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S. 2853 (111th): Bipartisan Task Force for Responsible Fiscal Action Act of 2009

The text of the bill below is as of Dec 9, 2009 (Introduced).


II

111th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 2853

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

December 9, 2009

(for himself, Mr. Gregg, Mr. Lieberman, Mr. Chambliss, Mr. Nelson of Florida, Mr. Isakson, Mr. Bayh, Mr. Voinovich, Mrs. McCaskill, Mr. LeMieux, Mr. Udall of Colorado, Mr. Alexander, Mr. Bennet, Mr. Crapo, Mr. Nelson of Nebraska, Mr. Brownback, Ms. Klobuchar, Mr. Corker, Mr. Warner, Mrs. Hutchison, Mrs. Shaheen, Mr. Enzi, Mr. Dorgan, Mr. Bond, Mr. Bennett, Mr. Ensign, Mr. Johanns, Mrs. Feinstein, Mr. McCain, and Mr. Cornyn) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Budget

A BILL

To establish a Bipartisan Task Force for Responsible Fiscal Action, to assure the long-term fiscal stability and economic security of the Federal Government of the United States, and to expand future prosperity and growth for all Americans.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Bipartisan Task Force for Responsible Fiscal Action Act of 2009.

2.

Establishment of task force

Title III of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 (2 U.S.C. 631 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

316.

Establishment of Task Force for Responsible Fiscal Action

(a)

Definitions

In this section:

(1)

Task force

The term Task Force means the Bipartisan Task Force for Responsible Fiscal Action established under subsection (b)(1).

(2)

Task force bill

The term Task Force bill means a bill consisting of the proposed legislative language of the Task Force recommended under subsection (b)(3)(B) and introduced under subsection (e)(1).

(3)

Fiscal imbalance

The term fiscal imbalance means the gap between the projected revenues and expenditures of the Federal Government.

(b)

Establishment of task force

(1)

Establishment

There is established in the legislative branch a task force to be known as the Bipartisan Task Force for Responsible Fiscal Action.

(2)

Purposes

(A)

Review

The Task Force shall review the fiscal imbalance of the Federal Government, including—

(i)

analyses of projected Federal expenditures;

(ii)

analyses of projected Federal revenues; and

(iii)

analyses of the current and long-term actuarial financial condition of the Federal Government.

(B)

Identify factors

The Task Force shall identify factors that affect the long-term fiscal imbalance of the Federal Government.

(C)

Analyze potential courses of action

The Task Force shall analyze potential courses of action to address factors that affect the long-term fiscal imbalance of the Federal Government.

(D)

Provide recommendations and legislative language

The Task Force shall provide recommendations and legislative language that will significantly improve the long-term fiscal imbalance of the Federal Government, including recommendations addressing—

(i)

Federal expenditures;

(ii)

Federal revenues; and

(iii)

the current and long-term actuarial financial condition of the Federal Government.

(3)

Duties

(A)

In general

The Task Force shall address the Nation’s long-term fiscal imbalances, consistent with the purposes described in paragraph (2), and shall submit the report and recommendations required under subparagraph (B).

(B)

Report, recommendations, and legislative language

(i)

In general

Not earlier than November 3, 2010, and not later than November 9, 2010, the Task Force shall vote on a report that contains—

(I)

a detailed statement of the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the Task Force;

(II)

the assumptions, scenarios, and alternatives considered in reaching such findings, conclusions, and recommendations; and

(III)

proposed legislative language to carry out such recommendations as described in paragraph (2)(D).

(ii)

Approval of report

The report of the Task Force submitted under clause (i) shall require the approval of not fewer than 14 of the 18 members of the Task Force.

(iii)

Additional views

A member of the Task Force who gives notice of an intention to file supplemental, minority, or additional views at the time of final Task Force approval of the report under clause (ii), shall be entitled to not less than 3 calendar days in which to file such views in writing with the staff director of the Task Force. Such views shall then be included in the Task Force report and printed in the same volume, or part thereof, and their inclusion shall be noted on the cover of the report. In the absence of timely notice, the Task Force report may be printed and transmitted immediately without such views.

(iv)

Transmission of report

No later than November 15, 2010, the Task Force shall submit the Task Force bill and final report to the President, the Vice President, the Speaker of the House, and the majority and minority leaders of both Houses.

(v)

Report to be made public

Upon the approval or disapproval of the Task Force report pursuant to clause (ii), the Task Force shall promptly make the full report, and a record of the vote, available to the public.

(4)

Membership

(A)

In general

The Task Force shall be composed of 18 members designated pursuant to subparagraph (B).

(B)

Designation

Members of the Task Force shall be designated as follows:

(i)

The President shall designate 2 members, one of whom shall be the Secretary of the Treasury, and the other of whom shall be an officer of the executive branch.

(ii)

The majority leader of the Senate shall designate 4 members from among Members of the Senate.

(iii)

The minority leader of the Senate shall designate 4 members from among Members of the Senate.

(iv)

The Speaker of the House of Representatives shall designate 4 members from among Members of the House of Representatives.

(v)

The minority leader of the House of Representatives shall designate 4 members from among Members of the House of Representatives.

(C)

Co-chairs

(i)

In general

There shall be 2 Co-Chairs of the Task Force. The President, majority leader of the Senate, and Speaker of the House shall designate one Co-Chair among the members of the Task Force. The minority leader of the Senate and minority leader of the House shall designate the second Co-Chair among the members of the Task Force. The Co-Chairs shall be appointed not later than 14 days after the date of enactment of this section.

(ii)

Staff director

The Co-Chairs, acting jointly, shall hire the staff director of the Task Force.

(D)

Date

Members of the Task Force shall be designated by not later than 14 days after the date of enactment of this section.

(E)

Period of designation

Members shall be designated for the life of the Task Force. Any vacancy in the Task Force shall not affect its powers, but shall be filled not later than 14 days after the date on which the vacancy occurs in the same manner as the original designation.

(F)

Compensation

Members of the Task Force shall serve without any additional compensation for their work on the Task Force. However, members may be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, in accordance with sections 5702 and 5703 of title 5, United States Code, while away from their homes or regular places of business in performance of services for the Task Force.

(5)

Administration

(A)

Authority to establish rules and regulations

The Co-Chairs, in consultation with the other members of the Task Force, may establish rules and regulations for the conduct of Task Force business, if such rules and regulations are not inconsistent with this section or other applicable law.

(B)

Quorum

Fourteen members of the Task Force shall constitute a quorum for purposes of voting, meeting, and holding hearings.

(C)

Voting

(i)

Proxy voting

No proxy voting shall be allowed on behalf of the members of the Task Force.

(ii)

Report, recommendations and legislative language

(I)

Dates

The Task Force may not vote on any version of the report, recommendations, or legislative language before the timing provided for in paragraph (3)(B)(i).

(II)

Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation Estimates

The Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation shall provide estimates of the Task Force report and recommendations (as described in subsection (b)(2)(D)) in accordance with section 308(a) and 201(f) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974. The Task Force may not vote on any version of the report, recommendations, or legislative language unless a final estimate is available for consideration by all the members at least 72 hours prior to the vote.

(D)

Meetings

(i)

Initial meeting

Not later than 45 days after the date of enactment of this section, the Task Force shall hold its first meeting.

(ii)

Meetings

The Task Force shall meet at the call of the Co-Chairs or at least 10 of its members.

(iii)

Agenda

An agenda shall be provided to the Task Force members at least 1 week in advance of any meeting. Task Force members who want to have items placed on the agenda for consideration shall notify the staff director as early as possible, but not less than 48 hours in advance of a scheduled meeting.

(E)

Hearings

(i)

In general

Subject to subparagraph (G), the Task Force may, for the purpose of carrying out this section, hold such hearings, sit and act at such times and places, take such testimony, receive such evidence, and administer such oaths the Task Force considers advisable.

(ii)

Hearing procedures and responsibilities of co-chairs

(I)

Announcement

The Task Force Co-Chairs shall make public announcement of the date, place, time, and subject matter of any hearing to be conducted at least 1 week in advance of such hearing, unless the Co-Chairs determine that there is good cause to begin such hearing at an earlier date.

(II)

Written statement

A witness appearing before the Task Force shall file a written statement of proposed testimony at least 2 days prior to appearance, unless the requirement is waived by the Co-Chairs, following their determination that there is good cause for failure of compliance.

(F)

Technical assistance

Upon written request of the Co-Chairs, a Federal agency shall provide technical assistance to the Task Force in order for the Task Force to carry out its duties.

(G)

Information

(i)

Resources

(I)

In general

Notwithstanding section 1108 of title 31, United States Code, the Task Force shall have authority to access assistance, materials, resources, statistical data, and other information the Task Force determines to be necessary to carry out its duties directly from an officer or employee of any executive department, bureau, agency, board, commission, office, independent establishment, or instrumentality of the Government, including the Library of Congress, the Chief Actuary of the Social Security Administration, the Chief Actuary of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Congressional Budget Office, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of Management and Budget, the Government Accountability Office, and the Joint Committee on Taxation. Each agency or instrumentality shall, to the extent permitted by law, furnish such information to the Task Force upon written request of the Co-Chairs.

(II)

Copies supplied

Copies of written requests and all written or electronic responses provided under this clause shall be provided to the staff director and shall be made available for review by all members of the Task Force upon request.

(ii)

Receipt, handling, storage, and dissemination of information

Information shall only be received, handled, stored, and disseminated by members of the Task Force and its staff consistent with all applicable statutes, regulations, and Executive orders.

(iii)

Limitation of access to tax information

Information accessed under this subparagraph shall not include tax data from the United States Internal Revenue Service, the release of which would otherwise be in violation of law.

(H)

Postal services

The Task Force may use the United States mails in the same manner and under the same conditions as other departments and agencies of the Federal Government.

(I)

Assistance from Federal agencies

(i)

General services administration

Upon the request of the Co-Chairs of the Task Force, the Administrator of General Services shall provide to the Task Force, on a reimbursable basis, the administrative support services necessary for the Task Force to carry out its responsibilities under this section. These administrative services may include human resources management, budget, leasing, accounting, and payroll services.

(ii)

Other departments and agencies

In addition to the assistance prescribed in clause (i), departments and agencies of the United States may provide to the Task Force such services, funds, facilities, staff, and other support services as they may determine advisable and as may be authorized by law.

(J)

Contract authority

The Task Force is authorized to enter into contracts with Federal and State agencies, private firms, institutions, and individuals for the conduct of activity necessary to the discharge of its duties and responsibilities. A contract, lease, or other legal agreement entered into by the Task Force may not extend beyond the date of the termination of the Task Force.

(c)

Staff of task force

(1)

Appointment and compensation of shared staff

The Co-Chairs may appoint and fix the compensation of a staff director and such other personnel as may be necessary to enable the Task Force to carry out its functions, without regard to the provisions of title 5, United States Code, governing appointments in the competitive service, but at rates not to exceed the daily rate paid a person occupying a position at level III of the Executive Schedule under section 5314 of title 5, United States Code.

(2)

Additional staff for task force members

Each member of the Task Force may appoint up to 2 additional dedicated staff and fix the compensation of such dedicated personnel without regard to the provisions of title 5, United States Code, governing appointments in the competitive service, but at rates not to exceed the daily rate paid a person occupying a position at level III of the Executive Schedule under section 5314 of title 5, United States Code. Dedicated staff shall report to each appointing member.

(3)

Personnel as Federal employees

(A)

In general

The staff director and any personnel of the Task Force who are employees shall be employees under section 2105 of title 5, United States Code, for purposes of chapters 63, 81, 83, 84, 85, 87, 89, and 90 of that title.

(B)

Members of task force

Subparagraph (A) shall not be construed to apply to members of the Task Force.

(4)

Outside consultants

No outside consultants or other personnel, either by contract, detail, volunteer, or through a remunerative agreement, may be hired without the approval of the Co-Chairs.

(5)

Detailees

With the approval of the Co-Chairs any Federal Government employee may be detailed to the Task Force with or without reimbursement from the Task Force, and such detailee shall retain the rights, status, and privileges of his or her regular employment without interruption. Reimbursable amounts may include the fair value of equipment and supplies used by the detailee in support of the Task Force’s activities. For the purpose of this paragraph, Federal Government employees shall include employees of the legislative branch.

(6)

Consultant services

The Co-Chairs of the Task Force are authorized to procure the services of experts and consultants in accordance with section 3109 of title 5, United States Code, but at rates not to exceed the daily rate paid a person occupying a position at level III of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of title 5, United States Code.

(7)

Temporary and intermittent services

The Co-Chairs of the Task Force may procure temporary and intermittent services under section 3109(b) of title 5, United States Code, at rates for individuals which do not exceed the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay prescribed for level III of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of such title.

(8)

Volunteer services

(A)

In general

Notwithstanding the provisions of section 1342 of title 31, United States Code, the Co-Chairs of the Task Force are authorized to accept and utilize the services of volunteers serving without compensation. The Task Force may reimburse such volunteers for local travel and office supplies, and for other travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of substance, as authorized by section 5703 of title 5, United States Code.

(B)

Employee status

A person providing volunteer services to the Task Force shall be considered an employee of the Federal Government in the performance of those services for the purposes of Chapter 81 of title 5, United States Code, relating to compensation for work-related injuries, chapter 171 of title 28, United States Code, relating to tort claims and chapter 11 of title 18, United States Code, relating to conflicts of interests.

(C)

Ethical guidelines for staff

In the absence of statutorily defined coverage, the staff, including staff director, shall follow the ethical rules and guidelines of the Senate. Staff coming from the private sector or outside public government may petition the Co-Chairs for a waiver from provisions of Senate Ethics rules.

(9)

Advisory panel

The Task Force may establish an advisory panel consisting of volunteers with knowledge and expertise relevant to the Task Force’s purpose. Membership of the Advisory Panel, and the scope of the Panel’s activities, shall be decided by the Co-Chairs in consultation with the other members of the Task Force.

(d)

Termination

(1)

In general

The Task Force shall terminate on the date that is 90 days after the Task Force submits the report required under paragraph (b)(3)(B).

(2)

Concluding activities

The Task Force may use the 90-day period referred to in paragraph (1) for the purpose of concluding its activities, including providing testimony to committees of Congress concerning its report and disseminating the final report.

(e)

Expedited consideration of task force recommendations

(1)

Introduction

(A)

Reconvening

(i)

In the House of Representatives

Upon receipt of a report under subsection (b)(3)(B), the Speaker, if the House would otherwise be adjourned, shall notify the Members of the House that, pursuant to this section, the House shall convene not later than November 23, 2010.

(ii)

In the Senate

(I)

Convening

Upon receipt of a report under subsection (b)(3)(B), if the Senate has adjourned or recessed for more than 2 days, the majority leader of the Senate, after consultation with the minority leader of the Senate, shall notify the Members of the Senate that, pursuant to this section, the Senate shall convene not later than November 23, 2010.

(II)

Adjourning

No concurrent resolution adjourning the Senate for more than 3 days shall be in order until the Senate votes on passage of the Task Force bill under paragraph (2)(B)(iv).

(B)

Introduction of Task Force bill

The proposed legislative language contained in the report submitted pursuant to subsection (b)(3)(B), upon receipt by the Congress, shall be introduced not later than November 23, 2010, in the Senate and in the House of Representatives by the majority leader of each House of Congress, for himself, the minority leader of each House of Congress, for himself, or any member of the House designated by the majority leader or minority leader. If the Task Force bill is not introduced in accordance with the preceding sentence in either House of Congress, then any Member of that House may introduce the Task Force bill on any day thereafter. Upon introduction, the Task Force bill shall be referred to the appropriate committees under subparagraph (C).

(C)

Committee consideration

A Task Force bill introduced in either House of Congress shall be jointly referred to the committee or committees of jurisdiction and the Committee on the Budget of that House, which committees shall report the bill without any revision and with a favorable recommendation, an unfavorable recommendation, or without recommendation, not later than 7 calendar days after the date of introduction of the bill in that House, or the first day thereafter on which that House is in session. If any committee fails to report the bill within that period, that committee shall be automatically discharged from consideration of the bill, and the bill shall be placed on the appropriate calendar.

(2)

Expedited Procedures

(A)

Fast track consideration in House of Representatives

(i)

Proceeding to consideration

It shall be in order, not later than 2 days of session after the date on which a Task Force bill is reported or discharged from all committees to which it was referred, for the majority leader of the House of Representatives or the majority leader’s designee, to move to proceed to the consideration of the Task Force bill. It shall also be in order for any Member of the House of Representatives to move to proceed to the consideration of the Task Force bill at any time after the conclusion of such 2-day period. All points of order against the motion are waived. Such a motion shall not be in order after the House has disposed of a motion to proceed on the Task Force bill. The previous question shall be considered as ordered on the motion to its adoption without intervening motion. The motion shall not be debatable. A motion to reconsider the vote by which the motion is disposed of shall not be in order.

(ii)

Consideration

The Task Force bill shall be considered as read. All points of order against the Task Force bill and against its consideration are waived. The previous question shall be considered as ordered on the Task Force bill to its passage without intervening motion except 100 hours of debate equally divided and controlled by the proponent and an opponent, and any motion to limit debate. A motion to reconsider the vote on passage of the Task Force bill shall not be in order.

(iii)

Appeals

Appeals from decisions of the chair relating to the application of the Rules of the House of Representatives to the procedure relating to a Task Force bill shall be decided without debate.

(iv)

Application of house rules

Except to the extent specifically provided in paragraph (2)(A), consideration of a Task Force bill shall be governed by the Rules of the House of Representatives. It shall not be in order in the House of Representatives to consider any Task Force bill introduced pursuant to the provisions of this subsection under a suspension of the rules pursuant to Clause 1 of House Rule XV, or under a special rule reported by the House Committee on Rules.

(v)

No amendments

No amendment to the Task Force bill shall be in order in the House of Representatives.

(vi)

Vote on passage

Immediately following the conclusion of consideration of the Task Force bill, the vote on passage of the Task Force bill shall occur without any intervening action or motion, requiring an affirmative vote of three-fifths of the Members, duly chosen and sworn. If the Task Force bill is passed, the Clerk of the House of Representatives shall cause the bill to be transmitted to the Senate before the close of the next day of session of the House. The vote on passage shall occur not later than December 23, 2010.

(vii)

Vote

The House Committee on Rules may not report a rule or order that would have the effect of causing the Task Force bill to be approved by a vote of less than three-fifths of the Members, duly chosen and sworn.

(B)

Fast Track Consideration in Senate

(i)

In general

Notwithstanding Rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, it is in order, not later than 2 days of session after the date on which a Task Force bill is reported or discharged from all committees to which it was referred, for the majority leader of the Senate or the majority leader’s designee to move to proceed to the consideration of the Task Force bill. It shall also be in order for any Member of the Senate to move to proceed to the consideration of the Task Force bill at any time after the conclusion of such 2-day period. A motion to proceed is in order even though a previous motion to the same effect has been disagreed to. All points of order against the motion to proceed to the Task Force bill are waived. The motion to proceed is not debatable. The motion is not subject to a motion to postpone. A motion to reconsider the vote by which the motion is agreed to or disagreed to shall not be in order. If a motion to proceed to the consideration of the Task Force bill is agreed to, the Task Force bill shall remain the unfinished business until disposed of.

(ii)

Debate

All points of order against the Task Force bill and against consideration of the Task Force bill are waived. Consideration of the Task Force bill and of all debatable motions and appeals in connection therewith shall not exceed a total of 100 hours. Debate shall be divided equally between the majority and minority leaders or their designees. A motion further to limit debate on the Task Force bill is in order, shall require an affirmative vote of three-fifths of the Members duly chosen and sworn, and is not debatable. Any debatable motion or appeal is debatable for not to exceed 1 hour, to be divided equally between those favoring and those opposing the motion or appeal. All time used for consideration of the Task Force bill, including time used for quorum calls and voting, shall be counted against the total 100 hours of consideration.

(iii)

No amendments

An amendment to the Task Force bill, or a motion to postpone, or a motion to proceed to the consideration of other business, or a motion to recommit the Task Force bill, is not in order.

(iv)

Vote on passage

The vote on passage shall occur immediately following the conclusion of the debate on a Task Force bill, and a single quorum call at the conclusion of the debate if requested. Passage shall require an affirmative vote of three-fifths of the Members, duly chosen and sworn. The vote on passage shall occur not later than December 23, 2010.

(v)

Adjournment

If, by December 23, 2010, either House has failed to adopt a motion to proceed to the Task Force bill, paragraph (1)(A)(ii)(II) shall not apply.

(vi)

Rulings of the chair on procedure

Appeals from the decisions of the Chair relating to the application of the rules of the Senate, as the case may be, to the procedure relating to a Task Force bill shall be decided without debate.

(C)

Rules to coordinate action with other House

(i)

Referral

If, before the passage by 1 House of a Task Force bill of that House, that House receives from the other House a Task Force bill, then the Task Force bill of the other House shall not be referred to a committee and shall immediately be placed on the calendar.

(ii)

Procedure

If the Senate receives the Task Force bill passed by the House of Representatives before the Senate has voted on passage of the Task Force bill—

(I)

the procedure in the Senate shall be the same as if no Task Force bill had been received from House of Representatives; and

(II)

the vote on passage in the Senate shall be on the Task Force bill of the House of Representatives.

(iii)

Treatment of task force bill of other house

If 1 House fails to introduce or consider a Task Force bill under this section, the Task Force bill of the other House shall be entitled to expedited floor procedures under this section.

(iv)

Treatment of companion measures in the Senate

If following passage of the Task Force bill in the Senate, the Senate then receives the Task Force bill from the House of Representatives, the House-passed Task Force bill shall not be debatable. The vote on passage of the Task Force bill in the Senate shall be considered to be the vote on passage of the Task Force bill received from the House of Representatives.

(v)

Vetoes

If the President vetoes the Task Force bill, debate on a veto message in the Senate under this section shall be 1 hour equally divided between the majority and minority leaders or their designees.

(3)

Suspension

No motion to suspend the application of this subsection shall be in order in the Senate or in the House of Representatives.

.

3.

Funding

From the amounts appropriated or made available and remaining unobligated under division A (other than under title X of division A) of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111–5), there is rescinded pro rata an aggregate amount equal to $9,000,000, which amount shall be made available without need for further appropriation to the Bipartisan Task Force for Responsible Fiscal Action to carry out the purposes of the Bipartisan Task Force for Responsible Fiscal Action, and which shall remain available through fiscal year 2011. Not later than 14 days after the date of enactment of this section, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall administer the rescission and make available such amount to the Bipartisan Task Force for Responsible Fiscal Action.