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115th Congress    }                                   {        Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session      }                                   {       115-262

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

 
  PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL (S. 114) 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

                                _______
                                

   July 27, 2017.--Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be 
                                printed

                                _______
                                

         Mr. Collins of Georgia, from the Committee on Rules, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                       [To accompany H. Res. 480]

    The Committee on Rules, having had under consideration 
House Resolution 480, by a nonrecord vote, 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 S. 114, the 
Department of Veterans Affairs Bonus Transparency Act, under a 
closed rule. The resolution provides one hour of 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 provides that the amendment in the nature of a 
substitute printed in this report shall be considered as 
adopted and the bill, as amended, shall be considered as read. 
The resolution waives all points of order against provisions in 
the bill, as amended. The resolution provides one motion to 
recommit with or without instructions.

                         EXPLANATION OF WAIVERS

    The waiver of all points of order against consideration of 
the bill includes a waiver of the following:
           Section 302(f) of the Congressional Budget 
        Act of 1974, which prohibits consideration of 
        legislation providing new budget authority in excess of 
        a 302(a) allocation of such authority;
           Section 311 of the Congressional Budget Act 
        of 1974, which prohibits consideration of legislation 
        that would cause the level of total new budget 
        authority for the first fiscal year to be exceeded; and
           Rule XXI, clause 10, which prohibits the 
        consideration of a bill if it has the net effect of 
        increasing mandatory spending over the five or ten year 
        period.
    Although the resolution waives all points of order against 
provisions in the bill, as amended, the Committee is not aware 
of any points of order. The waiver is prophylactic in nature.

 SUMMARY OF THE AMENDMENT IN THE NATURE OF A SUBSTITUTE CONSIDERED AS 
                                ADOPTED

    House amendment to S. 114

 TEXT OF AMENDMENT IN THE NATURE OF A SUBSTITUTE CONSIDERED AS ADOPTED

  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

  (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``VA Choice 
and Quality Employment Act of 2017''.
  (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act is 
as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

      TITLE I--APPROPRIATION OF AMOUNTS FOR VETERANS CHOICE PROGRAM

Sec. 101. Appropriation of amounts for Veterans Choice Program.

                       TITLE II--PERSONNEL MATTERS

Sec. 201. Modification to annual determination of staffing shortages in 
          Veterans Health Administration.
Sec. 202. Establishment of Department of Veterans Affairs Executive 
          Management Fellowship Program.
Sec. 203. Accountability of leaders for managing the Department of 
          Veterans Affairs.
Sec. 204. Reemployment of former employees at Department of Veterans 
          Affairs.
Sec. 205. Promotional opportunities for technical experts at Department 
          of Veterans Affairs.
Sec. 206. Employment of students and recent graduates by Department of 
          Veterans Affairs.
Sec. 207. Encouragement of transition of military medical professionals 
          into employment with Veterans Health Administration.
Sec. 208. Recruiting database at Department of Veterans Affairs.
Sec. 209. Training for human resources professionals of Veterans Health 
          Administration on recruitment and retention.
Sec. 210. Plan to hire directors of medical centers of Department of 
          Veterans Affairs.
Sec. 211. Exit surveys at Department of Veterans Affairs.
Sec. 212. Requirement that physician assistants employed by the 
          Department of Veterans Affairs receive competitive pay.
Sec. 213. Expansion of direct-hiring authority for Department of 
          Veterans Affairs in case of shortage of highly qualified 
          candidates.
Sec. 214. Comptroller General of the United States assessment of 
          succession planning at Department of Veterans Affairs.

                TITLE III--MAJOR MEDICAL FACILITY LEASES

Sec. 301. Authorization of certain major medical facility leases of the 
          Department of Veterans Affairs.
Sec. 302. Authorization of appropriations for medical facility leases.

                         TITLE IV--OTHER MATTERS

Sec. 401. Extension of reduction in amount of pension furnished by 
          Department of Veterans Affairs for certain veterans covered by 
          medicaid plans for services furnished by nursing facilities.
Sec. 402. Extension of requirement for collection of fees for housing 
          loans guaranteed by Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
Sec. 403. Extension of authority to use income information.

     TITLE I--APPROPRIATION OF AMOUNTS FOR VETERANS CHOICE PROGRAM

SEC. 101. APPROPRIATION OF AMOUNTS FOR VETERANS CHOICE PROGRAM.

  (a) In General.--There is authorized to be appropriated, and 
is appropriated, to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, out of 
any funds in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, 
$2,100,000,000 to be deposited in the Veterans Choice Fund 
under section 802 of the Veterans Access, Choice, and 
Accountability Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-146; 38 U.S.C. 1701 
note).
  (b) Availability.--The amount appropriated under subsection 
(a) shall remain available until expended.

                      TITLE II--PERSONNEL MATTERS

SEC. 201. MODIFICATION TO ANNUAL DETERMINATION OF STAFFING SHORTAGES IN 
                    VETERANS HEALTH ADMINISTRATION.

  Section 7412(a) of title 38, United States Code, is amended--
          (1) by striking ``the five occupations'' and 
        inserting ``at a minimum, the five clinical occupations 
        and the five nonclinical occupations''; and
          (2) by striking ``throughout the Department'' and 
        inserting ``with respect to each medical center of the 
        Department,''.

SEC. 202. ESTABLISHMENT OF DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS EXECUTIVE 
                    MANAGEMENT FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM.

  (a) Fellowship Program.--Chapter 7 of title 38, United States 
Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new 
subchapter:

       ``SUBCHAPTER III--EXECUTIVE MANAGEMENT FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM


``Sec. 741. Executive Management Fellowship Program

  ``(a) Fellowship Program.--There is in the Department an 
Executive Management Fellowship Program. The purpose of the 
program shall be to provide--
          ``(1) eligible employees of the Veterans Benefits 
        Administration and the Veterans Health Administration 
        with training and experience in the private sector; and
          ``(2) eligible employees of a private-sector entity 
        with training and experience in the Department of 
        Veterans Affairs.
  ``(b) Fellowship.--(1) A fellowship provided under this 
section is a 1-year fellowship during which--
          ``(A) with respect to a Department participant, the 
        participant receives training and experience at a 
        private-sector entity that is engaged in the 
        administration and delivery of health care or other 
        services similar to the benefits administered by the 
        Secretary; and
          ``(B) with respect to a private-sector participant, 
        the participant receives training and experience at the 
        Veterans Benefits Administration or the Veterans Health 
        Administration.
  ``(2) The Secretary shall enter into such agreements with 
private-sector entities as are necessary to carry out this 
section.
  ``(c) Selection of Recipients.--(1) In August of each year, 
the Secretary shall select--
          ``(A) not fewer than 18 and not more than 30 eligible 
        employees of the Veterans Benefits Administration and 
        the Veterans Health Administration to receive a 
        fellowship under this section; and
          ``(B) not fewer than 18 and not more than 30 eligible 
        employees of private-sector entities to receive a 
        fellowship under this section.
  ``(2) To the extent practicable, the Secretary shall select 
eligible employees under subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph 
(1) from among eligible employees who are veterans in a manner 
that is reflective of the demographics of the veteran 
population of the United States and that whenever practicable 
provides a preference to such employees who represent or 
service rural areas.
  ``(d) Eligible Employees.--For the purposes of this section, 
an eligible employee is--
          ``(1) with respect to an employee of the Veterans 
        Benefits Administration or the Veterans Health 
        Administration, an employee who--
                  ``(A) is compensated at a rate of basic pay 
                not less than the minimum rate of basic pay 
                payable for grade GS-14 of the General Schedule 
                and not more than either the minimum rate of 
                basic pay payable to a member of the Senior 
                Executive Service under section 5382 of title 5 
                or the minimum rate of basic pay payable 
                pursuant to chapter 74 of this title, as the 
                case may be;
                  ``(B) enters into an agreement with the 
                Secretary under subsection (e); and
                  ``(C) submits to the Secretary an application 
                containing such information and assurances as 
                the Secretary may require; and
          ``(2) with respect to an employee of a private-sector 
        entity, an employee who--
                  ``(A) is employed in a position whose duties 
                and responsibilities are commensurate with an 
                employee of the Department described in 
                paragraph (1);
                  ``(B) enters into an agreement with the 
                Secretary under subsection (e); and
                  ``(C) submits to the Secretary an application 
                containing such information and assurances as 
                the Secretary may require.
  ``(e) Agreements.--(1) An agreement between the Secretary and 
a Department participant shall be in writing, shall be signed 
by the participant, and shall include the following provisions:
          ``(A) The Secretary's agreement to provide the 
        participant with a fellowship under this section;
          ``(B) The participant's agreement--
                  ``(i) to accept the fellowship;
                  ``(ii) after completion of the fellowship, to 
                serve as a full-time employee in the Veterans 
                Benefits Administration or the Veterans Health 
                Administration for at least 2 years as 
                specified in the agreement; and
                  ``(iii) that, during the 2-year period 
                beginning on the last day of the fellowship, 
                the participant will not accept employment in 
                the same industry as the industry of the 
                private-sector entity at which the participant 
                accepts the fellowship.
          ``(C) A provision that any financial obligation of 
        the United States arising out of an agreement entered 
        into under this subchapter, and any obligation of the 
        participant which is conditioned on such agreement, is 
        contingent upon funds being appropriated.
          ``(D) A statement of the damages to which the United 
        States is entitled under this subchapter for the 
        participant's breach of the agreement.
          ``(E) Such other terms as the Secretary determines 
        are required to be included in the agreement.
  ``(2) An agreement between the Secretary and a private-sector 
participant shall be in writing, shall be signed by the 
participant, and shall include the following provisions:
          ``(A) The Secretary's agreement to provide the 
        participant with a fellowship under this section.
          ``(B) The participant's agreement to accept the 
        fellowship.
          ``(C) Such other terms as the Secretary determines 
        are required to be included in the agreement.
  ``(f) Treatment of Recipients.--(1) A Department participant 
shall be considered an employee of the Department for all 
purposes, including for purposes of receiving a salary and 
benefits, and shall remain eligible for all promotion and 
incentive programs otherwise available to such an employee.
  ``(2) A private-sector participant shall be considered an 
employee of the private-sector entity that employs the 
participant for all purposes, including for purposes of 
receiving a salary and benefits, and during the fellowship 
shall be treated as a contractor of the Department.
  ``(g) Reports.--(1) Not later than 60 days after completing a 
fellowship under this section, a recipient of the fellowship 
shall submit to the Secretary a report on the fellowship.
  ``(2) Each such report shall describe the duties of the 
recipient during the fellowship and any recommendations of the 
recipient for the application by the Secretary of industry 
processes, technologies, and best practices.
  ``(3) Not later than 7 days after receiving each such report, 
the Secretary shall submit to the Committees on Veterans' 
Affairs of the Senate and House of Representatives such report 
without change.
  ``(h) Definitions.--In this section:
          ``(1) The term `Department participant' means an 
        employee of the Veterans Benefits Administration or the 
        Veterans Health Administration who is participating in 
        the fellowship under this section.
          ``(2) The term `private-sector entity' includes an 
        entity operating under a public-private partnership.
          ``(3) The term `private-sector participant' means an 
        employee of a private-sector entity who is 
        participating in the fellowship under this section.''.
  (b) Deadline for Implementation.--Not later than 1 year after 
the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of 
Veterans Affairs shall implement the Executive Management 
Fellowship Program required under section 741 of title 38, 
United States Code, as added by subsection (a).
  (c) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the 
beginning of chapter 7 of title 38, United States Code, is 
amended by adding at the end the following new items:

        ``subchapter iii--executive management fellowship program

``741. Executive Management Fellowship Program.''.

SEC. 203. ACCOUNTABILITY OF LEADERS FOR MANAGING THE DEPARTMENT OF 
                    VETERANS AFFAIRS.

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

``Sec. 725. Annual performance plan for political appointees

  ``(a) In General.--The Secretary shall conduct an annual 
performance plan for each political appointee of the Department 
that is similar to the annual performance plan conducted for an 
employee of the Department who is appointed as a career 
appointee (as that term is defined in section 3132(a) of title 
5) within the Senior Executive Service at the Department.
  ``(b) Elements of Plan.--Each annual performance plan 
conducted under subsection (a) with respect to a political 
appointee of the Department shall include an assessment of 
whether the appointee is meeting the following goals:
          ``(1) Recruiting, selecting, and retaining well-
        qualified individuals for employment at the Department.
          ``(2) Engaging and motivating employees.
          ``(3) Training and developing employees and preparing 
        those employees for future leadership roles within the 
        Department.
          ``(4) Holding each employee of the Department that is 
        a manager accountable for addressing issues relating to 
        performance, in particular issues relating to the 
        performance of employees that report to the manager.
  ``(c) Definition of Political Appointee.--In this section, 
the term `political appointee' means an employee of the 
Department who holds--
          ``(1) a position which has been excepted from the 
        competitive service by reason of its confidential, 
        policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating 
        character; or
          ``(2) a position in the Senior Executive Service as a 
        noncareer appointee (as such term is defined in section 
        3132(a) of title 5).''.
  (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 723 the following new item:

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

SEC. 204. REEMPLOYMENT OF FORMER EMPLOYEES AT DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS 
                    AFFAIRS.

  (a) In General.--Notwithstanding sections 3309 through 3318 
of title 5, United States Code, the Secretary of Veterans 
Affairs may noncompetitively appoint a qualified former career 
or career conditional employee to any position within the 
competitive service at the Department of Veterans Affairs that 
is one grade or equivalent higher than the grade or equivalent 
of the position at the Department most recently occupied by the 
employee.
  (b) Limitation.--The Secretary may not appoint a qualified 
former employee to a position that is more than one grade (or 
equivalent) higher than the position at the Department most 
recently occupied by the employee.
  (c) Definition of Qualified Former Employee.--For purposes of 
this section, the term ``qualified former employee'' means any 
individual who--
          (1) formerly occupied any career or career 
        conditional position at the Department of Veterans 
        Affairs within 2 years before applying for reemployment 
        at the Department;
          (2) voluntarily left such position, or was subject to 
        a reduction in force, and had a satisfactory 
        performance record while occupying such position; and
          (3) since leaving such position has maintained 
        licensing requirements, related to the position, if 
        any, and gained skill, knowledge, or other factors 
        related to the position.

SEC. 205. PROMOTIONAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR TECHNICAL EXPERTS AT DEPARTMENT 
                    OF VETERANS AFFAIRS.

  Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of 
this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall establish a 
promotional track system for employees of the Department of 
Veterans Affairs that the Secretary determines are technical 
experts pursuant to regulations prescribed by the Secretary for 
purposes of carrying out this section. Such system shall--
          (1) provide any such employee the opportunity to 
        advance within the Department without being required to 
        transition to a management position; and
          (2) for purposes of achieving career advancement--
                  (A) provide for the establishment of new 
                positions within the Department; and
                  (B) notwithstanding any other provision of 
                law, provide for increases in pay for any such 
                employee.

SEC. 206. EMPLOYMENT OF STUDENTS AND RECENT GRADUATES BY DEPARTMENT OF 
                    VETERANS AFFAIRS.

  (a) In General.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall 
prescribe regulations to allow for excepted service 
appointments of students and recent graduates leading to 
conversion to career or career conditional employment of a 
student or recent graduate of a qualifying educational 
institution, as defined by the Department.
  (b) Applicability.--The conversion authority described in 
subsection (a) shall be applicable to individuals in good 
standing who--
          (1) are employed in a qualifying internship or 
        fellowship program at the Department;
          (2) are employed in the Department in a volunteer 
        capacity and performing substantive duties comparable 
        to those of individuals in internship or fellowship 
        programs and meet the required number of hours for 
        conversion;
          (3) are employed in the Department under a contract 
        or agreement with an external nonprofit organization 
        and performing substantive duties comparable to those 
        of individuals in internship or fellowship programs;
          (4) have received educational assistance under 
        chapter 33 of title 38, United States Code; or
          (5) graduated from a qualifying educational 
        institution, as defined by the Department, and have not 
        reached 30 years of age.
  (c) Uniformity.--For the purposes of paragraphs (2) and (3) 
of subsection (b), hours of work performed by an individual 
employed shall be considered equal to those performed by an 
individual employed in a qualifying internship or fellowship 
program by the Department.

SEC. 207. ENCOURAGEMENT OF TRANSITION OF MILITARY MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS 
                    INTO EMPLOYMENT WITH VETERANS HEALTH 
                    ADMINISTRATION.

  The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall establish a program 
to encourage an individual who serves in the Armed Forces with 
a military occupational specialty relating to the provision of 
health care to seek employment with the Veterans Health 
Administration when the individual has been discharged or 
released from service in the Armed Forces or is contemplating 
separating from such service.

SEC. 208. RECRUITING DATABASE AT DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS.

  (a) Establishment.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall 
establish a single database that lists--
          (1) each vacant position in the Department of 
        Veterans Affairs that the Secretary determines is 
        critical to the mission of the Department, difficult to 
        fill, or both; and
          (2) each vacant position in the Department of 
        Veterans Affairs for a mental health professional.
  (b) Qualified Applicant.--If the Secretary determines that an 
applicant for a vacant position listed in the database 
established under subsection (a) is qualified for such position 
but does not select the applicant for such position, the 
Secretary, at the election of the applicant, may consider the 
applicant for other similar vacant positions listed in the 
database for which the applicant is qualified.
  (c) Prolonged Vacancies.--If the Secretary does not fill a 
vacant position listed in the database established under 
subsection (a) after a period determined appropriate by the 
Secretary, the Secretary--
          (1) may ensure that applicants described in 
        subsection (b) are considered for such position; and
          (2) may use the database established under subsection 
        (a) to assist in filling such position.
  (d) Report.--Not later than one year after the date of the 
enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a 
report on the use and efficacy of the database established 
under subsection (a).

SEC. 209. TRAINING FOR HUMAN RESOURCES PROFESSIONALS OF VETERANS HEALTH 
                    ADMINISTRATION ON RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION.

  (a) In General.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall 
provide to human resources professionals of the Veterans Health 
Administration training on how to best recruit and retain 
employees of the Veterans Health Administration, including with 
respect to any recruitment and retention matters that are 
unique to the Veterans Health Administration pursuant to 
chapter 74 of title 38, United States Code, or other provisions 
of law.
  (b) Virtual Training.--Training provided under this section 
shall be provided virtually.
  (c) Amount of Training.--The Secretary shall ensure that each 
human resources professional of the Veterans Health 
Administration receives the training described in subsection 
(a)--
          (1) as soon as practicable after being hired by the 
        Secretary as a human resources professional; and
          (2) annually thereafter.
  (d) Certification.--The Secretary shall require that each 
human resources professional of the Veterans Health 
Administration, upon the completion of the training described 
in subsection (a), certifies that the professional received the 
training and understands the information provided by the 
training.
  (e) Annual Report.--Not less frequently than annually, the 
Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of 
the Senate and the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the House 
of Representatives a report on the training described in 
subsection (a), including the cost of providing such training 
and the number of human resources professionals who received 
such training during the year covered by the report.

SEC. 210. PLAN TO HIRE DIRECTORS OF MEDICAL CENTERS OF DEPARTMENT OF 
                    VETERANS AFFAIRS.

  (a) Plan.--Not later than 120 days after the date of the 
enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall 
develop and implement a plan to hire highly qualified directors 
for each medical center of the Department of Veterans Affairs 
that lacks a permanent director as of the date of the plan.
  (b) Priority.--The Secretary shall prioritize under the plan 
developed under subsection (a) the hiring of directors for 
medical centers that have not had a permanent director for the 
longest periods.
  (c) Matters Included.--The plan developed under subsection 
(a) shall include the following:
          (1) A deadline to hire directors of medical centers 
        of the Department as described in such subsection.
          (2) Identification of the possible impediments to 
        such hiring.
          (3) Identification of opportunities to promote and 
        train candidates from within the Department to senior 
        executive positions in the Department, including as 
        directors of medical centers.
  (d) Submittal of Plan.--Not later than 120 days after the 
date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit 
to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the 
Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the House of Representatives 
the plan developed under subsection (a).
  (e) Semiannual Reports.--Not later than 180 days after the 
date of the enactment of this Act, and not later than 180 days 
thereafter, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on 
Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Veterans' 
Affairs of the House of Representatives a report containing a 
list of each medical center of the Department that lacks a 
permanent director as of the date of the report.

SEC. 211. EXIT SURVEYS AT DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS.

  (a) Exit Surveys Required.--
          (1) In general.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs 
        shall develop and carry out a standardized exit survey 
        to be voluntarily completed by career and noncareer 
        employees and executives of the Department of Veterans 
        Affairs who voluntarily separate from the Department.
          (2) Consultation.--Such exit survey shall be 
        developed in consultation with an appropriate non-
        Department entity with experience developing such 
        surveys.
  (b) Survey Content.--The survey shall include, at a minimum, 
the following:
          (1) Reasons for leaving the Department.
          (2) Efforts made by the supervisor of the employee to 
        retain the individual.
          (3) The extent of job satisfaction and engagement 
        during the employment.
          (4) The intent of employee to either remain employed 
        within the Federal Government or to leave employment 
        with the Federal Government.
          (5) Such other matters as the Secretary determines 
        appropriate.
  (c) Anonymity of Survey Content.--The Secretary shall ensure 
that data collected under subsection (a)--
          (1) is anonymized, including through the use of a 
        location that allows for privacy;
          (2) is not directly visible by another employee; and
          (3) does not require the departing employee to input 
        any personally identifiable data.
  (d) Sharing of Survey Data.--The Secretary shall ensure that 
the results of the survey required by subsection (a) are--
          (1) aggregated at the Veterans Integrated Service 
        Network level; and
          (2) shared on an annual basis with directors and 
        managers of facilities of the Department and the 
        Veterans Integrated Service Networks.
  (e) Annual Report.--
          (1) In general.--Not later than one year after the 
        date of the enactment of this Act and not less 
        frequently than once each year thereafter, the 
        Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Veterans' 
        Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Veterans' 
        Affairs of the House of Representatives a report 
        containing the aggregate results of the exit survey 
        under subsection (a) covering the year prior to the 
        report.
          (2) Contents.--Each report submitted under paragraph 
        (1) shall include, for the period covered by the 
        report, the following:
                  (A) An analysis of the most common reasons 
                employees choose to leave the Department.
                  (B) The steps the Secretary is taking to 
                improve retention, particularly for mission-
                critical occupations.
                  (C) The demographic characteristics of 
                employees choosing to leave the Department.
                  (D) Any legislative barriers to improving 
                employee retention.
                  (E) The total number of employees who 
                voluntarily separated from the Department and 
                the number and percentage of whom took the exit 
                survey under subsection (a).

SEC. 212. REQUIREMENT THAT PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS EMPLOYED BY THE 
                    DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS RECEIVE COMPETITIVE 
                    PAY.

  Section 7451(a)(2) of title 38, United States Code, is 
amended--
          (1) by redesignating subparagraph (B) as subparagraph 
        (C);
          (2) by inserting after subparagraph (A) the following 
        new subparagraph (B):
          ``(B) Physician assistant.''; and
          (3) in subparagraph (C), as redesignated by paragraph 
        (1), by striking ``and registered nurse'' and inserting 
        ``registered nurse, and physician assistant''.

SEC. 213. EXPANSION OF DIRECT-HIRING AUTHORITY FOR DEPARTMENT OF 
                    VETERANS AFFAIRS IN CASE OF SHORTAGE OF HIGHLY 
                    QUALIFIED CANDIDATES.

  Section 3304(a)(3)(B) of title 5, United States Code, is 
amended by inserting ``(or, with respect to the Department of 
Veterans Affairs, that there exists a severe shortage of highly 
qualified candidates)'' after ``severe shortage of 
candidates''.

SEC. 214. COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES ASSESSMENT OF 
                    SUCCESSION PLANNING AT DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS 
                    AFFAIRS.

  (a) Assessment.--
          (1) In general.--The Comptroller General of the 
        United States shall assess the extent to which key 
        succession planning policies and guidance at the 
        Department of Veterans Affairs, including the Veterans 
        Health Administration, the Veterans Benefits 
        Administration, and the National Cemetery 
        Administration, are consistent with leading practices 
        for succession and workforce planning identified by 
        Comptroller General.
          (2) Additional matters.--In carrying out the 
        assessment required by paragraph (1), the Comptroller 
        General may assess such other matters as the 
        Comptroller General considers appropriate.
  (b) Report.--Not later than two years after the date of the 
enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General shall submit to 
the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the 
Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the House of Representatives 
a report on the assessment carried out under subsection (a).
  (c) Sense of Congress on Study on Compliance With Policies 
and Guidance.--It is the sense of Congress that--
          (1) the Comptroller General should conduct a study to 
        examine the extent to which a sampling of installations 
        of the Department of Veterans Affairs are complying 
        with policies and guidance of the Department, as well 
        as applicable leading practices; and
          (2) the scope and timeframe of a study conducted as 
        described in paragraph (1) may be dependent upon the 
        findings of the Comptroller General with respect to the 
        assessment carried out under subsection (a).

                TITLE III--MAJOR MEDICAL FACILITY LEASES

SEC. 301. AUTHORIZATION OF CERTAIN MAJOR MEDICAL FACILITY LEASES OF THE 
                    DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS.

  The Secretary of Veterans Affairs may carry out the following 
major medical facility leases at the locations specified and in 
an amount for each lease not to exceed the amount specified for 
such location (not including any estimated cancellation costs):
          (1) For a replacement outpatient clinic, Ann Arbor, 
        Michigan, an amount not to exceed $4,247,000.
          (2) For a new outpatient mental health clinic, 
        Birmingham, Alabama, an amount not to exceed 
        $6,649,000.
          (3) For new research space, Boston, Massachusetts, an 
        amount not to exceed $6,224,000.
          (4) For a replacement research space, Charleston, 
        South Carolina, an amount not to exceed $7,274,000.
          (5) For a replacement outpatient clinic, Corpus 
        Christi, Texas, an amount not to exceed $6,556,000.
          (6) For a replacement outpatient clinic, Daytona 
        Beach, Florida, an amount not to exceed $12,198,000.
          (7) For a replacement Chief Business Office Purchased 
        Care office space, Denver, Colorado, an amount not to 
        exceed $14,784,000.
          (8) For a replacement outpatient clinic, 
        Fredericksburg, Virginia, an amount not to exceed 
        $45,015,000.
          (9) For a new outpatient clinic, Gainesville, 
        Florida, an amount not to exceed $7,891,000.
          (10) For an outpatient mental health clinic, 
        Gainesville, Florida, an amount not to exceed 
        $4,320,000.
          (11) For a replacement outpatient clinic, Hampton 
        Roads, Virginia, an amount not to exceed $18,141,000.
          (12) For a replacement outpatient clinic, 
        Indianapolis, Indiana, an amount not to exceed 
        $7,876,000.
          (13) For a replacement outpatient clinic, 
        Jacksonville, Florida, an amount not to exceed 
        $18,623,000.
          (14) For a replacement outpatient clinic, Missoula, 
        Montana, an amount not to exceed $6,942,000.
          (15) For a replacement outpatient mental health 
        clinic, Northern Colorado, Colorado, an amount not to 
        exceed $8,904,000.
          (16) For a replacement outpatient clinic, Ocala, 
        Florida, an amount not to exceed $5,026,000.
          (17) For a new outpatient clinic, Oxnard, California, 
        an amount not to exceed $5,274,000.
          (18) For a new outpatient clinic, Pike County, 
        Georgia, an amount not to exceed $5,565,000.
          (19) For a new outpatient clinic, Pittsburgh, 
        Pennsylvania, an amount not to exceed $6,247,000.
          (20) For a replacement outpatient clinic, Portland, 
        Maine, an amount not to exceed $6,808,000.
          (21) For a replacement outpatient clinic, Raleigh, 
        North Carolina, an amount not to exceed $21,870,000.
          (22) For a replacement outpatient clinic, phase II, 
        Rochester, New York, an amount not to exceed 
        $3,645,000.
          (23) For a replacement research space, San Diego, 
        California, an amount not to exceed $4,852,000.
          (24) For a new outpatient clinic, Santa Rosa, 
        California, an amount not to exceed $6,922,000.
          (25) For a replacement mental health clinic, Tampa, 
        Florida, an amount not to exceed $13,387,000.
          (26) For a replacement outpatient clinic, Lakeland, 
        Tampa, Florida, an amount not to exceed $10,760,000.
          (27) For a replacement outpatient clinic, Terre 
        Haute, Indiana, an amount not to exceed $4,102,000.
          (28) For a replacement outpatient clinic, Rapid City, 
        South Dakota, an amount not to exceed $4,532,000.

SEC. 302. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS FOR MEDICAL FACILITY LEASES.

  There is authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary of 
Veterans Affairs for fiscal year 2018 or the year in which 
funds are appropriated for the Medical Facilities account 
$274,634,000 for the major medical facility leases authorized 
in section 301.

                        TITLE IV--OTHER MATTERS

SEC. 401. EXTENSION OF REDUCTION IN AMOUNT OF PENSION FURNISHED BY 
                    DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS FOR CERTAIN VETERANS 
                    COVERED BY MEDICAID PLANS FOR SERVICES FURNISHED BY 
                    NURSING FACILITIES.

  Section 5503(d)(7) of title 38, United States Code, is 
amended by striking ``September 30, 2024'' and inserting 
``September 30, 2027''.

SEC. 402. EXTENSION OF REQUIREMENT FOR COLLECTION OF FEES FOR HOUSING 
                    LOANS GUARANTEED BY SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS.

  Section 3729(b)(2) of title 38, United States Code, is 
amended--
          (1) in subparagraph (A)--
                  (A) in clause (iii), by striking ``September 
                30, 2024'' and inserting ``September 30, 
                2027''; and
                  (B) in clause (iv), by striking ``September 
                30, 2024'' and inserting ``September 30, 
                2027'';
          (2) in subparagraph (B)--
                  (A) in clause (i), by striking ``September 
                30, 2024'' and inserting ``September 30, 
                2027''; and
                  (B) in clause (ii), by striking ``September 
                30, 2024'' and inserting ``September 30, 
                2027'';
          (3) in subparagraph (C)--
                  (A) in clause (i), by striking ``September 
                30, 2024'' and inserting ``September 30, 
                2027''; and
                  (B) in clause (ii), by striking ``September 
                30, 2024'' and inserting ``September 30, 
                2027''; and
          (4) in subparagraph (D)--
                  (A) in clause (i), by striking ``September 
                30, 2024'' and inserting ``September 30, 
                2027''; and
                  (B) in clause (ii), by striking ``September 
                30, 2024'' and inserting ``September 30, 
                2027''.

SEC. 403. EXTENSION OF AUTHORITY TO USE INCOME INFORMATION.

  Section 5317(g) of title 38, United States Code, is amended 
by striking ``September 30, 2024'' and inserting ``September 
30, 2027''.

  Amend the title so as to read: ``A bill to authorize 
appropriations and to appropriate amounts for the Veterans 
Choice Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs, to 
improve hiring authorities of the Department, to authorize 
major medical facility leases, and for other purposes.''.

                                  [all]