[Senate Report 109-104]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]

109th Congress                                                   Report
 1st Session                                                    109-104


                                                       Calendar No. 168



                              R E P O R T

                                 of the


                          GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                          UNITED STATES SENATE

                              to accompany

                                 S. 501

                          DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

                 July 18, 2005.--Ordered to be printed


                   SUSAN M. COLLINS, Maine, Chairman
TED STEVENS, Alaska                  JOSEPH I. LIEBERMAN, Connecticut
GEORGE V. VOINOVICH, Ohio            CARL LEVIN, Michigan
NORM COLEMAN, Minnesota              DANIEL K. AKAKA, Hawaii
TOM COBURN, Oklahoma                 THOMAS R. CARPER, Delaware
LINCOLN D. CHAFEE, Rhode Island      MARK DAYTON, Minnesota
ROBERT F. BENNETT, Utah              FRANK LAUTENBERG, New Jersey
PETE V. DOMENICI, New Mexico         MARK PRYOR, Arkansas
JOHN W. WARNER, Virginia

           Michael D. Bopp, Staff Director and Chief Counsel
            Jennifer A. Hemingway, Professional Staff Member
      Joyce A. Rechtschaffen, Minority Staff Director and Counsel
           Donny Williams, Minority Professional Staff Member
                      Trina D. Tyrer, Chief Clerk

                            C O N T E N T S

  I. Purpose and Summary..............................................1
 II. Background.......................................................1
III. Legislative History..............................................9
 IV. Section-by-Section Analysis......................................9
  V. Estimated Cost of Legislation...................................10
 VI. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact.................................11
VII. Changes in Existing Law.........................................11

                                                       Calendar No. 168
109th Congress                                                   Report
 1st Session                                                    109-104




                 July 18, 2005.--Ordered to be printed


 Ms. Collins, from the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
                    Affairs, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 501]

    The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
Affairs, to whom was referred the bill (S. 501) to provide a 
site for the National Women's History Museum in the District of 
Columbia, having considered the same reports favorably thereon 
without amendments and recommends that the bill do pass.

                         I. PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    The purpose of S. 501, the National Women's History Museum 
Act of 2005, is to provide a site for the National Women's 
History Museum in the District of Columbia.

                             II. BACKGROUND

Need for a Women's History Museum

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2004 women 
comprised 50.8% of the Nation'spopulation \1\ and while women 
have contributed greatly to the history of the United States, there is 
currently no national institution in the National Capital area that is 
dedicated to their contributions. Unfortunately, the situation is no 
better elsewhere in the United States. Indeed, less than 4% of the 
sites listed in the National Park Service's National Register of 
Historic Places are associated with women.\2\
    \1\ Official Population Estimates for the United States; April, 
2000 to July 1, 2004, U.S. Census Bureau, June 9, 2005.
    \2\ Search for Women in the National Register of Historic Places, 
National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service, U.S. 
Department of the Interior.
    The National Women's History Museum, Inc. (NWHM) is a non-
partisan, non-profit organization located in the District of 
Columbia. The organization was founded in 1996 to affirm the 
importance of an accurate and complete understanding of the 
past. In order to accomplish its mission NWHM strives to fill 
the need for educating the public about the contributions of 
women throughout our nation's history. The organization is 
dedicated to researching, collecting, and exhibiting the 
contributions of women to the social, cultural, and political 
life of the country.
    The organization accomplishes its mission in a number of 
ways including maintaining the NWHM CyberMuseum, creating 
programming for diverse audiences regarding women's history, 
conducting seminars and educational outreach programs, and 
assembling a research library. One of the organization's key 
objectives is to build a physical museum in Washington, D.C. to 
expand its education of the public regarding women's history.

Site selection

    Shortly after NWHM incorporated in 1996, the organization 
began the process of selecting a location for a physical museum 
in the District of Columbia. During this process, NWHM 
consulted with representatives of various museums in the area 
including the Holocaust Museum, the National Museum of Women in 
the Arts, and the National Museum of the American Indian. It 
also consulted with architects, curators, and other museum 
professionals. After information gathering and the hiring of a 
real estate consultant, NWHM considered over thirty potential 
sites for a physical museum. The thirty were narrowed to six 
potential sites and then finally to one, the Annex to the Old 
Post Office (OPO) Pavilion on Pennsylvania Avenue in Northwest 
Washington, D.C. The narrowing of potential sites was based on 
a number of factors, including programming and space needs of 
the museum.

The History of the Old Post Office and the Annex

    The Annex, currently owned by the General Services 
Administration (GSA), is vacant and includes approximately 
100,000 square feet of space. It is located adjacent to the OPO 
on the south side of Pennsylvania Avenue, next to what used to 
be 11th Street. While the Annex is a relatively new structure--
built in 1992--the adjacent building, the Old Post Office, and 
the surrounding area have had a long and, at times, tumultuous 
history. The Old Post Office, the building adjacent to the 
Annex, was built in 1899 at a time when Pennsylvania Avenue, 
considered ``America's Main Street,'' was in a state of 
disrepair and in need of revitalization.\3\ Pierre L'Enfant, 
who was appointed by President George Washington to plan the 
new city, hoped that Pennsylvania Avenue between the Capitol 
and the White House would become a ``Grand Avenue.'' \4\ 
Indeed, while initially the Avenue did not become ``Grand,'' it 
was considered the District's first downtown street. During the 
1800s various businesses, shops, and other enterprises were 
established along this stretch of the Avenue. However, the 
Avenue was not a desirable location for many to locate. The 
Avenue was often flooded and muddy, and by the mid to late 
1800s the area on the south side of Pennsylvania Avenue 
contained many warehouses, saloons, and other assorted 
enterprises. Toward the end of the 1800s, Congress focused on 
transforming this area and in 1892 authorized the construction 
of a Post Office Building to house the combined operations of 
the U.S. Post Office Department and the city Post Office at 
12th Street. The building was completed in 1899.
    \3\ See Historic Documentation Report, National Capital Parks-
Central, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
    \4\ Id.
    Unfortunately, the Post Office Building did not bring the 
revitalization that Congress had intended. During President 
Woodrow Wilson's first administration, Congress initiated plans 
to begin to take ``radical measures'' to save the south side of 
Pennsylvania Avenue.\5\ These measures included the demolition 
of buildings on the south side of the Avenue in order to 
construct the Federal Triangle.
    \5\ Id.
    Meanwhile, federal employment tripled between 1901 and 
1926. The increased demand for office space fueled the push for 
construction of more federal buildings. Out of this growth, 
Congress formed the Public Building Commission in 1919, which 
began to execute plans for the Federal Triangle. The plans for 
the Federal Triangle were approved by Congress in 1926. By 
1928, all of the land in the proposed Federal Triangle, 70 
acres, was purchased by the federal government. Subsequently, 
the unsightly buildings along Pennsylvania Avenue were 
demolished and work began on replacing them with federal office 
    At the turn of the century, the OPO was the tallest and 
largest government building in the Capital. However, in 1934, 
the U.S. Post Office moved out of the building and many 
believed the building was outdated and also that its Romanesque 
Revival architecture no longer fit with the classical style of 
newer buildings in the area. There were calls to demolish the 
OPO; however the lack of resources during the Great Depression 
saved the building from being torn down. Since that time, the 
OPO has been used by various other governmental entities. In 
the 1960s, there was a resurgence of interest to demolish the 
building. At that time, however, there was a new interest in 
historic preservation, which culminated in the passage of the 
National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. This Act saved the 
OPO from demolition. The OPO continued to be used solely for 
government agencies until the 1970s. Further revitalization of 
Pennsylvania Avenue continued in the 1970s, in part as a result 
of Congress' creation of the Pennsylvania Avenue Development 
Corporation in 1972. Congress directed that Pennsylvania Avenue 
be developed consistent with its relationship to the government 
and monuments and proximity to memorials adjacent to the 
    \6\ Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site and Old Post Office 
Building, A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary, 
National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
    In 1976, Congress passed the Public Buildings Cooperative 
Use Act.\7\ This Act, among other things, required the 
Administrator of the General Services Administration to 
encourage the public use of public buildings for ``cultural, 
educational, and recreational activities.'' This Act allowed 
Federal entities and commercial enterprises to share Federally 
owned buildings. Out of this new authority, GSA, owner of the 
OPO, began to examine ways in which the OPO could be used by 
both federal agencies and the private sector. In addition, GSA 
was concerned about ``reinforc[ing] the economic life of the 
OPO and its Pennsylvania Avenue neighborhood.'' \8\
    \7\ Public Law No. 94-541 (1976).
    \8\ Redevelopment Plan for the Old Post Office, Submitted to 
Congress by General Services Administration, December 28, 2000, p. 1.
    In 1977, Congress authorized $18 million to renovate the 
lower levels of the OPO. GSA planned to remodel the OPO and 
convert the lower levels into shops and restaurants.\9\ 
However, the process was riddled with delays. By 1981, GSA was 
behind schedule in selecting a private developer for the 
project and costs were already running over budget.\10\
    \9\ $18 million Appropriated to Convert Old Post Office, Washington 
Post, July 28, 1977, Metro, C3; New Light on the Old P.O., Washington 
Post, October 1, 1977, p. B1.
    \10\ Pennsylvania Avenue Plan Grows Weeds in the Cracks as D.C. 
Waits, Washington Post, February 23, 1981, p. 1.
    In 1982, GSA entered into a 55-year outlease with the Old 
Post Office Pavilion Joint Venture (OPOJV), a private sector 
group comprised of private developers.\11\ The OPOJV in turn 
made further necessary renovations to the lower levels of the 
OPO and sublet space to retail shops, restaurants, and food 
stand operators. When opened in 1983, the new lower level had 
been touted as a major project that would bring much needed 
revitalization to the area and it was compared to Harborplace 
in Baltimore, Maryland and Faneuil Hall in Boston, 
    \11\ Redevelopment Plan for the Old Post Office, Submitted to 
Congress by General Services Administration, December 28, 2000, p. 1.
    \12\ Firm Picked to Enliven Post Office, Washington Post, September 
12, 1981, C1.
    Contrary to the success many believed this public-private 
partnership would enjoy, the project failed to turn a profit. 
The OPOJV, after five years of financial losses, sought and 
obtained approval to build additional retail space adjacent to 
the OPO.\13\ The OPOJV believed that the additional retail 
space would optimize opportunities and help reverse its 
financial losses. The additional space, referred to as the East 
Atrium or OPO Annex, was built adjacent to the OPO, surrounded 
on three sides by the Internal Revenue Service building. The 
Annex was completed in 1992; however, within a year, the OPOJV 
filed for bankruptcy and the lender that helped to finance the 
private developers foreclosed on its leasehold interest, which 
was not slated to expire until 2037.\14\
    \13\ Old Post Office Passes First Test for Expansion, Washington 
Post, October 15, 1988, p. E1.
    \14\ Redevelopment Plan for the Old Post Office, Submitted to 
Congress by General Services Administration, December 28, 2000, p. 2; 
Post Office Pavilion Faces Foreclosure, Washington Post, October 22, 
1993, p. A1.
    Subsequently, the retail portion of the OPO continued to 
lose money. The Annex became vacant and even the retail space 
in the OPO became significantly vacant. Interested in trying a 
new approach, GSA began negotiations with another joint venture 
between two developers in 1998.\15\ This joint venture proposed 
using the retail space to create a ``unique urban entertainment 
center'' that would house more widely known stores and 
entertainment venues. The joint venture was prepared to buy the 
interest in the remaining lease if it could reach agreement 
with GSA. However, the negotiations broke down and GSA decided 
instead it would buy out the remaining lease interest and 
develop the OPO through a competitive process.\16\ As a result 
of the questions surrounding GSA's handling of the development 
of the OPO, in 1998, Congress directed GSA not to convert the 
OPO from office use to any other use until a comprehensive 
plan, which was to include street-level retail use, had been 
approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee, the House 
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Senate 
Committee on Environment and Public Works.\17\ Congress also 
directed GSA not to ``acquire by purchase, condemnation, or 
otherwise the leasehold rights of the existing lease with 
private parties at the Old Post Office prior to the approval of 
the comprehensive plan * * *'' \18\
    \15\ Redevelopment Plan at p. 2; Old Post Office in Flux, Joint 
Venture Plans Urban Entertainment Center, Washington Business Journal, 
January 23, 1998, p. 1.
    \16\ Charges of Favoritism Halt Old Post Office Pavilion 
Negotiations, Washington Times, October 9, 1998, p. B11.
    \17\ Public Law No. 105-277.
    \18\ Public Law No. 105-277.
    Pursuant to the mandate by Congress, in 2000, GSA submitted 
to the appropriate committees a Redevelopment Plan. In that 
plan, GSA indicated that the OPO development under the Public 
Buildings Cooperative Use Act of 1976, had not worked due to 
poor tenant satisfaction and constant retail turnover, economic 
underperformance, and a change in the development 
environment.\19\ GSA reported dissatisfaction not only from the 
retail tenants but also from the federal agency tenants housed 
in the upper levels of the building.\20\
    \19\ Redevelopment Plan for the Old Post Office, Submitted to 
Congress by General Services Administration, December 28, 2000, p. 2.
    \20\ Redevelopment Plan at pp. 1-2.
    GSA also concluded that, under the then current leasehold 
arrangement, costs to the government exceeded revenue. GSA 
further concluded that the retail concept has never been 
economically viable and that since the retail market has 
changed since the 1970s, the original development concept was 
    \21\ Redevelopment Plan at p. 2.
    GSA indicated two alternatives for use of the property--as 
federal office space or, through outleasing as a hotel. GSA 
indicated that the former was the most viable alternative in 
terms of costs to the government, but proposed going forward 
with the second alternative, a hotel. GSA concluded that the 
hotel would help promote economic revitalization in the 
District and a ``hotel would create activity on the south side 
of Pennsylvania Avenue and would help draw tourists to this 
area at all hours of the day and night.'' \22\
    \22\ Redevelopment Plan at p. 3.
    In 2001, the Senate committees on Appropriations and 
Environment and Public Works as well as the House Committee on 
Transportation and Infrastructure approved the Redevelopment 
Plan, with some limitations, and allowed GSA to proceed with 
buying out the remaining leasehold interest. Subsequently, GSA 
purchased the leasehold interest at $7.1 million.\23\
    \23\ GSA Pays $7.1 Million for Old Post Office Lease, Washington 
Business Journal, July 30, 2001.
    It is important to highlight that, during this process, the 
Annex, as a separate building, was not specifically discussed 
or highlighted. In fact, the approvals by the congressional 
committees specifically require the preservation of 
``historically significant features'' of the OPO, an issue that 
would not apply to the then-nine-year-old Annex. Both approvals 
also required that the lease GSA entered into with a new 
developer be in the best economic interest of the Federal 
government and provide economic revitalization to the District 
of Columbia.\24\
    \24\ Letter to the Honorable Stephen A. Perry, Administration, 
General Services Administration from Senators Smith and Reid, Ranking 
Member and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public 
Works, and Senators Campbell and Dorgan, Ranking Member and Chairman of 
the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Treasury and General 
Government, June 15, 2001; House Committee on Transportation and 
Infrastructure, Committee Resolution, May 16, 2001.

GSA and the Women's History Museum

    Early in 2002, NWHM initiated discussions with GSA to 
explore the possibility of using the Annex for a national 
women's history museum. Later that year, GSA issued a draft 
Request for Qualifications (RFQ). The RFQ is the first phase of 
the process of gathering market information through the 
solicitation of responses from developers and other interested 
parties. In response to the draft RFQ, the NWHM wrote GSA 
expressing concerns about the process.\25\ In April of 2003, 
all fourteen women Senators sent a letter to GSA expressing 
concerns about the process.\26\ In June of 2003, the Chairman 
and Ranking Member of the House Transportation and 
Infrastructure Committee sent a letter to GSA requesting that 
it fully consider the concerns and issues raised by the 
    \25\ Letter to Robert Roop, Contracting Officer, U.S. General 
Services Administration from National Women's History Museum, July 22, 
    \26\ Letter to the Honorable Stephen A. Perry, Administrator, U.S. 
General Services Administration, from Senators Collins, Mikulski, 
Murray, Snowe, Hutchison, Clinton, Lincoln, Cantwell, Landrieu, 
Stabenow, Murkowski, Feinstein, Boxer, and Dole, April 8, 2003.
    \27\ Letter to the Honorable Stephen A. Perry, Administrator, U.S. 
General Services Administration, from Representatives Young and 
Oberstar, June 6, 2003.
    The objections raised by NWHM and the Senators related to 
the fact that, if GSA proceeded as it planned--developing the 
OPO and the Annex as one site--the NWHM would be effectively 
excluded from the process. GSA was asked to consider splitting 
the competitive bidding process into separate processes for the 
Annex and for the OPO so that the NWHM could compete for use of 
the Annex. Not only would proceeding as one structure preclude 
the NWHM from competing in the process, but GSA could not 
provide a timeline on its plans for the redevelopment. 
Moreover, Federal agencies still occupy the OPO, and it remains 
unclear how long it would take for GSA to identify a new 
location for those agencies and then relocate them. In the 
meantime, the Annex remains vacant and continues to 
    \28\ In January of 2003, the General Accounting Office (GAO) added 
management of federal real property to its High Risk list. In August of 
2003, GAO issued a report focusing specifically on vacant and 
underutilized property owned by Government agencies, including GSA. GAO 
indicated that ``[u]nneeded assets present significant potential risks 
to Federal agencies not only for lost dollars because such properties 
are costly to maintain but also for lost opportunities because the 
properties could be put to more cost-beneficial uses, exchanged for 
other needed property, or sold to generate revenue for the 
Government.'' GAO further stated that ``continuing to hold real 
property that may no longer be needed does not present a positive image 
of the federal government in local communities * * * [i]nstead, it can 
present an image of waste and inefficiency that erodes taxpayers' 
confidence and can have a negative impact on local economies if the 
property is occupying a valuable location and is not used for other 
purposes, sold, or used in a public-private partnership if such a 
partnership provides the best economic value for the government.'' (See 
GAO-03-122, GAO-05-747).]
    On May 11, 2005, GSA released a Request for Information 
(RFI) seeking developer input concerning interest in re-
developing the OPO. Prospective bidders were permitted to 
express interest in redeveloping the OPO and its annex, the OPO 
alone or the annex alone. Upon review of the responses, the 
government may determine that redevelopment is not in the best 
interest of the government, in which case the OPO will be 
retained for federal use, or proposed development concepts for 
the OPO alone would permit separate development of the Annex as 
the National Women's History Museum.

Need for legislation

    In recognition of the importance of the mission of the 
NWHM, Senator Collins introduced legislation that would direct 
GSA to enter into an occupancy agreement with the NWHM for a 
term of not more than 99 years at a rental rate based upon a 
fair market value appraisal derived from a third party 
appraisal process. The bill would also require the NWHM to pay 
for any necessary renovations and remodeling and would allow 
the deduction of any of those costs from the established rental 
    Allowing the use of federal buildings and land for a museum 
or memorial in the District of Columbia is not an uncommon 
practice.\29\ In addition, other bills authorizing museums and 
memorials either provide the land or building without cost to 
the organization building the museum or memorial or federal 
funds are actually used to help cover the costs of 
construction.\30\ Unlike these precedents, the legislation 
would require NWHM to pay fair compensation for use of the now 
vacant space.
    \29\ See Public Law No. 96-515 (authorized the use of the Pension 
Building for use as a National Museum for the Building Arts); Public 
Law No. 101-185 (authorized the establishment of the National Museum of 
the American Indian); Public Law No. 103-98 (authorized the 
construction of additional space for the National Museum of Natural 
History; Public Law No. 105-240 (authorized the use of the Carnegie 
Library at Mount Vernon Square by the Washington Historical Society for 
use as a City Museum); Public Law No. 106-492 (authorized the use of 
land to build a National Law Enforcement Museum); Public Law No. 107-
224 (authorized the construction of a plaza adjacent to the John F. 
Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to allow for construction of a 
museum of performing arts); Public Law No. 103-32 (authorized the use 
of Federal land for the construction of a World War II Memorial); 
Public Law No. 105-201 (approving a site for the location of the Martin 
Luther King, Jr. Memorial).
    \30\ See, e.g., Public Law No. 96-515 (Congress required GSA and 
the Secretary of the Interior to provide matching fund); Public Law No. 
105-240 (Congress appropriated $2 million in matching funds); Public 
Law No. 106-522 (Congress appropriated $250,000 to the Federal City 
Council, Inc. for the establishment of a National Museum of American 
    Rent-setting through appraisals and the subtraction of 
costs for remodeling and renovations are also not unusual 
practices. It is the Committee's understanding that GSA has 
used these tools in other projects with other entities and 
developers. In fact, GSA highlights these practices in its 
Pricing Desk Guide. According to GSA's Pricing Desk Guide, in 
entering into occupancy agreements with other Federal agencies, 
GSA recommends that the rent is based on an appraised 
value.\31\ In addition, GSA also has provided for a reduction 
in rental payments based upon ``tenant improvement costs.'' 
\32\ A Tenant Improvement Allowance is intended to help the 
tenant ``design, configure, and build out space to support its 
program operations.'' \33\ While the GSA Pricing Desk Guide 
provides for deductions in rental payment in terms of rental 
pricing for customer Federal agencies, this allowance is common 
practice in the real estate industry.\34\
    \31\ Pricing Desk Guide, Public Building Service, U.S. General 
Services Administration, Edition No. 3, March 15, 2002, p. 3-2.
    \32\ Pricing Desk Guide at p. 3-5.
    \33\ 41 CFR 102-85.90 (2001).
    \34\ Testimony of Robert A. Peck, Commissioner, Public Building 
Service, U.S. General Services Administration, before the Subcommittee 
on Public Buildings and Economic Development, Committee on 
Transportation and Infrastructure, U.S. House of Representatives, March 
5, 1998; GSA's ``Rent Pricing Policy'' as highlighted on its website at 
www.gsa.gov indicates that GSA has revised its policies for space and 
related service and has ``aligned its rent rates with private-sector 
markets, made space improvement allowances commercially equivalent * * 
    From a planning perspective, the chosen location of the 
museum appears to be appropriate. In 2001, the National Capital 
Planning Commission (NCPC) issued its Memorials and Museums 
Master Plan outlining proposed locations for future memorials 
and museums in Washington, DC. The purpose of the Plan was to 
respond to numerous proposals for memorials and museums and to 
avoid encroaching on the settings of existing memorials and to 
avoid threatening the loss of historic landscapes.\35\ In 
particular, the NCPC intended to guide Congress, government 
agencies, and the public away from the congested National 
Mall.\36\ Typically, proponents of memorials and museums wish 
to be sited on the National Mall and also wish to build 
``signature'' buildings to be able to reflect its theme in the 
architecture of the building. While such sentiments are 
understandable, there has been increased concern about the 
impact of new memorials and museums on the National Mall. The 
NCPC's Plan was intended to help guide the location of new 
memorials and museums away from the Mall by identifying 100 
potential new sites in the District. The Annex site is in the 
area of one location identified by the Plan, south of 
Pennsylvania Avenue near 12th Street NW.\37\
    \35\ Memorials and Museums Master Plan, National Capital Planning 
Commission, December 2001, p. 3.
    \36\ Id.
    \37\ Memorials and Museums Master Plan at p. 90.
    In addition, the NCPC's Plan tried to address the issue of 
selected new sites for memorials and museums that ``reinforce 
the historic urban design features of the city, do not intrude 
upon the settings of existing memorials or museums, and result 
in minimal adverse environmental and transportation impacts and 
positive economic and other effects on the culture of local 
neighborhoods.'' \38\ The Annex is an existing vacant building 
on Pennsylvania Avenue, America's Main Street. It has been 
vacant for nearly ten years. It is estimated that approximately 
1.5 million visitors would be drawn to that area to visit the 
    \38\ Memorials and Museums Master Plan at p. 3.
    \39\ Market Support for the National Women's History Museum, 
prepared by the National Women's History Museum, September 2003, p. 5.
    Further, on May 14, 2002, GSA asked the Urban Land 
Institute Washington District Council to convene a workshop 
with members of the real estate development community. The 
workshop was convened to discuss possible uses of the OPO site 
and the conclusions of that meeting were summarized in a Final 
Report. One use discussed and highlighted was for a museum/art 
center/performing arts center with a hotel.\40\
    \40\ ULI Washington District Council, Old Post Office Building 
Workshop, sponsored by the General Services Administration, Final 
Report, pp. 2, 4, 6.
    The May 2005 GSA RFI is the first step in an uncertain and 
potentially very long process. Congress has traditionally 
facilitated museum development through legislation specifying 
the appropriate terms and conditions suited to public use of 
the federal property. The Committee believes that NWHM would 
complement any viable development concept for the OPO. 
Enactment of the National Women's History Museum Act of 2005 
will enable NWHM to commence museum development without further 
delay and unnecessary encumbrances or financial complications.


    The history of Pennsylvania Avenue and the OPO has been 
long and mixed. The future of the use of the OPO is still 
uncertain. Since the times when Pennsylvania Avenue was 
considered unsightly, there has been a tremendous 
transformation that has brought tourists and commercial 
activity to that area. One of the unfinished pieces of this 
transformation has been finding viable uses for the OPO and its 
Annex. It is clear that one use, retail--the original purpose 
for the building of the Annex--has not been a viable solution. 
A museum, particularly one that fills the much-needed void of 
telling the history of women in this Nation, could assist in 
GSA's process of developing the OPO, utilize a vacant building 
on ``America's Main Street,'' bring in revenue to the Federal 
government through rental payments, and attract tourists and 
other visitors to that area to generate economic activity for 
the city. Authorizing the use of the Annex as a museum appears 
not only to be consistent with planning in the area, but it 
could also help draw more visitors to that area, which in turn 
could increase the value and use of any future redevelopment of 
the OPO.

                        III. LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    S. 501 was introduced by Senators Collins, Akaka, Bennett, 
Boxer, Cantwell, Clinton, Dole, Durbin, Feinstein, Hutchison, 
Landrieu, Lautenberg, Lincoln, Mikulski, Murkowski, Murray, 
Pryor, Sarbanes, Snowe, Stabenow, and Voinovich on March 3, 
2005. Senators Chafee and Specter are also cosponsors. The bill 
is identical to S. 1741, the National Women's History Museum 
Act of 2003, that was introduced in the 108th Congress by 
Senators Collins, Mikulski, Landrieu, Stabenow, Snowe, 
Cantwell, Boxer, Clinton and Durbin. S. 1741 was favorably 
reported by the Committee on November 20, 2003, and passed by 
the Senate by unanimous consent on November 21, 2003.
    On April 13, 2005, the Committee considered S. 501 and 
ordered the bill reported without amendment by voice vote. 
Members present were Senators Akaka, Carper, Chafee, Coburn, 
Coleman, Collins, Lautenberg, Lieberman, Levin, and Warner.


    Section 1 titles the bill as the National Women's History 
Museum Act of 2005.
    Section 2 sets forth congressional findings including that 
the National Women's History Museum (NWHM) was established to 
research and present historic contributions women have made and 
that the Museum will collect and disseminate information 
concerning women, and will foster educational programs relating 
to the history and contribution of women to society. It states 
that Congress also finds that the Annex of the Old Post Office 
has been vacant, is in a location ideal for museums and 
memorials, will make use of a currently vacant building, and 
that a museum will promote economic activity in the District.
    Section 3 defines the terms in the bill to indicate that 
the term Administrator means the Administrator for GSA, Museum 
Sponsor means the National Women's History Museum, Inc., 
Pavilion Annex means the Annex to the Old Post Office.
    Section 4 directs the Administrator to enter into an 
occupancy agreement to make the Pavilion Annex available to the 
NWHM for use as a National Women's History Museum; establishes 
an appraisal process for the determination of a fair market 
value for rent; establishes the term of occupancy to be at 
least 99 years, or any lesser term agreed to by the NWHM; 
requires that the terms and conditions of the occupancy 
agreement facilitate the raising of private funds for the 
modifications necessary to the building; allows the occupancy 
agreement to include reasonable terms and conditions pertaining 
to shared facilities to allow for the continued operations or 
development of adjacent buildings; requires the renovations and 
modifications to be carried out by the NWHM, in consultation 
with GSA, requires that the renovations begin within 5 years 
after the agreement is executed, requires expenses incurred by 
the NWHM to be subtracted from the rent; requires GSA to report 
to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs 
Committee and the House Government Reform Committee in the 
event it is unable to fully execute an occupancy agreement.
    Section 5 indicates that nothing in this Act limits the 
authority of the National Capital Planning Commission.


S. 501--National Women's History Museum Act of 2005

    S. 501 would require the Administrator of the General 
Services Administration (GSA) to reach an agreement with the 
National Women's History Museum (NWHM) to lease space in the 
building and grounds known as the ``Pavilion Annex'' located 
next to the Old Post Office in Washington, D.C. CBO estimates 
that implementing this legislation could affect direct 
spending, but any impact is likely to be insignificant over the 
next 10 years.
    S. 501 would require GSA and the NWHM to reach an agreement 
on the use of this building within 240 days of enactment. If an 
agreement is not completed within the time frame, GSA would 
have to report to the Congress on the unresolved issues. The 
legislation would require that the museum pay fair market value 
over the lease term of up to 99 years, but the bill would allow 
the museum to use the facility rent free for the first five 
years of the agreement, and any expenses incurred by the museum 
for renovations and modifications to the facility could be 
credited against the rental payment.
    GSA currently receives no rental payments for the site; it 
has been vacant for ten years. GSA would like to redevelop the 
entire Old Post Office area as a whole or in sections, but does 
not expect to find a private party to lease the site in the 
next few years. GSA anticipates that the facility could 
generate at least $2 million in annual rental receipts if a 
lessee could be found. Under the National Historic Preservation 
Act, however, any receipts from outleasing historic buildings 
may be spent to preserve historic properties in GSA' s 
inventory. If a lease of the Pavilion Annex qualified for such 
treatment under that act, there would be no net budgetary 
impact of leasing the facility to the NWHM or any other lessee.
    Under the bill, there would be no rental payments from the 
National Women's History Museum over the 2006-2010 period, and 
subsequent lease payments are not likely to be significant for 
a few years after deductions for renovation costs. Thus, CBO 
estimates that renting the annex to the National Women's 
History Museum would not have a significant impact on the 
federal budget over the 2006-2015 period.
    S. 501 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Matthew 
Pickford. This estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, 
Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.


    Pursuant to the requirements of paragraph 11(b) of rule 
XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee has 
considered the regulatory impact of this bill. CBO states that 
there are no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and no costs on 
state, local, or tribal governments. The legislation contains 
no other regulatory impact.

                      VII. CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, there are no changes in existing 
law made by the bill as reported.