DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY MORALE, RECOGNITION, LEARNING AND ENGAGEMENT ACT OF 2019; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 56
(House of Representatives - April 01, 2019)

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   DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY MORALE, RECOGNITION, LEARNING AND 
                         ENGAGEMENT ACT OF 2019

  Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules 
and pass the bill (H.R. 1433) to amend the Homeland Security Act of 
2002 to improve morale within the Department of Homeland Security 
workforce by conferring new responsibilities to the Chief Human Capital 
Officer, establishing an employee engagement steering committee, 
requiring action plans, and authorizing an annual employee award 
program, and for other purposes, as amended.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                               H.R. 1433

       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 ``Department of Homeland 
     Security Morale, Recognition, Learning and Engagement Act of 
     2019'' or the ``DHS MORALE Act''.

     SEC. 2. CHIEF HUMAN CAPITAL OFFICER RESPONSIBILITIES.

       Section 704 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 
     344) is amended--
       (1) in subsection (b)--
       (A) in paragraph (1)--
       (i) by inserting ``, including with respect to leader 
     development and employee engagement,'' after ``policies'';
       (ii) by striking ``and in line'' and inserting ``, in 
     line''; and
       (iii) by inserting ``and informed by best practices within 
     the Federal government and the private sector,'' after 
     ``priorities,'';
       (B) in paragraph (2), by striking ``develop performance 
     measures to provide a basis for monitoring and evaluating'' 
     and inserting ``use performance measures to evaluate, on an 
     ongoing basis,'';
       (C) in paragraph (3), by inserting ``that, to the extent 
     practicable, are informed by employee feedback'' after 
     ``policies'';
       (D) in paragraph (4), by inserting ``including leader 
     development and employee engagement programs,'' before ``in 
     coordination'';
       (E) in paragraph (5), by inserting before the semicolon at 
     the end the following: ``that is informed by an assessment, 
     carried out by the Chief Human Capital Officer, of the 
     learning and developmental needs of employees in supervisory 
     and non-supervisory roles across the Department and 
     appropriate workforce planning initiatives'';
       (F) by redesignating paragraphs (9) and (10) as paragraphs 
     (12) and (13), respectively; and
       (G) by inserting after paragraph (8) the following new 
     paragraphs:
       ``(9) maintain a catalogue of available employee 
     development opportunities, including the Homeland Security 
     Rotation Program pursuant to section 844, departmental 
     leadership development programs, interagency development 
     programs, and other rotational programs;
       ``(10) ensure that employee discipline and adverse action 
     programs comply with the requirements of all pertinent laws, 
     rules, regulations, and Federal guidance, and ensure due 
     process for employees;
       ``(11) analyze each Department or Government-wide Federal 
     workforce satisfaction or morale survey not later than 90 
     days after the date of the publication of each such survey 
     and submit to the Secretary such analysis, including, as 
     appropriate, recommendations to improve workforce 
     satisfaction or morale within the Department;'';
       (2) by redesignating subsections (d) and (e) as subsections 
     (e) and (f), respectively;
       (3) by inserting after subsection (c) the following new 
     subsection:
       ``(d) Chief Learning and Engagement Officer.--The Chief 
     Human Capital Officer may designate an employee of the 
     Department to serve as a Chief Learning and Engagement 
     Officer to assist the Chief Human Capital Officer in carrying 
     out this section.''; and
       (4) in subsection (e), as so redesignated--
       (A) by redesignating paragraphs (2), (3), and (4) as 
     paragraphs (5), (6), and (7), respectively; and
       (B) by inserting after paragraph (1) the following new 
     paragraphs:
       ``(2) information on employee development opportunities 
     catalogued pursuant to paragraph (9) of subsection (b) and 
     any available data on participation rates, attrition rates, 
     and impacts on retention and employee satisfaction;
       ``(3) information on the progress of Department-wide 
     strategic workforce planning efforts as determined under 
     paragraph (2) of subsection (b);
       ``(4) information on the activities of the steering 
     committee established pursuant to section 711(a), including 
     the number of meetings, types of materials developed and 
     distributed, and recommendations made to the Secretary;''.

     SEC. 3. EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT STEERING COMMITTEE AND ACTION 
                   PLAN.

       (a) In General.--Title VII of the Homeland Security Act of 
     2002 (6 U.S.C. 341 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end 
     the following new section:

     ``SEC. 711. EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT.

       ``(a) Steering Committee.--Not later than 120 days after 
     the date of the enactment of this section, the Secretary 
     shall establish an employee engagement steering committee, 
     including representatives from operational components, 
     headquarters, and field personnel, including supervisory and 
     non-supervisory personnel, and employee labor organizations 
     that represent Department employees, and chaired by the Under 
     Secretary for Management, to carry out the following 
     activities:
       ``(1) Identify factors that have a negative impact on 
     employee engagement, morale, and communications within the 
     Department, such as perceptions about limitations on career 
     progression, mobility, or development opportunities, 
     collected through employee feedback platforms, including 
     through annual employee surveys, questionnaires, and other 
     communications, as appropriate.
       ``(2) Identify, develop, and distribute initiatives and 
     best practices to improve employee engagement, morale, and 
     communications within the Department, including through 
     annual employee surveys, questionnaires, and other 
     communications, as appropriate.
       ``(3) Monitor efforts of each component to address employee 
     engagement, morale, and communications based on employee 
     feedback provided through annual employee surveys, 
     questionnaires, and other communications, as appropriate.
       ``(4) Advise the Secretary on efforts to improve employee 
     engagement, morale, and

[[Page H2928]]

     communications within specific components and across the 
     Department.
       ``(5) Conduct regular meetings and report, not less than 
     once per quarter, to the Under Secretary for Management, the 
     head of each component, and the Secretary on Department-wide 
     efforts to improve employee engagement, morale, and 
     communications.
       ``(b) Action Plan; Reporting.--The Secretary, acting 
     through the Chief Human Capital Officer, shall--
       ``(1) not later than 120 days after the date of the 
     establishment of the employee engagement steering committee 
     under subsection (a), issue a Department-wide employee 
     engagement action plan, reflecting input from the steering 
     committee and employee feedback provided through annual 
     employee surveys, questionnaires, and other communications in 
     accordance with paragraph (1) of such subsection, to execute 
     strategies to improve employee engagement, morale, and 
     communications within the Department; and
       ``(2) require the head of each component to--
       ``(A) develop and implement a component-specific employee 
     engagement plan to advance the action plan required under 
     paragraph (1) that includes performance measures and 
     objectives, is informed by employee feedback provided through 
     annual employee surveys, questionnaires, and other 
     communications, as appropriate, and sets forth how employees 
     and, where applicable, their labor representatives are to be 
     integrated in developing programs and initiatives;
       ``(B) monitor progress on implementation of such action 
     plan; and
       ``(C) provide to the Chief Human Capital Officer and the 
     steering committee quarterly reports on actions planned and 
     progress made under this paragraph.
       ``(c) Termination.--This section shall terminate on the 
     date that is five years after the date of the enactment of 
     this section.''.
       (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of contents in section 
     1(b) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 is amended by 
     inserting after the item relating to section 710 the 
     following new item:

``Sec. 711. Employee engagement.''.

       (c) Submissions to Congress.--
       (1) Department-wide employee engagement action plan.--The 
     Secretary of Homeland Security, acting through the Chief 
     Human Capital Officer of the Department of Homeland Security, 
     shall submit to the Committee on Homeland Security of the 
     House of Representatives and the Committee on Homeland 
     Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate the 
     Department-wide employee engagement action plan required 
     under subsection (b)(1) of section 711 of the Homeland 
     Security Act of 2002 (as added by subsection (a) of this 
     section) not later than 30 days after the issuance of such 
     plan under such subsection (b)(1).
       (2) Component-specific employee engagement plans.--Each 
     head of a component of the Department of Homeland Security 
     shall submit to the Committee on Homeland Security of the 
     House of Representatives and the Committee on Homeland 
     Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate the 
     component-specific employee engagement plan of each such 
     component required under subsection (b)(2) of section 711 of 
     the Homeland Security Act of 2002 not later than 30 days 
     after the issuance of each such plan under such subsection 
     (b)(2).

     SEC. 4. ANNUAL EMPLOYEE AWARD PROGRAM.

       (a) In General.--Title VII of the Homeland Security Act of 
     2002 (6 U.S.C. 341 et seq.), as amended by section 3 of this 
     Act, is further amended by adding at the end the following 
     new section:

     ``SEC. 712. ANNUAL EMPLOYEE AWARD PROGRAM.

       ``(a) In General.--The Secretary may establish an annual 
     employee award program to recognize Department employees or 
     groups of employees for significant contributions to the 
     achievement of the Department's goals and missions. If such a 
     program is established, the Secretary shall--
       ``(1) establish within such program categories of awards, 
     each with specific criteria, that emphasizes honoring 
     employees who are at the non-supervisory level;
       ``(2) publicize within the Department how any employee or 
     group of employees may be nominated for an award;
       ``(3) establish an internal review board comprised of 
     representatives from Department components, headquarters, and 
     field personnel to submit to the Secretary award 
     recommendations regarding specific employees or groups of 
     employees;
       ``(4) select recipients from the pool of nominees submitted 
     by the internal review board under paragraph (3) and convene 
     a ceremony at which employees or groups of employees receive 
     such awards from the Secretary; and
       ``(5) publicize such program within the Department.
       ``(b) Internal Review Board.--The internal review board 
     described in subsection (a)(3) shall, when carrying out its 
     function under such subsection, consult with representatives 
     from operational components and headquarters, including 
     supervisory and non-supervisory personnel, and employee labor 
     organizations that represent Department employees.
       ``(c) Rule of Construction.--Nothing in this section may be 
     construed to authorize additional funds to carry out the 
     requirements of this section or to require the Secretary to 
     provide monetary bonuses to recipients of an award under this 
     section.''.
       (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of contents in section 
     1(b) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, as amended by 
     section 3 of this Act, is further amended by inserting after 
     the item relating to section 711 the following new item:

``Sec. 712. Annual employee award program.''.

     SEC. 5. INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION AND IMPLEMENTATION PLAN.

       (a) In General.--Not later than 120 days after the date of 
     the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General of the 
     United States shall investigate whether the application in 
     the Department of Homeland Security of discipline and adverse 
     actions are administered in an equitable and consistent 
     manner that results in the same or substantially similar 
     disciplinary outcomes across the Department for misconduct by 
     a non-supervisory or supervisor employee who engaged in the 
     same or substantially similar misconduct.
       (b) Consultation.--In carrying out the investigation 
     described in subsection (a), the Comptroller General of the 
     United States shall consult with the Under Secretary for 
     Management of the Department of Homeland Security and the 
     employee engagement steering committee established pursuant 
     to subsection (b)(1) of section 711 of the Homeland Security 
     Act of 2002 (as added by section 3(a) of this Act).
       (c) Action by Under Secretary for Management.--Upon 
     completion of the investigation described in subsection (a), 
     the Under Secretary for Management of the Department of 
     Homeland Security shall review the findings and 
     recommendations of such investigation and implement a plan, 
     in consultation with the employee engagement steering 
     committee established pursuant to subsection (b)(1) of 
     section 711 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, to correct 
     any relevant deficiencies identified by the Comptroller 
     General of the United States in such investigation. The Under 
     Secretary for Management shall direct the employee engagement 
     steering committee to review such plan to inform committee 
     activities and action plans authorized under such section 
     711.

     SEC. 6. IMPACTS OF SHUTDOWN.

       Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of 
     this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall report to 
     the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of 
     Representatives and the Committee on Homeland Security and 
     Governmental Affairs of the Senate regarding the direct and 
     indirect impacts of the lapse in appropriations between 
     December 22, 2018, and January 25, 2019, on--
       (1) Department of Homeland Security human resources 
     operations;
       (2) the Department's ability to meet hiring benchmarks; and
       (3) retention, attrition, and morale of Department 
     personnel.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from 
Mississippi (Mr. Thompson) and the gentleman from Mississippi (Mr. 
Guest) each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Mississippi (Mr. Thompson).


                             General Leave

  Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent 
that all Members have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their 
remarks and to include extraneous material on this measure.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Mississippi?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as 
I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 1433, the DHS MORALE Act.
  Mr. Speaker, every day, the Department of Homeland Security's 
workforce carries out dozens of critical missions, which are as diverse 
as preventing terrorism, securing cyberspace, transportation security, 
and disaster recovery.
  These 240,000 men and women deserve to have their contributions to 
keeping the Nation secure valued by not only the American people but 
also by DHS itself. Yet, even before the President's 35-day partial 
government shutdown earlier this year, morale within DHS was a 
persistent problem. In fact, for the past 7 years, DHS has ranked dead 
last among all large Federal agencies in the Partnership for Public 
Service's annual ``Best Places to Work in the Federal Government'' 
survey.
  This is unacceptable. Senior DHS leadership, most especially the 
Secretary of Homeland Security, needs to prioritize improving morale 
within the DHS workforce. In the Obama administration, then-DHS 
Secretary Jeh Johnson began to address this operational imperative 
through a range of programs under the unity of effort umbrella. 
Unfortunately, the current administration largely abandoned those 
promising efforts.
  I have long been committed to improving conditions for the DHS 
workforce. To that end, I reintroduced H.R.

[[Page H2929]]

1433, the DHS MORALE Act, a bill that passed the House unanimously and 
received tremendous support from the labor organizations representing 
the DHS labor force.
  The DHS MORALE Act requires DHS to develop and implement policies 
related to leadership development, employee engagement, career 
progression, and employee recommendations.
  This Congress, two new provisions were added to the bill. The first 
directs the DHS Chief Human Capital Officer to analyze government-wide 
Federal workforce satisfaction or morale surveys to inform efforts to 
improve morale. The second provision requires a report to Congress on 
the impact of the recent government shutdown on DHS human resources and 
morale. Both of these measures would be a step toward fixing the 
longstanding morale problems at DHS.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge the passage of H.R. 1433, and I reserve the 
balance of my time.
  MR. GUEST. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Today, I rise in support of H.R. 1433, the DHS MORALE Act. The bill 
seeks to address an issue that has plagued the Department of Homeland 
Security since its creation: low employee morale.
  DHS has consistently reported low employee morale on the ``Federal 
Employee Viewpoint Survey'' and today remains dead last out of large 
agencies in employee satisfaction.
  These numbers are troubling. DHS must find ways to improve employee 
morale. The Department's mission is too important for these issues to 
be ignored. H.R. 1433 will address the morale problem at DHS by 
improving leadership development, workforce planning, and employee 
engagement programs.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 1433 to improve 
morale throughout DHS and its components, and I yield back the balance 
of my time.
  Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as 
I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, H.R. 1433 would help improve morale among the 
Department's 240,000 employees by creating and cataloging leadership 
development opportunities, identifying and addressing factors that 
impact employee engagement, and recognizing employee contributions.
  The DHS MORALE Act continues to have the support of the National 
Border Patrol Council, National Treasury Employees Union, and American 
Federation of Government Employees. Enactment of the bill will help DHS 
examine the root cause of the longstanding morale concerns and 
determine the best strategy to move the Department forward in a 
positive direction.
  Mr. Speaker, I ask for my colleagues' support, and I yield back the 
balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from Mississippi (Mr. Thompson) that the House suspend the 
rules and pass the bill, H.R. 1433, as amended.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the 
rules were suspended and the bill, as amended, was passed.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

                          ____________________