Text: H.R.69 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

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Referred in Senate (01/05/2017)

 
[Congressional Bills 115th Congress]
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[H.R. 69 Referred in Senate (RFS)]

<DOC>
115th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                 H. R. 69


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                            January 5, 2017

Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on Homeland Security 
                        and Governmental Affairs

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 AN ACT


 
To reauthorize the Office of Special Counsel, to amend title 5, United 
 States Code, to provide modifications to authorities relating to the 
           Office of Special Counsel, 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.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Thoroughly Investigating Retaliation 
Against Whistleblowers Act''.

SEC. 2. REAUTHORIZATION OF THE OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL.

    (a) In General.--Section 8(a)(2) of the Whistleblower Protection 
Act of 1989 (5 U.S.C. 5509 note) is amended to read as follows:
            ``(2) $24,119,000 for fiscal year 2017 and $25,735,000 for 
        each of fiscal years 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 to carry out 
        subchapter II of chapter 12 of title 5, United States Code (as 
        amended by this Act).''.
    (b) Effective Date.--The amendment made by subsection (a) shall be 
deemed to apply beginning on October 1, 2016.

SEC. 3. ACCESS TO AGENCY INFORMATION.

    Section 1212(b) of title 5, United States Code, is amended by 
adding at the end the following:
    ``(5)(A) In carrying out this subchapter, the Special Counsel is 
authorized to--
            ``(i) have access to any record or other information 
        (including a report, audit, review, document, recommendation, 
        or other material) of any agency under the jurisdiction of the 
        Office of Special Counsel, consistent with the requirements of 
        subparagraph (C); and
            ``(ii) require any employee of such an agency to provide to 
        the Office any record or other information during an 
        investigation, review, or inquiry of any agency under the 
        jurisdiction of the Office.
    ``(B) With respect to any record or other information made 
available by an agency under this subchapter, the Office shall apply a 
level of confidentiality to such record or information at the level of 
confidentiality applied to the record by the agency.
    ``(C) With respect to any record or other information described 
under subparagraph (A), the Attorney General or an Inspector General 
may withhold access to any such record or other information if the 
disclosure could reasonably be expected to interfere with an ongoing 
criminal investigation or prosecution, but only if the Attorney General 
or applicable agency head submits a written report to the Office of 
Special Counsel describing the record or other information withheld and 
the reason for the withholding.''.

SEC. 4. WHISTLEBLOWER PROVISIONS.

    Section 1213 of title 5, United States Code, is amended--
            (1) in subsection (b), by striking ``15 days'' and 
        inserting ``45 days'';
            (2) in subsection (d)--
                    (A) in paragraph (4), by striking ``and'' at the 
                end;
                    (B) in paragraph (5)--
                            (i) in the matter before subparagraph (A), 
                        by striking ``such as'' and inserting 
                        ``including''; and
                            (ii) in subparagraph (D), by striking the 
                        period at the end and inserting ``; and''; and
                    (C) by adding at the end the following:
            ``(6) if any disclosure referred to an agency head under 
        subsection (c) is substantiated in whole or in part by the 
        agency head, a detailed explanation of the failure to take any 
        action described under paragraph (5).''; and
            (3) in subsection (e), by adding at the end the following:
    ``(5) If an agency head submits a report to the Special Counsel 
under subsection (d) that includes a description of any agency action 
proposed to be taken as a result of the investigation, the agency head 
shall, not later than 180 days after the date of such submission, 
submit a supplemental report to the Special Counsel stating whether any 
proposed action has been taken, and if the action has not been taken, 
the reason why it has not been taken.''.

SEC. 5. TERMINATION OF CERTAIN OSC INVESTIGATIONS.

    (a) In General.--Section 1214(a) of title 5, United States Code, is 
amended by adding at the end the following:
    ``(6)(A) Within 30 days of receiving an allegation from a person 
under paragraph (1), the Special Counsel may terminate an investigation 
under such paragraph with respect to the allegation, without further 
inquiry or an opportunity for the person to respond, if the Special 
Counsel determines that--
            ``(i) the same allegation, based on the same set of facts 
        and circumstances--
                    ``(I) had previously been made by the person and 
                previously investigated by the Special Counsel; or
                    ``(II) had previously been filed by the person with 
                the Merit Systems Protection Board;
            ``(ii) the Office of Special Counsel does not have 
        jurisdiction to investigate the allegation; or
            ``(iii) the person knew or should have known of the alleged 
        prohibited personnel practice earlier than the date that is 3 
        years before the date Special Counsel received the allegation.
    ``(B) If the Special Counsel terminates an investigation under 
subparagraph (A), not later than 30 days after the date of such 
termination the Special Counsel shall provide a written notification 
stating the basis for the termination to the person who made the 
allegation. Paragraph (1)(D) shall not apply to any termination under 
such subparagraph.''.
    (b) Conforming Amendments.--Section 1214 of title 5, United States 
Code, is amended--
            (1) in subsection (a)(1)(A), by striking ``The Special 
        Counsel'' and inserting ``Except as provided in paragraph (6), 
        the Special Counsel''; and
            (2) in subsection (a)(1)(C), in the matter before clause 
        (i), by inserting ``or paragraph (6)'' after ``paragraph (2)''.

SEC. 6. REPORTING REQUIREMENTS.

    (a) OSC Annual Report to Congress.--Section 1218 of title 5, United 
States Code, is amended to read as follows:
``Sec. 1218. Annual report
    ``(a) The Special Counsel shall submit an annual report to Congress 
on the activities of the Special Counsel. Any such report shall 
include--
            ``(1) the number, types, and disposition of allegations of 
        prohibited personnel practices filed with the Special Counsel, 
        and the cost of allegations so disposed of;
            ``(2) the number of investigations conducted by the Special 
        Counsel;
            ``(3) the number of stays or disciplinary actions 
        negotiated by the Special Counsel with agencies;
            ``(4) the number of cases in which the Special Counsel did 
        not make a determination whether there are reasonable grounds 
        to believe that a prohibited personnel practice has occurred, 
        exists, or is to be taken within the 240-day period specified 
        in section 1214(b)(2)(A)(i);
            ``(5) a description of the recommendations and reports made 
        by the Special Counsel to other agencies pursuant to this 
        subchapter, and the actions taken by the agencies as a result 
        of the reports or recommendations;
            ``(6) the number of--
                    ``(A) actions initiated before the Merit Systems 
                Protection Board, including the number of corrective 
                action petitions and disciplinary action complaints so 
                initiated; and
                    ``(B) stays and stay extensions obtained from the 
                Board; and
            ``(7) the number of prohibited personnel practice 
        complaints that result in--
                    ``(A) a favorable action for the complainant, 
                categorized by actions with respect to whistleblower 
                reprisal cases and all other cases; and
                    ``(B) a favorable outcome for the complainant, 
                categorized by outcomes with respect to whistleblower 
                reprisal cases and all other cases.
    ``(b) The report required by subsection (a) shall include whatever 
recommendations for legislation or other action by Congress the Special 
Counsel may consider appropriate.''.
    (b) OSC Public Information.--Section 1219(a)(1) of title 5, United 
States Code, is amended to read as follows:
            ``(1) a list of any noncriminal matter referred to an 
        agency head under section 1213(c), together with--
                    ``(A) the applicable transmittal of the matter to 
                the agency head under section 1213(c)(1);
                    ``(B) any report from agency head under section 
                1213(c)(1)(B) relating to such matter;
                    ``(C) if appropriate, not otherwise prohibited by 
                law, and with the consent of the complainant, any 
                comments from the complainant under section 1213(e)(1) 
                relating to the matter; and
                    ``(D) the Special Counsel's comments or 
                recommendations under section 1213(e)(3) or (4) 
                relating to the matter;''.

SEC. 7. ESTABLISHMENT OF SURVEY PILOT PROGRAM.

    (a) In General.--The Office of Special Counsel shall design and 
establish a survey pilot program under which the Office shall conduct, 
with respect to fiscal years 2018 and 2019, a survey of individuals who 
have filed a complaint or disclosure with the Office. The survey shall 
be designed to gather responses from the individuals for the purpose of 
collecting information and improving customer service at various stages 
of the review or investigative process. The results of the survey shall 
be published in the annual report of the Office.
    (b) Suspension of Other Surveys.--During fiscal years 2018 and 
2019, section 13 of Public Law 103-424 shall have no force or effect.

SEC. 8. PENALTIES UNDER THE HATCH ACT.

    (a) In General.--Section 7326 of title 5, United States Code, is 
amended to read as follows:
``Sec. 7326. Penalties
    ``An employee or individual who violates section 7323 or 7324 shall 
be subject to--
            ``(1) disciplinary action consisting of removal, reduction 
        in grade, debarment from Federal employment for a period not to 
        exceed 5 years, suspension, or reprimand;
            ``(2) an assessment of a civil penalty not to exceed 
        $1,000; or
            ``(3) any combination of the penalties described in 
        paragraph (1) or (2).''.
    (b) Application.--The amendment made by subsection (a) shall apply 
to any violation of section 7323 or 7324 of title 5, United States 
Code, occurring after the date of enactment of this Act.

SEC. 9. REGULATIONS.

    Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the 
Special Counsel shall prescribe such regulations as may be necessary to 
perform the functions of the Special Counsel under subchapter II of 
chapter 12 of title 5, United States Code, including regulations 
necessary to carry out sections 1213, 1214, and 1215 of such title, and 
any functions required due to the amendments made by this Act. Such 
regulations shall be published in the Federal Register.

            Passed the House of Representatives January 4, 2017.

            Attest:

                                                 KAREN L. HAAS,

                                                                 Clerk.

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