21st Century Respect Act
Statement of the
U.S. Department of the Interior
Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources
Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests & Mining
H.R. 995, the 21st Century Respect Act
February 7, 2018
The Department of the Interior (Department) is pleased to provide the views of the Department on H.R. 995, the 21st Century Respect Act. H.R. 995 directs the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) to amend certain regulations to replace racially inappropriate terms. While the Department supports the goals of the legislation, for the reasons described below, we defer to the General Services Administration (GSA) for a position on the legislation.
H.R. 995 directs the Secretary to amend regulations promulgated to regulate the activities of the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation (PADC), a wholly owned instrumentality of the United States that was established by the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation Act of 1972 (Public Law 92-578, 86 Stat. 1266). The PADC led a major redevelopment effort from the 1970s to the 1990s that shaped the design and character of Pennsylvania Avenue and the surrounding neighborhood.
In 1996, Congress dissolved the PADC in Public Law 104-99, and provided that “any regulations prescribed by the [Pennsylvania Avenue Development] Corporation in connection with the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation Act of 1972 (40 U.S.C. 1101-1109) shall continue in effect until suspended by regulations prescribed by the Administrator of the General Services Administration.” While the National Park Service retained some functions under that 1996 Act, authority over the regulations was placed with the GSA.
For these reasons, the Department recommends the legislation be amended to replace “Secretary of the Interior” with “Administrator of the General Services Administration” and we defer to the General Services Administration for a position on H.R. 995.