H.R. 280, To authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to recoup bonuses and awards paid to employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs, as amended

H.R. 280

To authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to recoup bonuses and awards paid to employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs, as amended

Date
March 2, 2015 (114th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
David Smentek

Floor Situation

On Monday, March 2, 2015, the House will consider H.R. 280, a bill to authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to recoup bonuses and awards paid to employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs, as amended  , under a suspension of the rules.  H.R. 280 was introduced on January 12, 2015 by Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL), Chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and referred to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, which ordered the bill reported, as amended, by voice vote.

Bill Summary

H.R. 280 allows the Secretary of Veterans Affairs the authority to rescind all or part of the amount of any award or bonus paid to an employee of the VA.  The bill requires that notice be given to the employee of the repayment, and that the employee is afforded the opportunity to a hearing by a third-party department or agency of the Federal Government prior to the recoupment.  This authority would apply to any award or bonus paid by the VA before, on, or after the date of enactment of this act.

Background

“According to the VA, in fiscal year 2013, the Department issued a total of $2,827,377 in performance awards to 304 SES and title 38 equivalent employees.  Many of these 304 individuals were the senior managers overlooking or worse, fostering, mismanagement and negligence at VA medical facilities and aspects of the disability claims backlog in Regional Offices.”[1]

“Following the conflicting statements made by VA employees as to whether the VA Secretary had the authority to rescind a performance award, Chairman Jeff Miller sent then-Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson a letter on July 15, 2014 explicitly inquiring whether VA has the authority to rescind a bonus already issued to an employee. The Secretary replied via letter on August 19, 2014 that, ‘the Department does not have the authority to rescind performance awards issued in accordance with policies and paid to SES employees for performance ratings that are final.’’’[2]  H.R. 280 specifically provides such authority to the Secretary of the VA.

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[1] See House Report 113-672, at 5.
[2] See Id. at 5.

Cost

A formal CBO cost estimate is currently unavailable, but an informal estimate from CBO found that any cost associated with the bill would be insignificant.

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.