[United States Statutes at Large, Volume 118, 108th Congress, 2nd Session]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov]

118 STAT. 461

Public Law 108-201
108th Congress

An Act


 
To amend the provisions of title 5, United States Code, to provide for
workforce flexibilities and certain Federal personnel provisions
relating to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and for
other purposes. NOTE: Feb. 24, 2004 -  [S. 610]

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress NOTE: NASA Flexibility Act of
2004. assembled,

SECTION 1. NOTE: 5 USC 101 note. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ``NASA Flexibility Act of 2004''.

SEC. 2. COMPENSATION FOR CERTAIN EXCEPTED PERSONNEL.

(a) In General.--Subparagraph (A) of section 203(c)(2) of the
National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 (42 U.S.C. 2473(c)(2)(A)) is
amended by striking ``the highest rate of grade 18 of the General
Schedule of the Classification Act of 1949, as amended,'' and inserting
``the rate of basic pay payable for level III of the Executive
Schedule,''.
(b) Effective Date.--The NOTE: 42 USC 2473 note. amendment made
by this section shall take effect on the first day of the first pay
period beginning on or after the date of enactment of this Act.

SEC. 3. WORKFORCE AUTHORITIES.

(a) In General.--Subpart I of part III of title 5, United States
Code, is amended by inserting after chapter 97, as added by section
841(a)(2) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-296; 116
Stat. 2229), the following:

``CHAPTER 98--NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION

``Sec.
``9801. Definitions.
``9802. Planning, notification, and reporting requirements.
``9803. Restrictions.
``9804. Recruitment, redesignation, and relocation bonuses.
``9805. Retention bonuses.
``9806. Term appointments.
``9807. Pay authority for critical positions.
``9808. Assignments of intergovernmental personnel.
``9809. Science and technology scholarship program.
``9810. Distinguished scholar appointment authority.
``9811. Travel and transportation expenses of certain new appointees.
``9812. Annual leave enhancements.
``9813. Limited appointments to Senior Executive Service positions.
``9814. Qualifications pay.
``9815. Reporting requirement.

``Sec. 9801. Definitions

``For purposes of this chapter--

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``(1) the term `Administration' means the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration;
``(2) the term `Administrator' means the Administrator of
the National Aeronautics and Space Administration;
``(3) the term `critical need' means a specific and
important safety, management, engineering, science, research, or
operations requirement of the Administration's mission that the
Administration is unable to fulfill because the Administration
lacks the appropriate employees because--
``(A) of the inability to fill positions; or
``(B) employees do not possess the requisite skills;
``(4) the term `employee' means an individual employed in or
under the Administration;
``(5) the term `workforce plan' means the plan required
under section 9802(a);
``(6) the term `appropriate committees of Congress' means--
``(A) the Committees on Government Reform, Science,
and Appropriations of the House of Representatives; and
``(B) the Committees on Governmental Affairs,
Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and
Appropriations of the Senate;
``(7) the term `redesignation bonus' means a bonus under
section 9804 paid to an individual described in subsection
(a)(2) thereof;
``(8) the term `supervisor' has the meaning given such term
by section 7103(a)(10); and
``(9) the term `management official' has the meaning given
such term by section 7103(a)(11).

``Sec. 9802. NOTE: Deadlines. Planning, notification, and reporting
requirements

``(a) Not later than 90 days before exercising any of the workforce
authorities made available under this chapter, the Administrator shall
submit a written plan to the appropriate committees of Congress. Such
plan shall be approved by the Office of Personnel Management.
``(b) A workforce plan shall include a description of--
``(1) each critical need of the Administration and the
criteria used in the identification of that need;
``(2)(A) the functions, approximate number, and classes or
other categories of positions or employees that--
``(i) address critical needs; and
``(ii) would be eligible for each authority proposed
to be exercised under this chapter; and
``(B) how the exercise of those authorities with respect to
the eligible positions or employees involved would address each
critical need identified under paragraph (1);
``(3)(A) any critical need identified under paragraph (1)
which would not be addressed by the authorities made available
under this chapter; and
``(B) the reasons why those needs would not be so addressed;
``(4) the specific criteria to be used in determining which
individuals may receive the benefits described under sections
9804 and 9805 (including the criteria for granting bonuses in
the absence of a critical need), and how the level of those
benefits will be determined;

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118 STAT. 463

``(5) the safeguards or other measures that will be applied
to ensure that this chapter is carried out in a manner
consistent with merit system principles;
``(6) the means by which employees will be afforded the
notification required under subsections (c) and (d)(1)(B);
``(7) the methods that will be used to determine if the
authorities exercised under this chapter have successfully
addressed each critical need identified under paragraph (1);
``(8)(A) the recruitment methods used by the Administration
before the enactment of this chapter to recruit highly qualified
individuals; and
``(B) the changes the Administration will implement after
the enactment of this chapter in order to improve its
recruitment of highly qualified individuals, including how it
intends to use--
``(i) nongovernmental recruitment or placement
agencies; and
``(ii) Internet technologies; and
``(9) any workforce-related reforms required to resolve the
findings and recommendations of the Columbia Accident
Investigation Board, the extent to which those recommendations
were accepted, and, if necessary, the reasons why any of those
recommendations were not accepted.

``(c) Not later than 60 days before first exercising any of the
workforce authorities made available under this chapter, the
Administrator shall provide to all employees the workforce plan and any
additional information which the Administrator considers appropriate.
``(d)(1)(A) The Administrator may from time to time modify the
workforce plan. Any modification to the workforce plan shall be
submitted to the Office of Personnel Management for approval by the
Office before the modification may be implemented.
``(B) Not later than 60 days before implementing any such
modifications, the Administrator shall provide an appropriately modified
plan to all employees of the Administration and to the appropriate
committees of Congress.
``(2) Any reference in this chapter or any other provision of law to
the workforce plan shall be considered to include any modification made
in accordance with this subsection.
``(e) Before submitting any written plan under subsection (a) (or
modification under subsection (d)) to the Office of Personnel
Management, the Administrator shall--
``(1) provide to each employee representative representing
any employees who might be affected by such plan (or
modification) a copy of the proposed plan (or modification);
``(2) give each representative 30 calendar days (unless
extraordinary circumstances require earlier action) to review
and make recommendations with respect to the proposed plan (or
modification); and
``(3) give any recommendations received from any such
representatives under paragraph (2) full and fair consideration
in deciding whether or how to proceed with respect to the
proposed plan (or modification).

``(f) None of the workforce authorities made available under this
chapter may be exercised in a manner inconsistent with the workforce
plan.

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118 STAT. 464

``(g) Whenever the Administration submits its performance plan under
section 1115 of title 31 to the Office of Management and Budget for any
year, the Administration shall at the same time submit a copy of such
plan to the appropriate committees of Congress.
``(h) Not later than 6 years after the date of enactment of this
chapter, the Administrator shall submit to the appropriate committees of
Congress an evaluation and analysis of the actions taken by the
Administration under this chapter, including--
``(1) an evaluation, using the methods described in
subsection (b)(7), of whether the authorities exercised under
this chapter successfully addressed each critical need
identified under subsection (b)(1);
``(2) to the extent that they did not, an explanation of the
reasons why any critical need (apart from the ones under
subsection (b)(3)) was not successfully addressed; and
``(3) recommendations for how the Administration could
address any remaining critical need and could prevent those that
have been addressed from recurring.

``(i) The budget request for the Administration for the first fiscal
year beginning after the date of enactment of this chapter and for each
fiscal year thereafter shall include a statement of the total amount of
appropriations requested for such fiscal year to carry out this chapter.

``Sec. 9803. Restrictions

``(a) None of the workforce authorities made available under this
chapter may be exercised with respect to any officer who is appointed by
the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.
``(b) Unless specifically stated otherwise, all workforce
authorities made available under this chapter shall be subject to
section 5307.
``(c)(1) None of the workforce authorities made available under
section 9804, 9805, 9806, 9807, 9809, 9812, 9813, 9814, or 9815 may be
exercised with respect to a political appointee.
``(2) For purposes of this subsection, the term `political
appointee' means an employee who holds--
``(A) a position which has been excepted from the
competitive service by reason of its confidential, policy-
determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating character; or
``(B) a position in the Senior Executive Service as a
noncareer appointee (as such term is defined in section
3132(a)).

``Sec. 9804. Recruitment, redesignation, and relocation bonuses

``(a) Notwithstanding section 5753, the Administrator may pay a
bonus to an individual, in accordance with the workforce plan and
subject to the limitations in this section, if--
``(1) the Administrator determines that the Administration
would be likely, in the absence of a bonus, to encounter
difficulty in filling a position; and
``(2) the individual--
``(A) is newly appointed as an employee of the
Federal Government;
``(B) is currently employed by the Federal
Government and is newly appointed to another position in
the same geographic area; or

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118 STAT. 465

``(C) is currently employed by the Federal
Government and is required to relocate to a different
geographic area to accept a position with the
Administration.

``(b) If the position is described as addressing a critical need in
the workforce plan under section 9802(b)(2)(A), the amount of a bonus
may not exceed--
``(1) 50 percent of the employee's annual rate of basic pay
(including comparability payments under sections 5304 and 5304a)
as of the beginning of the service period multiplied by the
service period specified under subsection (d)(1)(B)(i); or
``(2) 100 percent of the employee's annual rate of basic pay
(including comparability payments under sections 5304 and 5304a)
as of the beginning of the service period.

``(c) If the position is not described as addressing a critical need
in the workforce plan under section 9802(b)(2)(A), the amount of a bonus
may not exceed 25 percent of the employee's annual rate of basic pay
(excluding comparability payments under sections 5304 and 5304a) as of
the beginning of the service period.
``(d)(1)(A) Payment of a bonus under this section shall be
contingent upon the individual entering into a service agreement with
the Administration.
``(B) At a minimum, the service agreement shall include--
``(i) the required service period;
``(ii) the method of payment, including a payment schedule,
which may include a lump-sum payment, installment payments, or a
combination thereof;
``(iii) the amount of the bonus and the basis for
calculating that amount; and
``(iv) the conditions under which the agreement may be
terminated before the agreed-upon service period has been
completed, and the effect of the termination.

``(2) For purposes of determinations under subsections (b)(1) and
(c)(1), the employee's service period shall be expressed as the number
equal to the full years and twelfth parts thereof, rounding the
fractional part of a month to the nearest twelfth part of a year. The
service period may not be less than 6 months and may not exceed 4 years.
``(3) A bonus under this section may not be considered to be part of
the basic pay of an employee.
``(e) Before paying a bonus under this section, the Administration
shall establish a plan for paying recruitment, redesignation, and
relocation bonuses, subject to approval by the Office of Personnel
Management.
``(f) No more than 25 percent of the total amount in bonuses awarded
under subsection (a) in any year may be awarded to supervisors or
management officials.

``Sec. 9805. Retention bonuses

``(a) Notwithstanding section 5754, the Administrator may pay a
bonus to an employee, in accordance with the workforce plan and subject
to the limitations in this section, if the Administrator determines
that--
``(1) the unusually high or unique qualifications of the
employee or a special need of the Administration for the
employee's services makes it essential to retain the employee;
and

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118 STAT. 466

``(2) the employee would be likely to leave in the absence
of a retention bonus.

``(b) If the position is described as addressing a critical need in
the workforce plan under section 9802(b)(2)(A), the amount of a bonus
may not exceed 50 percent of the employee's annual rate of basic pay
(including comparability payments under sections 5304 and 5304a).
``(c) If the position is not described as addressing a critical need
in the workforce plan under section 9802(b)(2)(A), the amount of a bonus
may not exceed 25 percent of the employee's annual rate of basic pay
(excluding comparability payments under sections 5304 and 5304a).
``(d)(1)(A) Payment of a bonus under this section shall be
contingent upon the employee entering into a service agreement with the
Administration.
``(B) At a minimum, the service agreement shall include--
``(i) the required service period;
``(ii) the method of payment, including a payment schedule,
which may include a lump-sum payment, installment payments, or a
combination thereof;
``(iii) the amount of the bonus and the basis for
calculating the amount; and
``(iv) the conditions under which the agreement may be
terminated before the agreed-upon service period has been
completed, and the effect of the termination.

``(2) The employee's service period shall be expressed as the number
equal to the full years and twelfth parts thereof, rounding the
fractional part of a month to the nearest twelfth part of a year. The
service period may not be less than 6 months and may not exceed 4 years.
``(3) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), a service agreement is not
required if the Administration pays a bonus in biweekly installments and
sets the installment payment at the full bonus percentage rate
established for the employee, with no portion of the bonus deferred. In
this case, the Administration shall inform the employee in writing of
any decision to change the retention bonus payments. The employee shall
continue to accrue entitlement to the retention bonus through the end of
the pay period in which such written notice is provided.
``(e) A bonus under this section may not be considered to be part of
the basic pay of an employee.
``(f) An employee is not entitled to a retention bonus under this
section during a service period previously established for that employee
under section 5753 or under section 9804.
``(g) No more than 25 percent of the total amount in bonuses awarded
under subsection (a) in any year may be awarded to supervisors or
management officials.

``Sec. 9806. Term appointments

``(a) The Administrator may authorize term appointments within the
Administration under subchapter I of chapter 33, for a period of not
less than 1 year and not more than 6 years.
``(b) Notwithstanding chapter 33 or any other provision of law
relating to the examination, certification, and appointment of
individuals in the competitive service, the Administrator may convert an
employee serving under a term appointment to a permanent

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118 STAT. 467

appointment in the competitive service within the Administration without
further competition if--
``(1) such individual was appointed under open, competitive
examination under subchapter I of chapter 33 to the term
position;
``(2) the announcement for the term appointment from which
the conversion is made stated that there was potential for
subsequent conversion to a career-conditional or career
appointment;
``(3) the employee has completed at least 2 years of current
continuous service under a term appointment in the competitive
service;
``(4) the employee's performance under such term appointment
was at least fully successful or equivalent; and
``(5) the position to which such employee is being converted
under this section is in the same occupational series, is in the
same geographic location, and provides no greater promotion
potential than the term position for which the competitive
examination was conducted.

``(c) Notwithstanding chapter 33 or any other provision of law
relating to the examination, certification, and appointment of
individuals in the competitive service, the Administrator may convert an
employee serving under a term appointment to a permanent appointment in
the competitive service within the Administration through internal
competitive promotion procedures if the conditions under paragraphs (1)
through (4) of subsection (b) are met.
``(d) An employee converted under this section becomes a career-
conditional employee, unless the employee has otherwise completed the
service requirements for career tenure.
``(e) An employee converted to career or career-conditional
employment under this section acquires competitive status upon
conversion.

``Sec. 9807. Pay authority for critical positions

``(a) In this section, the term `position' means--
``(1) a position to which chapter 51 applies, including a
position in the Senior Executive Service;
``(2) a position under the Executive Schedule under sections
5312 through 5317;
``(3) a position established under section 3104; or
``(4) a senior-level position to which section 5376(a)(1)
applies.

``(b) Authority under this section--
``(1) may be exercised only with respect to a position
that--
``(A) is described as addressing a critical need in
the workforce plan under section 9802(b)(2)(A); and
``(B) requires expertise of an extremely high level
in a scientific, technical, professional, or
administrative field;
``(2) may be exercised only to the extent necessary to
recruit or retain an individual exceptionally well qualified for
the position; and
``(3) may be exercised only in retaining employees of the
Administration or in appointing individuals who were not
employees of another Federal agency as defined under section
5102(a)(1).

``(c)(1) Notwithstanding section 5377, the Administrator may fix the
rate of basic pay for a position in the Administration in

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118 STAT. 468

accordance with this section. The Administrator may not delegate this
authority.
``(2) The number of positions with pay fixed under this section may
not exceed 10 at any time.
``(d)(1) The rate of basic pay fixed under this section may not be
less than the rate of basic pay (including any comparability payments)
which would otherwise be payable for the position involved if this
section had never been enacted.
``(2) The annual rate of basic pay fixed under this section may not
exceed the per annum rate of salary payable under section 104 of title
3.
``(3) Notwithstanding any provision of section 5307, in the case of
an employee who, during any calendar year, is receiving pay at a rate
fixed under this section, no allowance, differential, bonus, award, or
similar cash payment may be paid to such employee if, or to the extent
that, when added to basic pay paid or payable to such employee (for
service performed in such calendar year as an employee in the executive
branch or as an employee outside the executive branch to whom chapter 51
applies), such payment would cause the total to exceed the per annum
rate of salary which, as of the end of such calendar year, is payable
under section 104 of title 3.

``Sec. 9808. Assignments of intergovernmental personnel

``For purposes of applying the third sentence of section 3372(a)
(relating to the authority of the head of a Federal agency to extend the
period of an employee's assignment to or from a State or local
government, institution of higher education, or other organization), the
Administrator may, with the concurrence of the employee and the
government or organization concerned, take any action which would be
allowable if such sentence had been amended by striking `two' and
inserting `four'.

``Sec. 9809. Science and technology scholarship program

``(a)(1) The Administrator shall establish a National Aeronautics
and Space Administration Science and Technology Scholarship Program to
award scholarships to individuals that is designed to recruit and
prepare students for careers in the Administration.
``(2) Individuals shall be selected to receive scholarships under
this section through a competitive process primarily on the basis of
academic merit, with consideration given to financial need and the goal
of promoting the participation of individuals identified in section 33
or 34 of the Science and Engineering Equal Opportunities Act.
``(3) To carry out the Program the Administrator shall enter into
contractual agreements with individuals selected under paragraph (2)
under which the individuals agree to serve as full-time employees of the
Administration, for the period described in subsection (f)(1), in
positions needed by the Administration and for which the individuals are
qualified, in exchange for receiving a scholarship.
``(b) In order to be eligible to participate in the Program, an
individual must--
``(1) be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a full-time
student at an institution of higher education in an academic
field or discipline described in the list made available under
subsection (d);

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118 STAT. 469

``(2) be a United States citizen or permanent resident; and
``(3) at the time of the initial scholarship award, not be
an employee (as defined in section 2105).

``(c) An individual seeking a scholarship under this section shall
submit an application to the Administrator at such time, in such manner,
and containing such information, agreements, or assurances as the
Administrator may require.
``(d) NOTE: Public information. Records. The Administrator shall
make publicly available a list of academic programs and fields of study
for which scholarships under the Program may be utilized and shall
update the list as necessary.

``(e)(1) The Administrator may provide a scholarship under the
Program for an academic year if the individual applying for the
scholarship has submitted to the Administrator, as part of the
application required under subsection (c), a proposed academic program
leading to a degree in a program or field of study on the list made
available under subsection (d).
``(2) An individual may not receive a scholarship under this section
for more than 4 academic years, unless the Administrator grants a
waiver.
``(3) The dollar amount of a scholarship under this section for an
academic year shall be determined under regulations issued by the
Administrator, but shall in no case exceed the cost of attendance.
``(4) A scholarship provided under this section may be expended for
tuition, fees, and other authorized expenses as established by the
Administrator by regulation.
``(5) The Administrator may enter into a contractual agreement with
an institution of higher education under which the amounts provided for
a scholarship under this section for tuition, fees, and other authorized
expenses are paid directly to the institution with respect to which the
scholarship is provided.
``(f)(1) The period of service for which an individual shall be
obligated to serve as an employee of the Administration is, except as
provided in subsection (h)(2), 24 months for each academic year for
which a scholarship under this section is provided. Under no
circumstances shall the total period of obligated service be more than 4
years.
``(2)(A) NOTE: Deadline. Except as provided in subparagraph (B),
obligated service under paragraph (1) shall begin not later than 60 days
after the individual obtains the educational degree for which the
scholarship was provided.

``(B) The Administrator may defer the obligation of an individual to
provide a period of service under paragraph (1) if the Administrator
determines that such a deferral is NOTE: Regulations. appropriate.
The Administrator shall prescribe the terms and conditions under which a
service obligation may be deferred through regulation.

``(g)(1) NOTE: Regulations. Scholarship recipients who fail to
maintain a high level of academic standing, as defined by the
Administrator by regulation, who are dismissed from their educational
institutions for disciplinary reasons, or who voluntarily terminate
academic training before graduation from the educational program for
which the scholarship was awarded, shall be in breach of their
contractual agreement and, in lieu of any service obligation arising
under such agreement, shall be liable to the United States for repayment
within 1 year after the date of default of all scholarship funds paid to
them and to the institution of higher education on their behalf under

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118 STAT. 470

the agreement, except as provided in subsection (h)(2). The repayment
period may be extended by the Administrator when determined to be
necessary, as established by regulation.
``(2) Scholarship recipients who, for any reason, fail to begin or
complete their service obligation after completion of academic training,
or fail to comply with the terms and conditions of deferment established
by the Administrator pursuant to subsection (f)(2)(B), shall be in
breach of their contractual agreement. When recipients breach their
agreements for the reasons stated in the preceding sentence, the
recipient shall be liable to the United States for an amount equal to--
``(A) the total amount of scholarships received by such
individual under this section; plus
``(B) the interest on the amounts of such awards which would
be payable if at the time the awards were received they were
loans bearing interest at the maximum legal prevailing rate, as
determined by the Treasurer of the United States,

multiplied by 3.
``(h)(1) Any obligation of an individual incurred under the Program
(or a contractual agreement thereunder) for service or payment shall be
canceled upon the death of the individual.
``(2) NOTE: Regulations. The Administrator shall by regulation
provide for the partial or total waiver or suspension of any obligation
of service or payment incurred by an individual under the Program (or a
contractual agreement thereunder) whenever compliance by the individual
is impossible or would involve extreme hardship to the individual, or if
enforcement of such obligation with respect to the individual would be
contrary to the best interests of the Government.

``(i) For purposes of this section--
``(1) the term `cost of attendance' has the meaning given
that term in section 472 of the Higher Education Act of 1965;
``(2) the term `institution of higher education' has the
meaning given that term in section 101(a) of the Higher
Education Act of 1965; and
``(3) the term `Program' means the National Aeronautics and
Space Administration Science and Technology Scholarship Program
established under this section.

``(j)(1) NOTE: Appropriation authorization. There is authorized
to be appropriated to the Administration for the Program $10,000,000 for
each fiscal year.

``(2) Amounts appropriated under this section shall remain available
for 2 fiscal years.

``Sec. 9810. Distinguished scholar appointment authority

``(a) In this section--
``(1) the term `professional position' means a position that
is classified to an occupational series identified by the Office
of Personnel Management as a position that--
``(A) requires education and training in the
principles, concepts, and theories of the occupation
that typically can be gained only through completion of
a specified curriculum at a recognized college or
university; and
``(B) is covered by the Group Coverage Qualification
Standard for Professional and Scientific Positions; and
``(2) the term `research position' means a position in a
professional series that primarily involves scientific inquiry
or investigation, or research-type exploratory development of

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a creative or scientific nature, where the knowledge required to
perform the work successfully is acquired typically and
primarily through graduate study.

``(b) The Administration may appoint, without regard to the
provisions of section 3304(b) and sections 3309 through 3318, but
subject to subsection (c), candidates directly to General Schedule
professional, competitive service positions in the Administration for
which public notice has been given (in accordance with regulations of
the Office of Personnel Management), if--
``(1) with respect to a position at the GS-7 level, the
individual--
``(A) received, within 2 years before the effective
date of the appointment, from an accredited institution
authorized to grant baccalaureate degrees, a
baccalaureate degree in a field of study for which
possession of that degree in conjunction with academic
achievements meets the qualification standards as
prescribed by the Office of Personnel Management for the
position to which the individual is being appointed; and
``(B) achieved a cumulative grade point average of
3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale and a grade point average
of 3.5 or higher for courses in the field of study
required to qualify for the position;
``(2) with respect to a position at the GS-9 level, the
individual--
``(A) received, within 2 years before the effective
date of the appointment, from an accredited institution
authorized to grant graduate degrees, a graduate degree
in a field of study for which possession of that degree
meets the qualification standards at this grade level as
prescribed by the Office of Personnel Management for the
position to which the individual is being appointed; and
``(B) achieved a cumulative grade point average of
3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale in graduate coursework in
the field of study required for the position;
``(3) with respect to a position at the GS-11 level, the
individual--
``(A) received, within 2 years before the effective
date of the appointment, from an accredited institution
authorized to grant graduate degrees, a graduate degree
in a field of study for which possession of that degree
meets the qualification standards at this grade level as
prescribed by the Office of Personnel Management for the
position to which the individual is being appointed; and
``(B) achieved a cumulative grade point average of
3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale in graduate coursework in
the field of study required for the position; or
``(4) with respect to a research position at the GS-12
level, the individual--
``(A) received, within 2 years before the effective
date of the appointment, from an accredited institution
authorized to grant graduate degrees, a graduate degree
in a field of study for which possession of that degree
meets the qualification standards at this grade level as
prescribed by the Office of Personnel Management for the
position to which the individual is being appointed; and

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118 STAT. 472

``(B) achieved a cumulative grade point average of
3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale in graduate coursework in
the field of study required for the position.

``(c) In making any selections under this section, preference
eligibles who meet the criteria for distinguished scholar appointments
shall be considered ahead of nonpreference eligibles.
``(d) An appointment made under this authority shall be a career-
conditional appointment in the competitive civil service.
``Sec. 9811. Travel and transportation expenses of certain new
appointees

``(a) In this section, the term `new appointee' means--
``(1) a person newly appointed or reinstated to Federal
service to the Administration to--
``(A) a career or career-conditional appointment or
an excepted service appointment to a continuing
position;
``(B) a term appointment;
``(C) an excepted service appointment that provides
for noncompetitive conversion to a career or career-
conditional appointment;
``(D) a career or limited term Senior Executive
Service appointment;
``(E) an appointment made under section 203(c)(2)(A)
of the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 (42
U.S.C. 2473(c)(2)(A));
``(F) an appointment to a position established under
section 3104; or
``(G) an appointment to a position established under
section 5108; or
``(2) a student trainee who, upon completion of academic
work, is converted to an appointment in the Administration that
is identified in paragraph (1) in accordance with an appropriate
authority.

``(b) The Administrator may pay the travel, transportation, and
relocation expenses of a new appointee to the same extent, in the same
manner, and subject to the same conditions as the payment of such
expenses under sections 5724, 5724a, 5724b, and 5724c to an employee
transferred in the interests of the United States Government.

``Sec. 9812. Annual leave enhancements

``(a) In this section--
``(1) the term `newly appointed employee' means an
individual who is first appointed--
``(A) as an employee of the Federal Government; or
``(B) as an employee of the Federal Government
following a break in service of at least 90 days after
that individual's last period of Federal employment,
other than--
``(i) employment under the Student Educational
Employment Program administered by the Office of
Personnel Management;
``(ii) employment as a law clerk trainee;
``(iii) employment under a short-term
temporary appointing authority while a student
during periods of vacation from the educational
institution at which the student is enrolled;

[[Page 473]]
118 STAT. 473

``(iv) employment under a provisional
appointment if the new appointment is permanent
and immediately follows the provisional
appointment; or
``(v) employment under a temporary appointment
that is neither full-time nor the principal
employment of the individual;
``(2) the term `period of qualified non-Federal service'
means any period of service performed by an individual that--
``(A) was performed in a position the duties of
which were directly related to the duties of the
position in the Administration which that individual
will fill as a newly appointed employee; and
``(B) except for this section, would not otherwise
be service performed by an employee for purposes of
section 6303; and
``(3) the term `directly related to the duties of the
position' means duties and responsibilities in the same line of
work which require similar qualifications.

``(b)(1) For purposes of section 6303, the Administrator may deem a
period of qualified non-Federal service performed by a newly appointed
employee to be a period of service of equal length performed as an
employee.
``(2) A decision under paragraph (1) to treat a period of qualified
non-Federal service as if it were service performed as an employee shall
continue to apply so long as that individual serves in or under the
Administration.
``(c)(1) Notwithstanding section 6303(a), the annual leave accrual
rate for an employee of the Administration in a position paid under
section 5376 or 5383, or for an employee in an equivalent category whose
rate of basic pay is greater than the rate payable at GS-15, step 10,
shall be 1 day for each full biweekly pay period.
``(2) The accrual rate established under this subsection shall
continue to apply to the employee so long as such employee serves in or
under the Administration.
``Sec. 9813. Limited appointments to Senior Executive Service
positions

``(a) In this section--
``(1) the term `career reserved position' means a position
in the Administration designated under section 3132(b) which may
be filled only by--
``(A) a career appointee; or
``(B) a limited emergency appointee or a limited
term appointee--
``(i) who, immediately before entering the
career reserved position, was serving under a
career or career-conditional appointment outside
the Senior Executive Service; or
``(ii) whose limited emergency or limited term
appointment is approved in advance by the Office
of Personnel Management;
``(2) the term `limited emergency appointee' has the meaning
given under section 3132; and
``(3) the term `limited term appointee' means an individual
appointed to a Senior Executive Service position in the
Administration to meet a bona fide temporary need, as determined
by the Administrator.

[[Page 474]]
118 STAT. 474

``(b) The number of career reserved positions which are filled by an
appointee as described under subsection (a)(1)(B) may not exceed 10
percent of the total number of Senior Executive Service positions
allocated to the Administration.
``(c) Notwithstanding sections 3132 and 3394(b)--
``(1) the Administrator may appoint an individual to any
Senior Executive Service position in the Administration as a
limited term appointee under this section for a period of--
``(A) 4 years or less to a position the duties of
which will expire at the end of such term; or
``(B) 1 year or less to a position the duties of
which are continuing; and
``(2) in rare circumstances, the Administrator may authorize
an extension of a limited appointment under--
``(A) paragraph (1)(A) for a period not to exceed 2
years; and
``(B) paragraph (1)(B) for a period not to exceed 1
year.

``(d) A limited term appointee who has been appointed in the
Administration from a career or career-conditional appointment outside
the Senior Executive Service shall have reemployment rights in the
agency from which appointed, or in another agency, under requirements
and conditions established by the Office of Personnel Management. The
Office shall have the authority to direct such placement in any agency.
``(e) Notwithstanding section 3394(b) and section 3395--
``(1) a limited term appointee serving under a term
prescribed under this section may be reassigned to another
Senior Executive Service position in the Administration, the
duties of which will expire at the end of a term of 4 years or
less; and
``(2) a limited term appointee serving under a term
prescribed under this section may be reassigned to another
continuing Senior Executive Service position in the
Administration, except that the appointee may not serve in 1 or
more positions in the Administration under such appointment in
excess of 1 year, except that in rare circumstances, the
Administrator may approve an extension up to an additional 1
year.

``(f) A limited term appointee may not serve more than 7 consecutive
years under any combination of limited appointments.
``(g) Notwithstanding section 5384, the Administrator may authorize
performance awards to limited term appointees in the Administration in
the same amounts and in the same manner as career appointees.

``Sec. 9814. Qualifications pay

``(a) Notwithstanding section 5334, the Administrator may set the
pay of an employee paid under the General Schedule at any step within
the pay range for the grade of the position, if such employee--
``(1) possesses unusually high or unique qualifications; and
``(2) is assigned--
``(A) new duties, without a change of position; or
``(B) to a new position.

``(b) If an exercise of the authority under this section relates to
a current employee selected for another position within the
Administration, a determination shall be made that the employee's

[[Page 475]]
118 STAT. 475

contribution in the new position will exceed that in the former
position, before setting pay under this section.
``(c) Pay as set under this section is basic pay for such purposes
as pay set under section 5334.
``(d) If the employee serves for at least 1 year in the position for
which the pay determination under this section was made, or a successor
position, the pay earned under such position may be used in succeeding
actions to set pay under chapter 53.
``(e) Before setting any employee's pay under this section, the
Administrator shall submit a plan to the Office of Personnel Management
and the appropriate committees of Congress, that includes--
``(1) criteria for approval of actions to set pay under this
section;
``(2) the level of approval required to set pay under this
section;
``(3) all types of actions and positions to be covered;
``(4) the relationship between the exercise of authority
under this section and the use of other pay incentives; and
``(5) a process to evaluate the effectiveness of this
section.

``Sec. 9815. Reporting requirement

``The NOTE: Deadline. Administrator shall submit to the
appropriate committees of Congress, not later than February 28 of each
of the next 6 years beginning after the date of enactment of this
chapter, a report that provides the following:
``(1) A summary of all bonuses paid under subsections (b)
and (c) of section 9804 during the preceding fiscal year. Such
summary shall include the total amount of bonuses paid, the
total number of bonuses paid, the percentage of the amount of
bonuses awarded to supervisors and management officials, and the
average percentage used to calculate the total average bonus
amount, under each of those subsections.
``(2) A summary of all bonuses paid under subsections (b)
and (c) of section 9805 during the preceding fiscal year. Such
summary shall include the total amount of bonuses paid, the
total number of bonuses paid, the percentage of the amount of
bonuses awarded to supervisors and management officials, and the
average percentage used to calculate the total average bonus
amount, under each of those subsections.
``(3) The total number of term appointments converted during
the preceding fiscal year under section 9806 and, of that total
number, the number of conversions that were made to address a
critical need described in the workforce plan pursuant to
section 9802(b)(2).
``(4) The number of positions for which the rate of basic
pay was fixed under section 9807 during the preceding fiscal
year, the number of positions for which the rate of basic pay
under such section was terminated during the preceding fiscal
year, and the number of times the rate of basic pay was fixed
under such section to address a critical need described in the
workforce plan pursuant to section 9802(b)(2).
``(5) The number of scholarships awarded under section 9809
during the preceding fiscal year and the number of scholarship
recipients appointed by the Administration during the preceding
fiscal year.

[[Page 476]]
118 STAT. 476

``(6) The total number of distinguished scholar appointments
made under section 9810 during the preceding fiscal year and, of
that total number, the number of appointments that were made to
address a critical need described in the workforce plan pursuant
to section 9802(b)(2).
``(7) The average amount paid per appointee, and the largest
amount paid to any appointee, under section 9811 during the
preceding fiscal year for travel and transportation expenses.
``(8) The total number of employees who were awarded
enhanced annual leave under section 9812 during the preceding
fiscal year; of that total number, the number of employees who
were serving in a position addressing a critical need described
in the workforce plan pursuant to section 9802(b)(2); and, for
employees in each of those respective groups, the average amount
of additional annual leave such employees earned in the
preceding fiscal year (over and above what they would have
earned absent section 9812).
``(9) The total number of appointments made under section
9813 during the preceding fiscal year and, of that total number,
the number of appointments that were made to address a critical
need described in the workforce plan pursuant to section
9802(b)(2).
``(10) The number of employees for whom the Administrator
set the pay under section 9814 during the preceding fiscal year
and the number of times pay was set under such section to
address a critical need described in the workforce plan pursuant
to section 9802(b)(2).
``(11) A summary of all recruitment, relocation,
redesignation, and retention bonuses paid under authorities
other than this chapter and excluding the authorities provided
in sections 5753 and 5754 of this title, during the preceding
fiscal year. Such summary shall include, for each type of bonus,
the total amount of bonuses paid, the total number of bonuses
paid, the percentage of the amount of bonuses awarded to
supervisors and management officials, and the average percentage
used to calculate the total average bonus amount.''.

[[Page 477]]
118 STAT. 477

(b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of chapters for part III of title
5, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item relating
to chapter 97 the following:

``98. National Aeronautics and Space Administration..............9801''.

Approved February 24, 2004.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--S. 610 (H.R. 1085):
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

HOUSE REPORTS: No. 108-244, Pt. 1, accompanying H.R. 1085 (Comm. on
Science).
SENATE REPORTS: No. 108-113 (Comm. on Governmental Affairs).
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD:
Vol. 149 (2003):
Nov. 24, considered and passed
Senate.
Vol. 150 (2004):
Jan. 28, considered and passed
House.
WEEKLY COMPILATION OF PRESIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS, Vol. 40 (2004):
Feb. 24, Presidential statement.