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S. 1586 (is) To authorize collection of certain State and local taxes with respect to the sale, delivery, and use of tangible personal property. ...
106th CONGRESS 1st Session S. 1585 To establish a Congressional Trade Office. _______________________________________________________________________ IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES September 15, 1999 Mr. Baucus introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance _______________________________________________________________________ A BILL To establish a Congressional Trade Office. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. FINDINGS. Congress makes the following findings: (1) Congress has responsibility under the Constitution for international commerce. (2) Congressional oversight of trade policy has often been hampered by a lack of resources. (3) The United States has entered into numerous trade agreements with foreign trading partners, including bilateral, regional, and multilateral agreements. (4) The purposes of the trade agreements are-- (A) to achieve a more open world trading system which provides mutually advantageous market opportunities for trade between the United States and foreign countries; (B) to facilitate the opening of foreign country markets to exports of the United States and other countries by eliminating trade barriers and increasing the access of United States industry and the industry of other countries to such markets; and (C) to reduce diversion of third country exports to the United States because of restricted market access in foreign countries. (5) Foreign country performance under certain agreements has been less than contemplated, and in some cases rises to the level of noncompliance. (6) The credibility of, and support for, the United States Government's trade policy is, to a significant extent, a function of the belief that trade agreements made are trade agreements enforced. SEC. 2. ESTABLISHMENT OF OFFICE. (a) In General.--There is established an office in Congress to be known as the Congressional Trade Office (in this Act referred to as the ``Office''). (b) Purposes.--The purposes of the Office are as follows: (1) To reassert the constitutional responsibility of Congress with respect to international trade. (2) To provide Congress, through the Committee on Finance of the Senate and the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives with additional independent, nonpartisan, neutral trade expertise. (3) To assist Congress in providing more effective and active oversight of trade policy. (4) To assist Congress in providing to the executive branch more effective direction on trade policy. (5) To provide Congress with long-term, institutional memory on trade issues. (6) To provide Congress with more analytical capability on trade issues. (7) To advise relevant committees on the impact of trade negotiations, including past, ongoing, and future negotiations, with respect to the areas of jurisdiction of the respective committees. (c) Director and Staff.-- (1) Director.-- (A) In general.--The Office shall be headed by a Director. The Director shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate after considering the recommendations of the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Finance of the Senate and the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representative. The Director shall be chosen without regard to political affiliation and solely on the basis of the Director's expertise and fitness to perform the duties of the Director. (B) Term.--The term of office of the Director shall be 5 years and the Director may be reappointed for subsequent terms. (C) Vacancy.--Any individual appointed to fill a vacancy prior to the expiration of a term shall serve only for the unexpired portion of that term. (D) Removal.--The Director may be removed by either House by resolution. (E) Compensation.--The Director shall receive compensation at a per annum gross rate equal to the rate of basic pay, as in effect from time to time, for level III of the Executive Schedule in section 5314 of title 5, United States Code. (2) Staff.-- (A) In general.--The Director shall appoint and fix the compensation of such personnel as may be necessary to carry out the duties and functions of the Office. All personnel shall be appointed without regard to political affiliation and solely on the basis of their fitness to perform their duties. The personnel of the Office shall consist of individuals with expertise in international trade, including expertise in economics, trade law, various industrial sectors, and various geographical regions. (B) Benefits.--For purposes of pay (other than the pay of the Director) and employment, benefits, rights and privilege, all personnel of the Office shall be treated as if they were employees of the House of Representatives. (3) Experts and consultants.--In carrying out the duties and functions of the Office, the Director may procure the temporary (not to exceed 1 year) or intermittent services of experts or consultants or organizations thereof by contract as independent contractors, or, in the case of individual experts or consultants, by employment at rates of pay not in excess of the daily equivalent of the highest rate of basic pay payable under the General Schedule of section 5332 of title 5. (4) Relationship to executive branch.--The Director is authorized to secure information, data, estimates, and statistics directly from the various departments, agencies, and establishments of the executive branch of Government and the regulatory agencies and commissions of the Government. All such departments, agencies, establishments, and regulatory agencies and commissions shall furnish the Director any available material which he determines to be necessary in the performance of his duties and functions (other than material the disclosure of which would be a violation of law). The Director is also authorized, upon agreement with the head of any such department, agency, establishment, or regulatory agency or commission, to utilize its services and facilities with or without reimbursement; and the head of each such department, agency, establishment, or regulatory agency or commission is authorized to provide the Office such services and facilities. (5) Relationship to other agencies of congress.--In carrying out the duties and functions of the Office, and for the purpose of coordinating the operations of the Office with those of other congressional agencies with a view to utilizing most effectively the information, services, and capabilities of all such agencies in carrying out the various responsibilities assigned to each, the Director is authorized to obtain information, data, estimates, and statistics developed by the General Accounting Office, the Library of Congress, and other offices of Congress, and (upon agreement with them) to utilize their services and facilities with or without reimbursement. The Comptroller General, the Librarian of Congress, and the head of other offices of Congress are authorized to provide the Office with the information, data estimates, and statistics, and the services and facilities referred to in the preceding sentence. (d) Functions.--The functions of the Office are as follows: (1) Assistance to congress.--Provide the Committee on Finance of the Senate and the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representative and any other appropriate committee of Congress or joint committee of Congress information which will assist the committees in the discharge of the matters within their jurisdiction. (2) Monitor compliance.--Monitor compliance with major bilateral, regional, and multilateral trade agreements by-- (A) consulting with the affected industries and interested parties; (B) analyzing the success of agreements based on commercial results; (C) recommending actions, including legislative action, necessary to ensure that foreign countries that have made commitments through agreements with the United States fully abide by those commitments; (D) annually assessing the extent to which current agreements comply with environmental goals; and (E) annually assessing the extent to which current agreements comply with labor goals. (3) Analysis.--Perform the following analyses: (A) Not later than 60 days after the date the National Trade Estimates report is delivered to Congress each year, analyze the major outstanding trade barriers based on cost to the United States economy. (B) Not later than 60 days after the date the Trade Policy Agenda is delivered to Congress each year, analyze the Administration's Agenda, including alternative goals, strategies, and tactics, as appropriate. (C) Analyze proposed trade legislation. (D) Analyze proposed trade agreements, including agreements that do not require implementing legislation. (E) Analyze the impact of the Administration's trade policy and actions, including assessing the Administration's decisions for not accepting unfair trade practices cases. (F) Analyze the trade accounts quarterly, including the global current account, global trade account, and key bilateral trade accounts. (4) Dispute settlement deliberations.--Perform the following functions with respect to dispute resolution: (A) Participate as observers on the United States delegation at dispute settlement panel meetings of the World Trade Organization. (B) Evaluate each World Trade Organization decision where the United States is a participant. In any case in which the United States does not prevail, evaluate the decision and in any case in which the United States does prevail, measure the commercial results of that decision. (C) Evaluate each dispute resolution proceeding under the North American Free Trade Agreement. In any case in which the United States does not prevail, evaluate the decision and in any case in which the United States does prevail, measure the commercial results of that decision. (D) Participate as observers in other dispute settlement proceedings that the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Finance and the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Ways and Means deem appropriate. (5) Other functions of director.--The Director and staff of the Office shall perform the following additional functions: (A) Provide the Committee on Finance and the Committee on Ways and Means with quarterly reports regarding the activities of the Office. (B) Be available for consultation with congressional committees on trade-related legislation. (C) Receive and review classified information and participate in classified briefings in the same manner as the staff of the Committee on Finance and the Committee on Ways and Means. (D) Consult nongovernmental experts and utilize nongovernmental resources. (E) Perform such other functions as the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Finance and the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Ways and Means may request. SEC. 3. PUBLIC ACCESS TO DATA. (a) Right To Copy.--Except as provided in subsections (b) and (c), the Director shall make all information, data, estimates, and statistics obtained under this Act available for public copying during normal business hours, subject to reasonable rules and regulations, and shall to the extent practicable, at the request of any person, furnish a copy of any such information, data, estimates, or statistics upon payment by such person of the cost of making and furnishing such copy. (b) Exceptions.--Subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to information, data, estimates, and statistics-- (1) which are specifically exempted from disclosure by law; or (2) which the Director determines will disclose-- (A) matters necessary to be kept secret in the interests of national defense or the confidential conduct of the foreign relations of the United States; (B) information relating to trade secrets or financial or commercial information pertaining specifically to a given person if the information has been obtained by the Government on a confidential basis, other than through an application by such person for a specific financial or other benefit, and is required to be kept secret in order to prevent undue injury to the competitive position of such person; or (C) personnel or medical data or similar data the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy; unless the portions containing such matters, information, or data have been excised. (c) Information Obtained for Committees and Members.--Subsection (a) of this section shall apply to any information, data, estimates, and statistics obtained at the request of any committee, joint committee, or Member unless such committee, joint committee, or Member has instructed the Director not to make such information, data, estimates, or statistics available for public copying. SEC. 4. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS. There are authorized to be appropriated to the Office for each fiscal year such sums as may be necessary to enable it to carry out its duties and functions. Until sums are first appropriated pursuant to the preceding sentence, for a period not to exceed 12 months following the effective date of this subsection, the expenses of the Office shall be paid from the contingent fund of the Senate, in accordance with the provisions of the paragraph relating to contingent funds under the heading ``UNDER LEGISLATIVE'' in the Act of October 2, 1888 (25 Stat.
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