified employee.
       ``(B) Exception for amounts paid under salary reduction 
     arrangements.--No amount paid or incurred for health 
     insurance coverage pursuant to a salary reduction arrangement 
     shall be taken into account under subparagraph (A).
       ``(3) Qualified employee.--
       ``(A) Definition.--
       ``(i) In general.--The term `qualified employee' means, 
     with respect to any period, an employee (as defined in 
     section 2(b)(1) of such Act) of an employer if the total 
     amount of wages paid or incurred by such employer to such 
     employee at an annual rate during the taxable year exceeds 
     $5,000 but does not exceed $30,000.
       ``(ii) Annual adjustment.--For each taxable year after 
     2007, the dollar amounts specified for the preceding taxable 
     year (after the application of this subparagraph) shall be 
     increased by the same percentage as the average percentage 
     increase in premiums under the Federal Employees Health 
     Benefits Program under chapter 89 of title 5, United States 
     Code for the calendar year in which such taxable year begins 
     over the preceding calendar year.
       ``(B) Wages.--The term `wages' has the meaning given such 
     term by section 3121(a) (determined without regard to any 
     dollar limitation contained in such section).
       ``(f) Certain Rules Made Applicable.--For purposes of this 
     section, rules similar to the rules of section 52 shall 
     apply.
       ``(g) Credits for Nonprofit Organizations.--Any credit 
     which would be allowable under subsection (a) with respect to 
     a qualified small business if such qualified small business 
     were not exempt from tax under this chapter shall be treated 
     as a credit allowable under this subpart to such qualified 
     small business.''.
       (b) Conforming Amendments.--
       (1) Paragraph (2) of section 1324(b) of title 31, United 
     States Code, is amended by inserting before the period ``, or 
     from section 36 of such Code''.
       (2) The table of sections for subpart C of part IV of 
     subchapter A of chapter 1 of the Internal Revenue Code of 
     1986 is amended by striking the last item and inserting the 
     following new items:

``Sec. 36. Small business employee health insurance expenses
``Sec. 37. Overpayments of tax''.

       (c) Effective Date.--The amendments made by this section 
     shall apply to amounts paid or incurred in taxable years 
     beginning after December 31, 2006.

     SEC. 16. EFFECTIVE DATE.

       Except as provided in section 10(e), this Act shall take 
     effect on the date of enactment of this Act and shall apply 
     to contracts that take effect with respect to calendar year 
     2007 and each calendar year thereafter.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. DeWINE (for himself, Mr. Levin, Ms. Stabenow, Mr. 
        Voinovich, Mrs. Clinton, and Mr. Schumer):
  S. 2545. A bill to establish a collaborative program to protect the 
Great Lakes, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Environment 
and Public Works.
  Mr. DeWINE. Mr. President, today I am proud to introduce the Great 
Lakes Collaboration Implementation Act with my colleague, Senator 
Levin. I would like to thank him for all of his hard work on this 
legislation and the Great Lakes.
  The Great Lakes are a unique natural resource that need to be 
protected for future generations. The Great Lakes hold one-fifth of the 
world's surface freshwater, cover more than 94,000 square miles, and 
drain more than twice as much land. Over thirty of the basin's 
biological communities--and over 100 species--are globally rare or 
found only in the Great Lakes basin. The 637 State parks in the region 
accommodate more than 250 million visitors each year. The Great Lakes 
are significant to the eight States and two Canadian provinces that 
border them, as well as to the millions of other people around the 
country who fish, visit the surrounding parks, or use products that are 
affordably shipped to them via the lakes.
  Unfortunately, the Great Lakes remain in a degraded state. A 2003 GAO

[[Page S2909]]

report said, ``Despite early success in improving conditions in the 
Great Lakes Basin, significant environmental challenges remain, 
including increased threats from invasive species and cleanup of areas 
contaminated with toxic substances that pose human health threats.'' 
Many scientists affirm that the Great Lakes are exhibiting signs of 
stress due to a combination of sources, including toxic contaminants, 
invasive species, nutrient loading, shoreline and upland land use 
changes, and hydrologic modifications. A 2005 report from a group of 
Great Lakes scientific experts states that ``historical sources of 
stress have combined with new ones to reach a tipping point, the point 
at which ecosystem-level changes occur rapidly and unexpectedly, 
confounding the traditional relationships between sources of stress and 
the expected ecosystem response.''
  One cannot see the many threats to the Lakes simply by looking at 
them. The zebra mussel, an aquatic invasive species, causes $500 
million per year in economic and environmental damage to the Great 
Lakes. One study found that since 1990--the year that zebra mussels 
really began to make an impact--Lake Michigan's yellow perch population 
has decreased by about 80 percent. In 2000, seven people died after 
pathogens entered the Walkerton, Ontario drinking water supply from the 
lakes. In May of 2004, more than ten billion gallons of raw sewage and 
storm water were dumped into the Great Lakes. In that same year, over 
1,850 beaches in the Great Lakes were closed. Each summer, Lake Erie 
develops a 6,300 square mile dead zone. There is no appreciable natural 
reproduction of lake trout in the lower four lakes. More than half of 
the Great Lakes region's original wetlands have been lost, along with 
60 percent of the forests. Wildlife habitat has been destroyed, thus 
diminishing opportunities necessary for fishing, hunting and other 
forms of outdoor recreation.
  For several years, I have been calling for a plan to restore the 
Lakes and have been urging governors, mayors, environmental community 
and other regional interests to agree on a vision for the Great Lakes--
not just immediately, but for the long-term future.
  Last year, over 1,500 people worked to draft a plan through a process 
called Great Lakes Regional Collaboration. The Collaboration strategy 
includes dozens of recommendations for action at the federal, state, 
local, and tribal actions that will help restore the Great Lakes. 
Senator Carl Levin and I--as well as our colleagues in the House--have 
crafted a bill to implement these recommendations.
  This bill would reduce the threat of non-native species invading the 
Great Lakes through ballast water and other pathways. The bill targets 
the Asian carp by authorizing the Corps of Engineers to improve the 
dispersal barrier project and prohibiting the importation or interstate 
commerce of live Asian carp.
  The bill addresses threats to fish and wildlife habitat by 
reauthorizing the Great Lakes Fish & Wildlife Restoration Act, a 
current program that provides grants to states and tribes.
  The bill reauthorizes the State Revolving Loan Fund and provides $20 
billion over five years to assist communities with the critical task of 
upgrading and improving their wastewater infrastructure.
  The bill authorizes $150 million per year for contaminated sediment 
cleanup at Areas of Concern under the Great Lakes Legacy program. It 
also provides the EPA with greater flexibility in implementing the 
program by allowing the Great Lakes National Program Office to disburse 
funds to the non-federal sponsor of a Legacy Act project.
  The bill establishes a new grant program within EPA, called the Great 
Lakes Mercury Product Stewardship Strategy Grant Program, to phase out 
mercury in products.
  The bill improves existing research programs and fills the gap where 
work is needed. We need baseline data to understand how the lakes are 
changing and where improvements are succeeding.
  The bill authorizes NOAA to restore and remediate waterfront areas. 
Projects will require a non-federal partner who will provide at least a 
35% cost-share. Individual projects may not cost more than $5 million.
  Lastly, the bill establishes the Great Lakes Interagency Task Force 
and the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration process in order to 
coordinate and improve Great Lakes programs.
  Restoring the Great Lakes to a healthy ecosystem is not something 
that will happen overnight. This is a long-term process, but Congress 
needs to act now. Our bill is a major step in the right direction. We 
need to continue to refocus and improve our efforts in order to reverse 
the trend of degradation of the Great Lakes. They are a unique natural 
resource for Ohio, the entire region, and the country--a resource that 
must be protected for future generations. I ask my colleagues to join 
me in support of this bill and in our efforts to help preserve and 
protect the long-term viability of our Great Lakes.
  Mr. LAUTENBERG. Mr. President, I rise to submit a concurrent 
resolution to honor the fallen soldiers we have lost in Operation 
Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). My 
resolution, which Congressman Rahm Emanuel is introducing in the House 
of Representatives, directs the Architect of the Capitol to display an 
exhibit to honor the memory of these brave men and women in the Rotunda 
of the Capitol building during the period beginning on May 29, 2006, 
and ending on July 4, 2006. The exhibit will display the name, 
photograph, and biographical information of each individual member of 
the United States Armed Forces who has been killed in Afghanistan and 
Iraq. Visitors will also have the opportunity to write messages of 
support and sympathy to the families of the fallen.
  On March 20, 2006, we observed the third anniversary of the war of 
Iraq. Since the start of the war, more than 2,500 American soldiers 
have been killed serving their country. As we continue our efforts in 
Iraq and Afghanistan, we must recognize the ultimate sacrifice made by 
these troops. This temporary display will show the families of these 
heroes that they will always be remembered by a grateful nation.
  I want to thank Senators Clinton, Bingaman, Kennedy, Johnson, Boxer, 
Menendez, Landrieu, Kerry, and Feinstein for co-sponsoring this 
important resolution. I hope that the rest of the Senate will support 
its passage, too.
  Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, I rise today to join my colleagues, 
Senator Levin an Senator DeWine, in offering the Great Lakes 
Collaboration Implementation Act of 2006. I am a cosponsor of this 
bipartisan bill, introduced on behalf of the Great Lakes Senators by 
the co-chairs of our Great Lakes Task Force. Our bill is also 
cosponsored by Senator Clinton, Senator Voinovich, and Senator Schumer.
  The health and sustainability of the Great Lakes are something I feel 
passionately about. There is no more important issue to Michigan and 
our region of the country than the Great Lakes.
  I want to take just a moment to recognize someone else who is equally 
passionate about Great Lakes protection and restoration. No single 
person has devoted more time, energy, and personal resources to the 
Great Lakes than Peter Wege of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
  Peter Wege has been a leader and visionary for Great Lakes 
restoration for decades. Through the Wege Foundation, which he founded 
in 1967, he has made generous gifts to the people of Grand Rapids and 
communities all over Western Michigan for community development. I 
believe that part of the reason we are standing here today with a 
comprehensive bill to restore the Lakes is due to the work of Peter 
Wege. In 2005, a gift from the Wege Foundation created the Healing Our 
Waters Coalition, a coalition of grassroots groups dedicated to 
securing a sustainable restoration plan and Federal and State funding 
to carry it out. The Healing Our Waters Coalition and Peter Wege have 
been instrumental in bringing Great Lakes restoration to the forefront 
of national policy.
  For the people of Michigan the Great Lakes are more than just one-
fifth of the world's fresh water and a unique ecosystem--they are part 
of our identity. The Lakes are where we spend summers with our 
families, where we boat and swim, and where we fish and hunt. The Lakes 
also sustain our State and local economies by providing a

[[Page S2910]]

major route for intrastate and international commerce. The health and 
future of Michigan is directly linked to the health and future of the 
Great Lakes.
  We in Michigan are blessed with a beautiful State full of lakes, 
rivers, forests, and streams. We have more public access to waterways 
than all of the other 49 States combined. We are surrounded by four of 
the five Great Lakes and more than 40,000 interior lakes, streams, and 
trails. This rich abundance of natural resources has made the outdoors 
a critical part of Michigan's economy and our way-of-life. The Great 
Lakes are key in this. Consider that the total revenue from Michigan's 
fishing, hunting and wildlife watching is nearly $5 billion every year. 
Fishing brings $2 billion annually to our State economy. Michigan has 
the most registered boaters of any State, nearly one million, and 
recreational boating brings $2 billion annually to the state. It's easy 
to see what restoring the Great Lakes is so important to us.
  There are currently between 140 and 200 separate Great Lakes 
environmental programs administered by 10 Federal agencies. Each of 
these is important and has helped us significantly improve the health 
of the Great Lakes over the past 35 years. That said true restoration 
will take local, regional, and national coordination on projects that 
address all of the critical challenges facing the health of the Great 
Lakes.
  In May 2004, President Bush signed a Presidential Executive Order 
creating the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration, also called the GLRC. 
The group is composed of Federal agencies, Great Lakes governors and 
mayors, local communities, Native American Tribes, and other 
stakeholders from the Great Lakes Basin. In December of last year the 
GLRC released a report outlining comprehensive and collaborative 
restoration of the Great Lakes ecosystem--the Great Lakes Regional 
Collaboration Strategy. The report calls for $20 billion in Federal, 
State, and local funding to clean up toxic hot-spots, restore wetlands, 
prevent the introduction of new invasive species, and modernizing water 
treatment systems.
  The GLRC Strategy has been endorsed through the Great Lakes Regional 
Collaboration Resolution by Great Lakes mayors, governors, tribes, the 
Congressional delegation, and the Interagency Task Force.
  The bill that I am introducing today with my colleagues takes the 
next critical step and turns the strategy document into an on-the-
ground reality.
  Our commitment is strong. We have the will and the way, all we need 
now is the support of Congress to ensure the future of the Great 
Lakes--a magnificent natural resource that has been entrusted to our 
care.
  Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, I am pleased to introduce the ``Great Lakes 
Restoration Implementation Act'' with Senator Mike DeWine and our co-
sponsors, Senators Debbie Stabenow, George Voinovich, and Hillary 
Rodham Clinton. I also want to thank Representatives Vern Ehlers and 
Rahm Emanuel for introducing similar Great Lakes restoration 
legislation in the House today.
  The Great Lakes are vital not only to Michigan but to the Nation. 
Roughly one-tenth of the U.S. population lives in the Great Lakes basin 
and depends daily on the lakes. The Great Lakes provide drinking water 
to 33 million people. They provide the largest recreational resource 
for their neighboring States. They form the largest body of freshwater 
in the world, containing roughly 18 percent of the world's total; only 
the polar ice caps contain more freshwater. They are critical for our 
economy by helping move natural resources to the factory and to move 
products to market.
  While the environmental protections that were put in place in the 
early 1970s have helped the Great Lakes make strides toward recovery, a 
2003 GAO report made clear that there is much work still to do. That 
report stated: ``Despite early success in improving conditions in the 
Great Lakes Basin, significant environmental challenges remain, 
including increased threats from invasive species and cleanup of areas 
contaminated with toxic substances that pose human health threats.''
  The Great Lakes problems have been well-known for several years, and, 
for the past year, 1,500 people through the Great Lakes region have 
worked together to compile recommendations for restoring the lakes. 
These recommendations were released last December, and, today, I am 
introducing this legislation to implement those recommendations.
  This bill would reduce the threat of new invasive species by enacting 
comprehensive invasive species legislation and put ballast technology 
on board ships; it specifically targets Asian carp by authorizing the 
operation and maintenance of the dispersal barrier. The bill would 
restore fish and wildlife habitat by reauthorizing the Great Lakes Fish 
and Wildlife Restoration Act. It would provide additional resources to 
States and cities for their water infrastructure. It would provide 
additional funding for contaminated sediment cleanup and would give the 
EPA additional tools under the Great Lakes Legacy Act to move projects 
along faster. The bill would create a new grant program to phase-out 
mercury in products. It would authorize additional research through 
existing Federal programs as well as our non-Federal research 
institutions. And it would authorize coordination of federal programs.
  The Great Lakes are a unique American treasure. We must recognize 
that we are only their temporary stewards. If Congress does not act to 
keep pace with the needs of the lakes, and the tens of millions of 
Americans dependent upon them and affected by their condition, the 
current problems will continue to build, and we may start to undo some 
of the good work that has already been done. We must be good stewards 
by ensuring that the federal government meets its ongoing obligation to 
protect and restore the Great Lakes. This legislation will help us meet 
that great responsibility to future generations.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. AKAKA (for himself and Mr. Bingaman):
  S. 2550. A bill to provide for direct access to electronic tax return 
filing, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Finance.

  Mr. AKAKA. Mr. President. As the tax filing deadline approaches, I am 
delighted to introduce the Free Internet Filing Act. The bill requires 
the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to provide universal access to 
individual taxpayers filing their tax returns directly through the IRS 
Web site. I thank Senator Bingaman for cosponsoring this bill and 
working with me on so many issues that are important to taxpayers.
  It is frustrating that individual taxpayers completing their own 
returns are not able to file directly with the IRS. Taxpayers are 
dependent on commercial preparers to electronically file their taxes. 
If a taxpayer takes the time necessary to prepare their returns by 
themselves, they must be provided with the option of electronically 
filing directly with the IRS. My legislation would make this direct 
filing possible.
  The current system that provides a select group of taxpayers with the 
ability to file electronically for free using third party 
intermediaries, called the Free File Alliance, is a failure. In 
testimony before the Finance Committee yesterday, The National Taxpayer 
Advocate, Ms. Nina Olson, testified that ``As currently structured, 
Free File amounts to a Wild, Wild West of differing eligibility 
requirements, differing capabilities, differing availability of and 
fees for add-on products, and many sites that are difficult to use.'' 
Ms. Olson also stated that the ``IRS should place a basic, fill-in 
template on its website to allow any taxpayer who wants to self-prepare 
his or her return to do so and file directly with the IRS for free.'' I 
completely agree.
  The current Free File Alliance agreement leaves out too many 
taxpayers. Taxpayers that make more than $50,000 are not eligible. In 
addition, tax preparation companies try to sell additional products and 
services, such as refund anticipation loans, to consumers that utilize 
their free file services that are accessed via the IRS Web site. 
Taxpayers should not be forced to access online filing through 
companies that peddle services and products to them. Taxpayers are 
directed to these companies via the IRS Web site. This should not 
happen. While paying their taxes

[[Page S2911]]

and fulfilling their obligations, taxpayers should be allowed to file 
directly without being subjected to sales pitches or ads. Taxpayers 
should not have the additional worry associated with sharing their 
private financial information with a tax preparation company. In the 
current environment where there have been so many electronic breeches 
of financial information, taxpayers should not be forced to hand over 
their private information if they want to electronically file their 
return with the IRS. Taxpayers should not lose out on the benefits of 
electronic filing simply because they are worried about sending their 
data to third parties.
  My legislation will help increase the number of electronically filed 
returns. As Ms. Olson pointed out, nearly 45 million returns prepared 
using software are mailed in rather than electronically filed. With 
universal access to free e-file, this number could be substantially 
reduced. Electronic returns help taxpayers receive their refunds faster 
than mailing them in. This would also save the IRS resources and reduce 
possible errors that can occur when the mailed in returns are 
transcribed.
  I want to take a moment to express my appreciation for all of the 
tremendous work that Ms. Olson has done in an attempt to improve the 
lives of taxpayers. It is a pleasure to work with Ms. Olson and her 
staff both in Washington and Hawaii. I look forward to continuing to 
work with the National Taxpayer Advocate, other Treasury officials, and 
my colleagues to expand access to Internet filing.
  I ask unanimous consent that the full text of the bill be printed in 
the Record. I also ask unanimous consent that a letter of support from 
the Hawaii Alliance for Community-Based Economic Development be printed 
in the Record.
  There being no objection, the materials were ordered to be printed in 
the Record as follows:

                                S. 2550

       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 ``Free Internet Filing Act''.

     SEC. 2. DIRECT ACCESS TO E-FILE FEDERAL INCOME TAX RETURNS.

       (a) In General.--The Secretary of the Treasury shall 
     provide individual taxpayers with the ability to 
     electronically file their Federal income tax returns through 
     the Internal Revenue Service website without the use of an 
     intermediary or with the use of an intermediary which is 
     contracted by the Internal Revenue Service to provide free 
     universal access for such filing (hereafter in this section 
     referred to as the ``direct e-file program'') for taxable 
     years beginning after the date which is not later than 3 
     years after the date of the enactment of this Act.
       (b) Development and Operation of Program.--In providing for 
     the development and operation of the direct e-file program, 
     the Secretary of the Treasury shall--
       (1) consult with nonprofit organizations representing the 
     interests of taxpayers as well as other private and nonprofit 
     organizations and Federal, State, and local agencies as 
     determined appropriate by the Secretary,
       (2) promulgate such regulations as necessary to administer 
     such program, and
       (3) conduct a public information and consumer education 
     campaign to encourage taxpayers to use the direct e-file 
     program.
       (c) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized 
     to be appropriated such sums as are necessary to carry out 
     the direct e-file program. Any sums so appropriated shall 
     remain available until expended.
       (d) Reports to Congress.--
       (1) Report on implementation.--The Secretary of the 
     Treasury shall report to the Committee on Finance of the 
     Senate and the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of 
     Representatives every 6 months regarding the status of the 
     implementation of the direct e-file program.
       (2) Report on usage.--The Secretary of the Treasury, in 
     consultation with the National Taxpayer Advocate, shall 
     report to the Committee on Finance of the Senate and the 
     Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives 
     annually on taxpayer usage of the direct e-file program.
                                  ____

         Hawai`i Alliance for Community-Based Economic 
           Development,
                                      Honolulu, HI, April 4, 2006.
     Hon. Daniel K. Akaka,
     U.S. Senate, 141 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Akaka: The Hawai`i Alliance for Community 
     Based Economic Development (HACBED) is writing in support of 
     the ``Free Internet Filing Act.''
       HACBED is a statewide 501(c)3 organization established in 
     1992 to help maximize the impact of community-based economic 
     development organizations (CBEDOs). We pursue our mission by 
     helping CBEDOs to increase community control of their assets 
     and means of production. We accomplish this in many ways--by 
     providing technical support to help CBEDOs deal with 
     organizational issues; by networking on a local and national 
     basis for funding and financing for community-based efforts; 
     and, by advocating for communities to play a more active role 
     in the political process in order to effect systemic change. 
     To this end, HACBED has been facilitating statewide 
     conversations to develop a comprehensive asset policy agenda. 
     Core to this agenda is the recognition of the importance of 
     creating policies that assist individuals, families and the 
     broader community to build wealth.
       Tax season is an essential time for low income families to 
     take advantage of their tax related benefits, including the 
     earned income tax credit. Electronic filing of taxes is a 
     quicker, more efficient way to process a tax return. In many 
     cases, working families must pay a professional tax preparer 
     to prepare their return and file electronically. By providing 
     free universal access to electronic filing these low income 
     working families would be able to keep more of their hard 
     earned dollars in their pocket.
       HACBED fully supports this bill and we look forward to 
     working with you in the future to insure free and low cost 
     tax related services for low income families.
           Sincerely,
                                                 Brent Dillabaugh,
     Public Policy Director.
                                  ____

      By Mr. MENENDEZ (for himself and Mr. Lautenberg):
  S. 2551. A bill to provide for prompt payment and interest on late 
payments of health care claims; to the Committee on Health, Education, 
Labor, and Pensions.
  Mr. MENENDEZ. Mr. President, I rise today to introduce legislation, 
along with my colleague, Senator Lautenberg, to preserve seniors' and 
all patients' access to local pharmacies, doctors and hospitals. Since 
these providers are on the front lines of our communities' health care 
systems and often find themselves squeezed by insurance copies on the 
one hand and their obligation to take care of patients on the other, 
this bill aims to relieve their burden by requiring prescription drug 
managers, managed care plans and other private health insurers to pay 
health care claims in a timely fashion.
  The Prompt Payment of Health Benefits Claims Act bill seeks to 
address the financial strains being faced by hospitals and physicians 
in my State of New Jersey and across the country. In addition, this 
legislation would address the new financial crisis pharmacies are 
facing in light of the new Medicare Prescription Drug benefit. 
Specifically, the legislation requires prescription drug managers, 
private health plans and other private health insurers to pay manually 
filed claims within 30 days and electronically filed claims within 14 
days. Insurers that fail to meet these timeframes would be required to 
pay interest for every day the claims goes unpaid. Insurers that 
knowingly violate these prompt payment requirements would be subject to 
monetary penalties.
  A Federal prompt pay law is critical to ensuring that our pharmacies 
and health care providers maintain adequate cash flows and are able to 
continue functioning. Seniors and all patients depend on their local 
pharmacists and preferred physicians. They are the providers that know 
their patients best and ensure that they receive the important care 
they need and deserve. The threat of local pharmacies, physicians and 
hospitals going out of business has serious consequences with regards 
to the kind of care the community will receive.
  The need for this legislation cannot be understated. In my State of 
New Jersey, local pharmacies have never had a more challenging 
financial situation. They are encountering lower reimbursement rates 
from the prescription drug managers and a 60-90 day lag time in 
reimbursements, which are putting many on the brink of going out of 
business. Almost half of all hospitals are operating in the red, and 
that number is growing. Physicians and hospitals are experiencing 
rising health care operating costs and tight Federal and State budgets. 
Untimely payment of claims has only compounded these problems.
  The problem of late payments has reached such a crisis that the 
majority of States, including New Jersey, have enacted ``prompt pay'' 
laws to require insurers to pay their bills within a specific 
timeframe. Unfortunately, New Jersey's law, like most similar State 
laws, is largely ineffective because it

[[Page S2912]]

lacks strong enforcement provisions and offers no incentives for 
private insurers to comply. Furthermore, State prompt-pay laws apply 
only to State-regulated plans, which only cover approximately half of 
New Jerseyans that are insured.
  The bottom line is that pharmacies, physicians, hospitals and other 
health care providers should not have to shoulder the burden of unpaid 
claims. These local providers have fulfilled their commitment to care 
for patients, and my legislation will ensure that private insurers 
assume the financial responsibilities for the health coverage they are 
being paid to provide.
  I ask unanimous consent that the text of the legislation be printed 
in the Record.
  There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be 
printed in the Record as follows:

                                S. 2551

       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 ``Prompt Payment of Health 
     Benefits Claims Act of 2006''.

     SEC. 2. AMENDMENTS TO THE EMPLOYEE RETIREMENT INCOME SECURITY 
                   ACT OF 1974.

       (a) In General.--Subpart B of part 7 of subtitle B of title 
     I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (29 
     U.S.C. 1185 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the 
     following:

     ``SEC. 714. PROMPT PAYMENT OF HEALTH BENEFITS CLAIMS.

       ``(a) Timeframe for Payment of Clean Claim.--A group health 
     plan, and a health insurance issuer offering group health 
     insurance coverage in connection with a group health plan, 
     shall pay all clean claims and uncontested claims--
       ``(1) in the case of a claim that is submitted 
     electronically, within 14 days of the date on which the claim 
     is submitted; or
       ``(2) in the case of a claim that is not submitted 
     electronically, within 30 days of the date on which the claim 
     is submitted.
       ``(b) Procedures Involving Submitted Claims.--
       ``(1) In general.--Not later than 10 days after the date on 
     which a clean claim is submitted, a group health plan, and a 
     health insurance issuer offering group health insurance 
     coverage in connection with a group health plan, shall 
     provide the claimant with a notice that acknowledges receipt 
     of the claim by the plan or issuer. Such notice shall be 
     considered to have been provided on the date on which the 
     notice is mailed or electronically transferred.
       ``(2) Claim deemed to be clean.--A claim is deemed to be a 
     clean claim under this section if the group health plan or 
     health insurance issuer involved does not provide notice to 
     the claimant of any deficiency in the claim within 10 days of 
     the date on which the claim is submitted.
       ``(3) Claim determined to not be a clean claim.--
       ``(A) In general.--If a group health plan or health 
     insurance issuer determines that a claim for health care 
     expenses is not a clean claim, the plan or issuer shall, not 
     later than the end of the period described in paragraph (2), 
     notify the claimant of such determination. Such notification 
     shall specify all deficiencies in the claim and shall list 
     with specificity all additional information or documents 
     necessary for the proper processing and payment of the claim.
       ``(B) Determination after submission of additional 
     information.--A claim is deemed to be a clean claim under 
     this paragraph if the group health plan or health insurance 
     issuer involved does not provide notice to the claimant of 
     any deficiency in the claim within 10 days of the date on 
     which additional information is received pursuant to 
     subparagraph (A).
       ``(C) Payment of uncontested portion of a claim.--A group 
     health plan or health insurance issuer shall pay any 
     uncontested portion of a claim in accordance with subsection 
     (a).
       ``(4) Obligation to pay.--A claim for health care expenses 
     that is not paid or contested by a group health plan or 
     health insurance issuer within the timeframes set forth in 
     this subsection shall be deemed to be a clean claim and paid 
     by the plan or issuer in accordance with subsection (a).
       ``(c) Date of Payment of Claim.--Payment of a clean claim 
     under this section is considered to have been made on the 
     date on which full payment is received by the health care 
     provider.
       ``(d) Interest Schedule.--
       ``(1) In general.--With respect to a clean claim, a group 
     health plan or health insurance issuer that fails to comply 
     with subsection (a) shall pay the claimant interest on the 
     amount of such claim, from the date on which such payment was 
     due as provided in this section, at the following rates:
       ``(A) 1\1/2\ percent per month from the 1st day of 
     nonpayment after payment is due through the 15th day of such 
     nonpayment.
       ``(B) 2 percent per month from the 16th day of such 
     nonpayment through the 45th day of such nonpayment.
       ``(C) 2\1/2\ percent per month after the 46th day of such 
     nonpayment.
       ``(2) Contested claims.--With respect to claims for health 
     care expenses that are contested by the plan or issuer, once 
     such claim is deemed clean under subsection (b), the interest 
     rate applicable for noncompliance under this subsection shall 
     apply consistent with paragraph (1).
       ``(e) Private Right of Action.--Nothing in this section 
     shall be construed to prohibit or limit a claim or action not 
     covered by the subject matter of this section that any 
     claimant has against a group health plan, or a health 
     insurance issuer.
       ``(f) Anti-Retaliation.--Consistent with applicable Federal 
     or State law, a group health plan or health insurance issuer 
     shall not retaliate against a claimant for exercising a right 
     of action under this section.
       ``(g) Fines and Penalties.--
       ``(1) Fines.--
       ``(A) In general.--If a group health plan, or health 
     insurance issuer offering group health insurance coverage, 
     willfully and knowingly violates this section or has a 
     pattern of repeated violations of this section, the Secretary 
     shall impose a fine not to exceed $1,000 per claim for each 
     day a response is delinquent beyond the date on which such 
     response is required under this section.
       ``(B) Repeated violations.--If 3 separate fines under 
     subparagraph (A) are levied within a 5-year period, the 
     Secretary is authorized to impose a penalty in an amount not 
     to exceed $10,000 per claim.
       ``(2) Remedial action plan.--Where it is established that 
     the group health plan or health insurance issuer willfully 
     and knowingly violated this section or has a pattern of 
     repeated violations, the Secretary shall require the group 
     health plan or health insurance issuer to--
       ``(A) submit a remedial action plan to the Secretary; and
       ``(B) contact claimants regarding the delays in the 
     processing of claims and inform claimants of steps being 
     taken to improve such delays.
       ``(h) Definitions.--In this section:
       ``(1) Claimant.--The term `claimant' means a participant, 
     beneficiary, pharmacy, or health care provider submitting a 
     claim for payment of health care expenses.
       ``(2) Clean claim.--The term `clean claim' means a claim--
       ``(A) with respect to health care expenses for an 
     individual who is covered under a group health plan on the 
     date such expenses are incurred;
       ``(B) for such expenses that are covered under such plan at 
     such time; and
       ``(C) that is submitted with all of the information 
     requested by a group health plan or health insurance issuer 
     offering group health insurance coverage in connection with a 
     group health plan on the claim form or other instructions 
     provided to the health care provider prior to submission of 
     the claim.
       ``(3) Contested claim.--The term `contested claim' means a 
     claim for health care expenses that is denied by a group 
     health plan or health insurance issuer during or after the 
     benefit determination process.
       ``(4) Health care provider.--The term `health care 
     provider' includes a physician or other individual who is 
     licensed, accredited, or certified under State law to provide 
     specified health care services and who is operating within 
     the scope of such licensure, accreditation, or certification, 
     as well as an institution or other facility or agency that 
     provides health care services and is licensed, accredited, or 
     certified to provide health care items and services under 
     applicable State law.''.

     SEC. 3. AMENDMENTS TO THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE ACT.

       (a) Group Market.--Subpart 2 of part A of title XXVII of 
     the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300gg-4 et seq.) is 
     amended by adding at the end the following:

     ``SEC. 2707. PROMPT PAYMENT OF HEALTH BENEFITS CLAIMS.

       ``(a) Timeframe for Payment of Clean Claim.--A group health 
     plan, and a health insurance issuer offering group health 
     insurance coverage in connection with a group health plan, 
     shall pay all clean claims and uncontested claims--
       ``(1) in the case of a claim that is submitted 
     electronically, within 14 days of the date on which the claim 
     is submitted; or
       ``(2) in the case of a claim that is not submitted 
     electronically, within 30 days of the date on which the claim 
     is submitted.
       ``(b) Procedures Involving Submitted Claims.--
       ``(1) In general.--Not later than 10 days after the date on 
     which a clean claim is submitted, a group health plan, and a 
     health insurance issuer offering group health insurance 
     coverage in connection with a group health plan, shall 
     provide the claimant with a notice that acknowledges receipt 
     of the claim by the plan or issuer. Such notice shall be 
     considered to have been provided on the date on which the 
     notice is mailed or electronically transferred.
       ``(2) Claim deemed to be a clean claim.--A claim is deemed 
     to be a clean claim under this section if the group health 
     plan or health insurance issuer involved does not provide 
     notice to the claimant of any deficiency in the claim within 
     10 days of the date on which the claim is submitted.
       ``(3) Claim determined to not be a clean claim.--
       ``(A) In general.--If a group health plan or health 
     insurance issuer determines that a claim for health care 
     expenses is not clean, the plan or issuer shall, not later 
     than the end of the period described in paragraph (2), notify 
     the claimant of such determination.

[[Page S2913]]

     Such notification shall specify all deficiencies in the claim 
     and shall list with specificity all additional information or 
     documents necessary for the proper processing and payment of 
     the claim.
       ``(B) Determination after submission of additional 
     information.--A claim is deemed to be a clean claim under 
     this paragraph if the group health plan or health insurance 
     issuer involved does not provide notice to the claimant of 
     any deficiency in the claim within 10 days of the date on 
     which the additional information is received pursuant to 
     subparagraph (A).
       ``(C) Payment of uncontested portion of a claim.--A group 
     health plan or health insurance issuer shall pay any 
     uncontested portion of a claim in accordance with subsection 
     (a).
       ``(4) Obligation to pay.--A claim for health care expenses 
     that is not paid or contested by a group health plan or 
     health insurance issuer within the timeframes set forth in 
     this subsection shall be deemed to be a clean claim and paid 
     by the plan or issuer in accordance with subsection (a).
       ``(c) Date of Payment of Claim.--Payment of a clean claim 
     under this section is considered to have been made on the 
     date on which full payment is received by the health care 
     provider.
       ``(d) Interest Schedule.--
       ``(1) In general.--With respect to a clean claim, a group 
     health plan or health insurance issuer that fails to comply 
     with subsection (a) shall pay the claimant interest on the 
     amount of such claim, from the date on which such payment was 
     due as provided in this section, at the following rates:
       ``(A) 1\1/2\ percent per month from the 1st day of 
     nonpayment after payment is due through the 15th day of such 
     nonpayment.
       ``(B) 2 percent per month from the 16th day of such 
     nonpayment through the 45th day of such nonpayment.
       ``(C) 2\1/2\ percent per month after the 46th day of such 
     nonpayment.
       ``(2) Contested claims.--With respect to claims for health 
     care expenses that are contested by the plan or issuer, once 
     such claim is deemed clean under subsection (b), the interest 
     rate applicable for noncompliance under this subsection shall 
     apply consistent with paragraph (1).
       ``(e) Private Right of Action.--Nothing in this section 
     shall be construed to prohibit or limit a claim or action not 
     covered by the subject matter of this section that any 
     claimant has against a group health plan, or a health 
     insurance issuer.
       ``(f) Anti-Retaliation.--Consistent with applicable Federal 
     or State law, a group health plan or health insurance issuer 
     shall not retaliate against a claimant for exercising a right 
     of action under this section.
       ``(g) Fines and Penalties.--
       ``(1) Fines.--
       ``(A) In general.--If a group health plan, or health 
     insurance issuer offering group health insurance coverage, 
     willfully and knowingly violates this section or has a 
     pattern of repeated violations of this section, the Secretary 
     shall impose a fine not to exceed $1,000 per claim for each 
     day a response is delinquent beyond the date on which such 
     response is required under this section.
       ``(B) Repeated violations.--If 3 separate fines under 
     subparagraph (A) are levied within a 5-year period, the 
     Secretary is authorized to impose a penalty in an amount not 
     to exceed $10,000 per claim.
       ``(2) Remedial action plan.--Where it is established that 
     the group health plan or health insurance issuer willfully 
     and knowingly violated this section or has a pattern of 
     repeated violations, the Secretary shall require the health 
     plan or health insurance issuer to--
       ``(A) submit a remedial action plan to the Secretary; and
       ``(B) contact claimants regarding the delays in the 
     processing of claims and inform claimants of steps being 
     taken to improve such delays.
       ``(h) Definitions.--In this section:
       ``(1) Claimant.--The term `claimant' means a participant, 
     beneficiary, pharmacy, or health care provider submitting a 
     claim for payment of health care expenses.
       ``(2) Clean claim.--The term `clean claim' means a claim--
       ``(A) with respect to health care expenses for an 
     individual who is covered under a group health plan on the 
     date such expenses are incurred;
       ``(B) for such expenses that are covered under such plan at 
     such time; and
       ``(C) that is submitted with all of the information 
     requested by a group health plan or health insurance issuer 
     offering group health insurance coverage in connection with a 
     group health plan on the claim form or other instructions 
     provided to the health care provider prior to submission of 
     the claim.
       ``(3) Contested claim.--The term `contested claim' means a 
     claim for health care expenses that is denied by a group 
     health plan or health insurance issuer during or after the 
     benefit determination process.
       ``(4) Health care provider.--The term `health care 
     provider' includes a physician or other individual who is 
     licensed, accredited, or certified under State law to provide 
     specified health care services and who is operating within 
     the scope of such licensure, accreditation, or certification, 
     as well as an institution or other facility or agency that 
     provides health care services and is licensed, accredited, or 
     certified to provide health care items and services under 
     applicable State law.''.
       (b) Individual Market.--Part B of title XXVII of the Public 
     Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300gg-41 et seq.) is amended--
       (1) by redesignating the first subpart 3 (relating to other 
     requirements) as subpart 2; and
       (2) by adding at the end of subpart 2 the following:

     ``SEC. 2753. STANDARDS RELATING TO PROMPT PAYMENT OF HEALTH 
                   BENEFITS CLAIMS.

       ``The provisions of section 2707 shall apply to health 
     insurance coverage offered by a health insurance issuer in 
     the individual market in the same manner as they apply to 
     health insurance coverage offered by a health insurance 
     issuer in connection with a group health plan in the small or 
     large group market.''.

     SEC. 4. AMENDMENTS TO THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT.

       (a) Prompt Payment by Prescription Drug Plans.--Section 
     1860D-12(b) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395w-
     112(b)) is amended by adding at the end the following new 
     paragraph:
       ``(4) Prompt payment of clean claims.--
       ``(A) Prompt payment.--
       ``(i) In general.--Each contract entered into with a PDP 
     sponsor under this section with respect to a prescription 
     drug plan offered by such sponsor shall provide that payment 
     shall be issued, mailed, or otherwise transmitted with 
     respect to all clean claims submitted under this part within 
     the applicable number of calendar days after the date on 
     which the claim is received.
       ``(ii) Clean claim defined.--In this paragraph, the term 
     `clean claim' means a claim--

       ``(I) with respect to health care expenses for an 
     individual who is covered under a group health plan on the 
     date such expenses are incurred;
       ``(II) for such expenses that are covered under such plan 
     at such time; and
       ``(III) that is submitted with all of the information 
     requested by a group health plan or health insurance issuer 
     offering group health insurance coverage in connection with a 
     group health plan on the claim form or other instructions 
     provided to the health care provider prior to submission of 
     the claim.

       ``(B) Applicable number of calendar days defined.--In this 
     paragraph, the term `applicable number of calendar days' 
     means--
       ``(i) with respect to claims submitted electronically, 14 
     days; and
       ``(ii) with respect to claims submitted otherwise, 30 days.
       ``(C) Interest schedule.--
       ``(i) In general.--With respect to a clean claim, a PDP 
     sponsor that fails to comply with subparagraph (A) shall pay 
     the claimant interest on the amount of such claim, from the 
     date on which such payment was due as provided in this 
     paragraph, at the following rates:

       ``(I) 1\1/2\ percent per month from the 1st day of 
     nonpayment after payment is due through the 15th day of such 
     nonpayment.
       ``(II) 2 percent per month from the 16th day of such 
     nonpayment through the 45th day of such nonpayment.
       ``(III) 2\1/2\ percent per month after the 46th day of such 
     nonpayment.

       ``(D) Procedures involving claims.--
       ``(i) In general.--A contract entered into with a PDP 
     sponsor under this section with respect to a prescription 
     drug plan offered by such sponsor shall provide that, not 
     later than 10 days after the date on which a clean claim is 
     submitted, the PDP sponsor shall provide the claimant with a 
     notice that acknowledges receipt of the claim by such 
     sponsor. Such notice shall be considered to have been 
     provided on the date on which the notice is mailed or 
     electronically transferred.
       ``(ii) Claim deemed to be a clean claim.--A claim is deemed 
     to be a clean claim if the PDP sponsor involved does not 
     provide notice to the claimant of any deficiency in the claim 
     within 10 days of the date on which the claim is submitted.
       ``(iii) Claim determined to not be a clean claim.--

       ``(I) In general.--If a PDP sponsor determines that a 
     submitted claim is not a clean claim, the PDP sponsor shall, 
     not later than the end of the period described in clause 
     (ii), notify the claimant of such determination. Such 
     notification shall specify all defects or improprieties in 
     the claim and shall list with specificity all additional 
     information or documents necessary for the proper processing 
     and payment of the claim.
       ``(II) Determination after submission of additional 
     information.--A claim is deemed to be a clean claim under 
     this paragraph if the PDP sponsor involved does not provide 
     notice to the claimant of any defect or impropriety in the 
     claim within 10 days of the date on which additional 
     information is received under subclause (I).
       ``(III) Payment of clean portion of a claim.--A PDP sponsor 
     shall, as appropriate, pay any portion of a claim that would 
     be a clean claim but for a defect or impropriety in a 
     separate portion of the claim in accordance with subparagraph 
     (A).

       ``(iv) Obligation to pay.--A claim submitted to a PDP 
     sponsor that is not paid or contested by the provider within 
     the applicable number of days (as defined in subparagraph 
     (B)) shall be deemed to be a clean claim and shall be paid by 
     the PDP sponsor in accordance with subparagraph (A).
       ``(v) Date of payment of claim.--Payment of a clean claim 
     under such subparagraph is

[[Page S2914]]

     considered to have been made on the date on which full 
     payment is received by the provider.
       ``(E) Private right of action.--
       ``(i) In general.--Nothing in this paragraph shall be 
     construed to prohibit or limit a claim or action not covered 
     by the subject matter of this section that any individual or 
     organization has against a provider or a PDP sponsor.
       ``(ii) Anti-retaliation.--Consistent with applicable 
     Federal or State law, a PDP sponsor shall not retaliate 
     against an individual or provider for exercising a right of 
     action under this subparagraph.
       ``(F) Fines and penalties.--
       ``(i) Fines.--

       ``(I) In general.--If a PDP sponsor willfully and knowingly 
     violates this section or has a pattern of repeated violations 
     of this section, the Secretary shall impose a fine not to 
     exceed $1,000 per claim for each day a response is delinquent 
     beyond the date on which such response is required under this 
     paragraph.
       ``(II) Repeated violations.--If 3 separate fines under 
     subclause (I) are levied within a 5-year period, the 
     Secretary is authorized to impose a penalty in an amount not 
     to exceed $10,000 per claim.

       ``(ii) Remedial action plan.--Where it is established that 
     the PDP sponsor willfully and knowingly violated this section 
     or has a pattern of repeated violations, the Secretary shall 
     require the PDP sponsor to--

       ``(I) submit a remedial action plan to the Secretary; and
       ``(II) contact claimants regarding the delays in the 
     processing of claims and inform claimants of steps being 
     taken to improve such delays.''.

       (b) Prompt Payment by MA-PD Plans.--Section 1857(f) of the 
     Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395w-27) is amended by adding 
     at the end the following new paragraph:
       ``(3) Incorporation of certain prescription drug plan 
     contract requirements.--The provisions of section 1860D-
     12(b)(4) shall apply to contracts with a Medicare Advantage 
     organization in the same manner as they apply to contracts 
     with a PDP sponsor offering a prescription drug plan under 
     part D.''.
       (c) Medicaid.--Section 1932(f) of the Social Security Act 
     (42 U.S.C. 1396u-2(f)) is amended by striking ``the claims 
     payment procedures described in section 1902(a)(37)(A), 
     unless the health care provider and the organization agree to 
     an alternate payment schedule'' and inserting ``section 
     1860D-12(b)(4), in the same manner as the provisions of such 
     section apply to a PDP sponsor offering a prescription drug 
     plan under part D''.
       (d) Effective Date.--The amendments made by this section 
     shall apply to contracts entered into or renewed on or after 
     December 31, 2006.

     SEC. 5. PREEMPTION.

       The provisions of this Act shall not supersede any contrary 
     provision of State law if the provision of State law imposes 
     requirements, standards, or implementation specifications 
     that are equal to or more stringent than the requirements, 
     standards, or implementation specifications imposed under 
     this Act, and any such requirements, standards, or 
     implementation specifications under State law that are equal 
     to or more stringent than the requirements, standards, or 
     implementation specifications under this Act shall apply to 
     group health plans and health insurance issuers as provided 
     for under State law.

     SEC. 6. EFFECTIVE DATE.

       (a) In General.--Except as provided in section 4 and 
     subsection (b), the amendments made by this Act shall apply 
     with respect to group health plans and health insurance 
     issuers for plan years beginning after December 31, 2006.
       (b) Special Rule for Collective Bargaining Agreements.--In 
     the case of a group health plan maintained pursuant to one or 
     more collective bargaining agreements between employee 
     representatives and one or more employers ratified before the 
     date of the enactment of this Act, the amendments made by 
     this Act shall not apply to plan years beginning before the 
     later of--
       (1) the date on which the last of the collective bargaining 
     agreements relating to the plan terminates (determined 
     without regard to any extension thereof agreed to after the 
     date of the enactment of this Act), or
       (2) January 1, 2007.
     For purposes of paragraph (1), any plan amendment made 
     pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement relating to the 
     plan which amends the plan solely to conform to any 
     requirement of the amendments made by this section shall not 
     be treated as a termination of such collective bargaining 
     agreement.

     SEC. 7. SEVERABILITY.

       If any provision of this Act, or an amendment made by this 
     Act, is held by a court to be invalid, such invalidity shall 
     not affect the remaining provisions of this Act, or 
     amendments made by this Act.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. McCAIN (for himself, Mr. Dorgan, and Ms. Cantwell):
  S. 2552. A bill to amend the Omnibus Control and Safe Streets Act of 
1968 to clarify that Indian tribes are eligible to receive grants for 
confronting the use of methamphetamine, and for other purposes; to the 
Committee on the Judiciary.
  Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I am joined today by Senators Dorgan and 
Cantwell in introducing a bill to amend the recently passed PATRIOT Act 
reauthorization to ensure that Indian tribes are eligible for Federal 
methamphetamine-related grants. The legislation would allow tribes, 
like States, to receive grants to reduce the availability of meth in 
hot spot areas; grants for programs for drug-endangered children; and 
grants to address methamphetamine use by pregnant and parenting women 
offenders.
  The scourge of methamphetamine has afflicted much of our Nation, and 
it has had particularly devastating effects on Indian reservations. The 
problem of meth in Indian country, which the National Congress of 
American Indians identified this year as its top priority, is 
ubiquitous, and has strained already overburdened law enforcement, 
health, social welfare, housing, and child protective and placement 
services on Indian reservations. Last week a former tribal judge on the 
Wind River Reservation in Wyoming pled guilty to conspiracy to 
distribute methamphetamine and other drugs. The day before, the Navajo 
Nation police arrested an 81 year old grandmother, her daughter, and 
her granddaughter, for selling meth. One tribe in Arizona had over 60 
babies born last year with meth in their systems. At a hearing in the 
Senate Indian Affairs Committee last month on child abuse, witnesses 
testified that methamphetamine is a significant cause of abuse and 
neglect of Indian children. Last year, the National Indian Housing 
Council expanded its training for dealing with meth in tribal housing: 
the average cost of decontaminating a single residence that has been 
used a meth lab is $10,000. Meth is affecting every aspect of tribal 
life and something must be done.
  The measure I am introducing today takes but a small step on the long 
journey toward ridding Indian country of the blight of methamphetamine. 
I encourage my colleagues to support it. I ask unanimous consent that 
the text of the bill be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be 
printed in the Record, as follows:

                                S. 2552

       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 ``Indian Tribes 
     Methamphetamine Reduction Grants Act of 2006''.

     SEC. 2. INDIAN TRIBES PARTICIPATION IN METHAMPHETAMINE 
                   GRANTS.

       (a) In General.--Section 2996(a) of the Omnibus Crime 
     Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 is amended--
       (1) in paragraph (1)--
       (A) in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by inserting 
     ``and Indian tribes (as defined in section 2704)'' after ``to 
     assist States''; and
       (B) in subparagraph (B), by inserting ``, Tribal,'' before 
     ``and local'';
       (2) in paragraph (2), by inserting ``and Indian tribes'' 
     after ``make grants to States''; and
       (3) in paragraph (3)(C), by inserting ``, Tribal,'' after 
     ``support State''.
       (b) Grant Programs for Drug Endangered Children.--Section 
     755(a) of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act 
     of 2005 (Public Law 109-177) is amended by inserting ``and 
     Indian tribes (as defined in section 2704 of the Omnibus 
     Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 
     3797d))'' after ``make grants to States''.
       (c) Grant Programs to Address Methamphetamine Use by 
     Pregnant and Parenting Women Offenders.--Section 756 of the 
     USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 
     (Public Law 109-177) is amended--
       (1) in subsection (a)(2), by inserting ``, territorial, or 
     Tribal'' after ``State'';
       (2) in subsection (b)--
       (A) in paragraph (1)--
       (i) by inserting ``, territorial, or Tribal'' after 
     ``State''; and
       (ii) by striking ``and/or'' and inserting ``or'';
       (B) in paragraph (2)--
       (i) by inserting ``, territory, or Indian tribe'' after 
     ``agency of the State''; and
       (ii) by inserting ``, territory, or Indian tribe'' after 
     ``criminal laws of that State''; and
       (C) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(3) Indian tribe.--The term `Indian tribe' has the same 
     meaning as in section 2704 of the Omnibus Crime Control and 
     Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3797d)).''; and
       (3) in subsection (c)--
       (A) in paragraph (3), by striking ``Indian Tribe'' and 
     inserting ``Indian tribe''; and
       (B) in paragraph (4)--
       (i) in the matter preceding subparagraph (A)--

       (I) by striking ``State's services'' and inserting 
     ``services of the State, territory, or Tribe''; and

[[Page S2915]]

       (II) by striking ``and/or'' and inserting ``or'';

       (ii) in subparagraph (A), by striking ``State'';
       (iii) in subparagraph (C), by inserting ``, Indian 
     tribes,'' after ``involved counties''; and
       (iv) in subparagraph (D), by inserting ``, Tribal'' after 
     ``Federal, State''.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. DURBIN (for himself and Mr. Obama):
  S. 2555. A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal 
Service located at 2633 11th Street in Rock Island, Illinois, as the 
``Lane Evans Post Office Building''; to the Committee on Homeland 
Security and Governmental Affairs.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, today I am pleased to introduce 
legislation to designate the U.S. Post Office at 2633 11th Street in 
Rock Island, Illinois, as the ``Lane Evans Post Office Building.''
  This legislation honors my friend and fellow Illinoisan Lane Evans 
who has decided to retire instead of seeking re-election to the House 
of Representatives in November. Congressman Lane Evans, born and raised 
in Rock Island, represents Illinois' 17th Congressional District. He 
was first elected in 1982 and is serving his eleventh term in the U.S. 
House of Representatives. From the Quad Cities to Quincy, from 
Springfield to Decatur and Carlinville, in cities and towns throughout 
his district, Lane Evans is deeply respected. His service will be 
greatly missed.
  Congressman Evans was a Vietnam-era veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps 
and rose to the position of Ranking Democratic Member of the House 
Veterans' Affairs Committee. He is recognized as a leading advocate of 
veterans in Congress. He successfully led legislative efforts to pass 
Agent Orange compensation and health and compensation benefits for 
children of veterans exposed to Agent Orange who were born with spina 
bifida, a crippling birth defect. Congressman Evans also led the effort 
to secure benefits for Persian Gulf veterans and to provide full 
disclosure about their possible exposure to toxins during their 
service. He has also worked to expand services to women veterans, 
pushed for increased help for veterans suffering from post-traumatic 
stress disorder, and established important new programs to assist in 
the rehabilitation and health care treatment of thousands of homeless 
veterans.
  Congressman Evans is also a member of the House Armed Services 
Committee and is Chairman of the Vietnam Veterans in Congress Caucus. 
He is also Co-Chairman of the Alcohol Fuels Caucus, the Congressional 
Working Group on Parkinson's Disease, and the International Workers 
Rights Caucus. Congressman Evans has been named an ``Environmental 
Hero'' for his pro-environment voting record by the League of 
Conservation Voters and awarded the Conservationist of the Year Award 
for 1995 by the Heart of Illinois Sierra Club, the first time the 
organization gave the honor to a non-volunteer.
  Congressman Evans was born in Rock Island on August 4, 1951. He 
attended grade school and high school in Rock Island. Following 
graduation from high school, he joined the Marine Corps and was 
stationed in Okinawa. He received an honorable discharge in 1971. 
Congressman Evans received a B.A. (magna cum laude) in 1974 from 
Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. He also attended Black Hawk 
College in Moline, Illinois. He is a 1978 graduate of Georgetown 
University Law Center in Washington, D.C. Following his graduation from 
law school, he practiced law in Rock Island where he served children, 
the poor and working families.
  For over 20 years, Lane Evans has been my closest friend in the 
Illinois Congressional Delegation. We came to the House of 
Representatives together and he proved to be an indomitable force. Time 
and again, Lane Evans has shown extraordinary political courage 
fighting for the values that brought him to public service. But his 
greatest show of courage has been over the last 10 years as he battled 
Parkinson's disease and those who tried to exploit his physical 
weakness. His determination to serve the 17th Congressional District he 
loves pushed him to work harder as Parkinson's became a heavier burden 
each day. His dignity and perseverance in the face of this relentless 
and cruel disease is an inspiration to everyone who knows Lane Evans.
  I am pleased to offer this legislation to permanently and publicly 
recognize Lane Evans and his service to his Congressional District, our 
State of Illinois, and the entire United States by naming the Rock 
Island Post Office in his honor. It would be a most appropriate way for 
us to express our appreciation to Congressman Evans and to commemorate 
his public life and work.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be 
printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be 
printed in the Record, as follows:

                                S. 2555

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. LANE EVANS POST OFFICE BUILDING.

       (a) Designation.--The facility of the United States Postal 
     Service located at 2633 11th Street in Rock Island, Illinois, 
     shall be known and designated as the ``Lane Evans Post Office 
     Building''.
       (b) References.--Any reference in a law, map, regulation, 
     document, paper, or other record of the United States to the 
     facility referred to in subsection (a) shall be deemed to be 
     a reference to the ``Lane Evans Post Office Building''.

                          ____________________