1:13 PM EDT

Danny Davis, D-IL 7th

Mr. DAVIS of Illinois. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, while the manager's amendment being offered does not make any substantive legislative changes to the bill's underlying purpose, it does make in order several minor technical changes that are designed to streamline the bill's language so that the House-passed bill will mirror language currently being considered in the Senate.

Most of these changes involve drafting edits and modifications through the bill's layout and structure. All of these changes are technical in nature. However, they are important to ensuring the swift passage of the measure.

The manager's amendment also strikes section 5 of H.R. 5781. This section of the bill entitled ``Study'' originally directed the Government Accountability Office to study and submit to Congress a written report of the feasibility and desirability of offering an insurance benefit to Federal employees not to include parental leave that would provide wage replacement during periods related to a serious health condition.

[Time: 13:15]

I am asking that this language be removed from the bill since GAO, at my request, has already agreed to perform a study that will analyze disability insurance benefits that are currently being offered by States, local governments and the private sector. I ask that a copy of the GAO acceptance letter regarding the disability insurance [Page: H5606]

benefit study be included in the Record.

Lastly, Mr. Speaker, the amendment at the desk would apply an effective date to all provisions of the bill. H.R. 5781, as reported out of committee, provided for two provisions of the act to go into effect 6 months from the date of enactment of the act. All we're asking for in the manager's amendment is that the same effective date be applied to the remaining section of the bill, which speaks specifically to extending paid parental leave to those that work at the Library of Congress or the Government

Accountability Office.

While the amendment I am offering this afternoon does nothing to change these aspects of the bill, it does strengthen the measure by clarifying and streamlining certain provisions of the bill. Therefore, I ask that my colleagues join me in supporting this simple amendment.

GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE,

Washington, DC, June 10, 2008.

Hon. DANNY K. DAVIS,

Chairman, Subcommittee on Fereral Workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, House of Representatives.

DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: We received your letter dated June 2, 2008, requesting that the Government Accountability Office review the feasibility and desirability of providing an insurance benefit to federal employees which would provide partial or total wage replacement.

GAO accepts your request as work that is within the scope of its authority. To fully respond to your request, GAO plans to initiate work on this project in about five months when it is expected that staff with the required skills will be available. Your request has been assigned to Ms. Cynthia M. Fagnoni, Managing Director, Education, Workforce, and Income Security. Ms. Fagnoni or a member of her team will contact Ms. Lori Hayman to discuss the request and options for helping you meet your needs.

As applicable, we will also be in contact with the cognizant Inspector General's office to ensure that we are not duplicating efforts. If an issue arises during this coordination, we will consult with you regarding its resolution.

If you have any questions, please contact Ms. Fagnoni at 202-512-7202 or Ms. Elizabeth Johnston, Assistant Director, Congressional Relations, on my staff at 202-512-6345.

Sincerely yours,

Ralph Dawn,

Managing Director, Congressional Relations.

I reserve the balance of my time.

1:16 PM EDT

Darrell Issa, R-CA 49th

Mr. ISSA. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Davis, I hope I understood you correctly so that I could withdraw any objection. I, too, share a belief that the committee of jurisdiction, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, since we ordered the GAO to make these studies and they routinely, of course, grant them, I don't see that it should be in the bill. But I'm a little bit confused about whether or not your request and the acceptance matches the study that was described in the bill.

I yield to you so you could clear that up for me.

1:16 PM EDT

Danny Davis, D-IL 7th

Mr. DAVIS of Illinois. I agree that we routinely ask the Government Accountability Office to make studies, to provide information, to give us the kind of information that we need, sometimes in much time, to make the most rational, logical and adequate decisions.

We simply ask in the legislation or indicate in the legislation that we've already asked them to do that and they have already agreed, and that's why we asked that the letter be included indicating their agreement.

1:17 PM EDT

Darrell Issa, R-CA 49th

Mr. ISSA. Reclaiming my time, so if the gentleman would assure me that if the GAO does not agree to do a study that is commensurate with the one described in the legislation, that he would join with me in asking for that nuance-specific study, then I'd be happy to withdraw because I think his amendment is fully in order if we can assure that.