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                                                       Calendar No. 239
109th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                    109-147

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



 
     BENJAMIN FRANKLIN NATIONAL MEMORIAL COMMEMORATION ACT OF 2005

                                _______
                                

                October 19, 2005.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

   Mr. Domenici, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 652]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 652) to provide financial assistance for 
the rehabilitation of the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial 
in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the development of an 
exhibit to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the birth of 
Benjamin Franklin, having considered the same, reports 
favorably thereon without amendment and recommends that the 
bill do pass.

                         PURPOSE OF THE MEASURE

    The purpose of S. 652 is to authorize the Secretary of the 
Interior to provide financial assistance to the Franklin 
Institute for the rehabilitation of the Benjamin Franklin 
National Memorial in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the 
development of an exhibit to commemorate the 300th anniversary 
of the birth of Benjamin Franklin.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    The Franklin Institute is a non-profit corporation 
established in memory of Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia, 
Pennsylvania in 1824. The Institute operates a Science Museum, 
whose mission is to stimulate interest in and promote public 
understanding of science.
    The Memorial Hall of the Franklin Institute Science Museum 
serves as the Nation's primary location honoring Benjamin 
Franklin's life, legacy and ideals. The Benjamin Franklin 
National Memorial (Memorial) is an affiliated area of the 
National Park System that is owned and administered by the 
Franklin Institute. The Memorial includes a colossal seated 
marble statue of Franklin carved by sculptor James Earle 
Fraser, which stands in the rotunda of the Franklin Institute's 
Science Museum. The statue and surrounding Memorial Hall were 
designated as the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial on 
October 25, 1972 (Public Law 92-551). Public Law 92-551 
contained no provision for the appropriation of funds to be 
used for acquisition, development, operation, or maintenance of 
the Memorial. The House committee report (H. Rprt. 92-1592) 
anticipated that the Franklin Institute would continue to 
operate and maintain the Memorial at no cost to the government.
    The National Park Service entered into a Memorandum of 
Agreement (MOA) with the Franklin Institute on November 6, 
1973. The MOA outlines the major responsibilities of each party 
regarding the operation of the Memorial. The Franklin Institute 
agreed to preserve the memorial in perpetuity, to make no 
substantial alterations or repairs without the Secretary of the 
Interior's approval, and to admit the public, free of charge, 
to the Memorial. In turn, the Secretary agreed to include the 
Memorial in publications, to make appropriate references to it 
in the interpretive and information programs of Independence 
National Historical Park, and to cooperate with the Institute 
in its maintenance and promotion of the Memorial.
    In 2000, the Institute received approximately $300,000 from 
the Department of the Interior in the form of a ``Save 
America's Treasures'' grant. Since 1973, this is the only 
funding provided to the Institute by the Department. The task 
of preserving and maintaining the Memorial has proven to be a 
costly endeavor for the Franklin Institute.
    S. 652 would authorize up to $10 million in Federal funds 
to provide needed rehabilitation and to enhance the experience 
at the Memorial by adding exhibition space for the proper 
display of Franklin artifacts. The Institute hopes to renovate 
the Memorial prior to the celebration of the 300th anniversary 
of Franklin's birth in 2006.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    S. 652 was introduced by Senators Specter and Santorum on 
March 17, 2005. The Subcommittee on National Parks held a 
hearing on the bill on July 28, 2005. Similar legislation, S. 
1852, was introduced by Senators Specter and Santorum in the 
108th Congress. At its business meeting on September 28, 2005, 
the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources ordered S. 652 
favorably reported.

                        COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in open 
business session on September 28, 2005, by a voice vote of a 
quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 652 as 
described herein. A nay vote was registered by Senator Thomas.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

    Section 1 entitles the Act, ``The Benjamin Franklin 
National Memorial Commemoration Act of 2005.''
    Section 2 authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to 
provide a grant to the Franklin Institute to rehabilitate the 
Benjamin Franklin Memorial and to develop an interpretive 
exhibit relating to Benjamin Franklin.
    Section 3 (a) authorizes the appropriation of up to 
$10,000,000 to carry out this Act.
    Subsection (b) requires that all amounts provided under 
this Act by the Secretary be matched equally by the Franklin 
Institute.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

    The following estimate of costs of this measure has been 
provided by the Congressional Budget Office:

S. 652--Benjamin Franklin National Memorial Commemoration Act of 2005

    S. 652 would authorize the appropriation of $10 million to 
rehabilitate the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial in 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and to develop interpretive 
exhibits at the adjacent museum. Assuming appropriation of this 
amount, CBO estimates that the National Park Service would pay 
the Franklin Institute grants totaling $10 million over the 
next five years. Enacting the legislation would not affect 
direct spending or revenues.
    S. 652 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.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Deborah Reis. 
This estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                      REGULATORY IMPACT EVALUATION

    In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following 
evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in 
carrying out S. 652. The bill is not a regulatory measure in 
the sense of imposing Government-established standards or 
significant economic responsibilities on private individuals 
and businesses.
    No personal information would be collected in administering 
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal 
privacy.
    Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the 
enactment of S. 652, as ordered reported.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    The views of the Administration on S. 652 were included in 
testimony received by the Committee at a hearing on the bill on 
July 28, 2005 as follows:

Statement of Stephen P. Martin, Deputy Director, National Park Service, 
                       Department of the Interior

    Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear 
before your committee to present the views of the Department of 
the Interior on S. 652, a bill to provide financial assistance 
for the rehabilitation of the Benjamin Franklin National 
Memorial in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the development of 
an exhibit to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the birth of 
Benjamin Franklin. The Department does not support this bill.
    This bill would authorize financial assistance in the form 
of a grant to the Franklin Institute to rehabilitate the 
Benjamin Franklin National Memorial, and to develop an 
interpretive exhibit relating to Benjamin Franklin to be 
displayed at a museum adjacent to the memorial. An amount not 
to exceed $10,000,000 would be authorized to be appropriated 
for these purposes, with the Franklin Institute required to 
provide matching funds.
    For many years, the Department has opposed legislation 
authorizing appropriations for non-National Park Service 
construction projects. Many of these projects, like the 
rehabilitation of the Ben Franklin National Memorial, represent 
an important contribution to the preservation of our Nation's 
history. However, each time such legislation is enacted and 
appropriations follow, it further reduces a limited amount of 
discretionary funds available to address the priority needs of 
our national parks and other programs administered by the 
National Park Service. With the emphasis we have placed on the 
President's initiative to reduce the deferred maintenance 
backlog, it has become more important than ever to avoid 
authorizing funding for non-National Park Service projects that 
would likely draw funds from the National Park Service's 
budget. We are committed to supporting initiatives to 
commemorate the 300th anniversary of Benjamin Franklin and the 
interpretation of his legacy, especially at Franklin Court, a 
unit of Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, 
but given the current demands on National Park Service funds, 
we cannot support this legislation.
    The Benjamin Franklin National Memorial is an affiliated 
area of the National Park System that is owned and administered 
by the Franklin Institute. The Memorial includes a colossal 
seated marble statue of Franklin carved by sculptor James Earle 
Fraser, which stands in the Rotunda of the Franklin Institute's 
main building at 20th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway 
in Philadelphia. The statue and surrounding Memorial Hall was 
designated as the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial on 
October 25, 1972 (P.L. 92-551) and made no provision for 
appropriated funds to be used for acquisition, development, 
operation or maintenance of this Memorial. The House committee 
report on P.L. 92-551 anticipated that the Franklin Institute 
would continue to operate and maintain the Memorial at no cost 
to the government.
    A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) entered into on November 6, 
1973, falls under the administrative authority of Independence 
National Historical Park. The MOA outlines the major 
responsibilities of each party regarding the operations of the 
national memorial. The Franklin Institute agreed to preserve 
the memorial in perpetuity, that no substantial alterations or 
repairs be taken without Secretarial approval, that the public 
shall be admitted without charge to the memorial, and that 
there will be equal employment opportunities. In turn, the 
Secretary agreed to include the memorial in publications, to 
make appropriate references to it in the interpretive and 
information programs of Independence National Historical Park, 
and to cooperate with the Institute in all appropriate and 
mutually agreeable ways on behalf of the memorial.
    Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to comment. 
This concludes my prepared remarks, and I will be happy to 
answer any questions you or other committee members might have.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee notes that no 
changes in existing law are made by the bill S. 652, as ordered 
reported.