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Referred in House (05/26/2017)

 
[Congressional Bills 115th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[S. 12 Referred in House (RFH)]

<DOC>






115th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                 S. 12


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                              May 26, 2017

             Referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 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.

    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 ``Increasing the Department of 
Veterans Affairs Accountability to Veterans Act of 2017''.

SEC. 2. ACCOUNTABILITY OF LEADERS FOR MANAGING THE DEPARTMENT OF 
              VETERANS AFFAIRS.

    (a) In General.--Chapter 7 of title 38, United States Code, is 
amended by inserting after section 709 the following new section:
``Sec. 710. Annual performance plan for political appointees
    ``(a) In General.--The Secretary shall conduct an annual 
performance plan for each political appointee of the Department that is 
similar to the annual performance plan conducted for an employee of the 
Department who is appointed as a career appointee (as that term is 
defined in section 3132(a)(4) of title 5) within the Senior Executive 
Service at the Department.
    ``(b) Elements of Plan.--Each annual performance plan conducted 
under subsection (a) with respect to a political appointee of the 
Department shall include, to the extent applicable, an assessment of 
whether the appointee is meeting the following goals:
            ``(1) Recruiting, selecting, and retaining well-qualified 
        individuals for employment at the Department.
            ``(2) Engaging and motivating employees.
            ``(3) Training and developing employees and preparing those 
        employees for future leadership roles within the Department.
            ``(4) Holding each employee of the Department that is a 
        manager accountable for addressing issues relating to 
        performance, in particular issues relating to the performance 
        of employees that report to the manager.''.
    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the beginning of 
chapter 7 of such title is further amended by inserting after the item 
relating to section 709 the following new item:

``710. Annual performance plan for political appointees.''.

SEC. 3. ACCOUNTABILITY OF SUPERVISORS AT DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS 
              FOR HIRING WELL-QUALIFIED PEOPLE.

    (a) Assessment During Probationary Period.--
            (1) Determination required.--With respect to any employee 
        of the Department of Veterans Affairs who is required to serve 
        a probationary period in a position in the Department, the 
        Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall require the supervisor of 
        such employee to determine, during the 30-day period ending on 
        the date on which the probationary period ends, whether the 
        employee--
                    (A) has demonstrated successful performance; and
                    (B) should continue past the probationary period.
            (2) Limitation on employment after probationary period.--
                    (A) In general.--Except as provided in subparagraph 
                (B), no employee of the Department serving a 
                probationary period as described in paragraph (1) may 
                complete that probationary period unless and until the 
                supervisor of the employee, or another supervisor 
                capable of making the requisite determination, has made 
                an affirmative determination under such paragraph.
                    (B) Probationary period deemed completed.--
                            (i) No determination.--If no determination 
                        under paragraph (1) is made with respect to an 
                        employee before the end of the 60-day period 
                        following the end of the 30-day period 
                        specified in such paragraph, the employee shall 
                        be deemed to have completed the probationary 
                        period of the employee effective as of the end 
                        of that 60-day period.
                            (ii) Retroactive effect of determination.--
                        If an affirmative determination under paragraph 
                        (1) is made with respect to an employee after 
                        the end of the 30-day period specified in such 
                        paragraph, the employee shall be deemed to have 
                        completed the probationary period of the 
                        employee effective as of the end of that 30-day 
                        period.
            (3) Notification to congress regarding determinations.--Not 
        less frequently than monthly, the Secretary shall notify the 
        Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the Committee 
        on Veterans' Affairs of the House of Representatives 
        regarding--
                    (A) each instance during such month in which a 
                supervisor did not make a determination required under 
                paragraph (1) during the period required in such 
                paragraph; and
                    (B) each such instance included in a previous 
                notification under this paragraph for which the 
                supervisor still has not made such a determination.
    (b) Supervisors.--With respect to any employee of the Department 
who is serving a probationary period in a supervisory position at the 
Department, successful performance under subsection (a) shall include 
demonstrating management competencies in addition to the technical 
skills required for such position.
    (c) Performance Plan.--Each annual performance plan conducted for a 
supervisor of an employee serving a probationary period shall hold the 
supervisor accountable for--
            (1) providing regular feedback to such employee during such 
        period before making a determination under subsection (a) 
        regarding the probationary status of such employee; and
            (2) making a timely determination under subsection (a) 
        regarding the probationary status of such employee.
    (d) Supervisor Defined.--In this section, the term ``supervisor'' 
has the meaning given such term in section 7103(a) of title 5, United 
States Code.

SEC. 4. ACCOUNTABILITY OF MANAGERS FOR ADDRESSING PERFORMANCE OF 
              EMPLOYEES.

    The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall ensure that, as a part of 
the annual performance plan of an employee of the Department of 
Veterans Affairs who is a manager, the manager is evaluated on the 
following:
            (1) Taking action to address poor performance and 
        misconduct among the employees that report to the manager.
            (2) Taking steps to improve or sustain high levels of 
        employee engagement.

SEC. 5. WRITTEN OPINION ON CERTAIN EMPLOYMENT RESTRICTIONS AFTER 
              TERMINATING EMPLOYMENT WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS 
              AFFAIRS.

    (a) In General.--Subchapter I of chapter 7 of title 38, United 
States Code, is further amended by adding at the end the following new 
section:
``Sec. 717. Written opinion on certain employment restrictions after 
              terminating employment with the Department
    ``(a)  In General.--Before terminating employment with the 
Department, any official of the Department who has participated 
personally and substantially during the one-year period ending on the 
date of the termination in an acquisition by the Department that 
exceeds $10,000,000 shall obtain a written opinion from an appropriate 
ethics counselor at the Department regarding any restrictions on 
activities that the official may undertake on behalf of a covered 
contractor during the two-year period beginning on the date on which 
the official terminates such employment.
    ``(b) Covered Contractor Defined.--In this section, the term 
`covered contractor' means a contractor carrying out a contract entered 
into with the Department, including pursuant to a subcontract.''.
    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the beginning of 
chapter 7 of such title is further amended by inserting after the item 
relating to section 715 the following new item:

``717. Written opinion on certain employment restrictions after leaving 
                            the Department.''.

SEC. 6. REQUIREMENT FOR CONTRACTORS OF THE DEPARTMENT EMPLOYING CERTAIN 
              RECENTLY SEPARATED DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEES.

    (a) In General.--Subchapter II of chapter 81 of title 38, United 
States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section:
``Sec. 8129. Requirement for contractors employing certain recently 
              separated Department employees
    ``(a) In General.--A covered contractor may not knowingly provide 
compensation to an individual described in subsection (b) during the 
two-year period beginning on the date on which the individual 
terminates employment with the Department unless the covered contractor 
determines that the individual--
            ``(1) has obtained the written opinion required under 
        section 717(a) of this title; or
            ``(2) has requested such written opinion not later than 30 
        days before receiving compensation from the covered contractor.
    ``(b) Individual Described.--An individual described in this 
subsection is any official of the Department who participated 
personally and substantially during the one-year period ending on the 
date of the termination individual's employment with the Department in 
an acquisition by the Department that exceeds $10,000,000.
    ``(c) Covered Contractor Defined.--In this section, the term 
`covered contractor' means a contractor carrying out a contract entered 
into with the Department, including pursuant to a subcontract.''.
    (b) Application.--The requirement under section 8129(a) of title 
38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), shall apply with 
respect to any entity that enters into a contract with the Department 
on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.
    (c) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the beginning of 
chapter 81 of such title is amended by inserting after the item 
relating to section 8128 the following new item:

``8129. Requirement for contractors employing certain recently 
                            separated Department employees.''.

            Passed the Senate May 25, 2017.

            Attest:

                                                JULIE E. ADAMS,

                                                             Secretary.

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