S 429

112th CONGRESS
1st Session

S. 429

To improve the reporting requirements relating to foreign travel by members of Congress and the use of foreign currency.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

March 1, 2011

Mrs. MCCASKILL introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions


A BILL

To improve the reporting requirements relating to foreign travel by members of Congress and the use of foreign currency.

    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 `Cleaning Up Congress by Providing Accountability for Congressional Foreign Travel Act'.

SEC. 2. USE OF FOREIGN CURRENCY.

    Section 502(b) of the Mutual Security Act of 1954 (22 U.S.C. 1754(b)) is amended to read as follows:

    `(b) Availability to Members and Employees of Congress and Reports-

      `(1) LOCAL CURRENCIES FOR MEMBER AND EMPLOYEE FOREIGN TRAVEL-

        `(A) IN GENERAL- There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to purchase local currencies for the purposes of congressional member and employee foreign travel, which--

          `(i) the amounts necessary for obtaining local currencies for the use of any individual whose pay is disbursed by the Chief Administrative Officer of the House of Representatives shall be appropriated from the applicable accounts of the House of Representatives; and

          `(ii) the amounts necessary for obtaining local currencies for the use of any individual whose pay is disbursed by the Secretary of the Senate shall be appropriated from the contingent fund of the Senate.

        `(B) AVAILABILITY- The amounts described in clauses (i) and (ii) of subparagraph (A) shall be made available to Members and employees of the Congress for their local currency expenses when authorized as provided in subparagraph (C).

        `(C) AUTHORIZATIONS- The authorization required for purposes of subparagraph (A) may be provided by--

          `(i) the Speaker of the House of Representatives, in the case of a Member or employee of the House of Representatives;

          `(ii) the chairman of a standing or select committee of the House of Representatives, in the case of a member or employee of that committee;

          `(iii) the President of the Senate, the President pro tempore of the Senate, the majority leader of the Senate, or the minority leader of the Senate, in the case of a Member or employee of the Senate;

          `(iv) the chairman of a standing, select, or special committee of the Senate in the case of a member or employee of that committee or of an employee of a member of that committee; and

          `(v) the chairman of a joint committee of the Congress in the case of a member or employee of that committee.

        `(D) REVIEW PROCEDURE- The following information shall be required and reviewed by the authorizing officials under subparagraph (C) before approval or denial of any foreign travel authorization or appropriated dollar expenditures in connection with travel outside of the United States by any Member or employee:

          `(i) An explanation of purpose, the itinerary of travel, and the related cost estimates (per diem, lodging, meals, transportation and other purposes), including the dollar equivalency of any Federal Government entity transportation mode planned.

          `(ii) Before using any Federal Government transportation mode, a Member or employee shall perform a cost analysis comparison against a commercially available transportation equivalent to determine the most cost effective travel mode. This analysis shall institute all Federal Government transportation mode and commercially available transportation equivalent cost analysis comparisons. If the Federal Government transportation cost is greater than the commercially available transportation equivalent, a waiver shall be approved by the authorizing officials under subparagraph (C) permitting the Federal transportation mode, and an explanation and cost differential shall be reported in the consolidated report for committees and joint committees required under paragraph (2)(A) and the Member or employee report required under paragraph (3)(A).

          `(iii) The names of any other individuals who are accompanying the Member or employee during the travel, without regard to whether such individuals are Members or employees of Congress and the purpose for their travel.

          `(iv) Whether the amount of per diem requested is greater than the standard per diem provided under chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code.

          `(v) A Member or employee who uses commercial air carriers for transportation on official foreign travel business shall use coach or economy class accommodations for flights under 14 hours unless a waiver is obtained. A waiver for business class accommodations may be obtained by the authorizing officials under subparagraph (C) for flights under 14 hours and the reasons for the waiver shall be reported in the consolidated report for committees and joint committees required under paragraph (2)(A) and the Member or employee report required under paragraph (3)(A).

        `(E) COST REDUCTION- Each Member or employee to whom the House of Representatives or the Senate provides a per diem under this subsection shall take such actions as may be necessary to reduce costs incurred for such travel and shall return to the House of Representatives or the Senate (as the case may be) any per diem provided to the Member or employee which remains unexpended as of the conclusion of the travel. Any amount returned in accordance with the preceding sentence shall be transferred to the Secretary of the Treasury, who shall use such amount for the purposes of deficit reduction.

        `(F) TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS FOR MEMBERS AND EMPLOYEES; EXCEPTIONS; WAIVERS-

          `(i) ELECTION PERIOD- Unless authorized by the Senate (or by the President of the United States after an adjournment sine die) or the House of Representatives (or by the Speaker of the House after an adjournment sine die), no funds from the United States Government (including foreign currencies made available under subparagraph (B)) shall be received by any Member of the Senate or House of Representatives whose term will expire at the end of a Congress after--

            `(I) the date of the primary election in which his successor is elected; or

            `(II) in the case of a Member who is not a candidate in such primary election, the earlier of the date of such primary election or the adjournment sine die of the second regular session of that Congress.

          `(ii) APPLICATION- The travel restrictions provided by subparagraph (A) with respect to a Member of the Senate or House of Representatives whose term will expire at the end of a Congress shall apply to travel by--

            `(I) any employee of the Member;

            `(II) any elected Officer of the Senate or House of Representatives whose employment will terminate at the end of a Congress; and

            `(III) any employee of a committee whose employment will terminate at the end of a Congress.

          `(iii) EXCEPTION FOR CERTAIN TRAVEL- This subsection does not apply with respect to travel to a military installation or travel to a theater of operations of the Armed Forces.

          `(iv) WAIVER- A Member or an employee may also obtain a waiver by the authorizing officials under subparagraph (C) for travel restrictions under clauses (i) and (ii). The reasons for the waiver shall be reported in the consolidated report for committees and joint committees required under paragraph (2)(A) and the Member or employee report required under paragraph (3)(A).

      `(2) COMMITTEE QUARTERLY REPORT-

        `(A) IN GENERAL- On a quarterly basis, the chairman of each committee of the House of Representatives or the Senate and of each joint committee of the Congress shall--

          `(i) prepare a consolidated report which--

            `(I) provides the purpose and destination of the foreign travel taken by Members or employees of the committee, to include the duration and purpose of any intermediary stops or layovers;

            `(II) itemizes the actual amounts and dollar equivalent values of each foreign currency expended and the amounts of dollar expenditures from appropriated funds in connection with travel outside the United States, including transportation, lodging, meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner), and other purposes, including the providers of the transportation, lodging, and meals, and any unspent per diem;

            `(III) lists any itinerary changes from the approved itinerary under paragraph (1)(D)(i) and reasons for such change;

            `(IV) lists the names of any other individuals who are accompanying the Member or employee during the travel, without regard to whether such individuals are Members or employees of Congress;

            `(V) lists any lodging, per diem, transportation, or other purpose cost estimate changes in excess of 10 percent of the original amounts approved by the authorizing officials and reasons for such change;

            `(VI) itemizes any Federal government transportation mode and related dollar equivalent expenses incurred for the travel duration, including any intermediary stops to the destination;

            `(VII) lists any waivers for above coach or economy class accommodations approved under paragraph (1)(D)(i), and waivers for employee restrictions approved under paragraph (1)(F); and

            `(VIII) shows the total itemized expenditures, by such committee and by each member or employee of such committee (including in the case of a committee of the Senate, each employee of a member of the committee who received an authorization under paragraph (1) from the chairman of the committee); and

          `(ii) forward such consolidated report to the Clerk of the House of Representatives (if the committee is a committee of the House of Representatives or a joint committee whose funds are disbursed by the Chief Administrative Officer of the House) or to the Secretary of the Senate (if the committee is a committee of the Senate or a joint committee whose funds are disbursed by the Secretary of the Senate).

        `(B) AVAILABILITY- Each consolidated report required by this paragraph shall be made available for public inspection on the official public Web sites of the Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Secretary of the Senate on the official public Web sites and shall be published in the Congressional Record within 10 legislative days after the report is forwarded pursuant to this paragraph. In the case of the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives, such consolidated report may, in the discretion of the chairman of the committee, omit such information as would identify the foreign countries in which members and employees of that committee traveled.

      `(3) MEMBER OR EMPLOYEE TRAVEL REPORTS-

        `(A) IN GENERAL- Each Member or employee who receives an authorization from the appropriate authorizing official for the purposes of travel outside of the United States under paragraph (1)(B), shall within 7 business days after the completion of the travel involved, submit a report setting forth the information specified in paragraph (2) along with all associated documentation and reimbursable expense receipts to the authorizing officials under paragraph (1)(C).

        `(B) APPROVAL PROCESS- The authorizing official shall approve or deny reimbursable expenses submitted under subparagraph (A) within 7 business days after receipt of the report and supporting documentation and reimbursable receipts from the Member or employee. The authorizing official shall keep record of the report, supporting documentation, and reimbursable receipts for not less than 6 years and 3 months.

        `(C) SUBMISSION TO CLERK OR SECRETARY-

          `(i) IN GENERAL- After the authorizing official approves the submission required under subparagraph (A), the Member or employee shall submit a report within 7 business days after the information specified in paragraph (2) to the Clerk of the House of Representatives (in the case of a Member of the House or an employee whose salary is disbursed by the Chief Administrative Officer of the House) or the Secretary of the Senate (in the case of a Member of the Senate or an employee whose salary is disbursed by the Secretary of the Senate). In the case of an authorization for a group of Members or employees, such reports shall be submitted for all Members of the group by its chairman, or if there is no designated chairman, by the ranking Member or if the group does not include a Member, by the senior employee in the group.

          `(ii) PUBLIC INSPECTION- Each report submitted pursuant to this subparagraph shall be made available for public inspection as follows:

            `(I) The statement shall be submitted for publication in the Congressional Record.

            `(II) The statement shall be posted on the official public Web site of the authorizing office.

            `(III) In the case of a statement submitted with respect to travel of an employee, the statement shall be posted on the official public Web site of the employee's employing office.

            `(IV) In the case of a statement submitted with respect to travel of a Member, the statement shall be posted on the official public Web site of the Member.

          `(iii) CONSOLIDATED REPORT- On a quarterly basis, the Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Secretary of the Senate shall each prepare a consolidation of the reports received by them under this subparagraph with respect to expenditures during the preceding quarter by each Member and employee or by each group in the case of expenditures made on behalf of a group which are not allocable to individual members of the group. Each such consolidation shall be open to public inspection and shall be published in the Congressional Record and be available on the official public Web sites of the Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Secretary of the Senate within 10 legislative days after the consolidation is completed.

      `(4) EXCLUSION OF INFORMATION- A Member or employee may exclude from a statement prepared under this subsection any information which is classified or the disclosure of which would adversely affect national security if the Committee, Member, or employee includes documentation in support of the exclusion in the statement prepared under this subsection.

      `(5) DEFINITIONS- In this subsection--

        `(A) any reference to a `Member' of the House of Representatives or Senate includes a Delegate or Resident Commissioner to the Congress;

        `(B) the term `official foreign travel' means any travel outside of the United States for which the costs (including the costs of transportation, lodging, meals, and related expenses) may be covered by appropriated funds, including official funds of the House of Representatives or Senate, under law or the Rules of the House of Representatives or the Standing Rules of the Senate;

        `(C) the term `authorizing official' refers to--

          `(i) the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the case of a Member or employee of the House;

          `(ii) the chairman of a standing or select committee of the House of Representatives in the case of a member or employee of that committee;

          `(iii) the President of the Senate, the President pro tempore of the Senate, the majority leader of the Senate, or the minority leader of the Senate, in the case of a Member or employee of the Senate;

          `(iv) the chairman of a standing, select, or special committee of the Senate in the case of a member or employee of that committee or of an employee of a member of that committee; and

          `(v) the chairman of a joint committee of the Congress in the case of a member or employee of that committee; and

        `(D) the term `reimbursable expense' refers to those amounts personally expended by the Member or employee for transportation, per diem, or other travel related expense in which they are entitled a refund at the limitations and expense categories specified in subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code.'.

SEC. 3. STUDY AND REPORT ON EXPENDITURES FOR OFFICIAL FOREIGN TRAVEL.

    (a) Study- The Comptroller General shall conduct a study of the amount of appropriated funds (including official funds of the House of Representatives and Senate, funds made available for the Secretary of Defense or the Secretary of State, and other funds available under any Federal law, rule, or regulation) for official travel outside of the United States by Members, officers, and employees of the House of Representatives and Senate, and shall include in the study the following:

      (1) For the period beginning with fiscal year 1994 and ending with the most recent fiscal year for which relevant information is available, and for each fiscal year during such period, the amount of such funds spent on such travel, the number of trips taken, and a list of the most frequently visited destinations, broken down by travel by Members, travel by employees, and travel for which payment was made using funds of committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

      (2) The source of funds used to pay for such travel, and any limits on the amount which may be spent on such travel or on any component of such travel, such as airfare and accommodations.

      (3) The types of military aircraft which are used to carry out such travel, the military personnel required to operate such aircraft, and the aggregate and hourly costs involved.

    (b) Report- Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General shall submit to the President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of State a report on the study conducted under subsection (a) which shall include such recommendations as the Comptroller General considers appropriate for determining the funding level for official travel outside of the United States by Members, officers, and employees of the Senate and the House of Representatives which will promote transparency and cost savings.

SEC. 4. EFFECTIVE DATE.

    This Act shall apply to fiscal year 2012 and each succeeding fiscal year thereafter.

END