Text: S.1094 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 115-41 (06/23/2017)

 
[115th Congress Public Law 41]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]



[[Page 861]]

    DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS ACCOUNTABILITY AND WHISTLEBLOWER 
                         PROTECTION ACT OF 2017

[[Page 131 STAT. 862]]

Public Law 115-41
115th Congress

                                 An Act


 
To amend title 38, United States Code, to improve the accountability of 
     employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other 
             purposes. <<NOTE: June 23, 2017 -  [S. 1094]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: Department of 
Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 
2017. 38 USC 101 note.>> 
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

    (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Department of 
Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 
2017''.
    (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act is as 
follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

     TITLE I--OFFICE OF ACCOUNTABILITY AND WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION

Sec. 101. Establishment of Office of Accountability and Whistleblower 
           Protection.
Sec. 102. Protection of whistleblowers in Department of Veterans 
           Affairs.
Sec. 103. Report on methods used to investigate employees of Department 
           of Veterans Affairs.

 TITLE II--ACCOUNTABILITY OF SENIOR EXECUTIVES, SUPERVISORS, AND OTHER 
                                EMPLOYEES

Sec. 201. Improved authorities of Secretary of Veterans Affairs to 
           improve accountability of senior executives.
Sec. 202. Improved authorities of Secretary of Veterans Affairs to 
           improve accountability of employees.
Sec. 203. Reduction of benefits for Department of Veterans Affairs 
           employees convicted of certain crimes.
Sec. 204. Authority to recoup bonuses or awards paid to employees of 
           Department of Veterans Affairs.
Sec. 205. Authority to recoup relocation expenses paid to or on behalf 
           of employees of Department of Veterans Affairs.
Sec. 206. Time period for response to notice of adverse actions against 
           supervisory employees who commit prohibited personnel 
           actions.
Sec. 207. Direct hiring authority for medical center directors and VISN 
           directors.
Sec. 208. Time periods for review of adverse actions with respect to 
           certain employees.
Sec. 209. Improvement of training for supervisors.
Sec. 210. Assessment and report on effect on senior executives at 
           Department of Veterans Affairs.
Sec. 211. Measurement of Department of Veterans Affairs disciplinary 
           process outcomes and effectiveness.

[[Page 131 STAT. 863]]

     TITLE I--OFFICE OF ACCOUNTABILITY AND WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION

SEC. 101. ESTABLISHMENT OF OFFICE OF ACCOUNTABILITY AND 
                        WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION.

    (a) In General.--Chapter 3 of title 38, United States Code, is 
amended by adding at the end the following new section:
``Sec. 323. <<NOTE: 38 USC 323.>>  Office of Accountability and 
                Whistleblower Protection

    ``(a) Establishment.--There is established in the Department an 
office to be known as the `Office of Accountability and Whistleblower 
Protection' (in this section referred to as the `Office').
    ``(b) <<NOTE: President.>>  Head of Office.--(1) The head of the 
Office shall be responsible for the functions of the Office and shall be 
appointed by the President pursuant to section 308(a) of this title.

    ``(2) The head of the Office shall be known as the `Assistant 
Secretary for Accountability and Whistleblower Protection'.
    ``(3) The Assistant Secretary shall report directly to the Secretary 
on all matters relating to the Office.
    ``(4) Notwithstanding section 308(b) of this title, the Secretary 
may only assign to the Assistant Secretary responsibilities relating to 
the functions of the Office set forth in subsection (c).
    ``(c) Functions.--(1) The functions of the Office are as follows:
            ``(A) Advising the Secretary on all matters of the 
        Department relating to accountability, including accountability 
        of employees of the Department, retaliation against 
        whistleblowers, and such matters as the Secretary considers 
        similar and affect public trust in the Department.
            ``(B) Issuing reports and providing recommendations related 
        to the duties described in subparagraph (A).
            ``(C) Receiving whistleblower disclosures.
            ``(D) Referring whistleblower disclosures received under 
        subparagraph (C) for investigation to the Office of the Medical 
        Inspector, the Office of Inspector General, or other 
        investigative entity, as appropriate, if the Assistant Secretary 
        has reason to believe the whistleblower disclosure is evidence 
        of a violation of a provision of law, mismanagement, gross waste 
        of funds, abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific 
        danger to public health or safety.
            ``(E) Receiving and referring disclosures from the Special 
        Counsel for investigation to the Medical Inspector of the 
        Department, the Inspector General of the Department, or such 
        other person with investigatory authority, as the Assistant 
        Secretary considers appropriate.
            ``(F) Recording, tracking, reviewing, and confirming 
        implementation of recommendations from audits and investigations 
        carried out by the Inspector General of the Department, the 
        Medical Inspector of the Department, the Special Counsel, and 
        the Comptroller General of the United States, including the 
        imposition of disciplinary actions and other corrective actions 
        contained in such recommendations.
            ``(G) Analyzing data from the Office and the Office of 
        Inspector General telephone hotlines, other whistleblower 
        disclosures, disaggregated by facility and area of health care 
        if appropriate, and relevant audits and investigations to 
        identify

[[Page 131 STAT. 864]]

        trends and issue reports to the Secretary based on analysis 
        conducted under this subparagraph.
            ``(H) Receiving, reviewing, and investigating allegations of 
        misconduct, retaliation, or poor performance involving--
                    ``(i) an individual in a senior executive position 
                (as defined in section 713(d) of this title) in the 
                Department;
                    ``(ii) an individual employed in a confidential, 
                policy-making, policy-determining, or policy-advocating 
                position in the Department; or
                    ``(iii) a supervisory employee, if the allegation 
                involves retaliation against an employee for making a 
                whistleblower disclosure.
            ``(I) Making such recommendations to the Secretary for 
        disciplinary action as the Assistant Secretary considers 
        appropriate after substantiating any allegation of misconduct or 
        poor performance pursuant to an investigation carried out as 
        described in subparagraph (F) or (H).

    ``(2) <<NOTE: Communication and tele- communications. Website.>> In 
carrying out the functions of the Office, the Assistant Secretary shall 
ensure that the Office maintains a toll-free telephone number and 
Internet website to receive anonymous whistleblower disclosures.

    ``(3) In any case in which the Assistant Secretary receives a 
whistleblower disclosure from an employee of the Department under 
paragraph (1)(C), the Assistant Secretary may not disclose the identity 
of the employee without the consent of the employee, except in 
accordance with the provisions of section 552a of title 5, or as 
required by any other applicable provision of Federal law.
    ``(d) Staff and Resources.--The Secretary shall ensure that the 
Assistant Secretary has such staff, resources, and access to information 
as may be necessary to carry out the functions of the Office.
    ``(e) Relation to Office of General Counsel.--The Office shall not 
be established as an element of the Office of the General Counsel and 
the Assistant Secretary may not report to the General Counsel.
    ``(f) <<NOTE: Effective date. Time period.>>  Reports.--(1)(A) Not 
later than June 30 of each calendar year, beginning with June 30, 2017, 
the Assistant Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Veterans' 
Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the 
House of Representatives a report on the activities of the Office during 
the calendar year in which the report is submitted.

    ``(B) <<NOTE: Recommenda- tions.>>  Each report submitted under 
subparagraph (A) shall include, for the period covered by the report, 
the following:
            ``(i) <<NOTE: Analysis.>>  A full and substantive analysis 
        of the activities of the Office, including such statistical 
        information as the Assistant Secretary considers appropriate.
            ``(ii) Identification of any issues reported to the 
        Secretary under subsection (c)(1)(G), including such data as the 
        Assistant Secretary considers relevant to such issues and any 
        trends the Assistant Secretary may have identified with respect 
        to such issues.
            ``(iii) Identification of such concerns as the Assistant 
        Secretary may have regarding the size, staffing, and resources 
        of the Office and such recommendations as the Assistant 
        Secretary may have for legislative or administrative action to 
        address such concerns.

[[Page 131 STAT. 865]]

            ``(iv) Such recommendations as the Assistant Secretary may 
        have for legislative or administrative action to improve--
                    ``(I) the process by which concerns are reported to 
                the Office; and
                    ``(II) the protection of whistleblowers within the 
                Department.
            ``(v) Such other matters as the Assistant Secretary 
        considers appropriate regarding the functions of the Office or 
        other matters relating to the Office.

    ``(2) <<NOTE: Deadline. Notification.>>  If the Secretary receives a 
recommendation for disciplinary action under subsection (c)(1)(I) and 
does not take or initiate the recommended disciplinary action before the 
date that is 60 days after the date on which the Secretary received the 
recommendation, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Veterans' 
Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the 
House of Representatives a detailed justification for not taking or 
initiating such disciplinary action.

    ``(g) Definitions.--In this section:
            ``(1) The term `supervisory employee' means an employee of 
        the Department who is a supervisor as defined in section 7103(a) 
        of title 5.
            ``(2) The term `whistleblower' means one who makes a 
        whistleblower disclosure.
            ``(3) The term `whistleblower disclosure' means any 
        disclosure of information by an employee of the Department or 
        individual applying to become an employee of the Department 
        which the employee or individual reasonably believes evidences--
                    ``(A) a violation of a law, rule, or regulation; or
                    ``(B) gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, 
                an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific 
                danger to public health or safety.''.

    (b) Conforming Amendment.--Section 308(b) of such title is amended 
by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
            ``(12) The functions set forth in section 323(c) of this 
        title.''.

    (c) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the beginning of 
chapter 3 of such title <<NOTE: 38 USC 301 prec.>>  is amended by adding 
at the end the following new item:

``323. Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection.''.

SEC. 102. PROTECTION OF WHISTLEBLOWERS IN DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS 
                        AFFAIRS.

    (a) In General.--Subchapter II of chapter 7 of title 38, United 
States Code, is amended by--
            (1) striking sections 731, 732, 734, 735, and 736;
            (2) by redesignating section 733 as section 731; and
            (3) by adding at the end the following new sections:
``Sec. 732. <<NOTE: 38 USC 732.>>  Protection of whistleblowers as 
                criteria in evaluation of supervisors

    ``(a) <<NOTE: Consultation.>>  Development and Use of Criteria 
Required.--The Secretary, in consultation with the Assistant Secretary 
of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection, shall develop criteria 
that--
            ``(1) the Secretary shall use as a critical element in any 
        evaluation of the performance of a supervisory employee; and
            ``(2) promotes the protection of whistleblowers.

[[Page 131 STAT. 866]]

    ``(b) Principles for Protection of Whistleblowers.--The criteria 
required by subsection (a) shall include principles for the protection 
of whistleblowers, such as the degree to which supervisory employees 
respond constructively when employees of the Department report concerns, 
take responsible action to resolve such concerns, and foster an 
environment in which employees of the Department feel comfortable 
reporting concerns to supervisory employees or to the appropriate 
authorities.
    ``(c) Supervisory Employee and Whistleblower Defined.--In this 
section, the terms `supervisory employee' and `whistleblower' have the 
meanings given such terms in section 323 of this title.
``Sec. 733. <<NOTE: 38 USC 733.>>  Training regarding 
                whistleblower disclosures

    ``(a) <<NOTE: Time period. Coordination.>>  Training.--Not less 
frequently than once every two years, the Secretary, in coordination 
with the Whistleblower Protection Ombudsman designated under section 
3(d)(1)(C) of the Inspector General Act of 1978 (5 U.S.C. App.), shall 
provide to each employee of the Department training regarding 
whistleblower disclosures, including--
            ``(1) an explanation of each method established by law in 
        which an employee may file a whistleblower disclosure;
            ``(2) the right of the employee to petition Congress 
        regarding a whistleblower disclosure in accordance with section 
        7211 of title 5;
            ``(3) an explanation that the employee may not be prosecuted 
        or reprised against for disclosing information to Congress, the 
        Inspector General, or another investigatory agency in instances 
        where such disclosure is permitted by law, including under 
        sections 5701, 5705, and 7732 of this title, under section 552a 
        of title 5 (commonly referred to as the Privacy Act), under 
        chapter 93 of title 18, and pursuant to regulations promulgated 
        under section 264(c) of the Health Insurance Portability and 
        Accountability Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-191);
            ``(4) an explanation of the language that is required to be 
        included in all nondisclosure policies, forms, and agreements 
        pursuant to section 115(a)(1) of the Whistleblower Protection 
        Enhancement Act of 2012 (5 U.S.C. 2302 note); and
            ``(5) the right of contractors to be protected from reprisal 
        for the disclosure of certain information under section 4705 or 
        4712 of title 41.

    ``(b) Manner Training Is Provided.--The Secretary shall ensure, to 
the maximum extent practicable, that training provided under subsection 
(a) is provided in person.
    ``(c) <<NOTE: Time period.>>  Certification.--Not less frequently 
than once every two years, the Secretary shall provide training on merit 
system protection in a manner that the Special Counsel certifies as 
being satisfactory.

    ``(d) <<NOTE: Web posting.>>  Publication.--The Secretary shall 
publish on the Internet website of the Department, and display 
prominently at each facility of the Department, the rights of an 
employee to make a whistleblower disclosure, including the information 
described in paragraphs (1) through (5) of subsection (a).

    ``(e) Whistleblower Disclosure Defined.--In this section, the term 
`whistleblower disclosure' has the meaning given such term in section 
323 of this title.''.

[[Page 131 STAT. 867]]

    (b) Clerical Amendments.--The table of sections at the beginning of 
such chapter <<NOTE: 38 USC 701 prec.>>  is amended--
            (1) by striking the items relating to sections 731 through 
        736; and
            (2) by adding at the end the following new items:

``731. Adverse actions against supervisory employees who commit 
           prohibited personnel actions relating to whistleblower 
           complaints.
``732. Protection of whistleblowers as criteria in evaluation of 
           supervisors.
``733. Training regarding whistleblower disclosures.''.

    (c) Conforming Amendments.--Section 731 of such title, as 
redesignated by subsection (a)(2), is amended--
            (1) in subsection (c)--
                    (A) in paragraph (1)--
                          (i) by striking subparagraphs (A) and (B) and 
                      inserting the following:
                    ``(A) making a whistleblower disclosure to the 
                Assistant Secretary for Accountability and Whistleblower 
                Protection, the Inspector General of the Department, the 
                Special Counsel, or Congress;''; and
                          (ii) by redesignating subparagraphs (C) 
                      through (F) as subparagraphs (B) through (E), 
                      respectively; and
                          (iii) in subparagraph (B), as redesignated by 
                      clause (ii), by striking ``complaint in accordance 
                      with section 732 or with'' and inserting 
                      ``disclosure made to the Assistant Secretary for 
                      Accountability and Whistleblower Protection,''; 
                      and
                    (B) in paragraph (2), by striking ``through (F)'' 
                and inserting ``through (E)''; and
            (2) by adding at the end the following new subsection:

    ``(d) Whistleblower Disclosure Defined.--In this section, the term 
`whistleblower disclosure' has the meaning given such term in section 
323(g) of this title.''.
SEC. 103. REPORT ON METHODS USED TO INVESTIGATE EMPLOYEES OF 
                        DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS.

    (a) Report Required.--Not later than 540 days after the date of the 
enactment of this Act, the Assistant Secretary for Accountability and 
Whistleblower Protection shall submit to the Secretary of Veterans 
Affairs, the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate, and the 
Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the House of Representatives a report 
on methods used to investigate employees of the Department of Veterans 
Affairs and whether such methods are used to retaliate against 
whistleblowers.
    (b) Contents.--The report required by subsection (a) shall include 
the following:
            (1) <<NOTE: Assessment.>>  An assessment of the use of 
        administrative investigation boards, peer review, searches of 
        medical records, and other methods for investigating employees 
        of the Department.
            (2) <<NOTE: Determination.>>  A determination of whether and 
        to what degree the methods described in paragraph (1) are being 
        used to retaliate against whistleblowers.
            (3) <<NOTE: Recommenda- tions.>>  Recommendations for 
        legislative or administrative action to implement safeguards to 
        prevent the retaliation described in paragraph (2).

[[Page 131 STAT. 868]]

    (c) Whistleblower Defined.--In this section, the term 
``whistleblower'' has the meaning given such term in section 323 of 
title 38, United States Code, as added by section 101.

 TITLE II--ACCOUNTABILITY OF SENIOR EXECUTIVES, SUPERVISORS, AND OTHER 
                                EMPLOYEES

SEC. 201. IMPROVED AUTHORITIES OF SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS TO 
                        IMPROVE ACCOUNTABILITY OF SENIOR 
                        EXECUTIVES.

    (a) In General.--Section 713 of title 38, United States Code, is 
amended to read as follows:
``Sec. 713. Senior executives: removal, demotion, or suspension 
                based on performance or misconduct

    ``(a) <<NOTE: Determination.>>  Authority.--(1) The Secretary may, 
as provided in this section, reprimand or suspend, involuntarily 
reassign, demote, or remove a covered individual from a senior executive 
position at the Department if the Secretary determines that the 
misconduct or performance of the covered individual warrants such 
action.

    ``(2) If the Secretary so removes such an individual, the Secretary 
may remove the individual from the civil service (as defined in section 
2101 of title 5).
    ``(b) Rights and Procedures.--(1) A covered individual who is the 
subject of an action under subsection (a) is entitled to--
            ``(A) <<NOTE: Notification.>>  advance notice of the action 
        and a file containing all evidence in support of the proposed 
        action;
            ``(B) be represented by an attorney or other representative 
        of the covered individual's choice; and
            ``(C) <<NOTE: Consultation.>>  grieve the action in 
        accordance with an internal grievance process that the 
        Secretary, in consultation with the Assistant Secretary for 
        Accountability and Whistleblower Protection, shall establish for 
        purposes of this subsection.

    ``(2)(A) <<NOTE: Time periods.>>  The aggregate period for notice, 
response, and decision on an action under subsection (a) may not exceed 
15 business days.

    ``(B) The period for the response of a covered individual to a 
notice under paragraph (1)(A) of an action under subsection (a) shall be 
7 business days.
    ``(C) <<NOTE: Deadline. Notification.>>  A decision under this 
paragraph on an action under subsection (a) shall be issued not later 
than 15 business days after notice of the action is provided to the 
covered individual under paragraph (1)(A). The decision shall be in 
writing, and shall include the specific reasons therefor.

    ``(3) <<NOTE: Time period.>>  The Secretary shall ensure that the 
grievance process established under paragraph (1)(C) takes fewer than 21 
days.

    ``(4) A decision under paragraph (2) that is not grieved, and a 
grievance decision under paragraph (3), shall be final and conclusive.
    ``(5) A covered individual adversely affected by a decision under 
paragraph (2) that is not grieved, or by a grievance decision under 
paragraph (3), may obtain judicial review of such decision.

[[Page 131 STAT. 869]]

    ``(6) <<NOTE: Courts. Review.>>  In any case in which judicial 
review is sought under paragraph (5), the court shall review the record 
and may set aside any Department action found to be--
            ``(A) arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or 
        otherwise not in accordance with a provision of law;
            ``(B) obtained without procedures required by a provision of 
        law having been followed; or
            ``(C) unsupported by substantial evidence.

    ``(c) Relation to Other Provisions of Law.--Section 3592(b)(1) of 
title 5 and the procedures under section 7543(b) of such title do not 
apply to an action under subsection (a).
    ``(d) Definitions.--In this section:
            ``(1) The term `covered individual' means--
                    ``(A) a career appointee (as that term is defined in 
                section 3132(a)(4) of title 5); or
                    ``(B) any individual who occupies an administrative 
                or executive position and who was appointed under 
                section 7306(a), section 7401(1), or section 7401(4) of 
                this title.
            ``(2) The term `misconduct' includes neglect of duty, 
        malfeasance, or failure to accept a directed reassignment or to 
        accompany a position in a transfer of function.
            ``(3) The term `senior executive position' means--
                    ``(A) with respect to a career appointee (as that 
                term is defined in section 3132(a) of title 5), a Senior 
                Executive Service position (as such term is defined in 
                such section); and
                    ``(B) with respect to a covered individual appointed 
                under section 7306(a) or section 7401(1) of this title, 
                an administrative or executive position.''.

    (b) Conforming Amendment.--Section 7461(c)(1) of such title is 
amended by inserting ``employees in senior executive positions (as 
defined in section 713(d) of this title) and'' before ``interns''.
    (c) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the beginning of 
chapter 7 of such title <<NOTE: 38 USC 701 prec.>>  is amended by 
striking the item relating to section 713 and inserting the following 
new item:

``713. Senior executives: removal, demotion, or suspension based on 
           performance or misconduct.''.

SEC. 202. IMPROVED AUTHORITIES OF SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS TO 
                        IMPROVE ACCOUNTABILITY OF EMPLOYEES.

    (a) In General.--Subchapter I of chapter 7 of title 38, United 
States Code, is amended by inserting after section 713 the following new 
section:
``Sec. 714. <<NOTE: 38 USC 714.>>  Employees: removal, demotion, 
                or suspension based on performance or misconduct

    ``(a) <<NOTE: Determinations.>>  In General.--(1) The Secretary may 
remove, demote, or suspend a covered individual who is an employee of 
the Department if the Secretary determines the performance or misconduct 
of the covered individual warrants such removal, demotion, or 
suspension.

    ``(2) If the Secretary so removes, demotes, or suspends such a 
covered individual, the Secretary may--
            ``(A) remove the covered individual from the civil service 
        (as defined in section 2101 of title 5);
            ``(B) demote the covered individual by means of a reduction 
        in grade for which the covered individual is qualified, that

[[Page 131 STAT. 870]]

        the Secretary determines is appropriate, and that reduces the 
        annual rate of pay of the covered individual; or
            ``(C) suspend the covered individual.

    ``(b) Pay of Certain Demoted Individuals.--(1) <<NOTE: Effective 
date.>>  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any covered 
individual subject to a demotion under subsection (a)(2) shall, 
beginning on the date of such demotion, receive the annual rate of pay 
applicable to such grade.

    ``(2)(A) A covered individual so demoted may not be placed on 
administrative leave during the period during which an appeal (if any) 
under this section is ongoing, and may only receive pay if the covered 
individual reports for duty or is approved to use accrued unused annual, 
sick, family medical, military, or court leave.
    ``(B) If a covered individual so demoted does not report for duty or 
receive approval to use accrued unused leave, such covered individual 
shall not receive pay or other benefits pursuant to subsection (d)(5).
    ``(c) <<NOTE: Time periods.>>  Procedure.--(1)(A) The aggregate 
period for notice, response, and final decision in a removal, demotion, 
or suspension under this section may not exceed 15 business days.

    ``(B) The period for the response of a covered individual to a 
notice of a proposed removal, demotion, or suspension under this section 
shall be 7 business days.
    ``(C) <<NOTE: Applicability.>>  Paragraph (3) of subsection (b) of 
section 7513 of title 5 shall apply with respect to a removal, demotion, 
or suspension under this section.

    ``(D) The procedures in this subsection shall supersede any 
collective bargaining agreement to the extent that such agreement is 
inconsistent with such procedures.
    ``(2) <<NOTE: Deadline. Notification.>>  The Secretary shall issue a 
final decision with respect to a removal, demotion, or suspension under 
this section not later than 15 business days after the Secretary 
provides notice, including a file containing all the evidence in support 
of the proposed action, to the covered individual of the removal, 
demotion, or suspension. The decision shall be in writing and shall 
include the specific reasons therefor.

    ``(3) The procedures under chapter 43 of title 5 shall not apply to 
a removal, demotion, or suspension under this section.
    ``(4)(A) <<NOTE: Time period.>>  Subject to subparagraph (B) and 
subsection (d), any removal or demotion under this section, and any 
suspension of more than 14 days under this section, may be appealed to 
the Merit Systems Protection Board, which shall refer such appeal to an 
administrative judge pursuant to section 7701(b)(1) of title 5.

    ``(B) <<NOTE: Deadline.>>  An appeal under subparagraph (A) of a 
removal, demotion, or suspension may only be made if such appeal is made 
not later than 10 business days after the date of such removal, 
demotion, or suspension.

    ``(d) <<NOTE: Deadline.>>  Expedited Review.--(1) Upon receipt of an 
appeal under subsection (c)(4)(A), the administrative judge shall 
expedite any such appeal under section 7701(b)(1) of title 5 and, in any 
such case, shall issue a final and complete decision not later than 180 
days after the date of the appeal.

    ``(2)(A) Notwithstanding section 7701(c)(1)(B) of title 5, the 
administrative judge shall uphold the decision of the Secretary

[[Page 131 STAT. 871]]

to remove, demote, or suspend an employee under subsection (a) if the 
decision is supported by substantial evidence.
    ``(B) Notwithstanding title 5 or any other provision of law, if the 
decision of the Secretary is supported by substantial evidence, the 
administrative judge shall not mitigate the penalty prescribed by the 
Secretary.
    ``(3)(A) The decision of the administrative judge under paragraph 
(1) may be appealed to the Merit Systems Protection Board.
    ``(B) Notwithstanding section 7701(c)(1)(B) of title 5, the Merit 
Systems Protection Board shall uphold the decision of the Secretary to 
remove, demote, or suspend an employee under subsection (a) if the 
decision is supported by substantial evidence.
    ``(C) Notwithstanding title 5 or any other provision of law, if the 
decision of the Secretary is supported by substantial evidence, the 
Merit Systems Protection Board shall not mitigate the penalty prescribed 
by the Secretary.
    ``(4) <<NOTE: Time period. Deadline. Reports.>>  In any case in 
which the administrative judge cannot issue a decision in accordance 
with the 180-day requirement under paragraph (1), the Merit Systems 
Protection Board shall, not later than 14 business days after the 
expiration of the 180-day period, submit to the Committee on Veterans' 
Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the 
House of Representatives a report that explains the reasons why a 
decision was not issued in accordance with such requirement.

    ``(5)(A) A decision of the Merit Systems Protection Board under 
paragraph (3) may be appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for 
the Federal Circuit pursuant to section 7703 of title 5 or to any court 
of appeals of competent jurisdiction pursuant to subsection (b)(1)(B) of 
such section.
    ``(B) <<NOTE: Compliance.>>  Any decision by such Court shall be in 
compliance with section 7462(f)(2) of this title.

    ``(6) The Merit Systems Protection Board may not stay any removal or 
demotion under this section, except as provided in section 1214(b) of 
title 5.
    ``(7) <<NOTE: Time period.>>  During the period beginning on the 
date on which a covered individual appeals a removal from the civil 
service under subsection (c) and ending on the date that the United 
States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issues a final decision 
on such appeal, such covered individual may not receive any pay, awards, 
bonuses, incentives, allowances, differentials, student loan repayments, 
special payments, or benefits related to the employment of the 
individual by the Department.

    ``(8) To the maximum extent practicable, the Secretary shall provide 
to the Merit Systems Protection Board such information and assistance as 
may be necessary to ensure an appeal under this subsection is expedited.
    ``(9) If an employee prevails on appeal under this section, the 
employee shall be entitled to backpay (as provided in section 5596 of 
title 5).
    ``(10) <<NOTE: Applicability.>>  If an employee who is subject to a 
collective bargaining agreement chooses to grieve an action taken under 
this section through a grievance procedure provided under the collective 
bargaining agreement, the timelines and procedures set forth in 
subsection (c) and this subsection shall apply.

    ``(e) Whistleblower Protection.--(1) In the case of a covered 
individual seeking corrective action (or on behalf of whom corrective 
action is sought) from the Office of Special Counsel based on an

[[Page 131 STAT. 872]]

alleged prohibited personnel practice described in section 2302(b) of 
title 5, the Secretary may not remove, demote, or suspend such covered 
individual under subsection (a) without the approval of the Special 
Counsel under section 1214(f) of title 5.
    ``(2) <<NOTE: Determinations.>>  In the case of a covered individual 
who has made a whistleblower disclosure to the Assistant Secretary for 
Accountability and Whistleblower Protection, the Secretary may not 
remove, demote, or suspend such covered individual under subsection (a) 
until--
            ``(A) in the case in which the Assistant Secretary 
        determines to refer the whistleblower disclosure under section 
        323(c)(1)(D) of this title to an office or other investigative 
        entity, a final decision with respect to the whistleblower 
        disclosure has been made by such office or other investigative 
        entity; or
            ``(B) in the case in which the Assistant Secretary 
        determines not to the refer the whistleblower disclosure under 
        such section, the Assistant Secretary makes such determination.

    ``(f) Termination of Investigations by Office of Special Counsel.--
(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Special Counsel 
(established by section 1211 of title 5) may terminate an investigation 
of a prohibited personnel practice alleged by an employee or former 
employee of the Department after the Special Counsel provides to the 
employee or former employee a written statement of the reasons for the 
termination of the investigation.
    ``(2) Such statement may not be admissible as evidence in any 
judicial or administrative proceeding without the consent of such 
employee or former employee.
    ``(g) Vacancies.--In the case of a covered individual who is removed 
or demoted under subsection (a), to the maximum extent feasible, the 
Secretary shall fill the vacancy arising as a result of such removal or 
demotion.
    ``(h) Definitions.--In this section:
            ``(1) The term `covered individual' means an individual 
        occupying a position at the Department, but does not include--
                    ``(A) an individual occupying a senior executive 
                position (as defined in section 713(d) of this title);
                    ``(B) an individual appointed pursuant to sections 
                7306, 7401(1), 7401(4), or 7405 of this title;
                    ``(C) an individual who has not completed a 
                probationary or trial period; or
                    ``(D) a political appointee.
            ``(2) <<NOTE: Time period.>>  The term `suspend' means the 
        placing of an employee, for disciplinary reasons, in a temporary 
        status without duties and pay for a period in excess of 14 days.
            ``(3) The term `grade' has the meaning given such term in 
        section 7511(a) of title 5.
            ``(4) The term `misconduct' includes neglect of duty, 
        malfeasance, or failure to accept a directed reassignment or to 
        accompany a position in a transfer of function.
            ``(5) The term `political appointee' means an individual who 
        is--
                    ``(A) employed in a position described under 
                sections 5312 through 5316 of title 5 (relating to the 
                Executive Schedule);
                    ``(B) a limited term appointee, limited emergency 
                appointee, or noncareer appointee in the Senior 
                Executive

[[Page 131 STAT. 873]]

                Service, as defined under paragraphs (5), (6), and (7), 
                respectively, of section 3132(a) of title 5; or
                    ``(C) employed in a position of a confidential or 
                policy-determining character under schedule C of subpart 
                C of part 213 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations, 
                or successor regulation.
            ``(6) The term `whistleblower disclosure' has the meaning 
        given such term in section 323(g) of this title.''.

    (b) Clerical and Conforming Amendments.--
            (1) Clerical.--The table of sections at the beginning of 
        chapter 7 of such title <<NOTE: 38 USC 701 prec.>>  is amended 
        by inserting after the item relating to section 713 the 
        following new item:

``714. Employees: removal, demotion, or suspension based on performance 
           or misconduct.''.

            (2) Conforming.--Section 4303(f) of title 5, United States 
        Code, is amended--
                    (A) in paragraph (2), by striking ``or'' at the end;
                    (B) in paragraph (3), by striking the period at the 
                end and inserting ``, or''; and
                    (C) by adding at the end the following:
            ``(4) any removal or demotion under section 714 of title 
        38.''.
SEC. 203. REDUCTION OF BENEFITS FOR DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS 
                        EMPLOYEES CONVICTED OF CERTAIN CRIMES.

    (a) Reduction of Benefits.--
            (1) In general.--Subchapter I of chapter 7 of title 38, 
        United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the 
        following new section:
``Sec. 719. <<NOTE: 38 USC 719.>>  Reduction of benefits of 
                employees convicted of certain crimes

    ``(a) Reduction of Annuity for Removed Employee.--
(1) <<NOTE: Deadlines.>>  The Secretary shall order that the covered 
service of an employee of the Department removed from a position for 
performance or misconduct under section 713, 714, or 7461 of this title 
or any other provision of law shall not be taken into account for 
purposes of calculating an annuity with respect to such individual under 
chapter 83 or chapter 84 of title 5, if--
            ``(A) <<NOTE: Determination.>>  the Secretary determines 
        that the individual is convicted of a felony (and the conviction 
        is final) that influenced the individual's performance while 
        employed in the position; and
            ``(B) before such order is made, the individual is 
        afforded--
                    ``(i) <<NOTE: Notification.>>  notice of the 
                proposed order; and
                    ``(ii) an opportunity to respond to the proposed 
                order by not later than ten business days following 
                receipt of such notice; and
            ``(C) the Secretary issues the order--
                    ``(i) in the case of a proposed order to which an 
                individual responds under subparagraph (B)(ii), not 
                later than five business days after receiving the 
                response of the individual; or
                    ``(ii) in the case of a proposed order to which an 
                individual does not respond, not later than 15 business 
                days after the Secretary provides notice to the 
                individual under subparagraph (B)(i).

[[Page 131 STAT. 874]]

    ``(2) Any individual with respect to whom an annuity is reduced 
under this subsection may appeal the reduction to the Director of the 
Office of Personnel Management pursuant to such regulations as the 
Director may prescribe for purposes of this subsection.
    ``(b) <<NOTE: Deadlines.>>  Reduction of Annuity for Retired 
Employee.--(1) The Secretary may order that the covered service of an 
individual who the Secretary proposes to remove for performance or 
misconduct under section 713, 714, or 7461 of this title or any other 
provision of law but who leaves employment at the Department prior to 
the issuance of a final decision with respect to such action shall not 
be taken into account for purposes of calculating an annuity with 
respect to such individual under chapter 83 or chapter 84 of title 5, 
if--
            ``(A) <<NOTE: Determination.>>  the Secretary determines 
        that individual is convicted of a felony (and the conviction is 
        final) that influenced the individual's performance while 
        employed in the position; and
            ``(B) before such order is made, the individual is 
        afforded--
                    ``(i) <<NOTE: Notification.>>  notice of the 
                proposed order;
                    ``(ii) opportunity to respond to the proposed order 
                by not later than ten business days following receipt of 
                such notice; and
            ``(C) the Secretary issues the order--
                    ``(i) in the case of a proposed order to which an 
                individual responds under subparagraph (B)(ii), not 
                later than five business days after receiving the 
                response of the individual; or
                    ``(ii) in the case of a proposed order to which an 
                individual does not respond, not later than 15 business 
                days after the Secretary provides notice to the 
                individual under subparagraph (B)(i).

    ``(2) <<NOTE: Time period.>>  Upon the issuance of an order by the 
Secretary under paragraph (1), the individual shall have an opportunity 
to appeal the order to the Director of the Office of Personnel 
Management before the date that is seven business days after the date of 
such issuance.

    ``(3) The Director of the Office of Personnel Management shall make 
a final decision with respect to an appeal under paragraph (2) within 30 
business days of receiving the appeal.
    ``(c) <<NOTE: Deadline.>>  Administrative Requirements.--Not later 
than 37 business days after the Secretary issues a final order under 
subsection (a) or (b) with respect to an individual, the Director of the 
Office of Personnel Management shall recalculate the annuity of the 
individual.

    ``(d) Lump-Sum Annuity Credit.--Any individual with respect to whom 
an annuity is reduced under subsection (a) or (b) shall be entitled to 
be paid so much of such individual's lump-sum credit as is attributable 
to the period of covered service.
    ``(e) <<NOTE: Consultation. Regulations.>>  Spouse or Children 
Exception.--(1) The Secretary, in consultation with the Director of the 
Office of Personnel Management, shall prescribe regulations that may 
provide for the payment to the spouse or children of any individual 
referred to in subsection (a) or (b) of any amounts which (but for this 
subsection) would otherwise have been nonpayable by reason of such 
subsections.

    ``(2) Regulations prescribed under paragraph (1) shall be consistent 
with the requirements of section 8332(o)(5) and 8411(l)(5) of title 5, 
as the case may be.
    ``(f) Definitions.--In this section:

[[Page 131 STAT. 875]]

            ``(1) <<NOTE: Time period. Determination.>>  The term 
        `covered service' means, with respect to an individual subject 
        to a removal for performance or misconduct under section 719 or 
        7461 of this title or any other provision of law, the period of 
        service beginning on the date that the Secretary determines 
        under such applicable provision that the individual engaged in 
        activity that gave rise to such action and ending on the date 
        that the individual is removed from or leaves a position of 
        employment at the Department prior to the issuance of a final 
        decision with respect to such action.
            ``(2) The term `lump-sum credit' has the meaning given such 
        term in section 8331(8) or section 8401(19) of title 5, as the 
        case may be.
            ``(3) The term `service' has the meaning given such term in 
        section 8331(12) or section 8401(26) of title 5, as the case may 
        be.''.
            (2) Clerical amendment.--The table of sections at the 
        beginning of chapter 7 of such title <<NOTE: 38 USC 701 prec.>>  
        is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 717 
        the following new item:

``719. Reduction of benefits of employees convicted of certain 
           crimes.''.

    (b) <<NOTE: 38 USC 719 note.>>  Application.--Section 719 of title 
38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a)(1), shall apply to 
any action of removal of an employee of the Department of Veterans 
Affairs under section 719 or 7461 of such title or any other provision 
of law, commencing on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.
SEC. 204. AUTHORITY TO RECOUP BONUSES OR AWARDS PAID TO EMPLOYEES 
                        OF DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS.

    (a) In General.--Subchapter I of chapter 7 of title 38, United 
States Code, as amended by section 203, is further amended by adding at 
the end the following new section:
``Sec. 721. <<NOTE: 38 USC 721.>>  Recoupment of bonuses or awards 
                paid to employees of Department

    ``(a) <<NOTE: Deadlines.>>  In General.--Notwithstanding any other 
provision of law, the Secretary may issue an order directing an employee 
of the Department to repay the amount, or a portion of the amount, of 
any award or bonus paid to the employee under title 5, including under 
chapters 45 or 53 of such title, or this title if--
            ``(1) <<NOTE: Determination.>>  the Secretary determines 
        that the individual engaged in misconduct or poor performance 
        prior to payment of the award or bonus, and that such award or 
        bonus would not have been paid, in whole or in part, had the 
        misconduct or poor performance been known prior to payment; and
            ``(2) before such repayment, the employee is afforded--
                    ``(A) <<NOTE: Notification.>>  notice of the 
                proposed order; and
                    ``(B) an opportunity to respond to the proposed 
                order by not later than 10 business days after the 
                receipt of such notice; and
            ``(3) the Secretary issues the order--
                    ``(A) in the case of a proposed order to which an 
                individual responds under paragraph (2)(B), not later 
                than five business days after receiving the response of 
                the individual; or
                    ``(B) in the case of a proposed order to which an 
                individual does not respond, not later than 15 business 
                days

[[Page 131 STAT. 876]]

                after the Secretary provides notice to the individual 
                under paragraph (2)(A).

    ``(b) <<NOTE: Time period.>>  Appeal of Order of Secretary.--(1) 
Upon the issuance of an order by the Secretary under subsection (a) with 
respect to an individual, the individual shall have an opportunity to 
appeal the order to the Director of the Office of Personnel Management 
before the date that is seven business days after the date of such 
issuance.

    ``(2) <<NOTE: Deadline.>>  The Director shall make a final decision 
with respect to an appeal under paragraph (1) within 30 business days 
after receiving such appeal.''.

    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the beginning of 
such chapter, as amended by section 203(a)(2), <<NOTE: 38 USC 701 
prec.>>  is further amended by inserting after the item relating to 
section 719 the following new item:

``721. Recoupment of bonuses or awards paid to employees of 
           Department.''.

    (c) <<NOTE: Applicability. 38 USC 721 note.>>  Effective Date.--
Section 721 of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), 
shall apply with respect to an award or bonus paid by the Secretary of 
Veterans Affairs to an employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs on 
or after the date of the enactment of this Act.

    (d) <<NOTE: 38 USC 713 note.>>  Construction.--Nothing in this Act 
or the amendments made by this Act may be construed to modify the 
certification issued by the Office of Personnel Management and the 
Office of Management and Budget regarding the performance appraisal 
system of the Senior Executive Service of the Department of Veterans 
Affairs.
SEC. 205. AUTHORITY TO RECOUP RELOCATION EXPENSES PAID TO OR ON 
                        BEHALF OF EMPLOYEES OF DEPARTMENT OF 
                        VETERANS AFFAIRS.

    (a) In General.--Subchapter I of chapter 7 of title 38, United 
States Code, as amended by section 204, is further amended by adding at 
the end the following new section:
``Sec. 723. <<NOTE: 38 USC 723.>>  Recoupment of relocation 
                expenses paid on behalf of employees of Department

    ``(a) In General.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the 
Secretary may issue an order directing an employee of the Department to 
repay the amount, or a portion of the amount, paid to or on behalf of 
the employee under title 5 for relocation expenses, including any 
expenses under section 5724 or 5724a of such title, or this title if--
            ``(1) <<NOTE: Determination.>>  the Secretary determines 
        that relocation expenses were paid following an act of fraud or 
        malfeasance that influenced the authorization of the relocation 
        expenses;
            ``(2) before such repayment, the employee is afforded--
                    ``(A) <<NOTE: Notification.>>  notice of the 
                proposed order; and
                    ``(B) an opportunity to respond to the proposed 
                order not later than ten business days following the 
                receipt of such notice; and
            ``(3) the Secretary issues the order--
                    ``(A) in the case of a proposed order to which an 
                individual responds under paragraph (2)(B), not later 
                than five business days after receiving the response of 
                the individual; or

[[Page 131 STAT. 877]]

                    ``(B) in the case of a proposed order to which an 
                individual does not respond, not later than 15 business 
                days after the Secretary provides notice to the 
                individual under paragraph (2)(A).

    ``(b) <<NOTE: Time period.>>  Appeal of Order of Secretary.--(1) 
Upon the issuance of an order by the Secretary under subsection (a) with 
respect to an individual, the individual shall have an opportunity to 
appeal the order to the Director of the Office of Personnel Management 
before the date that is seven business days after the date of such 
issuance.

    ``(2) <<NOTE: Deadline.>>  The Director shall make a final decision 
with respect to an appeal under paragraph (1) within 30 days after 
receiving such appeal.''.

    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the beginning of 
such chapter <<NOTE: 38 USC 701 prec.>>  is further amended by inserting 
after the item relating to section 721, as added by section 204(b), the 
following new item:

``723. Recoupment of relocation expenses paid on behalf of employees of 
           Department.''.

    (c) <<NOTE: Applicability. 38 USC 723 note.>>  Effective Date.--
Section 723 of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), 
shall apply with respect to an amount paid by the Secretary of Veterans 
Affairs to or on behalf of an employee of the Department of Veterans 
Affairs for relocation expenses on or after the date of the enactment of 
this Act.
SEC. 206. TIME PERIOD FOR RESPONSE TO NOTICE OF ADVERSE ACTIONS 
                        AGAINST SUPERVISORY EMPLOYEES WHO COMMIT 
                        PROHIBITED PERSONNEL ACTIONS.

    Section 731(a)(2)(B) of title 38, United States Code, as 
redesignated by section 102(a)(2), is amended--
            (1) in clause (i), by striking ``14 days'' and inserting 
        ``10 days''; and
            (2) in clause (ii), by striking ``14-day period'' and 
        inserting ``10-day period''.
SEC. 207. DIRECT HIRING AUTHORITY FOR MEDICAL CENTER DIRECTORS AND 
                        VISN DIRECTORS.

    (a) In General.--Section 7401 of title 38, United States Code, is 
amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
            ``(4) Directors of medical centers and directors of Veterans 
        Integrated Service Networks with demonstrated ability in the 
        medical profession, in health care administration, or in health 
        care fiscal management.''.

    (b) Conforming Amendments.--Section 7404(a)(1) of such title is 
amended--
            (1) by inserting ``(A)'' before ``The annual''; and
            (2) in subparagraph (A), as designated by paragraph (1)--
                    (A) by inserting ``and 7401(4)'' after ``7306''; and
                    (B) by adding at the end the following new 
                subparagraph:

    ``(B) <<NOTE: Applicability.>>  Section 5377 of title 5 shall apply 
to a position under section 7401(4) of this title as if such position 
were included in the definition of `position' in section 5377(a) of 
title 5.''.

[[Page 131 STAT. 878]]

SEC. 208. TIME PERIODS FOR REVIEW OF ADVERSE ACTIONS WITH RESPECT 
                        TO CERTAIN EMPLOYEES.

    (a) Physicians, Dentists, Podiatrists, Chiropractors, Optometrists, 
Registered Nurses, Physician Assistants, and Expanded-function Dental 
Auxiliaries.--Paragraph (2) of section 7461(b) of title 38, United 
States Code, is amended to read as follows:
    ``(2) <<NOTE: Appeal.>>  In any case other than a case described in 
paragraph (1) that involves or includes a question of professional 
conduct or competence in which a major adverse action was not taken, 
such an appeal shall be made through Department grievance procedures 
under section 7463 of this title.''.

    (b) Major Adverse Actions Involving Professional Conduct or 
Competence.--Section 7462(b) of such title is amended--
            (1) in paragraph (1)--
                    (A) in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by 
                inserting ``, within the aggregate time period specified 
                in paragraph (5)(A),'' after ``is entitled'';
                    (B) in subparagraph (A)--
                          (i) by striking ``At least 30 days advance 
                      written notice'' and inserting ``Advance written 
                      notice'';
                          (ii) by striking ``and a statement'' and 
                      inserting ``a statement''; and
                          (iii) by inserting ``and a file containing all 
                      the evidence in support of each charge,'' after 
                      ``with respect to each charge,''; and
                    (C) in subparagraph (B), by striking ``A reasonable 
                time, but not less than seven days'' and inserting ``The 
                opportunity, within the time period provided for in 
                paragraph (4)(A)'';
            (2) by striking paragraph (3) and inserting the following 
        new paragraph (3):

    ``(3) After considering the employee's answer, if any, and within 
the time period provided for in paragraph (5)(B), the deciding official 
shall render a decision on the charges. The decision shall be in writing 
and shall include the specific reasons therefor.'';
            (3) in paragraph (4)--
                    (A) by striking subparagraph (A) and inserting the 
                following new subparagraph (A):

    ``(A) The period for the response of an employee under paragraph 
(1)(B) to advance written under paragraph (1)(A) shall be seven business 
days.''; and
                    (B) in subparagraph (B), by striking ``30 days'' and 
                inserting ``seven business days''; and
            (4) by adding at the end the following new paragraphs:

    ``(5)(A) The aggregate period for the resolution of charges against 
an employee under this subsection may not exceed 15 business days.
    ``(B) <<NOTE: Deadline. Notification.>>  The deciding official shall 
render a decision under paragraph (3) on charges under this subsection 
not later than 15 business days after the Under Secretary provides 
notice on the charges for purposes of paragraph (1)(A).

    ``(6) The procedures in this subsection shall supersede any 
collective bargaining agreement to the extent that such agreement is 
inconsistent with such procedures.''.
    (c) Other Adverse Actions.--Section 7463(c) of such title is 
amended--

[[Page 131 STAT. 879]]

            (1) in paragraph (1), by striking ``the same notice and 
        opportunity to answer with respect to those charges as provided 
        in subparagraphs (A) and (B) of section 7462(b)(1) of this 
        title'' and inserting ``notice and an opportunity to answer with 
        respect to those charges in accordance with subparagraphs (A) 
        and (B) of section 7462(b)(1) of this title, but within the time 
        periods specified in paragraph (3)'';
            (2) in paragraph (2)--
                    (A) in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by 
                inserting ``, within the aggregate time period specified 
                in paragraph (3)(A),'' after ``is entitled'';
                    (B) in subparagraph (A), by striking ``an advance 
                written notice'' and inserting ``written notice''; and
                    (C) in subparagraph (B), by striking ``a reasonable 
                time'' and inserting ``time to answer''; and
            (3) by adding at the end the following new paragraph (3):

    ``(3)(A) The aggregate period for the resolution of charges against 
an employee under paragraph (1) or (2) may not exceed 15 business days.
    ``(B) The period for the response of an employee under paragraph (1) 
or (2)(B) to written notice of charges under paragraph (1) or (2)(A), as 
applicable, shall be seven business days.
    ``(C) <<NOTE: Deadline.>>  The deciding official shall render a 
decision on charges under paragraph (1) or (2) not later than 15 
business days after notice is provided on the charges for purposes of 
paragraph (1) or (2)(A), as applicable.''.
SEC. 209. <<NOTE: 38 USC 735 note.>>  IMPROVEMENT OF TRAINING FOR 
                        SUPERVISORS.

    (a) In General.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall provide to 
each employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs who is employed as a 
supervisor periodic training on the following:
            (1) The rights of whistleblowers and how to address a report 
        by an employee of a hostile work environment, reprisal, or 
        harassment.
            (2) How to effectively motivate, manage, and reward the 
        employees who report to the supervisor.
            (3) How to effectively manage employees who are performing 
        at an unacceptable level and access assistance from the human 
        resources office of the Department and the Office of the General 
        Counsel of the Department with respect to those employees.

    (b) Definitions.--In this section:
            (1) Supervisor.--The term ``supervisor'' has the meaning 
        given such term in section 7103(a) of title 5, United States 
        Code.
            (2) Whistleblower.--The term ``whistleblower'' has the 
        meaning given such term in section 323(g) of title 38, United 
        States Code, as added by section 101.
SEC. 210. ASSESSMENT AND REPORT ON EFFECT ON SENIOR EXECUTIVES AT 
                        DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS.

    (a) In General.--Not later than two years after the date of the 
enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall--
            (1) measure and assess the effect of the enactment of this 
        title on the morale, engagement, hiring, promotion, retention, 
        discipline, and productivity of individuals in senior executive 
        positions at the Department of Veterans Affairs; and

[[Page 131 STAT. 880]]

            (2) submit to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the 
        Senate and the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the House of 
        Representatives a report on the findings of the Secretary with 
        respect to the measurement and assessment carried out under 
        paragraph (1).

    (b) Elements.--The assessment required by subsection (a)(1) shall 
include the following:
            (1) With respect to engagement, trends in morale of 
        individuals in senior executive positions and individuals 
        aspiring to senior executive positions.
            (2) With respect to promotions--
                    (A) whether the Department is experiencing an 
                increase or decrease in the number of employees 
                participating in leadership development and candidate 
                development programs with the intention of becoming 
                candidates for senior executive positions; and
                    (B) trends in applications to senior executive 
                positions within the Department.
            (3) With respect to retention--
                    (A) trends in retirement rates of individuals in 
                senior executive positions at the Department;
                    (B) trends in quit rates of individuals in senior 
                executive positions at the Department;
                    (C) rates of transfer of--
                          (i) individuals from other Federal agencies 
                      into senior executive positions at the Department; 
                      and
                          (ii) individuals from senior executive 
                      positions at the Department to other Federal 
                      agencies; and
                    (D) trends in total loss rates by job function.
            (4) With respect to disciplinary processes--
                    (A) regarding individuals in senior executive 
                positions at the Department who are the subject of 
                disciplinary action--
                          (i) the length of the disciplinary process in 
                      days for such individuals both before the date of 
                      the enactment of this Act and under the provisions 
                      of this Act described in subsection (a)(1); and
                          (ii) the extent to which appeals by such 
                      individuals are upheld under such provisions as 
                      compared to before the date of the enactment of 
                      this Act;
                    (B) the components or offices of the Department 
                which experience the greatest number of proposed adverse 
                actions against individuals in senior executive 
                positions and components and offices which experience 
                the least relative to the size of the components or 
                offices' total number of senior executive positions;
                    (C) the tenure of individuals in senior executive 
                positions who are the subject of disciplinary action;
                    (D) whether the individuals in senior executive 
                positions who are the subject of disciplinary action 
                have previously been disciplined; and
                    (E) the number of instances of disciplinary action 
                taken by the Secretary against individuals in senior 
                executive positions at the Department as compared to 
                governmentwide discipline against individuals in Senior 
                Executive Service positions (as defined in section 
                3132(a) of title 5, United States Code) as a percentage 
                of the total number

[[Page 131 STAT. 881]]

                of individuals in senior executive positions at the 
                Department and Senior Executive Service positions (as so 
                defined).
            (5) With respect to hiring--
                    (A) the degree to which the skills of newly hired 
                individuals in senior executive positions at the 
                Department are appropriate with respect to the needs of 
                the Department;
                    (B) the types of senior executive positions at the 
                Department most commonly filled under the authorities in 
                the provisions described in subsection (a)(1);
                    (C) the number of senior executive positions at the 
                Department filled by hires outside of the Department 
                compared to hires from within the Department;
                    (D) the length of time to fill a senior executive 
                position at the Department and for a new hire to begin 
                working in a new senior executive position;
                    (E) the mission-critical deficiencies filled by 
                newly hired individuals in senior executive positions 
                and the connection between mission-critical deficiencies 
                filled under the provisions described in subsection (a) 
                and annual performance of the Department;
                    (F) the satisfaction of applicants for senior 
                executive positions at the Department with the hiring 
                process, including the clarity of job announcements, 
                reasons for withdrawal of applications, communication 
                regarding status of applications, and timeliness of 
                hiring decision; and
                    (G) the satisfaction of newly hired individuals in 
                senior executive positions at the Department with the 
                hiring process and the process of joining and becoming 
                oriented with the Department.

    (c) Senior Executive Position Defined.--In this section, the term 
``senior executive position'' has the meaning given such term in section 
713 of title 38, United States Code.
SEC. 211. MEASUREMENT OF DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS 
                        DISCIPLINARY PROCESS OUTCOMES AND 
                        EFFECTIVENESS.

    (a) Measuring and Collecting.--
            (1) <<NOTE: Time period.>>  In general.--The Secretary of 
        Veterans Affairs shall measure and collect information on the 
        outcomes of disciplinary actions carried out by the Department 
        of Veterans Affairs during the three-year period ending on the 
        date of the enactment of this Act and the effectiveness of such 
        actions.
            (2) Elements.--In measuring and collecting pursuant to 
        paragraph (1), the Secretary shall measure and collect 
        information regarding the following:
                    (A) The average time from the initiation of an 
                adverse action against an employee at the Department to 
                the final resolution of that action.
                    (B) The number of distinct steps and levels of 
                review within the Department involved in the 
                disciplinary process and the average length of time 
                required to complete these steps.
                    (C) The rate of use of alternate disciplinary 
                procedures compared to traditional disciplinary 
                procedures and the frequency with which employees who 
                are subject to alternative disciplinary procedures 
                commit additional offenses.

[[Page 131 STAT. 882]]

                    (D) The number of appeals from adverse actions filed 
                against employees of the Department, the number of 
                appeals upheld, and the reasons for which the appeals 
                were upheld.
                    (E) The use of paid administrative leave during the 
                disciplinary process and the length of such leave.

    (b) Report.--
            (1) In general.--Not later than December 31, 2017, the 
        Secretary shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress 
        a report on the disciplinary procedures and actions of the 
        Department.
            (2) Contents.--The report submitted under paragraph (1) 
        shall include the following:
                    (A) The information collected under subsection (a).
                    (B) The findings of the Secretary with respect to 
                the measurement and collection carried out under 
                subsection (a).
                    (C) <<NOTE: Analysis.>>  An analysis of the 
                disciplinary procedures and actions of the Department.
                    (D) Suggestions for improving the disciplinary 
                procedures and actions of the Department.
                    (E) Such other matters as the Secretary considers 
                appropriate.
            (3) <<NOTE: Definition.>>  Appropriate committees of 
        congress.--In this subsection, the term ``appropriate committees 
        of Congress'' means--
                    (A) the Committee on Appropriations and the 
                Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate; and
                    (B) the Committee on Appropriations and the 
                Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the House of 
                Representatives.

    Approved June 23, 2017.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--S. 1094:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 163 (2017):
            June 6, considered and passed Senate.
            June 13, considered and passed House.
DAILY COMPILATION OF PRESIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS (2017):
            June 23, Presidential remarks.

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