S. Rept. 110-104 - 110th Congress (2007-2008)
June 26, 2007, As Reported by the Energy and Natural Resources Committee

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Senate Report 110-104 - COMMISSION TO STUDY THE POTENTIAL CREATION OF THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN LATINO ACT OF 2007




[Senate Report 110-104]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]



                                                       Calendar No. 234
110th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                    110-104

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



 
 COMMISSION TO STUDY THE POTENTIAL CREATION OF THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF 
                    THE AMERICAN LATINO ACT OF 2007

                                _______
                                

                 June 26, 2007.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

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

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 512]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the Act (H.R. 512) to establish the Commission to 
Study the Potential Creation of the National Museum of the 
American Latino to develop a plan of action for the 
establishment and maintenance of a National Museum of the 
American Latino in Washington, DC, and for other purpose, 
having considered the same, reports favorably thereon without 
amendment and recommends that the Act do pass.

                         PURPOSE OF THE MEASURE

    The purpose of H.R. 512 is to establish a commission to 
study the potential creation of the National Museum of the 
American Latino in Washington, DC.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    With a population exceeding 42 million, Hispanic Americans 
comprise the largest minority group in the United States. The 
Census Bureau estimates that in the year 2050, the Hispanic 
population in the U.S. will reach over 100 million. Parts of 
what are now the United States were settled by pioneers of 
Hispanic descent long before the establishment of this country.
    Despite this long history, there is presently no museum 
located in Washington, DC, that primarily tells the story of 
the American Hispanic or Latino community. H.R. 512 will 
establish a commission to provide advice on the establishment 
of such a museum to better tell the complete and diverse story 
of Americans.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    H.R. 512, sponsored by Representative Becerra, passed the 
House of Representatives by a voice vote on February 6, 2007. A 
companion measure, S. 500, was introduced by Senator Salazar 
and 23 other Senators on February 6, 2007. During the 109th 
Congress, the House also passed a similar measure, H.R. 2134.
    The Subcommittee on National Parks held a hearing on H.R. 
512 and S. 500 on March 20, 2007. At its business meeting on 
May 23, 2007, the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources 
ordered H.R. 512 favorably reported, without amendment.

                        COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

    The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in an 
open business session on May 23, 2007, by a unanimous voice 
vote of a quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass H.R. 
512.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

    Section 1 contains the short title, the ``Commission to 
Study the Potential Creation of the National Museum of the 
American Latino Act of 2007.''
    Section 2(a) establishes the Commission to Study the 
Potential Creation of a National Museum of the American Latino.
    Subsection (b) provides that the Commission shall consist 
of 23 members, with 7 appointed by the President, 3 each by the 
Speaker and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, 
and 3 each by the Majority Leader and Minority Leader of the 
Senate. Each congressional leader is also authorized to appoint 
one non-voting member of the Commission.
    Subsection (c) lists the qualifications for Commission 
members.
    Section 3(a) requires the Commission to submit a report to 
the President and the Congress containing its recommendations 
with respect to a plan of action for the establishment and 
maintenance of a National Museum of the American Latino in 
Washington, DC.
    Subsection (b) states that the Commission shall development 
a fundraising plan for supporting the creation and maintenance 
of the museum.
    Subsection (c) directs the Commission to examine various 
issues associated with the creation and location of the museum, 
including the availability and cost of collections to be housed 
at the museum, the impact of the museum on regional Hispanic 
and Latino-related museums, possible locations for the museum 
and whether the museum should be part of the Smithsonian 
Institution.
    Subsection (d) provides that the Commission shall submit 
recommendations for a legislative plan of action to create and 
construct the museum to several congressional committees.
    Subsection (e) authorizes the Committee to convene a 
national conference on the museum.
    Section 4(a) requires the Department of the Interior to 
provide, from funds appropriated for that purpose, 
administrative services, facilities, and funds necessary for 
the performance of the Commission's functions.
    Subsection (b) provides that each member of the Commission 
who is not an officer or employee of the Federal Government may 
receive compensation while engaged in the work of the 
Commission.
    Subsection (c) authorizes the payment of travel expenses 
for Commission members.
    Subsection (d) states that the Federal Advisory Committee 
Act shall not apply to the Commission.
    Section 5(a) requires the Commission to submit final 
versions of the reports and plans referred to in this Act no 
later than 24 months after the date of the Commission's first 
meeting.
    Subsection (b) provides that the Commission shall terminate 
no later than 30 days after submitting the final versions of 
the reports and plans referred to in subsection (a).
    Section 6 authorizes the appropriation of $2.1 million for 
the first fiscal year beginning after the date of enactment and 
$1.1 million for the following year.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

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

                                                      May 31, 2007.
Hon. Jeff Bingaman,
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 H.R. 512, the 
Commission to Study the Potential Creation of the National 
Museum of the American Latino Act of 2007.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Deborah Reis.
            Sincerely,
                                                   Peter R. Orszag.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 512--Commission to Study the Potential Creation of the National 
        Museum of the American Latino Act of 2007

    H.R. 512 would establish a commission to develop a plan for 
creating and maintaining a National Museum of the American 
Latino Community in Washington, D.C. Under the act, the 23-
member commission would report its recommendations for the 
museum to the Congress within two years of its first meeting. 
For the purpose of carrying out the commission's 
responsibilities, the act would authorize the appropriation of 
$3.2 million over the next two years.
    Based on information provided by the National Park Service 
and assuming appropriation of the authorized amounts, CBO 
estimates that the federal government would spend about $3 
million over the next two years to establish the commission and 
to develop a plan for the proposed museum. Most of this amount 
would be spent for feasibility studies and other research. We 
estimate that enacting H.R. 512 would have no effect on 
revenues or direct spending.
    H.R. 512 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 H.R. 512. The Act 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 H.R. 512, as ordered reported.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    The testimony provided by the National Park Service at the 
March 20, 2007 Subcommittee hearing on H.R. 512 follows:

 Statement of Daniel N. Wenk, Deputy Director, National Park Service, 
                       Department of the Interior

    Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, thank you for 
the opportunity to appear before you today to present the 
Department of the Interior's views on S. 500 and H.R. 512, 
bills to establish the Commission to Study the Potential 
Creation of a National Museum of the American Latino Community 
(Commission) to develop a plan of action for the establishment 
and maintenance of a National Museum of the American Latino 
Community in Washington, D.C.
    The Department has no objection to the concept of 
establishing a commission to study the potential creation of a 
national museum for the American Latino community, and we 
suggest that a technical correction be made to S. 500 to make 
it consistent with the House-passed companion bill, H.R. 512. 
We note that other agencies, such as the Smithsonian 
Institution, may be able to provide more insight on the 
benefits as well as the significant budget implications of 
establishing and operating a separate museum in this time of 
constrained budgets. We suggest that the General Services 
Administration (GSA) rather than the Department of the Interior 
provide the administrative support, since it is our 
understanding that the GSA has an office set up to provide such 
services for other commissions.
    S. 500 and H.R. 512 would establish a Commission to study 
and report on the potential creation of a museum, the 
availability and cost of collections to be acquired and housed 
in the museum, possible locations, the organizational structure 
from which the museum should operate, and how to engage the 
American Latino Community in the development and design of a 
museum. The Commission would consist of 23 voting and non-
voting members appointed by the President and Congressional 
leadership. The legislation would require that the Commission 
convene a national conference on the museum no later than 18 
months after the commission members are selected and submit 
recommendations for a legislative plan to create and construct 
the museum based on the findings of its study no later than 24 
months after the date of the Commission's first meeting. The 
bill would require the Secretary of the Interior to provide 
administrative services, facilities, and funds necessary for 
the operation of the Commission with funds made available prior 
to any meetings of the Commission.
    We suggest that S. 500 and H.R. 512 be amended to drop the 
requirement that the Secretary of the Interior provide 
administrative services, facilities, and funds necessary for 
the operation of the Commission as well as determine the daily 
rate of compensation for Commission members. The Department 
does not have available funds to provide such support. We 
suggest, alternatively, that the General Services 
Administration (GSA) provide such administrative support. We 
recommend a technical correction be made to S. 500 to specify 
the Committees to receive the report containing the 
Commission's recommendations for a plan of action and the 
report on issues.
    We appreciate that both S. 500 and H.R. 512 have been 
improved over the past versions of the legislation by providing 
the Commission with a full opportunity to consider a wide 
variety of potentially appropriate and worthy locations for the 
museum and directing the Commission to consult with the 
National Capital Planning Commission and the Commission of Fine 
Arts during such consideration. This requirement supports the 
purpose and follows guidelines provided by the ``Memorials and 
Museums Master Plan,'' described further below. Previous 
proposals contained provisions limiting the study to specific 
sites to be considered including locations on or near the 
National Mall.
    The location for a museum is of paramount importance to all 
federal agencies, including the Department of the Interior, the 
National Capital Planning Commission, and the Commission of 
Fine Arts. In September 2001, the Commission of Fine Arts, the 
National Capital Planning Commission, and the Department of the 
Interior through the Secretary's National Capital Memorial 
Advisory Commission, adopted the Memorials and Museums Master 
Plan (2M Plan) to guide the location of new memorials, museums, 
and related structures in the Nation's Capital. The 2M Plan 
states that future memorials and museums should be precluded 
from being located in ``The Reserve,'' an area described as the 
great cross-axis ofthe National Mall extending from the United 
States Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial and from the White House 
to the Jefferson Memorial. Congress concurred with the need to 
protect The Reserve from overdevelopment, calling this area ``a 
substantially completed work of civic art,'' and, on November 
13, 2003, with enactment of amendments to the Commemorative 
Works Act, The Reserve was established by statute. The 
amendments also preclude commemorative works which are 
primarily designed as museums from being located on parkland in 
Area I or in East Potomac Park. In addition, the National 
Capital Planning Commission and the Commission of Fine Arts, in 
partnership with the National Park Service and other key 
federal and local agencies, are developing a National Capital 
Framework Plan that will facilitate use of some of the 2M Plan 
sites for nationally significant museums and memorials. Both 
the 2M Plan and the National Capital Framework Plan will 
provide useful guidance to the new Commission.
    The National Park Service is proud to be the steward of 
monuments along Virginia Avenue to commemorate Spanish General 
Bernardo de Galvez, ally to the American colonies during the 
American Revolution, and four South American heroes, Simon 
Bolivar, Jose de San Martin, Benito Pablo Juarez, and Jose 
Gervasio Artigas. All five statues were memorial gifts to the 
people of the United States from the people of Spain, 
Venezuela, Argentina, Mexico and Uruguay to recognize these 
liberators of Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, 
Argentina, Mexico, and Uruguay. These memorials celebrate the 
bonds between our nations; and while American Latinos have the 
opportunity to trace their ancestry back to these origins, 
there is no permanent historical context in Washington, D.C. 
that provides an opportunity to focus on the significant 
cultural events and contributions representing these citizens 
of the United States.
    We support, in concept, the proposal to further the 
education and interpretation of significant segments of 
American history and culture, however, we feel strongly that 
this Commission move forward in a way that does not contravene 
the thoughtful and comprehensive plans undertaken to govern the 
growth of the Nation's Capital or weaken the protections which 
Congress has provided to the National Mall.
    If the subcommittee decides to move S. 500 instead of H.R. 
512, we recommend that the technical correction be made to S. 
500 to make it consistent with the House-passed companion bill, 
H.R. 512. Mr. Chairman, this concludes my prepared testimony. 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 Act H.R. 512, as 
ordered reported.