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Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2006

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


DEPARTMENTS OF LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND EDUCATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2006 -- (Senate - October 27, 2005)

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. SANTORUM. Mr. President, I call up amendment No. 2239.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, the pending amendment is set aside.

The clerk will report.

The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

The Senator from Pennsylvania [Mr. SANTORUM] proposes an amendment numbered 2239.

Mr. SANTORUM. I ask unanimous consent the reading of the amendment be dispensed with.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

The amendment is as follows:
(Purpose: To provide funding for the purchase of rapid oral HIV tests)

At the appropriate place, insert the following:

SEC. __. The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall use amounts appropriated under title II for the purchase of not less than 1,000,000 rapid oral HIV tests.

Mr. SANTORUM. This is an amendment that is to instruct the Department of Health and Human Services to purchase of no less than 1 million rapid oral HIV tests.

As we all know, the problem of HIV and the spread of HIV continues to be a problem. Experts tell us that over half of all new HIV cases are as a result of someone who was unaware of their HIV status. The idea is having better testing out there, along with oral testing where it does not require any drawing of blood or needles--obviously, for a lot of folks that is a concern. This provides a safe effective way to be able to get these results in a timely fashion to give people the notice they need before they engage in an activity that might cause the further spread of the HIV virus.

I understand from my colleague from Pennsylvania, this is an amendment he is willing to accept. If there is no discussion, I urge agreement of the amendment.

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The Senator from Pennsylvania [Mr. SANTORUM] proposes an amendment numbered 2241.

Mr. SANTORUM. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent the reading of the amendment be dispensed with.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

The amendment is as follows:
(Purpose: To establish a Congressional Commission on Expanding Social Service Delivery Options)

At the appropriate place, insert the following:

SEC. __X.(a) There is established a Congressional Commission on Expanding Social Service Delivery Options (referred to in this section as the ``Commission'').

(b)(1) The Commission shall be composed of 10 members, of whom--

(A) 3 shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives;

(B) 3 shall be appointed by the majority leader of the Senate;

(C) 2 shall be appointed by the minority leader of the House of Representatives; and

(D) 2 shall be appointed by the minority leader of the Senate.

(2) Members of the Commission shall be appointed from among individuals with demonstrated expertise and experience in social service delivery, including, to the extent practicable, in the area of reform of such delivery.

(3) The appointments of the members of the Commission shall be made not later than 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act.

(4) Members shall be appointed for the life of the Commission. Any vacancy in the Commission shall not affect its powers, but shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.

(c) The Speaker of the House of Representatives shall designate 1 of the members appointed under subsection (b)(1)(A) as a co-Chairperson of the Commission. The majority leader of the Senate shall designate 1 of the members appointed under subsection (b)(1)(B) as a co-Chairperson of the Commission.

(d)(1) Not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Commission shall hold its first meeting.

(2) The Commission shall meet at the call of either co-Chairperson.

(3) A majority of the members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum, but a lesser number of members may hold hearings.

(e)(1)(A) The Commission shall conduct a thorough and thoughtful study of all matters relating to increasing beneficiary-selected or beneficiary-directed options for social service delivery in Federal social service programs, including certificate, scholarship, voucher, or other forms of indirect delivery. The Commission shall review all relevant Federal social service programs in existence on the date of the beginning of the study, including the initiatives of the Corporation for National and Community Service. The Commission shall determine program areas, among the Federal programs, for which it is appropriate and feasible to implement full or partial beneficiary-selected or beneficiary-directed options for the delivery of the social services.

(B) In making determinations under subparagraph (A), the Commission shall seek to promote goals of--

(i) expanding consumer and beneficiary choice in Federal social service programs;

(ii) maximizing the use of governmental resources in the Federal programs; and

(iii) minimizing concerns relating to any precedent under the Constitution regarding the participation of faith-based providers in the Federal programs.

(2) The Commission shall develop recommendations on program areas, among the Federal social service programs, for which it is appropriate and feasible to implement full or partial beneficiary-selected or beneficiary-directed options for the delivery of the social services.

(3) Not later than 11 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Commission shall submit a report to the Speaker and minority leader of the House of Representatives and the majority leader and minority leader of the Senate, which shall contain a detailed statement of the findings and conclusions of the Commission, together with its recommendations for such legislation and administrative actions as it considers appropriate.

(f)(1) The Commission may hold such hearings, sit and act at such times and places, take such testimony, and receive such evidence as the Commission considers necessary to carry out this section.

(2) The Commission may secure directly from any Federal department or agency such information as the Commission considers necessary to carry out this section. Upon request of either co-Chairperson of the Commission, the head of such department or agency shall furnish such information to the Commission.

(3) The Commission may use the United States mails in the same manner and under the same conditions as other departments and agencies of the Federal Government.

(g)(1) Each member of the Commission who is not an officer or employee of the Federal Government shall be compensated at a rate equal to the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay prescribed for level IV of the Executive Schedule under section 5315 of title 5, United States Code, for each day (including travel time) during which such member is engaged in the performance of the duties of the Commission. All members of the Commission who are officers or employees of the United States shall serve without compensation in addition to that received for their services as officers or employees of the United States.

(2) The members of the Commission shall be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, at rates authorized for employees of agencies under subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code, while away from their homes or regular places of business in the performance of services for the Commission.

(3)(A) The co-Chairpersons of the Commission, acting jointly, may, without regard to the civil service laws and regulations, appoint and terminate an executive director and such other additional personnel as may be necessary to enable the Commission to perform its duties. The employment of an executive director shall be subject to confirmation by the Commission.

(B) The co-Chairpersons of the Commission, acting jointly, may fix the compensation of the executive director and other personnel without regard to chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of title 5, United States Code, relating to classification of positions and General Schedule pay rates, except that the rate of pay for the executive director and other personnel may not exceed the rate payable for level V of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of such title.

(4) Any Federal Government employee may be detailed to the Commission without reimbursement, and such detail shall be without interruption or loss of civil service status or privilege.

(5) The co-Chairpersons of the Commission, acting jointly, may procure temporary and intermittent services under section 3109(b) of title 5, United States Code, at rates for individuals which do not exceed the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay prescribed for level V of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of such title.

(h) The Commission shall terminate 90 days after the date on which the Commission submits its report under subsection (e).

(i)(1) There are authorized to be appropriated to the Commission for fiscal year 2006 such sums as may be necessary to carry out this section.

(2) Any sums appropriated under the authorization contained in this subsection shall remain available, without fiscal year limitation, until expended.

Mr. SANTORUM. Mr. President, this is a commission, a bipartisan bicameral commission, that will be set up as a result of this amendment that would undertake a comprehensive and thoughtful review of Federal social service programs and make recommendations that would be appropriate to provide beneficiaries more choice in how they receive their social services that are paid for from the Federal Government.

One of the things I hear as I work in communities that heavily rely on social services, a lot of places where they would like to get social services--community-based organizations, in some cases faith-based organizations--are not able. They either do not qualify for Federal funds or do not have the technical expertise to get Federal funds. The President has put forward a faith-based initiative. The Congress has passed charitable choice legislation. We have done a lot to try to get more providers in social services involved, and even in some areas provide more flexibility--such as vouchers for certain services that are out there so people can take that voucher and get the services from qualified places.

There is still a level of frustration out in the community. I think we need to do a more comprehensive job in

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looking at how we address the issue of giving people choices as to how they get their social services. I think this is a way to bring some of the best minds that we have into the social service delivery area, folks from both the House and the Senate and the White House, appointees, to sit down and look to see, is there a better mousetrap than the current system of social service delivery? Is there a better way for us to restructure some of these programs to give more efficient and effective services at less cost and with more consumer buy-in and choice?

One of the reasons some of our social services plans do not work very well is people do not interface well with the delivery systems in place right now. This commission would be tasked to determine how we can, in fact, remove some of these barriers to folks who do not access the social services systems.

One of the big problems we have continually with a lot of our programs--whether it is health programs, housing programs, rehabilitation programs, or other programs--is we have large segments of the community that simply do not participate. They may be eligible for services, but they do not participate in the services. So we have to figure out: How do we better reach these people? How do we better make these services available in such a way that we can actually start reaching people in how they live their lives and in a way that meets their needs?

As far as the money for this commission, I have asked that it be such sums as may be determined by the committee. Hopefully, they will allocate such resources they have available to stand up this commission. But, to me, it is important we get better utilization. For my mind, just giving more money to the different Departments to figure out ways to advertise or to do things to bump up their enrollment in some of these programs has been tried in the past, and it basically does not work very well. I think we need to at least have some of our best minds look at this together, as to how we could redesign this system and get recommendations given to the Congress as to how we can do a better job providing services.

With that, Mr. President, I urge the adoption of the amendment.


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