Text: S.6 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (01/22/2013)


113th CONGRESS
1st Session
S. 6

To reauthorize the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, to provide assistance to small businesses owned by veterans, to improve enforcement of employment and reemployment rights of members of the uniformed services, and for other purposes.


IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
January 22 (legislative day, January 3), 2013

Mr. Reid (for himself, Mr. Sanders, Mr. Durbin, Mr. Schumer, Mr. Udall of New Mexico, Mr. Baucus, Mr. Brown, Mr. Schatz, Mr. Tester, Mr. Menendez, Mr. Warner, Mr. Cardin, Ms. Hirono, Mr. Begich, Mr. Casey, Mrs. Boxer, Mr. Nelson, Mr. Blumenthal, Mr. Coons, Mr. Levin, and Mr. Heinrich) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs


A BILL

To reauthorize the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, to provide assistance to small businesses owned by veterans, to improve enforcement of employment and reemployment rights of members of the uniformed services, and for other purposes.

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 “Putting Our Veterans Back to Work Act of 2013”.

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


Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

Sec. 101. Reauthorization of veterans retraining assistance program.

Sec. 102. Extension of authority of Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide rehabilitation and vocational benefits to members of Armed Forces with severe injuries or illnesses.

Sec. 103. Extension of additional rehabilitation programs for persons who have exhausted rights to unemployment benefits under State law.

Sec. 104. Reauthorization of collaborative veterans' training, mentoring, and placement program.

Sec. 201. Unified employment portal for veterans.

Sec. 202. Grants to hire veterans as first responders.

Sec. 203. Employment of veterans as evaluation factor in the awarding of Federal contracts.

Sec. 301. Enforcement of rights of members of uniformed services with respect to States and private employers.

Sec. 302. Suspension, termination, or debarment of contractors for repeated violations of employment or reemployment rights of members of uniformed services.

Sec. 303. Subpoena power for Special Counsel in enforcement of employment and reemployment rights of members of uniformed services with respect to Federal executive agencies.

Sec. 304. Issuance and service of civil investigative demands by Attorney General.

SEC. 101. Reauthorization of veterans retraining assistance program.

(a) Extension.—Subsection (k) of section 211 of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 (Public Law 112–56; 38 U.S.C. 4100 note) is amended by striking “March 31, 2014” and inserting “March 31, 2016”.

(b) Number of eligible veterans.—Subsection (a)(2) of such section is amended—

(1) in subparagraph (A), by striking “and” at the end;

(2) in subparagraph (B), by striking the period at the end and inserting a semicolon; and

(3) by adding at the end the following new subparagraphs:

“(C) 50,000 during the period beginning April 1, 2014, and ending March 31, 2015; and

“(D) 50,000 during the period beginning April 1, 2015, and ending March 31, 2016.”.

(c) Clarification of limitation on aggregate amount of assistance.—Subsection (b) of such section is amended by striking “up to 12 months of retraining assistance provided by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs” and inserting “an aggregate of not more than 12 months of retraining assistance provided by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs under this section”.

SEC. 102. Extension of authority of Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide rehabilitation and vocational benefits to members of Armed Forces with severe injuries or illnesses.

(a) In general.—Section 1631(b)(2) of the Wounded Warrior Act (title XVI of Public Law 110–181; 10 U.S.C. 1071 note) is amended by striking “December 31, 2014” and inserting “December 31, 2016”.

(b) Report.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report on the benefits provided by the Secretary under section 1631(b) of such Act.

(2) APPROPRIATE COMMITTEES OF CONGRESS.—In this subsection, the term “appropriate committees of Congress” means—

(A) the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate; and

(B) the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the House of Representatives.

SEC. 103. Extension of additional rehabilitation programs for persons who have exhausted rights to unemployment benefits under State law.

Section 3102(b)(4) of title 38, United States Code, is amended by striking “March 31, 2014” and inserting “March 31, 2016”.

SEC. 104. Reauthorization of collaborative veterans' training, mentoring, and placement program.

Subsection (e) of section 4104A of title 38, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:

“(e) Authorization of appropriations.—There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section amounts as follows:

“(1) $4,500,000 for the period consisting of fiscal years 2012 and 2013.

“(2) $4,500,000 for the period consisting of fiscal years 2014 and 2015.”.

SEC. 201. Unified employment portal for veterans.

Section 4105 of title 38, United States Code is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(c)(1) The Secretary shall develop a single, unified Federal web-based employment portal, for use by veterans, containing information regarding all Federal programs and activities concerning employment, unemployment, and training to the extent the programs and activities affect veterans.

“(2) The Secretary shall work with representatives from the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Small Business Administration, and other Federal agencies and organizations concerned with veterans' issues, to determine an appropriate platform and implementing agency for the portal. The Secretary shall enter into an agreement with the other Federal agencies for the implementation of the portal.”.

SEC. 202. Grants to hire veterans as first responders.

(a) Grants for firefighters.—The Secretary of Homeland Security shall award grants under section 34 of the Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1974 (15 U.S.C. 2229a) to hire veterans as firefighters.

(b) Grants for law enforcement officers.—The Attorney General shall award grants under part Q of title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and SAfe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3796dd et seq.) to hire veterans as law enforcement officers.

(c) Priority.—In awarding grants under this section to hire veterans, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General shall give priority to the hiring of veterans who served on active duty in the Armed Forces on or after September 11, 2011.

(d) Authorization of appropriations.—There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $250,000,000.

SEC. 203. Employment of veterans as evaluation factor in the awarding of Federal contracts.

(a) Civilian contracts.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Chapter 33 of title 41, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

§ 3312. Employment of veterans as evaluation factor

“The head of each executive agency shall consider favorably as an evaluation factor in solicitations for contracts and task or delivery order valued at or above $25,000,000 the employment by a prospective contractor of veterans constituting at least 5 percent of the contractor's workforce.”.

(2) CLERICAL AMENDMENT.—The table of sections at the beginning of such chapter is amended by adding after the item relating to section 3311 the following new item:


“3312. Employment of veterans as evaluation factor.”.

(b) Defense contracts.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Chapter 137 of title 10, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

§ 2336. Employment of veterans as evaluation factor

“The head of each agency shall consider favorably as an evaluation factor in solicitations for contracts and task or delivery order valued at or above $25,000,000 the employment by a prospective contractor of veterans constituting at least 5 percent of the contractor's workforce.”.

(2) CLERICAL AMENDMENT.—The table of sections at the beginning of such chapter is amended by adding after the item relating to section 2335 the following new item:


“2336. Employment of veterans as evaluation factor.”.

(c) Regulations.—Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council shall amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation to carry out the provisions of section 3313 of title 41, United States Code, and section 2336 of title 10, United States Code, as added by subsections (a) and (b), respectively.

SEC. 301. Enforcement of rights of members of uniformed services with respect to States and private employers.

(a) Action for relief.—Subsection (a) of section 4323 of title 38, United States Code, is amended—

(1) in paragraph (1)—

(A) by striking “appear on behalf of, and act as attorney for, the person on whose behalf the complaint is submitted and”;

(B) by striking “for such person”;

(C) by striking the fourth sentence; and

(D) by adding at the end the following: “The person on whose behalf the complaint is referred may, upon timely application, intervene in such action, and may obtain such appropriate relief as is provided in subsections (d) and (e).”;

(2) by striking paragraph (2) and inserting the following new paragraph (2):

“(2)(A) Not later than 60 days after the date the Attorney General receives a referral under paragraph (1), the Attorney General shall transmit, in writing, to the person on whose behalf the complaint is submitted—

“(i) if the Attorney General has made a decision to commence an action for relief under paragraph (1) relating to the complaint of the person, notice of the decision; and

“(ii) if the Attorney General has not made such a decision, notice of when the Attorney General expects to make such a decision.

“(B) If the Attorney General notifies a person that the Attorney General expects to make a decision under subparagraph (A)(ii), the Attorney General shall, not later than 30 days after the date on which the Attorney General makes such decision, notify, in writing, the person of such decision.”;

(3) by redesignating paragraph (3) as paragraph (4);

(4) by inserting after paragraph (2) the following new paragraph (3):

“(3) Whenever the Attorney General has reasonable cause to believe that a State (as an employer) or a private employer is engaged in a pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of any of the rights and benefits provided for under this chapter, and that the pattern or practice is of such a nature and is intended to deny the full exercise of such rights and benefits, the Attorney General may commence an action for relief under this chapter.”; and

(5) in paragraph (4), as redesignated by paragraph (3), by striking subparagraph (C) and inserting the following new subparagraph (C):

“(C) has been notified by the Attorney General that the Attorney General does not intend to commence an action for relief under paragraph (1) with respect to the complaint under such paragraph.”.

(b) Standing.—Subsection (f) of such section is amended to read as follows:

“(f) Standing.—An action under this chapter may be initiated only by the Attorney General or by a person claiming rights or benefits under this chapter under subsection (a).”.

(c) Conforming amendment.—Subsection (h)(2) of such section is amended by striking “under subsection (a)(2)” and inserting “under paragraph (1) or (4) of subsection (a)”.

SEC. 302. Suspension, termination, or debarment of contractors for repeated violations of employment or reemployment rights of members of uniformed services.

(a) In general.—Subchapter III of chapter 43 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

§ 4328. Suspension, termination, or debarment of contractors

“(a) Grounds for suspension, termination, or debarment.—Payment under a contract awarded by a Federal executive agency may be suspended and the contract may be terminated, and the contractor who made the contract with the agency may be suspended or debarred in accordance with the requirements of this section, if the head of the agency determines that the contractor as an employer has repeatedly been convicted of failing or refusing to comply with one or more provisions of this chapter.

“(b) Effect of debarment.—A contractor debarred by a final decision under this section is ineligible for award of a contract by a Federal executive agency, and for participation in a future procurement by a Federal executive agency, for a period specified in the decision, not to exceed 5 years.”.

(b) Clerical amendment.—The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 43 of such title is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 4327 the following new item:


“4328. Suspension, termination, or debarment of contractor.”.

(c) Regulations.—Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council shall amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation to carry out section 4328 of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a).

(d) Effective date.—Section 4328 of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), shall apply with respect to failures and refusals to comply with provisions of chapter 43 of such title occurring on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(e) Annual report.—Section 4332(a) of such title is amended—

(1) by redesignating paragraph (10) as paragraph (11); and

(2) by inserting after paragraph (9) the following new paragraph (10):

“(10) The number of suspensions, terminations, and debarments under section 4328 of this title, disaggregated by the agency or department imposing the suspension or debarment.”.

SEC. 303. Subpoena power for Special Counsel in enforcement of employment and reemployment rights of members of uniformed services with respect to Federal executive agencies.

Section 4324 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

“(e)(1) In order to carry out the Special Counsel’s responsibilities under this section, the Special Counsel may require by subpoena the attendance and testimony of Federal employees and the production of documents from Federal employees and Federal executive agencies.

“(2) In the case of contumacy or failure to obey a subpoena issued under paragraph (1), upon application by the Special Counsel, the Merit Systems Protection Board may issue an order requiring a Federal employee or Federal executive agency to comply with a subpoena of the Special Counsel.

“(3) An order issued under paragraph (2) may be enforced by the Merit Systems Protection Board in the same manner as any order issued under section 1204 of title 5.”.

SEC. 304. Issuance and service of civil investigative demands by Attorney General.

(a) In general.—Section 4323 of title 38, United States Code, is amended—

(1) by redesignating subsection (i) as subsection (j); and

(2) by inserting after subsection (h) the following new subsection (i):

“(i) Issuance and service of civil investigative demands.—(1) Whenever the Attorney General has reason to believe that any person may be in possession, custody, or control of any documentary material relevant to an investigation under this subchapter, the Attorney General may, before commencing a civil action under subsection (a), issue in writing and serve upon such person, a civil investigative demand requiring—

“(A) the production of such documentary material for inspection and copying;

“(B) that the custodian of such documentary material answer in writing written questions with respect to such documentary material; or

“(C) the production of any combination of such documentary material or answers.

“(2) The provisions of section 3733 of title 31 governing the authority to issue, use, and enforce civil investigative demands shall apply with respect to the authority to issue, use, and enforce civil investigative demands under this section, except that, for purposes of applying such section 3733—

“(A) references to false claims law investigators or investigations shall be considered references to investigators or investigations under this subchapter;

“(B) references to interrogatories shall be considered references to written questions, and answers to such need not be under oath;

“(C) the definitions relating to ‘false claims law’ shall not apply; and

“(D) provisions relating to qui tam relators shall not apply.”.

(b) Effective date.—Subsection (i) of such section, as added by subsection (a)(2), shall take effect on the date of the enactment of this Act and shall apply with respect to violations of chapter 43 of such title alleged to have occurred on or after such date.

(c) Annual reports.—Section 4332(b)(2) of such title is amended—

(1) by striking “Not later than” and inserting the following:

“(A) IN GENERAL.—Not later than”; and

(2) by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

“(B) ANNUAL SUPPLEMENT ON CIVIL INVESTIGATIVE DEMANDS.—

“(i) IN GENERAL.—The Attorney General shall include with each report submitted under subparagraph (A) for the last quarter of each fiscal year a report on the issuance of civil investigative demands under section 4323(i) of this title during the most recently completed fiscal year.

“(ii) ELEMENTS.—Each report submitted under clause (i) shall include the following for the fiscal year covered by the report:

“(I) The number of times that a civil investigative demand was issued under section 4323(i) of this title.

“(II) For each civil investigative demand issued under such section with respect to an investigation, whether such investigation resulted in a settlement, order, or judgment.”.