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STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS
(Senate - May 24, 2012)

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[Pages S3633-S3639]
          STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS

      By Mrs. FEINSTEIN:
  S. 3239. A bill to provide for a uniform national standard for the 
housing and treatment of egg-laying hens, and for other purposes; to 
the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I rise today to introduce legislation, 
with Senators Blumenthal, Brown, Cantwell, Merkley, Vitter, and Wyden, 
that will codify an agreement reached by the nation's largest egg 
producer organization, the United Egg Producers, and the largest animal 
welfare organization, the Humane Society of the United States.
  In its most simple terms, the legislation sets a national standard 
for the treatment of egg-laying hens and the labeling of eggs.
  As of today, 6 States, including California, have set their own 
standards about how egg-laying hens should be raised, and 18 other 
States allow citizen ballot initiatives could initiate similar laws in 
the future.
  These State standards will make it difficult for egg producers to 
freely ship across State lines.
  Starting in 2015, eggs produced in Iowa, Indiana and other egg-
exporting states can no longer be shipped to California because the 
hens will have been raised in cages that do not meet California's 
standards.
  Different standards in Michigan and Ohio will take effect later, 
further adding to the patchwork of regulations.
  As States with disparate standards continue to protect their own egg 
producers by banning the sale of eggs from States with lower or no 
standards, a complicated web of State laws will impair interstate 
commerce.
  I have met with a number of egg producers and their concerns vary.
  For some producers, different regulations increase costs because new 
cages must be designed for each State in which they operate.
  Other producers fear that egg prices in states without regulations 
will plummet as imports flood their market.
  Some egg producers selling to national grocery stores will have to 
produce eggs that meet different standards in different States.
  Concerns don't end with producers.
  Consumers can expect to see higher prices at grocery stores and 
restaurants will have to pay more for every egg they prepare.
  Millions of individuals, including myself, are concerned about the 
living conditions of these animals.
  That is why I am pleased to introduce this legislation today. The 
United Egg Producers and the Humane Society of the United States worked 
for over a year to reach this compromise, and I believe it is one that 
strikes a very fair balance.
  Producers must enlarge cages for egg-laying hens and allow space for 
the birds to engage in natural behaviors such as nesting and perching.
  Producers will have up to 18 years to meet this standard and make the 
required investments.
  The legislation will officially outlaw the practice of starving 
chickens to increase egg-production, a cruel practice that is rarely 
used today, and one with consensus to end.
  The bill will also lead to improved air quality in hen-houses by 
prohibiting excessive ammonia levels and it requires humane euthanasia 
of spent hens. This is also already common practice in the industry.
  At its heart, this legislation is about protecting the future of the 
egg industry.
  The egg industry brought this legislation to Congress and has asked 
us to help them implement the uniform regulations needed to survive and 
grow.
  With this legislation, egg producers will have the market certainty 
they need and a reasonable timetables to make the required changes.
  Producers need these uniform national standards so they can invest in 
new cages without facing the risk of more stringent state laws 
rendering their investments moot.
  The egg industry is prepared to make these investments, many of which 
can be accomplished during the normal course of replacing aged 
equipment.
  In addition to promoting industry stability, this bill will save jobs 
and strengthen the economy.
  Furthermore, consumers are already embracing these reforms. Polls 
indicate broad support for the provisions in this bill and for humane 
treatment of egg-laying hens in general.
  A recent survey found that 64 percent of Americans say that these 
newer facilities should be required through Federal legislation.
  A majority, 58 percent, of American consumers also support a national 
standard.
  The survey found 92 percent of consumers support the industry 
transitioning to these new enriched cages.
  Candidly, it is not often that we see this sort of compromise in 
Washington.
  Two groups that have been in fundamental conflict for years sat down 
and reached a deal.
  The egg industry and the Humane Society are lock-step in their 
support for this bill. They are joined in endorsing the bill by the 
American Veterinary Medical Association and the Consumer Federation of 
America.
  Even though the egg industry supports this bill, some still target 
this legislation as anti-agriculture they suggest the legislation will 
somehow be applied to, or set a precedent for Federal regulation of 
other industries.
  That is simply not the case.

[[Page S3634]]

  I want to be clear: requirements in the Egg Products Inspection Act 
Amendments of 2012 only apply to the production of eggs. The bill will 
not affect any other agricultural product including beef, pork, poultry 
and milk.
  This legislation is a responsible compromise between those who 
advocate for more humane treatment for egg-laying hens and those who 
put breakfast on our tables.
  I hope that even in this partisan climate we can enact this 
commonsense and widely endorsed legislation.
  This legislation protects restaurants, bakers, food processors and 
American consumers from unnecessarily high egg prices. It protects egg 
producers from having eggs they can't sell.
  This legislation is a reasonable, widely-supported solution to a 
real, costly and growing problem. The bill has the support of the 
United Egg Producers, which represents nearly 90 percent of the 
Nation's egg industry, as well as nine state and regional egg producer 
groups, more than 100 individual egg farms and more than 880 other 
family farms.
  I urge you to join me in supporting this important legislation.
  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. 3239

       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 ``Egg Products Inspection Act 
     Amendments of 2012''.

     SEC. 2. HEN HOUSING AND TREATMENT STANDARDS.

       (a) Definitions.--Section 4 of the Egg Products Inspection 
     Act (21 U.S.C. 1033) is amended--
       (1) by redesignating subsection (a) as subsection (c);
       (2) by redesignating subsections (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), 
     and (g) as subsections (f), (g), (h), (i), (j), and (k), 
     respectively;
       (3) by redesignating subsections (h) and (i) as subsections 
     (n) and (o), respectively;
       (4) by redesignating subsections (j), (k), and (l) as 
     subsections (r), (s), and (t), respectively;
       (5) by redesignating subsections (m), (n), (o), (p), (q), 
     (r), (s), (t), (u), (v), (w), (x), (y), and (z) as 
     subsections (v), (w), (x), (y), (z), (aa), (bb), (cc), (dd), 
     (ee), (ff), (gg), (hh), and (ii), respectively;
       (6) by inserting before subsection (c), as redesignated by 
     paragraph (1), the following new subsections:
       ``(a) The term `adequate environmental enrichments' means 
     adequate perch space, dust bathing or scratching areas, and 
     nest space, as defined by the Secretary of Agriculture, based 
     on the best available science, including the most recent 
     studies available at the time that the Secretary defines the 
     term. The Secretary shall issue regulations defining this 
     term not later than January 1, 2017, and the final 
     regulations shall go into effect on December 31, 2018.
       ``(b) The term `adequate housing-related labeling' means a 
     conspicuous, legible marking on the front or top of a package 
     of eggs accurately indicating the type of housing that the 
     egg-laying hens were provided during egg production, in one 
     of the following formats:
       ``(1) `Eggs from free-range hens' to indicate that the egg-
     laying hens from which the eggs or egg products were derived 
     were, during egg production--
       ``(A) not housed in caging devices; and
       ``(B) provided with outdoor access.
       ``(2) `Eggs from cage-free hens' to indicate that the egg-
     laying hens from which the eggs or egg products were derived 
     were, during egg production, not housed in caging devices.
       ``(3) `Eggs from enriched cages' to indicate that the egg-
     laying hens from which the eggs or egg products were derived 
     were, during egg production, housed in caging devices that--
       ``(A) contain adequate environmental enrichments; and
       ``(B) provide the hens a minimum of 116 square inches of 
     individual floor space per brown hen and 101 square inches of 
     individual floor space per white hen.
       ``(4) `Eggs from caged hens' to indicate that the egg-
     laying hens from which the eggs or egg products were derived 
     were, during egg production, housed in caging devices that 
     either--
       ``(A) do not contain adequate environmental enrichments; or
       ``(B) do not provide the hens a minimum of 116 square 
     inches of individual floor space per brown hen and 101 square 
     inches of individual floor space per white hen.'';
       (7) by inserting after subsection (c), as redesignated by 
     paragraph (1), the following new subsections:
       ``(d) The term `brown hen' means a brown egg-laying hen 
     used for commercial egg production.
       ``(e) The term `caging device' means any cage, enclosure, 
     or other device used for the housing of egg-laying hens for 
     the production of eggs in commerce, but does not include an 
     open barn or other fixed structure without internal caging 
     devices.'';
       (8) by inserting after subsection (k), as redesignated by 
     paragraph (2), the following new subsections:
       ``(l) The term `egg-laying hen' means any female 
     domesticated chicken, including white hens and brown hens, 
     used for the commercial production of eggs for human 
     consumption.
       ``(m) The term `existing caging device' means any caging 
     device that was continuously in use for the production of 
     eggs in commerce up through and including December 31, 
     2011.'';
       (9) by inserting after subsection (o), as redesignated by 
     paragraph (3), the following new subsections:
       ``(p) The term `feed-withdrawal molting' means the practice 
     of preventing food intake for the purpose of inducing egg-
     laying hens to molt.
       ``(q) The term `individual floor space' means the amount of 
     total floor space in a caging device available to each egg-
     laying hen in the device, which is calculated by measuring 
     the total floor space of the caging device and dividing by 
     the total number of egg-laying hens in the device.'';
       (10) by inserting after subsection (t), as redesignated by 
     paragraph (4), the following new subsection:
       ``(u) The term `new caging device' means any caging device 
     that was not continuously in use for the production of eggs 
     in commerce on or before December 31, 2011.''; and
       (11) by inserting at the end the following new subsections:
       ``(jj) The term `water-withdrawal molting' means the 
     practice of preventing water intake for the purpose of 
     inducing egg-laying hens to molt.
       ``(kk) The term `white hen' means a white egg-laying hen 
     used for commercial egg production.''.
       (b) Housing and Treatment of Egg-Laying Hens.--The Egg 
     Products Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 1031 et seq.) is amended 
     by inserting after section 7 the following new sections:

     ``Sec.  7A. Housing and treatment of egg-laying hens

       ``(a) Environmental Enrichments.--
       ``(1) Existing caging devices.--All existing caging devices 
     must provide egg-laying hens housed therein, beginning 15 
     years after the date of enactment of the Egg Products 
     Inspection Act Amendments of 2012, adequate environmental 
     enrichments.
       ``(2) New caging devices.--All new caging devices must 
     provide egg-laying hens housed therein, beginning nine years 
     after the date of enactment of the Egg Products Inspection 
     Act Amendments of 2012, adequate environmental enrichments.
       ``(3) Caging devices in california.--All caging devices in 
     California must provide egg-laying hens housed therein, 
     beginning December 31, 2018, adequate environmental 
     enrichments.
       ``(b) Floor Space.--
       ``(1) Existing caging devices.--All existing cages devices 
     must provide egg-laying hens housed therein--
       ``(A) beginning four years after the date of enactment of 
     the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012 and until 
     the date that is 15 years after the date of enactment of the 
     Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012, a minimum of 
     76 square inches of individual floor space per brown hen and 
     67 square inches of individual floor space per white hen; and
       ``(B) beginning 15 years after the date of enactment of the 
     Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012, a minimum of 
     144 square inches of individual floor space per brown hen and 
     124 square inches of individual floor space per white hen.
       ``(2) New caging devices.--Except as provided in paragraph 
     (3), all new caging devices must provide egg-laying hens 
     housed therein--
       ``(A) beginning three years after the date of enactment of 
     the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012 and until 
     the date that is six years after the date of enactment of the 
     Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012, a minimum of 
     90 square inches of individual floor space per brown hen and 
     78 square inches of individual floor space per white hen;
       ``(B) beginning six years after the date of enactment of 
     the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012 and until 
     the date that is nine years after the date of enactment of 
     the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012, a minimum 
     of 102 square inches of individual floor space per brown hen 
     and 90 square inches of individual floor space per white hen;
       ``(C) beginning nine years after the date of enactment of 
     the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012 and until 
     the date that is 12 years after the date of enactment of the 
     Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012, a minimum of 
     116 square inches of individual floor space per brown hen and 
     101 square inches of individual floor space per white hen;
       ``(D) beginning 12 years after the date of enactment of the 
     Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012 and until the 
     date that is 15 years after the date of enactment of the Egg 
     Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012, a minimum of 130 
     square inches of individual floor space per brown hen and 113 
     square inches of individual floor space per white hen; and

[[Page S3635]]

       ``(E) beginning 15 years after the date of enactment of the 
     Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012, a minimum of 
     144 square inches of individual floor space per brown hen and 
     124 square inches of individual floor space per white hen.
       ``(3) California caging devices.--All caging devices in 
     California must provide egg-laying hens housed therein--
       ``(A) beginning January 1, 2015, and through December 31, 
     2020, a minimum of 134 square inches of individual floor 
     space per brown hen and 116 square inches of individual floor 
     space per white hen; and
       ``(B) beginning January 1, 2021, a minimum of 144 square 
     inches of individual floor space per brown hen and 124 square 
     inches of individual floor space per white hen.
       ``(c) Air Quality.--Beginning two years after the date of 
     enactment of the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 
     2012, an egg handler shall provide all egg-laying hens under 
     his ownership or control with acceptable air quality, which 
     does not exceed more than 25 parts per million of ammonia 
     during normal operations.
       ``(d) Forced Molting.--Beginning two years after the date 
     of enactment of the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 
     2012, no egg handler may subject any egg-laying hen under his 
     ownership or control to feed-withdrawal or water-withdrawal 
     molting.
       ``(e) Euthanasia.--Beginning two years after the date of 
     enactment of the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 
     2012, an egg handler shall provide, when necessary, all egg-
     laying hens under his ownership or control with euthanasia 
     that is humane and uses a method deemed `Acceptable' by the 
     American Veterinary Medical Association.
       ``(f) Prohibition on New Unenrichable Cages.--No person 
     shall build, construct, implement, or place into operation 
     any new caging device for the production of eggs to be sold 
     in commerce unless the device--
       ``(1) provides the egg-laying hens to be contained therein 
     a minimum of 76 square inches of individual floor space per 
     brown hen or 67 square inches of individual floor space per 
     white hen; and
       ``(2) is capable of being adapted to accommodate adequate 
     environmental enrichments.
       ``(g) Exemptions.--
       ``(1) Recently-installed existing caging devices.--The 
     requirements contained in subsections (a)(1) and (b)(1)(B) 
     shall not apply to any existing caging device that was first 
     placed into operation between January 1, 2008, and December 
     31, 2011. This exemption shall expire 18 years after the date 
     of enactment of the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 
     2012, at which time the requirements contained in subsections 
     (a)(1) and (b)(1)(B) shall apply to all existing caging 
     devices.
       ``(2) Hens already in production.--The requirements 
     contained in subsections (a)(1), (a)(2), (b)(1)(B), and 
     (b)(2) shall not apply to any caging device containing egg-
     laying hens who are already in egg production on the date 
     that such requirement takes effect. This exemption shall 
     expire on the date that such egg-laying hens are removed from 
     egg production.
       ``(3) Small producers.--Nothing contained in this section 
     shall apply to an egg handler who buys, sells, handles, or 
     processes eggs or egg products solely from one flock of not 
     more than 3,000 egg-laying hens.

     ``Sec.  7B. Phase-in conversion requirements

       ``(a) First Conversion Phase.--As of six years after the 
     date of enactment of the Egg Products Inspection Act 
     Amendments of 2012, at least 25 percent of the egg-laying 
     hens in commercial egg production shall be housed either in 
     new caging devices or in existing caging devices that provide 
     the hens contained therein with a minimum of 102 square 
     inches of individual floor space per brown hen and 90 square 
     inches of individual floor space per white hen.
       ``(b) Second Conversion Phase.--As of 12 years after the 
     date of enactment of the Egg Products Inspection Act 
     Amendments of 2012, at least 55 percent of the egg-laying 
     hens in commercial egg production shall be housed either in 
     new caging devices or in existing caging devices that provide 
     the hens contained therein with a minimum of 130 square 
     inches of individual floor space per brown hen and 113 square 
     inches of individual floor space per white hen.
       ``(c) Final Conversion Phase.--As of December 31, 2029, all 
     egg-laying hens confined in caging devices shall be provided 
     adequate environmental enrichments and a minimum of 144 
     square inches of individual floor space per brown hen and 124 
     square inches of individual floor space per white hen.
       ``(d) Compliance.--
       ``(1) At the end of six years after the date of enactment 
     of the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012, the 
     Secretary shall determine, after having reviewed and analyzed 
     the results of an independent, national survey of caging 
     devices conducted in 2018, whether the requirements of 
     subsection (a) have been met. If the Secretary finds that the 
     requirements of subsection (a) have not been met, then 
     beginning January 1, 2020, the floor space requirements 
     (irrespective of the date such requirements expire) related 
     to new caging devices contained in subsection (b)(2)(B) of 
     section 7A shall apply to existing caging devices placed into 
     operation prior to January 1, 1995.
       ``(2) At the end of 12 years after the date of enactment of 
     the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012, and again 
     after December 31, 2029, the Secretary shall submit to the 
     Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives and 
     the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the 
     Senate a report on compliance with subsections (b) and (c).
       ``(3) Notwithstanding section 12, the remedies provided in 
     this subsection shall be the exclusive remedies for 
     violations of this section.''.
       (c) Inspections.--Section 5 of the Egg Products Inspection 
     Act (21 U.S.C. 1034) is amended--
       (1) in subsection (d), by inserting ``(other than 
     requirements with respect to housing, treatment, and house-
     related labeling)'' after ``as he deems appropriate to assure 
     compliance with such requirements''; and
       (2) in subsection (e)--
       (A) in paragraph (1)--
       (i) in subparagraph (A), by striking ``and'';
       (ii) by redesignating subparagraph (B) as subparagraph (C);
       (iii) by inserting after subparagraph (A) the following new 
     subparagraph:
       ``(B) are derived from egg-laying hens housed and treated 
     in compliance with section 7A; and''; and
       (iv) in subparagraph (C), as redesignated by clause (ii), 
     by inserting ``adequate housing-related labeling and'' after 
     ``contain'';
       (B) in paragraph (2), by striking ``In the case of a shell 
     egg packer'' and inserting ``In the cases of an egg handler 
     with a flock of more than 3,000 egg-laying hens and a shell 
     egg packer'';
       (C) in paragraph (3), by inserting ``(other than 
     requirements with respect to housing, treatment, and housing-
     related labeling)'' after ``to ensure compliance with the 
     requirements of paragraph (1)''; and
       (D) in paragraph (4), by striking ``with a flock of not 
     more than 3,000 layers.'' and inserting ``who buys, sells, 
     handles, or processes eggs or egg products solely from one 
     flock of not more than 3,000 egg-laying hens.''.
       (d) Labeling.--Section 7 of the Egg Products Inspection Act 
     of 1970 (21 U.S.C. 1036) is amended in subsection (a) by 
     inserting ``adequate housing-related labeling,'' after 
     ``plant where the products were processed,''.
       (e) Limitation on Exemptions by Secretary.--Section 15 of 
     the Egg Products Inspection Act of 1970 (21 U.S.C. 1044) is 
     amended in subsection (a) by inserting ``, not including 
     subsection (c) of section 8,'' after ``exempt from specific 
     provisions''.
       (f) Imports.--Section 17 of the Egg Products Inspection Act 
     of 1970 (21 U.S.C. 1046) is amended in paragraph (2) of 
     subsection (a) by striking ``subdivision thereof and are 
     labeled and packaged'' and inserting ``subdivision thereof; 
     and no eggs or egg products capable of use as human food 
     shall be imported into the United States unless they are 
     produced, labeled, and packaged''.

     SEC. 3. ENFORCEMENT OF HEN HOUSING AND TREATMENT STANDARDS.

       (a) In General.--Section 8 of the Egg Products Inspection 
     Act (21 U.S.C. 1037) is amended--
       (1) by redesignating subsections (c), (d), (e), and (f) as 
     subsections (d), (e), (f), and (g), respectively;
       (2) by inserting after subsection (b) the following new 
     subsection:
       ``(c)(1) No person shall buy, sell, or transport, or offer 
     to buy or sell, or offer or receive for transportation, in 
     any business or commerce any eggs or egg products derived 
     from egg-laying hens housed or treated in violation of any 
     provision of section 7A.
       ``(2) No person shall buy, sell, or transport, or offer to 
     buy or sell, or offer or receive for transportation, in any 
     business or commerce any eggs or egg products derived from 
     egg-laying hens unless the container or package, including 
     any immediate container, of the eggs or egg products, 
     beginning one year after the date of enactment of the Egg 
     Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012, contains adequate 
     housing-related labeling.
       ``(3) No person shall buy, sell, or transport, or offer to 
     buy or sell, or offer or receive for transportation, in any 
     business or commerce, in California, any eggs or egg products 
     derived from egg-laying hens unless the egg-laying hens are--
       ``(A) provided--
       ``(i) beginning January 1, 2015, and through December 31, 
     2020, a minimum of 134 square inches of individual floor 
     space per brown hen and 116 square inches of individual floor 
     space per white hen; and
       ``(ii) beginning January 1, 2021, a minimum of 144 square 
     inches of individual floor space per brown hen and 124 square 
     inches of individual floor space per white hen; and
       ``(B) provided, beginning December 31, 2018, adequate 
     environmental enrichments.''; and
       (3) in subsection (e), as redesignated by paragraph (1), by 
     inserting ``7A,'' after ``section''.
       (b) Limitation on Authority of Secretary of Health and 
     Human Services.--Section 13 of the Egg Products Inspection 
     Act of 1970 (21 U.S.C. 1042) is amended by inserting ``(with 
     respect to violations other than those related to 
     requirements with respect to housing, treatment, and housing-
     related labeling) the'' after ``Before any violation of this 
     chapter is reported by the Secretary of Agriculture or''.

     SEC. 4. STATE AND LOCAL AUTHORITY.

       Section 23 of the Egg Products Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 
     1052) is amended--
        (a) by redesignating subsections (c) and (d) as 
     subsections (d) and (e), respectively;
       (b) by inserting after subsection (b) the following new 
     subsection:

[[Page S3636]]

       ``(c) Prohibition Against Additional or Different 
     Requirements Than Federal Requirements Related to Minimum 
     Space Allotments for Housing Egg-Laying Hens in Commercial 
     Egg Production.--Requirements within the scope of this 
     chapter with respect to minimum floor space allotments or 
     enrichments for egg-laying hens housed in commercial egg 
     production which are in addition to or different than those 
     made under this chapter may not be imposed by any State or 
     local jurisdiction. Otherwise the provisions of this chapter 
     shall not invalidate any law or other provisions of any State 
     or other jurisdiction in the absence of a conflict with this 
     chapter.''; and
       (c) by inserting after subsection (e), as redesignated by 
     subsection (a), the following new subsection:
       ``(f) Role of California Department of Food and 
     Agriculture.--With respect to eggs produced, shipped, 
     handled, transported or received in California prior to the 
     date that is 18 years after the date of enactment of the Egg 
     Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012, the Secretary 
     shall delegate to the California Department of Food and 
     Agriculture the authority to enforce sections 7A(a)(3), 
     7A(b)(3), 8(c)(3), and 11.''.

     SEC. 5. EFFECTIVE DATE.

       This Act shall take effect upon enactment.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. LEAHY (for himself and Mr. Grassley):
  S. 3245. A bill to permanently reauthorize the EB 5 Regional Center 
Program, the E-Verify Program, the Special Immigrant Nonminister 
Religious Worker Program, and the Conrad State 30 J 1 Visa Waiver 
Program; to the Committee on the Judiciary.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, today I am pleased to be joined by Senator 
Grassley, in introducing legislation that will permanently authorize 
four expiring immigration programs. I thank Senator Grassley for 
working with me on this needed legislation.
  The bill we introduce will permanently authorize the EB 5 Regional 
Center Program, the voluntary E-Verify electronic work authorization 
program, the State 30 J 1 Visa program that Senator Conrad champions 
and the Special Immigrant Nonminister Religious Worker Program that is 
so important to Senator Hatch. All of these programs have been in 
temporary status for many years, and the time has come for Congress to 
make them permanent so that the proponents of these programs can get to 
work building upon the benefits these programs bring to communities 
across the country. Permanency for these programs will strengthen our 
economy, create jobs, and enhance the security of American workers. 
Permanency will help medically underserved areas obtain talented 
physicians and religious institutions welcome individuals from around 
the world to participate in good works. These programs serve diverse 
and important interests in America, and should become permanent 
fixtures in our immigration law.
  I am particularly pleased that the EB 5 Regional Center Program is a 
part of this package. With permanency, I believe this program can 
become an even greater economic driver than it has been in communities 
across the United States. Making the program permanent will also create 
a solid foundation for me and others interested in its success to begin 
in earnest to make improvements and reforms that will make it more 
business friendly, more predictable and stable for investors, and will 
provide U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services with the tools it 
needs to ensure that the program meets the highest standards of quality 
and integrity. There is little reason that this program should not 
continue to improve as a deficit-neutral source of capital investment 
and job creation across America.
  I hope our introduction of this legislation today is the beginning of 
a strong bipartisan effort to make these programs permanent. I look 
forward to working with Senator Grassley and others to accomplish this 
goal.
  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. 3245

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

     SECTION 1. PERMANENT REAUTHORIZATION OF EB 5 REGIONAL CENTER 
                   PROGRAM.

       Section 610 of the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and 
     State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations 
     Act, 1993 (8 U.S.C. 1153 note) is amended--
       (1) by striking ``pilot'' each place such term appears; and
       (2) in subsection (b), by striking ``until September 30, 
     2012''.

     SEC. 2. PERMANENT REAUTHORIZATION OF E VERIFY.

       (a) In General.--Section 401 of the Illegal Immigration 
     Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (8 U.S.C. 
     1324a note) is amended--
       (1) in subsection (a), by striking ``pilot'';
       (2) in subsection (b)--
       (A) by striking ``the pilot programs'' and inserting ``the 
     programs required under this subtitle''; and
       (B) by striking ``Unless the Congress otherwise provides, 
     the Secretary of Homeland Security shall terminate a pilot 
     program on September 30, 2012.''; and
       (3) in subsection (d)--
       (A) by redesignating paragraphs (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), 
     (6), and (7) as paragraphs (4), (1), (5), (2), (3), (7), and 
     (6), respectively; and
       (B) by amending paragraph (4), as redesignated, to read as 
     follows:
       ``(4) Program.--The term `program' means any of the 3 
     programs provided for under this subtitle.''.
       (b) Conforming Amendments.--Subtitle A of title IV of 
     division C of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant 
     Responsibility Act of 1996 (8 U.S.C. 1324a note) is amended--
       (1) in section 402, by striking ``pilot'' each place such 
     term appears; and
       (2) in section 403(a)(2)--
       (A) in subparagraph (A), by amending clause (i) to read as 
     follows:
       ``(i) A document referred to in section 274A(b)(1)(B)(ii) 
     of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 
     1324a(b)(1)(B)(ii)) shall be designated by the Secretary of 
     Homeland Security as suitable for the purpose of 
     identification in a program provided for under this 
     subtitle.''; and
       (B) in subparagraph (B), by striking ``pilot''.

     SEC. 3. PERMANENT REAUTHORIZATION OF SPECIAL IMMIGRANT 
                   NONMINISTER RELIGIOUS WORKER PROGRAM.

       Section 101(a)(27)(C)(ii) of the Immigration and 
     Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(27)(C)(ii)) is amended--
       (1) in subclause (II), by striking ``before September 30, 
     2012,''; and
       (2) in subclause (III), by striking ``before September 30, 
     2012,''.

     SEC. 4. PERMANENT REAUTHORIZATION OF CONRAD STATE 30 J 1 VISA 
                   WAIVER PROGRAM.

       Section 220(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Technical 
     Corrections Act of 1994 (8 U.S.C. 1182 note) is amended by 
     striking ``and before September 30, 2012''.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Ms. SNOWE:
  S. 3246. A bill to improve the Service Corps of Retired Executives, 
and for other purposes; to the Committee on Small Business and 
Entrepreneurship.
  Ms. SNOWE. Mr. President, I rise today to introduce legislation to 
strengthen the resources and support that we provide to entrepreneurs, 
and to strengthen oversight of the SCORE program.
  In 1964, the Small Business Administration recognized that retired 
business executives who volunteered to share their knowledge and 
expertise could be invaluable to entrepreneurs. From this, SCORE was 
established and has since grown to over 360 chapters across America. As 
with any type of growth, there comes an essential need for increased 
organization and oversight. This bill seeks to assist the SBA and SCORE 
with just that.
  The key to getting our nation on the road to economic recovery lies 
in the hands of small business, which is why I am always looking for 
ways to improve the SBA's entrepreneurial assistance programs. By 
creating a SCORE Advisory Board which functions to monitor and develop 
initiatives for programs affecting SCORE chapters, we can ensure that 
entrepreneurs in all areas of our economy are served by high-quality 
mentoring services. Specifically, this board is compromised of six 
members coming from the owners and employees of small businesses 
themselves, in addition to current members of SCORE chapters.
  While some may argue that funding for SCORE should be increased, in 
this budget environment, where Federal revenues and spending are 
misaligned to the tune of $1.1 trillion this year alone, we must find 
ways to be more efficient with existing resources. I am hopeful that 
with administrative reforms and increased transparency, we can make the 
SCORE program more cost effective, while maintaining its vital 
assistance to small businesses.
  For example, there is currently no oversight for funding allocations 
to individual SCORE chapters. In the past three fiscal years, only $2.5 
million of the $7 million appropriated to SCORE has been distributed to 
the SCORE districts and chapters. The bulk of their funding, $4.5 
million, has been spent on

[[Page S3637]]

staffing, administrative expenses, technology, and overhead. As a non-
profit organization, SCORE seeks to support small businesses across the 
country with thousands of volunteers but only very limited resources. 
It is imperative that there are transparent and fair practices in place 
for allocation of SBA funding to best provide for these small 
businesses. Therefore, my bill requires the creation of an Allocation 
Committee, comprised of Advisory Board members who will ensure that not 
less than 50 percent of SCORE's total allocation goes to the districts 
and chapters that directly serve small business clients.
  To safeguard funds appropriated to SCORE, my bill also places a limit 
on the taxpayer funded salary of SCORE's CEO, which according to the 
latest Internal Revenue Service filing, is 43 percent higher than that 
of the SBA's Administrator, who oversees the entire agency, including 
SCORE. This bill establishes in statute that the SCORE CEO follow the 
salary cap of a Senior Executive Service level Federal employee, 
ensuring that more money is available for the small businesses driving 
our economy. Additionally, this bill proposes to limit the Federal 
share of this salary even further when that CEO serves in a leadership 
capacity on a foundation affiliated with SCORE.
  Through the Advisory Board and its Allocation Committee, we will add 
much needed improvements to an already successful program. By enhancing 
integration between SCORE chapters and the SBA, small businesses will 
have even more support to sustain their contributions to our recovering 
economy.
  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. 3246

       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 ``SCORE Program Improvement 
     Act of 2012''.

     SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

       In this Act--
       (1) the terms ``Administration'' and ``Administrator'' mean 
     the Small Business Administration and the Administrator 
     thereof, respectively;
       (2) the term ``SCORE'' means the Service Corps of Retired 
     Executives established under section 8(b)(1) of the Small 
     Business Act (15 U.S.C. 637(b)(1));
       (3) the term ``SCORE Advisory Board'' means the SCORE 
     Advisory Board established under section 101 of this Act;
       (4) the term ``SCORE chapter'' means a chapter of the 
     Service Corps of Retired Executives; and
       (5) the term ``small business concern'' has the meaning 
     given that term under section 3 of the Small Business Act (15 
     U.S.C. 632).

                     TITLE I--SCORE ADVISORY BOARD

     SEC. 101. ESTABLISHMENT OF ADVISORY BOARD.

       (a) Establishment.--There is established the SCORE Advisory 
     Board.
       (b) Membership.--
       (1) Composition.--The SCORE Advisory Board shall be 
     composed of 6 members, who shall be appointed from among 
     individuals having outstanding qualifications and known to be 
     familiar with and sympathetic to the needs and problems of 
     small business concerns.
       (2) Limitations.--Of the individuals appointed under 
     paragraph (1)--
       (A) not more than 3 may be members of a SCORE chapter; and
       (B) 3 shall be owners or employees of small business 
     concerns or members of an association that represents small 
     business concerns.
       (3) Prohibition.--The members of the SCORE Advisory Board 
     may not be employees of the Federal Government.
       (4) Date.--The appointments of the members of the SCORE 
     Advisory Board shall be made not later than 90 days after the 
     date of enactment of this Act.
       (c) Terms.--
       (1) In general.--Except as provided in paragraph (2), a 
     member of the SCORE Advisory Board shall be appointed for a 
     term of 3 years.
       (2) First members.--Of the members first appointed to the 
     SCORE Advisory Board--
       (A) 2 shall be appointed for a term of 4 years, of whom 1 
     shall be a member described in subsection (b)(2)(A) and 1 
     shall be a member described in subsection (b)(2)(B);
       (B) 2 shall be appointed for a term of 3 years, of whom 1 
     shall be a member described in subsection (b)(2)(A) and 1 
     shall be a member described in subsection (b)(2)(B); and
       (C) 2 shall be appointed for a term of 2 years, of whom 1 
     shall be a member described in subsection (b)(2)(A) and 1 
     shall be a member described in subsection (b)(2)(B).
       (d) Vacancies.--
       (1) In general.--A vacancy on the SCORE Advisory Board 
     shall be filled in the manner in which the original 
     appointment was made and shall be subject to any conditions 
     which applied with respect to the original appointment.
       (2) Filling unexpired term.--An individual chosen to fill a 
     vacancy shall be appointed for the unexpired term of the 
     member replaced.
       (e) Initial Meeting.--Not later than 60 days after the date 
     on which all members of the SCORE Advisory Board have been 
     appointed, the SCORE Advisory Board shall hold its first 
     meeting.
       (f) Meetings.--The SCORE Advisory Board shall meet--
       (1) not less frequently than semiannually; and
       (2) at the call of the Chairman.
       (g) Quorum.--A majority of the members of the SCORE 
     Advisory Board shall constitute a quorum, but a lesser number 
     of members may hold hearings.
       (h) Chairman.--The SCORE Advisory Board shall select a 
     Chairman from among its members.

     SEC. 102. DUTIES OF THE SCORE ADVISORY BOARD.

       (a) Duties.--The SCORE Advisory Board shall--
       (1) review and monitor plans and programs developed in the 
     public and private sector which affect SCORE chapters;
       (2) provide advice on improving coordination between plans 
     and programs described in paragraph (1);
       (3) advise SCORE chapters on the use of Federal funds 
     allocated to SCORE;
       (4) develop and promote initiatives, policies, programs, 
     and plans designed to assist with the mentoring services 
     offered by SCORE chapters throughout the United States; and
       (5) advise the Administrator on the development and 
     implementation of an annual comprehensive plan under 
     subsection (b).
       (b) Development of Plan.--The Administrator shall develop 
     and implement an annual comprehensive plan for joint efforts 
     by the public and private sectors to facilitate the formation 
     and development of mentoring by SCORE volunteers.
       (c) Annual Report.--Not later than 30 days after the end of 
     each fiscal year, the SCORE Advisory Board shall submit to 
     the President, the Committee on Small Business and 
     Entrepreneurship of the Senate, and the Committee on Small 
     Business of the House of Representatives a report that 
     contains--
       (1) the minutes of each meeting of the SCORE Advisory Board 
     during the fiscal year to which the report relates;
       (2) a detailed description of the activities of the SCORE 
     Advisory Board during the fiscal year to which the report 
     relates, including how the SCORE Advisory Board carried out 
     the duties described in subsection (a);
       (3) recommendations for promoting SCORE chapters and 
     mentoring services; and
       (4) any concurring or dissenting views of the 
     Administrator.

     SEC. 103. POWERS OF THE SCORE ADVISORY BOARD.

       (a) Hearings.--The SCORE Advisory Board may hold such 
     hearings, sit and act at such times and places, take such 
     testimony, and receive such evidence as the SCORE Advisory 
     Board considers advisable to carry out this Act.
       (b) Task Groups.--The SCORE Advisory Board may establish a 
     temporary task group to carry out any duty of the SCORE 
     Advisory Board described in section 4.
       (c) Information From Federal Agencies.--The SCORE Advisory 
     Board may secure directly from any Federal department or 
     agency such information as the SCORE Advisory Board considers 
     necessary to carry out this Act. Upon request of the Chairman 
     of the SCORE Advisory Board, the head of such department or 
     agency shall furnish such information to the SCORE Advisory 
     Board.
       (d) Postal Services.--The SCORE Advisory Board may use the 
     United States mails in the same manner and under the same 
     conditions as other departments and agencies of the Federal 
     Government.
       (e) Gifts.--The SCORE Advisory Board may accept, use, and 
     dispose of gifts or donations of services or property.

     SEC. 104. SCORE ADVISORY BOARD PERSONNEL MATTERS.

       (a) Compensation.--Members of the SCORE Advisory Board 
     shall not be compensated for services performed on behalf of 
     the SCORE Advisory Board.
       (b) Travel Expenses.--The members of the SCORE Advisory 
     Board shall be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in 
     lieu of subsistence, at rates authorized for employees of 
     agencies under subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United 
     States Code, while away from their homes or regular places of 
     business in the performance of services for the SCORE 
     Advisory Board.
       (c) Detail of Government Employees.--Any Federal Government 
     employee may be detailed to the SCORE Advisory Board without 
     reimbursement, and such detail shall be without interruption 
     or loss of civil service status or privilege.

     SEC. 105. INAPPLICABILITY OF THE FEDERAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE 
                   ACT TO THE SCORE ADVISORY BOARD.

       Section 14 of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. 
     App.) shall not apply with respect to the SCORE Advisory 
     Board.

     SEC. 106. FUNDING.

       The expenses of the SCORE Advisory Board, including 
     expenses relating to personnel, as described in section 104, 
     shall be paid by SCORE, from amounts made available to SCORE 
     to carry out section 8(b)(1)(B)

[[Page S3638]]

     of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 637(b)(1)(B)).

                      TITLE II--FINANCIAL REFORMS

     SEC. 201. REAUTHORIZATION.

       Section 20 of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 631 note) 
     is amended--
       (1) by redesignating subsection (j) as subsection (f); and
       (2) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(g) SCORE Program.--The Administrator may make grants and 
     enter into cooperative agreements to carry out the SCORE 
     program authorized by section 8(b)(1) in a total amount that 
     does not exceed $7,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2013, 
     2014, and 2015.''.

     SEC. 202. CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF SCORE.

       (a) Limitation on Amount of Salary.--The rate of basic pay 
     of the chief executive officer of SCORE may not exceed the 
     maximum rate of basic pay established under section 5382 of 
     title 5, United States Code, for a position in the Senior 
     Executive Service.
       (b) Federal Share of Salary.--For any year during which the 
     chief executive officer of SCORE serves in a leadership 
     capacity on a foundation affiliated with SCORE, the Federal 
     share of the basic pay of the chief executive officer of 
     SCORE may not exceed 80 percent.

     SEC. 203. ALLOCATION COMMITTEE.

       (a) Establishment.--SCORE shall establish a committee to 
     determine the amount allocated each year to each SCORE 
     chapter.
       (b) Members.--The members of the committee established 
     under subsection (a) shall include--
       (1) 1 member of the staff of SCORE who is not the chief 
     executive officer of SCORE; and
       (2) not fewer than 4 members of the SCORE Advisory Board.

     SEC. 204. ALLOCATION OF AMOUNTS.

       SCORE shall establish a method for allocating amounts 
     received by SCORE from the Federal Government, which shall--
       (1) ensure that not less than 50 percent of the amounts are 
     allocated to SCORE chapters; and
       (2) be subject to the approval of the Administrator and the 
     committee established under section 203.

     SEC. 205. GAO STUDY AND REPORT.

       (a) Study.--The Comptroller General of the United States 
     shall conduct a study of the technology activities of SCORE 
     that includes an examination of each expenditure by SCORE for 
     technology activities and the result of each such 
     expenditure.
       (b) Report.--Not later than 1 year after the date of 
     enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General shall submit 
     to Congress and the Administrator a report that contains--
       (1) a detailed description of the amounts SCORE has 
     expended for technology activities, including how SCORE 
     expended Federal funds to carry out and sustain technology 
     initiatives during the 4-year period ending on the date of 
     enactment of this Act;
       (2) a determination of whether SCORE has expended Federal 
     funds efficiently and effectively to carry out technology 
     activities;
       (3) an evaluation of--
       (A) how well SCORE has met objectives relating to 
     technology spending; and
       (B) the policy that resulted in the establishment of 
     objectives relating to technology spending; and
       (4) recommendations for actions by SCORE to achieve 
     objectives relating to technology spending while safeguarding 
     Federal funds.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. ENZI (for himself, Mr. Johnson of South Dakota, Mr. 
        Conrad, Mr. Hoeven, Mr. Thune, Mr. Bennet, Mr. Udall of 
        Colorado, Mr. Moran, Mr. Udall of New Mexico, Mr. Johanns, and 
        Mr. Whitehouse):
  S. 3248. A bill to designate the North American bison as the national 
mammal of the United States; to the Committee on the Judiciary.
  Mr. ENZI. Mr. President, I wish to provide a few comments regarding 
the introduction of the Bison Legacy Act. Senator Tim Johnson of South 
Dakota and I are introducing this legislation today because of the 
significant role the North American Bison has played in the history of 
our Nation. This bill honors that legacy by designating the bison as 
the national mammal of the United States.
  The bison has been integrally linked to the economic and spiritual 
lives of many Native American tribes over the centuries. Since our 
frontier days, the bison has become a symbol of American strength and 
determination. The Department of Interior has depicted the bison on its 
official seal for 94 years and the buffalo nickel played an important 
role in modernizing our currency in the early 20th century. At one 
point in American history, bison were brought in to graze outside the 
original Smithsonian building here in Washington, DC.
  I must also add that my home State of Wyoming is one of three states 
that recognize the bison as its official state mammal and has honored 
an image of a bison on the Wyoming state flag since it was first 
adopted in 1917. Today, thousands of American bison freely roam 
Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. The bison is also 
important to our state's economic well-being with a growing number of 
ranchers raising bison for consumers all over the world.
  This bill is supported by a wide variety of stakeholders. I want to 
recognize the National Bison Association who represents the interests 
of the bison ranchers in nearly every single State. Also behind this 
bill is the Intertribal Bison Council supporting the cultural role the 
bison has played in Native American history. Finally, there is the 
Wildlife Conservation Society who wishes to honor the restoration of 
bison in North America since the 19th century.
  I ask my colleagues to help me support and pass this legislation 
honoring the bison and designating it as our national mammal. The bison 
has and will continue to be a symbol of America, its people and a way 
of life.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Ms. LANDRIEU (for herself and Ms. Snowe):
  S. 3253. A bill to amend the Small Business Investment Act of 1958 to 
enhance the Small Business Investment Company Program, and for other 
purposes; to the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
  Ms. LANDRIEU. Mr. President, as National Small Business Week is 
coming to a close, I come to the floor today to make a strong 
commitment that the Senate Committee on Small Business and 
Entrepreneurship will not lose momentum on our relentless push to help 
America's small businesses grow, thrive, and excel. So today, along 
with the senior senator from Maine, I am introducing the Expanding 
Access to Capital for Entrepreneurial Leaders Act, or the EXCEL Act. 
This legislation will enhance the already successful Small Business 
Investment Company, SBIC, program at the Small Business Administration, 
SBA, that has helped over 100,000 small businesses. The best part of 
our bill is that the EXCEL Act should not cost the taxpayer anything.
  The SBA runs a venture capital program by guaranteeing money borrowed 
by qualified investment funds who invest in small businesses. The 
qualified funds, or Small Business Investment Companies, SBICs, are 
privately owned and operated, but licensed and regulated by the SBA. 
Using a combination of private investments and the loans guaranteed by 
the SBA, typically at a ratio of $2 in guaranteed funds for every $1 of 
private capital, SBICs make long-term investments in American small 
businesses. In order to participate in the program, funds pay licensing 
fees which serve to cover all SBIC program costs. As a result, the core 
SBIC program, Debenture SBICs, not only boasts a strong success rate, 
but also incurs no cost to the U.S. government. Since the program's 
inception, over $50 billion has been invested in over 100,000 small 
businesses.
  The Ranking Member of the Small Business Committee and I conducted a 
roundtable with 14 participants from the SBA, SBICs, investors in 
SBICs, and small businesses to elicit suggestions on enhancing the 
program. Out of that was born the EXCEL Act.
  The EXCEL Act is a bipartisan effort encompassing much-needed changes 
that will allow the SBIC program to meet growing demand and will make 
improvements so that more small businesses can access capital.
  The first thing the EXCEL Act does is raises the SBIC program 
authorization level from $3 billion to $4 billion and pegs it to 
inflation. This change is long overdue--the ceiling has been at $3 for 
some time, despite inflation and the impressive growth in the SBIC 
program. To illustrate: the program grew 50 percent in FY2011 alone. In 
order to meet demand, we need to give the program room to grow.
  Secondly, the EXCEL Act will encourage successful investors by 
raising the limit on ``families of funds.'' Family of funds refers to a 
team of SBIC fund managers who operate several funds. These are 
currently limited to $225 million of SBA-guaranteed debt. However, SBIC 
fund managers who manage more than one fund generally see better 
investment results. The EXCEL Act will encourage that kind of success 
by giving families of funds a higher limit of $350 million, which will 
be indexed to inflation.
  Next, the EXCEL Act improves transparency and accountability in the 
program. The legislation requires that

[[Page S3639]]

the SBA make public how effective individual SBICs are in their small 
business investments, guaranteeing that SBA-backed money is being used 
responsibly.
  Finally, the EXCEL Act promotes outreach, thereby ensuring that the 
maximum possible number of small businesses can benefit from the SBIC 
program. The legislation encourages outreach to community banks and 
other lenders, states and municipalities, and asks the SBA to make 
their SBIC website more user-friendly.
  The EXCEL Act contains a number of common sense provisions supported 
across the aisle, and is sponsored by the Chair and Ranking Member of 
the Small Business Committee. It enhances a program with proven success 
in providing capital to small businesses, and does so with the 
expectation that it will not add a dime to the deficit. Let us get this 
bill passed. Let us help small businesses excel.

                          ____________________




    

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