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111th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                    111-111

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



 
           VETERANS EMPLOYMENT RIGHTS REALIGNMENT ACT OF 2009

                                _______
                                

  May 14, 2009.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

  Mr. Filner, from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 1089]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Veterans' Affairs, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 1089) to amend title 38, United States Code, to 
provide for the enforcement through the Office of Special 
Counsel of the employment and unemployment rights of veterans 
and members of the Armed Forces employed by Federal executive 
agencies, and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
report favorably thereon with amendments and recommend that the 
bill as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Amendment........................................................     2
Purpose and Summary..............................................     3
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     3
Hearings.........................................................     4
Subcommittee Consideration.......................................     5
Committee Consideration..........................................     5
Committee Votes..................................................     5
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     5
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............     5
New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and Tax Expenditures     6
Earmarks and Tax and Tariff Benefits.............................     6
Committee Cost Estimate..........................................     6
Congressional Budget Office Estimate.............................     6
Federal Mandates Statement.......................................     7
Advisory Committee Statement.....................................     7
Constitutional Authority Statement...............................     7
Applicability to Legislative Branch..............................     7
Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation...................     8
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill as Reported.............     8

                               Amendment

    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 ``Veterans Employment Rights Realignment 
Act of 2009''.

SEC. 2. ENFORCEMENT THROUGH OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL OF VETERANS' 
                    EMPLOYMENT OR REEMPLOYMENT RIGHTS WITH RESPECT TO 
                    EMPLOYERS THAT ARE FEDERAL EXECUTIVE AGENCIES.

  (a) Enforcement of Rights Through Office of Special Counsel.--Section 
4322 of title 38, United States Code, is amended--
          (1) by striking subsection (a) and inserting the following 
        new subsection (a):
  ``(a)(1)(A) A person described in subparagraph (B) may file a 
complaint with the Secretary, and the Secretary shall investigate such 
complaint.
  ``(B) A person described in this subparagraph is a person who claims 
that--
          ``(i) such person is entitled under this chapter to 
        employment or reemployment rights or benefits with respect to 
        employment by an employer other than an employer that is a 
        Federal executive agency; and
          ``(ii) such employer has failed or refused, or is about to 
        fail or refuse, to comply with the provisions of this chapter.
  ``(2)(A) A person described in subparagraph (B) may file a complaint 
with the Special Counsel established by section 1211 of title 5.
  ``(B) A person described in this subparagraph is a person who claims 
that--
          ``(i) such person is entitled under this chapter to 
        employment or reemployment rights or benefits with respect to 
        employment by an employer that is a Federal executive agency; 
        and
          ``(ii)(I) such employer has failed or refused, or is about to 
        fail or refuse, to comply with the provisions of this chapter; 
        or
          ``(II) such employer or the Office of Personnel Management 
        has failed or refused, or is about to fail or refuse, to comply 
        with the provisions of this chapter.'';
          (2) by striking subsections (d) and (e) and inserting the 
        following new subsections (d) and (e):
  ``(d)(1) The Secretary shall investigate each complaint submitted 
pursuant to subsection (a)(1). If the Secretary determines as a result 
of the investigation that the action alleged in such complaint 
occurred, the Secretary shall attempt to resolve the complaint by 
making reasonable efforts to ensure that the person or entity named in 
the complaint complies with the provisions of this chapter.
  ``(2) If the efforts of the Secretary with respect to any complaint 
filed under subsection (a)(1) do not resolve the complaint, the 
Secretary shall notify the person who submitted the complaint of--
          ``(A) the results of the Secretary's investigation; and
          ``(B) the complainant's entitlement to proceed under the 
        enforcement of rights provisions provided under section 4323.
  ``(e)(1) In the case of a complaint filed under subsection (a)(2), 
the Special Counsel shall investigate the complaint. If the Special 
Counsel determines as a result of the investigation that the action 
alleged in such complaint occurred, the Special Counsel shall attempt 
to resolve the complaint by making reasonable efforts to ensure that 
the person or entity named in the complaint complies with the 
provisions of this chapter.
  ``(2) If the efforts of the Special Counsel with respect to any 
complaint filed under subsection (a)(2) do not resolve the complaint, 
the Special Counsel shall notify the person who submitted the complaint 
of--
          ``(A) the results of the investigation by the Special 
        Counsel; and
          ``(B) the complainant's entitlement to proceed under the 
        enforcement of rights provisions provided under section 
        4324.''.
  (b) Technical and Conforming Amendments.--Such title is further 
amended--
          (1) in section 4322(b), by striking ``Such complaint'' and 
        inserting ``Each complaint filed under subsection (a)'';
          (2) in section 4323(a)--
                  (A) in paragraph (1), by striking ``section 4322(e)'' 
                and inserting ``section 4322(d)(2)''; and
                  (B) in paragraph (3)(A), by striking ``section 
                4322(a)'' and inserting ``section 4322(a)(1)'';
          (3) in section 4324--
                  (A) in subsection (a)(1)--
                          (i) in the first sentence, by striking 
                        ``Secretary'' each place it appears and 
                        inserting ``Special Counsel'';
                          (ii) by striking ``section 4322(e)'' and 
                        inserting ``section 4322(e)(2)''; and
                          (iii) by striking the second sentence; and
                  (B) in subsection (b)--
                          (i) in paragraph (1)--
                                  (I) by striking ``Secretary'' and 
                                inserting ``Special Counsel''; and
                                  (II) by striking ``section 4322(a)'' 
                                and inserting ``section 4322(a)(2) of 
                                this title''; and
                          (ii) in paragraph (2)--
                                  (I) by striking ``Secretary'' and 
                                inserting ``Special Counsel''; and
                                  (II) by striking ``section 4322(e)'' 
                                and inserting ``section 4322(e)(2) of 
                                this title'';
          (4) in section 4325(c), by striking ``section 4322(d)'' and 
        inserting ``section 4322(d)(1)''; and
          (5) in section 4326--
                  (A) in subsection (a), by inserting ``or the Special 
                Counsel's'' after ``Secretary's''; and
                  (B) by striking ``Secretary'' each place it appears 
                and inserting ``Secretary or the Special Counsel''.
  (c) Conforming Repeal.--The Veterans Benefits Improvement Act of 2004 
(Public Law 108-454) is amended by striking section 204.
  (d) Effective Date.--The amendments made by this section shall apply 
with respect to complaints filed on or after the date of the enactment 
of this Act.

  Amend the title so as to read:

    A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to provide 
for the enforcement through the Office of Special Counsel of 
the employment and reemployment rights of veterans and members 
of the Armed Forces employed by Federal executive agencies, and 
for other purposes.

                          Purpose and Summary

    H.R. 1089 was introduced on March 19, 2009, by 
Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin of South Dakota, the 
Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity of the 
Committee on Veterans' Affairs. H.R. 1089, as amended, seeks to 
provide for the enforcement of Uniformed Services Employment 
and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) protections through the 
U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) of the employment and 
reemployment rights of veterans and members of the Armed Forces 
employed by Federal executive agencies.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    The OSC is an independent Federal investigative and 
prosecutorial agency that was created by Congress with the goal 
of protecting employees, former employees, and applicants for 
employment from prohibited personnel practices. The OSC has the 
duty to receive allegations of prohibited personnel practices 
and to investigate such allegations, as well as to conduct 
investigations of possible prohibited personnel practices on 
its own initiative, absent any allegation.
    On March 4, 2009, Mr. Patrick H. Boulay, Chief, USERRA 
Unit, U.S. Office of Special Counsel highlighted the avenues 
available through which to pursue allegations and complaints. 
Specifically, Mr. Boulay highlighted OSC's authority of: 
investigating prohibited personnel practice allegations and, 
where warranted, seeking corrective action on behalf of Federal 
employees and applicants and disciplinary action against 
Federal officials, including by prosecuting violations before 
the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB); receiving and 
evaluating disclosures of government wrongdoing and, where 
warranted, forwarding such disclosures to subject federal 
agencies for investigation, report, and appropriate action; 
and, providing advisory opinions, investigating complaints, and 
prosecuting violations of the Hatch Act before the MSPB.
    Mr. Boulay also emphasized that OSC employs a staff of 
attorneys, investigators, and personnel specialists who are 
experts in Federal personnel law and are trained to evaluate, 
investigate, analyze, and resolve Federal employment 
complaints. The Special Counsel, head of OSC, is nominated by 
the President and confirmed by the Senate to a five-year term.
    Pursuant to a demonstration project established by the 
Veterans Benefits Improvement Act of 2004, Public Law 108-454 
(118 Stat. 3598), OSC was given authority to investigate 
Federal-sector USERRA claims brought by persons whose social 
security number ends in an odd-numbered digit. Currently, OSC 
can represent veterans before the Merit System Protective Board 
while the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) does not.
    Under the demonstration project, OSC also received and 
investigated all Federal-sector USERRA claims containing a 
related prohibited personnel practice allegation over which OSC 
has jurisdiction regardless of the person's social security 
number. OSC administered the demonstration project, which 
initially ran from February 8, 2005, until September 30, 2007, 
and was extended to December 31, 2007.
    On February 13, 2008, the Subcommittee on Economic 
Opportunity held a hearing entitled ``Review of Expiring 
Programs.'' In the hearing, veterans service organizations 
expressed interest in continuing funding for the demonstration 
project. According to the veterans service organizations, OSC 
has done a good job handling claims and has increased the DOL's 
effectiveness by decreasing their turnaround rate for pending 
cases.
    It is imperative that we continue to improve the efficiency 
of the claims process and reduce the backlog of pending USERRA 
claims. By assigning all Federal USERRA cases to OSC, we expect 
to see a more aggressive stance on resolving the Federal cases 
that seem to present difficulty to the DOL. The Committee will 
continue to monitor the progress being made by DOL on non-
Federal USERRA cases and OSC on Federal USERRA cases.

                                Hearings

    On March 4, 2009, the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity 
held a legislative hearing on several bills introduced during 
the 111th Congress, including H.R. 1089. The following 
witnesses testified: The Honorable Steve Israel of New York; 
The Honorable Peter Welch of Vermont; The Honorable Lloyd 
Doggett of Texas; Mr. Justin Brown, Legislative Associate, 
National Legislative Service, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the 
United States; Ms. Cheryl Beversdorf, RN, MHS, MA, President 
and Chief Executive Officer, National Coalition for Homeless 
Veterans; Mr. John L. Wilson, Associate National Legislative 
Director, Disabled American Veterans; Mr. Mark Walker, 
Assistant Director, National Economic Commission, The American 
Legion; Mr. Thomas Zampieri, Ph.D., Director of Government 
Relations, Blinded Veterans of America; Mr. Patrick H. Boulay, 
Chief, USERRA Unit, U.S. Office of Special Counsel; Mr. Keith 
M. Wilson, Director, Education Service, Veterans Benefits 
Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Those 
submitting statements for the record included: Mr. John M. 
McWilliam, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Veterans' Employment and 
Training Service, U.S. Department of Labor; The Honorable 
Rodney Alexander of Louisiana; The Honorable Steve Buyer of 
Indiana; The Honorable Bob Filner of California; Mr. David 
French, Vice President, Government Relations, International 
Franchise Association; Mr. Thomas S. Whitaker, President and 
Deputy Chairman, North Carolina Employment Security Commission, 
on behalf of National Association of State Workforce Agencies; 
and the Paralyzed Veterans of America.

                       Subcommittee Consideration

    On March 19, 2009, the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity 
met in open markup session and ordered favorably forwarded to 
the full Committee H.R. 1089 by voice vote. During 
consideration of the bill the following amendment was 
considered:

          An amendment by Mrs. Kirkpatrick of Arizona to 
        replace ``unemployment'' rights with ``reemployment'' 
        rights and clarify that the U.S. Office of Special 
        Council has the same authority as the U.S. Department 
        of Labor to conduct investigations and issue subpoenas 
        when investigating USERRA complaints was agreed to by 
        voice vote.

                        Committee Consideration

    On May 6, 2009, the full Committee met in an open markup 
session, a quorum being present, and ordered H.R. 1089, as 
amended, reported favorably to the House of Representatives, by 
voice vote.

                            Committee Votes

    Clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires the Committee to list the record votes 
on the motion to report the legislation and amendments thereto. 
There were no record votes taken on amendments or in connection 
with ordering H.R. 1089 reported to the House. A motion by Mr. 
Buyer of Indiana to order H.R. 1089, as amended, reported 
favorably to the House of Representatives was agreed to by 
voice vote.

                      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 are reflected in the descriptive portions 
of this report.

   New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and Tax Expenditures

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee adopts as its 
own the estimate of new budget authority, entitlement 
authority, or tax expenditures or revenues contained in the 
cost estimate prepared by the Director of the Congressional 
Budget Office pursuant to section 402 of the Congressional 
Budget Act of 1974.

                  Earmarks and Tax and Tariff Benefits

    H.R. 1089 does not contain any congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in 
clause 9(d), 9(e), or 9(f) 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. 
1089 prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office pursuant to section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act 
of 1974.

               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. 1089 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, May 13, 2009.
Hon. Bob Filner,
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. 1089, the Veterans 
Employment Rights Realignment Act of 2009.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Matthew 
Pickford.
            Sincerely,
                                      Douglas W. Elmendorf,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 1089--Veterans Employment Rights Realignment Act of 2009

    H.R. 1089 would amend the Uniformed Services Employment and 
Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) to transfer more 
responsibility for investigating and resolving claims made 
against federal agencies under that act to the Office of 
Special Counsel (OSC). Assuming appropriation of the necessary 
amounts, CBO estimates that the OSC would spend an additional 
$14 million over the 2010-2014 period to implement its new 
responsibilities. Enacting the bill would have no effect on 
revenues or direct spending.
    USERRA protects the civilian employment rights of veterans 
by providing a claims process for individuals whose employment 
is affected by their military service. Under that act, 
employees (including those of federal agencies) who believe 
that their rights have been violated may file claims with the 
Department of Labor's (DOL's) Veterans' Employment Training 
Service (VETS). VETS then investigates and attempts to resolve 
such claims. If VETS cannot resolve a claim made by an employee 
of the federal government, the case may then be referred to the 
OSC for further action.
    Under H.R. 1089, all such claims against federal employers 
would be made directly to the OSC. Claims against all other 
entities would continue to be handled by VETS. Based on 
information provided by DOL and the OSC, CBO expects that 
handling an estimated 200 to 300 additional cases per year 
would increase the OSC's annual budget of $17 million by about 
$3 million a year and $14 million over the next five years. 
VETS has offices in each state to handle USERRA enforcement and 
claims as well as other veterans' issues, including 
investigations and mediation, briefings to educate employers 
and service members, and general armed service-related 
employment and reemployment matters. Because VETS would 
continue to handle most USERRA claims and all other issues 
related to veterans' employment, CBO expects that the transfer 
of responsibility for resolving claims against federal agencies 
to the OSC would not significantly reduce the VETS' workload at 
any of its individual offices.
    The legislation 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 Matthew 
Pickford. The estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                       Federal Mandates Statement

    The Committee adopts as its own the estimate of Federal 
mandates regarding H.R. 1089 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. 
1089.

                   Constitutional Authority Statement

    Pursuant to clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee finds that the 
Constitutional authority for H.R. 1089 is provided by Article 
I, section 8 of the Constitution of the United States.

                  Applicability to Legislative Branch

    The Committee finds that the legislation 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.

             Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation


Section 1. Short title

    This section provides the short title of H.R. 1089, as 
amended, as the ``Veterans Employment Rights Realignment Act of 
2009.''

Section 2. Enforcement through office of special counsel of veterans' 
        employment or reemployment rights with respect to employers 
        that are federal executive agencies

    This section would provide the U.S. Office of Special 
Counsel with initial jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute 
all Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act 
(USERA) complaints involving Federal executive agencies and 
provide authority for individuals to file complaints with the 
U.S. Office Special Counsel. This section would clarify that 
the U.S. Office Special Counsel has the same authority as the 
U.S. Department of Labor to conduct investigations and issue 
subpoenas when investigating USERA complaints. Finally, this 
section provides that amendments made by this section shall 
apply to complaints filed on or after the date of enactment of 
this Act.

         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):

TITLE 38, UNITED STATES CODE

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


PART III--READJUSTMENT AND RELATED BENEFITS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


   CHAPTER 43--EMPLOYMENT AND REEMPLOYMENT RIGHTS OF MEMBERS OF THE 
UNIFORMED SERVICES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


      SUBCHAPTER III--PROCEDURES FOR ASSISTANCE, ENFORCEMENT, AND 
INVESTIGATION

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 4322. Enforcement of employment or reemployment rights

  [(a) A person who claims that--
          [(1) such person is entitled under this chapter to 
        employment or reemployment rights or benefits with 
        respect to employment by an employer; and
          [(2)(A) such employer has failed or refused, or is 
        about to fail or refuse, to comply with the provisions 
        of this chapter; or
          [(B) in the case that the employer is a Federal 
        executive agency, such employer or the Office of 
        Personnel Management has failed or refused, or is about 
        to fail or refuse, to comply with the provisions of 
        this chapter,
may file a complaint with the Secretary in accordance with 
subsection (b), and the Secretary shall investigate such 
complaint.]
  (a)(1)(A) A person described in subparagraph (B) may file a 
complaint with the Secretary, and the Secretary shall 
investigate such complaint.
  (B) A person described in this subparagraph is a person who 
claims that--
          (i) such person is entitled under this chapter to 
        employment or reemployment rights or benefits with 
        respect to employment by an employer other than an 
        employer that is a Federal executive agency; and
          (ii) such employer has failed or refused, or is about 
        to fail or refuse, to comply with the provisions of 
        this chapter.
  (2)(A) A person described in subparagraph (B) may file a 
complaint with the Special Counsel established by section 1211 
of title 5.
  (B) A person described in this subparagraph is a person who 
claims that--
          (i) such person is entitled under this chapter to 
        employment or reemployment rights or benefits with 
        respect to employment by an employer that is a Federal 
        executive agency; and
          (ii)(I) such employer has failed or refused, or is 
        about to fail or refuse, to comply with the provisions 
        of this chapter; or
          (II) such employer or the Office of Personnel 
        Management has failed or refused, or is about to fail 
        or refuse, to comply with the provisions of this 
        chapter.
  (b) [Such complaint] Each complaint filed under subsection 
(a) shall be in writing, be in such form as the Secretary may 
prescribe, include the name and address of the employer against 
whom the complaint is filed, and contain a summary of the 
allegations that form the basis for the complaint.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  [(d) The Secretary shall investigate each complaint submitted 
pursuant to subsection (a). If the Secretary determines as a 
result of the investigation that the action alleged in such 
complaint occurred, the Secretary shall attempt to resolve the 
complaint by making reasonable efforts to ensure that the 
person or entity named in the complaint complies with the 
provisions of this chapter.
  [(e) If the efforts of the Secretary with respect to any 
complaint filed under subsection (a) do not resolve the 
complaint, the Secretary shall notify the person who submitted 
the complaint in writing of--
          [(1) the results of the Secretary's investigation; 
        and
          [(2) the complainant's entitlement to proceed under 
        the enforcement of rights provisions provided under 
        section 4323 (in the case of a person submitting a 
        complaint against a State or private employer) or 
        section 4324 (in the case of a person submitting a 
        complaint against a Federal executive agency or the 
        Office of Personnel Management).]
  (d)(1) The Secretary shall investigate each complaint 
submitted pursuant to subsection (a)(1). If the Secretary 
determines as a result of the investigation that the action 
alleged in such complaint occurred, the Secretary shall attempt 
to resolve the complaint by making reasonable efforts to ensure 
that the person or entity named in the complaint complies with 
the provisions of this chapter.
  (2) If the efforts of the Secretary with respect to any 
complaint filed under subsection (a)(1) do not resolve the 
complaint, the Secretary shall notify the person who submitted 
the complaint of--
          (A) the results of the Secretary's investigation; and
          (B) the complainant's entitlement to proceed under 
        the enforcement of rights provisions provided under 
        section 4323.
  (e)(1) In the case of a complaint filed under subsection 
(a)(2), the Special Counsel shall investigate the complaint. If 
the Special Counsel determines as a result of the investigation 
that the action alleged in such complaint occurred, the Special 
Counsel shall attempt to resolve the complaint by making 
reasonable efforts to ensure that the person or entity named in 
the complaint complies with the provisions of this chapter.
  (2) If the efforts of the Special Counsel with respect to any 
complaint filed under subsection (a)(2) do not resolve the 
complaint, the Special Counsel shall notify the person who 
submitted the complaint of--
          (A) the results of the investigation by the Special 
        Counsel; and
          (B) the complainant's entitlement to proceed under 
        the enforcement of rights provisions provided under 
        section 4324.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 4323. Enforcement of rights with respect to a State or private 
                    employer

  (a) Action for Relief.--(1) A person who receives from the 
Secretary a notification pursuant to [section 4322(e)] section 
4322(d)(2) of this title of an unsuccessful effort to resolve a 
complaint relating to a State (as an employer) or a private 
employer may request that the Secretary refer the complaint to 
the Attorney General. Not later than 60 days after the 
Secretary receives such a request with respect to a complaint, 
the Secretary shall refer the complaint to the Attorney 
General. If the Attorney General is reasonably satisfied that 
the person on whose behalf the complaint is referred is 
entitled to the rights or benefits sought, the Attorney General 
may appear on behalf of, and act as attorney for, the person on 
whose behalf the complaint is submitted and commence an action 
for relief under this chapter for such person. In the case of 
such an action against a State (as an employer), the action 
shall be brought in the name of the United States as the 
plaintiff in the action.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (3) A person may commence an action for relief with respect 
to a complaint against a State (as an employer) or a private 
employer if the person--
  (A) has chosen not to apply to the Secretary for assistance 
under [section 4322(a)] section 4322(a)(1) of this title;

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 4324. Enforcement of rights with respect to Federal executive 
                    agencies

  (a)(1) A person who receives from the [Secretary] Special 
Counsel a notification pursuant to [section 4322(e)] section 
4322(e)(2) may request that the [Secretary] Special Counsel 
refer the complaint for litigation before the Merit Systems 
Protection Board. [Not later than 60 days after the date the 
Secretary receives such a request, the Secretary shall refer 
the complaint to the Office of Special Counsel established by 
section 1211 of title 5.]

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (b) A person may submit a complaint against a Federal 
executive agency or the Office of Personnel Management under 
this subchapter directly to the Merit Systems Protection Board 
if that person--
          (1) has chosen not to apply to the [Secretary] 
        Special Counsel for assistance under [section 4322(a)] 
        section 4322(a)(2) of this title;
          (2) has received a notification from the [Secretary] 
        Special Counsel under [section 4322(e)] section 
        4322(e)(2) of this title;

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 4325. Enforcement of rights with respect to certain Federal 
                    agencies

  (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (c) In prescribing procedures for the investigation and 
resolution of allegations under subsection (b), the head of an 
agency shall ensure, to the maximum extent practicable, that 
the procedures are similar to the procedures for investigating 
and resolving complaints utilized by the Secretary under 
[section 4322(d)] section 4322(d)(1).

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 4326. Conduct of investigation; subpoenas

  (a) In carrying out any investigation under this chapter, the 
Secretary's or the Special Counsel's duly authorized 
representatives shall, at all reasonable times, have reasonable 
access to and the right to interview persons with information 
relevant to the investigation and shall have reasonable access 
to, for purposes of examination, and the right to copy and 
receive, any documents of any person or employer that the 
[Secretary] Secretary or the Special Counsel considers relevant 
to the investigation.
  (b) In carrying out any investigation under this chapter, the 
[Secretary] Secretary or the Special Counsel may require by 
subpoena the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the 
production of documents relating to any matter under 
investigation. In case of disobedience of the subpoena or 
contumacy and on request of the [Secretary] Secretary or the 
Special Counsel, the Attorney General may apply to any district 
court of the United States in whose jurisdiction such 
disobedience or contumacy occurs for an order enforcing the 
subpoena.
  (c) Upon application, the district courts of the United 
States shall have jurisdiction to issue writs commanding any 
person or employer to comply with the subpoena of the 
[Secretary] Secretary or the Special Counsel or to comply with 
any order of the [Secretary] Secretary or the Special Counsel 
made pursuant to a lawful investigation under this chapter and 
the district courts shall have jurisdiction to punish failure 
to obey a subpoena or other lawful order of the [Secretary] 
Secretary or the Special Counsel as a contempt of court.

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VETERANS BENEFITS IMPROVEMENT ACT OF 2004

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                      TITLE II--EMPLOYMENT MATTERS

Subtitle A--Employment and Reemployment Rights

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[SEC. 204. DEMONSTRATION PROJECT FOR REFERRAL OF USERRA CLAIMS AGAINST 
                    FEDERAL AGENCIES TO THE OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL.

  [(a) Establishment of Project.--The Secretary of Labor and 
the Office of Special Counsel shall carry out a demonstration 
project under which certain claims against Federal executive 
agencies under the Uniformed Services Employment and 
Reemployment Rights Act under chapter 43 of title 38, United 
States Code, are referred to, or otherwise received by, the 
Office of Special Counsel for assistance, including 
investigation and resolution of the claim as well as 
enforcement of rights with respect to the claim.
  [(b) Referral of All Prohibited Personnel Action Claims to 
the Office of Special Counsel.--(1) Under the demonstration 
project, the Office of Special Counsel shall receive and 
investigate all claims under the Uniformed Services Employment 
and Reemployment Rights Act with respect to Federal executive 
agencies in cases where the Office of Special Counsel has 
jurisdiction over related claims pursuant to section 1212 of 
title 5, United States Code.
  [(2) For purposes of paragraph (1), a related claim is a 
claim involving the same Federal executive agency and the same 
or similar factual allegations or legal issues as those being 
pursued under a claim under the Uniformed Services Employment 
and Reemployment Rights Act.
  [(c) Referral of Other Claims Against Federal Executive 
Agencies.--(1) Under the demonstration project, the Secretary--
          [(A) shall refer to the Office of Special Counsel all 
        claims described in paragraph (2) made during the 
        period of the demonstration project; and
          [(B) may refer any claim described in paragraph (2) 
        filed before the demonstration project that is pending 
        before the Secretary at the beginning of the 
        demonstration project.
  [(2) A claim referred to in paragraph (1) is a claim under 
chapter 43 of title 38, United States Code, against a Federal 
executive agency by a claimant with a social security account 
number with an odd number as its terminal digit, or, in the 
case of a claim that does not contain a social security account 
number, a case number assigned to the claim with an odd number 
as its terminal digit.
  [(d) Administration of Demonstration Project.--(1) The Office 
of Special Counsel shall administer the demonstration project. 
The Secretary shall cooperate with the Office of Special 
Counsel in carrying out the demonstration project.
  [(2) In the case of any claim referred, or otherwise received 
by, to the Office of Special Counsel under the demonstration 
project, any reference to the ``Secretary'' in sections 4321, 
4322, and 4326 of title 38, United States Code, is deemed a 
reference to the ``Office of Special Counsel''.
  [(3) In the case of any claim referred to, or otherwise 
received by, the Office of Special Counsel under the 
demonstration project, the Office of Special Counsel shall 
retain administrative jurisdiction over the claim.
  [(e) Period of Project.--The demonstration project shall be 
carried out during the period beginning on the date that is 60 
days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and ending on 
September 30, 2007.
  [(f) Evaluations and Report.--(1) The Comptroller General of 
the United States shall conduct periodic evaluations of the 
demonstration project under this section.
  [(2) Not later than April 1, 2007, the Comptroller General 
shall submit to Congress a report on the evaluations conducted 
under paragraph (1). The report shall include the following 
information and recommendations:
          [(A) A description of the operation and results of 
        the demonstration program, including--
                  [(i) the number of claims described in 
                subsection (c) referred to, or otherwise 
                received by, the Office of Special Counsel, and 
                the number of such claims referred to the 
                Secretary of Labor; and
                  [(ii) for each Federal executive agency, the 
                number of claims resolved, the type of 
                corrective action obtained, the period of time 
                for final resolution of the claim, and the 
                results obtained.
          [(B) An assessment of whether referral to the office 
        of special counsel of claims under the demonstration 
        project--
                  [(i) improved services to servicemembers and 
                veterans; or
                  [(ii) significantly reduced or eliminated 
                duplication of effort and unintended delays in 
                resolving meritorious claims of those 
                servicemembers and veterans.
          [(C) An assessment of the feasibility and 
        advisability of referring all claims under chapter 43 
        of title 38, United States Code, against Federal 
        executive agencies to the Office of Special Counsel for 
        investigation and resolution.
          [(D) Such other recommendations for administrative 
        action or legislation as the Comptroller General 
        determines appropriate.
  [(g) Definitions.--In this section:
          [(1) The term ``Office of Special Counsel'' means the 
        Office of Special Counsel established by section 1211 
        of title 5, United States Code.
          [(2) The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary of 
        Labor.
          [(3) The term ``Federal executive agency'' has the 
        meaning given that term in section 4303(5) of title 38, 
        United States Code.]

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