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115th Congress    }                                 {         Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session       }                                 {         115-826

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



 
CREATING ADVANCED STREAMLINED ELECTRONIC SERVICES FOR CONSTITUENTS ACT 
                                OF 2018

                                _______
                                

 July 16, 2018.--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. 3076]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to whom 
was referred the bill (H.R. 3076) to amend section 552a of 
title 5, United States Code (commonly referred to as the 
Privacy Act) to require agencies to accept electronic release 
forms, and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
report favorably thereon with amendments and recommend that the 
bill as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Summary and Purpose of the Legislation...........................     3
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     3
Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the 
  Committee......................................................     4
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............     4
Legislative History..............................................     4
Committee Consideration..........................................     4
Roll Call Votes..................................................     4
Explanation of Amendments........................................     4
Application of Law to the Legislative Branch.....................     5
Duplication of Federal Programs..................................     5
Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings..............................     5
Federal Advisory Committee Act...................................     5
Unfunded Mandates Statement......................................     5
Earmark Identification...........................................     5
Committee Estimate...............................................     5
New Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost 
  Estimate.......................................................     6
Section-by-Section Analysis......................................     7
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............     8
    The amendments are as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SEC. 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Creating Advanced Streamlined 
Electronic Services for Constituents Act of 2018'' or the ``CASES 
Act''.

SEC. 2. SENSE OF CONGRESS.

  It is the sense of Congress that--
          (1) congressional offices provide crucial services to 
        constituents by acting as a liaison between the constituents 
        and the respective agencies;
          (2) this includes assisting constituents by making inquiries 
        and working toward resolutions on behalf of the constituent 
        with the respective agencies; and
          (3) this process should be simplified through the creation of 
        electronic forms that may be submitted under section 552a of 
        title 5, United States Code (commonly referred to as the 
        Privacy Act), thus modernizing the process for constituents and 
        improving access and efficiency of Government services and 
        agencies in order to expedite the resolution of the problem for 
        which constituents sought help.

SEC. 3. OMB GUIDANCE ON ELECTRONIC CONSENT FORMS.

  (a) Guidance.--Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment 
of this Act, the Director shall issue guidance that does the following:
          (1) Establishes--
                  (A) standards for each agency to develop an 
                electronic identity proofing and authentication process 
                for allowing an individual to provide a prior written 
                electronic consent form for the disclosure of the 
                individual's record under section 552a(b) of title 5, 
                United States Code, or for individual access to a 
                record under section 552a(d) of such title; or
                  (B) a method by which each agency can electronically 
                identity proof and authenticate an individual 
                submitting an electronic consent form through a central 
                online portal.
          (2) Creates a template for an electronic consent form that 
        can be properly identity proofed and authenticated in 
        accordance with paragraph (1).
          (3) Requires each agency to accept the electronic consent 
        form described in paragraph (2) that provides consent from any 
        individual properly identity proofed and authenticated in 
        accordance with paragraph (1) from the individual providing 
        consent or an entity other than the individual, including a 
        congressional office, on behalf of the individual for the 
        purpose of authorizing the disclosure of the individual's 
        record in accordance with section 552a(b) or 552a(d) of title 
        5, United States Code.
          (4) Authorizes each agency to provide an online link to the 
        consolidated online portal described under subsection (b)(1).
  (b) Portal; Consent Identifier; Congressional Function.--
          (1) Consolidated online portal.--
                  (A) Operation of portal.--The Director (or a 
                designee) shall operate (or designate the head of an 
                agency to operate) a consolidated online portal that 
                allows a member of the public to submit an electronic 
                consent form in accordance with the guidance issued 
                pursuant to subsection (a) to any agency from a single 
                website.
                  (B) Privacy and other features.--The portal shall 
                include features to protect the privacy of individuals 
                using the portal and may include any additional 
                functions the Director finds will improve the 
                implementation of this section.
                  (C) Use of existing website or portal.--The Director 
                may use any existing website or portal to satisfy the 
                requirements of this subsection, including the portal 
                established under section 552(m) of title 5, United 
                States Code.
          (2) Consent identifier.--The Director, or a designee, shall 
        assign each consent form submitted through the portal described 
        in paragraph (1) a consent identifier, which shall be provided 
        to the agency and the individual or entity submitting the 
        consent form. The agency shall track the consent form with the 
        consent identifier.
          (3) Congressional assistance function.--
                  (A) In general.--The Director, or a designee, shall 
                ensure the operation of a function that allows a 
                congressional office to provide a publicly available 
                online link to the portal described in paragraph (1), 
                which shall auto-populate information about such 
                congressional office, including an indication of 
                consent for such office to access a record in 
                accordance with section 552a(b) of title 5, United 
                States Code, in the consent form accessed through the 
                portal.
                  (B) Notification of consent identifier required.-- 
                The Director, or a designee, shall ensure the function 
                sends the consent identifier to the congressional 
                office when a consent form is submitted to an agency 
                through the portal as accessed through the function.
  (c) Agency Compliance.--Each agency shall comply with the guidance 
issued pursuant to subsection (a) not later than 1 year after the date 
on which such guidance is issued.
  (d) Definitions.--In this section:
          (1) Agency; individual; record.--The terms ``agency'', 
        ``individual'', and ``record'' have the meanings given those 
        terms in section 552a(a) of title 5, United States Code.
          (2) Consent identifier.--The term ``consent identifier'' 
        means a nonproprietary, unique identification number.
          (3) Director.--The term ``Director'' means the Director of 
        the Office of Management and Budget.

    Amend the title so as to read:
    A bill to require the Director of the Office of Management 
and Budget to issue guidance on electronic consent forms, and 
for other purposes.

                   SUMMARY AND PURPOSE OF LEGISLATION

    The Creating Advanced Streamlined Electronic Services for 
Constituents Act of 2018, or CASES Act, facilitates 
congressional casework by requiring federal agencies to accept 
electronic privacy release forms.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    H.R. 3076 allows members of Congress to better fulfill an 
important duty of their office. Since the early American 
republic, constituents have requested Congress's assistance in 
their interactions with the Executive Branch. In 1794, the 
House established a select committee for private claims to help 
sort out requests related to Revolutionary War pensions.\1\ 
Today, individual Members and congressional staff handle 
constituent services or casework. Though Members have 
significant flexibility in resources they devote to casework, 
most see it as a one of their most important responsibilities. 
As one former Congressman recalled, ``you learn more about the 
job by doing constituent service work than anything else.''\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Sarah J. Eckman, Cong. Research Serv., R44726, Constituent 
Services: Overview and Resources (2017).
    \2\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    When casework involves personally-identifiable information 
at an executive agency, the Privacy Act of 1974 prohibits the 
agency from providing access to an individual member of 
Congress without a release form signed by the constituent.\3\ 
Under the current process, a constituent cannot complete and 
submit a release form entirely online. Instead, a constituent 
must print the form, sign it, and then deliver or fax it or 
scan and email it to the congressional office. Once received by 
the congressional office, a staff member in the office submits 
the form to the individual agency with which a constituent is 
requesting assistance.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\R. Eric Petersen and Sarah J. Eckman, Cong. Research Serv., 
RL33209, Casework in a Congressional Office: Background, Rules, Laws, 
and Resources (2017).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The process works, but it is slow and cumbersome, often to 
the point of frustrating constituents. It can present 
particular challenges for constituents without access to 
printing or scanning services, but who would be able to 
complete and submit the release if it were entirely online, 
such as during the aftermath of a natural disaster.
    H.R. 3076 addresses this problem by allowing constituents 
to complete and submit a Privacy Act release online directly to 
each agency. Under the proposed system, agencies will notify 
the respective congressional office when a constituent 
successfully submits a release form. After receiving the 
notification, the Member office can then submit a casework 
request to the agency.

  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 previous section.

         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 for this bill is to require federal agencies 
to accept Privacy Act release forms electronically from 
constituents.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    On June 27, 2017, Representative Garret Graves (R-LA) 
introduced H.R. 3076, the Creating Advanced Streamlined 
Electronic Services (CASES) for Constituents Act of 2017, with 
Representative Joseph P. Kennedy, III (D-MA). H.R. 3076 was 
referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. 
The Committee considered H.R. 3076 at a business meeting on 
February 6, 2018 and ordered the bill favorably reported, as 
amended, by voice vote.

                        COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION

    On February 6, 2018, the Committee met in open session and, 
with a quorum being present, ordered the bill favorably 
reported, as amended, by voice vote.

                            ROLL CALL VOTES

    There were no roll call votes requested or conducted during 
Committee consideration of H.R. 3076.

                       EXPLANATION OF AMENDMENTS

    During Committee consideration of the bill, Representative 
Mark Meadows (R-NC), Chair of the Subcommittee on Government 
Operations, offered an amendment in the nature of a substitute. 
The amendment in the nature of a substitute included a Sense of 
Congress, expressing the importance of the congressional office 
in casework. In addition, it required the Office of Management 
and Budget to issue guidance to federal agencies to accept 
electronically submitted Privacy Act waivers. Agencies can 
either use a single portal created and maintained by the Office 
of Management and Budget or a designee, such as the General 
Services Administration, to accept these forms or another 
mechanism to authenticate individuals. Each submission will 
receive a consent identifier in order to track requests through 
the casework process.

              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. The 
purpose of this bill is to require federal agencies to accept 
Privacy Act release forms electronically from constituents. As 
such, this bill does not relate to employment or access to 
public services and accommodations.

                    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

    This bill directs the Office of Management and Budget to 
promulgate guidance on federal agencies' implementation of the 
requirement of this bill within one year of enactment.

                     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, 
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, May 4, 2018.
Hon. Trey Gowdy,
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. 3076, the CASES 
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,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 3076--CASES Act

    H.R. 3076 would require the Office of Management and Budget 
to create an electronic form that would allow individual users 
to consent to have a Member of Congress act on their behalf in 
matters concerning any federal agency. Under current law, most 
constituent services performed by federal agencies are provided 
using a paper process.
    CBO is unaware of any electronic authentication program 
currently under development or planned in the near term that 
features three-person authentication (constituent, agency, and 
Congressional staff). In addition, CBO is unaware of any 
comprehensive information on the amount of work that 
legislative branch employees provide for constituent services.
    Login.gov--an online system that offers about 4 million 
users secure, private access to 10 participating federal 
programs--cost about $15 million to develop. On that basis, CBO 
estimates that implementing H.R. 3076 by adding another secure 
access point to login.gov would cost less than $1 million per 
major federal agency. Estimated costs over the 2019-2023 
period, most of which would be subject to the availability of 
appropriated funds, would total about $15 million.
    Enacting H.R. 3076 could affect direct spending by some 
agencies because they are authorized to use receipts from the 
sale of goods and from fees and other collections to cover 
operating costs. Therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. 
Because most agencies can adjust the amounts collected as their 
operating costs change, CBO estimates any net changes in direct 
spending by those agencies would be insignificant. Enacting the 
bill would not affect revenues.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 3076 would not increase 
net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2029.
    H.R. 3076 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Matthew 
Pickford. The estimate was reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, 
Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Section 1. Short title

    Section 1 establishes the short title of the bill.

Sec. 2. Sense of Congress

    Section 2 provides a sense of congress related to the 
intent of the bill.

Sec. 3. OMB guidance on electronic consent forms

    Section 3 directs the Office of Management and Budget 
(OMB), within one year of enactment, to issue guidance 
establishing either standards for agencies to create electronic 
identity proofing and authentication processes or a central 
online consent portal through which agencies can electronically 
identity proof and authenticate individuals.
    If OMB chooses to establish standards for agencies to 
develop electronic identity proofing and authentication 
processes, then OMB will create a template consent form in 
accordance with the set standards. Agencies will accept consent 
forms from the individuals or other entities, including 
congressional offices, on behalf of the individual in 
accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974.
    Additionally, OMB or a designated agency such as the 
General Services Administration will ensure the operation of a 
consolidated online portal that allows individuals to submit 
consent forms that meet the OMB standards for identity proofing 
and authentication to any agency. This portal can be the 
existing portal, including the portal established for Freedom 
of Information Act requests. The portal will assign each 
consent form submitted through the portal a nonproprietary, 
unique identification number to be called a consent identifier. 
The consent identifier will be provided to the agency, 
individual, and entity submitting the identifier on behalf of 
the individual. Agencies will track the consent form with the 
consent identifier. The portal will include features to protect 
the privacy of individuals using the portal.
    OMB will ensure that the portal has an operational tool to 
allow congressional offices to link to the portal with 
information about the congressional office auto-populating the 
fields to indicate consent for such office to access the 
records in accordance with the Privacy Act. The tool will 
ensure the consent identifier is sent to the congressional 
office.
    To the extent user authentication is necessary to achieve 
the requirements of this bill, the Committee intends the Office 
of Management and Budget or its designee to comply with section 
225(b)(1)(D) of the Federal Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 
2015 in implementing this requirement, namely by utilizing the 
General Services Administration's single-sign on platform, 
login.gov.\4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\Pub. L. 114-113 (2015), Div. N, Title II, Subtitle B, Sec. 225, 
129 Stat. 2242, 2968 (6 U.S.C. Sec. 1523).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Agencies have one year to implement the form after guidance 
is issued.

         CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW MADE BY THE BILL, AS REPORTED

    H.R. 3076 would make no changes to existing law.

                                  [all]