[Senate Report 117-30]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]

                                                         Calendar No. 103

117th Congress  }                                             {   Report
1st Session     }                                             {   117-30





                              R E P O R T

                                 of the


                          GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                          UNITED STATES SENATE

                              to accompany

                                 S. 671


                 July 19, 2021.--Ordered to be printed

19-010                WASHINGTON : 2021                  

                   GARY C. PETERS, Michigan, Chairman
THOMAS R. CARPER, Delaware           ROB PORTMAN, Ohio
MAGGIE HASSAN, New Hampshire         RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin
KYRSTEN SINEMA, Arizona              RAND PAUL, Kentucky
JACKY ROSEN, Nevada                  JAMES LANKFORD, Oklahoma
ALEX PADILLA, California             MITT ROMNEY, Utah
JON OSSOFF, Georgia                  RICK SCOTT, Florida
                                     JOSH HAWLEY, Missouri

                   David M. Weinberg, Staff Director
                    Zachary I. Schram, Chief Counsel
            Lena C. Chang, Director of Governmental Affairs
              Chelsea A. Davis, Professional Staff Member
                Pamela Thiessen, Minority Staff Director
  Andrew C. Dockham, Minority Chief Counsel and Deputy Staff Director
Amanda H. Neely, Minority Director of Governmental Affairs and General 
                     Laura W. Kilbride, Chief Clerk

                                                         Calendar No. 103
117th Congress  }                                              {   Report
 1st Session    }                                              {   117-30




                 July 19, 2021.--Ordered to be printed


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

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 671]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
Affairs, to which was referred the bill (S. 671) to require the 
collection of voluntary feedback on services provided by 
agencies, and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
reports favorably thereon without amendment and recommends that 
the bill do pass.


  I. Purpose and Summary..............................................1
 II. Background and Need for the Legislation..........................2
III.  Legislative History.............................................3
 IV. Section-by-Section Analysis of Bill, as Reported.................3
  V. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact..................................4
 VI. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................4
VII. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............5

                         I. Purpose and Summary

    The Federal Agency Customer Experience Act of 2021, S. 671, 
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 June 10, 2019, the Committee approved S. 1275, Federal Agency 
Customer Experience Act of 2019, which is substantially similar to S. 
671. Accordingly, this committee report is in large part a reproduction 
of the Committee report for S. 1275, S. Rep. No. 116-46.

                II. Background and 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\
    \2\Pub. L. No. 96-511, 94 Stat. 2812.
    \3\Pub. L. No. 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).
    The PRA outlines an explicit process and criteria whereby 
agencies undertake certain steps to justify, quantify the 
impact of, and submit for approval any proposed information 
collection.\7\ 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 
    \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. 671 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 2020 American Customer Satisfaction Index, 
public administration and government are at the bottom of all 
American economic sectors in customer satisfaction.\9\ The 2020 
score for the federal government is among the lowest scores 
received since 1999.\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 2020 ACSI, the aggregated score for ``Federal Government'' is 
65.1 (down 4.4 percent since 2019), which is among the bottom four 
aggregate benchmark scores for all industries. See American Customer 
Satisfaction Index, ACSI Federal Government Report 2020, (Feb. 9, 2021) 
report.pdf), and American Customer Satisfaction Index, Benchmarks by 
Sector: All Industries (March 2021) (https://www.theacsi.org/images/
    \10\Id., ACSI Federal Government Report 2020.
    The surveys permitted under S. 671 consist of a limited set 
of questions developed by the Director of OMB, in consultation 
with the Administrator of General Services (and with additional 
questions developed by the participating agencies). The bill 
requires the solicitation to participate in a survey to be 
conducted at the point of service. Surveys must be voluntary 
and respondents must remain anonymous. Individuals who decline 
to respond cannot be treated differently by agencies for the 
purposes of providing services or information. The data 
collected pursuant to S. 671 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. 671 on March 
10, 2021, with Senator James Lankford (R-OK). The bill was 
referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
    The Committee considered S. 671 at a March 17, 2021 
business meeting. During the business meeting, the bill was 
reported favorably en bloc by voice vote with Senators Peters, 
Rosen, Padilla, Portman, Johnson, Lankford, Romney, Scott, and 
Hawley present.

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

Section 1. Short title

    This section provides the bill's short title, the ``Federal 
Agency Customer Experience Act of 2021.''

Section 2. Findings; Sense of Congress

    This section contains several findings regarding the 
Federal Government's provision of customer service, including 
how the Federal Government should continue to improve its 
service based on customer feedback, as well as how it 
consistently ranks among the lowest industries for customer 
satisfaction. In addition, it finds that improving the customer 
experience increases public confidence in the government.
    This section also contains a sense of Congress that 
agencies should strive to provide the highest quality services 
to the public they serve by using feedback to better understand 
and measure quality. Additionally, it notes that sufficient 
funding levels are needed to support adequate staffing to 
improve delivery of high-quality customer service.

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.'' It 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. Customer responses 
must be anonymous and declinations to participate must not lead 
to differential treatment; moreover, solicitations for 
voluntary feedback are limited to 10 questions. Other 
provisions require that the solicitation be clearly identified 
as voluntary, and that it be made only once during an 
interaction between the customer and they agency, ideally at 
the point of service.

Section 6. Customer experience data collection

    Subsection (a) names the agency personnel responsible for 
collecting voluntary feedback.
    Subsection (b) describes the types of questions that 
voluntary feedback must include, as well as the personnel at 
OMB and participating agencies who are responsible for 
developing these questions.
    Subsection (c) stipulates that voluntary feedback must be 
tied to specific customer interactions across all platforms and 
    Subsection (d) requires participating agencies to send 
annual reports to OMB summarizing the results of voluntary 
feedback; these reports must be published on a website 
maintained by OMB. This subsection also requires agencies to 
publish regular aggregated reports regarding their voluntary 
feedback activities.

Section. 7. Customer experience report

    This section requires the Comptroller General of the United 
States to submit reports summarizing the results of agency 
reports and assessing improvements to agency customer service 
based on voluntary feedback.

Section 8. Restriction on use of information

    This section clarifies that information gathered pursuant 
to this bill may not be used to assess the job performance of 
Federal employees.

                   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, April 6, 2021.
Hon. Gary C. Peters,
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. 671, the Federal 
Agency Customer Service Experience Act of 2021.
    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. 671 would direct agencies to collect information from 
their 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, to use the responses 
to improve their services, and to establish a website that 
would link to agency reports on customer service. 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 codify policies and 
practices agencies already follow to gather feedback and 
improve customer service. For instance, the President's 
Management Agenda and Gears of Government Award program 
encourage customer service improvements, while the Government 
Performance and Results Act and the Government Performance and 
Results Modernization Act require agencies to improve customer 
service performance. CBO estimates that implementing the bill 
would cost $2 million over the 2021-2026 period, primarily for 
agencies to adjust the ongoing customer service plans and to 
prepare annual reports.
    Enacting the bill could affect direct spending by some 
agencies that are allowed to use fees, receipts from the sale 
of goods, and other collections to cover operating costs. CBO 
estimates that any net changes in direct spending by those 
agencies would be negligible because most of them can adjust 
amounts collected to reflect changes in operating costs.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Matthew 
Pickford. The estimate was reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, 
Deputy Director of 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. 671 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) the term ``public data asset'' means a data 
        asset, or part thereof, maintained by the Federal 
        Government that has been, or may be, released to the 
        public, including any data asset, or part thereof, 
        subject to disclosure undersection 552 of title 5; 
          (23) the term ``statistical laws'' means subchapter 
        III of this chapter and other laws pertaining to the 
        protection of information collected for statistical 
        purposes as designated by the Director[.]; 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.