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115th Congress     }                                       {     Report
                         HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session       }                                       {    115-105

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



 
          400 YEARS OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY COMMISSION ACT

                                _______
                                

  May 1, 2017.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Chaffetz, from the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 1242]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to whom 
was referred the bill (H.R. 1242) to establish the 400 Years of 
African-American History Commission, and for other purposes, 
having considered the same, report favorably thereon without 
amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Committee Statement and Views....................................     1
Section-by-Section...............................................     2
Explanation of Amendments........................................     5
Committee Consideration..........................................     5
Roll Call Votes..................................................     5
Application of Law to the Legislative Branch.....................     5
Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the 
  Committee......................................................     6
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............     6
Duplication of Federal Programs..................................     6
Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings..............................     6
Federal Advisory Committee Act...................................     6
Unfunded Mandate Statement.......................................     6
Earmark Identification...........................................     6
Committee Estimate...............................................     6
Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate...     7

                     Committee Statement and Views


                          PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    The purpose of H.R. 1242 is to establish the 400 Years of 
African-American History Commission.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    The first documented arrival of Africans to the English 
colonies occurred in August 1619, when a group of approximately 
20 individuals disembarked from a ship at Point Comfort, 
Virginia. Since slavery was not institutionalized at that 
point, the individuals were sold as involuntary labor or 
indentured servants, and told they would work under contract 
for a certain period of time before being granted freedom and 
the rights of other settlers.\1\ This moment marked a painful, 
but significant, time in colonial America, when Africans were 
taken against their will, transplanted, and committed to lives 
of slavery.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\John Thornton, The African Experience of the ``20 and Odd 
Negroes'' Arriving in Virginia in 1619, William and Mary Quarterly 
(July 1998), available at www.jstor.org/stable/
2674531?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    August 2019 will mark 400 years since that initial entrance 
to the colonies. H.R. 1242 establishes the ``400 Years of 
African-American History Commission'' to develop and carry out 
activities throughout the United States to commemorate the 
arrival of Africans. The Commission will also celebrate the 
contributions African-Americans have made since 1619, despite 
the debilitating effects of slavery and racial discrimination.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    On February 28, 2017, Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA) 
introduced H.R. 1242, the 400 Years of African-American History 
Commission Act. H.R. 1242 was referred to the Committee on 
Oversight and Government Reform. The Committee considered H.R. 
1242 at a business meeting on March 28, 2017, and ordered the 
bill reported favorably, without amendment, by voice vote.
    In the 114th Congress, Representative Scott introduced H.R. 
4539, the 400 Years of African-American History Commission Act 
on February 11, 2016. H.R. 4539 was referred to the Committee 
on Oversight and Government Reform. On July 5, 2016, the bill, 
as amended, passed the House under suspension by voice vote.

                           SECTION-BY-SECTION

Section 1. Short title

    The short title of the bill is the ``400 Years of African-
American History Commission Act.''

Section 2. Definitions

    Section 2 defines ``commemoration'' as the commemoration of 
the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Africans in the English 
colonies, at Point Comfort, Virginia, in 1619. Section 2 
defines ``commission'' as the 400 Years of African-American 
History Commission established by section 3(a). Section 2 also 
defines ``Secretary'' as the Secretary of the Interior.

Section 3. Establishment

    Subsection (a) establishes the Commission.
    Subsection (b) establishes the membership of the 
commission, and paragraph (1) of subsection (b) sets out the 
composition of the Commission.
    Subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1) directs the Secretary of 
the Interior to appoint three members to the Commission after 
considering recommendations of Governors, including the 
Governor of Virginia.
    Subparagraph (B) directs the Secretary to appoint six 
members to the Commission after considering recommendations of 
civil rights organizations and historical organizations.
    Subparagraph (C) directs the Secretary to appoint one 
member to the Commission that is an employee of the National 
Park Service having experience relative to the historical and 
cultural resources related to the commemoration.
    Subparagraph (D) directs the Secretary to appoint two 
members to the Commission after considering the recommendations 
of the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.
    Subparagraph (E) directs the Secretary to appoint three 
members to the Commission who have an interest in, support for, 
and expertise appropriate to the commemoration after 
considering the recommendations of Members of Congress.
    Paragraph (2) of subsection (b) requires that the Secretary 
make all appointments within 120 days of enactment of the bill.
    Paragraph (3) sets the terms of the Commissioners and 
establishes the process for vacancies.
    Subparagraph (A) of paragraph (3) notes that a member of 
the Commission shall be appointed for the life of the 
Commission.
    Subparagraph (B) notes that a vacancy on the Commission 
shall be filled in the same manner in which the original 
appointment was made. Subparagraph (B) further notes that a 
member appointed to fill a vacancy on the Commission shall 
serve for the remainder of the term for which the predecessor 
of the member was appointed.
    Subparagraph (C) sets out that if a member of the 
Commission was appointed to the Commission as an employee of 
the National Park Service, and then leaves the National Park 
Service, that member can only continue on the Commission for 30 
days after when they left the National Park Service.
    Subsection (c) of section 3 describes the activities of the 
Commission.
    Paragraph (1) of subsection (c) tasks the Commission with 
planning, developing, and carrying out programs and activities 
throughout the United States that it deems appropriate for the 
commemoration to recognize and highlight the resilience and 
contributions of African-Americans since 1619.
    Subparagraph (C) of paragraph (1) notes that the Commission 
is to acknowledge the impact that slavery and laws that 
enforced racial discrimination had on the United States.
    Subparagraph (D) tasks the Commission with educating the 
public about the arrival of Africans in the United States and 
the contributions of African-Americans to the United States.
    Paragraph (2) of subsection (c) notes that the Commission 
is to encourage civic, patriotic, historical, educational, 
artistic, religious, economic, and other organizations 
throughout the United States to organize and participate in 
anniversary activities to expand understanding and appreciation 
of the significance of the arrival of Africans in the United 
States and the contributions of African-Americans to the United 
States.
    Paragraph (3) directs the Commission to provide technical 
assistance to States, localities, and nonprofit organizations 
to further the commemoration.
    Paragraph (4) directs the Commission to coordinate and 
facilitate for the public scholarly research on, publication 
about, and interpretation of the arrival of Africans in the 
United States and the contributions of African-Americans to the 
United States.
    Paragraph (5) ensures that the Commission's commemoration 
provides a lasting legacy and long-term public benefit by 
assisting in the development of appropriate programs.
    Paragraph (6) requires that the Commission help ensure that 
the observances of the commemoration are inclusive and 
appropriately recognize the experiences and heritage of all 
individuals present at the arrival of Africans in the United 
States.

Section 4. Commission meetings

    Subsection (a) of section 4 requires the Commission to meet 
within 30 days of all Commission members being appointed.
    Subsection (b) requires the Commission to meet at least 
three times a year or at the call of the Chairperson or the 
majority of the members of the Commission.
    Subsection (c) notes that the majority of the Commission's 
members constitutes a quorum, but fewer members can hold 
meetings.
    Subsection (d) notes that the Commission is to elect the 
Chairperson and Vice Chairperson of the Commission on an annual 
basis. Subsection (d) further notes that the Vice Chairperson 
is to serve as the Chairperson in the Chairperson's absence.
    Subsection (e) requires the Commission to only act on an 
affirmative vote of the majority of the members of the 
Commission.

Section 5. Commission powers

    Subsection (a) of section 5 allows the Commission to 
solicit, accept, use, and dispose of gifts or other property 
for aiding or facilitating the work of the Commission.
    Subsection (b) allows the Commission to appoint advisory 
Committees the Commission deems necessary.
    Subsection (c) authorizes the Commission to allow members 
to take action the Commission is authorized to take under the 
bill.
    Subsection (d) allows the Commission to procure supplies, 
services, and property and make or enter into contracts, 
leases, or legal agreements. It is limited in that the 
Commission cannot purchase real property.
    Subsection (e) allows the Commission to use the United 
States Postal Service mail systems in the same way as other 
federal agencies.
    Subsection (f) allows the Commission to provide grants that 
are not to exceed $20,000 per grant to communities and 
nonprofit organizations, to provide grants to research and 
scholarly organizations, and to provide technical assistance to 
state and local organizations.

Section 6. Commission personnel matters

    Subsection (a) of section 6 states members of the 
Commission are to serve without compensation. However, if a 
member of the Commission is an officer or employee of the 
federal government, they can serve without compensation other 
than the compensation received for the services they would 
receive as officers of the federal government.
    Subsection (b) allows for travel expenses and per diem for 
members of the Commission in the course of their duties as a 
member.
    Subsection (c) establishes the role, and allows for the 
appointment and confirmation, of the executive director.
    Subsection (d) sets the compensation for the executive 
director and other staff.
    Subsection (e) allows employees from federal and state 
agencies to be detailed to the Commission.
    Subsection (f) allows for the procurement of temporary and 
intermittent services.
    Subsection (g) allows the Commission to accept and use 
voluntary and uncompensated services.
    Subsection (h) directs the Secretary to provide the 
Commission with administrative support services on a 
reimbursable basis.
    Subsection (i) clarifies that nothing in section 6 
supersedes the authority of the National Park Service with 
respect to the commemoration.

Section 7. Plans; Reports

    Section 7 requires the Commission to prepare a strategic 
plan and file a final report. The report will contain a summary 
of the Commission's activities, a final accounting of funds 
received and expended by the Commission, and the findings and 
recommendations of the Commission.

Section 8. Termination of Commission

    Section 8 establishes the termination date for the 
Commission as July 1, 2020. Section 8 also requires that all 
documents and materials of the Commission must be retained and 
turned over to the National Archives or another appropriate 
federal entity prior to termination of the Commission.

                       EXPLANATION OF AMENDMENTS

    No amendments to H.R. 1242 were offered or adopted during 
Full Committee consideration of the bill.

                        COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION

    On March 28, 2017, the Committee met in open session and, 
with a quorum being present, ordered the bill favorably 
reported by voice vote.

                            ROLL CALL VOTES

    No roll call votes were requested or conducted during Full 
Committee consideration of H.R. 1242.

              APPLICATION OF LAW TO THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

    Section 102(b)(3) of Public Law 104-1 requires a 
description of the application of this bill to the legislative 
branch where the bill relates to the terms and conditions of 
employment or access to public services and accommodations. 
This bill establishes the 400 Years of African-American History 
Commission. As such, this bill does not relate to employment or 
access to public services and accommodations.

  STATEMENT OF OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE COMMITTEE

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII and clause 
(2)(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives, the Committee's oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the descriptive portions of 
this report.

         STATEMENT OF GENERAL PERFORMANCE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

    In accordance with clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee's performance 
goal or objective of this bill is to establish the 400 Years of 
African-American History Commission.

                    DUPLICATION OF FEDERAL PROGRAMS

    In accordance with clause 2(c)(5) of rule XIII no provision 
of this bill establishes or reauthorizes a program of the 
Federal Government known to be duplicative of another Federal 
program, a program that was included in any report from the 
Government Accountability Office to Congress pursuant to 
section 21 of Public Law 111-139, or a program related to a 
program identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal 
Domestic Assistance.

                  DISCLOSURE OF DIRECTED RULE MAKINGS

    The Committee estimates that enacting this bill does not 
direct the completion of any specific rule makings within the 
meaning of section 551 of title 5, United States Code.

                     FEDERAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE ACT

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not establish 
or authorize the establishment of an advisory committee within 
the definition of Section 5(b) of the appendix to title 5 of 
the United States Code.

                       UNFUNDED MANDATE STATEMENT

    Section 423 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment 
Control Act (as amended by Section 101(a)(2) of the Unfunded 
Mandate Reform Act, P.L. 104-4) requires a statement as to 
whether the provisions of the bill as reported include unfunded 
mandates. In compliance with this requirement, the Committee 
has included below a letter received from the Congressional 
Budget Office.

                         EARMARK IDENTIFICATION

    This bill does not include any congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in 
clause 9 of rule XXI.

                           COMMITTEE ESTIMATE

    Clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires an estimate and a comparison by the 
Committee of the costs that would be incurred in carrying out 
this bill. However, clause 3(d)(2)(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, which the Committee has included below.

     BUDGET AUTHORITY AND CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE COST ESTIMATE

    With respect to the requirements of 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 and with respect 
to requirements of clause (3)(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives and section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has received 
the following cost estimate for this bill from the Director of 
Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, April 4, 2017.
Hon. Jason Chaffetz,
Chairman, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 1242, the 400 
Years of African-American History Commission Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Matthew 
Pickford.
            Sincerely,
                                                        Keith Hall.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 1242--400 Years of African-American History Commission Act

    H.R. 1242 would establish a commission to plan activities 
and provide grants to develop programs and events to 
commemorate 400 years of Africian American history in the 
United States. The bill would authorize the appropriation of 
the necessary amounts for those purposes. The commission would 
consist of 15 members. Members would serve without pay but 
would be reimbursed for travel expenses. The legislation would 
authorize the commission to make grants to communities, 
nonprofit organizations, and other groups to conduct activities 
to commemorate the anniversary. In addition, the commission 
could hire staff, use personnel from other federal agencies or 
state governments, and accept volunteers to perform its work. 
The commission would submit a final report to the Congress and 
terminate on July 1, 2020.
    Based on the cost of similar commissions, CBO estimates 
that implementing the bill would cost about $2 million a year--
a total of $6 million over the 2018-2021 period, assuming 
appropriation of the necessary amounts. Enacting H.R. 1242 
would affect direct spending because it would authorize the 
commission to accept and spend monetary gifts; therefore, pay-
as-you-go procedures apply. However, CBO estimates that the net 
effect on direct spending would be negligible. Enacting H.R. 
1242 would not affect revenues.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 1242 would not increase 
net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    H.R. 1242 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 Matthew 
Pickford.
    This estimate was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.