Home > 105th Congressional Bills > S. 1900 (enr) To establish a commission to examine issues pertaining to the disposition of Holocaust-era assets in the United States before, during, and after World War II, and to make recommendations to the President on further action, and for other purp...

S. 1900 (enr) To establish a commission to examine issues pertaining to the disposition of Holocaust-era assets in the United States before, during, and after World War II, and to make recommendations to the President on further action, and for other purp...


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105th CONGRESS

  2d Session

                                S. 1900

_______________________________________________________________________

                               AMENDMENT
                In the House of Representatives, U. S.,

                                                          June 9, 1998.

    Resolved, That the bill from the Senate (S. 1900) entitled ``An Act to 
establish a commission to examine issues pertaining to the disposition of 
Holocaust-era assets in the United States before, during, and after World War 
II, and to make recommendations to the President on further action, and for 
other purposes'', do pass with the following

                               AMENDMENT:

            Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``U.S. Holocaust Assets Commission Act 
of 1998''.

SEC. 2. ESTABLISHMENT OF COMMISSION.

    (a) Establishment.--There is established a Presidential Commission, 
to be known as the ``Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust 
Assets in the United States'' (hereafter in this Act referred to as the 
``Commission'').
    (b) Membership.--
            (1) Number.--The Commission shall be composed of 21 
        members, appointed in accordance with paragraph (2).
            (2) Appointments.--Of the 21 members of the Commission--
                    (A) eight shall be private citizens, appointed by 
                the President;
                    (B) four shall be representatives of the Department 
                of State, the Department of Justice, the Department of 
                the Army, and the Department of the Treasury (one 
                representative of each such Department), appointed by 
                the President;
                    (C) two shall be Members of the House of 
                Representatives, appointed by the Speaker of the House 
                of Representatives;
                    (D) two shall be Members of the House of 
                Representatives, appointed by the minority leader of 
                the House of Representatives;
                    (E) two shall be Members of the Senate, appointed 
                by the majority leader of the Senate;
                    (F) two shall be Members of the Senate, appointed 
                by the minority leader of the Senate; and
                    (G) one shall be the Chairperson of the United 
                States Holocaust Memorial Council.
            (3) Criteria for membership.--Each private citizen 
        appointed to the Commission shall be an individual who has a 
        record of demonstrated leadership on issues relating to the 
        Holocaust or in the fields of commerce, culture, or education 
        that would assist the Commission in analyzing the disposition 
        of the assets of Holocaust victims.
            (4) Advisory panels.--The Chairperson of the Commission 
        may, in the discretion of the Chairperson, establish advisory 
        panels to the Commission, including State or local officials, 
        representatives of organizations having an interest in the work 
        of the Commission, or others having expertise that is relevant 
        to the purposes of the Commission.
            (5) Date.--The appointments of the members of the 
        Commission shall be made not later than 90 days after the date 
        of enactment of this Act.
    (c) Chairperson.--The Chairperson of the Commission shall be 
selected by the President from among the members of the Commission 
appointed under subparagraph (A) or (B) of subsection (b)(2).
    (d) Period of Appointment.--Members of the Commission shall be 
appointed for the life of the Commission.
    (e) Vacancies.--Any vacancy in the membership of the Commission 
shall not affect its powers, but shall be filled in the same manner as 
the original appointment.
    (f) Meetings.--The Commission shall meet at the call of the 
Chairperson at any time after the date of appointment of the 
Chairperson.
    (g) Quorum.--11 members of the Commission shall constitute a 
quorum, but a lesser number of members may hold meetings.

SEC. 3. DUTIES OF THE COMMISSION.

    (a) Original Research.--
            (1) In general.--Except as otherwise provided in paragraph 
        (3), the Commission shall conduct a thorough study and develop 
        a historical record of the collection and disposition of the 
        assets described in paragraph (2), if such assets came into the 
        possession or control of the Federal Government, including the 
        Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and any 
        Federal reserve bank, at any time after January 30, 1933--
                    (A) after having been obtained from victims of the 
                Holocaust by, on behalf of, or under authority of a 
                government referred to in subsection (c);
                    (B) because such assets were left unclaimed as the 
                result of actions taken by, on behalf of, or under 
                authority of a government referred to in subsection 
                (c); or
                    (C) in the case of assets consisting of gold 
                bullion, monetary gold, or similar assets, after such 
                assets had been obtained by the Nazi government of 
                Germany from governmental institutions in any area 
                occupied by the military forces of the Nazi government 
                of Germany.
            (2) Types of assets.--Assets described in this paragraph 
        include--
                    (A) gold, including gold bullion, monetary gold, or 
                similar assets in the possession of or under the 
                control of the Board of Governors of the Federal 
                Reserve System or any Federal reserve bank;
                    (B) gems, jewelry, and nongold precious metals;
                    (C) accounts in banks in the United States;
                    (D) domestic financial instruments purchased before 
                May 8, 1945, by individual victims of the Holocaust, 
                whether recorded in the name of the victim or in the 
                name of a nominee;
                    (E) insurance policies and proceeds thereof;
                    (F) real estate situated in the United States;
                    (G) works of art; and
                    (H) books, manuscripts, and religious objects.
            (3) Coordination of activities.--In carrying out its duties 
        under paragraph (1), the Commission shall, to the maximum 
        extent practicable, coordinate its activities with, and not 
        duplicate similar activities already being undertaken by, 
        private individuals, private entities, or government entities, 
        whether domestic or foreign.
            (4) Insurance policies.--
                    (A) In general.--In carrying out its duties under 
                this Act, the Commission shall take note of the work of 
                the National Association of Insurance Commissioners 
                with regard to Holocaust-era insurance issues and shall 
                encourage the National Association of Insurance 
                Commissioners to prepare a report on the Holocaust-
                related claims practices of all insurance companies, 
                both domestic and foreign, doing business in the United 
                States at any time after January 30, 1933, that issued 
                any individual life, health, or property-casualty 
                insurance policy to any individual on any list of 
                Holocaust victims, including the following lists:
                            (i) The list maintained by the United 
                        States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, 
                        D.C., of Jewish Holocaust survivors.
                            (ii) The list maintained by the Yad Vashem 
                        Holocaust Memorial Authority in its Hall of 
                        Names of individuals who died in the Holocaust.
                    (B) Information to be included.--The report on 
                insurance companies prepared pursuant to subparagraph 
                (A) should include the following, to the degree the 
                information is available:
                            (i) The number of policies issued by each 
                        company to individuals described in such 
                        subparagraph.
                            (ii) The value of each policy at the time 
                        of issue.
                            (iii) The total number of policies, and the 
                        dollar amount, that have been paid out.
                            (iv) The total present-day value of assets 
                        in the United States of each company.
                    (C) Coordination.--The Commission shall coordinate 
                its work on insurance issues with that of the 
                international Washington Conference on Holocaust-Era 
                Assets, to be convened by the Department of State and 
                the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.
    (b) Comprehensive Review of Other Research.--Upon receiving 
permission from any relevant individuals or entities, the Commission 
shall review comprehensively any research by private individuals, 
private entities, and non-Federal government entities, whether domestic 
or foreign, into the collection and disposition of the assets described 
in subsection (a)(2), to the extent that such research focuses on 
assets that came into the possession or control of private individuals, 
private entities, or non-Federal government entities within the United 
States at any time after January 30, 1933, either--
            (1) after having been obtained from victims of the 
        Holocaust by, on behalf of, or under authority of a government 
        referred to in subsection (c); or
            (2) because such assets were left unclaimed as the result 
        of actions taken by, on behalf of, or under authority of a 
        government referred to in subsection (c).
    (c) Governments Included.--A government referred to in this 
subsection includes, as in existence during the period beginning on 
March 23, 1933, and ending on May 8, 1945--
            (1) the Nazi government of Germany;
            (2) any government in any area occupied by the military 
        forces of the Nazi government of Germany;
            (3) any government established with the assistance or 
        cooperation of the Nazi government of Germany; and
            (4) any government which was an ally of the Nazi government 
        of Germany.
    (d) Reports.--
            (1) Submission to the president.--Not later than December 
        31, 1999, the Commission shall submit a final report to the 
        President that shall contain any recommendations for such 
        legislative, administrative, or other action as it deems 
        necessary or appropriate. The Commission may submit interim 
        reports to the President as it deems appropriate.
            (2) Submission to the congress.--After receipt of the final 
        report under paragraph (1), the President shall submit to the 
        Congress any recommendations for legislative, administrative, 
        or other action that the President considers necessary or 
        appropriate.

SEC. 4. POWERS OF THE COMMISSION.

    (a) Hearings.--The Commission may hold such hearings, sit and act 
at such times and places, take such testimony, and receive such 
evidence as the Commission considers advisable to carry out this Act.
    (b) Information From Federal Agencies.--The Commission may secure 
directly from any Federal department or agency such information as the 
Commission considers necessary to carry out this Act. Upon request of 
the Chairperson of the Commission, the head of any such department or 
agency shall furnish such information to the Commission as 
expeditiously as possible.
    (c) Postal Services.--The Commission may use the United States 
mails in the same manner and under the same conditions as other 
departments and agencies of the Federal Government.
    (d) Gifts.--The Commission may accept, use, and dispose of gifts or 
donations of services or property.
    (e) Administrative Services.--For the purposes of obtaining 
administrative services necessary to carry out the purposes of this 
Act, including the leasing of real property for use by the Commission 
as an office, the Commission shall have the power to--
            (1) enter into contracts and modify, or consent to the 
        modification of, any contract or agreement to which the 
        Commission is a party; and
            (2) acquire, hold, lease, maintain, or dispose of real and 
        personal property.

SEC. 5. COMMISSION PERSONNEL MATTERS.

    (a) Compensation.--No member of the Commission who is a private 
citizen shall be compensated for service on the Commission. All members 
of the Commission who are officers or employees of the United States 
shall serve without compensation in addition to that received for their 
services as officers or employees of the United States.
    (b) Travel Expenses.--The members of the Commission shall be 
allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, at 
rates authorized for employees of agencies under subchapter I of 
chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code, while away from their homes 
or regular places of business in the performance of services for the 
Commission.
    (c) Executive Director, Deputy Executive Director, General Counsel, 
and Other Staff.--
            (1) In general.--Not later than 90 days after the selection 
        of the Chairperson of the Commission under section 2, the 
        Chairperson shall, without regard to the civil service laws and 
        regulations, appoint an executive director, a deputy executive 
        director, and a general counsel of the Commission, and such 
        other additional personnel as may be necessary to enable the 
        Commission to perform its duties under this Act.
            (2) Qualifications.--The executive director, deputy 
        executive director, and general counsel of the Commission shall 
        be appointed without regard to political affiliation, and shall 
        possess all necessary security clearances for such positions.
            (3) Duties of executive director.--The executive director 
        of the Commission shall--
                    (A) serve as principal liaison between the 
                Commission and other Government entities;
                    (B) be responsible for the administration and 
                coordination of the review of records by the 
                Commission; and
                    (C) be responsible for coordinating all official 
                activities of the Commission.
            (4) Compensation.--The Chairperson of the Commission may 
        fix the compensation of the executive director, deputy 
        executive director, general counsel, and other personnel 
        employed by the Commission, without regard to the provisions of 
        chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of title 5, United 
        States Code, relating to classification of positions and 
        General Schedule pay rates, except that--
                    (A) the rate of pay for the executive director of 
                the Commission may not exceed the rate payable for 
                level III of the Executive Schedule under section 5314 
                of title 5, United States Code; and
                    (B) the rate of pay for the deputy executive 
                director, the general counsel of the Commission, and 
                other Commission personnel may not exceed the rate 
                payable for level IV of the Executive Schedule under 
                section 5315 of title 5, United States Code.
            (5) Employee benefits.--
                    (A) In general.--An employee of the Commission 
                shall be an employee for purposes of chapters 83, 84, 
                85, 87, and 89 of title 5, United States Code, and 
                service as an employee of the Commission shall be 
                service for purposes of such chapters.
                    (B) Nonapplication to members.--This paragraph 
                shall not apply to a member of the Commission.
            (6) Office of personnel management.--The Office of 
        Personnel Management--
                    (A) may promulgate regulations to apply the 
                provisions referred to under subsection (a) to 
                employees of the Commission; and
                    (B) shall provide support services, on a 
                reimbursable basis, relating to--
                            (i) the initial employment of employees of 

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