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[Senate Report 116-50]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]


                                                      Calendar No. 127
_______________________________________________________________________
116th Congress }                                               { Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session   }                                               { 116-50             
_______________________________________________________________________
                                                 


                     CREATING ADVANCED STREAMLINED

            ELECTRONIC SERVICES FOR CONSTITUENTS ACT OF 2019

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

                   COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND

                          GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                          UNITED STATES SENATE

                              to accompany

                               H.R. 1079

                TO REQUIRE THE DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF
               MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET TO ISSUE GUIDANCE ON
            ELECTRONIC CONSENT FORMS, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

               
               [GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]


                 June 25, 2019.--Ordered to be printed
                 
                              __________
                 
                       
                       U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE
                
89-010                         WASHINGTON: 2019
                 



                 
        COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                    RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin, Chairman
ROB PORTMAN, Ohio                    GARY C. PETERS, Michigan
RAND PAUL, Kentucky                  THOMAS R. CARPER, Delaware
JAMES LANKFORD, Oklahoma             MAGGIE HASSAN, New Hampshire
MITT ROMNEY, Utah                    KAMALA D. HARRIS, California
RICK SCOTT, Florida                  KYRSTEN SINEMA, Arizona
MICHAEL B. ENZI, Wyoming             JACKY ROSEN, Nevada
JOSH HAWLEY, Missouri

                Gabrielle D'Adamo Singer, Staff Director
                  Joseph C. Folio, III, Chief Counsel
           Helen M. Heiden, Senior Professional Staff Member
               David M. Weinberg, Minority Staff Director
               Zachary I. Schram, Minority Chief Counsel
              Michelle M. Benecke, Minority Senior Counsel
                    Anne E. Nelson, Minority Fellow
                     Laura W. Kilbride, Chief Clerk





                                                    Calendar No. 127
                                                       
116th Congress }                                            { Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session   }                                            { 116-50

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

 
CREATING ADVANCED STREAMLINED ELECTRONIC SERVICES FOR CONSTITUENTS ACT 
                                OF 2019

                                _______
                                

                 June 25, 2019.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Johnson, from the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
                    Affairs, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 1079]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
Affairs, to which was referred the bill (H.R. 1079) to require 
the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to issue 
guidance on electronic consent forms, and for other purposes, 
having considered the same, reports favorably thereon without 
amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
  I. Purpose and Summary..............................................1
 II. Background and Need for the Legislation..........................2
III. Legislative History..............................................2
 IV. Section-by-Section Analysis......................................3
  V. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact..................................3
 VI. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................4
VII. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Act, as Reported.............5

                         I. PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    The purpose of H.R. 1079, the Creating Advanced Streamlined 
Electronic Services for Constituents Act of 2019, or the 
``CASES Act'', is to allow constituents the option of 
electronically authorizing their member of Congress to engage 
with a Federal agency on their behalf. Currently, Federal law 
prohibits a Federal agency from disclosing an individual's 
record to another person or agency without written 
authorization or consent from the individual.\1\ The 
legislation would require OMB to create a uniform privacy 
release form to be used across all agencies and to issue 
guidance requiring all Federal agencies to accept electronic 
consent forms.

    \1\5 U.S.C. Sec. 552a (2012).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

              II. BACKGROUND AND THE NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    One of the primary responsibilities of a member of Congress 
is to provide assistance to constituents experiencing an issue 
with a Federal agency. Constituent casework varies and 
typically includes requests for information on government 
activities or decisions, assistance tracking down missing 
benefit payments, or relief from a Federal administrative 
decision, among many others.\2\ When a constituent is unable to 
resolve a personal issue with an agency on their own, members 
and their staff often step in to serve as a liaison and help 
the constituent navigate the bureaucracy.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\Eric Petersen and Sarah J. Eckman, Cong. Research Serv., 
RL33209, Casework in a Congressional Office: Background, Rules, Laws, 
and Resources (2017).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Privacy Act of 1974 can hinder the casework process by 
prohibiting a Federal agency from sharing an individual's 
personally identifiable information with another agency or 
person, including a congressional office, without the 
individual's written authorization.\3\ While most Federal 
agencies accept any signed document from an individual granting 
their member of Congress access to their records, some agencies 
require their own forms to be submitted to initiate a casework 
inquiry.\4\

    \3\Id. at 7.
    \4\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    For the purpose of constituent casework, the Privacy Act 
requires a constituent to print a privacy release form, sign 
it, and mail, fax, email, or deliver it to their congressional 
office. Although this process works, constituents often reach 
out to their member of Congress during an emergency situation 
or after a natural disaster, and returning a privacy release 
form in this manner can become a burdensome task.\5\ H.R. 1079 
would modernize and simplify this process by providing 
constituents access to electronic consent forms.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \5\165 Cong Rec. 26, H1502-04 (daily ed. Feb. 11, 2019).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                        III. LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    Representatives Garret Graves (R-LA) and Joseph P. Kennedy, 
III (D-MA) introduced H.R. 1079, the Creating Advanced 
Streamlined Electronic Services for Constituents Act of 2019, 
on February 7, 2019. Companion legislation was introduced in 
the Senate by Senators Thomas R. Carper (D-DE) and Rob Portman 
(R-OH) on February 11, 2019. H.R. 1079 was referred to the 
Committee on Oversight and Reform, and the House of 
Representatives passed the bill on February 11, 2019. H.R. 1079 
was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and 
Governmental Affairs.
    The Committee considered H.R. 1079 at a business meeting on 
May 15, 2019. The legislation was ordered reported favorably en 
bloc by voice vote with Senators Johnson, Paul, Lankford, 
Scott, Peters, Carper, Hassan, and Rosen present. For the 
record only, Senators Portman, Romney, Hawley, and Sinema later 
asked to be recorded as ``yes'' by unanimous consent.

        IV. SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS OF THE ACT, AS REPORTED

Section 1. Short title

    This section gives the Act the short title of the 
``Creating Advanced Streamlined Electronic Services for 
Constituents Act of 2019'', or the ``CASES Act''.

Section 2. Sense of Congress

    This section states that it is the sense of the Congress 
that congressional offices provide important constituent 
services by acting as a liaison between constiuents and 
respective Federal agencies. This section further states that 
the inquiry process should be modernized and simplified through 
the creation of an electronic form that may be submitted in 
place of the written authorization required under Section 
552a(b) of Title 5.

Section 3. OMB guidance on electronic consent and access forms

    This section establishes a requirement for uniform 
documentation for constituent privacy releases and requires 
agencies to accept the documentation.
    Subsection (a) requires the Office of Management and Budget 
to issue guidance within one year of the date of enactment 
creating a uniform electronic consent form to authorize the 
disclosure of an individual's records to another Federal agency 
or person. The guidance requires the electronic consent form be 
posted to each agency's website and requires each agency to 
accept the electronic consent forms from any individual who has 
been properly identity proofed and authenticated. The guidance 
also requires each agency to accept electronic identity 
proofing and authentication processes.
    Subsection (b) requires each agency to comply with the 
guidance no later than one year of the date of the guidance 
being issued.
    Subsection (c) defines ``agency,'' ``individual,'' 
``record,'' and ``Director.''

Section 4. No additional funds authorized

    This section states that no additional funds are authorized 
to carry out this bill.

Section 5. Determination of budgetary effects

    This section states that for the purpose of complying with 
the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act, the budgetary effects of this 
legislation shall be determined by reference to the latest 
statement titled ``Budgtary Effects of PAYGO legislation'' for 
this Act, submitted by the Chairman of the House Budget 
Committee prior to the vote on passage.

                   V. EVALUATION OF REGULATORY IMPACT

    Pursuant to the requirements of paragraph 11(b) of rule 
XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee has 
considered the regulatory impact of this Act and determined 
that the Act will have no regulatory impact within the meaning 
of the rules. The Committee agrees with the Congressional 
Budget Office's statement that the Act contains no 
intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would impose no costs 
on state, local, or tribal governments.

             VI. CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE COST ESTIMATE

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, June 19, 2019.
Hon. Ron Johnson,
Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. 
        Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 1079, the CASES 
Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Chinmayee 
Balabhadrapatruni.
            Sincerely,
                                         Phillip L. Swagel,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

    
    

    H.R. 1079 would require the Office of Management and Budget 
to create an electronic system to enable Members of Congress to 
act on behalf of consenting individuals concerning matters with 
any federal agency. Currently, most Congressional offices 
performing constituent services with federal agencies utilize a 
paper-based authorization process to conduct those services and 
to comply with privacy protection laws.
    CBO estimates that creating the electronic authorization 
process envisioned in H.R. 1079 would be similar to the effort 
that was required to develop another federal system known as 
Login.gov. The cost of developing Login.gov--a system that 
offers 14 million users secure access to 18 federal agencies 
and more than 30 applications--was $30 million over a four year 
period. CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 1079, which would 
require a system with a single application and that would have 
fewer users would cost around $15 million, or less than $1 
million per major federal agency. Most of those costs would be 
subject to the availability of appropriated funds.
    Enacting this legislation could affect direct spending by 
some agencies because they are allowed to use receipts from the 
sale of goods, fees, and other collections to cover operating 
costs. As a result, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. CBO 
estimates that any net changes in direct spending by agencies 
would be insignificant because most agencies can adjust amounts 
collected to reflect changes in operating costs. Enacting the 
legislation would not affect revenues.
    The CBO staff contacts for this estimate are Chinmayee 
Balabhadrapatruni and Matthew Pickford. The estimate was 
reviewed by Theresa Gullo, Assistant Director for Budget 
Analysis.

       VII. CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW MADE BY THE ACT, AS REPORTED

    Because H.R. 1079 would not repeal or amend any provision 
of current law, it would make no changes in existing law within 
the meaning of clauses (a) and (b) of paragraph 12 of rule XXVI 
of the Standing Rules of the Senate.