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114th Congress 
 1st Session                     SENATE                          Report
                                                                114-143
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     

                                                       Calendar No. 228


                    COMPETITIVE SERVICE ACT OF 2015

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

                   COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND

                          GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                          UNITED STATES SENATE

                              to accompany

                                S. 1580

 TO ALLOW ADDITIONAL APPOINTING AUTHORITIES TO SELECT INDIVIDUALS FROM 
                    COMPETITIVE SERVICE CERTIFICATES




               September 15, 2015.--Ordered to be printed
        COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                    RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin, Chairman
JOHN McCAIN, Arizona                 THOMAS R. CARPER, Delaware
ROB PORTMAN, Ohio                    CLAIRE McCASKILL, Missouri
RAND PAUL, Kentucky                  JON TESTER, Montana
JAMES LANKFORD, Oklahoma             TAMMY BALDWIN, Wisconsin
MICHAEL B. ENZI, Wyoming             HEIDI HEITKAMP, North Dakota
KELLY AYOTTE, New Hampshire          CORY A. BOOKER, New Jersey
JONI ERNST, Iowa                     GARY C. PETERS, Michigan
BEN SASSE, Nebraska

                    Keith B. Ashdown, Staff Director
                  Christopher R. Hixon, Chief Counsel
       Patrick J. Bailey, Chief Counsel for Governmental Affairs
Gabrielle D'Adamo Singer, Deputy Chief Counsel for Governmental Affairs
              Gabrielle A. Batkin, Minority Staff Director
           John P. Kilvington, Minority Deputy Staff Director
               Mary Beth Schultz, Minority Chief Counsel
             Katherine C. Sybenga, Minority Senior Counsel
                     Laura W. Kilbride, Chief Clerk
                                                       Calendar No. 228
114th Congress
                                 SENATE
                                                                 Report
 1st Session                                                    114-143

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



 
                    COMPETITIVE SERVICE ACT OF 2015

                                _______
                                

               September 15, 2015.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Johnson, from the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
                    Affairs, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 1580]

    The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
Affairs, to which was referred the bill (S. 1580), to allow 
additional appointing authorities to select individuals from 
competitive service certificates, having considered the same, 
reports favorably thereon without amendment and recommends that 
the bill do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
  I. Purpose and Summary..............................................1
 II. Background and Need for the Legislation..........................1
III. Legislative History..............................................3
 IV. Section-by-Section Analysis......................................3
  V. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact..................................4
 VI. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................4
VII. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............5

                         I. Purpose and Summary

    The purpose of S. 1580, the Competitive Service Act of 
2015, is to allow federal agencies to share their vetted lists 
of best-qualified candidates with other agencies who are 
looking to hire for a similar position. Allowing agencies to 
share these lists and use them to hire for similar positions 
will help reduce the duplicative work that agencies are forced 
to undertake by making a new job announcement and starting the 
hiring process from scratch.

              II. Background and the Need for Legislation

    At the start of the 114th Congress, Chairman Ron Johnson 
and Ranking Member Tom Carper announced a mission statement for 
the Committee to ``identify/reduce/eliminate duplication . . . 
within government'' and ``[i]dentify opportunities to modernize 
and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of federal 
agencies.''\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee 
(HSGAC) Mission, Vision, Values & Priorities, copy on file with 
Committee Staff.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    S. 1580 addresses one such inefficiency in the federal 
hiring process. Under current law, agencies operate as separate 
and distinct entities, including with regard to agency hiring. 
For example, if an agency is hiring for a vacancy, it must 
issue a job vacancy announcement and follow the hiring process 
requirements set out in Chapter 33 of title 5, United States 
Code. These requirements include creating a certified list of 
the most qualified candidates from which the agency selects the 
person it will hire.
    If, shortly after the agency has hired an individual from 
the certified list of eligibles, another agency is also hiring 
for a similar position, the second agency may not use the 
certificate of eligibles created for the first agency by OPM. 
This is true despite the fact that there may be numerous 
qualified individuals that were not chosen by the first hiring 
agency, and thus are still available. Because agencies hiring 
for similar positions may not share their assessments of 
applicants with each other, the result is duplicative work, as 
other hiring agencies must start the application process from 
scratch.
    On May 6, 2014, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security 
and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on the Efficiency and 
Effectiveness of Federal Programs and the Federal Workforce 
held a hearing entitled ``A More Efficient and Effective 
Government: Cultivating the Federal Workforce.''\2\ Partnership 
for Public Service President and Chief Executive Officer Max 
Stier testified about the need for federal agencies to be 
authorized to share their lists of best qualified candidates 
with each other, which he referred to as a ``common-sense, 
cost-effective reform to help agencies find top talent, 
particularly for hard-to-fill positions.''\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\A More Efficient and Effective Government: Cultivating the 
Federal Workforce: Hearing before the S. Comm. on Homeland Security and 
Governmental Affairs, Sub. Comm. on the Efficiency and Effectiveness of 
Federal Programs and the Federal Workforce, 113th Cong. (2014).
    \3\Written testimony of Max Stier, President and CEO Partnership 
for Public Service, id. at 7.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    S. 1580 would streamline the hiring process for federal 
agencies by allowing agencies to share their certified list of 
eligibles, in other words, their list of best qualified 
applicants who have already undergone a competitive service 
assessment process by the agency for a similar position. Under 
S. 1580, the agency can hire an individual from the other 
agency's certified list of eligibles if they meet the following 
requirements: the original job vacancy announcement that 
resulted in the list of certified eligibles provided notice 
that the list could be used by another agency; the vacancy is 
within 240-days of the issuance of the list of certified 
eligibles; the position is in the same occupational series and 
at a similar grade as the position for which the certification 
of eligibles was issued; and the agency provides notice of the 
available position to its employees, provides up to ten 
business days for its employees to apply, and considers those 
applications. If those requirements are met, the other 
appointing authority need not make any additional posting, and 
may simply hire an individual from the list of certified 
eligibles.
    The proposal is also supported by OPM. In 2010, then-OPM 
Director John Berry sent a letter to then-House Speaker Nancy 
Pelosi outlining proposed hiring reforms, including the 
authority for agencies to share their lists of best qualified 
talent with one another and hire from that list, without having 
to post a new job announcement and start from scratch.\4\ 
Director Berry estimated that this change could result in a 
reduction of 30-90 days' worth of duplicative work performed by 
agencies that are hiring for similar positions.\5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\Letter from John Berry, Director of the Office of Personnel and 
Management to Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives 
(2010), copy on file with Committee Staff.
    \5\Id. at 1.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                        III. Legislative History

    Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced S. 1580 on June 16, 
2015, with Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Benjamin L. Cardin (D-
MD), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) as original 
cosponsors. Senators Michael B. Enzi (R-WY) and Ron Johnson (R-
WI) joined as cosponsors on June 17, 2015, and June 25, 2015, 
respectively. The bill was referred to the Committee on 
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
    Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA-11) introduced a companion to 
S. 1580, H.R. 2827, on June 18, 2015, with Rep. Robert J. 
Wittman (R-VA-1) as an original cosponsor. H.R. 2827 was 
referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government 
Reform.
    The Committee considered S. 1580 at a business meeting on 
June 24, 2015, and ordered the bill reported favorably en bloc 
by voice vote. Senators present for the vote on the bill were 
Johnson, McCain, Lankford, Ayotte, Ernst, Sasse, Carper, 
Tester, Baldwin, and Heitkamp.

        IV. Section-by-Section Analysis of the Bill, as Reported


Section 1. Short title

    Section 1 designates the short title of the bill as the 
``Competitive Service Act of 2015.''

Section 2. Additional appointing authorities for competitive service

    Section 2 of the bill amends Section 3318 and 3319 of title 
5, United States Code, to provide additional appointing 
authorities for agencies selecting individuals for competitive 
service positions.
    First, this section amends Section 3318 to allow an 
appointing authority other than the appointing authority 
requesting a certificate of eligibles (the ``other appointing 
authority'') to select an individual from that certificate 
within 240 days of issuance of the certificate provided that: 
the position within the other appointing authority is in the 
same occupational series as the position for which the 
certification of eligibles was issued and at a similar grade 
level; the announcement of the original position provided 
notice that the resulting list of eligible candidates could be 
used by another appointing authority; and the other appointing 
authority provides notice of the available position to its 
employees, up to ten business days for its employees to apply, 
and considers those applications. If those requirements are 
met, the other appointing authority need not make any 
additional posting under Section 3327.
    Second, this section amends Section 3319 to provide that an 
appointing authority requesting a certificate of eligible may 
share the certificate with another appointing authority, 
provided that: the appointing authority provided notice that 
the resulting list of eligible candidates may be used by 
another appointing authority; and the other appointing 
authority provided notice of the available position to its 
employees, up to ten business days for its employees to apply, 
and considered those applications.

                   V. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact

    Pursuant to the requirements of paragraph 11(b) of rule 
XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee has 
considered the regulatory impact of this bill and determined 
that the bill will have no regulatory impact within the meaning 
of the rules. The Committee agrees with the Congressional 
Budget Office's statement that the bill contains no 
intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would impose no costs 
on state, local, or tribal governments.

             VI. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

                                                     July 13, 2015.
Hon. Ron Johnson, Chairman,
Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 1580, the 
Competitive Service Act of 2015.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Matthew 
Pickford.
            Sincerely,
                                                        Keith Hall.
    Enclosure.

S. 1580--Competitive Service Act of 2015

    S. 1580 would amend federal law with an aim to expediting 
the federal hiring process by allowing agencies to share their 
assessments of job applicants with one another. If an agency 
has compiled a list of candidates based on a rating system to 
fill a vacancy, under this legislation the agency could share 
that information with other agencies.
    Based on information from the Office of Personnel 
Management about the number of job openings and agencies that 
would most likely use this authority, CBO expects that agencies 
would not share many assessments. CBO estimates that any 
implementation cost, or savings would be insignificant.
    Enacting S. 1580 could affect direct spending by some 
agencies (such as the Tennessee Valley Authority) because they 
are authorized to use receipts from the sale of goods, fees, 
and other collections to cover their operating costs. 
Therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. Because most of 
those agencies can make adjustments to the amounts collected, 
CBO estimates that any net changes in direct spending by those 
agencies would not be significant. Enacting the bill would not 
affect revenues.
    S. 1580 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Matthew 
Pickford. The estimate was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, 
Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

       VII. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by 
S. 1580 as reported are shown as follows (existing law proposed 
to be omitted is enclosed in brackets, new matter is printed in 
italic, and existing law in which no change is proposed is 
shown in roman):

TITLE 5--GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATION AND EMPLOYEES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


PART III--EMPLOYEES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



Subpart B--Employment and Retention

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



CHAPTER 33--EXAMINATION, SELECTION, AND PLACEMENT

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



SEC. 3318. COMPETITIVE SERVICE; SELECTION FROM CERTIFICATES

    (a) * * *
      (b) Other Appointing Authorities.--
          (1) In general.--During the 240-day period beginning 
        on the date of issuance of a certificate of eligible 
        under section 3317(a), an appointing authority other 
        than the appointing authority requesting the 
        certificate (in this subsection referred to as the 
        `other appointing authority') may select an individual 
        from that certificate in accordance with this 
        subsection for an appointment to a position that is--
                  (A) in the same occupational series as the 
                position for which the certification of 
                eligible was issued (in this subsection 
                referred to as the `original position'); and
                  (B) at a similar grade level as the original 
                position.
          (2) Applicability.--An appointing authority 
        requesting a certificate of eligible may share the 
        certificate with another appointing authority only if 
        the announcement of the original position provided 
        notice that the resulting list of eligible candidates 
        may be used by another appointing authority.
          (3) Requirements.--The selection of an individual 
        under paragraph (1)--
                  (A) shall be made in accordance with 
                subsection (a); and
                  (B) subject to paragraph (4), may be made 
                without any additional posting under section 
                3327.
          (4) Internal notice.--Before selecting an individual 
        under paragraph (1), and subject to the requirements of 
        any collective bargaining obligation of the other 
        appointing authority, the other appointing authority 
        shall--
                  (A) provide notice of the available position 
                to employees of the other appointing authority;
                  (B) provide up to 10 business days for 
                employees of the other appointing authority to 
                apply for the position; and
                  (C) review the qualifications of employees 
                submitting an application.
          (5) Collective bargaining obligations.--Nothing in 
        this subsection limits any collective bargaining 
        obligation of an agency under chapter 71.
    [(b)] (c)
          (1) If an appointing authority proposes to pass over 
        a preference eligible on a certificate in order to 
        select an individual who is not a preference eligible, 
        such authority shall file written reasons with the 
        Office for passing over the preference eligible. The 
        Office shall make the reasons presented by the 
        appointing authority part of the record of the 
        preference eligible and may require the submission of 
        more detailed information from the appointing authority 
        in support of the passing over of the preference 
        eligible. The Office shall determine the sufficiency or 
        insufficiency of the reasons submitted by the 
        appointing authority, taking into account any response 
        received from the preference eligible under paragraph 
        (2) of this subsection. When the Office has completed 
        its review of the proposed passover, it shall send its 
        findings to the appointing authority and to the 
        preference eligible. The appointing authority shall 
        comply with the findings of the Office.
          (2) In the case of a preference eligible described in 
        section 2108(3)(C) of this title who has a compensable 
        service-connected disability of 30 percent or more, the 
        appointing authority shall at the same time it notifies 
        the Office under paragraph (1) of this subsection, 
        notify the preference eligible of the proposed 
        passover, of the reasons therefor, and of his right to 
        respond to such reasons to the Office within 15 days of 
        the date of such notification. The Office shall, before 
        completing its review under paragraph (1) of this 
        subsection, require a demonstration by the appointing 
        authority that the passover notification was timely 
        sent to the preference eligible's last known address.
          (3) A preference eligible not described in paragraph 
        (2) of this subsection, or his representative, shall be 
        entitled, on request, to a copy of--
                  (A) the reasons submitted by the appointing 
                authority in support of the proposed passover, 
                and
                  (B) the findings of the Office.
          (4) In the case of a preference eligible described in 
        paragraph (2) of this subsection, the functions of the 
        Office under this subsection may not be delegated.
    [(c)] (d) When three or more names of preference eligibles 
are on a reemployment list appropriate for the position to be 
filled, a nominating or appointing authority may appoint from a 
register of eligibles established after examination only an 
individual who qualifies as a preference eligible under section 
2108(3)(C)-(G) of this title.

SEC. 3319. ALTERNATIVE RANKING AND SELECTION PROCEDURES

    (a) * * *
    (b) * * *
    [(c)
          (1) An appointing official may select any applicant 
        in the highest quality category or, if fewer than 3 
        candidates have been assigned to the highest quality 
        category, in a merged category consisting of the 
        highest and the second highest quality categories.
          (2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), the appointing 
        official may not pass over a preference-eligible in the 
        same category from which selection is made, unless the 
        requirements of section 3317(b) or 3318(b), as 
        applicable, are satisfied.]
    (c) Selection.--
          (1) In general.--An appointing official may select 
        any applicant in the highest quality category or, if 
        fewer than 3 candidates have been assigned to the 
        highest quality category, in a merged category 
        consisting of the highest and the second highest 
        quality categories.
          (2) Use by other appointing officials.--Under 
        regulations prescribed by the Office of Personnel 
        Management, appointing officials other than the 
        appointing official described in paragraph (1) (in this 
        subsection referred to as the `other appointing 
        official') may select an applicant for an appointment 
        to a position that is
                  (A) in the same occupational series as the 
                position for which the certification of 
                eligible was issued (in this subsection 
                referred to as the `original position'); and
                  (B) at a similar grade level as the original 
                position.
          (3) Applicability.--An appointing authority 
        requesting a certificate of eligible may share the 
        certificate with another appointing authority only if 
        the announcement of the original position provided 
        notice that the resulting list of eligible candidates 
        may be used by another appointing authority.
          (4) Requirements.--The selection of an individual 
        under paragraph (2)--
                  (A) shall be made in accordance with this 
                subsection; and
                  (B) subject to paragraph (5), may be made 
                without any additional posting under section 
                3327.
          (5) Internal notice.--Before selecting an individual 
        under paragraph (2), and subject to the requirements of 
        any collective bargaining obligation of the other 
        appointing authority (within the meaning given that 
        term in section 3318(b)(1), the other appointing 
        official shall--
                  (A) provide notice of the available position 
                to employees of the appointing authority 
                employing the other appointing official;
                  (B) provide up to 10 business days for 
                employees of the other appointing authority to 
                apply for the position; and
                  (C) review the qualifications of employees 
                submitting an application.
          (6) Collective bargaining obligations.--Nothing in 
        this subsection limits any collective bargaining 
        obligation of an agency under chapter 71.
          (7) Preference eligibles.--Notwithstanding paragraph 
        (1) and (2), an appointing official may not pass over a 
        preference eligible in the same category from which 
        selection is made, unless the requirements of section 
        3317(b) and 3318(c), as applicable, are satisfied.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *