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115th Congress    }                                    {       Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session      }                                    {      115-340

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



 
             FREDERICK DOUGLASS BICENTENNIAL COMMISSION ACT

                                _______
                                

October 5, 2017.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

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

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 2989]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to whom 
was referred the bill (H.R. 2989) to establish the Frederick 
Douglass Bicentennial Commission, having considered the same, 
report favorably thereon with an amendment and recommend that 
the bill as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Committee Statement and Views....................................     4
Section-by-Section...............................................     5
Explanation of Amendments........................................     6
Committee Consideration..........................................     7
Roll Call Votes..................................................     7
Application of Law to the Legislative Branch.....................     7
Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the 
  Committee......................................................     7
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............     7
Duplication of Federal Programs..................................     7
Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings..............................     7
Federal Advisory Committee Act...................................     7
Unfunded Mandates Statement......................................     8
Earmark Identification...........................................     8
Committee Estimate...............................................     8
Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate...     8
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............     9

    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Frederick Douglass Bicentennial 
Commission Act''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

  Congress makes the following findings:
          (1) Born into slavery on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in 
        1818 and given the name Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey 
        after his mother Harriet Bailey, Frederick Douglass has been 
        called the father of the civil rights movement.
          (2) Douglass rose through determination, brilliance, and 
        eloquence to shape the American Nation. He was an abolitionist, 
        human rights and women's rights activist, orator, author, 
        journalist, publisher, and social reformer.
          (3) Taught basic reading skills by his mistress until she was 
        forced to stop, Douglass continued to teach himself to read and 
        write and taught other slaves to read despite risks including 
        death.
          (4) During the course of his remarkable life Frederick 
        Douglass escaped from slavery, became internationally renowned 
        for his eloquence in the cause of liberty, and went on to serve 
        the national government in several official capacities.
          (5) Forced to leave the country to avoid arrest as an escaped 
        slave, he returned to become a staunch advocate of the Union 
        cause and helped recruit African-American troops for the Union 
        Army, including two of his sons, Charles and Lewis Douglass. 
        His personal relationship with Abraham Lincoln helped persuade 
        the President to make emancipation a cause of the Civil War.
          (6) With the abolition of slavery at the close of the Civil 
        War, Douglass then turned his attention to the full integration 
        of African-Americans into the political and economic life of 
        the United States. Committed to freedom, Douglass dedicated his 
        life to achieving justice for all Americans, in particular 
        African-Americans, women, and minority groups. He envisioned 
        America as an inclusive Nation strengthened by diversity and 
        free of discrimination.
          (7) Douglass served as an advisor to Presidents. Abraham 
        Lincoln referred to him as the most meritorious man of the 
        nineteenth century. Douglass was appointed to several offices. 
        He served as the United States Marshal of the District of 
        Columbia under Rutherford B. Hayes' administration; President 
        James Garfield appointed Douglass the District of Columbia 
        Recorder of Deeds. In 1889, President Benjamin Harrison 
        appointed Frederick Douglass to be the United States minister 
        to Haiti. He was also appointed by President Grant to serve as 
        Assistant Secretary of the Commission of Inquiry to Santo 
        Domingo.
          (8) Douglass lived in the District of Columbia for 23 of his 
        57 years as a free man, and in recognition of his leadership 
        and continuous fight for justice and freedom, his home, Cedar 
        Hill, was established as a National Historic Site in Anacostia, 
        in Southeast Washington, DC.
          (9) The statue of Frederick Douglass in the United States 
        Capitol is a gift from the almost 700,000 residents of the 
        District of Columbia.
          (10) All Americans could benefit from studying the life of 
        Frederick Douglass, for Douglass dedicated his own life to 
        ensuring freedom and equality for future generations of 
        Americans. This Nation should ensure that his tireless 
        struggle, transformative words, and inclusive vision of 
        humanity continue to inspire and sustain us.
          (11) The year 2018 marks the bicentennial anniversary of the 
        birth of Frederick Douglass, and a commission should be 
        established to plan, develop, and carry out, and to recommend 
        to Congress, programs and activities that are fitting and 
        proper to celebrate that anniversary in a manner that 
        appropriately honors Frederick Douglass.

SEC. 3. ESTABLISHMENT.

  There is established a commission to be known as the Frederick 
Douglass Bicentennial Commission (referred to in this Act as the 
``Commission'').

SEC. 4. DUTIES.

  The Commission shall have the following duties:
          (1) To plan, develop, and carry out programs and activities 
        that are fitting and proper to honor Frederick Douglass on the 
        occasion of the bicentennial anniversary of Douglass' birth.
          (2) To recommend to Congress programs and activities that the 
        Commission considers fitting and proper to honor Frederick 
        Douglass on such occasion, and the entity or entities in the 
        Federal Government that the Commission considers most 
        appropriate to carry out such programs and activities.

SEC. 5. MEMBERSHIP.

  (a) Number and Appointment.--The Commission shall be composed of 16 
members appointed as follows:
          (1) Two members, each of whom shall be a qualified citizen 
        described in subsection (b), appointed by the President.
          (2) One member, who shall be a qualified citizen described in 
        subsection (b), appointed by the President on the 
        recommendation of the Governor of Maryland.
          (3) One member, who shall be a qualified citizen described in 
        subsection (b), appointed by the President on the 
        recommendation of the Governor of Massachusetts.
          (4) One member, who shall be a qualified citizen described in 
        subsection (b), appointed by the President on the 
        recommendation of the Governor of New York.
          (5) One member, who shall be a qualified citizen described in 
        subsection (b), appointed by the President on the 
        recommendation of the Mayor of the District of Columbia.
          (6) Three members, at least one of whom shall be a Member of 
        the House of Representatives, appointed by the Speaker of the 
        House of Representatives.
          (7) Three members, at least one of whom shall be a Senator, 
        appointed by the majority leader of the Senate.
          (8) Two members, at least one of whom shall be a Member of 
        the House of Representatives, appointed by the minority leader 
        of the House of Representatives.
          (9) Two members, at least one of whom shall be a Senator, 
        appointed by the minority leader of the Senate.
  (b) Qualified Citizen.--A qualified citizen described in this 
subsection is a private citizen of the United States with--
          (1) a demonstrated dedication to educating others about the 
        importance of historical figures and events; and
          (2) substantial knowledge and appreciation of Frederick 
        Douglass.
  (c) Time of Appointment.--Each initial appointment of a member of the 
Commission shall be made before the expiration of the 60-day period 
beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act.
  (d) Continuation of Membership.--If a member of the Commission was 
appointed to the Commission as a Member of Congress, and ceases to be a 
Member of Congress, that member may continue to serve on the Commission 
for not longer than the 30-day period beginning on the date that member 
ceases to be a Member of Congress.
  (e) Terms.--Each member shall be appointed for the life of the 
Commission.
  (f) Vacancies.--A vacancy in the Commission shall not affect the 
powers of the Commission but shall be filled in the manner in which the 
original appointment was made.
  (g) Basic Pay.--Members shall serve on the Commission without pay.
  (h) Travel Expenses.--Each member shall receive travel expenses, 
including per diem in lieu of subsistence, in accordance with sections 
5702 and 5703 of title 5, United States Code.
  (i) Quorum.--Six members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum 
but a lesser number may hold hearings.
  (j) Chair.--The Commission shall select a Chair from among the 
members of the Commission.
  (k) Meetings.--The Commission shall meet at the call of the Chair. 
Periodically, the Commission shall hold a meeting in Rochester, New 
York.

SEC. 6. DIRECTOR AND STAFF.

  (a) Director.--The Commission may appoint and fix the pay of a 
Director and such additional personnel as the Commission considers to 
be appropriate.
  (b) Applicability of Certain Civil Service Laws.--
          (1) Director.--The Director of the Commission may be 
        appointed without regard to the provisions of title 5, United 
        States Code, governing appointments in the competitive service, 
        and may be paid without regard to the provisions of chapter 51 
        and subchapter III of chapter 53 of that title relating to 
        classification and General Schedule pay rates.
          (2) Staff.--The staff of the Commission shall be appointed 
        subject to the provisions of title 5, United States Code, 
        governing appointments in the competitive service, and shall be 
        paid in accordance with the provisions of chapter 51 and 
        subchapter III of chapter 53 of that title relating to 
        classification and General Schedule pay rates.

SEC. 7. POWERS.

  (a) Hearings and Sessions.--The Commission may, for the purpose of 
carrying out this Act, hold such hearings, sit and act at such times 
and places, take such testimony, and receive such evidence as the 
Commission considers to be appropriate.
  (b) Powers of Members and Agents.--Any member or agent of the 
Commission may, if authorized by the Commission, take any action that 
the Commission is authorized to take by this Act.
  (c) Obtaining Official Data.--The Commission may secure directly from 
any department or agency of the United States information necessary to 
enable the Commission to carry out this Act. Upon request of the Chair 
of the Commission, the head of that department or agency shall furnish 
that information to the Commission.
  (d) Mails.--The Commission may use the United States mails in the 
same manner and under the same conditions as other departments and 
agencies of the United States.
  (e) Administrative Support Services.--Upon the request of the 
Commission, the Administrator of General Services shall provide to the 
Commission, on a reimbursable basis, the administrative support 
services necessary for the Commission to carry out its responsibilities 
under this Act.
  (f) Gifts.--The Commission may solicit, accept, use, and dispose of 
gifts, bequests, or devises of money or other property for carrying out 
its duties.

SEC. 8. REPORTS.

  (a) Initial Report.--Not later than August 1, 2018, the Commission 
shall submit to Congress an initial report containing its 
recommendations under section 4(2).
  (b) Final Report.--Not later than June 1, 2019, the Commission shall 
submit a final report to Congress, and shall include in the final 
report--
          (1) a summary of its activities and programs;
          (2) a final accounting of the funds the Commission received 
        and expended; and
          (3) any other information that the Commission considers to be 
        appropriate.

SEC. 9. TERMINATION.

  The Commission shall terminate 30 days after submitting the final 
report pursuant to section 8(b).

                     Committee Statement and Views


                          PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    H.R. 2989, the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Commission 
Act, establishes a commission to commemorate the bicentennial 
anniversary of the birth of Frederick Douglass. The Commission 
shall plan, develop, carry out, and recommend to Congress 
programs and activities that are fitting and proper to 
celebrate the anniversary in a manner that appropriately honors 
Frederick Douglass.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    The year 2018 marks the bicentennial anniversary of the 
birth of Frederick Douglass, one of the most recognizable 
figures of the 19th century abolitionist movement. Born into 
slavery in Maryland c. 1817, Douglass escaped by the age of 
21.\1\ Douglass went on to publish an autobiography documenting 
his life as a slave, Narrative of the Life of Frederick 
Douglass, while a fugitive slave.\2\ The initial print quickly 
sold out, marking the beginning of Douglass's life advocating 
against slavery and for equal civil rights.\3\ To commemorate 
Douglass's birth, H.R. 2989 establishes a 16-member commission 
to plan, develop, coordinate, and recommend to Congress 
activities honoring Douglass and his work.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass 
26, 241 (2d ed., Webb & Chapman, GT: 1946).
    \2\Id. at iii-iv.
    \3\E.g., Frederick Douglass, My Bondage and My Freedom (1855); 
Frederick Douglass, Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (1881).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    On June 21, 2017, Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) 
introduced H.R. 2989, the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial 
Commission Act, with Representative Andy Harris (R-MD). H.R. 
2989 was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government 
Reform. The Committee considered H.R. 2989 at a business 
meeting on July 19, 2017, and ordered the bill reported 
favorably, as amended, by voice vote.
    On July 19, 2017, Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) 
introduced a bill substantially similar to H.R. 2989. Senator 
Van Hollen introduced S. 1582, the Frederick Douglass 
Bicentennial Commission Act, with Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-
MD), and it was referred to the Senate Committee on the 
Judiciary.
    Delegate Norton introduced bills substantially similar to 
H.R. 2989 in the 114th Congress and the 113th Congress. In the 
114th Congress, Delegate Norton introduced H.R. 4543, the 
Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Commission Act, which was 
referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. 
In the 113th Congress, Delegate Norton introduced H.R. 4055, 
the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Commission Act, which was 
also referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government 
Reform.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short title

    The short title is the ``Frederick Douglass Bicentennial 
Commission Act''.

Sec. 2. Findings

    Section 2 makes several findings related to Frederick 
Douglass's life.

Sec. 3. Establishment

    Section 3 establishes the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial 
Commission (``the Commission'').

Sec. 4. Duties

    Section 4 prescribes the twofold duties of the Commission. 
First, the Commission must plan, develop, and carry out 
programs and activities that are fitting and proper to honor 
Frederick Douglass on the occasion of the bicentennial 
anniversary of his birth. Second, the Commission must recommend 
to Congress activities that are fitting and proper to honor 
Frederick Douglass, and identify the entities in the Federal 
Government it considers most appropriate to carry out those 
activities.

Sec. 5. Membership

    Section 5 provides for the composition of the Commission 
and selection of its 16 members. Six of the commissioners are 
to be qualified citizens appointed by the President, four of 
whom are appointed upon recommendations. The remaining ten 
commissioners are to be appointed by congressional leadership. 
``Qualified citizen'' is defined in subsection (b), and 
includes a requirement that the individual be dedicated to 
historical education and possess substantial knowledge of 
Frederick Douglass.
    Each commissioner must be appointed within 60 days of 
enactment and is appointed for the life of the Commission. A 
commissioner who was also a Member of Congress at the time of 
appointment cannot serve for longer than 30 days after leaving 
Congress. Any vacancies on the Commission are filled as the 
original appointment and do not affect the Commission's ability 
to conduct its work.
    Commissioners serve on the Commission without pay, but are 
eligible to receive travel expenses in accordance with sections 
5702 and 5703 of title 5, United States Code.
    Six members of the Commission constitute a quorum to 
conduct business but the Commission can establish a lesser 
number of commissioners to constitute a quorum to conduct 
hearings.
    The Commission will be led by a chair, selected from among 
the commissioners by the commissioners, and will meet 
periodically in Rochester, New York, and at the call of the 
Chair.

Sec. 6. Director and staff

    Section 6 authorizes the Commission to hire a Director and 
staff and establish their salaries, subject to certain 
restrictions in title 5.

Sec. 7. Powers

    Section 7 authorizes the Commission to hold hearings, take 
testimony, and receive evidence in furtherance of its duties as 
appropriate, and at such time and place it determines. The 
Commission may require the production of information from any 
department or agency of the United States consistent with those 
duties. The bill does not authorize appropriations and the 
Committee intends the Commission to be privately funded except 
as it relates to use of the United States Postal Service. 
Consequently, the bill authorizes the Commission to solicit, 
accept, use, and dispose of gifts for carrying out its duties 
and utilize administrative support services from the General 
Services Administration on a reimbursable basis.
    The Commission may authorize any commissioner or agent of 
the Commission to exercise its authorities under the Act.

Sec. 8. Reports

    Section 8 requires the Commission to submit an initial 
report containing its recommendations to Congress by August 1, 
2018 and a final report by June 1, 2019. The final report must 
include a summary of the Commission's activities and an 
accounting of its fundraising and expenditures.

Sec. 9. Termination

    The Commission terminates 30 days after submission of its 
final report.

                       Explanation of Amendments

    During Committee consideration of the bill, Delegate Norton 
offered an amendment in the nature of a substitute, reflected 
in the sectional analysis above, amending paragraphs (1) and 
(2) of section 4, section 5(c), and section (8); striking 
section 6(c) in the bill as introduced and inserting section 
7(f) in the amendment; and striking section 10 in the bill as 
introduced. The Committee agreed to the amendment by voice 
vote.

                        Committee Consideration

    On July 19, 2017, the Committee met in open session and, 
with a quorum being present, ordered the bill, as amended, 
favorably reported by voice vote.

                            Roll Call Votes

    There were no roll call votes requested or conducted during 
consideration of H.R. 2989.

              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 Frederick Douglass Bicentennial 
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 Frederick 
Douglass Bicentennial 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 or title 5, United States Code.

                     Federal Advisory Committee Act

    The Committee finds 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, United 
States Code.

                      Unfunded Mandates Statement

    Pursuant to section 423 of the Congressional Budget and 
Impoundment Control Act (Pub. L. 113-67), the Committee has 
included a letter received from the Congressional Budget Office 
below.

                         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 of the House of Representatives.

                           Committee Estimate

    Pursuant to clause 3(d)(2)(B) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, the Committee includes below a 
cost estimate of the bill prepared by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office under section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

   New Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the House of 
Representatives, the cost estimate prepared by the 
Congressional Budget Office and submitted pursuant to section 
402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 is as follows:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, July 26, 2017.
Hon. Trey Gowdy,
Chairman, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform,
House of Respresentatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 2989, the 
Frederick Douglass Bicentennial 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,
                                             Mark P. Hadley
                                        (For Keith Hall, Director).
    Enclosure.

H.R. 2989--Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Commission Act

    H.R. 2989 would establish a commission to plan programs and 
activities to commemorate the bicentennial anniversary of 
Frederick Douglass' birth. The commission would consist of 16 
members. Members would serve without pay but would be 
reimbursed for travel expenses. The legislation would authorize 
the commission to hold hearings, hire staff, and collect 
information from federal agencies. Under the bill, the 
commission could retain and spend gifts. The commission would 
submit a final report to the Congress on June 1, 2019, and 
terminate 30 days later.
    Based on the cost of similar commissions, CBO estimates 
that implementing the bill would cost about $2 million over the 
2018-2022 period; assuming appropriation of the necessary 
amounts.
    Enacting H.R. 2989 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 the bill would not affect revenues.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 2989 would not increase 
net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    H.R. 2989 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.

          Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill as Reported

    The legislation would neither repeal nor amend existing 
law, within the meaning of clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the 
House of Representatives.

                                  [all]