6:02 PM EDT

Bobby Rush, D-IL 1st

Mr. RUSH. Madam Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 3232) to establish a non-profit corporation to communicate United States entry policies and otherwise promote tourist, business, and scholarly travel to the United States, as amended.

The Clerk read the title of the bill.

The text of the bill is as follows:

H.R. 3232

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

(a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Travel Promotion Act of 2008''.

(b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act is as follows:

Sec..1..Short title; table of contents.

Sec. 2..The Corporation for Travel Promotion.

Sec. 3..Accountability measures.

Sec. 4..Matching public and private funding.

Sec. 5..Travel Promotion Fund fees.

Sec. 6..Investment of Funds.

Sec..7..Prohibition on use of funds.

Sec..8..Amendments to the International Travel Act of 1961.

Sec..9..Definitions.

Sec..10..G.A.O. study

SEC. 2. THE CORPORATION FOR TRAVEL PROMOTION.

(a) Establishment.--The Corporation for Travel Promotion is established as a nonprofit corporation. The Corporation shall not be an agency or establishment of the United States Government. The Corporation shall be subject to the provisions of the District of Columbia Nonprofit Corporation Act (sec. 29-301.01 et seq., D.C. Official Code), to the extent that such provisions are consistent with this section, and shall have the powers conferred upon a nonprofit corporation by that Act to

carry out its purposes and activities.

(b) Board of Directors.--

(1) IN GENERAL.--The Corporation shall have a board of directors of 15 members, appointed by the Secretary of Commerce, but not before consultation with the Secretaries of Homeland Security, State, and Education, as appropriate, each of whom is a United States citizen, and of whom--

(A) one shall have appropriate expertise and experience in the hotel accommodations sector;

(B) one shall have appropriate expertise and experience in the restaurant sector;

(C) one shall have appropriate expertise and experience in the retail sector, or in associations representing that sector;

(D) one shall have appropriate expertise and experience in the small business sector, or in associations representing that sector;

(E) one shall have appropriate expertise and experience in the advertising sector;

(F) one shall have appropriate expertise and experience in the attractions sector;

(G) one shall have appropriate expertise and experience in the recreation sector;

(H) one shall have appropriate expertise and experience in the research, development, or manufacturing sector;

(I) one shall have appropriate expertise and experience in the financial services sector;

(J) one shall have appropriate expertise and experience in the passenger air sector;

(K) one shall have appropriate expertise and experience in the car rental sector;

(L) one shall have appropriate expertise and experience as an official at the state and municipal level, or in associations of such officials;

(M) one shall have appropriate expertise and experience in the higher education sector and in coordinating international scholarly conferences in the United States;

(N) one shall have appropriate expertise and experience in immigration law and policy, including visa requirements and United States entry procedures; and

(O) one shall have appropriate expertise in matters relating to homeland security policy, including border and travel security and facilitation programs.

(2) INCORPORATION.--The members of the initial board of directors shall serve as incorporators and shall take whatever actions are necessary to establish the Corporation under the District of Columbia Nonprofit Corporation Act (sec. 29-301.01 et seq.).

(3) TERM OF OFFICE.--The term of office of each member of the board appointed by the Secretary shall be 3 years, except that, of the members first appointed--

(A) 3 shall be appointed for terms of 1 year;

(B) 4 shall be appointed for terms of 2 years; and

(C) 4 shall be appointed for terms of 3 years.

(4) VACANCIES.--Any vacancy in the board shall not affect its power, but shall be filled in the manner required by this section. Any member whose term has expired may serve until the member's successor has taken office, or until the end of the calendar year in which the member's term has expired, whichever is earlier. Any member appointed to fill a vacancy occurring prior to the expiration of the term for which that member's predecessor was appointed shall be appointed for the remainder

of the predecessor's term. No member of the board shall be eligible to serve more than 2 consecutive full terms.

(5) ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN AND VICE CHAIRMAN.--Members of the board shall annually elect one of their members to be chairman and elect 1 or more of their members as a vice chairman or vice chairmen.

(6) STATUS AS FEDERAL EMPLOYEES.--Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, no member of the board may be considered to be a Federal employee of the United States by virtue of his or her service as a member of the board.

(7) COMPENSATION; EXPENSES.--No member of the board shall receive any compensation from the Federal Government or the Corporation by virtue of his or her service as a member of the board. Each member of the board shall be paid actual travel expenses and per diem in lieu of subsistence expenses when away from his or her usual place of residence, in accordance with section 5703 of title 5, United States Code.

(c) Officers and Employees.--

(1) IN GENERAL.--The Corporation shall have a President, and such other officers as may be named and appointed by the board for terms and at rates of compensation fixed by the board. No individual other than a citizen of the United States may be an officer of the Corporation. The corporation may hire and fix the compensation of such employees as may be necessary to carry out its purposes. No officer or employee of the Corporation may receive any salary or other compensation (except for

compensation for services on boards of directors of other organizations that do not receive funds from the Corporation, on committees of such boards, and in similar activities for such organizations) from any sources other than the Corporation for services rendered during the period of his or her employment by the Corporation. Service by any

officer on boards of directors of other organizations, on committees of such boards, and in similar activities for such organizations shall be subject to annual advance approval by the board and subject to the provisions of the Corporation's Statement of Ethical Conduct. All officers and employees shall serve at the pleasure of the board.

(2) NONPOLITICAL NATURE OF APPOINTMENT.--No political test or qualification shall be used in selecting, appointing, promoting, or taking other personnel actions with respect to officers, agents, or employees of the Corporation.

(d) Nonprofit and Nonpolitical Nature of Corporation.--

(1) STOCK.--The Corporation shall have no power to issue any shares of stock, or to declare or pay any dividends.

(2) PROFIT.--No part of the income or assets of the Corporation shall inure to the benefit of any director, officer, employee, or any other individual except as salary or reasonable compensation for services.

(3) POLITICS.--The Corporation may not contribute to or otherwise support any political party or candidate for elective public office.

(4) SENSE OF CONGRESS REGARDING LOBBYING ACTIVITIES.--It is the sense of Congress that the Corporation established under this Act should not engage in any lobbying activities with any employee or branch of the Federal Government in favor of or in opposition to any political issue.

(e) Duties and Powers.--

(1) IN GENERAL.--The Corporation shall develop and execute a plan to--

(A) provide useful information to foreign tourists, business people, students, scholars, scientists and others interested in traveling [Page: H9930]

to the United States, including the distribution of material provided by the Federal Government concerning entry requirements, required documentation, fees, and processes, to prospective travelers, travel agents, tour operators, meeting planners, foreign governments, travel media and other international stakeholders;

(B) identify and address perceptions in other countries regarding United States entry policies that tend to limit attempts to travel to the United States;

(C) maximize the economic and diplomatic benefits of travel to the United States by promoting the United States of America to world travelers through the use of, but not limited to, all forms of advertising, outreach to trade shows, and other appropriate promotional activities; and

(D) identify opportunities and strategies to promote tourism to rural and urban areas equally.

(2) SPECIFIC POWERS.--In order to carry out the purposes of this section, the Corporation may--

(A) obtain grants from and make contracts with individuals and private companies, State, and Federal agencies, organizations, and institutions;

(B) hire or accept the voluntary services of consultants, experts, advisory boards, and panels to aid the Corporation in carrying out its purposes; and

(C) take such other actions as may be necessary to accomplish the purposes set forth in this section.

(f) Open Meetings.--Meetings of the board of directors of the Corporation, including any committee of the board, shall be open to the public. The board may, by majority vote, close any such meeting only for the time necessary to preserve the confidentiality of commercial or financial information that is privileged or confidential, to discuss personnel matters, or to discuss legal matters affecting the Corporation, including pending or potential litigation.

(g) Major Campaigns.--The board may not authorize the Corporation to obligate or expend more than $25,000,000 on any advertising campaign, promotion, or related effort unless--

(1) the obligation or expenditure is approved by an affirmative vote of at least 2/3 of the members of the board present at the meeting;

(2) at least 8 members of the board are present at the meeting at which it is approved; and

(3) each member of the board has been given at least 3 days advance notice of the meeting at which the vote is to be taken and the matters to be voted upon at that meeting.

(h) Fiscal Accountability.--

(1) FISCAL YEAR.--The Corporation shall establish as its fiscal year the 12-month period beginning on October 1.

(2) BUDGET.--The Corporation shall adopt a budget for each fiscal year.

(3) ANNUAL AUDITS.--The Corporation shall engage an independent accounting firm to conduct an annual financial audit of the Corporation's operations and shall publish the results of the audit.

SEC. 3. ACCOUNTABILITY MEASURES.

(a) Objectives.--The Board shall establish annual objectives for the Corporation for each fiscal year subject to approval by the Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State. The Corporation shall establish a marketing plan for each fiscal year not less than 60 days before the beginning of that year and provide a copy of the plan, and any revisions thereof, to the Secretary.

(b) Budget.--The board shall transmit a copy of the Corporation's budget for the forthcoming fiscal year to the Secretary not less than 60 days before the beginning of each fiscal year, together with an explanation of any expenditure provided for by the budget in excess of $5,000,000 for the fiscal year. The Corporation shall make a copy of the budget and the explanation available to the public and shall provide public access to the budget and explanation on the Corporation's website.

(c) Annual Report to Congress.--The Corporation shall submit an annual report for the preceding fiscal year to the Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of Homeland Security for transmittal to Congress on or before the 15th day of May of each year. The report shall include--

(1) a comprehensive and detailed report of the Corporation's operations, activities, financial condition, and accomplishments under this Act;

(2) a comprehensive and detailed inventory of amounts obligated or expended by the Corporation during the preceding fiscal year;

(3) a detailed description of each in-kind contribution, its fair market value, the individual or organization responsible for contributing, its specific use, and a justification for its use within the context of the Corporation's mission;

(4) an objective and quantifiable measurement of its progress, on an objective-by-objective basis, in meeting the objectives established by the board;

(5) an explanation of the reason for any failure to achieve an objective established by the board, and any revisions or alterations to the Corporation's objectives under subsection (a);

(6) a comprehensive and detailed report of the Corporation's operations and activities to promote tourism in rural and urban areas; and

(7) such recommendations as the Corporation deems appropriate.

SEC. 4. MATCHING PUBLIC AND PRIVATE FUNDING.

(a) Establishment of Travel Promotion Fund.--There is hereby established in the Treasury a fund which shall be known as the ``Travel Promotion Fund''.

(b) Funding.--

(1) FIRST YEAR.--For fiscal year 2009, the Secretary of the Treasury, not earlier than October 1, 2008, and not before the Secretary has appointed all members of the Corporation's board of directors, may transfer to the Corporation such sums as may be necessary, but not to exceed $10,000,000, subject to the availability of appropriations to carry out this section to cover its initial expenses and activities under this Act. At the earliest practicable date, the Corporation shall reimburse

the Treasury any such amounts borrowed from the Treasury, with at least 50 percent reimbursed before October 1, 2011, and the remainder reimbursed before October 1, 2013. Reimbursement shall include interest at a rate determined by the Treasury taking into consideration current market yields on outstanding Treasury securities of comparable maturities and including any additional charges determined

by the Secretary of the Treasury to cover any probable losses and reasonable administrative costs. The Secretary of the Treasury shall determine and assess penalties to be applied for late payments of principal or interest and other Federal credit terms designed to minimize Federal exposure to loss, consistent with the Federal Credit Reform Act and other applicable Federal credit policies.

(2) SUBSEQUENT YEARS.--For each of fiscal years 2010 through 2013, from amounts deposited in the general fund of the Treasury during the preceding fiscal year from fees under section 5, the Secretary of the Treasury shall transfer not more than $100,000,000 to the Fund, which shall be made available to the Corporation, subject to subsections (c), (d), and (e), to carry out its functions under this Act. Transfers shall be made by the Secretary of the Treasury at least quarterly on the

basis of estimates by the Secretary of the Treasury, determined in consultation with the Board, of contributions made to the Corporation by non-Federal sources, and proper adjustments shall be made in amounts subsequently transferred to the extent prior estimates were in excess or less than actual contributions from non-Federal sources.

(c) Matching Requirement.--

(1) IN GENERAL.--The Secretary of the Treasury shall make available to the Corporation from amounts available in the Travel Promotion Fund--

(A) for fiscal year 2010, twice the amount that will be collected from non-Federal sources by the Corporation pursuant to section 4(b)(2) of this Act and not to exceed $100,000,000; and

(B) for subsequent fiscal years, an amount equal to the amount that will be collected from non-Federal sources by the Corporation pursuant to section 4(b)(2) of this Act and not to exceed $100,000,000.

(2) GOODS AND SERVICES.--For the purpose of determining the amount of matching funds, other than money, available to the Corporation--

(A) the fair market value, as determined by the Corporation, of goods and services (including advertising) contributed to the Corporation for use under this Act may be included in the determination; but

(B) the fair market value of such goods and services may not account for more than 65 percent of the matching requirement for the Corporation in any fiscal year.

(3) RIGHT OF REFUSAL.--The Corporation may decline to accept any contribution in kind that it determines to be inappropriate, not useful, or commercially worthless.

(d) Grant Offset.--For a given fiscal year, the Secretary of the Treasury shall reduce the total amount of funding to be transferred to the Corporation from the Travel Promotion Fund by the amount of grants received by the Corporation pursuant to section 2(e)(2)(A) to be used during that fiscal year.

(e) Limitation.--The Corporation shall not expend funds or obligate to expend funds that will exceed total amounts received by the Corporation for a given fiscal year.

SEC. 5. TRAVEL PROMOTION FUND FEES.

Section 217(h)(3)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1187(h)(3)(B)) is amended--

(1) in clause (i), by striking ``; and'' and inserting a semicolon;

(2) in clause (ii), by striking the period and inserting ``; and''; and

(3) by adding at the end the following:

``(iii) set for an amount that includes an additional amount of not less than $10 above the amount set under clause (i).

The additional amount required under clause (iii) shall be transferred to the Treasury for the purpose of offsetting appropriations made to the Corporation for Travel Promotion established in section 2 of the Travel Promotion Act of 2008, according to the requirements of section 4 of such Act. Such additional amount may be reduced if the secretary of the Treasury determines that the additional amount is not necessary to ensure that the Corporation is fully funded.''.

SEC. 6. INVESTMENT OF FUNDS.

Pending disbursement pursuant to a program, plan, or project, the Corporation may invest funds received by the Corporation only in obligations of the United States or any agency thereof, in general obligations of [Page: H9931]

any State or any political subdivision thereof, in any interest-bearing account or certificate of deposit of a bank that is a member of the Federal Reserve System, or in obligations fully guaranteed as to principal and interest by the United

States. The Secretary of the Treasury shall reduce the total amount of funding for a given fiscal year to be transferred from the Travel Promotion Fund to the Corporation by the amount of interest earned by the Corporation as a result of its investments pursuant to this section for the preceding fiscal year.

SEC. 7. PROHIBITION ON USE OF FUNDS.

No funds raised by the Treasury Department's Travel Promotion Fund or the Corporation for Travel Promotion may be used to directly promote or advertise a specific corporation.

SEC. 8. AMENDMENTS TO THE INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL ACT OF 1961.

(a) Powers and Duties of Secretary of Commerce.--Section 201 of the International Travel Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2122) is amended--

(1) in the first sentence of the matter preceding paragraph (1)--

(A) by striking ``and by the United States National Tourism Organization Act of 1996''; and

(B) by striking ``United States National Tourism Organization'' and inserting ``Corporation for Travel Promotion (established by section 3 of the Travel Promotion Act of 2008)'';

(2) in paragraph (4), by striking ``United States National Tourism Organization'' and inserting ``Corporation for Travel Promotion''; and

(3) by adding at the end the following:

``Such plan may not include a comprehensive international advertising campaign relating to critical tourism functions.''.

(b) Tourism Policy Council.--

(1) MEMBERSHIP.--Subsection (b) of section 301 of the International Travel Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2124) is amended--

(A) by striking paragraphs (8) through (10);

(B) by redesignating paragraph (11) as paragraph (13);

(C) by inserting after paragraph (7) the following new paragraphs:

``(8) The Secretary of Homeland Security.

``(9) The Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection of the Department of Homeland Security.

``(10) The Assistant Secretary of U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement of the Department of Homeland Security.

``(11) The Secretary of Education.''; and

(D) in paragraph (13) (as redesignated by subparagraph (B) of this paragraph), by inserting ``, in consultation with other members of the Council'' at the end before the period.

(2) MEETINGS.--Subsection (d) of such section is amended to read as follows:

``(d) The Council shall meet not less than 2 times a year. For the purposes of conducting business, each member of the Council may appoint a designee to represent such member during one or more meetings of the Council.''.

(3) INVOLVEMENT OF FEDERAL AGENCIES AND DEPARTMENTS.--Subsection (e) of such section is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

``(4) Members of the Council shall provide the Corporation for Travel Promotion with timely information regarding documentation and procedures required for admission to the United States and regarding strategies planned by any Federal department or agency to promote travel to the United States for tourism, business, study, scholarship, scientific exchange, or other purposes, so that the Corporation for Travel Promotion may better conduct its communications and promotion activities.''.

(4) ANNUAL REPORT.--Subsection (g)(3) of such section is amended by striking ``United States National Tourism Organization'' and inserting ``Corporation for Travel Promotion''.

(5) APPLICABILITY OF FEDERAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE ACT.--Subsection (h) of such section is amended by striking ``President of the United States National Tourism Organization'' and inserting ``President of the Corporation for Travel Promotion''.

(c) Repeal of Authorities Relating to the United States Travel and Tourism Promotion Advisory Board.--Section 210 of the Department of Commerce and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2003 (contained in title II of division B of Public Law 108-7; 117 Stat. 78-79; 22 U.S.C. 2122 note) is amended--

(1) by striking subsections (b) through (d); and

(2) by redesignating subsection (e) as subsection (b).

SEC. 9. DEFINITIONS.

In this Act, the following definitions apply:

(1) BOARD.--The term ``Board'' means the board of directors of the Corporation.

(2) CORPORATION.--The term ``Corporation'' means the Corporation for Travel Promotion established by section 2.

(3) FUND.--The term ``Fund'' means the Travel Promotion Fund established by section 4.

(4) SECRETARY.--Except as otherwise expressly provided, the term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary of Commerce.

SEC. 10. G.A.O. STUDY.

(a) In General.--Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Government Accountability Office shall initiate a study to assess barriers to entry into the United States by foreign travelers. The GAO shall consult with the Department of Homeland Security, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of the Treasury, as necessary.

(b) Report.--Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the GAO shall report the findings to the appropriate Congressional committees. The report shall include--

(1) the GAO's findings on specific barriers to entry into the United States by foreign travelers; and

(2) recommendations for initiatives that may reduce those barriers.

6:02 PM EDT

Bobby Rush, D-IL 1st

Mr. RUSH. Madam Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 3232) to establish a non-profit corporation to communicate United States entry policies and otherwise promote tourist, business, and scholarly travel to the United States, as amended.

The Clerk read the title of the bill.

The text of the bill is as follows:

H.R. 3232

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

(a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Travel Promotion Act of 2008''.

(b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act is as follows:

Sec..1..Short title; table of contents.

Sec. 2..The Corporation for Travel Promotion.

Sec. 3..Accountability measures.

Sec. 4..Matching public and private funding.

Sec. 5..Travel Promotion Fund fees.

Sec. 6..Investment of Funds.

Sec..7..Prohibition on use of funds.

Sec..8..Amendments to the International Travel Act of 1961.

Sec..9..Definitions.

Sec..10..G.A.O. study

SEC. 2. THE CORPORATION FOR TRAVEL PROMOTION.

(a) Establishment.--The Corporation for Travel Promotion is established as a nonprofit corporation. The Corporation shall not be an agency or establishment of the United States Government. The Corporation shall be subject to the provisions of the District of Columbia Nonprofit Corporation Act (sec. 29-301.01 et seq., D.C. Official Code), to the extent that such provisions are consistent with this section, and shall have the powers conferred upon a nonprofit corporation by that Act to

carry out its purposes and activities.

(b) Board of Directors.--

(1) IN GENERAL.--The Corporation shall have a board of directors of 15 members, appointed by the Secretary of Commerce, but not before consultation with the Secretaries of Homeland Security, State, and Education, as appropriate, each of whom is a United States citizen, and of whom--

(A) one shall have appropriate expertise and experience in the hotel accommodations sector;

(B) one shall have appropriate expertise and experience in the restaurant sector;

(C) one shall have appropriate expertise and experience in the retail sector, or in associations representing that sector;

(D) one shall have appropriate expertise and experience in the small business sector, or in associations representing that sector;

(E) one shall have appropriate expertise and experience in the advertising sector;

(F) one shall have appropriate expertise and experience in the attractions sector;

(G) one shall have appropriate expertise and experience in the recreation sector;

(H) one shall have appropriate expertise and experience in the research, development, or manufacturing sector;

(I) one shall have appropriate expertise and experience in the financial services sector;

(J) one shall have appropriate expertise and experience in the passenger air sector;

(K) one shall have appropriate expertise and experience in the car rental sector;

(L) one shall have appropriate expertise and experience as an official at the state and municipal level, or in associations of such officials;

(M) one shall have appropriate expertise and experience in the higher education sector and in coordinating international scholarly conferences in the United States;

(N) one shall have appropriate expertise and experience in immigration law and policy, including visa requirements and United States entry procedures; and

(O) one shall have appropriate expertise in matters relating to homeland security policy, including border and travel security and facilitation programs.

(2) INCORPORATION.--The members of the initial board of directors shall serve as incorporators and shall take whatever actions are necessary to establish the Corporation under the District of Columbia Nonprofit Corporation Act (sec. 29-301.01 et seq.).

(3) TERM OF OFFICE.--The term of office of each member of the board appointed by the Secretary shall be 3 years, except that, of the members first appointed--

(A) 3 shall be appointed for terms of 1 year;

(B) 4 shall be appointed for terms of 2 years; and

(C) 4 shall be appointed for terms of 3 years.

(4) VACANCIES.--Any vacancy in the board shall not affect its power, but shall be filled in the manner required by this section. Any member whose term has expired may serve until the member's successor has taken office, or until the end of the calendar year in which the member's term has expired, whichever is earlier. Any member appointed to fill a vacancy occurring prior to the expiration of the term for which that member's predecessor was appointed shall be appointed for the remainder

of the predecessor's term. No member of the board shall be eligible to serve more than 2 consecutive full terms.

(5) ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN AND VICE CHAIRMAN.--Members of the board shall annually elect one of their members to be chairman and elect 1 or more of their members as a vice chairman or vice chairmen.

(6) STATUS AS FEDERAL EMPLOYEES.--Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, no member of the board may be considered to be a Federal employee of the United States by virtue of his or her service as a member of the board.

(7) COMPENSATION; EXPENSES.--No member of the board shall receive any compensation from the Federal Government or the Corporation by virtue of his or her service as a member of the board. Each member of the board shall be paid actual travel expenses and per diem in lieu of subsistence expenses when away from his or her usual place of residence, in accordance with section 5703 of title 5, United States Code.

(c) Officers and Employees.--

(1) IN GENERAL.--The Corporation shall have a President, and such other officers as may be named and appointed by the board for terms and at rates of compensation fixed by the board. No individual other than a citizen of the United States may be an officer of the Corporation. The corporation may hire and fix the compensation of such employees as may be necessary to carry out its purposes. No officer or employee of the Corporation may receive any salary or other compensation (except for

compensation for services on boards of directors of other organizations that do not receive funds from the Corporation, on committees of such boards, and in similar activities for such organizations) from any sources other than the Corporation for services rendered during the period of his or her employment by the Corporation. Service by any

officer on boards of directors of other organizations, on committees of such boards, and in similar activities for such organizations shall be subject to annual advance approval by the board and subject to the provisions of the Corporation's Statement of Ethical Conduct. All officers and employees shall serve at the pleasure of the board.

(2) NONPOLITICAL NATURE OF APPOINTMENT.--No political test or qualification shall be used in selecting, appointing, promoting, or taking other personnel actions with respect to officers, agents, or employees of the Corporation.

(d) Nonprofit and Nonpolitical Nature of Corporation.--

(1) STOCK.--The Corporation shall have no power to issue any shares of stock, or to declare or pay any dividends.

(2) PROFIT.--No part of the income or assets of the Corporation shall inure to the benefit of any director, officer, employee, or any other individual except as salary or reasonable compensation for services.

(3) POLITICS.--The Corporation may not contribute to or otherwise support any political party or candidate for elective public office.

(4) SENSE OF CONGRESS REGARDING LOBBYING ACTIVITIES.--It is the sense of Congress that the Corporation established under this Act should not engage in any lobbying activities with any employee or branch of the Federal Government in favor of or in opposition to any political issue.

(e) Duties and Powers.--

(1) IN GENERAL.--The Corporation shall develop and execute a plan to--

(A) provide useful information to foreign tourists, business people, students, scholars, scientists and others interested in traveling [Page: H9930]

to the United States, including the distribution of material provided by the Federal Government concerning entry requirements, required documentation, fees, and processes, to prospective travelers, travel agents, tour operators, meeting planners, foreign governments, travel media and other international stakeholders;

(B) identify and address perceptions in other countries regarding United States entry policies that tend to limit attempts to travel to the United States;

(C) maximize the economic and diplomatic benefits of travel to the United States by promoting the United States of America to world travelers through the use of, but not limited to, all forms of advertising, outreach to trade shows, and other appropriate promotional activities; and

(D) identify opportunities and strategies to promote tourism to rural and urban areas equally.

(2) SPECIFIC POWERS.--In order to carry out the purposes of this section, the Corporation may--

(A) obtain grants from and make contracts with individuals and private companies, State, and Federal agencies, organizations, and institutions;

(B) hire or accept the voluntary services of consultants, experts, advisory boards, and panels to aid the Corporation in carrying out its purposes; and

(C) take such other actions as may be necessary to accomplish the purposes set forth in this section.

(f) Open Meetings.--Meetings of the board of directors of the Corporation, including any committee of the board, shall be open to the public. The board may, by majority vote, close any such meeting only for the time necessary to preserve the confidentiality of commercial or financial information that is privileged or confidential, to discuss personnel matters, or to discuss legal matters affecting the Corporation, including pending or potential litigation.

(g) Major Campaigns.--The board may not authorize the Corporation to obligate or expend more than $25,000,000 on any advertising campaign, promotion, or related effort unless--

(1) the obligation or expenditure is approved by an affirmative vote of at least 2/3 of the members of the board present at the meeting;

(2) at least 8 members of the board are present at the meeting at which it is approved; and

(3) each member of the board has been given at least 3 days advance notice of the meeting at which the vote is to be taken and the matters to be voted upon at that meeting.

(h) Fiscal Accountability.--

(1) FISCAL YEAR.--The Corporation shall establish as its fiscal year the 12-month period beginning on October 1.

(2) BUDGET.--The Corporation shall adopt a budget for each fiscal year.

(3) ANNUAL AUDITS.--The Corporation shall engage an independent accounting firm to conduct an annual financial audit of the Corporation's operations and shall publish the results of the audit.

SEC. 3. ACCOUNTABILITY MEASURES.

(a) Objectives.--The Board shall establish annual objectives for the Corporation for each fiscal year subject to approval by the Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State. The Corporation shall establish a marketing plan for each fiscal year not less than 60 days before the beginning of that year and provide a copy of the plan, and any revisions thereof, to the Secretary.

(b) Budget.--The board shall transmit a copy of the Corporation's budget for the forthcoming fiscal year to the Secretary not less than 60 days before the beginning of each fiscal year, together with an explanation of any expenditure provided for by the budget in excess of $5,000,000 for the fiscal year. The Corporation shall make a copy of the budget and the explanation available to the public and shall provide public access to the budget and explanation on the Corporation's website.

(c) Annual Report to Congress.--The Corporation shall submit an annual report for the preceding fiscal year to the Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of Homeland Security for transmittal to Congress on or before the 15th day of May of each year. The report shall include--

(1) a comprehensive and detailed report of the Corporation's operations, activities, financial condition, and accomplishments under this Act;

(2) a comprehensive and detailed inventory of amounts obligated or expended by the Corporation during the preceding fiscal year;

(3) a detailed description of each in-kind contribution, its fair market value, the individual or organization responsible for contributing, its specific use, and a justification for its use within the context of the Corporation's mission;

(4) an objective and quantifiable measurement of its progress, on an objective-by-objective basis, in meeting the objectives established by the board;

(5) an explanation of the reason for any failure to achieve an objective established by the board, and any revisions or alterations to the Corporation's objectives under subsection (a);

(6) a comprehensive and detailed report of the Corporation's operations and activities to promote tourism in rural and urban areas; and

(7) such recommendations as the Corporation deems appropriate.

SEC. 4. MATCHING PUBLIC AND PRIVATE FUNDING.

(a) Establishment of Travel Promotion Fund.--There is hereby established in the Treasury a fund which shall be known as the ``Travel Promotion Fund''.

(b) Funding.--

(1) FIRST YEAR.--For fiscal year 2009, the Secretary of the Treasury, not earlier than October 1, 2008, and not before the Secretary has appointed all members of the Corporation's board of directors, may transfer to the Corporation such sums as may be necessary, but not to exceed $10,000,000, subject to the availability of appropriations to carry out this section to cover its initial expenses and activities under this Act. At the earliest practicable date, the Corporation shall reimburse

the Treasury any such amounts borrowed from the Treasury, with at least 50 percent reimbursed before October 1, 2011, and the remainder reimbursed before October 1, 2013. Reimbursement shall include interest at a rate determined by the Treasury taking into consideration current market yields on outstanding Treasury securities of comparable maturities and including any additional charges determined

by the Secretary of the Treasury to cover any probable losses and reasonable administrative costs. The Secretary of the Treasury shall determine and assess penalties to be applied for late payments of principal or interest and other Federal credit terms designed to minimize Federal exposure to loss, consistent with the Federal Credit Reform Act and other applicable Federal credit policies.

(2) SUBSEQUENT YEARS.--For each of fiscal years 2010 through 2013, from amounts deposited in the general fund of the Treasury during the preceding fiscal year from fees under section 5, the Secretary of the Treasury shall transfer not more than $100,000,000 to the Fund, which shall be made available to the Corporation, subject to subsections (c), (d), and (e), to carry out its functions under this Act. Transfers shall be made by the Secretary of the Treasury at least quarterly on the

basis of estimates by the Secretary of the Treasury, determined in consultation with the Board, of contributions made to the Corporation by non-Federal sources, and proper adjustments shall be made in amounts subsequently transferred to the extent prior estimates were in excess or less than actual contributions from non-Federal sources.

(c) Matching Requirement.--

(1) IN GENERAL.--The Secretary of the Treasury shall make available to the Corporation from amounts available in the Travel Promotion Fund--

(A) for fiscal year 2010, twice the amount that will be collected from non-Federal sources by the Corporation pursuant to section 4(b)(2) of this Act and not to exceed $100,000,000; and

(B) for subsequent fiscal years, an amount equal to the amount that will be collected from non-Federal sources by the Corporation pursuant to section 4(b)(2) of this Act and not to exceed $100,000,000.

(2) GOODS AND SERVICES.--For the purpose of determining the amount of matching funds, other than money, available to the Corporation--

(A) the fair market value, as determined by the Corporation, of goods and services (including advertising) contributed to the Corporation for use under this Act may be included in the determination; but

(B) the fair market value of such goods and services may not account for more than 65 percent of the matching requirement for the Corporation in any fiscal year.

(3) RIGHT OF REFUSAL.--The Corporation may decline to accept any contribution in kind that it determines to be inappropriate, not useful, or commercially worthless.

(d) Grant Offset.--For a given fiscal year, the Secretary of the Treasury shall reduce the total amount of funding to be transferred to the Corporation from the Travel Promotion Fund by the amount of grants received by the Corporation pursuant to section 2(e)(2)(A) to be used during that fiscal year.

(e) Limitation.--The Corporation shall not expend funds or obligate to expend funds that will exceed total amounts received by the Corporation for a given fiscal year.

SEC. 5. TRAVEL PROMOTION FUND FEES.

Section 217(h)(3)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1187(h)(3)(B)) is amended--

(1) in clause (i), by striking ``; and'' and inserting a semicolon;

(2) in clause (ii), by striking the period and inserting ``; and''; and

(3) by adding at the end the following:

``(iii) set for an amount that includes an additional amount of not less than $10 above the amount set under clause (i).

The additional amount required under clause (iii) shall be transferred to the Treasury for the purpose of offsetting appropriations made to the Corporation for Travel Promotion established in section 2 of the Travel Promotion Act of 2008, according to the requirements of section 4 of such Act. Such additional amount may be reduced if the secretary of the Treasury determines that the additional amount is not necessary to ensure that the Corporation is fully funded.''.

SEC. 6. INVESTMENT OF FUNDS.

Pending disbursement pursuant to a program, plan, or project, the Corporation may invest funds received by the Corporation only in obligations of the United States or any agency thereof, in general obligations of [Page: H9931]

any State or any political subdivision thereof, in any interest-bearing account or certificate of deposit of a bank that is a member of the Federal Reserve System, or in obligations fully guaranteed as to principal and interest by the United

States. The Secretary of the Treasury shall reduce the total amount of funding for a given fiscal year to be transferred from the Travel Promotion Fund to the Corporation by the amount of interest earned by the Corporation as a result of its investments pursuant to this section for the preceding fiscal year.

SEC. 7. PROHIBITION ON USE OF FUNDS.

No funds raised by the Treasury Department's Travel Promotion Fund or the Corporation for Travel Promotion may be used to directly promote or advertise a specific corporation.

SEC. 8. AMENDMENTS TO THE INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL ACT OF 1961.

(a) Powers and Duties of Secretary of Commerce.--Section 201 of the International Travel Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2122) is amended--

(1) in the first sentence of the matter preceding paragraph (1)--

(A) by striking ``and by the United States National Tourism Organization Act of 1996''; and

(B) by striking ``United States National Tourism Organization'' and inserting ``Corporation for Travel Promotion (established by section 3 of the Travel Promotion Act of 2008)'';

(2) in paragraph (4), by striking ``United States National Tourism Organization'' and inserting ``Corporation for Travel Promotion''; and

(3) by adding at the end the following:

``Such plan may not include a comprehensive international advertising campaign relating to critical tourism functions.''.

(b) Tourism Policy Council.--

(1) MEMBERSHIP.--Subsection (b) of section 301 of the International Travel Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2124) is amended--

(A) by striking paragraphs (8) through (10);

(B) by redesignating paragraph (11) as paragraph (13);

(C) by inserting after paragraph (7) the following new paragraphs:

``(8) The Secretary of Homeland Security.

``(9) The Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection of the Department of Homeland Security.

``(10) The Assistant Secretary of U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement of the Department of Homeland Security.

``(11) The Secretary of Education.''; and

(D) in paragraph (13) (as redesignated by subparagraph (B) of this paragraph), by inserting ``, in consultation with other members of the Council'' at the end before the period.

(2) MEETINGS.--Subsection (d) of such section is amended to read as follows:

``(d) The Council shall meet not less than 2 times a year. For the purposes of conducting business, each member of the Council may appoint a designee to represent such member during one or more meetings of the Council.''.

(3) INVOLVEMENT OF FEDERAL AGENCIES AND DEPARTMENTS.--Subsection (e) of such section is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

``(4) Members of the Council shall provide the Corporation for Travel Promotion with timely information regarding documentation and procedures required for admission to the United States and regarding strategies planned by any Federal department or agency to promote travel to the United States for tourism, business, study, scholarship, scientific exchange, or other purposes, so that the Corporation for Travel Promotion may better conduct its communications and promotion activities.''.

(4) ANNUAL REPORT.--Subsection (g)(3) of such section is amended by striking ``United States National Tourism Organization'' and inserting ``Corporation for Travel Promotion''.

(5) APPLICABILITY OF FEDERAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE ACT.--Subsection (h) of such section is amended by striking ``President of the United States National Tourism Organization'' and inserting ``President of the Corporation for Travel Promotion''.

(c) Repeal of Authorities Relating to the United States Travel and Tourism Promotion Advisory Board.--Section 210 of the Department of Commerce and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2003 (contained in title II of division B of Public Law 108-7; 117 Stat. 78-79; 22 U.S.C. 2122 note) is amended--

(1) by striking subsections (b) through (d); and

(2) by redesignating subsection (e) as subsection (b).

SEC. 9. DEFINITIONS.

In this Act, the following definitions apply:

(1) BOARD.--The term ``Board'' means the board of directors of the Corporation.

(2) CORPORATION.--The term ``Corporation'' means the Corporation for Travel Promotion established by section 2.

(3) FUND.--The term ``Fund'' means the Travel Promotion Fund established by section 4.

(4) SECRETARY.--Except as otherwise expressly provided, the term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary of Commerce.

SEC. 10. G.A.O. STUDY.

(a) In General.--Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Government Accountability Office shall initiate a study to assess barriers to entry into the United States by foreign travelers. The GAO shall consult with the Department of Homeland Security, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of the Treasury, as necessary.

(b) Report.--Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the GAO shall report the findings to the appropriate Congressional committees. The report shall include--

(1) the GAO's findings on specific barriers to entry into the United States by foreign travelers; and

(2) recommendations for initiatives that may reduce those barriers.

6:03 PM EDT

Bobby Rush, D-IL 1st

Mr. RUSH. Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on the bill under consideration.

6:03 PM EDT

Bobby Rush, D-IL 1st

Mr. RUSH. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Speaker, H.R. 3232, the Travel Promotion Act, was introduced by Mr. Delahunt and Mr. Blunt and will help spur the tourism industry in the United States by creating a Corporation For Travel Promotion within the Department of Commerce. This corporation will be funded by private sector money and special user fees.

Madam Speaker, I urge the bill's adoption.

Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

6:04 PM EDT

Lee Terry, R-NE 2nd

Mr. TERRY. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 3232, the Travel Promotion Act of 2008. This legislation would establish the Corporation for Travel Promotion as a nonprofit corporation. The core mission would be to promote tourism in the United States and provide travel information to people around the world.

I am a cosponsor of the bill and support promoting the country's tourism industry. Spending by international travelers while in this country is defined as a U.S. export, and many have said that it is strong U.S. export numbers that have kept the economy growing over the last few quarters, despite a slowdown in other parts of the economy and the huge problems that have presented themselves in the financial markets.

Streamlining travel and tourism promotion through a not-for-profit corporation that does not require taxpayer funds will go a long way to help these industries and our economy.

Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

6:05 PM EDT

Bill Delahunt, D-MA 10th

Mr. DELAHUNT. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding. Let me express my gratitude to the Chair of the subcommittee for his leadership, as well as to the ranking member, Mr. Whitfield, for his efforts, as well as the Chair and ranking member of the full committee, Messrs. Dingell and Barton.

I am pleased to join with the minority whip, my friend Roy Blunt, and 244 bipartisan House cosponsors to encourage support for the Travel Promotion Act of 2008. This bill will reverse the decline in the number of overseas visitors coming to the United States.

In a global economy, the world travel market is important. It means jobs and new business opportunities. This is a market that is growing, it is expanding, but our share of it keeps getting smaller. Overseas tourists, scientists, businessmen and students are going elsewhere, put off by the red tape and confusing guidelines for entry into the United States. Even the weak dollar is not enticing enough visitors to reverse this trend.

This drop is not only impacting our economy negatively, but we are missing an important opportunity to improve our image in the world. Data clearly demonstrates that it will help improve our image across the globe by connecting visitors with the most effective ambassadors that we have, the American people. [Page: H9932]

Once here, foreign visitors get to know us, who we are as a people and our values. This promotes respect for America and for Americans. It helps make the world a safer place for all of us, and it is the most cost-effective public diplomacy initiative we could ever undertake, at no cost to the American taxpayers.

I want to thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for the strong bipartisan support for the legislation, and close my remarks by urging the entire House to vote for its passage.

I would be remiss not to acknowledge the effort and the time that was put into this particular proposal by the minority whip, Mr. Blunt. We all are in his debt.

6:05 PM EDT

Bill Delahunt, D-MA 10th

Mr. DELAHUNT. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding. Let me express my gratitude to the Chair of the subcommittee for his leadership, as well as to the ranking member, Mr. Whitfield, for his efforts, as well as the Chair and ranking member of the full committee, Messrs. Dingell and Barton.

I am pleased to join with the minority whip, my friend Roy Blunt, and 244 bipartisan House cosponsors to encourage support for the Travel Promotion Act of 2008. This bill will reverse the decline in the number of overseas visitors coming to the United States.

In a global economy, the world travel market is important. It means jobs and new business opportunities. This is a market that is growing, it is expanding, but our share of it keeps getting smaller. Overseas tourists, scientists, businessmen and students are going elsewhere, put off by the red tape and confusing guidelines for entry into the United States. Even the weak dollar is not enticing enough visitors to reverse this trend.

This drop is not only impacting our economy negatively, but we are missing an important opportunity to improve our image in the world. Data clearly demonstrates that it will help improve our image across the globe by connecting visitors with the most effective ambassadors that we have, the American people. [Page: H9932]

Once here, foreign visitors get to know us, who we are as a people and our values. This promotes respect for America and for Americans. It helps make the world a safer place for all of us, and it is the most cost-effective public diplomacy initiative we could ever undertake, at no cost to the American taxpayers.

I want to thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for the strong bipartisan support for the legislation, and close my remarks by urging the entire House to vote for its passage.

I would be remiss not to acknowledge the effort and the time that was put into this particular proposal by the minority whip, Mr. Blunt. We all are in his debt.

6:08 PM EDT

Lee Terry, R-NE 2nd

Mr. TERRY. Madam Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman who represents probably the biggest destination of domestic tourists and foreign tourists, the gentleman from Orlando, Florida (Mr. Keller).

6:08 PM EDT

Ric Keller, R-FL 8th

Mr. KELLER of Florida. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

I rise today as a proud supporter and cosponsor of H.R. 3232, the Travel Promotion Act. I would like to tell you why I support it, how it works and what the benefits are.

Why I support it, I represent the world's number one vacation destination, Orlando, Florida. We have 49 million tourists a year, mainly because my fine city is home to Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World and many other exciting theme parks.

Forty-nine million tourists a year represents 46 million tourists domestically, but only 3 million internationally. You would think that Orlando and the other tourist destinations throughout the United States would be a good value now for European travelers, particularly with the weak American dollar. But we are not seeing that. In fact, our international tourism numbers are down to levels lower than they were before 9/11. Even though domestic travel is up 13 percent, international travel is

down 6 percent.

Other countries spend millions of dollars to promote international tourism. We don't. Unfortunately, a lot of travelers in Europe and other continents mistakenly think that the process of entry and visas and security is a lot more complicated than it really is.

So, how would this legislation work? This legislation provides $200 million [Page: H9933]

to promote international tourism through marketing overseas and communicating U.S. security and entry policies. It spends this $200 million without one penny being charged to taxpayers. Half of the money comes from the private sector, the other half is paid for by foreign travelers.

Now, what is the benefit of this legislation? It will create thousands of jobs. One of my employers alone provides 60,000 jobs. One out of four people in my area is employed in the tourism industry.

Expert studies show that this legislation will generate up to $1 billion a year in an additional tax revenues. This is legislation that is key to stimulating the economy, at a time when we need the economy stimulated the most.

I want to close by pointing out the broad bipartisan support that this legislation has. We have 243 cosponsors. I want to especially congratulate the lead sponsors of this legislation, Mr. Delahunt of Massachusetts and the minority whip, Mr. Blunt of Missouri. They have worked on this legislation for many years and pushed very hard to finally get us a floor vote. I am proud to join them today as a cosponsor and proud of their hard work.

I want to urge all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote yes on H.R. 3232. Let's be in favor of the Travel Promotion Act, and let's create some jobs at a time when we need them the most.

6:12 PM EDT

Pete Sessions, R-TX 32nd

Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. Speaker, it sounds like our friends on the Democratic side are talking off talking points of the Republican Party today, cutting taxes, keeping jobs in America, expanding our economy. We can sure use a little bit of this. It goes a long way. We ought to make it permanent, but we shouldn't do it with a tax increase attached to it.

Mr. Speaker, at this time I would like to yield 5 minutes to my friend, the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Hastings). [Page: H9899]

6:12 PM EDT

Sam Farr, D-CA 17th

Mr. FARR. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for yielding. I rise in strong support of this bill.

Myself and my colleague on the other side of the aisle, Jon Porter, formed the Congressional Tourism and Travel Caucus. Jon Porter is an outstanding cochair of that Tourism and Travel Caucus, and we have worked very closely with the authors, because this is a totally bipartisan bill, with Mr. Delahunt and Mr. Blunt. It has been a work in progress for about the last 10 years, something the industry has really needed and America has really needed, particularly

after 9/11, to try to expedite travelers coming to this country from especially those countries where we already have the Visa Waiver Program.

There is no taxpayer money in this. It is a congressionally created nonprofit corporation based here in Washington, D.C. It will have a 15-member directorate. They are not civil employees; they are not government employees. Those 15 members represent all aspects of American business, travel and rural areas as well, because, frankly, to boost the travel economy in this country boosts jobs in everybody's community. So this is one of those economic stimulus plans for America that has long been sought.

As you turn on the television and listen to these ads from other countries trying to woo Americans to travel overseas to their countries, to Australia, New Zealand, Europe and so on, we are going to be able to compete with that kind of travel promotion and really do what I think is so wonderful about promoting America, not a particular commercial destination, but just America as a country and a place to visit and see the wonderful people here. We will live that American Dream, with people seeing

what an incredible country and what wonderful people make up this country.

So I am very excited about the opportunity to really boost tourism in America, to boost world understanding of American culture and Americans, and really I think this is a big step towards global peace, and it is good for business in this country as well.

Madam Speaker, I urge a strong bipartisan vote for this bill.