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Calendar No. 36
109th Congress Report
1st Session 109-24
BUFFALO SOLDIERS COMMEMORATION ACT OF 2005
March 9, 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. 205]
The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was
referred the bill (S. 205) to authorize the American Battle
Monuments Commission to establish in the State of Louisiana a
memorial to honor the Buffalo Soldiers, having considered the
same, reports favorably thereon with an amendment and
recommends that the bill do pass.
PURPOSE OF THE MEASURE
The purpose of S. 205 is to authorize the American Battle
Monuments Commission to establish a memorial in New Orleans,
Louisiana, to honor the Buffalo Soldiers and to solicit and
collect contributions for the construction and maintenance of
BACKGROUND AND NEED
Following the Civil War, Congress authorized the formation
of two cavalry regiments and four infantry regiments (which
were soon reduced to two) composed of African-American
soldiers. These regiments, the 9th and 10th Cavalry and the
24th and 25th Infantry, were stationed throughout the West,
where they saw action in countless battles and skirmishes
during the Indian Wars. The American Indians nicknamed the
members of these regiments ``Buffalo Soldiers.''
The Buffalo Soldiers performed outstanding service to the
United States not only during the Indian Wars, but the Spanish-
American War, the Philippine Insurrection, and the raids
against Pancho Villa. In addition, Buffalo Soldiers built
forts, escorted wagon trains, mail stages, and railroad crews,
drew maps, located sources of water, and were largely
responsible for opening millions of square miles of western
land to settlement. Twenty Congressional Medals of Honor were
awarded to Buffalo Soldiers.
Legislation is needed to authorize a fitting memorial in
New Orleans, where two of the regiments were recruited, to
recognize the meritorious service and notable accomplishments
of the Buffalo Soldiers.
S. 205 was introduced by Senator Landrieu on January 31,
2005. During the 108th Congress, the Committee considered
identical legislation, S. 499, sponsored by Senators Landrieu
and Breaux. The Subcommittee on National Parks held a hearing
on S. 499 on June 10, 2003. At the business meeting on June 25,
2003, the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources ordered S.
499, as amended, favorably reported (S. Rept. 108-92). S. 499
passed the Senate by unanimous consent on July 17, 2004. The
House of Representatives did not consider the bill prior to the
sine die adjournment of the 108th Congress.
During the 107th Congress, Senator Landrieu introduced S.
1988, a similar bill, which was reported favorably by the
Committee with an amendment in the nature of a substitute on
October 3, 2002.
At its business meeting on February 9, 2005, the Committee
on Energy and Natural Resources ordered S. 205 favorably
The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in an
open business session on February 9, 2005, by a unanimous voice
vote of a quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass S.
Section 1 titles the bill as the ``Buffalo Soldiers
Commemoration Act of 2005.''
Section 2 authorizes the American Battle Monuments
Commission to establish a memorial in or around the city of New
Orleans on land donated for such purpose or on Federal land
with the consent of the appropriate land manager; to solicit
and accept contributions for the construction and maintenance
of the memorial; to enter into a cooperative agreement for
fundraising; and to enter into an agreement with an appropriate
entity to provide for the permanent maintenance of the
Section 3(a) directs the Commission to maintain and deposit
contributions into an escrow account for expenses in
constructing the memorial, authorizes the Commission to invest
a certain portion of the fund into an interest bearing
obligation of the United States, and authorizes the use of the
account for the purposes of establishing and maintaining the
Section 4 authorizes the appropriations necessary to carry
out this Act.
COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS
The following estimate of the cost of this measure has been
provided by the Congressional Budget Office.
February 14, 2005.
Hon. Pete V. Domenici,
Chairman, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 205, the Buffalo
Soldier Commemoration Act of 2005.
If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Deborah Reis.
S. 205--Buffalo Soldier Commemoration Act of 2005
S. 205 would authorize the American Battle Monuments
Commission to establish a memorial to honor Buffalo Soldiers
near New Orleans, Louisiana. (Buffalo Soldiers are African-
Americans who served in the United States Army during certain
armed conflicts.) The bill would direct the commission to
solicit contributions for the construction and maintenance of
the memorial to be located on federal land. Contributions would
be deposited into a newly created account held by the
commission, and those funds (including any interest earnings)
would be available for construction costs. Before construction
of the memorial could begin, the commission would have to
execute an agreement with an appropriate local entity to
provide for maintenance of the structure. (Any amounts
remaining in the commission's new account after construction
would be transferred to that entity for maintenance.) Finally,
the bill would authorize the appropriation of whatever sums are
necessary to carry out the legislation.
Based on the cost of other monuments and assuming
appropriation of the necessary amounts, CBO estimates that the
commission would spend less than $5 million to build the
Buffalo Soldier memorial over the next several years. The bill
could increase revenues and direct spending if the commission
raised private contributions to offset the cost of the
memorial. CBO has no basis for predicting the amount that might
be collected from private contributions, but any net budgetary
impact of those transactions would likely be minor.
S. 205 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.
Participation in this project by the state of Louisiana would
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. 205. The bill is not a regulatory measure in
the sense of imposing Government-established standards or
significant economic responsibilities on private individuals
No personal information would be collected in administering
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal
Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the
enactment of S. 205, as ordered.
The testimony provided by the National Park Service at the
Subcommittee hearing on S. 499 in the 108th Congress follows:
Statement of D. Thomas Ross, Assistant Director, Recreation and
Conservation, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to present the
Department of the Interior's views on S. 499. This bill would
authorize the American Battle Monuments Commission to establish
a memorial in the State of Louisiana to honor the Buffalo
The Department supports efforts to honor the Buffalo
Soldiers. However, in order to meet the President's Initiative
to eliminate the deferred maintenance backlog, we must continue
to focus our resources on caring for existing areas in the
National Park System. As such, we cannot support the provision
in S. 499 that could transfer the memorial to the National Park
Service one year after establishment. The Department believes
that it would be more appropriate for a memorial or monument
commemorating the Buffalo Soldiers to be operated and
maintained by the State of Louisiana, the City of New Orleans,
or a suitable nonprofit corporation. Because of these concerns,
and others raised by the American Battle Monuments Commission,
the Administration recommends that S. 499 not be enacted.
S. 499 authorizes the American Battle Monuments Commission
to establish a memorial to honor the Buffalo Soldiers on
federal land in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana or its
environs, or on land donated by the city or the State. The bill
would require the Commission to solicit and accept
contributions sufficient for the construction and maintenance
of the memorial and would establish a fund in the U.S. Treasury
for depositing and disbursing these contributions. One year
after the establishing of the memorial, the Commission is
authorized to transfer any remaining amounts in the fund and
title to and responsibility for future operation and
maintenance of the memorial to, at the option of the
Commission, the National Park Service or another appropriate
governmental agency or other entity.
Following the Civil War, Congress passed legislation to
increase the size of the Regular Army. On July 28, 1866,
Congress raised the number of cavalry regiments from six to ten
and the number of infantry regiments from nineteen to forty-
five. The legislation stipulated that two of the new cavalry
regiments and four of the new infantry regiments were to be
composed of black men.
In compliance with the new law, the Ninth and Tenth Cavalry
Regiments and the Thirty-eighth, Thirty-ninth, Fortieth, and
Forty-first U.S. Infantry Regiments were organized. Three years
later, when the army reduced the number of infantry regiments,
these four new regiments were combined into the Twenty-fourth
and Twenty-fifth U.S. Infantry.
These regiments were composed of white officers with black
enlisted men and were reportedly nicknamed Buffalo Soldiers by
the American Indians. Soldiers comprising the black regiments
came from the former United States Colored that served in the
Civil War, the New Orleans area, the fringes of the southern
states, or large northern cities. They were former slaves as
well as freedmen.
Almost immediately after their establishment, units from
these regiments were stationed throughout the West. In the
countless battles and skirmishes that marked the frontier
Indian Wars, the Buffalo Soldiers played a significant role.
Commanded by white officers, who at times resented their duty
with the black regiments, the Buffalo Soldiers endured and
overcame tremendous social and environmental obstacles. They
faced discrimination and sometimes received inferior supplies
The men in these regiments often found themselves in the
forefront of action. For more than twenty-five years they not
only engaged in battles with American Indians, but they built
forts and escorted wagon trains, mail stages and railroad
crews. Mapping and charting areas and locating sources of
water, they were responsible for opening millions of square
miles of western lands to peaceful settlement and development.
Until recent times, the Buffalo Soldiers received little
recognition for their years of service on the frontier. The
record of meritorious service and notable accomplishments
amassed by the Buffalo Soldier regiments remain a symbol of
hope and pride for all Americans. Their achievements serve as a
reminder of the contributions they made to American life and
culture and are the subject of a memorial at Fort Leavenworth.
We supported the concept of honoring the excellent service to
the nation of the Buffalo Soldiers through the existing Fort
Leavenworth memorial and believe further effort to educate the
public on their sacrifices is a worthy goal. We have no
objection to the building of a memorial to the Buffalo Soldiers
in New Orleans provided that an appropriate method of non-
federal financing and constructing of such a memorial is
identified and that it would be financed, operated, and
maintained by the State of Louisiana, the City of New Orleans,
or a suitable nonprofit corporation.
Mr. Chairman, that concludes my statement. I would be
pleased to answer any questions you or other members of the
subcommittee may 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. 205, as ordered