Report text available as:

  • TXT
  • PDF   (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip ?
115th Congress    }                                    {       Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session       }                                    {      115-967




 September 25, 2018.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed


Mr. Bishop of Utah, from the Committee on Natural Resources, submitted 
                             the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 6599]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 6599) to modify the application of temporary 
limited appointment regulations to the National Park Service, 
and for other purposes, having considered the same, report 
favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that the bill 
do pass.

                          PURPOSE OF THE BILL

    The purpose of H.R. 6599 is to modify the application of 
temporary limited appointment regulations to the National Park 


    Every year, millions of people from the United States and 
abroad visit our national parks. To protect park resources and 
to serve the public, the National Park Service (NPS) employs a 
permanent workforce and an essential temporary seasonal 
workforce. Thousands of temporary seasonal employees are hired 
every year to assist permanent staff at many NPS parks and 
offices.\1\ They have proven to be indispensable to park 
operations, and represent a variety of positions, including 
park rangers, firefighters, trail crew, fee collectors, grounds 
crew and law enforcement officers.
    \1\``Applying for a Job with the National Park Service.'' About Us. 
National Park Service website. us/how-to-
    Many NPS temporary seasonal employees will return to work 
at the same park for several summers. These employees may be 
rehired at the start of each season without reapplying for the 
same job they held the previous season. Temporary seasonal 
employees may only be rehired for the same job title at the 
same pay grade, and the reappointment is contingent upon a 
satisfactory performance review. This practice is authorized by 
the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and applies to all 
federal agencies.\2\ Agencies benefit in cost and time savings 
from the reduced recruitment, interviewing, and vetting 
workload, and temporary seasonal employees gain an element of 
certainty in their summer employment plans.
    \2\``Temporary Limited Appointments''. Title 5 CFR 316.401-402.
    Recently, the NPS's interpretation and implementation of 
the applicable federal hiring regulations have been called into 
question by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). In 
October 2016, OPM conducted a human resources audit of NPS 
workforce strategies, staffing operations, and compliance with 
laws, regulations and policies.\3\ OPM was particularly 
concerned with the perceived misuse of time-limited appointing 
authorities, including the temporary seasonal rehire authority.
    \3\US Office of Personnel Management. October 2016. `HR 
Transformation and Talent Management at the National Park Service: 
    The crux of the issue is the interpretation of the term 
``major subdivision'' in the applicable regulation found at 5 
C.F.R. 316.401. For an employee to be eligible for rehiring 
authority, the employee must not work more than six months in a 
major subdivision of an agency. OPM defines ``major 
subdivision'' as the bureau of a federal agency, e.g. the NPS. 
The NPS interpreted ``major subdivision'' as an individual park 
unit, e.g. Yellowstone National Park.\4\ NPS had been 
permitting temporary seasonal employees to work a summer season 
in one park and a winter season in a different park unit. In 
OPM's view, such an employee had worked more than six months 
and in cases where such an employee was subsequently rehired 
non-competitively, NPS had violated the federal regulation.
    \4\National Park Service Memorandum. May 15, 2018. ``Updated 
Guidance for the Determination and Use of Non-Competitive Rehire 
Eligibility for Temporary Seasonal Appointments''.
about us/upload/Updated-Guidance-Non-Competitive-Rehire.pdf.
    NPS was directed by OPM to make operational changes to 
ensure compliance with regulations that govern the hiring and 
rehiring of temporary seasonal employees.\5\ The implementation 
of the directive created confusion for NPS managers, hiring 
officials, and temporary seasonal employees expecting to return 
to their previously held positions.\6\ It also threatened the 
ability of parks to open and operate as normal for the upcoming 
season. Many temporary seasonal employees lost their ability to 
be rehired under this simplified authority and were left 
unexpectedly out of a job they had planned on.\7\
    \6\NTEU The National Treasury Employees Union. Letter from National 
President Anthony M. Reardon to the Honorable Tom McClintock, Chairman 
Subcommittee on Federal Lands and the Honorable Colleen Hanabusa, 
Ranking Member Subcommittee on Federal Lands. Dated April 16, 2018.
    \7\``Many Lose Jobs after National Park Service Changes 
Interpretation of Seasonal Work Rule''. Government Executive. April 20, 
    H.R. 6599 would authorize the NPS Director to define the 
term ``major subdivision'' in the CFR as it pertains to the 
NPS. This specific reference is in section 316.401 of subpart D 
of part 316 of title 5, CFR.\8\ The bill also states that the 
requirement that a position be in the same local commuting area 
shall not apply.
    \8\``Temporary Limited Appointments''. Title 5 CFR 316.401-402.
    Some NPS temporary seasonal employees work at multiple 
parks in a calendar year to gain the experience they will need 
to qualify for permanent positions. Others enjoy working in 
different parts of the country and prefer the flexible 
lifestyle. In either case, temporary seasonal workers are often 
the face and backbone of our parks and are critical to the 
successful operation of the NPS. H.R. 6599 gives the NPS the 
flexibility it has long enjoyed to hire the experienced 
workforce it needs to protect our parks and serve visitors from 
around the world.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 6599 was introduced on July 26, 2018, by Congressman 
Stephen Knight (R-CA). The bill was referred to the Committee 
on Natural Resources, and within the Committee to the 
Subcommittee on Federal Lands. On September 5, 2018, the 
Natural Resources Committee met to consider the bill. The 
Subcommittee was discharged by unanimous consent. No amendments 
were offered, and the bill was ordered favorably reported to 
the House of Representatives by unanimous consent.


    Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee on Natural Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.


    1. Cost of Legislation and the Congressional Budget Act. 
With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) and (3) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
sections 308(a) and 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974, the Committee has received the following estimate for the 
bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                Washington, DC, September 20, 2018.
Hon. Rob Bishop,
Chairman, Committee on Natural Resources,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 6599, a bill to 
modify the application of temporary limited appointment 
regulations to the National Park Service, and for other 
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Jacob Fabian.
                                                Keith Hall,

H.R. 6599--A bill to modify the application of temporary limited 
        appointment regulations to the National Park Service, and for 
        other purposes

    H.R. 6599 would allow the National Park Service (NPS) to 
resume its previous policy of hiring and rehiring temporary 
seasonal workers at different parks. Prior to May 2018, the NPS 
allowed temporary seasonal employees to work the winter season 
in one park and the summer season in a different park. The 
Office of Personnel Management determined that this practice 
was a violation of federal regulations and in May 2018 directed 
the NPS to make operational changes to ensure compliance with 
the regulations that govern the hiring and rehiring of 
temporary seasonal workers.
    Using information from the NPS, CBO estimates that the cost 
of implementing H.R. 6599 would not be significant.
    Enacting H.R. 6599 would not affect direct spending or 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 6599 would not increase 
net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2029.
    H.R. 6599 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Jacob Fabian. 
The estimate was reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.
    2. General Performance Goals and Objectives. As required by 
clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general performance goal or 
objective of this bill is to modify the application of 
temporary limited appointment regulations to the National Park 

                           EARMARK STATEMENT

    This bill does not contain any Congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined 
under clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 104-4

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                       COMPLIANCE WITH H. RES. 5

    Directed Rule Making. This bill does not contain any 
directed rule makings.
    Duplication of Existing Programs. This bill does not 
establish or reauthorize a program of the federal government 
known to be duplicative of another program. Such program was 
not included in any report from the Government Accountability 
Office to Congress pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139 
or identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal Domestic 
Assistance published pursuant to the Federal Program 
Information Act (Public Law 95-220, as amended by Public Law 
98-169) as relating to other programs.


    This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or 
tribal law.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    If enacted, this bill would make no changes to existing