Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Conference report filed in House, 2nd conference report (10/07/1998)

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Title I: Department of the Treasury

Title II: Postal Service

Title III: Executive Office of the President and Funds

Appropriated to the President

Title IV: Independent Agencies

Title V: General Provisions

Title VI: General Provisions

Title VIII (sic): Technical and Clarifying Amendments

Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 1999 - Makes appropriations for FY 1999 for the Treasury Department, the U.S. Postal Service, the Executive Office of the President, and certain independent agencies.

Title I: Department of the Treasury - Treasury Department Appropriations Act, 1999 - Makes appropriations for the Department of the Treasury for: (1) departmental offices; (2) automation enhancement; (3) the Office of Inspector General; (4) repair and restoration of the Treasury building and annex; (5) the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network; (6) violent crime reduction programs; (7) the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, including amounts for acquisition of additional real property and facilities and maintenance and facility improvements; (8) interagency law enforcement with respect to organized crime drug trafficking; (9) the Financial Management Service; (10) the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; (11) the U.S. Customs Service, including amounts for operations and maintenance of marine vessels and aircraft and collection of the Harbor Maintenance Fee; (12) the Bureau of the Public Debt; (13) the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), including amounts for tax law enforcement, earned income tax credit compliance and error reduction initiatives, information systems, and information technology investments; and (14) the Secret Service, including an amount for construction and improvement of facilities.

(Sec. 115) Amends the Federal criminal code to redefine the terms "shotgun" and "rifle" as weapons using the energy of an explosive (currently, the energy of the explosive in a fixed shotgun shell or metallic cartridge).

Expands the definition of "antique firearm" to include muzzle loading rifles, shotguns, or pistols that use black powder or a black powder substitute and cannot use fixed ammunition. Excludes from such definition: (1) weapons that incorporate firearm frames or receivers; (2) firearms converted into muzzle loading weapons; or (3) muzzle loading weapons that can be readily converted to fire fixed ammunition by specified means of replacement.

(Sec. 117) Amends the Federal judicial code to provide that any property with respect to which certain financial transactions are prohibited or regulated under specified provisions of the Trading with the Enemy Act and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, provisions of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 prohibiting assistance to Cuba, or any order, regulation, or license issued pursuant thereto shall be subject to execution or attachment in aid of execution of any judgment relating to a claim for which a foreign state claiming such property is not immune from the jurisdiction of U.S. courts in cases where damages are sought against the state for injury or death caused by torture, extrajudicial killing, aircraft sabotage, hostage taking, or support for such acts. Makes such requirement inapplicable if, at the time the property is expropriated or seized by the foreign state, the property has been held in title by a natural person or held in trust for the benefit of a natural person.

Requires the Secretaries of the Treasury and State, at the request of any party in whose favor a judgment has been issued with respect to a claim for which the foreign state is not immune, to assist any judgment creditor or court in identifying, locating, and executing against the property of such state.

Authorizes presidential waivers of this section's requirements in the interest of national security.

Sets forth authorized uses of, and limitations on, funds made available under this title.

Title II: Postal Service - Postal Service Appropriations Act, 1999 - Makes appropriations for payments to the Postal Service Fund for revenue foregone on free and reduced rate mail.

Sets forth authorized uses of, and limitations on, such funds.

Title III: Executive Office of the President and Funds Appropriated to the President - Executive Office Appropriations Act, 1999 - Makes appropriations for: (1) compensation of the President and the White House office; (2) operating, maintenance, and reimbursable expenses of the Executive Residence at the White House; (3) special assistance to the President and the official residence of the Vice President; (4) the Council of Economic Advisers; (5) the Office of Policy Development; (6) the National Security Council; (7) the Office of Administration; (8) the Office of Management and Budget (OMB); (9) the Office of National Drug Control Policy; (10) Federal drug control programs, including amounts for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program and for a national anti-drug campaign for youth; and (11) unanticipated needs in furtherance of the national interest, security, or defense.

Sets forth authorized uses of, and limitations on, such funds.

Title IV: Independent Agencies - Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, 1999 - Makes appropriations for the: (1) Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled; (2) Federal Election Commission; (3) Federal Labor Relations Authority; and (4) General Services Administration (GSA), including amounts for the Federal Buildings Fund, Government-wide policy and operations, Office of Inspector General, and allowances and office staff for former Presidents.

Sets forth authorized uses of, and limitations on, such funds.

(Sec. 409) Authorizes the GSA Administrator to convey to the city of Racine, Wisconsin, certain excess real property containing the Army Reserve Center.

(Sec. 410) Requires the GSA Administrator to enter into a lease to acquire space for the Department of Transportation headquarters.

(Sec. 412) Requires the GSA Administrator to convey property comprising the U.S. Naval Observatory-Alternate Time Service Laboratory to the University of Miami for research-related purposes.

Makes appropriations for: (1) the Environmental Dispute Resolution Fund to carry out activities under the Environmental Policy and Conflict Resolution Act of 1997; (2) the Merit Systems Protection Board; (3) the National Archives and Records Administration, including amounts for repairs and restoration of archives; (4) the National Historical Publications and Records Commission; (5) the Office of Government Ethics; (6) the Office of Personnel Management, including an amount for the Office of Inspector General; (7) Government contributions for health and life insurance benefits for annuitants; (8) the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund; (9) the Office of Special Counsel; and (10) the U.S. Tax Court.

Sets forth authorized uses of, and limitations on, such funds.

Title V: General Provisions - Sets forth authorized and prohibited uses of funds made available under this Act.

(Sec. 509) Prohibits funds appropriated by this Act from being available to pay for an abortion or for the administrative expenses of any Federal employee health plan which provides benefits for abortions. Makes such prohibition inapplicable if the mother's life would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term or in cases of rape or incest.

(Sec. 513) Authorizes the use of funds provided in this Act to initiate or continue activities to achieve Year 2000 (Y2K problem) computer conversion until such time as supplemental appropriations are made available for such purpose.

(Sec. 515) Provides for payment of attorney's fees, costs, and sanctions required to be made by the Federal Government in the case Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Inc. v. Clinton from amounts made available for compensation of the President and the White House office.

(Sec. 517) Amends the Morris K. Udall Scholarship and Excellence in National Environmental and Native American Public Policy Act of 1992 to authorize non-Federal entities to use the Morris K. Udall Scholarship and Excellence in National Environmental Policy Foundation and the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution to provide assessment, mediation, or related services in connection with a dispute or conflict involving the Federal Government related to the environment, public lands, or natural resources. Requires reimbursement to the Institute for the costs of services provided.

Confers certain administrative authorities of the Foundation on the Institute as well.

Title VI: General Provisions - Sets forth authorized and prohibited uses of funds appropriated for Federal departments, agencies, and corporations.

(Sec. 621) Provides that annual adjustments in rates of pay under the General Schedule shall not be considered to have taken effect in FY 1999 in the rates for the statutory pay systems for purposes of certain provisions of law amended by the Ethics Reform Act of 1989.

(Sec. 623) Bars the use of funds made available for the Customs Service in this Act to allow the importation of any good produced or manufactured by forced or indentured child labor.

(Sec. 627) Provides that, for purposes of provisions of law relating to tort liability, certain Federal law enforcement officers and special agents in the Diplomatic Security Service of the Department of State shall be construed to be acting within the scope of their office or employment if they take any reasonable action, including the use of force, to: (1) protect an individual in such an officer's presence from a crime of violence; (2) provide immediate assistance to an individual who has suffered or who is threatened with bodily harm; or (3) prevent the escape of any individual who such an officer reasonably believes to have committed, in his or her presence, a crime of violence.

(Sec. 628) Amends Federal law to require compensation at time-and-a-half per hour for any hours worked in excess of 106 during a biweekly pay period or 53 in an administrative workweek by Federal fire fighters.

Sets forth pay provisions with respect to Federal fire fighters.

Grants fire fighters subject to such pay provisions whose regular tours of duty average at least 60 hours or less per week and exclude a basic 40-hour workweek an increase in basic pay equal to two step-increases of the applicable General Schedule grade. Provides that such increase shall not be an equivalent increase in pay.

(Sec. 629) Requires the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Attorney General to conduct a review of Federal efforts and submit to the appropriate congressional committees a plan to improve coordination among Federal agencies with responsibility to protect the borders against drug trafficking.

(Sec. 630) Makes a minimum amount available to specified agencies for carrying out flexiplace work telecommuting programs.

(Sec. 631) Revises Federal law to entitle a Senior Executive Service (SES) career appointee awarded the rank of Meritorious Executive to 20 percent of annual basic pay (currently, a lump-sum payment of $10,000). Grants appointees awarded the rank of Distinguished Executive 35 percent of annual basic pay (currently, a lump-sum payment of $20,000).

(Sec. 632) Raises the fiscal year limit on the aggregate amount of performance awards for SES career appointees made by an agency.

(Sec. 633) Revises Federal provisions regarding international postal arrangements to grant the Secretary of State primary responsibility for policy regarding U.S. participation in the Universal Postal Union and all postal treaties and conventions concluded within the framework of the Universal Postal Convention. Authorizes the Secretary, with the consent of the President, to negotiate and conclude such treaties and conventions.

Bars the Postal Service from concluding any treaty or convention related to the delivery of international postal services that is inconsistent with the Secretary's policy.

Provides for the allocation of funds from the Postal Service to the Department of State to carry out international postal arrangements.

(Sec. 638) Requires the OMB Director, for calendar year 2000, to report to the Congress: (1) estimates of annual costs and benefits of Federal rules and paperwork in the aggregate, by agency and agency program, and by major rule; (2) impacts of Federal regulation on State, local, and tribal government, small business, wages, and economic growth; and (3) recommendations for reform.

Directs the OMB Director to issue guidelines to agencies to standardize measures of costs and benefits and the format of accounting statements.

(Sec. 643) Requires the Director of the U.S. Marshals Service to conduct a quarterly threat assessment on the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

(Sec. 646) Authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury, upon submission of proper documentation, to reimburse importers of large capacity military magazine rifles for which authority was granted to import such firearms into the United States on or before November 14, 1997, and which were released under bond to the importer by the Customs Service on or before February 10, 1998, provided that such an importer abandons title to the firearms to the United States.

(Sec. 647) Provides for a 3.6 percent increase in rates of basic pay for Federal employees for FY 1999.

(Sec. 648) Amends Federal law to require the Postal Rate Commission to report annually to the Congress on costs, revenues, and volumes accrued by the Postal Service in connection with mail matter conveyed between the United States and other countries.

(Sec. 649) Extends for five years certain provisions of the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988 which are currently due to expire ten years after such Act's enactment.

(Sec. 650) Directs the Customs Service to: (1) study the effectiveness of requiring all spring wheat, durum, or barley imports to be imported through a single port of entry; and (2) report study results to specified congressional committees.

(Sec. 651) Designates the U.S. Postal Service building located at 180 East Kellogg Boulevard in Saint Paul, Minnesota, as the Eugene J. McCarthy Post Office Building.

(Sec. 653) Amends Federal civil service provisions to entitle an SES employee who is involuntarily separated due to a reduction in force to use earned annual leave to remain on an agency's rolls after the date the employee would have otherwise been separated in order to qualify for an immediate annuity or health benefits coverage in retirement.

(Sec. 654) Directs executive agencies, before implementing policies and regulations that may affect family well-being, to assess such actions with respect to specified criteria. Requires each agency to: (1) certify to the OMB Director and the Congress that such policy or regulation has been assessed in accordance with this section; and (2) provide adequate rationale for implementation of each policy or regulation that may negatively affect family well-being.

Directs OMB to: (1) ensure that policies and regulations proposed by agencies are implemented consistent with this section; and (2) compile, index, and submit annually to the Congress the written certifications received.

Directs the White House Office of Policy Development to: (1) assess proposed policies and regulations in accordance with this section; (2) provide evaluations of such policies and regulations to OMB; and (3) advise the President on policy and regulatory actions that may be taken to strengthen the institutions of marriage and family in the United States.

Requires an agency to conduct an assessment of a proposed policy or regulation in accordance with this section upon request by a Member of Congress.

(Sec. 655) Prohibits the use of funds appropriated by any Act for the implementation of Federal criminal code provisions regarding a national instant criminal background check system unless the system allows, in connection with the delivery of a firearm to a Federal firearms licensee as collateral for a loan, the check to be performed at the time the collateral is offered and provided that: (1) the licensee notifies local law enforcement within 48 hours of receiving a denial on the person offering collateral; and (2) such criminal code provisions apply at the time of the firearm's redemption.

Title VIII (sic): Technical and Clarifying Amendments - Amends the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, with respect to provisions regarding District of Columbia retirement funds, to include Federal agencies within the definition of "person" under such provisions.

Permits the District of Columbia Federal Pension Liability Trust Fund to be used to cover administrative expenses.

Authorizes the Trustee of the Trust Fund, with the Secretary of the Treasury's approval, to enter into subcontracts with the District government or any person to provide services to the Trustee in connection with the contract to administer the Trust Fund.

Revises provisions regarding reimbursement of the District government for interim administration of retirement benefits.

(Sec. 802) Makes nonjudicial employees of the District of Columbia courts transferred to the Federal Employees' Retirement System eligible for Medicare and Social Security benefits.

Requires, for purposes of vesting pursuant to the District of Columbia Government Comprehensive Merit Personnel Act of 1978, creditable service with the District for employees whose participation in the District Defined Contribution Plan ceases as a result of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 to include: (1) continuous service by nonjudicial employees of the District courts after September 30, 1997; and (2) service performed for a successor employer that provides services previously performed by the District government.

(Sec. 804) Makes technical amendments to provisions regarding the District's judicial retirement program.

Authorizes any Trustee, contractor, or enrolled actuary of the District of Columbia Judicial Retirement and Survivors Annuity Fund, with the Secretary's approval, to enter into subcontracts with the District government or any person to provide services to the Trustee in connection with the contract to administer the Fund.

Authorizes the use of the Fund for administrative expenses.

Treats the Fund as a tax-exempt trust for purposes of the Internal Revenue Code and treats Fund benefits as benefits provided under a governmental plan maintained by the District for purposes of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.

Supersedes provisions of the District of Columbia Retirement Reform Act that are inconsistent with this section.

Confers certain authorities of the District Mayor with respect to determinations of judicial survivor annuities on the Secretary.

Amends the District of Columbia Retirement Reform Act to increase the number of members on the District of Columbia Retirement Board from 11 to 12.

(Sec. 805) Requires this title to take effect as if included in the enactment of title XI (the National Capital Revitalization and Self-Government Improvement Act of 1997) of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997.