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H.R. 2353 (104th): An Act to amend title 38, United States Code, to extend the authority of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out certain programs and activities, and for other purposes.

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.

1/25/1996--House agreed to Senate amendment with amendment. TABLE OF CONTENTS: Title I: Extensions of Authority Title II: Other Provisions Title I: Extensions of Authority - Extends through December 31, 1996, the authority of the Department of Veterans Affairs to: (1) provide priority hospital care and medical services to Persian Gulf veterans exposed to toxic substances or environmental hazards during such service; (2) provide outpatient services to such veterans; and (3) guarantee the payment of principal and interest on certificates or other securities evidencing an interest in a pool of Department-guaranteed mortgage loans made in connection with the sale of properties represented by such loans. Extends through December 31, 1997, Department authority to: (1) contract with community-based treatment facilities for the care of eligible veterans suffering from alcohol or drug dependence or abuse disabilities; (2) provide a pilot program for furnishing veterans with noninstitutional alternatives to nursing home care; (3) enter into agreements with nonprofit organizations and State and local governments to assist homeless veterans and their families to obtain shelter; (4) provide a health professionals scholarship program; (5) enter into enhanced use leases of Department real property; and (6) use data on local compensation rates for determining the pay rates of certified registered nurse anesthetists. Repeals a Federal provision authorizing: (1) the veteran and the mortgagee to negotiate the interest rate on a Department-guaranteed loan; and (2) a lender on such a loan to appraise the property which is the basis for the loan. Amends the Veterans' Benefits and Services Act of 1988 to extend through December 31, 1997, the authority to use community-based residential care for the treatment of homeless chronically mentally ill veterans and other veterans. Extends through such date the Department's compensated work therapy and therapeutic transitional housing program. Amends the Homeless Veterans Comprehensive Service Programs Act of 1992 to extend through September 30, 1997, the authority for a pilot program (and grants made under the program) to expand and improve Department benefits and services to homeless veterans. Amends the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act to extend through December 31, 1997, the authority for homeless veterans' reintegration projects. Ratifies any actions taken by the Secretary before the enactment of this Act during any periods of expired authority for programs and projects amended by this Act. Title II: Other Provisions - Requires, within an annual fiscal report from the Secretary to the Congress, the inclusion of a discussion of Department housing and small business loans made to veterans. Repeals superseded reporting requirements under the Veterans Home Loan Program Amendments of 1992. Directs the Secretary to report to the Congress: (1) on the advantages and disadvantages of consolidating into one program the alcohol and drug abuse program, the program to provide community-based residential care to homeless chronically mentally ill veterans, and the demonstration program of compensated work therapy and therapeutic transitional housing; (2) the results of a study evaluating the operation of the health professionals scholarship program; and (3) evaluating the operation of the Department's real property enhanced use lease program. Authorizes the Secretary to enter into contracts for the provision of utilities to the Audie L. Murphy Memorial Hospital in San Antonio, Texas. Outlines contract requirements, including a contract term limit of no more than 35 years. Allows such contracts only to the extent provided for in advance in appropriations Acts.