Text: H.R.3510 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (07/31/2009)


111th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. R. 3510

To establish a scholarship program to encourage outstanding graduate students in mission-critical fields to pursue a career in the Federal Government.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
July 31, 2009

Mr. Price of North Carolina (for himself, Mr. Castle, Mr. Van Hollen, Mr. Moran of Virginia, Mr. Sarbanes, Ms. Bordallo, Mr. McDermott, Mr. Connolly of Virginia, Ms. Jackson-Lee of Texas, Mr. Hodes, Ms. Norton, and Mr. Platts) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and Labor, and in addition to the Committees on Oversight and Government Reform and Ways and Means, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


A BILL

To establish a scholarship program to encourage outstanding graduate students in mission-critical fields to pursue a career in the Federal Government.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title; table of contents.

(a) Short title.—This Act may be cited as the “Roosevelt Scholars Act of 2009”.

(b) Table of contents.—The table of contents is as follows:


Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

Sec. 2. Findings.

Sec. 3. Definitions.

Sec. 4. Theodore Roosevelt Scholarship Foundation.

Sec. 5. Roosevelt Scholars.

Sec. 6. Requirements for Roosevelt Scholars.

Sec. 7. Special hiring authority.

Sec. 8. Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Scholarship Trust Fund.

Sec. 9. Expenditures and audit of Trust Fund.

Sec. 10. Executive Secretary of the Foundation.

Sec. 11. Administrative provisions.

Sec. 12. Additional functions of the Foundation.

Sec. 13. Exclusion of Roosevelt Scholarship awards from gross income.

Sec. 14. Authorization of appropriations.

SEC. 2. Findings.

Congress finds the following:

(1) According to the Government Accountability Office, about one-third of Federal employees who were employed by the Federal Government at the end of fiscal year 2007 will become eligible to retire by 2012. Proportions of workers eligible to retire are projected to be especially high in certain occupations—some of them mission critical—as well as in key leadership positions. The Government will lose additional employees to non-retirement attrition.

(2) The Office of Personnel Management estimates that about 550,000 Federal employees will leave the Government in the next 5 years, the majority through retirement, and a recent survey indicates that Federal agencies will need to hire nearly 193,000 new employees to fill mission-critical positions (including highly specialized professionals, such as scientists, engineers, physicians, mathematicians, and economists) through September 2009.

(3) The ability of the Federal Government to perform mission-critical functions depends on a strong, well-trained, and highly engaged Federal workforce.

(4) Heavy educational debt and lack of knowledge about Federal job opportunities drive many students to seek employment in the private sector, making it difficult for the Federal Government to replace needed talent in mission-critical positions.

(5) A new scholarship program to help finance graduate-level education and to connect students directly with mission-critical Federal positions would help build a much needed pipeline of talent for the Government.

SEC. 3. Definitions.

For purposes of this Act—

(1) the term “Foundation” means the Theodore Roosevelt Scholarship Foundation, as described in section 4(a);

(2) the term “Board” means the Board of Trustees of the Theodore Roosevelt Scholarship Foundation, as described in section 4(b);

(3) the term “Fund” means the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Scholarship Fund, as described in section 8;

(4) the term “Federal agency” means an Executive agency, as defined by section 105 of title 5, United States Code;

(5) the term “State” includes the District of Columbia;

(6) the term “graduate student” means a student in a master’s, law, or doctoral degree program at a university accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association; and

(7) the term “mission-critical occupational area” refers to those positions that a Federal agency identifies as essential to achieving its strategic goals, as determined through the workforce analysis process of the Federal agency’s workforce planning system.

SEC. 4. Theodore Roosevelt Scholarship Foundation.

(a) Establishment.—There is established, as an independent establishment in the executive branch of the Government, a foundation to be known as the “Theodore Roosevelt Scholarship Foundation”.

(b) Board of Trustees.—The Foundation shall be subject to the supervision and direction of a Board of Trustees. The Board shall be composed of 9 members, plus 1 non-voting ex officio member, as follows:

(1) Two members shall be appointed by the House of Representatives, one appointed by the Speaker, and one appointed by the minority leader.

(2) Two members shall be appointed by the Senate, one appointed by the majority leader, and one appointed by the minority leader.

(3) Five members, not more than 3 of whom shall be of the same political party, shall be appointed by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate, from among individuals who—

(A) have demonstrated leadership or expertise in public service or higher education; or

(B) represent a Federal agency or a professional association related to mission-critical occupational areas.

(4) The Director of the Office of Personnel Management (or a designee), who shall serve as a non-voting, ex officio member of the Board.

(c) Term of office.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in paragraph (2) or (3), the term of each member (other than the ex officio member) shall be 6 years.

(2) INITIAL APPOINTEES.—As designated by the President at the time of appointment, of the members first appointed—

(A) 1 member appointed under subsection (b)(2) and 2 members appointed under subsection (b)(3) shall be appointed for a term of 2 years;

(B) 1 member appointed under subsection (b)(1) and 2 members appointed under subsection (b)(3) shall be appointed for a term of 4 years; and

(C) 1 member appointed under subsection (b)(1), 1 member appointed under subsection (b)(2), and 1 member appointed under subsection (b)(3) shall be appointed for a term of 6 years.

(3) VACANCIES.—Any member appointed to fill a vacancy occurring before the expiration of the term for which the member’s predecessor was appointed shall be appointed only for the remainder of that term. A vacancy on the Board shall be filled in the manner in which the original appointment was made.

(d) Compensation.—Members of the Board shall serve without pay, but shall be entitled to reimbursement for travel, subsistence, and other necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties as members of the Board.

SEC. 5. Roosevelt Scholars.

(a) In general.—The Foundation shall award scholarships to graduate students who demonstrate outstanding potential for a career in a mission-critical occupational area within the Federal Government. The recipient of a scholarship under this Act shall be known as a “Roosevelt Scholar”.

(b) Selection process.—

(1) NATIONWIDE COMPETITION.—The Foundation shall, directly or by contract—

(A) provide for the conduct of an annual nationwide competition, including an application and interview process, for the purpose of selecting Roosevelt Scholars; and

(B) market the scholarship program to diverse populations.

(2) CRITERIA AND PROCEDURES.—The Foundation shall adopt selection criteria and procedures to ensure a diverse cohort of scholarship recipients each year who—

(A) at the time of applying for a scholarship under this Act, are enrolled in or seeking admission to an accredited full-time graduate degree program at an institution of higher education in a discipline that is determined by the Foundation to be directly related to 1 or more mission-critical occupational areas within the Federal Government;

(B) have been nominated by an appropriate faculty member or other representative of the institution of higher education in which they are enrolled, of which they are a graduate, or to which they are seeking admission, or by another individual, approved by the Foundation, who has direct knowledge of the candidate’s academic or work experience; and

(C) are citizens or legal permanent residents of the United States.

(c) Scholarship amounts.—Each student awarded a scholarship under this Act shall receive, for each academic year in which such student is enrolled full time in the graduate degree program described in subsection (b)(2)(A), the cost of tuition plus a stipend, except that—

(1) the stipend awarded under this Act to a student for an academic year may not exceed the lesser of—

(A) a monthly living stipend of not more than $300 per month and an amount equal to the cost to the student, for such academic year, of—

(i) room and board;

(ii) books; and

(iii) materials and fees associated with coursework; or

(B) $12,000 (adjusted annually to reflect any increase in the consumer price index for all urban consumers, as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics);

(2) the total scholarship awarded under this Act to a student for an academic year, for tuition and stipend combined, may not exceed—

(A) $60,000 (adjusted at the same time and in the same manner as the dollar amount under paragraph (1)(B)), minus

(B) the sum of all scholarships, grants, or other similar cash awards received by the student for such academic year from any source apart from this Act; and

(3) scholarships under this Act may be awarded to a student for such periods as the Foundation may prescribe, but not to exceed 5 academic years.

(d) Scholarship conditions.—

(1) SATISFACTORY PROFICIENCY.—A student awarded a scholarship under this Act shall continue to receive the payments provided for under this Act only during such periods as the Foundation finds that such student is maintaining satisfactory proficiency and devoting full time to study or research designed to prepare such student for a career in the Federal Government, unless otherwise approved by the Foundation.

(2) REPORTS.—The Foundation may require reports containing such information, in such form, and to be filed at such times as the Foundation determines to be necessary from any student awarded a scholarship under this Act. Such reports shall be accompanied by a certificate from an appropriate official at the institution of higher education, approved by the Foundation, stating that such individual is making satisfactory progress in, and is devoting essentially full time to study or research, except as otherwise provided in this subsection.

SEC. 6. Requirements for Roosevelt Scholars.

(a) Service requirement.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Each student awarded a scholarship under this Act shall be required to enter into a service agreement with the Foundation which provides for such student to complete, in return for the scholarship, a specified period of service with the Federal Government. Under the agreement, the period of service shall be for the number of years equal to the total number of academic years for which the student received a scholarship under this Act, except that the total period of service shall not be less than 3 years nor more than 5 years.

(2) FAILURE TO FULFILL.—An agreement under this section shall provide that an individual shall, in the event that such individual fails to meet the service requirement under paragraph (1), be required to repay to the Foundation the amount equal to—

(A) the total amount of scholarship monies (tuition and stipends combined) received by the individual under such agreement, multiplied by

(B) a fraction, the numerator of which is the amount of service not completed and the denominator of which is the total period of service agreed to.

An amount under this paragraph shall be treated as a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan under part D of title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1087a and following), and shall be subject to repayment, together with interest thereon accruing from the date of the scholarship award, in accordance with terms and conditions specified by the Secretary of Education in regulations under this subpart.

(3) REGULATIONS.—The Foundation, in consultation with the Office of Personnel Management, shall prescribe any regulations necessary to carry out this subsection, including provisions under which the service requirement specified by paragraph (1) or a repayment otherwise required under paragraph (2) may be waived, in whole or in part, or deferred, in appropriate circumstances.

(b) Internship requirement.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Roosevelt Scholars shall be required to complete at least 1 internship related to their field of study in a Federal agency while earning their graduate or other advanced degree.

(2) REGULATIONS.—The Foundation, in consultation with the Office of Personnel Management, shall prescribe any regulations necessary to carry out this subsection, including provisions under which the internship requirement specified by subsection (b) may be waived in appropriate circumstances.

(c) Participation in extracurricular activities.—While earning their graduate or other advanced degree and during their period of obligated service (as described in subsection (a)), Roosevelt Scholars shall be required, in accordance with such terms as the Foundation shall establish, to participate in extracurricular activities as described in section 12(a)(5).

(d) Availability as a source of information.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—While earning their graduate or other advanced degree and during their period of obligated service (as described in subsection (a)), Roosevelt Scholars shall be required, in accordance with such terms as the Foundation shall establish, to serve as a resource for—

(A) individuals interested in becoming a Roosevelt Scholar or seeking temporary or permanent employment with the Federal Government;

(B) faculty, career services professionals, and other personnel at institutions of higher education who advise students on career and other scholarship opportunities with the Federal Government; and

(C) Federal agencies which might be interested in promoting, at the institution of higher education at which the student is enrolled, career opportunities with the Federal Government.

(2) MEMORANDA OF UNDERSTANDING.—The Foundation may enter into memoranda of understanding with any institution of higher education regarding any facilities or resources that will be made available to Roosevelt Scholars for purposes of this subsection.

(3) TRAINING.—The Foundation, in cooperation with the Office of Personnel Management, may provide for Roosevelt Scholars to receive any training which they might need in order to carry out their responsibilities under this subsection.

SEC. 7. Special hiring authority.

Under such regulations as the Office of Personnel Management shall prescribe, a Federal agency may make a noncompetitive appointment (in the excepted service, as defined by section 2103 of title 5, United States Code, leading to conversion to career or career-conditional employment) of any Roosevelt Scholar who has successfully completed the program of study for which the scholarship was granted. A noncompetitive appointment under this section shall be for a period not to exceed 2 years, and shall be to a mission-critical position, with the possibility of an extension for one additional year by the employing agency. At the end of the period of the noncompetitive appointment, conversion to career or career-conditional employment in a mission-critical position shall be granted to those Roosevelt Scholars who meet all qualification, suitability, and performance requirements.

SEC. 8. Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Scholarship Trust Fund.

(a) Establishment.—There is established in the Treasury of the United States a trust fund to be known as the “Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Scholarship Trust Fund” to be administered by the Foundation. The Fund shall consist of amounts appropriated to it pursuant to section 14 and amounts paid into the Fund pursuant to section 11(a)(4).

(b) Investment in interest-Bearing obligations.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Upon request by the Foundation, it shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Treasury to invest such currently available portions of the Fund as are not, in the judgment of the Secretary, immediately required for payments from the Fund. Such investments may be made only in interest-bearing obligations of the United States or in obligations guaranteed as to both principal and interest by the United States.

(2) ACQUISITION OF OBLIGATIONS.—The purposes for which obligations of the United States may be issued under chapter 31 of title 31, United States Code, are hereby extended to authorize the issuance at par of special obligations directly to the Fund. Such special obligations shall bear interest at a rate equal to the average rate of interest, computed as to the end of the calendar month next preceding the date of such issue, borne by all marketable interest-bearing obligations of the United States then forming a part of the public debt; except that where such average rate is not a multiple of one-eighth of 1 per centum, the rate of interest of such special obligations shall be the multiple of one-eighth of 1 per centum next lower than such average rate. All requests of the Foundation to the Secretary of the Treasury provided for in this section shall be binding upon the Secretary.

(c) Authority To sell obligations.—At the request of the Foundation, the Secretary of the Treasury shall redeem any obligation issued directly to the Fund. Obligations issued to the Fund under subsection (b)(2) shall be redeemed at par plus accrued interest. Any other obligations issued directly to the Fund shall be redeemed at the market price.

(d) Proceeds from certain transactions credited to Fund.—In addition to the appropriations received pursuant to section 14, the interest on, and the proceeds from the sale or redemption of, any obligations held in the Fund pursuant to section 11(a), shall be credited to and form a part of the Fund.

SEC. 9. Expenditures and audit of Trust Fund.

(a) Authorization of funding.—The Secretary of the Treasury may pay to the Foundation from the interest and earnings of the Fund such sums as the Board determines are necessary and appropriate to enable the Foundation to carry out the purposes of this Act.

(b) Audits by Government Accountability Office.—The activities of the Foundation under this Act may be audited by the Government Accountability Office under such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by the Comptroller General. Representatives of the Government Accountability Office shall have access to all books, accounts, records, reports, and files and all other papers, things, or property belonging to or in use by the Foundation, pertaining to such activities and necessary to facilitate the audit.

SEC. 10. Executive Secretary of the Foundation.

(a) In general.—There shall be an Executive Secretary of the Foundation, who shall be the chief executive officer of the Foundation and shall carry out the functions of the Foundation, subject to the supervision and direction of the Board. The Executive Secretary shall carry out such other functions consistent with the provisions of this Act as the Board may delegate.

(b) Appointment.—The Executive Secretary shall be appointed by the Board and shall be a member of the Senior Executive Service. The Executive Secretary shall have demonstrated significant management experience and shall possess a high level of expertise in the recruitment and retention of personnel.

(c) Term of office.—The Executive Secretary shall serve for a term of 5 years, and may be reappointed. The Executive Secretary may be removed by a vote of 23 of the Board membership.

(d) Compensation.—The Board shall appoint and fix the compensation of the Executive Secretary at a rate not to exceed the maximum rate for a member of the Senior Executive Service.

SEC. 11. Administrative provisions.

(a) Powers of the Foundation.—In order to carry out this Act, the Foundation may—

(1) appoint and fix the compensation of such personnel as may be necessary, at rates not to exceed level IV of the Executive Schedule under section 5315 of title 5, United States Code;

(2) procure temporary and intermittent services of experts and consultants as are necessary to the extent authorized by section 3109 of title 5, United States Code, but at rates not to exceed the rate for level IV of the Executive Schedule under section 5315 of title 5, United States Code;

(3) prescribe such regulations as it considers necessary to carry out its functions under this Act;

(4) receive money and other property donated, bequeathed, or devised, without condition or restriction other than that it be used for the purposes of the Foundation; and to use, sell, or otherwise dispose of such property for the purpose of carrying out its functions;

(5) accept and utilize the services of voluntary and non-compensated personnel and reimburse them for travel expenses, including per diem, as authorized by section 5703 of title 5, United States Code;

(6) enter into contracts, grants, or other arrangements, or modifications thereof, to carry out such provisions of this Act, and such contracts or modifications may, with the concurrence of 23 of the members of the Board, be entered into without performance or other bonds, and without regard to section 5 of title 41, United States Code;

(7) rent office space in the District of Columbia; and

(8) make other necessary expenditures.

(b) Annual reports.—The Foundation shall submit to the President and to the Congress an annual report on its operations under this Act.

(c) Contract authority.—The Foundation may enter into contracts under this Act only to such extent or in such amounts as may be provided for in advance in appropriations Acts.

SEC. 12. Additional functions of the Foundation.

(a) In general.—In addition to its other functions, the Foundation shall—

(1) create, maintain, and promote an on-line directory of all Federal scholarship opportunities available to individuals pursuing temporary or permanent employment with the Federal Government;

(2) create and maintain an online directory of current mission-critical occupational areas;

(3) partner with Federal agencies to place Roosevelt Scholars in positions in the Federal Government;

(4) to the extent practical, assist Federal agencies and other Federal scholarship foundations in placing Federal scholarship recipients in positions in the Federal Government;

(5) work with nonprofit organizations to design and implement mandatory extracurricular programs and activities that—

(A) promote team-building and create a network and community for past, present, and future Roosevelt Scholars;

(B) motivate Roosevelt Scholars to become career Federal employees;

(C) are offered regularly during each year in which an individual is receiving a Roosevelt Scholarship, including during intervals between periods of enrollment;

(D) expose Roosevelt Scholars to the business, political, demographic, cultural, and economic climate of the Federal Government; and

(E) help Roosevelt Scholars to develop leadership qualities; and

(6) within 2 years after the date of the enactment of this Act, submit to Congress (and make available to the public) a report regarding—

(A) any barriers to appointing Roosevelt Scholars and other Federal scholarship recipients to positions in the Federal Government; and

(B) recommendations to—

(i) remove barriers to appointing Roosevelt Scholars and other Federal scholarship recipients to positions in the Federal Government; and

(ii) educate Federal agencies on the best use of personnel flexibilities in the appointment of Federal scholarship recipients, including Roosevelt Scholars.

(b) Security clearances.—The Foundation may, consistent with regulations of the Office of Personnel Management, request and fund security clearances for Roosevelt Scholars, as necessary.

SEC. 13. Exclusion of Roosevelt Scholarship awards from gross income.

(a) In general.—Section 117 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (relating to qualified scholarships) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

“(e) Roosevelt Scholarships.—Gross income shall not include any amount awarded under section 5 of the Roosevelt Scholars Act of 2009”..”.

(b) Effective date.—The amendment made by this section shall apply to taxable years beginning after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 14. Authorization of appropriations.

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $10,000,000 for fiscal year 2010 and such sums as may be necessary for succeeding fiscal years.