H.R. 4131 (104th): Commission on Chemical and Biological Warfare Agent Exposure Act

104th Congress, 1995–1996. Text as of Sep 23, 1996 (Introduced).

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HR 4131 IH

104th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 4131

To establish a commission to investigate exposure to chemical and biological warfare agents as a result of the Persian Gulf conflict.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

September 23, 1996

Mr. BROWDER introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on National Security


A BILL

To establish a commission to investigate exposure to chemical and biological warfare agents as a result of the Persian Gulf conflict.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ‘Commission on Chemical and Biological Warfare Agent Exposure Act’.

SEC. 2. ESTABLISHMENT OF COMMISSION.

    (a) ESTABLISHMENT- There is established a commission to be known as the ‘Commission on Chemical and Biological Warfare Agent Exposure’ (in this Act referred to as the ‘Commission’).

    (b) COMPOSITION- The Commission shall be composed of 9 members (in this Act referred to as the ‘members’) who shall be appointed as follows:

      (1) 3 members shall be appointed by the President.

      (2) 2 members shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

      (3) 1 member shall be appointed by the minority leader of the House of Representatives.

      (4) 2 members shall be appointed by the President pro tempore of the Senate.

      (5) 1 member shall be appointed by the minority leader of the Senate.

    (c) QUALIFICATIONS-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Members shall be appointed from among individuals with knowledge and expertise relevant to the duties of the Commission, and may not be officers or employees of the United States.

      (2) EXCEPTION- A member who, when appointed to the Commission, was not an officer or employee of the United States, and who later becomes such an officer or employee may continue as a member for not longer than the 30-day period beginning on the date that the member becomes such an officer or employee.

    (d) INITIAL APPOINTMENTS- All initial appointments to the Commission shall be made not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.

    (e) CHAIRMAN- The Chairman of the Commission (in this Act referred to as the ‘Chairman’) shall be elected by the members.

    (f) PERIOD OF APPOINTMENT- Each member shall be appointed for the life of the Commission.

    (g) SECURITY CLEARANCES- All members of the Commission shall apply for appropriate security clearances. The Secretary of Defense shall provide expedited processing of security clearances of members.

    (h) INITIAL MEETING- The Commission shall convene its first meeting not later than 30 days after the date as of which all initial appointments to the Commission have been made.

SEC. 3. INVESTIGATION.

    The Commission shall investigate the following:

      (1) The presence of chemical and biological warfare agents in the Persian Gulf theater during the Persian Gulf conflict, the amounts and locations of the agents present, and the proximity of members of the Armed Forces to such locations.

      (2) The location and nature of all releases, detections, or reports of chemical or biological warfare agents in connection with the Persian Gulf conflict, the identity of the units of the Armed Forces and the number of individuals potentially exposed to the agents, and the degree of exposure to the agents.

      (3) The level of preparedness of members of the Armed Forces to recognize and respond to possible exposure to chemical and biological warfare agents during the Persian Gulf conflict, the appropriateness of standards used by the Armed Forces to evaluate low levels of exposure to the agents, the adequacy of medical training and procedures of the Armed Forces for identifying and treating exposure to the agents, the adequacy of information provided to members of the Armed Forces on the possible presence or release of the agents, and the appropriateness of instructions and procedures followed to protect members of the Armed Forces from exposure to the agents.

      (4) The handling by the Department of Defense of reports on the use, presence, destruction, storage, and transportation of chemical and biological weapons in connection with the Persian Gulf conflict.

      (5) The adequacy of the recordkeeping and reporting procedures of the Department of Defense with respect to exposure to chemical and biological warfare agents.

      (6) The adequacy of Department of Defense training, preparation, detection, and safety procedures concerning chemical and biological warfare agents.

SEC. 4. REPORT.

    Not later than 2 years after the first meeting of the Commission, the Commission shall submit to the President and the Congress a report containing--

      (1) the results and findings of the investigation conducted under section 3; and

      (2) recommendations for such changes as the Commission considers appropriate, in the recordkeeping, reporting, preparation, and training procedures of the Department of Defense with respect to exposure to chemical and biological warfare agents, to improve the safety and readiness of members of the Armed Forces.

SEC. 5. 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 appropriate. The Commission may administer oaths to witnesses appearing before it.

    (b) OBTAINING INFORMATION- The Commission may secure directly from any department or agency of the United States information necessary to enable it to carry out this Act. Upon request of the Chairman, the head of that department or agency shall furnish that information to the Commission in a full and timely manner.

    (c) SUBPOENA POWER-

      (1) IN GENERAL- The Commission may issue a subpoena to require the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of evidence relating to any matter under investigation by the Commission.

      (2) FAILURE TO OBEY AN ORDER OR SUBPOENA- If a person refuses to obey an order or subpoena of the Commission that is issued in connection with a Commission proceeding, the Commission may apply to the United States district court in the judicial district in which the proceeding is held for an order requiring the person to comply with the subpoena or order.

    (d) IMMUNITY- The Commission is an agency of the United States for purposes of part V of title 18, United States Code (relating to immunity of witnesses).

    (e) CONTRACT AUTHORITY- The Commission may contract with and compensate government and private agencies or persons for services without regard to section 3709 of the Revised Statutes (41 U.S.C. 5).

SEC. 6. COMMISSION PROCEDURES.

    (a) MEETINGS- The Commission shall meet at the call of the Chairman.

    (b) QUORUM- 5 members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum but a lesser number may hold hearings.

    (c) DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY- Any member or agent of the Commission may, if authorized by the Commission, take any action which the Commission is authorized to take by this Act.

SEC. 7. PERSONNEL MATTERS.

    (a) PAY OF MEMBERS- Members shall not be paid by reason of their service as members.

    (b) 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.

    (c) DIRECTOR- The Commission shall have a Director who shall be appointed by the Chairman.

    (d) STAFF- With the approval of the Commission and as the Director considers appropriate, the Director may--

      (1) appoint trained investigators and other Commission personnel; and

      (2) fix the pay of such trained investigators and other Commission personnel.

    (e) APPLICABILITY OF CERTAIN CIVIL SERVICE LAWS- The Director and 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. 8. OTHER ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS.

    (a) POSTAL AND PRINTING SERVICES- The Commission may use the United States mails and obtain printing and binding services in the same manner and under the same conditions as other departments and agencies of the United States.

    (b) 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 duties under this Act.

    (c) EXPERTS AND CONSULTANTS- The Commission may procure temporary and intermittent services under section 3109(b) of title 5, United States Code.

SEC. 9. BUDGET ACT COMPLIANCE.

    Any spending authority (as defined in subparagraphs (A) and (C) of section 401(c)(2) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974) authorized by this Act shall be effective only to such extent and in such amounts as are provided in advance in appropriations Acts.

SEC. 10. TERMINATION OF COMMISSION.

    The Commission shall terminate 60 days after submitting its report pursuant to section 4.