(a) Establishment; membership; Chairman and Vice Chairman; quorum; terms of office; vacancies; per diem and expense reimbursement; meetings
(1) There is established a commission to be known as the National Commission on Social Security (hereinafter referred to as the "Commission").
(A) The Commission shall consist of—
(i) five members to be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, one of whom shall, at the time of appointment, be designated as Chairman of the Commission;
(ii) two members to be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives; and
(iii) two members to be appointed by the President pro tempore of the Senate.
(B) At no time shall more than three of the members appointed by the President, one of the members appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, or one of the members appointed by the President pro tempore of the Senate be members of the same political party.
(C) The membership of the Commission shall consist of individuals who are of recognized standing and distinction and who possess the demonstrated capacity to discharge the duties imposed on the Commission, and shall include representatives of the private insurance industry and of recipients and potential recipients of benefits under the programs involved as well as individuals whose capacity is based on a special knowledge or expertise in those programs. No individual who is otherwise an officer or full-time employee of the United States shall serve as a member of the Commission.
(D) The Chairman of the Commission shall designate a member of the Commission to act as Vice Chairman of the Commission.
(E) A majority of the members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum, but a lesser number may conduct hearings.
(F) Members of the Commission shall be appointed for a term which shall end on April 1, 1981.
(G) A vacancy in the Commission shall not affect its powers, but shall be filled in the same manner as that herein provided for the appointment of the member first appointed to the vacant position.
(3) Members of the Commission shall receive $138 per diem while engaged in the actual performance of the duties vested in the Commission, plus reimbursement for travel, subsistence, and other necessary expenses incurred in the performance of such duties.
(4) The Commission shall meet at the call of the Chairman, or at the call of a majority of the members of the Commission; but meetings of the Commission shall be held not less frequently than once in each calendar month which begins after a majority of the authorized membership of the Commission has first been appointed.
(b) Continuing study, investigation, and review of social security program; scope of study, etc., and public participation
(1) It shall be the duty and function of the Commission to conduct a continuing study, investigation, and review of—
(A) the Federal old-age, survivors, and disability insurance program established by subchapter II of this chapter; and
(B) the health insurance programs established by subchapter XVIII of this chapter.
(2) Such study, investigation, and review of such programs shall include (but not be limited to)—
(A) the fiscal status of the trust funds established for the financing of such programs and the adequacy of such trust funds to meet the immediate and long-range financing needs of such programs;
(B) the scope of coverage, the adequacy of benefits including the measurement of an adequate retirement income, and the conditions of qualification for benefits provided by such programs including the application of the retirement income test to unearned as well as earned income;
(C) the impact of such programs on, and their relation to, public assistance programs, nongovernmental retirement and annuity programs, medical service delivery systems, and national employment practices;
(D) any inequities (whether attributable to provisions of law relating to the establishment and operation of such programs, to rules and regulations promulgated in connection with the administration of such programs, or to administrative practices and procedures employed in the carrying out of such programs) which affect substantial numbers of individuals who are insured or otherwise eligible for benefits under such programs, including inequities and inequalities arising out of marital status, sex, or similar classifications or categories;
(E) possible alternatives to the current Federal programs or particular aspects thereof, including but not limited to (i) a phasing out of the payroll tax with the financing of such programs being accomplished in some other manner (including general revenue funding and the retirement bond), (ii) the establishment of a system providing for mandatory participation in any or all of the Federal programs, (iii) the integration of such current Federal programs with private retirement programs, and (iv) the establishment of a system permitting covered individuals a choice of public or private programs or both;
(F) the need to develop a special Consumer Price Index for the elderly, including the financial impact that such an index would have on the costs of the programs established under this chapter; and
(G) methods for effectively implementing the recommendations of the Commission.
(3) In order to provide an effective opportunity for the general public to participate fully in the study, investigation, and review under this section, the Commission, in conducting such study, investigation, and review, shall hold public hearings in as many different geographical areas of the country as possible. The residents of each area where such a hearing is to be held shall be given reasonable advance notice of the hearing and an adequate opportunity to appear and express their views on the matters under consideration.
(c) Special, annual, and final reports to President and Congress concerning implementation, etc., of study, investigation, and review responsibilities; termination of Commission
(1) No later than four months after the date on which a majority of the authorized membership of the Commission is initially appointed, the Commission shall submit to the President and the Congress a special report describing the Commission's plans for conducting the study, investigation, and review under subsection (b), with particular reference to the scope of such study, investigation, and review and the methods proposed to be used in conducting it.
(2) At or before the close of each of the first two years after the date on which a majority of the authorized membership of the Commission is initially appointed, the Commission shall submit to the President and the Congress an annual report on the study, investigation, and review under subsection (b), together with its recommendations with respect to the programs involved. The second such report shall constitute the final report of the Commission on such study, investigation, and review, and shall include its final recommendations; and the Commission shall cease to exist on April 1, 1981.
(d) Executive Director and additional personnel; appointment and compensation
(1) The Commission shall appoint an Executive Director of the Commission who shall be compensated at a rate fixed by the Commission, but which shall not exceed the rate established for level V of the Executive Schedule by title 5.
(2) In addition to the Executive Director, the Commission shall have the power to appoint and fix the compensation of such personnel as it deems advisable, in accordance with the provisions of title 5 governing appointments to the competitive service, and the provisions of chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of such title, relating to classification and General Schedule pay rates.
(e) Administrative procedures
In carrying out its duties under this section, the Commission, or any duly authorized committee thereof, is authorized to hold such hearings, sit and act at such times and places, and take such testimony, with respect to matters with respect to which it has a responsibility under this section, as the Commission or such committee may deem advisable. The Chairman of the Commission or any member authorized by him may administer oaths or affirmations to witnesses appearing before the Commission or before any committee thereof.
(f) Data and information from other Federal departments and agencies
The Commission may secure directly from any department or agency of the United States such data and information as may be necessary to enable it to carry out its duties under this section. Upon request of the Chairman of the Commission, any such department or agency shall furnish any such data or information to the Commission.
(g) Administrative support services from General Services Administration; reimbursement
The General Services Administration shall provide to the Commission, on a reimbursable basis such administrative support services as the Commission may request.
(h) Authorization of appropriations
There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out this section.
References in Text
Level V of the Executive Schedule, referred to in subsec. (d)(1), is set out in section 5316 of Title 5, Government Officers and Employees.
Section was enacted as part of the Social Security Amendments of 1977, and not as part of the Social Security Act which comprises this chapter.
1984—Subsec. (i). Pub. L. 98–369 struck out subsec. (i) which provided for notice of and attendance at meetings of the Health Insurance Benefits Advisory Council.
1980—Subsec. (a)(2)(F). Pub. L. 96–265, §502(a), substituted "a term which shall end on April 1, 1981" for "a term of two years".
Subsec. (c)(2). Pub. L. 96–265, §502(b), substituted "and the Commission shall cease to exist on April 1, 1981" for "and upon the submission of such final report the Commission shall cease to exist".
Effective Date of 1984 Amendment
Pub. L. 98–369, div. B, title III, §2349(c), July 18, 1984, 98 Stat. 1097, provided that: "The amendments made by this section [amending this section and section 1395z of this title and section 231f of Title 45, Railroads, and repealing section 1395dd of this title] shall become effective on the date of the enactment of this Act [July 18, 1984]."