Text: S.610 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)All Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 108-201 (02/24/2004)

 
[108th Congress Public Law 201]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]


[DOCID: f:publ201.108]

[[Page 118 STAT. 461]]

Public Law 108-201
108th Congress

                                 An Act


 
 To amend the provisions of title 5, United States Code, to provide for 
    workforce flexibilities and certain Federal personnel provisions 
 relating to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and for 
          other purposes. <<NOTE: Feb. 24, 2004 -  [S. 610]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress <<NOTE: NASA Flexibility Act of 
2004.>> assembled,

SECTION 1. <<NOTE: 5 USC 101 note.>> SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``NASA Flexibility Act of 2004''.

SEC. 2. COMPENSATION FOR CERTAIN EXCEPTED PERSONNEL.

    (a) In General.--Subparagraph (A) of section 203(c)(2) of the 
National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 (42 U.S.C. 2473(c)(2)(A)) is 
amended by striking ``the highest rate of grade 18 of the General 
Schedule of the Classification Act of 1949, as amended,'' and inserting 
``the rate of basic pay payable for level III of the Executive 
Schedule,''.
    (b) Effective Date.--The <<NOTE: 42 USC 2473 note.>> amendment made 
by this section shall take effect on the first day of the first pay 
period beginning on or after the date of enactment of this Act.

SEC. 3. WORKFORCE AUTHORITIES.

    (a) In General.--Subpart I of part III of title 5, United States 
Code, is amended by inserting after chapter 97, as added by section 
841(a)(2) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-296; 116 
Stat. 2229), the following:

       ``CHAPTER 98--NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION

``Sec.
``9801. Definitions.
``9802. Planning, notification, and reporting requirements.
``9803. Restrictions.
``9804. Recruitment, redesignation, and relocation bonuses.
``9805. Retention bonuses.
``9806. Term appointments.
``9807. Pay authority for critical positions.
``9808. Assignments of intergovernmental personnel.
``9809. Science and technology scholarship program.
``9810. Distinguished scholar appointment authority.
``9811. Travel and transportation expenses of certain new appointees.
``9812. Annual leave enhancements.
``9813. Limited appointments to Senior Executive Service positions.
``9814. Qualifications pay.
``9815. Reporting requirement.

``Sec. 9801. Definitions

    ``For purposes of this chapter--

[[Page 118 STAT. 462]]

            ``(1) the term `Administration' means the National 
        Aeronautics and Space Administration;
            ``(2) the term `Administrator' means the Administrator of 
        the National Aeronautics and Space Administration;
            ``(3) the term `critical need' means a specific and 
        important safety, management, engineering, science, research, or 
        operations requirement of the Administration's mission that the 
        Administration is unable to fulfill because the Administration 
        lacks the appropriate employees because--
                    ``(A) of the inability to fill positions; or
                    ``(B) employees do not possess the requisite skills;
            ``(4) the term `employee' means an individual employed in or 
        under the Administration;
            ``(5) the term `workforce plan' means the plan required 
        under section 9802(a);
            ``(6) the term `appropriate committees of Congress' means--
                    ``(A) the Committees on Government Reform, Science, 
                and Appropriations of the House of Representatives; and
                    ``(B) the Committees on Governmental Affairs, 
                Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and 
                Appropriations of the Senate;
            ``(7) the term `redesignation bonus' means a bonus under 
        section 9804 paid to an individual described in subsection 
        (a)(2) thereof;
            ``(8) the term `supervisor' has the meaning given such term 
        by section 7103(a)(10); and
            ``(9) the term `management official' has the meaning given 
        such term by section 7103(a)(11).

``Sec. 9802. <<NOTE: Deadlines.>> Planning, notification, and reporting 
                        requirements

    ``(a) Not later than 90 days before exercising any of the workforce 
authorities made available under this chapter, the Administrator shall 
submit a written plan to the appropriate committees of Congress. Such 
plan shall be approved by the Office of Personnel Management.
    ``(b) A workforce plan shall include a description of--
            ``(1) each critical need of the Administration and the 
        criteria used in the identification of that need;
            ``(2)(A) the functions, approximate number, and classes or 
        other categories of positions or employees that--
                    ``(i) address critical needs; and
                    ``(ii) would be eligible for each authority proposed 
                to be exercised under this chapter; and
            ``(B) how the exercise of those authorities with respect to 
        the eligible positions or employees involved would address each 
        critical need identified under paragraph (1);
            ``(3)(A) any critical need identified under paragraph (1) 
        which would not be addressed by the authorities made available 
        under this chapter; and
            ``(B) the reasons why those needs would not be so addressed;
            ``(4) the specific criteria to be used in determining which 
        individuals may receive the benefits described under sections 
        9804 and 9805 (including the criteria for granting bonuses in 
        the absence of a critical need), and how the level of those 
        benefits will be determined;

[[Page 118 STAT. 463]]

            ``(5) the safeguards or other measures that will be applied 
        to ensure that this chapter is carried out in a manner 
        consistent with merit system principles;
            ``(6) the means by which employees will be afforded the 
        notification required under subsections (c) and (d)(1)(B);
            ``(7) the methods that will be used to determine if the 
        authorities exercised under this chapter have successfully 
        addressed each critical need identified under paragraph (1);
            ``(8)(A) the recruitment methods used by the Administration 
        before the enactment of this chapter to recruit highly qualified 
        individuals; and
            ``(B) the changes the Administration will implement after 
        the enactment of this chapter in order to improve its 
        recruitment of highly qualified individuals, including how it 
        intends to use--
                    ``(i) nongovernmental recruitment or placement 
                agencies; and
                    ``(ii) Internet technologies; and
            ``(9) any workforce-related reforms required to resolve the 
        findings and recommendations of the Columbia Accident 
        Investigation Board, the extent to which those recommendations 
        were accepted, and, if necessary, the reasons why any of those 
        recommendations were not accepted.

    ``(c) Not later than 60 days before first exercising any of the 
workforce authorities made available under this chapter, the 
Administrator shall provide to all employees the workforce plan and any 
additional information which the Administrator considers appropriate.
    ``(d)(1)(A) The Administrator may from time to time modify the 
workforce plan. Any modification to the workforce plan shall be 
submitted to the Office of Personnel Management for approval by the 
Office before the modification may be implemented.
    ``(B) Not later than 60 days before implementing any such 
modifications, the Administrator shall provide an appropriately modified 
plan to all employees of the Administration and to the appropriate 
committees of Congress.
    ``(2) Any reference in this chapter or any other provision of law to 
the workforce plan shall be considered to include any modification made 
in accordance with this subsection.
    ``(e) Before submitting any written plan under subsection (a) (or 
modification under subsection (d)) to the Office of Personnel 
Management, the Administrator shall--
            ``(1) provide to each employee representative representing 
        any employees who might be affected by such plan (or 
        modification) a copy of the proposed plan (or modification);
            ``(2) give each representative 30 calendar days (unless 
        extraordinary circumstances require earlier action) to review 
        and make recommendations with respect to the proposed plan (or 
        modification); and
            ``(3) give any recommendations received from any such 
        representatives under paragraph (2) full and fair consideration 
        in deciding whether or how to proceed with respect to the 
        proposed plan (or modification).

    ``(f) None of the workforce authorities made available under this 
chapter may be exercised in a manner inconsistent with the workforce 
plan.

[[Page 118 STAT. 464]]

    ``(g) Whenever the Administration submits its performance plan under 
section 1115 of title 31 to the Office of Management and Budget for any 
year, the Administration shall at the same time submit a copy of such 
plan to the appropriate committees of Congress.
    ``(h) Not later than 6 years after the date of enactment of this 
chapter, the Administrator shall submit to the appropriate committees of 
Congress an evaluation and analysis of the actions taken by the 
Administration under this chapter, including--
            ``(1) an evaluation, using the methods described in 
        subsection (b)(7), of whether the authorities exercised under 
        this chapter successfully addressed each critical need 
        identified under subsection (b)(1);
            ``(2) to the extent that they did not, an explanation of the 
        reasons why any critical need (apart from the ones under 
        subsection (b)(3)) was not successfully addressed; and
            ``(3) recommendations for how the Administration could 
        address any remaining critical need and could prevent those that 
        have been addressed from recurring.

    ``(i) The budget request for the Administration for the first fiscal 
year beginning after the date of enactment of this chapter and for each 
fiscal year thereafter shall include a statement of the total amount of 
appropriations requested for such fiscal year to carry out this chapter.

``Sec. 9803. Restrictions

    ``(a) None of the workforce authorities made available under this 
chapter may be exercised with respect to any officer who is appointed by 
the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.
    ``(b) Unless specifically stated otherwise, all workforce 
authorities made available under this chapter shall be subject to 
section 5307.
    ``(c)(1) None of the workforce authorities made available under 
section 9804, 9805, 9806, 9807, 9809, 9812, 9813, 9814, or 9815 may be 
exercised with respect to a political appointee.
    ``(2) For purposes of this subsection, the term `political 
appointee' means an employee who holds--
            ``(A) a position which has been excepted from the 
        competitive service by reason of its confidential, policy-
        determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating character; or
            ``(B) a position in the Senior Executive Service as a 
        noncareer appointee (as such term is defined in section 
        3132(a)).

``Sec. 9804. Recruitment, redesignation, and relocation bonuses

    ``(a) Notwithstanding section 5753, the Administrator may pay a 
bonus to an individual, in accordance with the workforce plan and 
subject to the limitations in this section, if--
            ``(1) the Administrator determines that the Administration 
        would be likely, in the absence of a bonus, to encounter 
        difficulty in filling a position; and
            ``(2) the individual--
                    ``(A) is newly appointed as an employee of the 
                Federal Government;
                    ``(B) is currently employed by the Federal 
                Government and is newly appointed to another position in 
                the same geographic area; or

[[Page 118 STAT. 465]]

                    ``(C) is currently employed by the Federal 
                Government and is required to relocate to a different 
                geographic area to accept a position with the 
                Administration.

    ``(b) If the position is described as addressing a critical need in 
the workforce plan under section 9802(b)(2)(A), the amount of a bonus 
may not exceed--
            ``(1) 50 percent of the employee's annual rate of basic pay 
        (including comparability payments under sections 5304 and 5304a) 
        as of the beginning of the service period multiplied by the 
        service period specified under subsection (d)(1)(B)(i); or
            ``(2) 100 percent of the employee's annual rate of basic pay 
        (including comparability payments under sections 5304 and 5304a) 
        as of the beginning of the service period.

    ``(c) If the position is not described as addressing a critical need 
in the workforce plan under section 9802(b)(2)(A), the amount of a bonus 
may not exceed 25 percent of the employee's annual rate of basic pay 
(excluding comparability payments under sections 5304 and 5304a) as of 
the beginning of the service period.
    ``(d)(1)(A) Payment of a bonus under this section shall be 
contingent upon the individual entering into a service agreement with 
the Administration.
    ``(B) At a minimum, the service agreement shall include--
            ``(i) the required service period;
            ``(ii) the method of payment, including a payment schedule, 
        which may include a lump-sum payment, installment payments, or a 
        combination thereof;
            ``(iii) the amount of the bonus and the basis for 
        calculating that amount; and
            ``(iv) the conditions under which the agreement may be 
        terminated before the agreed-upon service period has been 
        completed, and the effect of the termination.

    ``(2) For purposes of determinations under subsections (b)(1) and 
(c)(1), the employee's service period shall be expressed as the number 
equal to the full years and twelfth parts thereof, rounding the 
fractional part of a month to the nearest twelfth part of a year. The 
service period may not be less than 6 months and may not exceed 4 years.
    ``(3) A bonus under this section may not be considered to be part of 
the basic pay of an employee.
    ``(e) Before paying a bonus under this section, the Administration 
shall establish a plan for paying recruitment, redesignation, and 
relocation bonuses, subject to approval by the Office of Personnel 
Management.
    ``(f) No more than 25 percent of the total amount in bonuses awarded 
under subsection (a) in any year may be awarded to supervisors or 
management officials.

``Sec. 9805. Retention bonuses

    ``(a) Notwithstanding section 5754, the Administrator may pay a 
bonus to an employee, in accordance with the workforce plan and subject 
to the limitations in this section, if the Administrator determines 
that--
            ``(1) the unusually high or unique qualifications of the 
        employee or a special need of the Administration for the 
        employee's services makes it essential to retain the employee; 
        and

[[Page 118 STAT. 466]]

            ``(2) the employee would be likely to leave in the absence 
        of a retention bonus.

    ``(b) If the position is described as addressing a critical need in 
the workforce plan under section 9802(b)(2)(A), the amount of a bonus 
may not exceed 50 percent of the employee's annual rate of basic pay 
(including comparability payments under sections 5304 and 5304a).
    ``(c) If the position is not described as addressing a critical need 
in the workforce plan under section 9802(b)(2)(A), the amount of a bonus 
may not exceed 25 percent of the employee's annual rate of basic pay 
(excluding comparability payments under sections 5304 and 5304a).
    ``(d)(1)(A) Payment of a bonus under this section shall be 
contingent upon the employee entering into a service agreement with the 
Administration.
    ``(B) At a minimum, the service agreement shall include--
            ``(i) the required service period;
            ``(ii) the method of payment, including a payment schedule, 
        which may include a lump-sum payment, installment payments, or a 
        combination thereof;
            ``(iii) the amount of the bonus and the basis for 
        calculating the amount; and
            ``(iv) the conditions under which the agreement may be 
        terminated before the agreed-upon service period has been 
        completed, and the effect of the termination.

    ``(2) The employee's service period shall be expressed as the number 
equal to the full years and twelfth parts thereof, rounding the 
fractional part of a month to the nearest twelfth part of a year. The 
service period may not be less than 6 months and may not exceed 4 years.
    ``(3) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), a service agreement is not 
required if the Administration pays a bonus in biweekly installments and 
sets the installment payment at the full bonus percentage rate 
established for the employee, with no portion of the bonus deferred. In 
this case, the Administration shall inform the employee in writing of 
any decision to change the retention bonus payments. The employee shall 
continue to accrue entitlement to the retention bonus through the end of 
the pay period in which such written notice is provided.
    ``(e) A bonus under this section may not be considered to be part of 
the basic pay of an employee.
    ``(f) An employee is not entitled to a retention bonus under this 
section during a service period previously established for that employee 
under section 5753 or under section 9804.
    ``(g) No more than 25 percent of the total amount in bonuses awarded 
under subsection (a) in any year may be awarded to supervisors or 
management officials.

``Sec. 9806. Term appointments

    ``(a) The Administrator may authorize term appointments within the 
Administration under subchapter I of chapter 33, for a period of not 
less than 1 year and not more than 6 years.
    ``(b) Notwithstanding chapter 33 or any other provision of law 
relating to the examination, certification, and appointment of 
individuals in the competitive service, the Administrator may convert an 
employee serving under a term appointment to a permanent

[[Page 118 STAT. 467]]

appointment in the competitive service within the Administration without 
further competition if--
            ``(1) such individual was appointed under open, competitive 
        examination under subchapter I of chapter 33 to the term 
        position;
            ``(2) the announcement for the term appointment from which 
        the conversion is made stated that there was potential for 
        subsequent conversion to a career-conditional or career 
        appointment;
            ``(3) the employee has completed at least 2 years of current 
        continuous service under a term appointment in the competitive 
        service;
            ``(4) the employee's performance under such term appointment 
        was at least fully successful or equivalent; and
            ``(5) the position to which such employee is being converted 
        under this section is in the same occupational series, is in the 
        same geographic location, and provides no greater promotion 
        potential than the term position for which the competitive 
        examination was conducted.

    ``(c) Notwithstanding chapter 33 or any other provision of law 
relating to the examination, certification, and appointment of 
individuals in the competitive service, the Administrator may convert an 
employee serving under a term appointment to a permanent appointment in 
the competitive service within the Administration through internal 
competitive promotion procedures if the conditions under paragraphs (1) 
through (4) of subsection (b) are met.
    ``(d) An employee converted under this section becomes a career-
conditional employee, unless the employee has otherwise completed the 
service requirements for career tenure.
    ``(e) An employee converted to career or career-conditional 
employment under this section acquires competitive status upon 
conversion.

``Sec. 9807. Pay authority for critical positions

    ``(a) In this section, the term `position' means--
            ``(1) a position to which chapter 51 applies, including a 
        position in the Senior Executive Service;
            ``(2) a position under the Executive Schedule under sections 
        5312 through 5317;
            ``(3) a position established under section 3104; or
            ``(4) a senior-level position to which section 5376(a)(1) 
        applies.

    ``(b) Authority under this section--
            ``(1) may be exercised only with respect to a position 
        that--
                    ``(A) is described as addressing a critical need in 
                the workforce plan under section 9802(b)(2)(A); and
                    ``(B) requires expertise of an extremely high level 
                in a scientific, technical, professional, or 
                administrative field;
            ``(2) may be exercised only to the extent necessary to 
        recruit or retain an individual exceptionally well qualified for 
        the position; and
            ``(3) may be exercised only in retaining employees of the 
        Administration or in appointing individuals who were not 
        employees of another Federal agency as defined under section 
        5102(a)(1).

    ``(c)(1) Notwithstanding section 5377, the Administrator may fix the 
rate of basic pay for a position in the Administration in

[[Page 118 STAT. 468]]

accordance with this section. The Administrator may not delegate this 
authority.
    ``(2) The number of positions with pay fixed under this section may 
not exceed 10 at any time.
    ``(d)(1) The rate of basic pay fixed under this section may not be 
less than the rate of basic pay (including any comparability payments) 
which would otherwise be payable for the position involved if this 
section had never been enacted.
    ``(2) The annual rate of basic pay fixed under this section may not 
exceed the per annum rate of salary payable under section 104 of title 
3.
    ``(3) Notwithstanding any provision of section 5307, in the case of 
an employee who, during any calendar year, is receiving pay at a rate 
fixed under this section, no allowance, differential, bonus, award, or 
similar cash payment may be paid to such employee if, or to the extent 
that, when added to basic pay paid or payable to such employee (for 
service performed in such calendar year as an employee in the executive 
branch or as an employee outside the executive branch to whom chapter 51 
applies), such payment would cause the total to exceed the per annum 
rate of salary which, as of the end of such calendar year, is payable 
under section 104 of title 3.

``Sec. 9808. Assignments of intergovernmental personnel

    ``For purposes of applying the third sentence of section 3372(a) 
(relating to the authority of the head of a Federal agency to extend the 
period of an employee's assignment to or from a State or local 
government, institution of higher education, or other organization), the 
Administrator may, with the concurrence of the employee and the 
government or organization concerned, take any action which would be 
allowable if such sentence had been amended by striking `two' and 
inserting `four'.

``Sec. 9809. Science and technology scholarship program

    ``(a)(1) The Administrator shall establish a National Aeronautics 
and Space Administration Science and Technology Scholarship Program to 
award scholarships to individuals that is designed to recruit and 
prepare students for careers in the Administration.
    ``(2) Individuals shall be selected to receive scholarships under 
this section through a competitive process primarily on the basis of 
academic merit, with consideration given to financial need and the goal 
of promoting the participation of individuals identified in section 33 
or 34 of the Science and Engineering Equal Opportunities Act.
    ``(3) To carry out the Program the Administrator shall enter into 
contractual agreements with individuals selected under paragraph (2) 
under which the individuals agree to serve as full-time employees of the 
Administration, for the period described in subsection (f)(1), in 
positions needed by the Administration and for which the individuals are 
qualified, in exchange for receiving a scholarship.
    ``(b) In order to be eligible to participate in the Program, an 
individual must--
            ``(1) be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a full-time 
        student at an institution of higher education in an academic 
        field or discipline described in the list made available under 
        subsection (d);

[[Page 118 STAT. 469]]

            ``(2) be a United States citizen or permanent resident; and
            ``(3) at the time of the initial scholarship award, not be 
        an employee (as defined in section 2105).

    ``(c) An individual seeking a scholarship under this section shall 
submit an application to the Administrator at such time, in such manner, 
and containing such information, agreements, or assurances as the 
Administrator may require.
    ``(d) <<NOTE: Public information. Records.>> The Administrator shall 
make publicly available a list of academic programs and fields of study 
for which scholarships under the Program may be utilized and shall 
update the list as necessary.

    ``(e)(1) The Administrator may provide a scholarship under the 
Program for an academic year if the individual applying for the 
scholarship has submitted to the Administrator, as part of the 
application required under subsection (c), a proposed academic program 
leading to a degree in a program or field of study on the list made 
available under subsection (d).
    ``(2) An individual may not receive a scholarship under this section 
for more than 4 academic years, unless the Administrator grants a 
waiver.
    ``(3) The dollar amount of a scholarship under this section for an 
academic year shall be determined under regulations issued by the 
Administrator, but shall in no case exceed the cost of attendance.
    ``(4) A scholarship provided under this section may be expended for 
tuition, fees, and other authorized expenses as established by the 
Administrator by regulation.
    ``(5) The Administrator may enter into a contractual agreement with 
an institution of higher education under which the amounts provided for 
a scholarship under this section for tuition, fees, and other authorized 
expenses are paid directly to the institution with respect to which the 
scholarship is provided.
    ``(f)(1) The period of service for which an individual shall be 
obligated to serve as an employee of the Administration is, except as 
provided in subsection (h)(2), 24 months for each academic year for 
which a scholarship under this section is provided. Under no 
circumstances shall the total period of obligated service be more than 4 
years.
    ``(2)(A) <<NOTE: Deadline.>> Except as provided in subparagraph (B), 
obligated service under paragraph (1) shall begin not later than 60 days 
after the individual obtains the educational degree for which the 
scholarship was provided.

    ``(B) The Administrator may defer the obligation of an individual to 
provide a period of service under paragraph (1) if the Administrator 
determines that such a deferral is <<NOTE: Regulations.>> appropriate. 
The Administrator shall prescribe the terms and conditions under which a 
service obligation may be deferred through regulation.

    ``(g)(1) <<NOTE: Regulations.>> Scholarship recipients who fail to 
maintain a high level of academic standing, as defined by the 
Administrator by regulation, who are dismissed from their educational 
institutions for disciplinary reasons, or who voluntarily terminate 
academic training before graduation from the educational program for 
which the scholarship was awarded, shall be in breach of their 
contractual agreement and, in lieu of any service obligation arising 
under such agreement, shall be liable to the United States for repayment 
within 1 year after the date of default of all scholarship funds paid to 
them and to the institution of higher education on their behalf under

[[Page 118 STAT. 470]]

the agreement, except as provided in subsection (h)(2). The repayment 
period may be extended by the Administrator when determined to be 
necessary, as established by regulation.
    ``(2) Scholarship recipients who, for any reason, fail to begin or 
complete their service obligation after completion of academic training, 
or fail to comply with the terms and conditions of deferment established 
by the Administrator pursuant to subsection (f)(2)(B), shall be in 
breach of their contractual agreement. When recipients breach their 
agreements for the reasons stated in the preceding sentence, the 
recipient shall be liable to the United States for an amount equal to--
            ``(A) the total amount of scholarships received by such 
        individual under this section; plus
            ``(B) the interest on the amounts of such awards which would 
        be payable if at the time the awards were received they were 
        loans bearing interest at the maximum legal prevailing rate, as 
        determined by the Treasurer of the United States,

multiplied by 3.
    ``(h)(1) Any obligation of an individual incurred under the Program 
(or a contractual agreement thereunder) for service or payment shall be 
canceled upon the death of the individual.
    ``(2) <<NOTE: Regulations.>> The Administrator shall by regulation 
provide for the partial or total waiver or suspension of any obligation 
of service or payment incurred by an individual under the Program (or a 
contractual agreement thereunder) whenever compliance by the individual 
is impossible or would involve extreme hardship to the individual, or if 
enforcement of such obligation with respect to the individual would be 
contrary to the best interests of the Government.

    ``(i) For purposes of this section--
            ``(1) the term `cost of attendance' has the meaning given 
        that term in section 472 of the Higher Education Act of 1965;
            ``(2) the term `institution of higher education' has the 
        meaning given that term in section 101(a) of the Higher 
        Education Act of 1965; and
            ``(3) the term `Program' means the National Aeronautics and 
        Space Administration Science and Technology Scholarship Program 
        established under this section.

    ``(j)(1) <<NOTE: Appropriation authorization.>> There is authorized 
to be appropriated to the Administration for the Program $10,000,000 for 
each fiscal year.

    ``(2) Amounts appropriated under this section shall remain available 
for 2 fiscal years.

``Sec. 9810. Distinguished scholar appointment authority

    ``(a) In this section--
            ``(1) the term `professional position' means a position that 
        is classified to an occupational series identified by the Office 
        of Personnel Management as a position that--
                    ``(A) requires education and training in the 
                principles, concepts, and theories of the occupation 
                that typically can be gained only through completion of 
                a specified curriculum at a recognized college or 
                university; and
                    ``(B) is covered by the Group Coverage Qualification 
                Standard for Professional and Scientific Positions; and
            ``(2) the term `research position' means a position in a 
        professional series that primarily involves scientific inquiry 
        or investigation, or research-type exploratory development of

[[Page 118 STAT. 471]]

        a creative or scientific nature, where the knowledge required to 
        perform the work successfully is acquired typically and 
        primarily through graduate study.

    ``(b) The Administration may appoint, without regard to the 
provisions of section 3304(b) and sections 3309 through 3318, but 
subject to subsection (c), candidates directly to General Schedule 
professional, competitive service positions in the Administration for 
which public notice has been given (in accordance with regulations of 
the Office of Personnel Management), if--
            ``(1) with respect to a position at the GS-7 level, the 
        individual--
                    ``(A) received, within 2 years before the effective 
                date of the appointment, from an accredited institution 
                authorized to grant baccalaureate degrees, a 
                baccalaureate degree in a field of study for which 
                possession of that degree in conjunction with academic 
                achievements meets the qualification standards as 
                prescribed by the Office of Personnel Management for the 
                position to which the individual is being appointed; and
                    ``(B) achieved a cumulative grade point average of 
                3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale and a grade point average 
                of 3.5 or higher for courses in the field of study 
                required to qualify for the position;
            ``(2) with respect to a position at the GS-9 level, the 
        individual--
                    ``(A) received, within 2 years before the effective 
                date of the appointment, from an accredited institution 
                authorized to grant graduate degrees, a graduate degree 
                in a field of study for which possession of that degree 
                meets the qualification standards at this grade level as 
                prescribed by the Office of Personnel Management for the 
                position to which the individual is being appointed; and
                    ``(B) achieved a cumulative grade point average of 
                3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale in graduate coursework in 
                the field of study required for the position;
            ``(3) with respect to a position at the GS-11 level, the 
        individual--
                    ``(A) received, within 2 years before the effective 
                date of the appointment, from an accredited institution 
                authorized to grant graduate degrees, a graduate degree 
                in a field of study for which possession of that degree 
                meets the qualification standards at this grade level as 
                prescribed by the Office of Personnel Management for the 
                position to which the individual is being appointed; and
                    ``(B) achieved a cumulative grade point average of 
                3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale in graduate coursework in 
                the field of study required for the position; or
            ``(4) with respect to a research position at the GS-12 
        level, the individual--
                    ``(A) received, within 2 years before the effective 
                date of the appointment, from an accredited institution 
                authorized to grant graduate degrees, a graduate degree 
                in a field of study for which possession of that degree 
                meets the qualification standards at this grade level as 
                prescribed by the Office of Personnel Management for the 
                position to which the individual is being appointed; and

[[Page 118 STAT. 472]]

                    ``(B) achieved a cumulative grade point average of 
                3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale in graduate coursework in 
                the field of study required for the position.

    ``(c) In making any selections under this section, preference 
eligibles who meet the criteria for distinguished scholar appointments 
shall be considered ahead of nonpreference eligibles.
    ``(d) An appointment made under this authority shall be a career-
conditional appointment in the competitive civil service.
``Sec. 9811. Travel and transportation expenses of certain new 
                    appointees

    ``(a) In this section, the term `new appointee' means--
            ``(1) a person newly appointed or reinstated to Federal 
        service to the Administration to--
                    ``(A) a career or career-conditional appointment or 
                an excepted service appointment to a continuing 
                position;
                    ``(B) a term appointment;
                    ``(C) an excepted service appointment that provides 
                for noncompetitive conversion to a career or career-
                conditional appointment;
                    ``(D) a career or limited term Senior Executive 
                Service appointment;
                    ``(E) an appointment made under section 203(c)(2)(A) 
                of the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 (42 
                U.S.C. 2473(c)(2)(A));
                    ``(F) an appointment to a position established under 
                section 3104; or
                    ``(G) an appointment to a position established under 
                section 5108; or
            ``(2) a student trainee who, upon completion of academic 
        work, is converted to an appointment in the Administration that 
        is identified in paragraph (1) in accordance with an appropriate 
        authority.

    ``(b) The Administrator may pay the travel, transportation, and 
relocation expenses of a new appointee to the same extent, in the same 
manner, and subject to the same conditions as the payment of such 
expenses under sections 5724, 5724a, 5724b, and 5724c to an employee 
transferred in the interests of the United States Government.

``Sec. 9812. Annual leave enhancements

    ``(a) In this section--
            ``(1) the term `newly appointed employee' means an 
        individual who is first appointed--
                    ``(A) as an employee of the Federal Government; or
                    ``(B) as an employee of the Federal Government 
                following a break in service of at least 90 days after 
                that individual's last period of Federal employment, 
                other than--
                          ``(i) employment under the Student Educational 
                      Employment Program administered by the Office of 
                      Personnel Management;
                          ``(ii) employment as a law clerk trainee;
                          ``(iii) employment under a short-term 
                      temporary appointing authority while a student 
                      during periods of vacation from the educational 
                      institution at which the student is enrolled;

[[Page 118 STAT. 473]]

                          ``(iv) employment under a provisional 
                      appointment if the new appointment is permanent 
                      and immediately follows the provisional 
                      appointment; or
                          ``(v) employment under a temporary appointment 
                      that is neither full-time nor the principal 
                      employment of the individual;
            ``(2) the term `period of qualified non-Federal service' 
        means any period of service performed by an individual that--
                    ``(A) was performed in a position the duties of 
                which were directly related to the duties of the 
                position in the Administration which that individual 
                will fill as a newly appointed employee; and
                    ``(B) except for this section, would not otherwise 
                be service performed by an employee for purposes of 
                section 6303; and
            ``(3) the term `directly related to the duties of the 
        position' means duties and responsibilities in the same line of 
        work which require similar qualifications.

    ``(b)(1) For purposes of section 6303, the Administrator may deem a 
period of qualified non-Federal service performed by a newly appointed 
employee to be a period of service of equal length performed as an 
employee.
    ``(2) A decision under paragraph (1) to treat a period of qualified 
non-Federal service as if it were service performed as an employee shall 
continue to apply so long as that individual serves in or under the 
Administration.
    ``(c)(1) Notwithstanding section 6303(a), the annual leave accrual 
rate for an employee of the Administration in a position paid under 
section 5376 or 5383, or for an employee in an equivalent category whose 
rate of basic pay is greater than the rate payable at GS-15, step 10, 
shall be 1 day for each full biweekly pay period.
    ``(2) The accrual rate established under this subsection shall 
continue to apply to the employee so long as such employee serves in or 
under the Administration.
``Sec. 9813. Limited appointments to Senior Executive Service 
                    positions

    ``(a) In this section--
            ``(1) the term `career reserved position' means a position 
        in the Administration designated under section 3132(b) which may 
        be filled only by--
                    ``(A) a career appointee; or
                    ``(B) a limited emergency appointee or a limited 
                term appointee--
                          ``(i) who, immediately before entering the 
                      career reserved position, was serving under a 
                      career or career-conditional appointment outside 
                      the Senior Executive Service; or
                          ``(ii) whose limited emergency or limited term 
                      appointment is approved in advance by the Office 
                      of Personnel Management;
            ``(2) the term `limited emergency appointee' has the meaning 
        given under section 3132; and
            ``(3) the term `limited term appointee' means an individual 
        appointed to a Senior Executive Service position in the 
        Administration to meet a bona fide temporary need, as determined 
        by the Administrator.

[[Page 118 STAT. 474]]

    ``(b) The number of career reserved positions which are filled by an 
appointee as described under subsection (a)(1)(B) may not exceed 10 
percent of the total number of Senior Executive Service positions 
allocated to the Administration.
    ``(c) Notwithstanding sections 3132 and 3394(b)--
            ``(1) the Administrator may appoint an individual to any 
        Senior Executive Service position in the Administration as a 
        limited term appointee under this section for a period of--
                    ``(A) 4 years or less to a position the duties of 
                which will expire at the end of such term; or
                    ``(B) 1 year or less to a position the duties of 
                which are continuing; and
            ``(2) in rare circumstances, the Administrator may authorize 
        an extension of a limited appointment under--
                    ``(A) paragraph (1)(A) for a period not to exceed 2 
                years; and
                    ``(B) paragraph (1)(B) for a period not to exceed 1 
                year.

    ``(d) A limited term appointee who has been appointed in the 
Administration from a career or career-conditional appointment outside 
the Senior Executive Service shall have reemployment rights in the 
agency from which appointed, or in another agency, under requirements 
and conditions established by the Office of Personnel Management. The 
Office shall have the authority to direct such placement in any agency.
    ``(e) Notwithstanding section 3394(b) and section 3395--
            ``(1) a limited term appointee serving under a term 
        prescribed under this section may be reassigned to another 
        Senior Executive Service position in the Administration, the 
        duties of which will expire at the end of a term of 4 years or 
        less; and
            ``(2) a limited term appointee serving under a term 
        prescribed under this section may be reassigned to another 
        continuing Senior Executive Service position in the 
        Administration, except that the appointee may not serve in 1 or 
        more positions in the Administration under such appointment in 
        excess of 1 year, except that in rare circumstances, the 
        Administrator may approve an extension up to an additional 1 
        year.

    ``(f) A limited term appointee may not serve more than 7 consecutive 
years under any combination of limited appointments.
    ``(g) Notwithstanding section 5384, the Administrator may authorize 
performance awards to limited term appointees in the Administration in 
the same amounts and in the same manner as career appointees.

``Sec. 9814. Qualifications pay

    ``(a) Notwithstanding section 5334, the Administrator may set the 
pay of an employee paid under the General Schedule at any step within 
the pay range for the grade of the position, if such employee--
            ``(1) possesses unusually high or unique qualifications; and
            ``(2) is assigned--
                    ``(A) new duties, without a change of position; or
                    ``(B) to a new position.

    ``(b) If an exercise of the authority under this section relates to 
a current employee selected for another position within the 
Administration, a determination shall be made that the employee's

[[Page 118 STAT. 475]]

contribution in the new position will exceed that in the former 
position, before setting pay under this section.
    ``(c) Pay as set under this section is basic pay for such purposes 
as pay set under section 5334.
    ``(d) If the employee serves for at least 1 year in the position for 
which the pay determination under this section was made, or a successor 
position, the pay earned under such position may be used in succeeding 
actions to set pay under chapter 53.
    ``(e) Before setting any employee's pay under this section, the 
Administrator shall submit a plan to the Office of Personnel Management 
and the appropriate committees of Congress, that includes--
            ``(1) criteria for approval of actions to set pay under this 
        section;
            ``(2) the level of approval required to set pay under this 
        section;
            ``(3) all types of actions and positions to be covered;
            ``(4) the relationship between the exercise of authority 
        under this section and the use of other pay incentives; and
            ``(5) a process to evaluate the effectiveness of this 
        section.

``Sec. 9815. Reporting requirement

    ``The <<NOTE: Deadline.>> Administrator shall submit to the 
appropriate committees of Congress, not later than February 28 of each 
of the next 6 years beginning after the date of enactment of this 
chapter, a report that provides the following:
            ``(1) A summary of all bonuses paid under subsections (b) 
        and (c) of section 9804 during the preceding fiscal year. Such 
        summary shall include the total amount of bonuses paid, the 
        total number of bonuses paid, the percentage of the amount of 
        bonuses awarded to supervisors and management officials, and the 
        average percentage used to calculate the total average bonus 
        amount, under each of those subsections.
            ``(2) A summary of all bonuses paid under subsections (b) 
        and (c) of section 9805 during the preceding fiscal year. Such 
        summary shall include the total amount of bonuses paid, the 
        total number of bonuses paid, the percentage of the amount of 
        bonuses awarded to supervisors and management officials, and the 
        average percentage used to calculate the total average bonus 
        amount, under each of those subsections.
            ``(3) The total number of term appointments converted during 
        the preceding fiscal year under section 9806 and, of that total 
        number, the number of conversions that were made to address a 
        critical need described in the workforce plan pursuant to 
        section 9802(b)(2).
            ``(4) The number of positions for which the rate of basic 
        pay was fixed under section 9807 during the preceding fiscal 
        year, the number of positions for which the rate of basic pay 
        under such section was terminated during the preceding fiscal 
        year, and the number of times the rate of basic pay was fixed 
        under such section to address a critical need described in the 
        workforce plan pursuant to section 9802(b)(2).
            ``(5) The number of scholarships awarded under section 9809 
        during the preceding fiscal year and the number of scholarship 
        recipients appointed by the Administration during the preceding 
        fiscal year.

[[Page 118 STAT. 476]]

            ``(6) The total number of distinguished scholar appointments 
        made under section 9810 during the preceding fiscal year and, of 
        that total number, the number of appointments that were made to 
        address a critical need described in the workforce plan pursuant 
        to section 9802(b)(2).
            ``(7) The average amount paid per appointee, and the largest 
        amount paid to any appointee, under section 9811 during the 
        preceding fiscal year for travel and transportation expenses.
            ``(8) The total number of employees who were awarded 
        enhanced annual leave under section 9812 during the preceding 
        fiscal year; of that total number, the number of employees who 
        were serving in a position addressing a critical need described 
        in the workforce plan pursuant to section 9802(b)(2); and, for 
        employees in each of those respective groups, the average amount 
        of additional annual leave such employees earned in the 
        preceding fiscal year (over and above what they would have 
        earned absent section 9812).
            ``(9) The total number of appointments made under section 
        9813 during the preceding fiscal year and, of that total number, 
        the number of appointments that were made to address a critical 
        need described in the workforce plan pursuant to section 
        9802(b)(2).
            ``(10) The number of employees for whom the Administrator 
        set the pay under section 9814 during the preceding fiscal year 
        and the number of times pay was set under such section to 
        address a critical need described in the workforce plan pursuant 
        to section 9802(b)(2).
            ``(11) A summary of all recruitment, relocation, 
        redesignation, and retention bonuses paid under authorities 
        other than this chapter and excluding the authorities provided 
        in sections 5753 and 5754 of this title, during the preceding 
        fiscal year. Such summary shall include, for each type of bonus, 
        the total amount of bonuses paid, the total number of bonuses 
        paid, the percentage of the amount of bonuses awarded to 
        supervisors and management officials, and the average percentage 
        used to calculate the total average bonus amount.''.

[[Page 118 STAT. 477]]

    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of chapters for part III of title 
5, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item relating 
to chapter 97 the following:

``98. National Aeronautics and Space Administration..............9801''.

    Approved February 24, 2004.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--S. 610 (H.R. 1085):
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

HOUSE REPORTS: No. 108-244, Pt. 1 accompanying H.R. 1085 (Comm. on 
Science).
SENATE REPORTS: No. 108-113 (Comm. on Governmental Affairs).
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD:
                                                        Vol. 149 (2003):
                                    Nov. 24, considered and passed 
                                        Senate.
                                                        Vol. 150 (2004):
                                    Jan. 28, considered and passed 
                                        House.
WEEKLY COMPILATION OF PRESIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS, Vol. 40 (2004):
            Feb. 24, Presidential statement.

                                  <all>

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