Report text available as:

  • TXT
  • PDF   (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip ?

114th Congress    }                                     {       Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session      }                                     {      114-234

======================================================================

 
PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL (H.R. 1994) TO AMEND TITLE 38, 
UNITED STATES CODE, TO PROVIDE FOR THE REMOVAL OR DEMOTION OF EMPLOYEES 
     OF THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS BASED ON PERFORMANCE OR 
MISCONDUCT, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES, AND PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF 
 THE BILL (H.R. 3236) TO PROVIDE AN EXTENSION OF FEDERAL-AID HIGHWAY, 
   HIGHWAY SAFETY, MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY, TRANSIT, AND OTHER PROGRAMS 
 FUNDED OUT OF THE HIGHWAY TRUST FUND, TO PROVIDE RESOURCE FLEXIBILITY 
TO THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS FOR HEALTH CARE SERVICES, AND FOR 
                             OTHER PURPOSES

                                _______
                                

   July 28, 2015.--Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be 
                                printed

                                _______
                                

              Mr. Sessions, from the Committee on Rules, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                       [To accompany H. Res. 388]

    The Committee on Rules, having had under consideration 
House Resolution 388, by a record vote of 9 to 4, report the 
same to the House with the recommendation that the resolution 
be adopted.

                SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS OF THE RESOLUTION

    The resolution provides for consideration of H.R. 1994, the 
VA Accountability Act of 2015, under a structured rule. The 
resolution provides one hour of general debate equally divided 
and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the 
Committee on Veterans' Affairs. The resolution waives all 
points of order against consideration of the bill. The 
resolution makes in order as original text for the purpose of 
amendment the amendment in the nature of a substitute 
recommended by the Committee on Veterans' Affairs now printed 
in the bill and provides that it shall be considered as read. 
The resolution waives all points of order against that 
amendment in the nature of a substitute. The resolution makes 
in order only those further amendments printed in this report. 
Each such amendment may be offered only in the order printed in 
this report, may be offered only by a Member designated in this 
report, shall be considered as read, shall be debatable for the 
time specified in this report equally divided and controlled by 
the proponent and an opponent, shall not be subject to 
amendment, and shall not be subject to a demand for division of 
the question in the House or in the Committee of the Whole. The 
resolution waives all points of order against the amendments 
printed in this report. The resolution provides one motion to 
recommit with or without instructions.
    Section 2 of the resolution provides for consideration of 
H.R. 3236, the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care 
Choice Improvement Act of 2015, under a closed rule. The 
resolution provides one hour of debate equally divided among 
and controlled by the respective chairs and ranking minority 
members of the Committees on Transportation and Infrastructure, 
Ways and Means, and Veterans' Affairs. The resolution waives 
all points of order against consideration of the bill. The 
resolution provides that the bill shall be considered as read. 
The resolution waives all points of order against provisions in 
the bill. The resolution provides one motion to recommit.

                         EXPLANATION OF WAIVERS

    The waiver of all points of order against consideration of 
H.R. 1994 includes a waiver of the following:
    Clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, requiring the inclusion of 
general performance goals and objectives in the committee 
report. It is important to note that while the report to 
accompany H.R. 1994 did include a statement reflecting the 
performance goals, the statement was insufficient to comply 
with the rule.
    Clause 3(e)(1) of rule XIII (``Ramseyer''), requiring a 
committee report accompanying a bill amending or repealing 
statutes to show, by typographical device, parts of statute 
affected. The waiver is provided because the submission 
provided by the Committee on Veterans' Affairs was insufficient 
to meet the standards established by the rule in its current 
form. The Committee on Rules continues to work with the House 
Office of Legislative Counsel and committees to determine the 
steps necessary to comply with the updated rule.
    Although the resolution waives all points of order against 
the amendment in the nature of a substitute to H.R. 1994 made 
in order as original text, the Committee is not aware of any 
points of order. The waiver is prophylactic in nature.
    Although the resolution waives all points of order against 
the amendments printed in this report, the Committee is not 
aware of any points of order. The waiver is prophylactic in 
nature.
    The waiver of all points of order against consideration of 
H.R. 3236 include a waiver of clause 11 of rule XXI, 
prohibiting the consideration of a bill or joint resolution 
which has not been reported by a committee until the third 
calendar day on which such measure has been available to 
Members, Delegates, and the Resident Commissioner.
    Although the resolution waives all points of order against 
provisions in H.R. 3236, the Committee is not aware of any 
points of order. The waiver is prophylactic in nature.

                            COMMITTEE VOTES

    The results of each record vote on an amendment or motion 
to report, together with the names of those voting for and 
against, are printed below:

Rules Committee record vote No. 94

    Motion by Ms. Slaughter to amend the rule to H.R. 3236 to 
make in order and provide the appropriate waivers for amendment 
#1, offered by Rep. Fincher (TN), which reforms and 
reauthorizes the Export-Import Bank of the United States 
through September 30, 2019. Defeated: 6-7

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Majority Members                      Vote               Minority Members               Vote
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ms. Foxx........................................          Nay   Ms. Slaughter.....................          Yea
Mr. Cole........................................          Nay   Mr. McGovern......................          Yea
Mr. Woodall.....................................          Nay   Mr. Hastings of Florida...........          Yea
Mr. Burgess.....................................          Nay   Mr. Polis.........................          Yea
Mr. Stivers.....................................          Yea
Mr. Collins.....................................          Nay
Mr. Byrne.......................................          Nay
Mr. Newhouse....................................          Yea
Mr. Sessions, Chairman..........................          Nay
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rules Committee record vote No. 95

    Motion by Mr. McGovern to report open rules for H.R. 1994 
and H.R. 3236. Defeated: 4-9

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Majority Members                      Vote               Minority Members               Vote
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ms. Foxx........................................          Nay   Ms. Slaughter.....................          Yea
Mr. Cole........................................          Nay   Mr. McGovern......................          Yea
Mr. Woodall.....................................          Nay   Mr. Hastings of Florida...........          Yea
Mr. Burgess.....................................          Nay   Mr. Polis.........................          Yea
Mr. Stivers.....................................          Nay
Mr. Collins.....................................          Nay
Mr. Byrne.......................................          Nay
Mr. Newhouse....................................          Nay
Mr. Sessions, Chairman..........................          Nay
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rules Committee record vote No. 96

    Motion by Ms. Foxx to report the rule. Adopted: 9-4

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Majority Members                      Vote               Minority Members               Vote
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ms. Foxx........................................          Yea   Ms. Slaughter.....................          Nay
Mr. Cole........................................          Yea   Mr. McGovern......................          Nay
Mr. Woodall.....................................          Yea   Mr. Hastings of Florida...........          Nay
Mr. Burgess.....................................          Yea   Mr. Polis.........................          Nay
Mr. Stivers.....................................          Yea
Mr. Collins.....................................          Yea
Mr. Byrne.......................................          Yea
Mr. Newhouse....................................          Yea
Mr. Sessions, Chairman..........................          Yea
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

          SUMMARY OF THE AMENDMENTS TO H.R. 1994 MADE IN ORDER

    1. Benishek (MI), Sinema (AZ): Reforms and improves the VA 
Inspector General's ability to report on problems and problem 
employees at the VA. Requires the IG to release reports 
including employee misconduct to the public and explain what 
changes the VA has requested, requires the IG to identify a 
manager responsible for fixing an identified problem, makes it 
easier to fire an identified employee, and targets the bonuses 
of employees that fail to solve problems. (10 minutes)
    2. Takano (CA): SUBSTITUTE Provides VA Secretary the 
authority to immediately suspend without pay any employee whose 
performance or misconduct is a threat to health or safety; 
ensures back pay for whistleblowers unfairly terminated, and 
caps the payment of administrative leave to 14 days. Makes 
effective date of back pay provision October 1, 2015. (20 
minutes)

             TEXT OF AMENDMENTS TO H.R. 1994 MADE IN ORDER

1. An Amendment To Be Offered by Representative Benishek of Michigan or 
                 His Designee, Debatable for 10 Minutes

  Add at the end the following new section:

SEC. 11. ACCOUNTABILITY OF SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS TO INSPECTOR 
                    GENERAL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS.

  (a) In General.--Chapter 7 of title 38, United States Code, 
as amended by section 8, is amended by adding at the end the 
following new section:

``Sec. 727. Accountability of Secretary to Inspector General

  ``(a) Submission of Reports.--(1) At the same time as the 
Inspector General of the Department submits to the Secretary a 
covered report, the Inspector General shall submit to the 
Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and House of 
Representatives a copy of such covered report.
  ``(2) The Inspector General shall include in each covered 
report submitted under paragraph (1)--
          ``(A) an explanation of any changes to the covered 
        report recommended by the Secretary during the period 
        in which the Inspector General was preparing the 
        covered report; and
          ``(B) a list of the names of each responsible 
        manager.
  ``(3) The Inspector General may not make public the names of 
responsible managers submitted under paragraph (2)(B).
  ``(b) Performance of Responsible Managers.--(1) The Secretary 
shall--
          ``(A) promptly notify each responsible manager of a 
        covered issue by not later than seven days after the 
        date on which the Inspector General submits a covered 
        report to the Secretary;
          ``(B) direct such manager to resolve such issue; and
          ``(C) provide such manager with appropriate 
        counseling and a mitigation plan with respect to 
        resolving such issue.
  ``(2) The Secretary shall ensure that any performance review 
of a responsible manager includes an evaluation of whether the 
manager took appropriate actions during the period covered by 
the review to respond to a covered issue.
  ``(3) The Secretary may not pay to a responsible manager any 
bonus or award under chapter 45 or 53 of title 5 or any other 
bonus or award authorized under such title or this title if a 
covered issue is unresolved.
  ``(c) Role of Inspector General.--Any authority of the 
Inspector General provided under this section is in addition to 
any responsibility or authority provided to the Inspector 
General in the Inspector General Act of 1978 (5 U.S.C. App.).
  ``(d) Definitions.--In this section:
          ``(1) The term `covered issue' means, with respect to 
        a responsible manager, an issue described in a covered 
        report for which the manager is or was responsible.
          ``(2) The term `covered report' means a report by the 
        Inspector General of the Department of Veterans Affairs 
        that recommends actions to the Secretary of Veterans 
        Affairs (or other official or employee of the 
        Department) to address an issue in the Department with 
        respect to public health or safety relating to 
        misconduct, or alleged misconduct, by an employee of 
        the Department.
          ``(3) The term `responsible manager' means an 
        individual who--
                  ``(A) is an employee of the Department;
                  ``(B) is or was responsible for an issue 
                included in a covered report; and
                  ``(C) in being so responsible, is or was 
                employed in a management position, regardless 
                of whether the employee is in the competitive 
                civil service, Senior Executive Service, or 
                other type of civil service.''.
  (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the 
beginning of such chapter, as amended by section 8, is amended 
by inserting after the item relating to section 725 the 
following new item:

``727. Accountability of Secretary to Inspector General.''.
                    ____________________________________________________

2. An Amendment To Be Offered by Representative Takano of California or 
                 His Designee, Debatable for 20 Minutes

  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Fair VA Accountability Act''.

SEC. 2. SUSPENSION AND REMOVAL OF DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS 
                    EMPLOYEES FOR PERFORMANCE OR MISCONDUCT THAT IS A 
                    THREAT TO PUBLIC HEALTH OR SAFETY.

  (a) In General.--Chapter 7 of title 38, United States Code, 
is amended by adding after section 713 the following new 
section:

``Sec. 715. Employees: suspension and removal for performance or 
                    misconduct that is a threat to public health or 
                    safety

  ``(a) Suspension and Removal.--Subject to subsections (b) and 
(c), the Secretary may--
          ``(1) suspend without pay an employee of the 
        Department of Veterans Affairs if the Secretary 
        determines the performance or misconduct of the 
        employee is a clear and direct threat to public health 
        or safety; and
          ``(2) remove an employee suspended under paragraph 
        (1) when, after such investigation and review as the 
        Secretary considers necessary, the Secretary determines 
        that removal is necessary in the interests of public 
        health or safety.
  ``(b) Procedure.--An employee suspended under subsection 
(a)(1) is entitled, after suspension and before removal, to--
          ``(1) within 30 days after suspension, a written 
        statement of the specific charges against the employee, 
        which may be amended within 30 days thereafter;
          ``(2) an opportunity within 30 days thereafter, plus 
        an additional 30 days if the charges are amended, to 
        answer the charges and submit affidavits;
          ``(3) a hearing, at the request of the employee, by a 
        Department authority duly constituted for this purpose;
          ``(4) a review of the case by the Secretary, before a 
        decision adverse to the employee is made final; and
          ``(5) written statement of the decision of the 
        Secretary.
  ``(c) Relation to Other Disciplinary Rules.--The authority 
provided under this section shall be in addition to the 
authority provided under section 713 and title 5 with respect 
to disciplinary actions for performance or misconduct.
  ``(d) Back Pay for Whistleblowers.--If any employee of the 
Department of Veterans Affairs is subject to a suspension or 
removal under this section and such suspension or removal is 
determined by an appropriate authority under applicable law, 
rule, regulation, or collective bargaining agreement to be a 
prohibited personnel practice described under section 
2302(b)(8) or (9) of title 5, such employee shall receive back 
pay equal to the total amount of basic pay that such employee 
would have received during the period that the suspension and 
removal (as the case may be) was in effect, less any amounts 
earned by the employee through other employment during that 
period.
  ``(e) Definitions.--In this section, the term `employee' 
means any individual occupying a position within the Department 
of Veterans Affairs under a permanent or indefinite appointment 
and who is not serving a probationary or trial period.''.
  (b) Clerical and Conforming Amendments.--
          (1) Clerical.--The table of sections at the beginning 
        of such chapter is amended by adding after the item 
        relating to section 713 the following new item:

``715. Employees: suspension and removal for performance or misconduct 
          that is a threat to public health or safety.''.

          (2) Conforming.--Section 4303(f) of title 5, United 
        States Code, is amended--
                  (A) by striking ``or'' at the end of 
                paragraph (2);
                  (B) by striking the period at the end of 
                paragraph (3) and inserting ``, or''; and
                  (C) by adding at the end the following:
          ``(4) any suspension or removal under section 715 of 
        title 38.''.
  (c) Effective Date of Back Pay Provision.--Subsection (d) of 
section 715 of title 38, United States Code, as added by 
subsection (a), shall take effect on October 1, 2015.
  (d) Report on Suspensions and Removals.--Not later than one 
year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Inspector 
General of the Department of Veterans Affairs shall submit to 
the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the House of 
Representatives and the Senate a report on suspensions and 
removals of employees of the Department made under section 715 
of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a). 
Such report shall include, with respect to the period covered 
by the report, the following:
          (1) The number of employees who were suspended under 
        such section.
          (2) The number of employees who were removed under 
        such section.
          (3) A description of the threats to public health or 
        safety that caused such suspensions and removals.
          (4) The number of such suspensions or removals, or 
        proposed suspensions or removals, that were of 
        employees who filed a complaint regarding--
                  (A) an alleged prohibited personnel practice 
                committed by an officer or employee of the 
                Department and described in section 2302(b)(8) 
                or 2302(b)(9)(A)(i), (B), (C), or (D) of title 
                5, United States Code; or
                  (B) the safety of a patient at a medical 
                facility of the Department.
          (5) Of the number of suspensions and removals listed 
        under paragraph (4), the number that the Inspector 
        General considers to be retaliation for whistleblowing.
          (6) The number of such suspensions or removals that 
        were of an employee who was the subject of a complaint 
        made to the Department regarding the health or safety 
        of a patient at a medical facility of the Department.
          (7) Any recommendations by the Inspector General, 
        based on the information described in paragraphs (1) 
        through (6), to improve the authority to make such 
        suspensions and removals.

SEC. 3. LIMITATION ON ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE FOR EMPLOYEES WITHIN THE 
                    DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS.

  (a) In General.--Chapter 7 of title 38, United States Code, 
is further amended by adding after section 715, as added by 
section 2, the following new section:

``Sec. 717. Administrative leave limitation and report

  ``(a) Limitation Applicable to Employees Within the 
Department of Veterans Affairs.--(1) The Secretary may not 
place any covered individual on administrative leave, or any 
other type of paid non-duty status without charge to leave, for 
more than a total of 14 days during any 365-day period.
  ``(2) The Secretary may waive the limitation under paragraph 
(1) and extend the administrative leave or other paid non-duty 
status without charge to leave of a covered individual placed 
on such leave or status under paragraph (1) if the Secretary 
submits to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate 
and House of Representatives a detailed explanation of the 
reasons the individual was placed on administrative leave or 
other paid non-duty status without charge to leave and the 
reasons for the extension of such leave or status. Such 
explanation shall include the name of the covered individual, 
the location where the individual is employed, and the 
individual's job title.
  ``(3) In this subsection, the term `covered individual' means 
an employee of the Department--
          ``(A) who is subject to an investigation for purposes 
        of determining whether such individual should be 
        subject to any disciplinary action under this title or 
        title 5; or
          ``(B) against whom any disciplinary action is 
        proposed or initiated under this title or title 5.
  ``(b) Report on Administrative Leave.--(1) Not later than 30 
days after the end of each quarter of any calendar year, the 
Secretary shall submit to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs 
of the House of Representatives and the Senate a report listing 
the name of any employee of the Department (if any) who has 
been placed on administrative leave, or any other type of paid 
non-duty status, for a period longer than 7 days during such 
quarter.
  ``(2) Any report submitted under subsection (a) shall 
include, with respect to any employee listed in such report, 
the position occupied by the employee, the number of days of 
such leave, and the reason that such employee was placed on 
such leave.''.
  (b) Application.--
          (1) Administrative leave limitation.--Section 717(a) 
        of title 38, United States Code (as added by subsection 
        (a)), shall apply to any action of removal or transfer 
        under section 713 of such title or title 5, United 
        States Code, commencing on or after the date of 
        enactment of this section.
          (2) Report.--The report under section 717(b) of such 
        title (as added by subsection (a)) shall begin to apply 
        in the quarter that ends after the date that is 6 
        months after the date of enactment of this section.
  (c) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the 
beginning of such chapter 7 is amended by adding at the end the 
following new item:

``717. Administrative leave limitation and report.''.

    Amend the title so as to read: ``A bill to amend title 38, 
United States Code, to improve the authority of the Secretary 
of Veterans Affairs to suspend and remove employees of the 
Department of Veterans Affairs for performance or misconduct 
that is a threat to public health or safety.''.

                                  [all]