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105th Congress Report
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
2d Session 105-559
NATIONAL UNDERGROUND RAILROAD NETWORK TO FREEDOM ACT OF 1998
June 3, 1998.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the
State of the Union and ordered to be printed
Mr. Young of Alaska, from the Committee on Resources, submitted the
R E P O R T
[To accompany H.R. 1635]
[Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]
The Committee on Resources, to whom was referred the bill
(H.R. 1635) to establish within the United States National Park
Service the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom
program, and for other purposes, having considered the same,
report favorably thereon with an amendment and recommend that
the bill as amended do pass.
The amendment is as follows:
Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert in lieu
thereof the following:
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ``National Underground Railroad Network
to Freedom Act of 1998''.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSES.
(a) Findings.--The Congress finds the following:
(1) The Underground Railroad, which flourished from the end
of the 18th century to the end of the Civil War, was one of the
most significant expressions of the American civil rights
movement during its evolution over more than 3 centuries.
(2) The Underground Railroad bridged the divides of race,
religion, sectional differences, and nationality; spanned State
lines and international borders; and joined the American ideals
of liberty and freedom expressed in the Declaration of
Independence and the Constitution to the extraordinary actions
of ordinary men and women working in common purpose to free a
(3) Pursuant to title VI of Public Law 101-628 (16 U.S.C. 1a-
5 note; 104 Stat. 4495), the Underground Railroad Advisory
Committee conducted a study of the appropriate means of
establishing an enduring national commemorative Underground
Railroad program of education, example, reflection, and
(4) The Underground Railroad Advisory Committee found that--
(A) although a few elements of the Underground
Railroad story are represented in existing National
Park Service units and other sites, many sites are in
imminent danger of being lost or destroyed, and many
important resource types are not adequately represented
(B) there are many important sites which have high
potential for preservation and visitor use in 29
States, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin
(C) no single site or route completely reflects and
characterizes the Underground Railroad, since its story
and associated resources involve networks and regions
of the country rather than individual sites and trails;
(D) establishment of a variety of partnerships
between the Federal Government and other levels of
government and the private sector would be most
appropriate for the protection and interpretation of
the Underground Railroad.
(5) The National Park Service can play a vital role in
facilitating the national commemoration of the Underground
(6) The story and significance of the Underground Railroad
can best engage the American people through a national program
of the National Park Service that links historic buildings,
structures, and sites; routes, geographic areas, and corridors;
interpretive centers, museums, and institutions; and programs,
activities, community projects, exhibits, and multimedia
materials, in a manner that is both unified and flexible.
(b) Purposes.--The purposes of this Act are the following:
(1) To recognize the importance of the Underground Railroad,
the sacrifices made by those who used the Underground Railroad
in search of freedom from tyranny and oppression, and the
sacrifices made by the people who helped them.
(2) To authorize the National Park Service to coordinate and
facilitate Federal and non-Federal activities to commemorate,
honor, and interpret the history of the Underground Railroad,
its significance as a crucial element in the evolution of the
national civil rights movement, and its relevance in fostering
the spirit of racial harmony and national reconciliation.
SEC. 3. NATIONAL UNDERGROUND RAILROAD NETWORK TO FREEDOM PROGRAM.
(a) In General.--The Secretary of the Interior (in this Act referred
to as the ``Secretary'') shall establish in the National Park Service a
program to be known as the ``National Underground Railroad Network to
Freedom'' (in this Act referred to as the ``national network''). Under
the program, the Secretary shall--
(1) produce and disseminate appropriate educational
materials, such as handbooks, maps, interpretive guides, or
(2) enter into appropriate cooperative agreements and
memoranda of understanding to provide technical assistance
under subsection (c); and
(3) create and adopt an official, uniform symbol or device
for the national network and issue regulations for its use.
(b) Elements.--The national network shall encompass the following
(1) All units and programs of the National Park Service
determined by the Secretary to pertain to the Underground
(2) Other Federal, State, local, and privately owned
properties pertaining to the Underground Railroad that have a
verifiable connection to the Underground Railroad and that are
included on, or determined by the Secretary to be eligible for
inclusion on, the National Register of Historic Places.
(3) Other governmental and nongovernmental facilities and
programs of an educational, research, or interpretive nature
that are directly related to the Underground Railroad.
(c) Cooperative Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding.--To
achieve the purposes of this Act and to ensure effective coordination
of the Federal and non-Federal elements of the national network
referred to in subsection (b) with National Park Service units and
programs, the Secretary may enter into cooperative agreements and
memoranda of understanding with, and provide technical assistance to--
(1) the heads of other Federal agencies, States, localities,
regional governmental bodies, and private entities; and
(2) in cooperation with the Secretary of State, the
governments of Canada, Mexico, and any appropriate country in
(d) Appropriations.--There are authorized to be appropriated to carry
out this Act not more than $500,000 for each fiscal year. No amounts
may be appropriated for the purposes of this Act except to the
Secretary for carrying out the responsibilities of the Secretary as set
forth in section 3(a).
PURPOSE OF THE BILL
The purpose of H.R. 1635 is to establish, within the
National Park Service, the National Underground Railroad
Network to Freedom Program.
BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION
In 1990, Congress directed the National Park Service (NPS)
to study how to best interpret and commemorate the Underground
Railroad (Public Law 101-628). This study was accomplished in
coordination with an Underground Railroad Advisory Committee.
The NPS and Committee issued their final report in 1995. The
report concluded that the Underground Railroad is not
individual sites or trails, but rather, networks and geographic
regions that encompass a variety of partnerships among
individuals, federal, state, and local governments, and the
There are 27 units of the National Park System directly
related to the Underground Railroad experience, including such
diverse areas as the Congaree Swamp National Monument in South
Carolina, Harpers Ferry National Historic Park in West
Virginia, Independence National Historic Park in Pennsylvania,
and the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in Missouri.
Additionally, there are 55 sites in the National Park System
that relate to the African-American experience in America.
Furthermore, the study identified 380 sites and structures, in
29 states, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean islands, under
state and local government stewardship, or privately owned,
that have important direct association with the Underground
Railroad. Of that number, 42 were identified as having
potential for designation as national historic landmarks.
As established by H.R. 1635, the National Underground
Railroad Network to Freedom Program would facilitate
partnerships among the federal, state, and local governments,
and the private sector, to assist in interpreting and
commemorating the historical network of buildings, interpretive
centers, museums, geographic areas and routes that were part of
the movement to resist slavery in the United States in the
decades prior to the Civil War.
This bill does not create any new units to the National
Park System and uses the expertise of the NPS to coordinate,
produce and distribute appropriate educational materials, and
enter into cooperative agreements to provide technical
assistance to state and local governments and the private
sector. Furthermore, H.R. 1635 will authorize an official
symbol for the National Underground Railroad Network and issue
regulations for its use. H.R. 1635 authorizes appropriations to
the Secretary of the Interior to carry out only the program
objectives described above. The amount authorized is $500,000
per year to staff and coordinate the program.
H.R. 1635 establishes partnerships between the NPS and the
many entities that comprise the National Underground Railroad.
This approach is unique and far reaching as an approach that
does not require the federal government to assume all costs
associated with interpreting this theme. The Committee
recognizes this bill focuses on public-private partnerships. In
a time of dwindling federal resources, the Committee highly
recommends that the federal government be more creative in the
protection of resources of national importance, like the
Underground Railroad. Rather than requiring the federal
government to assume all costs associated with a project, these
partnerships leverage a limited amount of federal dollars with
privately-raised funds. The strong commitments from private
parties will increase the degree to which the history of the
Underground Railroad can be told. The Committee notes that many
sites and institutions nationwide are currently commemorating
the Underground Railroad. This bill will help preserve and
protect them while linking them together.
One example of a successful public-private partnership is
the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati,
Ohio. The Freedom Center, expected to open on the banks of the
Ohio River in 2003, will employ state-of-the-art technology and
advanced inter-disciplinary education to commemorate, educate,
inspire and promote reconciliation among all races. Assisted by
a national advisory board of distinguished leaders, such as
Desmond Tutu, Vernon Jordan and Rosa Parks, the Center will be
an international resource for scholarship, human relations
education and genealogical study. As one of the first
``distributive'' museums in the country--and the first focused
on the Underground Railroad--the Center will create cooperative
programming and educational opportunities across the continent.
The Committee commends the Freedom Center for its vision, and
encourages the linkage of Underground Railroad sites across our
nation and throughout the hemisphere that this legislation
H.R. 1635 was introduced on May 15, 1997, by Congressman
Louis Stokes (D-OH) and Congressman Rob Portman (R-OH). The
bill was referred to the Committee on Resources, and within the
Committee to the Subcommittee on National Parks and Public
Lands. On July 22, 1997, the Subcommittee held a hearing on
H.R. 1635, where Dennis Galvin, Acting Deputy Director of the
National Park Service, testified in support of H.R. 1635. On
October 7, 1997, the Subcommittee met to mark up H.R. 1635. One
amendment was offered by Subcommittee Chairman James V. Hansen
(R-UT) which specified an annual authorized appropriation of
not more than $500,000. The amendment was passed by voice vote
and the bill, as amended, was then ordered favorably reported
to the Full Committee. On May 20, 1998, the Full Resources
Committee met to consider H.R. 1635. No further amendments were
offered and the bill, as amended, was then ordered favorably
reported to the House of Representatives by voice vote.
COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
With respect to the requirements of clause 2(l)(3) of rule
XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives, and clause
2(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of Representatives,
the Committee on Resources' oversight findings and
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.
CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY STATEMENT
Article IV, section 3 of the Constitution of the United
States grants Congress the authority to enact H.R. 1635.
cost of the legislation
Clause 7(a) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of
Representatives requires an estimate and a comparison by the
Committee of the costs which would be incurred in carrying out
H.R. 1635. However, clause 7(d) of that Rule provides that this
requirement does not apply when the Committee has included in
its report a timely submitted cost estimate of the bill
prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget Office
under section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.
compliance with house rule xi
1. With respect to the requirement of clause 2(l)(3)(B) of
rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives and
section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, H.R.
1635 does not contain any new budget authority, spending
authority, credit authority, or an increase or decrease in
revenues or tax expenditures.
2. With respect to the requirement of clause 2(l)(3)(D) of
rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the
Committee has received no report of oversight findings and
recommendations from the Committee on Government Reform and
Oversight on the subject of H.R. 1635.
3. With respect to the requirement of clause 2(l)(3)(C) of
rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives and
section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the
Committee has received the following cost estimate for H.R.
1635 from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office.
congressional budget office cost estimate
Congressional Budget Office,
Washington, DC, May 27, 1998.
Hon. Don Young,
Chairman, Committee on Resources,
U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 1635, the National
Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Act of 1998.
If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Deborah Reis.
June E. O'Neill, Director.
H.R. 1635--National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Act of 1998
Assuming appropriation of the authorized amounts, CBO
estimates that the National Park Service (NPS) would spend
about $500,000 annually (beginning in fiscal year 1998) to
carry out the requirements of H.R. 1635. This legislation would
not affect governmental receipts or direct spending; therefore,
pay-as-you-go procedures would not apply. H.R. 1635 contains no
intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would impose no costs on
state, local, or tribal governments.
H.R. 1635 would require the NPS to establish a program to
be known as the National Underground Railroad Network to
Freedom. In order to implement this program, the NPS would
produce and distribute educational materials, create and adopt
an official symbol for the network, and provide technical
assistance to other interested entities. Also for this purpose,
the bill would authorize the agency to execute cooperative
agreements or memoranda of understanding with such entities,
including private organizations, other nations, and federal,
state, or local government agencies. Finally, the bill would
authorize appropriations to carry out the activities of
$500,000 per year.
Based on information provided by the NPS, CBO estimates
that the agency would spend about $500,000 to create the
network in the first several months following enactment. This
work would include basic planning, developing educational
materials and interpretive exhibits, and coordinating federal
activities with those of other interested groups or
individuals. The NPS would use the $500,000 authorized for each
subsequent year to manage the network and provide assistance to
other parties under cooperative agreements.
On May 20, 1998, CBO prepared a cost estimate for S. 887,
the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Act of
1997, as ordered reported by the Senate Committee on Energy and
Natural Resources on May 13, 1998. The Senate bill would
authorized the appropriation of $500,000 for 1998 and $1
million for each year thereafter. The estimate for H.R. 1635
reflects the lower authorization levels contained in the House
bill. Other provisions ofthe two bills are nearly identical.
The staff contact for this estimate is Deborah Reis. The
estimate was approved by Robert A. Sunshine, Deputy Assistant
Director for Budget Analysis.
COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 104-4
H.R. 1635 contains no unfunded mandates.
CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW
If enacted, H.R. 1635 would make no changes in existing