[Senate Report 116-46]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]

                                                      Calendar No. 111
116th Congress      }                                    {      Report
 1st Session        }                                    {      116-46



                              R E P O R T

                                 of the


                          GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                          UNITED STATES SENATE

                              to accompany

                                S. 1275



                 June 10, 2019.--Ordered to be printed

89-010                    WASHINGTON : 2019                 

                    RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin, Chairman
ROB PORTMAN, Ohio                    GARY C. PETERS, Michigan
RAND PAUL, Kentucky                  THOMAS R. CARPER, Delaware
JAMES LANKFORD, Oklahoma             MAGGIE HASSAN, New Hampshire
MITT ROMNEY, Utah                    KAMALA D. HARRIS, California
RICK SCOTT, Florida                  KYRSTEN SINEMA, Arizona
MICHAEL B. ENZI, Wyoming             JACKY ROSEN, Nevada
                Gabbielle D'Adamo Singer, Staff Director
                  Joseph C. Folio, III, Chief Counsel
                   Satya P. Thallam, Chief Economist
               David M. Weinberg, Minority Staff Director
               Zachary I. Schram, Minority Chief Counsel
              Michelle M. Benecke, Minority Senior Counsel
                    Anne E. Nelson, Minority Fellow
                     Laura W. Kilbride, Chief Clerk

                                                      Calendar No. 111
116th Congress      }                                    {      Report
 1st Session        }                                    {      116-46




                 June 10, 2019.--Ordered to be printed


 Mr. Johnson, from the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
                    Affairs, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 1275]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
Affairs, to which was referred the bill (S. 1275) to require 
the collection of voluntary feedback on services provided by 
agencies, and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
reports favorably thereon with amendments and recommends that 
the bill, as amended, do pass.


  I. Purpose and Summary..............................................1
 II. Background and Need for the Legislation..........................2
III. Legislative History..............................................3
 IV. Section-by-Section Analysis......................................3
  V. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact..................................5
 VI. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................5
VII. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............6

                         I. Purpose and Summary

    The Federal Agency Customer Experience Act of 2019, S. 
1275, amends the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) to allow 
agencies to solicit voluntary customer feedback without first 
having to seek approval from the Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB), as currently required by the PRA.\1\
    \1\On September 14, 2017, the Committee approved S. 1088, Federal 
Agency Customer Experience Act of 2017. That bill is substantially 
similar to S. 1275. Accordingly, this committee report is in large part 
a reproduction of Chairman Johnson's committee report for S. 1088, S. 
Rep. No. 115-156.

              II. Background and the Need for Legislation

    Originally passed in 1980\2\ and later amended in 1995\3\, 
the PRA is intended to, in part, ``minimize the paperwork 
burden for individuals'' and entities that interact with the 
Federal Government and to ``improve the quality and use of 
Federal information to strengthen decisionmaking, 
accountability, and openness in Government and society.''\4\ 
This law assigns to the Director of OMB responsibility for the 
``collection of information and the control of paperwork,''\5\ 
which includes responsibility for ``review[ing] and approv[ing] 
proposed agency collections of information.''\6\ The PRA 
outlines an explicit process and criteria whereby agencies\7\ 
undertake certain steps to justify, quantify the impact of, and 
submit for approval any proposed information collection; OMB is 
responsible for timely review of such proposals, coordination 
across agencies, establishment of government-wide standards and 
guidelines, and ``minimiz[ing] the Federal information 
collection burden, with particular emphasis on those 
individuals and entities most adversely affected.''\8\
    \2\Pub. L. No. 96-511, 94 Stat. 2812.
    \3\Pub. L. 104-13, 109 Stat. 163.
    \4\44 U.S.C. Sec. 3501 (1) and (4).
    \5\44 U.S.C. Sec. 3504(c).
    \6\44 U.S.C. Sec. 3504(c)(1).
    \7\The scope of agencies under this law include both those commonly 
understood to be Executive agencies as well as independent regulatory 
commissions, as defined in 44 U.S.C. Sec. 3502 (referenced in Section 3 
of the PRA).
    \8\44 U.S.C. Sec. 3504(c).
    S. 1275 seeks to encourage agencies to collect voluntary 
feedback about the quality and perceptions of their services 
and interactions with the public by exempting a proscribed 
survey instrument from the review requirements under the PRA. 
According to the 2018 American Customer Satisfaction Index, the 
Federal Government ranks among the bottom of all American 
industries in customer satisfaction.\9\ In the 2015 edition of 
that same survey, the Federal Government received its lowest 
score since 1999, when the survey was first introduced.\10\ The 
bill aims to facilitate the gathering of useful and timely 
customer satisfaction information to encourage continuous 
improvement of agency customer service.
    \9\The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) is a national, 
cross-industry measure of customer satisfaction in the United States. 
In the 2018 ACSI, the aggregated score for ``Federal Government'' is 
68.9, which is among the bottom four aggregate benchmark scores for all 
industries. See American Customer Satisfaction Index, ``ACSI Benchmarks 
for U.S. Federal Government 2018,'' available at http://
(accessed May 20, 2019), and American Customer Satisfaction Index, 
Benchmarks by Industry: All Industries, available at http://
article&id=147&catid=&Itemid=212&i=all&sort=Y2018 (accessed May 20, 
    \10\American Customer Satisfaction Index, ACSI Federal Government 
Report 2018, 1 (Jan. 29, 2019) available at https://www.theacsi.org/
images/stories/images/govsatscores/19jan-Gov-report-2018.pdf (accessed 
on May 20, 2019).
    The surveys permitted under S. 1275 consist of a limited 
set of questions developed by the Director of OMB, in 
consultation with the Administrator of General Services (and 
additional questions developed by the agency). The solicitation 
to participate in a survey is to be conducted at the point of 
service. Surveys are to be entirely voluntary and respondents 
to them are to remain anonymous. Individuals who decline to 
respond are not to be treated differently by agencies for the 
purposes of providing services or information. The results of 
data collected pursuant to S. 1275 will be made public in 
aggregated form through regular agency reports and a 
centralized website established by the Director of OMB.

                        III. Legislative History

    Senator Margaret Hassan (D-NH) introduced S. 1275 on May 1, 
2019, with Senator James Lankford (R-OK). The bill was referred 
to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. 
The Committee considered S. 1275 at a May 15, 2019 business 
    The Committee ordered S. 1275 reported favorably on May 15, 
2019, by voice vote en bloc. Senators present for the vote were 
Senators Johnson, Paul, Lankford, Scott, Peters, Carper, 
Hassan, and Rosen. For the record only, Senators Portman, 
Romney, Hawley, and Sinema later asked to be recorded as 
``yes'' by unanimous consent.
    Consistent with Committee Rule 11, the Committee reports 
the bill with a technical amendment by mutual agreement of the 
Chairman and Ranking Member.

        IV. Section-by-Section Analysis of the Bill, as Reported

Section 1. Short title

    This section provides the bill's short title, the ``Federal 
Agency Customer Experience Act of 2019.''

Section 2. Findings; sense of Congress

    This section contains several findings summarized as 
follows: (1) ``the Federal Government . . . should seek to 
continually improve public services . . . based on customer 
feedback''; (2) the public deserves efficient and effective 
Federal Government services; (3) many Federal Government 
entities ``provide excellent service'' while others ``fall 
short''; (4) ``the Federal Government ranks among the bottom of 
all industries in the United States in customer satisfaction''; 
(5) excellent service increases public confidence in the 
government; (6) improvement in customer service ``requires 
agencies to work across organizational boundaries, leverage 
technology, collect and share standardized data, and develop 
customer-centered mindsets and strategies.''
    This section also contains a sense of Congress that (1) 
agencies should strive to provide the highest quality of 
services to the public they serve, using feedback to better 
understand and measure quality; and (2) sufficient funding 
levels are needed to support adequate staffing.

Section 3. Definitions

    This section defines the terms ``Administrator'', 
``Agency'', ``Covered Agency'', ``Director'', and ``Voluntary 

Section 4. Application of the Paperwork Reduction Act to collection of 
        voluntary feedback

    This section amends the PRA to add a new definition for the 
term ``voluntary feedback''.
    This section also amends the PRA to add collection of 
voluntary feedback to the exemptions to the PRA's requirements 
for OMB review of agency information collections.

Section 5. Guidelines for voluntary feedback

    This section outlines several requirements that apply to 
agencies that solicit voluntary feedback: (1) responses must be 
anonymous and ``not be traced to specific individuals or 
entities''; (2) declinations to participate will not lead to 
differential treatment; (3) solicitations are limited to 10 
questions; (4) ``the voluntary nature of the solicitation is 
clear''; (5) ``proposed solicitation[s] . . . will contribute 
to improved customer service''; (6) solicitations are limited 
to once per interaction; (7) ``to the extent practicable, the 
solicitation of voluntary feedback is made at the point of 
service''; (8) ``instruments for collecting voluntary feedback 
are accessible to individuals with disabilities in accordance 
with section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973''; and (9) 
``internal agency data governance policies remain in effect.''

Section 6. Customer experience data collection

    Subsection (a) stipulates the requirement that the ``head 
of each covered agency (or a designee), assisted by and in 
coordination with the senior accountable official for customer 
service . . . shall collect voluntary feedback with respect to 
services of or transactions with the covered agency.''
    Subsection (b) describes the development and required 
content of questions contained in voluntary feedback 
solicitations, which shall be a standardized set of questions 
developed by ``[t]he Director [of OMB], in coordination with 
the Administrator [of General Services].'' The questions should 
address: (1) ``overall satisfaction . . . with the specific 
interaction or service''; (2) ``the extent to which [they] were 
able to accomplish their intended . . . purpose''; (3) 
``whether [they] were treated with respect and professionalism; 
(4) timeliness of the service; and (5) ``any additional metrics 
as determined by the Director [of OMB], in coordination with 
the Administrator [of General Services].'' The ``senior 
accountable official for customer service'' may supplement 
these questions with agency or program-specific questions.
    Subsection (c) stipulates that, ``[t]o the extent 
practicable,'' voluntary feedback will take place ``across all 
platforms or channels'' through which the agency delivers 
information or services and that the collection is tied to a 
specific interaction.
    Subsection (d) describes reporting requirements related to 
collection of voluntary feedback. Within one year of this Act's 
enactment and at least annually thereafter, covered agencies 
must publish on their website and ``submit to the Director [of 
OMB] . . . a report that includes the voluntary feedback 
required to be collected.'' Further, the Director of OMB shall 
establish, ``include and maintain on a publicly available 
website links to the information provided on the [agency] 
websites.'' Additionally, ``[e]ach covered agency shall 
publish, on a regular basis, an aggregated report on the 
solicitation of voluntary feedback . . . which shall include:'' 
(1) ``the intended purpose of each solicitation;'' (2) ``the 
appropriate point of contact within each covered agency for 
each solicitation;'' (3) ``the questions or survey instrument'' 
used; and (4) ``a description of how the covered agency uses 
the voluntary feedback . . . to improve customer service.''

Section. 7. Customer experience report

    This section requires the Comptroller General of the United 
States to submit a report ``assessing the quality of services 
provided to the public'' to the Committee and the House of 
Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform within 15 
months after the bill is enacted and every two years thereafter 
for 10 years.

Section 8. Restriction on use of information

    This section clarifies that information gathered pursuant 
this bill ``may not be used in any appraisal of job performance 
of a Federal employee.''

                   V. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact

    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 and determined 
that the bill will have no regulatory impact within the meaning 
of the rules. The Committee agrees with the Congressional 
Budget Office's statement that the bill contains no 
intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would impose no costs 
on state, local, or tribal governments.

             VI. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                      Washington, DC, June 4, 2019.
Hon. Ron Johnson,
Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. 
        Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 1275, the Federal 
Agency Customer Experience Act of 2019.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Matthew 
                                         Phillip L. Swagel,


    S. 1275 would make it easier for agencies to solicit 
feedback about agency services from the people or customers 
that it serves. Under the bill agencies would collect 
information from customers using standard questions developed 
by the Office of Management and Budget and the General Services 
Administration. The bill also would require agencies to post 
the responses to those questions online, use the responses to 
improve their services, and establish a website that would link 
to agency reports on customer services. Finally, the bill would 
require the Government Accountability Office to prepare an 
annual report on the quality of customer service provided by 
federal agencies.
    Most provisions of the bill would expand on current law, 
policies, and practices of the federal government. The 
President's Management Agenda and Gears of Government Award 
program already encourages customer service improvements. In 
addition, the Government Performance and Results Act and the 
Government Performance and Results Modernization Act require 
agencies to improve customer service performance. Because those 
initiatives are ongoing and the bill's new reporting 
requirements are not significantly different from current 
requirements, CBO estimates that implementing the bill would 
have no significant cost.
    Enacting S. 1275 could affect direct spending by agencies 
that use fees, receipts from the sale of goods, and other 
collections to cover operating costs. Because most of those 
agencies can adjust the amounts they collect as operating costs 
change, CBO estimates that any net changes in direct spending 
by those agencies would be negligible.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Matthew 
Pickford. The estimate was reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, 
Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

       VII. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by 
S. 1275 as reported are shown as follows (existing law proposed 
to be omitted is enclosed in brackets, new matter is printed in 
italic, and existing law in which no change is proposed is 
shown in roman):


           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

Subchapter I--Federal Information Policy

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


          (1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

          (22) * * *
                  (A) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

                  (D) report to third parties, the Federal 
                Government, or the public regarding such 
                records; [and]
          (23) the term ``penalty'' includes the imposition by 
        an agency or court of a fine or other punishment; a 
        judgment for monetary damages or equitable relief; or 
        the revocation, suspension, reduction, or denial of a 
        license, privilege, right, grant, or benefit[.]; and
          (24) the term ``voluntary feedback'' means any 
        submission of information, opinion, or concern that 
                  (A) voluntarily made by a specific individual 
                or other entity relating to a particular 
                service of or transaction with an agency; and
                  (B) specifically solicited by that agency.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


    (a) * * *
    (b) * * *
    (c) * * *
          (1) * * *
                  (A) * * *
                  (B) * * *
                  (C) by compulsory process pursuant to the 
                Antitrust Civil Process Act and section 13 of 
                the Federal Trade Commission Improvements Act 
                of 1980; [or]
                  (D) during the conduct of intelligence 
                activities as defined in section 3.4(e) of 
                Executive Order No. 12333, issued December 4, 
                1981, or successor orders, or during the 
                conduct of cryptologic activities that are 
                communications security activities[.]; or
                  (E) by an agency that is voluntary feedback.