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108th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                    108-295

======================================================================



 
 TO AUTHORIZE THE DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION OF A VISITOR CENTER FOR THE 
                       VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL

                                _______
                                

October 2, 2003.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
               State of the Union and order to be printed

                                _______
                                

  Mr. Pombo, from the Committee on Resources, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 1442]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Resources, to whom was referred the bill 
(H.R. 1442) to authorize the design and construction of a 
visitor center for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, 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 all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. VISITOR CENTER.

    Public Law 96-297 (16 U.S.C. 431 note) is amended by adding at the 
end the following:

``SEC. 6. VISITOR CENTER

    ``(a) Authorization.--
          ``(1) In general.--The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, Inc., 
        is authorized to construct a visitor center at or near the 
        Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Federal land in the District of 
        Columbia, or its environs, subject to the provisions of this 
        section, in order to better inform and educate the public about 
        the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Vietnam War.
          ``(2) Location.--The visitor center shall be located 
        underground.
    ``(b) Application of Commemorative Works Act.--Chapter 89 of title 
40, United States Code (commonly referred to as the Commemorative Works 
Act) shall apply to the siting, design, construction, and maintenance 
of the visitor center, and the visitor center shall be considered a 
commemorative work for the purposes of that Act, except that--
          ``(1) final approval of the visitor center shall not be 
        withheld; and
          ``(2) the provisions of section 8908(b) of title 40, United 
        States Code requiring further approval by law for the location 
        of a commemorative work within Area I shall not apply.
    ``(c) Operation and Maintenance.--The Secretary of the Interior 
shall--
          ``(1) operate the visitor center;
          ``(2) enter into a cooperative agreement with the Vietnam 
        Veterans Memorial Fund, Inc. for the routine maintenance of the 
        visitor center;
          ``(3) not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment 
        of this section, in consultation with educators and veterans 
        groups, provide to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, Inc. a 
        preliminary plan to guide the design phase of the visitor 
        center exhibits; and
          ``(4) as soon as practicable, in consultation with educators 
        and veterans groups, develop a written interpretive plan for 
        the visitor center in accordance with National Park Service 
        policy.
    ``(d) Funding.--The Vietnam Veterns Memorial Fund, Inc. shall be 
solely responsible for acceptance of contributions for, and payment of 
expenses of, the establishment of the visitor center. No Federal funds 
shall be used to pay any expense of the establishment of the visitor 
center or its maintenance.''.

                          Purpose of the Bill

    The purpose of H.R. 1442 is to authorize the design and 
construction of a visitor center for the Vietnam Veterans 
Memorial.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    Since its dedication in 1982, the Vietnam Veterans 
Memorial, known to many as simply ``The Wall,'' has done much 
to heal the nation's wounds after the bitterly divisive 
experience of the Vietnam War. For those who served, that year 
marked a sea change in the country's view of the Vietnam 
veteran. Americans began to understand and respect the Vietnam 
veterans' service and sacrifice. Today, over 4.4 million people 
visit The Wall every year--making it the most visited Memorial 
in the Nation's Capital. Today, most visitors to The Wall were 
not alive during the ``Vietnam Era.'' Many veterans' 
organizations and many others believe today's visitor is 
shortchanged in his/her experience. Many leave The Wall not 
fully understanding its message. To that end, a visitor center 
would provide an educational experience for visitors by 
facilitating self-guided tours, collecting and displaying 
remembrances of those whose names are inscribed on the 
Memorial, and displaying exhibits discussing the history of the 
Memorial and the Vietnam War. The visitor's center would 
eventually replace a 168-foot National Park Service kiosk 
currently at the site.
    H.R. 1442 would authorize the Vietnam Veterans Memorial 
Fund, Inc. (VVMF) to design and construct a visitor center for 
the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to provide information to the 
public on the Memorial and the Vietnam War. VVMF is a 501 
(c)(3) nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 1979 to 
fund and build the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, 
D.C. The Committee expects the visitor center, which shall be 
located underground, to be the minimum size necessary to carry 
out educational and interpretive activities while protecting 
open space and visual sightlines on the National Mall and the 
core monument area. Finally, no federal funds would be used for 
the planning, design, construction, or maintenance of the 
Center.

                            Committee Action

    H.R. 1442 was introduced on March 26, 2003, by Congressman 
Richard Pombo (R-CA). The bill was referred to the Committee on 
Resources, and within the Committee to the Subcommittee on 
National Parks, Recreation and Public Lands. On May 21, 2003, 
the Subcommittee held a hearing on the bill. On September 24, 
2003, the Full Resources Committee met to consider the bill. 
The Subcommittee on National Parks, Recreation and Public Lands 
was discharged from further consideration of the bill by 
unanimous consent. Congressman Richard Pombo offered an 
amendment in the nature of a substitute that would make the 
following changes to the bill: (1) Require that the visitor 
center be located underground; (2) clarify the application of 
the Commemorative Works Act; (3) direct the Secretary to enter 
into a cooperative agreement with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial 
Fund for maintaining the visitor center; and (4) direct the 
Secretary of the Interior to consult with educators and veteran 
organizations to develop a preliminary plan to guide the design 
phase of visitor center exhibits as well as an interpretive 
plan for the visitors center. The amendment was adopted by 
unanimous consent. The bill as amended was then ordered 
favorably reported to the House of Representatives by unanimous 
consent.

            Committee Oversight Findings and Recommendations

    Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of 
rule XIII 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 I, section 8 and Article IV, section 3 of the 
Constitution of the United States grants Congress the authority 
to enact this bill.

                    Compliance With House Rule XIII

    1. Cost of Legislation. Clause 3(d)(2) 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 this bill. However, clause 3(d)(3)(B) 
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 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974.
    2. Congressional Budget Act. As required by clause 3(c)(2) 
of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, this 
bill does not contain any new budget authority, credit 
authority, or an increase or decrease in tax expenditures. 
According to the Congressional Budget Office, enactment of this 
bill will result in revenues to the federal government of 
between $500,000 and $1 million associated with a deposit for 
catastrophic maintenance; these funds would then be largely 
offset by new direct spending over many years.
    3. General Performance Goals and Objectives. This bill does 
not authorize funding and therefore, clause 3(c)(4) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives does not 
apply.
    4. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate. Under clause 
3(c)(3) of rule XIII 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 this bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                Washington, DC, September 26, 2003.
Hon. Richard W. Pombo,
Chairman, Committee on Resources,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 1442, a bill to 
authorize the design and construction of a visitor center for 
the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Deborah Reis.
            Sincerely,
                                       Douglas Holtz-Eakin,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 1442--A bill to authorize the design and construction of a visitor 
        center for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

    H.R. 1442 would authorize the Vietnam Veterans Memorial 
Fund, Inc. (VVMF) to construct a visitor center near the 
Vietnam Veterans Memorial in the District of Columbia. The 
center would be established on federal land in accordance with 
the Commemorative Works Act (CWA). While no federal funds would 
be used to build the new facility, the National Park Service 
(NPS) would operate it at federal expense.
    Based on the costs of managing similar interpretive 
facilities in the National Park System (and assuming 
appropriation of the necessary amounts), CBO estimates that the 
NPS would spend about $1 million annually to operate the new 
visitor center once it has been constructed. This amount 
excludes routine maintenance, which would be carried out by the 
VVMF.
    Section 8 of the CWA would require the VVMF to also deposit 
an amount equal to 10 percent of the center's construction cost 
into the U.S. Treasury. The NPS could use the deposited funds 
without further appropriation for catastrophic maintenance. 
Thus, CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 1442 would increase 
federal revenues by between $0.5 million and $1 million once 
the center has been completed--probably several years after the 
legislation's enactment. Revenues would be largely offset (over 
many years) by new direct spending.
    H.R. 1442 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.
    On June 30, 2003, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for S. 
1076, a bill to authorize construction of an education center 
at or near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, as ordered reported 
by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on June 
25, 2003. H.R. 1442 is similar to title I of S. 1076, and the 
CBO cost estimate of the two versions of the proposal would 
have the same discretionary costs. However, we estimated that 
S. 1076 would not have any effect on federal revenues or direct 
spending because that version of the legislation would require 
that the 10 percent maintenance deposit be made to (and spent 
by) the National Park Foundation (a nonfederal entity).
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Deborah Reis. 
The estimate was reviewed by Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                    Compliance With Public Law 104-4

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                Preemption of State, Local or Tribal Law

    This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or 
tribal law.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (new matter is 
printed in italic and existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman);

                          ACT OF JULY 1, 1980


                          (Public Law 96-297)

   Joint Resolution To Authorize the Vietnam Memorial Fund, Inc., to 
Establish a Memorial.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 6. VISITOR CENTER.

    (a) Authorization.--
          (1) In general.--The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, 
        Inc., is authorized to construct a visitor center at or 
        near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Federal land in 
        the District of Columbia, or its environs, subject to 
        the provisions of this section, in order to better 
        inform and educate the public about the Vietnam 
        Veterans Memorial and the Vietnam War.
          (2) Location.--The visitor center shall be located 
        underground.
    (b) Application of Commemorative Works Act.--Chapter 89 of 
title, 40 United States Code (commonly referred to as the 
Commemorative Works Act) shall apply to the sitting, design, 
construction, and maintenance of the visitor center, and the 
visitor center shall be considered a commemorative work for the 
purposes of that Act, except that--
          (1) final approval of the visitor center shall not be 
        withheld; and
          (2) the provisions of section 8908(b) of title 40, 
        United States Code requiring further approval by law 
        for the location of a commemorative work within Area I 
        shall not apply.
    (c) Operation and Maintenance.--The Secretary of the 
Interior shall--
          (1) operate the visitor center;
          (2) enter into a cooperative agreement with the 
        Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, Inc. for the routine 
        maintenance of the visitor center;
          (3) not later than 120 days after the date of the 
        enactment of this section, in consultation with 
        educators and veterans groups, provide to the Vietnam 
        Veterans Memorial Fund, Inc. a preliminary plan to 
        guide the design phase of the visitor center exhibits; 
        and
          (4) as soon as practicable, in consultation with 
        educators and veterans groups, develop a written 
        interpretive plan for the visitor center in accordance 
        with National Park Service policy.
    (d) Funding.--The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, Inc. 
shall be solely responsible for acceptance of contributions 
for, and payment of expenses of, the establishment of the 
visitor center. No Federal funds shall be sued to pay an 
expense of the establishment of the visitor center or its 
maintenance.