[House Report 111-612]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]

111th Congress                                            Rept. 111-612
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                      Part 1




 September 20, 2010.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed


Mr. Brady of Pennsylvania, from the Committee on House Administration, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 5717]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on House Administration, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 5717) to authorize the Board of Regents of the 
Smithsonian Institution to plan, design, and construct a 
facility and to enter into agreements relating to education 
programs at the National Zoological Park facility in Front 
Royal, Virginia, and for other purposes, having considered the 
same, report favorably thereon without amendment and recommend 
that the bill to pass.

                       PURPOSE OF THE LEGISLATION

    H.R. 5717 would upgrade the Smithsonian Institution's 
scientific and educational functions at its unique conservation 
facility at Front Royal, Virginia. The Smithsonian Conservation 
Biology Institute (formerly known as the Conservation Research 
Center), located at the Virginia site, and renowned worldwide 
for its work preserving and breeding endangered species, is a 
magnet for prominent researchers and students starting careers 
in related fields. The Front Royal facilities are a sub-unit of 
the Smithsonian's National Zoological Park (NZP) located in 
Washington, D.C.
    The legislation would authorize additional modern 
facilities to conduct programs and house students, and would 
relocate holding facilities for endangered red pandas and 
clouded leopards. The projects are included in the NZP's 
Comprehensive Facilities Master Plan. The bill would provide 
the Smithsonian with substantial additional infrastructure at 
minimal cost, with a large majority of the funding to be 
obtained from non-Federal sources. The Smithsonian hopes to 
open the new facilities by the fall of 2012.
    Section 2 of H.R. 5717 would authorize appropriations for 
$5 million to plan, design and construct facilities at the 
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute which would include 
laboratories and offices, for the purpose of conducting 
research and educational programs. The bill would authorize $1 
million in fiscal 2010, which has already been appropriated; $1 
million in fiscal 2011; and $3 million in subsequent years. The 
Smithsonian would supply an additional $5 million through its 
non-Federal trust funds.
     Section 3 would authorize the Smithsonian Institution to 
enter into an agreement with George Mason University (GMU) in 
northern Virginia, to construct a residential facility and a 
dining/commons facility at the site using $20 million in 
Virginia state revenue bonds, at no cost to the Smithsonian or 
the Federal government. Ownership of the facility would revert 
to the Smithsonian after 30 years. In October, 2008, the 
Smithsonian and GMU signed a Memorandum of Understanding to 
establish the ``Smithsonian-Mason Global Conservation Studies 
Program.'' GMU would grant college credits to participating 
students. The program would enhance and expand the National 
Zoo's history of providing educational classes and professional 
training for future generations of conservation and scientific 
professionals. The GMU-funded facilities would provide 
accommodations for approximately 120 professionals and 
    Finally, Section 4 would authorize the Smithsonian to plan, 
design and construct animal holding and related program 
facilities from non-Federal sources. The project is needed 
because the existing holding facility would be subsumed within 
of the new education center construction. The cost, estimated 
to be $1 to $2 million, would derive exclusively from the 
Smithsonian's private trust funds which are non-Federal funds, 
but their use for construction projects requires authorization 
by Congress.
    The Smithsonian Institution has entered into agreements 
with dozens of educational institutions worldwide, as strategic 
partners to advance important goals. These initiatives do not 
normally require legislative authorization. But this project 
links the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute closely to 
a specific educational institution--George Mason University--
for a long term relationship which, for the first time, would 
allow an outside entity to construct a facility on Smithsonian 
property. The Committee believes that it is important for 
Congress to evaluate the propriety of this arrangement--and 
others, as appropriate, in the future--and, in this particular 
case, indicate its approval through legislation.
    Relationships of the kind contemplated by this legislation 
between GMU and the Smithsonian, depending on their number and 
effect, can have a significant impact on the operation and 
management of Smithsonian programs over time. The Committee 
will exercise its oversight to ensure that the objectives and 
costs of such arrangements maintain a balance among budgetary 
constraints and the Smithsonian's research and educational 
     The Committee finds that the agreement between the 
Smithsonian and GMU is an appropriate vehicle for the 
Smithsonian to accomplish its overall mission for the increase 
and diffusion of knowledge. The fact that the Smithsonian will 
gain ultimate ownership of the $20 million residential and 
dining facilities to be constructed by GMU, at no cost either 
to the Federal Treasury or the Smithsonian, makes the project a 
fiscal bargain and an attractive addition to the Institution's 

                        COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION

    H.R. 5717 was introduced on July 13, 2010, by the three 
House members serving on the Smithsonian Board of Regents, Rep. 
Becerra of California (sponsor), along with Reps. Matsui of 
California and Sam Johnson of Texas, and Rep. Wolf of Virginia 
in whose district the Smithsonian Conservation Biology 
Institute is located. The bill was referred to the Committee on 
House Administration as the primary committee, with an 
additional referral to the Committee on Transportation and 
    The Committee on House Administration held a markup on H.R. 
5717 on July 14, 2010. The Committee ordered the bill reported 
favorably to the House, by voice vote, without amendment. No 
amendments were offered during consideration of the 

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

    Section 1 provides a short title for H.R. 5717, the 
``Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute Enhancement Act.''
    Section 2 authorizes $1 million in each of fiscal years 
2010 and 2011, and $3 million for succeeding fiscal years, to 
plan, design and construct a facility on National Zoological 
Park property in Front Royal, Virginia, to conduct research and 
educational programs.
    Section 3 authorizes the Smithsonian Board of Regents to 
enter into agreements for the provision of housing and other 
services for participants in research and educational programs 
authorized in the legislation.
    Section 4 authorizes the Smithsonian Institution to plan, 
design and construct animal holding and related facilities to 
be funded from non-Federal sources.


Constitutional authority

    Clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII requires each committee report 
on a public bill or joint resolution to include a statement 
citing the specific constitutional power(s) granted to the 
Congress on which the Committee relies for enactment of the 
measure under consideration. The Committee cites the 
legislative power broadly granted to Congress under Article I.

Committee votes

    Clause 3(b) of rule XIII requires the results of each 
recorded vote on an amendment or motion to report, together 
with the names of those voting for and against, to be printed 
in the committee report. No recorded votes were taken during 
the Committee's consideration of H.R. 5717.

Congressional Budget Office estimate

    Clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII requires the report of a 
committee on a measure which has been approved by the committee 
to include a cost estimate prepared by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office pursuant to section 403 of the CBA, 
if timely submitted. The Director submitted the following 

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                   Washington, DC, August 26, 2010.
Hon. Robert A. Brady,
Chairman, Committee on House Administration,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 5717, the 
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute Enhancement Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Christina 
Hawley Anthony.
                                          Peter H. Fontaine
                              (For Douglas W. Elmendorf, Director).

H.R. 5717--Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute Enhancement Act

    Summary: H.R. 5717 would authorize appropriations of $5 
million for the Smithsonian Institution to plan, design, and 
construct a research and education facility on the Front Royal, 
Virginia, property of the National Zoological Park.
    Enacting the legislation would not affect direct spending 
or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures would not 
    H.R. 5717 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) 
and would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary impact of H.R. 5717 is shown in the following table. 
The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 500 
(education, employment, and social services).

                                                                      By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                                     2011   2012   2013   2014   2015  2011-2015
                                  CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION

Estimated Authorization Level.....................................      2      3      0      0      0         5
Estimated Outlays.................................................      1      1      1      1      1         5

    Basis of estimate: H.R. 5717 would authorize appropriations 
of $5 million to pay for a portion of the costs of the 
planning, designing, and construction of a research and 
educational facility at the National Zoo's property in Front 
Royal, Virginia. For purposes of this estimate, CBO assumes 
that $1 million in funding authorized for fiscal year 2010 will 
be provided in fiscal year 2011, along with the amount 
authorized for that year. Any additional costs for that 
facility, as well as the costs related to an animal holding 
facility (also located on that property) would be paid from 
private donations to the Smithsonian Institution.
    In addition, the bill would authorize the Smithsonian 
Institution to enter into a ground lease for the provision of 
housing and other services at the facility. Costs of that 
project would be borne by the leaseholder and by the students 
and scholars using the facility, rather than the Smithsonian 
Institution. Although the Smithsonian Institution receives 
considerable federal support, it is a federally chartered 
nonprofit organization that also draws on significant private 
donations for its operations. For those reasons, CBO estimates 
that the special leasing arrangement would not result in the 
purchase of the facility by the federal government, and, 
therefore, would not provide direct spending authority.
    Pay-as-you-go considerations: None.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: H.R. 5717 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA and would not affect the budgets of state, 
local, or tribal governments.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Christina Hawley 
Anthony; Impact on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: 
Elizabeth Cove Delisle; Impact on the Private Sector: Paige 
    Estimate approved by: Peter H. Fontaine, Assistant Director 
for Budget Analysis.

Federal mandates

    Section 423 of the Congressional Budget Act requires a 
committee report on any public bill or joint resolution that 
includes a Federal mandate to include specific information 
about such mandates. H.R. 5717 contains no Federal mandates.

Preemption clarification

    Section 423 of the CBA requires a committee report on any 
public bill or joint resolution to include a committee 
statement on the extent to which the measure is intended to 
preempt state or local law. The Committee states that H.R. 5717 
is not intended to preempt any state or local law.

Oversight findings

    Clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII requires each committee report 
to contain oversight findings and recommendations required 
pursuant to clause 2(b)(1) of rule X. The oversight findings 
are addressed in the descriptive sections of the report.

Statement of general performance goals and objectives

    Clause 3(c)(4) of House Rule XIII requires committee 
reports to include a statement of general performance goals and 
objectives. The Committee finds that the projects authorized by 
this legislation, and the agreement between the Smithsonian 
Institution and George Mason University, further the 
Smithsonian's mission for the increase and diffusion of 

Congressional ``earmarks''

    Clause 9 of House Rule XXI requires committee reports on 
public bills and resolutions to contain an identification of 
congressional ``earmarks,'' limited tax benefits, limited 
tariff benefits, and the names of requesting Members. The bill 
contains no such items.

Congressional Accountability Act applicability

    Section 102(b)(3) of the Congressional Accountability Act 
of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-1) (CAA) requires each report on a public 
bill or joint resolution relating to terms and conditions of 
employment or access to public services or accommodations to 
describe the manner in which the legislation applies to the 
Legislative Branch. H.R. 5717 does not apply to the legislative 
branch and contains no such items.

Changes in existing law made by the bill, as reported

    H.R. 5717 would not make any changes in existing law.