Status of U.S. Holocaust
Assets Commission Act*
(November 24, 1999)
H.R. 3662/S. 1900 P.L. 105-186, U.S. Holocaust Assets
Commission Act of 1998
Summary. The 105th Congress enacted Public Law
105-186 to create and establish the Presidential Advisory Commission on
Holocaust Assets in the United States. The commission is required to study,
and develop an historical record of, the disposition of specified assets of
Holocaust victims, survivors, and heirs that are in the possession or
control of the U.S. government.
Status. Introduced by Sen. DAmato on April 1,
1998, and referred to the Banking Committee. On May 1, 1998, it passed the
Senate, amended. On June 9, the House struck all after the enacting clause
and inserted in lieu thereof the provisions of a similar measure, H.R.3662,
which passed the House, amended. The following day, on June 10, the Senate
agreed to the House amendments by unanimous consent. President Clinton
signed the bill as Public Law 105-186 on June 23, 1998.
Analysis. As enacted, P.L. 105-186 creates the
Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust Assets in the United States,
to be composed of 21 members. Of this total, the President appoints eight
members from the private sector, and four members, each representing the
Departments of State, Justice, Treasury, and the U.S. Army. The Chairperson
of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council is also a member of the commission.
In addition, four congressional Members are to be appointed to the
commission from the House and four congressional Members from the Senate.
The commission is mandated to conduct a thorough
study and develop a historical record of any assets obtained from
Holocaust victims that may be in the possession of the U.S. government.
These assets could include gold bullion or money in the possession of a
Federal Reserve bank, gems and jewelry, U.S. bank accounts, insurance
policies, U.S. real estate, art works, manuscripts, and religious objects.
In carrying out its statutory mandate, the commission is authorized to hold
public hearings, obtain information from federal agencies, use franked
mail, and accept gifts or donations of services or property. The commission
is authorized to receive appropriations totaling $3.5 million for FY 1998
No later than December 31, 1999, the commission is
required to submit a final report to the President with any final
legislative or administrative recommendations as it deems appropriate.
After receiving the final report, the President shall submit to Congress
his recommendations for further legislative or administrative action to
implement the commissions final report. The commission terminates 90
days after submission of its final report.
In late 1999, Congress acted to extend the term of the
Holocaust Assets Commission, and the date by which its final report is due,
through December 31, 2000. H.R. 2401, the U.S. Holocaust Assets Commission
Extension Act of 1999, was passed by the House on October 4, 1999 and by
the Senate on November 19, 1999 and is expected to be signed into law by
*Prepared by Stephanie
Smith, Specialist in American National Government, Government and Finance
Source: Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress for the U.S. House
International Relations Committee.