RONALD REAGAN CENTENNIAL COMMISSION ACT; Congressional Record Vol. 155, No. 41
(House of Representatives - March 09, 2009)

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[Pages H3085-H3087]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                              {time}  1445

  Mr. LYNCH. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill 
(H.R. 131) to establish the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission, as 
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                                H.R. 131

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


       This Act may be cited as the ``Ronald Reagan Centennial 
     Commission Act''.


       There is established a commission to be known as the 
     ``Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission'' (in this Act referred 
     to as the ``Commission'').


       The Commission shall--
       (1) plan, develop, and carry out such activities as the 
     Commission considers fitting and proper to honor Ronald 
     Reagan on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his birth;
       (2) provide advice and assistance to Federal, State, and 
     local governmental agencies, as well as civic groups to carry 
     out activities to honor Ronald Reagan on the occasion of the 
     100th anniversary of his birth;
       (3) develop activities that may be carried out by the 
     Federal Government to determine whether the activities are 
     fitting and proper to honor Ronald Reagan on the occasion of 
     the 100th anniversary of his birth; and
       (4) submit to the President and Congress reports pursuant 
     to section 7.


       (a) Number and Appointment.--The Commission shall be 
     composed of 11 members as follows:
       (1) The Secretary of the Interior.
       (2) Four members appointed by the President after 
     considering the recommendations of the Board of Trustees of 
     the Ronald Reagan Foundation.
       (3) Two Members of the House of Representatives appointed 
     by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
       (4) One Member of the House of Representatives appointed by 
     the minority leader of the House of Representatives.
       (5) Two Members of the Senate appointed by the majority 
     leader of the Senate.
       (6) One Member of the Senate appointed by the minority 
     leader of the Senate.
       (b) Ex Officio Member.--The Archivist of the United States 
     shall serve in an ex officio capacity on the Commission to 
     provide advice and information to the Commission.
       (c) Terms.--Each member shall be appointed for the life of 
     the Commission.
       (d) Deadline for Appointment.--All members of the 
     Commission shall be appointed not later than 90 days after 
     the date of the enactment of this Act.
       (e) Vacancies.--A vacancy on the Commission shall--
       (1) not affect the powers of the Commission; and
       (2) be filled in the manner in which the original 
     appointment was made.
       (f) Rates of Pay.--Members shall not receive compensation 
     for the performance of their duties on behalf of the 
       (g) Travel Expenses.--Each member of the Commission shall 
     be reimbursed for travel and per diem in lieu of subsistence 
     expenses during the performance of duties of the Commission 
     while away from home or his or her regular place of business, 
     in accordance with applicable provisions under subchapter I 
     of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code.
       (h) Quorum.--A majority of the members of the Commission 
     shall constitute a quorum to conduct business, but two or 
     more members may hold hearings.
       (i) Chairperson.--The chairperson of the Commission shall 
     be elected by a majority vote of the members of the 


       (a) Director and Staff.--The Commission shall appoint an 
     executive director and such other additional personnel as are 
     necessary to enable the Commission to perform its duties.
       (b) Applicability of Certain Civil Service Laws.--The 
     executive director and staff of the Commission may be 
     appointed without regard to the provisions of title 5, United 
     States Code, governing appointments in the competitive 
     service, and may be paid without regard to the provisions of 
     chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of such title 
     relating to classification and General Schedule pay rates, 
     except that the rate of pay for the executive director and 
     other staff may not exceed the rate payable for level V of 
     the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of such title.
       (c) Detail of Federal Employees.--Upon request of the 
     Commission, the Secretary of the Interior or the Archivist of 
     the United States may detail, on a reimbursable basis, any of 
     the personnel of that department or agency to the Commission 
     to assist it in carrying out its duties under this Act.
       (d) Experts and Consultants.--The Commission may procure 
     such temporary and intermittent services as are necessary to 
     enable the Commission to perform its duties.
       (e) Volunteer and Uncompensated Services.--Notwithstanding 
     section 1342 of title 31, United States Code, the Commission 
     may accept and use voluntary and uncompensated services as 
     the Commission determines necessary.


       (a) Hearings.--The Commission may, for the purpose of 
     carrying out this Act, hold hearings, sit and act at times 
     and places, take testimony, and receive evidence as the 
     Commission considers appropriate.
       (b) Mails.--The Commission may use the United States mails 
     in the same manner and under the same conditions as other 
     departments and agencies of the United States.
       (c) Obtaining Official Data.--The Commission may secure 
     directly from any department or agency of the United States 
     information necessary to enable it to carry out its duties 
     under this Act. Upon request of the chairperson of the 
     Commission, the head of that department or agency shall 
     furnish that information to the Commission.
       (d) Gifts, Bequests, Devises.--The Commission may solicit, 
     accept, use, and dispose of gifts, bequests, or devises of 
     money, services, or property, both real and personal, for the 
     purpose of aiding or facilitating its work.
       (e) Available Space.--Upon the request of the Commission, 
     the Administrator of General Services shall make available 
     nationwide to the Commission, at a normal rental rate for 
     Federal agencies, such assistance and facilities as may be 
     necessary for the Commission to carry out its duties under 
     this Act.
       (f) Contract Authority.--The Commission may enter into 
     contracts with and compensate government and private agencies 
     or persons to enable the Commission to discharge its duties 
     under this Act.

     SEC. 7. REPORTS.

       (a) Annual Reports.--The Commission shall submit to the 
     President and the Congress annual reports on the revenue and 
     expenditures of the Commission, including a list of each 
     gift, bequest, or devise to the Commission with a value of 
     more than $250, together with the identity of the donor of 
     each gift, bequest, or devise.
       (b) Interim Reports.--The Commission may submit to the 
     President and Congress

[[Page H3086]]

     interim reports as the Commission considers appropriate.
       (c) Final Report.--Not later than April 30, 2011, the 
     Commission shall submit a final report to the President and 
     the Congress containing--
       (1) a summary of the activities of the Commission;
       (2) a final accounting of funds received and expended by 
     the Commission; and
       (3) the findings, conclusions, and final recommendations of 
     the Commission.


       The Commission may terminate on such date as the Commission 
     may determine after it submits its final report pursuant to 
     section 7(c), but not later than May 30, 2011.


       The Inspector General of the Department of the Interior may 
     perform an audit of the Commission, shall make the results of 
     any audit performed available to the public, and shall 
     transmit such results to the Committee on Oversight and 
     Government Reform of the House of Representatives and the 
     Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of 
     the Senate.


       No Federal funds may be obligated to carry out this Act.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Altmire). Pursuant to the rule, the 
gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Lynch) and the gentleman from 
California (Mr. Issa) each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Massachusetts.

                             General Leave

  Mr. LYNCH. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may 
have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Massachusetts?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. LYNCH. Mr. Speaker, as a matter of courtesy, I would like to 
offer the opportunity to address the House first to my colleague, the 
gentleman from California (Mr. Issa).
  Mr. ISSA. I thank the gentleman. In the same vein, I yield such time 
as he may consume to the author of the bill, the gentleman from 
California (Mr. Gallegly).
  Mr. GALLEGLY. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 
131, the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission Act. To prepare for the 
upcoming anniversary of his 100th birthday on February 6, 2011, Mr. 
Blunt, Mr. Foster, and I, along with over 130 cosponsors from both 
parties, introduced this legislation creating the Ronald Reagan 
Centennial Commission to pay tribute to our 40th President.
  This 11-member bipartisan commission is similar to others created for 
Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano 
Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Dwight Eisenhower. This commission will 
develop plans and memorials to honor President Reagan. These events can 
take place all over the country, from here in Washington, to his 
birthplace in Illinois, to California, where he lived most of his life.
  As a fellow Californian, I had the great privilege of spending time 
with him when I first came to the House of Representatives in 1986, and 
his Presidential Library and burial place are not far from my very own 
home in Simi Valley.
  ``The Great Communicator'' spoke for the American people, capturing 
the hearts of small-town citizens and world leaders alike. His 
remarkable career in public service spanned over 50 years. It began as 
a student leader and sports broadcaster in Illinois and Iowa, and then 
in Hollywood as an actor and long-time president of the Screen Actors 
  California enjoyed an economic resurgence during his term as Governor 
and, as President of United States, his legacy is extraordinary. In 8 
short years as President, Ronald Reagan presided over the international 
changes and ushered in unparalleled peace and prosperity--not only for 
our Nation, but, Mr. Speaker, for the entire world.
  I want to thank Chairman Towns and Ranking Member Issa, along with 
their respective staffs, for their assistance in helping put this bill 
together. I also want to express my appreciation to the Speaker, 
majority leader, and minority leader on our side for their help in 
bringing the bill to the floor.
  Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join with me in supporting H.R. 
  Mr. LYNCH. Mr. Speaker, I continue to reserve.
  Mr. ISSA. I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, Republicans often talk of Ronald Reagan with a special 
reverence, but I believe that honoring his life in this centennial year 
of 2011 is much more about honoring the difference that Presidents can 
make, whether it was James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, 
Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt--even Eleanor Roosevelt--or 
Harry Truman.
  We have repeatedly honored Presidents after their term, after their 
life, because it reminds Americans that in fact we are a country that 
is both a democracy and a led-by-an-executive form of government. We 
don't have a parliamentary form of government. We have a strong, 
perhaps the strongest, Presidential form of government.
  We hope today that President Obama will some day have a commission 
that, in fact, the impact of his life at this very troubled time will 
be every bit as great as the impact was for Ronald Reagan, who came to 
office in what could have been the continued era of the Cold War and, 
instead, he helped end it.
  The commission that is being formed, if we pass this here today and 
the Senate confirms, will be composed of Members of Congress and 
individuals who have knowledge and expertise concerning the life of 
President Reagan, including childhood friends, career individuals in 
Hollywood who knew him well and, of course, some Members of Congress.
  2011 will be a fitting time. We will be halfway through this 
President's time. We will be well into a recovery that we all trust and 
hope for today. And we will be talking about the hope for the future. 
This will help America focus on the fact that hope for the future, and 
hard work, whether it was in the Reagan administration or the Obama 
administration, is part of what each President brings when they address 
America, lead America, and in fact influence the direction of this 
  So, with that, I urge strong support for this bipartisan bill.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. LYNCH. I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, H.R. 131, the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission Act, 
creates a Federal commission to honor and celebrate the 100th 
anniversary of the birth of Ronald Reagan. The measure has been 
properly vetted and amended accordingly by the House Oversight 
Committee and is nearly identical to the bill approved by the House in 
the last Congress. However, in line with calls for a more fiscally 
responsible government, the only real change to this year's bill is the 
inclusion of amending language to prevent the expenditure of Federal 
funds to carry out the work of the commission.
  Ronald Reagan was born in Illinois in 1911. He later moved to 
California, where he became a successful Hollywood actor and later the 
president of the Screen Actors Guild. On the screen, he was best known 
for portraying George Gipp, a famous player who, on his deathbed, 
famously urged his teammates to ``go out there with all they've got and 
win just one for the Gipper.'' President Reagan would carry the 
nickname Gipper and the boundless optimism that he epitomized in that 
quote for the remainder of his life.
  After serving two terms as the 33rd Governor of the State of 
California, in January, 1981, Ronald Reagan was sworn in as our 
Nation's 40th President. As we are all aware, Mr. Reagan would hold and 
serve as the Commander in Chief of our country for two terms, between 
  Known as the ``Great Communicator,'' President Reagan spoke ably and 
directly to the American people about the pressing issues of his time. 
He positioned the United States as a strong counterpoint and a beacon 
of freedom and hope in the face of an oppressive Soviet Communist 
regime. Whether urging Premier Gorbachev to ``Tear down this wall,'' or 
declaring it ``Morning in America,'' President Reagan, through his 
words and deeds, embodied the eternal optimism that is at the core of 
our American spirit.
  Early in his Presidency, President Reagan is said to have remarked 
that, ``What I'd really like to do is to go down in history as the 
President who caused the American people to believe in themselves 

[[Page H3087]]

  Mr. Speaker, I am sure that most people will agree that President 
Reagan's optimism in the face of great difficulty has great relevance 
today, as they are in harmony with President Obama's current message of 
hope and renewal for our country in the midst of our current 
  I am confident that upon enactment of H.R. 131, the Ronald Reagan 
Centennial Commission will be able to find ways to respectfully and 
appropriately honor and pay tribute to the accomplishments of one of 
America's recent and notable leaders, the late President Ronald Reagan.
  With that, Mr. Speaker, I stand in support of H.R. 131, and I urge my 
colleagues to do the same.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. ISSA. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to reclaim previous 
time yielded.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from California?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. ISSA. With that, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
California (Mr. McClintock).
  Mr. McCLINTOCK. I thank my friend for yielding. I thank the House for 
its indulgence.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this measure. Perhaps only one 
generation in a century is fortunate enough to actually know a truly 
great leader, and ours was that generation. But our children and our 
children's children will know him, too, through the power of his words 
and the force of his ideas, his undying faith in freedom, his eternal 
belief in America, and they will know him, and know him well, because 
our generation will make sure of it.
  The passing of Ronald Reagan didn't mark the end of an era. Rather, 
it marked the beginning of one--an era of American renaissance and 
resurgence, an era when America rediscovered her belief in liberty and 
faith. Ronald Reagan opened that era. It's now for our generation to 
cultivate it, to expand it, and to extend it to the next.
  He often reminded us that, for America, the best is yet to come. He 
was right. Because his memory will be walking beside us and counseling 
us and guiding us to those bright decades and centuries ahead.
  This commission is an important act in support of a large and solemn 
pledge--a pledge from this generation to all future generations that we 
will keep Ronald Reagan's memory alive, that we will uphold and advance 
his vision of America's greatness and of her goodness, and this act is 
but one thread in the tapestry of memory that will stretch through time 
to the latest generation.
  Mr. ISSA. I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. LYNCH. I would simply urge my colleagues to join us in the 
support of H.R. 131. We urge its adoption.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Lynch) that the House suspend the 
rules and pass the bill, H.R. 131, as amended.
  The question was taken.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. In the opinion of the Chair, two-thirds 
being in the affirmative, the ayes have it.
  Mr. LYNCH. Mr. Speaker, I object to the vote on the ground that a 
quorum is not present and make the point of order that a quorum is not 
  THE SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX and the 
Chair's prior announcement, further proceedings on this motion will be 
  The point of no quorum is considered withdrawn.