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115th Congress   }                                     {         Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session     }                                     {        115-460

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



 
   TO AMEND TITLE 5, UNITED STATES CODE, TO EXTEND THE AUTHORITY TO 
 CONDUCT TELEWORK TRAVEL EXPENSES TEST PROGRAMS, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

                                _______
                                

 December 11, 2017.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

   Mr. Gowdy, from the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 4171]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to whom 
was referred the bill (H.R. 4171) to amend title 5, United 
States Code, to extend the authority to conduct telework travel 
expenses test programs, and for other purposes, having 
considered the same, report favorably thereon without amendment 
and recommend that the bill do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Committee Statement and Views....................................     2
Section-by-Section...............................................     4
Explanation of Amendments........................................     4
Committee Consideration..........................................     4
Roll Call Votes..................................................     4
Application of Law to the Legislative Branch.....................     4
Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the 
  Committee......................................................     4
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............     4
Duplication of Federal Programs..................................     4
Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings..............................     5
Federal Advisory Committee Act...................................     5
Unfunded Mandates Statement......................................     5
Earmark Identification...........................................     5
Committee Estimate...............................................     5
New Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost 
  Estimate.......................................................     5
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............     6

                     Committee Statement and Views


                          PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    H.R. 4171, to amend title 5, United States Code, to extend 
the authority to conduct telework travel expenses test 
programs, extends the authorization for a telework travel cost 
waiver program until December 31, 2020. The program expired on 
December 9, 2017.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    Congress enacted the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 to 
incentivize agencies to begin or expand telework programs.\1\ 
Telework refers to a work flexibility arrangement by which an 
employee performs his or her job from a worksite other than the 
location from which the employee would otherwise work. For 
example, a teleworking employee may be permitted to work from 
home in lieu of maintaining a physical workspace at an agency 
office.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\P.L. 111-292, 124 Stat. 3171 (Dec. 9, 2010) [hereinafter 
``Telework Enhancement Act of 2010''].
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Section 3(a) of the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 
reinstated the authority of the General Services Administration 
(GSA) to initiate travel expenses test programs at agencies.\2\ 
The Committee report on the Act stated:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\Id., Sec. 3(a), codified at 5 U.S.C. Sec. 5711(b).

          Under such a program the agency may designate and pay 
        any necessary travel expenses for an employee as an 
        alternative to any payment that is set or required 
        under the existing GSA travel regulations. . . . [A]n 
        agency may also provide an employee with the option to 
        waive any payment authorized or required by the 
        existing regulations.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\H. Comm. on Oversight and Gov't Reform, Telework Improvements 
Act of 2010 11, 111th Cong. (2010) (H. Rep. 111-474).

    By providing this alternative travel payment authority, 
agencies are incentivized to allow teleworking employees to 
work in places far removed from agency headquarters. In 
exchange for increased employee workplace flexibility, agencies 
can save on travel costs for a limited number of mandatory 
trips these teleworking employees must complete.
    The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) was 
specifically required to carry out a travel expense test 
program, because USPTO is particularly reliant on telework as a 
workforce tool.\4\ In Fiscal Year 2016, USPTO had 10,879 total 
teleworkers.\5\ These teleworkers accounted for 85.57 percent 
of the agency's workforce.\6\ Of the teleworkers, 6,053 were 
full time.\7\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\Telework Enhancement Act of 2010, supra note 1, Sec. 3(a), 
codified at 5 U.S.C. Sec. 5711(f).
    \5\U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, 2016 Telework Annual Report 5 
(2016) [hereinafter ``USPTO 2016 Telework Annual Report''].
    \6\Id.
    \7\Id., at 11.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Prior to creation of USPTO's Telework Enhancement Act Pilot 
Program (TEAPP), the agency only had two full-time telework 
programs. Employees could live and work within a 50-mile radius 
of a USPTO campus and be excused from routine reporting, or 
employees could reside beyond the 50-mile radius and return to 
USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, at least 13 times 
each year to maintain their duty station.\8\ Since TEAPP's 
creation, full-time teleworking employees may live anywhere in 
the contiguous United States and Puerto Rico without being 
required to routinely report to campus. Employees waive their 
right to reimbursement for travel expenses for a reasonable 
number of mandatory trips to USPTO. In Fiscal Year 2016, 2,317 
employees were part of TEAPP.\9\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \8\U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Telework Enhancement Act Pilot 
Program (TEAPP) 1 (2017) [hereinafter ``TEAPP Background''].
    \9\USPTO 2016 Telework Annual Report, supra note 5, at 21-22.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    USPTO reports significant benefits from TEAPP. First, USPTO 
found significant cost savings associated with the program. The 
agency estimates savings of $77.4 million in Fiscal Year 2016, 
the bulk of which comes from reduced real estate costs ($17.1 
million) and increased retention ($31.5 million).\10\ USPTO 
found the TEAPP program provided other benefits as well:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \10\TEAPP Background, supra note 8, at 2.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
           96 percent of TEAPP participants reported 
        overall job satisfaction was slightly or significantly 
        better since participating;
           75 percent of TEAPP participants reported 
        that the volume of work performed improved, while 69 
        percent reported that the quality of work performed 
        improved;
           A reduction of CO2 emissions in 
        the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region due to less 
        motor vehicle travel; and
           96 percent of TEAPP participants feel that 
        TEAPP has a positive impact on employee satisfaction, 
        and 91 percent reported the option to participate in 
        TEAPP would affect their decision to accept or not 
        accept a position in future careers.\11\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \11\USPTO 2016 Telework Annual Report, supra note 5, at 22.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    USPTO's authority to conduct TEAPP expired on December 9, 
2017. The agency requested a three-year extension of the 
program in order to absorb the travel costs of TEAPP employees 
into its budget.\12\ These travel costs are estimated at $3.5 
million for Fiscal Years 2018-2020.\13\ At the conclusion of 
this three-year period, TEAPP participants will be permitted to 
remain spread across the country, but the agency will absorb 
travel costs for their mandatory travel back to a USPTO 
facility.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \12\TEAPP Background, supra note 8, at 1.
    \13\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    On October 31, 2017, Representative Greg Gianforte (R-MT) 
introduced H.R. 4171, to amend title 5, United States Code, to 
extend the authority to conduct telework travel expenses test 
programs, with Representative Gerald Connolly (D-VA). H.R. 4171 
was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government 
Reform. The Committee considered H.R. 4171 at a business 
meeting on November 2, 2017, and ordered the bill favorably 
reported by voice vote, without amendment.

                           Section-by-Section


Section 1. Extension of Authority To Conduct Telework Travel Expenses 
        Test Programs

    Section 1 amends section 5711(g) of title 5, United States 
Code, by extending the sunset date of the telework travel 
expenses test programs from December 9, 2017 to December 31, 
2020.

                       Explanation of Amendments

    There were no amendments to H.R. 4171 offered or adopted 
during Committee consideration of the bill.

                        Committee Consideration

    On November 2, 2017, the Committee met in open session and, 
with a quorum being present, ordered the bill favorably 
reported by voice vote.

                            Roll Call Votes

    There were no roll call votes requested or conducted during 
Committee consideration of H.R. 4171.

              Application of Law to the Legislative Branch

    Section 102(b)(3) of Public Law 104-1 requires a 
description of the application of this bill to the legislative 
branch where the bill relates to the terms and conditions of 
employment or access to public services and accommodations. 
This bill amends title 5, United States Code, to extend the 
authority to conduct telework travel expenses test programs. As 
such, this bill does not relate to employment or access to 
public services and accommodations in the legislative branch.

  Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the Committee

    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 
goal or objective of this bill is to amend title 5, United 
States Code, to extend the authority to conduct telework travel 
expenses test programs.

                    Duplication of Federal Programs

    In accordance with clause 2(c)(5) of rule XIII no provision 
of this bill 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 Rule Makings

    This bill does not direct the completion of any specific 
rule makings within the meaning of section 551 of title 5, 
United States Code.

                     Federal Advisory Committee Act

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not establish 
or authorize the establishment of an advisory committee within 
the definition of Section 5(b) of the appendix to title 5, 
United States Code.

                      Unfunded Mandates Statement

    Pursuant to section 423 of the Congressional Budget and 
Impoundment Control Act (Pub. L. 113-67) the Committee has 
included a letter received from the Congressional Budget Office 
below.

                         Earmark Identification

    This bill does not include any congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in 
clause 9 of rule XXI of the House of Representatives.

                           Committee Estimate

    Pursuant to clause 3(d)(2)(B) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, the Committee includes below a 
cost estimate of the bill prepared by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office under section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

   New Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the House of 
Representatives, the cost estimate prepared by the 
Congressional Budget Office and submitted pursuant to section 
402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 is as follows:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                  Washington, DC, December 4, 2017.
Hon. Trey Gowdy,
Chairman, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 4171, a bill to 
amend title 5, United States Code, to extend the authority to 
conduct telework travel expenses test programs, and for other 
purposes.
    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,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 4171--A bill to amend title 5, United States Code, to extend the 
        authority to conduct telework travel expenses test programs, 
        and for other purposes

    H.R. 4171 would extend the authority to conduct two 
telework programs for federal workers until December 31, 2020. 
One is for the entire federal workforce and the other is 
specifically for the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). Those 
programs permit up to 10 agencies to test innovative methods of 
reimbursing telework travel expenses, though only PTO currently 
uses that authority.
    Using information from the General Services Administration 
(GSA) and PTO, CBO expects that only PTO would continue to 
actively use this authority. CBO estimates that any additional 
administrative costs to GSA under H.R. 4171 would be less than 
$500,000 annually; such spending would be subject to the 
availability of appropriated funds. However, if more agencies 
used this authority administrative costs would be greater. CBO 
also estimates that the net budgetary effect on PTO to 
implement the bill would be negligible because we expect PTO 
would adjust its fee collections to offset any change in 
operating costs, assuming that appropriation actions were 
consistent with the agency's authority to collect fees.
    H.R. 4171 could affect direct spending by agencies that are 
not funded though annual appropriations; therefore, pay-as-you-
go procedures apply. CBO estimates, however, that any net 
increase in spending by those agencies would be negligible. 
Enacting H.R. 4171 would not affect revenues.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 4171 would not increase 
net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    H.R. 4171 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
    The CBO staff contacts for this estimate are Matthew 
Pickford and Stephen Rabent. The estimate was approved by H. 
Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy Assistant Director for Budget 
Analysis.

         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, and existing law in which no 
change is proposed is shown in roman):

                      TITLE 5, UNITED STATES CODE



           *       *       *       *       *       *       *
PART III--EMPLOYEES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SUBPART D--PAY AND ALLOWANCES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 57--TRAVEL, TRANSPORTATION, AND SUBSISTENCE

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SUBCHAPTER I--TRAVEL AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES; MILEAGE ALLOWANCES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 5711. Authority for telework travel expenses test programs

  (a) Except as provided under subsection (f)(1), in this 
section, the term ``appropriate committees of Congress'' 
means--
          (1) the Committee on Homeland Security and 
        Governmental Affairs of the Senate; and
          (2) the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform 
        of the House of Representatives.
  (b)(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this 
subchapter, under a test program which the Administrator of 
General Services determines to be in the interest of the 
Government and approves, an employing agency may pay through 
the proper disbursing official any necessary travel expenses in 
lieu of any payment otherwise authorized or required under this 
subchapter for employees participating in a telework program. 
Under an approved test program, an agency may provide an 
employee with the option to waive any payment authorized or 
required under this subchapter. An agency shall include in any 
request to the Administrator for approval of such a test 
program an analysis of the expected costs and benefits and a 
set of criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of the 
program.
  (2) Any test program conducted under this section shall be 
designed to enhance cost savings or other efficiencies that 
accrue to the Government.
  (3) Under any test program, if an agency employee voluntarily 
relocates from the pre-existing duty station of that employee, 
the Administrator may authorize the employing agency to 
establish a reasonable maximum number of occasional visits to 
the pre-existing duty station before that employee is eligible 
for payment of any accrued travel expenses by that agency.
  (4) Nothing in this section is intended to limit the 
authority of any agency to conduct test programs.
  (c) The Administrator shall transmit a copy of any test 
program approved by the Administrator under this section, and 
the rationale for approval, to the appropriate committees of 
Congress at least 30 days before the effective date of the 
program.
  (d)(1) An agency authorized to conduct a test program under 
subsection (b) shall provide to the Administrator, the Telework 
Managing Officer of that agency, and the appropriate committees 
of Congress a report on the results of the program not later 
than 3 months after completion of the program.
  (2) The results in a report described under paragraph (1) may 
include--
          (A) the number of visits an employee makes to the 
        pre- existing duty station of that employee;
          (B) the travel expenses paid by the agency;
          (C) the travel expenses paid by the employee; or
          (D) any other information the agency determines 
        useful to aid the Administrator, Telework Managing 
        Officer, and Congress in understanding the test program 
        and the impact of the program.
  (e) No more than 10 test programs under this section may be 
conducted simultaneously.
  (f)(1) In this subsection, the term ``appropriate committee 
of Congress'' means--
          (A) the Committee on Homeland Security and 
        Governmental Affairs of the Senate;
          (B) the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform 
        of the House of Representatives;
          (C) the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate; and
          (D) the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of 
        Representatives.
  (2) The Patent and Trademark Office shall conduct a test 
program under this section, including the provision of reports 
in accordance with subsection (d)(1).
  (3) In conducting the program under this subsection, the 
Patent and Trademark Office may pay any travel expenses of an 
employee for travel to and from a Patent and Trademark Office 
worksite or provide an employee with the option to waive any 
payment authorized or required under this subchapter, if--
          (A) the employee is employed at a Patent and 
        Trademark Office worksite and enters into an approved 
        telework arrangement;
          (B) the employee requests to telework from a location 
        beyond the local commuting area of the Patent and 
        Trademark Office worksite; and
          (C) the Patent and Trademark Office approves the 
        requested arrangement for reasons of employee 
        convenience instead of an agency need for the employee 
        to relocate in order to perform duties specific to the 
        new location.
  (4)(A) The Patent and Trademark Office shall establish an 
oversight committee comprising an equal number of members 
representing management and labor, including representatives 
from each collective bargaining unit.
  (B) The oversight committee shall develop the operating 
procedures for the program under this subsection to--
          (i) provide for the effective and appropriate 
        functioning of the program; and
          (ii) ensure that--
                  (I) reasonable technological or other 
                alternatives to employee travel are used before 
                requiring employee travel, including 
                teleconferencing, videoconferencing or 
                internet-based technologies;
                  (II) the program is applied consistently and 
                equitably throughout the Patent and Trademark 
                Office; and
                  (III) an optimal operating standard is 
                developed and implemented for maximizing the 
                use of the telework arrangement described under 
                paragraph (2) while minimizing agency travel 
                expenses and employee travel requirements.
  (5)(A) The test program under this subsection shall be 
designed to enhance cost savings or other efficiencies that 
accrue to the Government.
  (B) The Director of the Patent and Trademark Office shall--
          (i) prepare an analysis of the expected costs and 
        benefits and a set of criteria for evaluating the 
        effectiveness of the program; and
          (ii) before the test program is implemented, submit 
        the analysis and criteria to the Administrator of 
        General Services and to the appropriate committees of 
        Congress.
  (C) With respect to an employee of the Patent and Trademark 
Office who voluntarily relocates from the pre-existing duty 
station of that employee, the operating procedures of the 
program may include a reasonable maximum number of occasional 
visits to the pre-existing duty station before that employee is 
eligible for payment of any accrued travel expenses by the 
Office.
  (g) The authority to conduct test programs under this section 
shall expire [7 years after the date of the enactment of the 
Telework Enhancement Act of 2010] on December 31, 2020.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                                  [all]