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115th Congress  }                                     {        Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session    }                                     {       115-249

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



 
         DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS BONUS TRANSPARENCY ACT

                                _______
                                

 July 24, 2017.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

    Mr. Roe of Tennessee, from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 1690]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Veterans' Affairs, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 1690) to amend title 38, United States Code, to 
require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to submit an annual 
report regarding performance awards and bonuses awarded to 
certain high-level employees of the Department of Veterans 
Affairs, having considered the same, report favorably thereon 
with an amendment and recommend that the bill as amended do 
pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Amendment........................................................     2
Purpose and Summary..............................................     2
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     2
Hearings.........................................................     3
Subcommittee Consideration.......................................     4
Committee Consideration..........................................     4
Committee Votes..................................................     4
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     4
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............     4
Earmarks and Tax and Tariff Benefits.............................     4
Committee Cost Estimate..........................................     4
Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Estimate........     5
Federal Mandates Statement.......................................     5
Advisory Committee Statement.....................................     6
Constitutional Authority Statement...............................     6
Applicability to Legislative Branch..............................     6
Statement on Duplication of Federal Programs.....................     6
Disclosure of Directed Rulemaking................................     6
Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation...................     6
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............     7

    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Department of Veterans Affairs Bonus 
Transparency Act''.

SEC. 2. ANNUAL REPORT ON PERFORMANCE AWARDS AND BONUSES AWARDED TO 
                    CERTAIN HIGH-LEVEL EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF 
                    VETERANS AFFAIRS.

  (a) In General.--Chapter 7 of title 38, United States Code, is 
amended by inserting after section 717 the following new section:

``Sec. 718. Annual report on performance awards and bonuses awarded to 
                    certain high-level employees

  ``(a) In General.--Not later than 120 days after the end of each 
fiscal year, the Secretary shall submit to the appropriate committees 
of Congress a report that contains, for the most recent fiscal year 
ending before the submittal of the report, a description of the 
performance awards and bonuses awarded to Regional Office Directors of 
the Department, Directors of Medical Centers of the Department, 
Directors of Veterans Integrated Service Networks, and any other 
individual employed in a senior executive position.
  ``(b) Elements.--Each report submitted under subsection (a) shall 
include the following with respect to each performance award or bonus 
awarded to an individual described in such subsection:
          ``(1) The amount of each award or bonus.
          ``(2) The job title of the individual awarded the award or 
        bonus.
          ``(3) The location where the individual awarded the award or 
        bonus works.
  ``(c)Definitions.--In this section:
          ``(1) The term `appropriate committees of Congress' means--
                  ``(A) the Committee on Veterans' Affairs and the 
                Committee on Appropriations of the Senate; and
                  ``(B) the Committee on Veterans' Affairs and the 
                Committee on Appropriations of the House of 
                Representatives.
          ``(2) The term `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) or section 7401(1) of this title.
          ``(3) The term `senior executive position' means--
                  ``(A) with respect to a career appointee (as that 
                term is defined in section 3132(a)(4) of title 5), a 
                Senior Executive Service position (as such term is 
                defined in section 3132(a)(2) of title 5); and
                  ``(B) with respect to an individual appointed under 
                section 7306(a) or section 7401(1) of this title, an 
                administrative or executive position.''.
  (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the beginning of 
chapter 7 of such title is amended by inserting after the item relating 
to section 717 the following new item:

``718. Annual report on performance awards and bonuses awarded to 
certain high-level employees.''.

                          Purpose and Summary

    H.R. 1690, ``The Department of Veterans Affairs Bonus 
Transparency Act,'' was introduced Representative Claudia 
Tenney of New York on March 22, 2017. H.R. 1690, as amended, 
would require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to submit 
an annual report to specified committees of Congress on the 
performance awards and bonuses presented to Senior Executive 
Service (SES) employees.

                  Background and Need for Legislation


Section 1. Short title

    This section would cite the short title of this bill to be 
the ``Department of Veterans Affairs Bonus Transparency Act''.

Section 2. Annual report on performance awards and bonuses awarded to 
        certain high-level employees of the Department of Veterans 
        Affairs

    For several years there has been an increased focus on the 
performance awards and bonuses provided to SES employees at VA. 
While the Committee believes that such awards should certainly 
be given to top performers, there have been several instances 
in the past several years where awards have been given to 
members of the SES who have clearly not performed to the level 
that would merit a performance award. The Committee believes 
that the American people deserve a level of transparency on 
such bonuses that in some cases have topped $30,000. While the 
Committee has received copies of performance reviews and awards 
in the past, VA has only provided this information after a long 
and protracted delay of several months.
    This section, therefore, would require VA, within 120 days 
after the end of each fiscal year, to provide to the U.S. House 
and Senate Committees on Veterans' Affairs and the U.S. House 
and Senate Committees on Appropriations a report summarizing 
the performance reviews and bonuses provided to VA Regional 
Office Directors, VA Medical Centers Directors, Veterans 
Integrated Service Network Directors, and any other individual 
employed in a SES position. The Committee believes such a 
requirement will bring needed transparency to the SES bonus 
process while not stifling the award of performance awards to 
top performers.

                                Hearings

    On June, 29 2017, the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity 
held a legislative hearing on several bills pending before the 
Subcommittee including H.R. 1690. The following witnesses 
testified:

          The Honorable Elise Stefanik, U.S. House of 
        Representatives, 21st district of New York; The 
        Honorable Robert Wittman, U.S House of Representatives, 
        1st district of Virginia; The Honorable Claudia Tenney, 
        U.S. House of Representatives, 22nd district of New 
        York; The Honorable David Cicilline, U.S. House of 
        Representatives, 1st district of Rhode Island; The 
        Honorable Scott Taylor, U.S. House of Representatives, 
        2nd district of Virginia; Mr. Curtis L. Coy, Deputy 
        Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity, Veterans 
        Benefits Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans 
        Affairs, who was accompanied by Ms. Tia Butler, 
        Executive Director, Corporate Senior Executive 
        Management Office, Human Resources and Administration, 
        U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Mr. Jeffrey 
        London, Director, Loan Guaranty Service, Veterans 
        Benefits Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans 
        Affairs; Maj. Gen. Jeffrey E. Phillips, USAR (Ret.), 
        Executive Director, Reserve Officers Association; and 
        Mr. Gabriel Stultz, Legislative Counsel, Paralyzed 
        Veterans of America.
          The following organizations submitted statements for 
        the record: U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Chamber 
        of Commerce.

                       Subcommittee Consideration

    On July 12, 2017 the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity 
met in an open markup session, a quorum being present, and 
ordered H.R. 1690, as amended, favorably forwarded to the full 
Committee by voice vote. During consideration of the bill, the 
following amendment was considered:

          An amendment offered by Ranking Member Beto O'Rourke 
        of Texas that would change the time after the end of 
        the fiscal year that VA would have to report on 
        performance awards from 30 days to 120 days. The 
        amendment was agreed to by voice vote.

    A motion by Ranking Member Beto O'Rourke of Texas to 
forward H.R. 1690, as amended, favorably to the full Committee 
was agreed to by voice vote.

                        Committee Consideration

    On July 19, 2017, the full Committee met in open markup 
session, a quorum being present, and ordered H.R. 1690, as 
amended, be reported favorably to the House of Representatives 
by voice vote.

                            Committee Votes

    In compliance with clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, no recorded votes were taken on 
amendments or in connection with ordering H.R. 1690, as 
amended, reported to the House.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII and clause 
(2)(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives, the Committee's oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the descriptive portions of 
this report.

         Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives

    In accordance with clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee's performance 
goals and objectives of H.R. 1690, as amended, are to provide 
improve transparency of bonuses provided to members of the SES 
at VA.

                  Earmarks and Tax and Tariff Benefits

    H.R. 1690, as amended, does not contain any Congressional 
earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as 
defined in clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives.

                        Committee Cost Estimate

    The Committee adopts as its own the cost estimate on H.R. 
1690, as amended, prepared by the Director of the Congressional 
Budget Office pursuant to section 402 of the Congressional 
Budget Act of 1974.

     Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the following is the cost estimate 
for H.R. 1690, as amended, provided by the Congressional Budget 
Office pursuant to section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act 
of 1974:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, July 21, 2017.
Hon. Phil Roe, M.D.,
Chairman, Committee on Veterans' Affairs,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 1690, the 
Department of Veterans Affairs Bonus Transparency Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Dwayne M. 
Wright.
            Sincerely,
                                             Mark P. Hadley
                                        (For Keith Hall, Director).
    Enclosure.

H.R. 1690--Department of Veterans Affairs Bonus Transparency Act

    H.R. 1690 would require the Department of Veterans Affairs 
(VA) to submit annual reports to the Congress detailing 
information on performance awards and bonuses paid to certain 
high-level executives of the agency, including Regional Office 
Directors, Directors of Medical Centers, Directors of Veterans 
Integrated Service Networks, and all other senior executive 
positions (that is, the Senior Executive Service and other 
administrators or executive positions). VA would be required to 
provide the amount of each award as well as the job title and 
work location of the person receiving such an award.
    On the basis of information from VA regarding reports of a 
similar nature, CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 1690 would 
cost less than $500,000 over the 2017-2022 period, subject to 
the availability of appropriated funds.
    Enacting H.R. 1690 would not affect direct spending or 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 1690 would not increase 
net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    H.R. 1690 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 Dwayne M. 
Wright. The estimate was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, 
Deputy Assistant Director of Budget Analysis.

                       Federal Mandates Statement

    The Committee adopts as its own the estimate of Federal 
mandates regarding H.R. 1690, as amended, prepared by the 
Director of the Congressional Budget Office pursuant to section 
423 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.

                      Advisory Committee Statement

    No advisory committees within the meaning of section 5(b) 
of the Federal Advisory Committee Act would be created by H.R. 
1690, as amended.

                   Constitutional Authority Statement

    Pursuant to Article I, section 8 of the United States 
Constitution, H.R. 1690, as amended, is authorized by Congress' 
power to ``provide for the common Defense and general Welfare 
of the United States.''

                  Applicability to Legislative Branch

    The Committee finds that H.R. 1690, as amended, does not 
relate to the terms and conditions of employment or access to 
public services or accommodations within the meaning of section 
102(b)(3) of the Congressional Accountability Act.

              Statement on Duplication of Federal Programs

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(5) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee finds that no provision 
of H.R. 1690, as amended, establishes or reauthorizes a program 
of the Federal Government known to be duplicative of another 
Federal program, a program that was included in any report from 
the Government Accountability Office to Congress pursuant to 
section 21 of Public Law 111-139, or a program related to a 
program identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal 
Domestic Assistance.

                   Disclosure of Directed Rulemaking

    Pursuant to section 3(i) of H. Res. 5, 115th Cong. (2017), 
H.R. 1690, as amended, would not prescribe the Secretary to 
create any new regulations.

             Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation


Section 1. Short title

    This section cites the short title of this bill to be, 
``Department of Veterans Affairs Bonus Transparency Act.''

Section 2. Annual report on performance awards and bonuses awarded to 
        certain high-level employees of the Department of Veterans 
        Affairs

    This section would amend chapter 7 of title 38, U.S.C. to 
create the following new section: ``Sec. 718. Annual report on 
performance awards and bonuses awarded to certain high-level 
employees''.
    Subsection (a) of the new section 718 would require that 
the Secretary of VA, within 120 days of the end of each fiscal 
year, to provide a report to the appropriate committees of 
Congress on the performance awards and bonuses provided to 
members of the SES.
    Subsection (b) of the new section 718 would require the 
report required by subsection (a) to include information 
regarding: (1) the amount of the bonus provided, (2) the job 
title of the individual awarded such a bonus, (3) and the 
location of the employee who received such an award.
    Subsection (c) of the new section 718 would define certain 
terms used in this section. Subsection (c)(1) defines 
appropriate committees as the House and Senate Committee on 
Veterans' Affairs and the House and Senate Committees on 
Appropriations. Subsection (c)(2) defines the term 
``individual'' to mean any career employees as defined by 
section 3132(a)(4) of title 5, U.S.C. or someone who was 
appointed under section 7306(a) or section 7401(a) of title 38, 
U.S.C. Subsection (c)(3) defines the term ``senior executive 
position'' as defined by the definition of a career employee by 
section 3132(a)(4) of title 5, U.S.C. The term ``senior 
executive'' defined by section 3132(a)(2) of title 5, U.S.C. 
For ``individuals appointed under title 38 U.S.C.'' the term is 
defined by section 7306(a) or 7401(a) of title 38 U.S.C.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic, existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (new matter is 
printed in italic and existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

                      TITLE 38, UNITED STATES CODE




           *       *       *       *       *       *       *
PART I--GENERAL PROVISIONS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                          CHAPTER 7--EMPLOYEES


                 SUBCHAPTER I--GENERAL EMPLOYEE MATTERS

Sec.
701. Placement of employees in military installations.
     * * * * * * *
718. Annual report on performance awards and bonuses awarded to certain 
          high-level employees.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SUBCHAPTER I--GENERAL EMPLOYEE MATTERS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 718. Annual report on performance awards and bonuses awarded to 
                    certain high-level employees

  (a) In General.--Not later than 120 days after the end of 
each fiscal year, the Secretary shall submit to the appropriate 
committees of Congress a report that contains, for the most 
recent fiscal year ending before the submittal of the report, a 
description of the performance awards and bonuses awarded to 
Regional Office Directors of the Department, Directors of 
Medical Centers of the Department, Directors of Veterans 
Integrated Service Networks, and any other individual employed 
in a senior executive position.
  (b) Elements.--Each report submitted under subsection (a) 
shall include the following with respect to each performance 
award or bonus awarded to an individual described in such 
subsection:
          (1) The amount of each award or bonus.
          (2) The job title of the individual awarded the award 
        or bonus.
          (3) The location where the individual awarded the 
        award or bonus works.
  (c) Definitions.--In this section:
          (1) The term ``appropriate committees of Congress'' 
        means--
                  (A) the Committee on Veterans' Affairs and 
                the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate; 
                and
                  (B) the Committee on Veterans' Affairs and 
                the Committee on Appropriations of the House of 
                Representatives.
          (2) The term ``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) or section 
                7401(1) of this title.
          (3) The term ``senior executive position'' means--
                  (A) with respect to a career appointee (as 
                that term is defined in section 3132(a)(4) of 
                title 5), a Senior Executive Service position 
                (as such term is defined in section 3132(a)(2) 
                of title 5); and
                  (B) with respect to an individual appointed 
                under section 7306(a) or section 7401(1) of 
                this title, an administrative or executive 
                position.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                                  [all]