H.R. 4539 would establish a commission to plan activities and provide grants to develop programs and events to commemorate 400 years of Africian American history in the United States. The act would authorize the appropriation of whatever sums are necessary for those purposes. The commission would consist of 15 members and would have four years to report to the Congress on its activities. Members would serve without pay but would be reimbursed for travel expenses. The legislation would allow the commission to make grants to communities, nonprofit organizations, and other groups to conduct activities that commemorate the anniversary. In addition, the commission could hire staff, use personnel from other federal agencies or state governments, and accept volunteers to perform its work. The commission would submit a final report to the Congress and terminate on July 1, 2020.
Based on the cost of similar commissions, CBO estimates that implementing the bill would cost about $2 million annually and a total of $8 million over the 2017-2020 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts. Enacting H.R. 4539 would affect direct spending because it would authorize the commission to accept and spend monetary gifts; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. However, CBO estimates that the net effect on direct spending would be negligible. Enacting H.R. 4539 would not affect revenues.
CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 4539 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2027.
H.R. 4539 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
On August 11, 2016, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for S. 2548, the 400 Years of African-American History Commission Act, as ordered reported by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on July 13, 2016. The two pieces of legislation are similar and CBO’s estimates of their cost are the same.