H.R. 3673 (104th): Veterans’ Compensation and Readjustment Benefits Amendments of 1996

104th Congress, 1995–1996. Text as of Jul 17, 1996 (Referred to Senate Committee).

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HR 3673 RFS

104th CONGRESS

2d Session

H.R. 3673

To amend title 38, United States Code, to revise and improve certain veterans programs and benefits, to authorize the American Battle Monuments Commission to enter into arrangements for the repair and long-term maintenance of war memorials for which the Commission assumes responsibility, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

July 17, 1996

Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources


AN ACT

To amend title 38, United States Code, to revise and improve certain veterans programs and benefits, to authorize the American Battle Monuments Commission to enter into arrangements for the repair and long-term maintenance of war memorials for which the Commission assumes responsibility, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; REFERENCES TO TITLE 38, UNITED STATES CODE.

    (a) SHORT TITLE- This Act may be cited as the ‘Veterans’ Compensation and Readjustment Benefits Amendments of 1996’.

    (b) REFERENCES- Except as otherwise expressly provided, whenever in this Act an amendment is expressed in terms of an amendment to a section or other provision, the reference shall be considered to be made to a section or other provision of title 38, United States Code.

TITLE I--VETERANS COMPENSATION BENEFITS

SEC. 101. PRESUMPTION THAT BRONCHIOLO-ALVEOLAR CARCINOMA IS SERVICE-CONNECTED.

    Section 1112(c)(2) is amended by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

      ‘(P) Bronchiolo-alveolar carcinoma.’.

SEC. 102. PRESUMPTION OF PERMANENT AND TOTAL DISABILITY FOR VETERANS OVER AGE 65 WHO ARE NURSING HOME PATIENTS.

    Section 1502(a) is amended by inserting ‘is 65 years of age or older and a patient in a nursing home or, regardless of age,’ after ‘such a person’.

SEC. 103. PILOT PROGRAM FOR USE OF CONTRACT PHYSICIANS FOR DISABILITY EXAMINATIONS.

    (a) AUTHORITY- The Secretary of Veterans Affairs may conduct a pilot program under this section under which examinations with respect to medical disability of applicants for benefits under laws administered by the Secretary that are carried out through the Under Secretary for Benefits may be made by persons other than employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs pursuant to contracts entered into with those persons.

    (b) LIMITATION- The Secretary may carry out the pilot program under this section through not more than 10 regional offices of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    (c) SOURCE OF FUNDS- Payments for contracts under the pilot program under this section shall be made from amounts available to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for payment of examinations of applicants for benefits.

    (d) REPORT TO CONGRESS- Not later than three years after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on the effect of the use of the authority provided by subsection (a) on the cost, timeliness, and thoroughness of medical disability examinations.

SEC. 104. LIMITATION ON CLOTHING ALLOWANCE FOR INCARCERATED VETERANS.

    (a) PRO RATA REDUCTION- Chapter 53 is amended by inserting after section 5313 the following new section:

‘Sec. 5313A. Limitation on payment of clothing allowance to incarcerated veterans

    ‘In the case of a veteran who is incarcerated in a Federal, State, or local penal institution for a period in excess of 60 days and who is furnished clothing without charge by the institution, the amount of an annual clothing allowance payable to such veteran under section 1162 of this title shall be reduced on a pro rata basis for each day on which the veteran was so incarcerated during the 12-month period preceding the date on which payment of the allowance would be due. This section shall be carried out under regulations prescribed by the Secretary.’.

    (b) CLERICAL AMENDMENT- The table of sections at the beginning of such chapter is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 5313 the following new item:

      ‘5313A. Limitation on payment of clothing allowance to incarcerated veterans.’.

SEC. 105. EXTENSION OF VETERANS’ CLAIMS ADJUDICATION COMMISSION.

    (a) EXTENSION OF TIME FOR SUBMISSION OF FINAL REPORT- Section 402(e)(2) of the Veterans’ Benefits Improvements Act of 1994 (Public Law 103-446; 108 Stat. 4659) is amended by striking out ‘Not later than 18 months after such date’ and inserting in lieu thereof ‘Not later than December 31, 1996’.

    (b) FUNDING- From amounts appropriated to the Department of Veterans Affairs for each of fiscal years 1996 and fiscal year 1997 for the payment of compensation and pension, the amount of $75,000 is hereby made available for the activities of the Veterans’ Claims Adjudication Commission under title IV of the Veterans’ Benefits Improvements Act of 1994 (Public Law 103-446; 108 Stat. 4659).

TITLE II--EDUCATION AND OTHER READJUSTMENT BENEFITS

SEC. 201. PERIOD OF OPERATION FOR APPROVAL.

    (a) IN GENERAL- (1) Chapter 36 is amended--

      (A) by striking out section 3689; and

      (B) by striking out the item relating to section 3689 in the table of sections at the beginning of chapter 36.

    (2) Subparagraph (C) of section 3680A(d)(2) is amended by striking out ‘3689(b)(6)’ and inserting in lieu thereof ‘3680A(g)’.

    (b) DISAPPROVAL OF ENROLLMENT IN CERTAIN COURSES- Section 3680A is amended by adding after subsection (d) the following new subsections:

    ‘(e) The Secretary shall not approve the enrollment of an eligible veteran in a course not leading to a standard college degree offered by a proprietary profit or proprietary nonprofit educational institution when--

      ‘(1) the educational institution has been operating for less than two years;

      ‘(2) the course is offered at a branch of the educational institution and the branch has been operating for less than two years; or

      ‘(3) following either a change in ownership or a complete move outside its original general locality the educational institution does not retain substantially the same faculty, student body, and courses, as determined in accordance with regulations the Secretary shall prescribe, as before the change in ownership or the move outside the general locality.

    ‘(f) The Secretary shall not approve the enrollment of an eligible veteran in a course as a part of a program of education offered by an educational institution when the course is provided under contract by another educational institution or entity and--

      ‘(1) the Secretary would be barred under subsection (e) from approving the enrollment of an eligible veteran in the course of the educational institution or entity providing the course under contract; or

      ‘(2) the educational institution or entity providing the course under contract has not obtained approval for the course under this chapter.

    ‘(g) Notwithstanding subsections (e) and (f), the Secretary may approve the enrollment of an eligible veteran in a course approved under this chapter if the course is offered by an educational institution under contract with the Department of Defense or the Department of Transportation and is given on or immediately adjacent to a military base, Coast Guard station, National Guard facility, or facility of the Selected Reserve.’.

    (c) APPROVAL OF ACCREDITED COURSES- Subsection (b) of section 3675 is amended to read as follows:

    ‘(b) As a condition of approval under this section, the State approving agency must find the following:

      ‘(1) Adequate records, as prescribed by the State approving agency, are kept by the educational institution to show the student’s progress and grades and that satisfactory standards relating to progress and conduct are enforced.

      ‘(2) The educational institution maintains a written record of the previous education and training of the eligible person or veteran that clearly indicates that appropriate credit has been given by the educational institution for previous education and training, with the training period shortened proportionately.

      ‘(3) The educational institution and its approved courses meet the criteria of paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of section 3676(c) of this title.’.

SEC. 202. ELIMINATION OF DISTINCTION BETWEEN OPEN CIRCUIT TV AND INDEPENDENT STUDY.

    (a) VETERANS’ EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM- Subsection (f) of section 3482 is amended by striking out ‘in part’.

    (b) SURVIVORS’ AND DEPENDENTS’ EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE- Section 3523 is amended--

      (1) in subsection (a)(4), by inserting ‘(including open circuit television)’ after ‘independent study program’ the second place it appears; and

      (2) in subsection (c), by striking out ‘radio’ and all that follows through the end and inserting in lieu thereof ‘radio.’.

    (c) ADMINISTRATION OF EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS- Subsection (c) of section 3680A is amended by striking out ‘radio’ and all that follows through the end and inserting in lieu thereof ‘radio.’.

SEC. 203. MEDICAL QUALIFICATIONS FOR FLIGHT TRAINING.

    (a) CHAPTER 30 AND 32 PROGRAMS- Sections 3034(d)(2) and 3241(b)(2) are each amended by inserting before the semicolon at the end the following: ‘on the first day of such training and within 60 days after successfully completing such training’.

    (b) SELECTED RESERVE- Paragraph (2) of section 16136(c) of title 10, United States Code, is amended by inserting before the period at the end the following: ‘on the first day of such training and within 60 days after successfully completing such training’.

SEC. 204. COOPERATIVE PROGRAMS.

    (a) CHAPTER 30- Section 3032 of chapter 30 is amended by striking out subsection (d) and redesignating subsections (e) and (f) as subsections (d) and (e), respectively.

    (b) CHAPTER 32- Section 3231 of chapter 32 is amended by striking out subsection (d) and redesignating subsections (e) and (f) as subsections (d) and (e), respectively.

    (c) CHAPTER 35- Subsection (b) of section 3532 is amended by striking out ‘$327’ and inserting in lieu thereof ‘$404’.

    (d) CHAPTER 106- Section 16131 of title 10, United States Code, is amended--

      (1) by striking out subsection (e) and redesignating subsections (f), (g), (h), (i), and (j) as subsections (e), (f), (g), (h), and (i), respectively; and

      (2) in subsection (b)(1), by striking out ‘(g)’ and inserting in lieu thereof ‘(f)’.

SEC. 205. EXTENSION OF ENHANCED LOAN ASSET SALE AUTHORITY.

    Paragraph (2) of section 3720(h) is amended by striking out ‘December 31, 1996’ and inserting in lieu thereof ‘December 31, 1997’.

SEC. 206. EXTENSION OF AUTHORITY FOR THE HOMELESS VETERANS’ REINTEGRATION PROJECTS.

    (a) IN GENERAL- Paragraph (1) of section 738(e) of the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11448(e)(1)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

      ‘(E) $10,000,000 for fiscal year 1997.

      ‘(F) $10,000,000 for fiscal year 1998.

      ‘(G) $10,000,000 for fiscal year 1999.’.

    (b) REPEAL OF CERTAIN EXTENSION- Paragraph (2) of section 102(d) of the Act entitled ‘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, to require certain reports from the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes’, approved February 13, 1996 (Public Law 104-110; 110 Stat. 769), is repealed, and the provisions of section 741 of the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11450) are amended so as to appear as in effect immediately before the enactment of Public Law 104-110.

TITLE III--OTHER MATTERS

SEC. 301. REPAIR AND LONG-TERM MAINTENANCE OF WAR MEMORIALS.

    Section 5(b)(2) of the Act of March 4, 1923 (36 U.S.C. 125(b)(2)), is amended--

      (1) by inserting ‘(A)’ after ‘(2)’; and

      (2) by adding at the end the following:

    ‘(B) In assuming responsibility for a war memorial under paragraph (1), the Commission may enter into arrangements with the sponsors of the memorial to provide for the repair or long-term maintenance of the memorial. Any funds transferred to the Commission for the purpose of this subparagraph shall, in lieu of subparagraph (A),

be deposited by the Commission in the fund established by paragraph (3).

    ‘(3)(A) There is established in the Treasury a fund which shall be available to the Commission for expenses for the maintenance and repair of memorials with respect to which the Commission enters into arrangements under paragraph (2)(B). The fund shall consist of (i) amounts deposited, and interest and proceeds credited, under subparagraph (B), and (ii) obligations obtained under subparagraph (C).

    ‘(B) The Commission shall deposit in the fund such amounts from private contributions as may be accepted under paragraph (2)(B). The Secretary of the Treasury shall credit to the fund the interest on, and the proceeds from sale or redemption of, obligations held in the fund.

    ‘(C) The Secretary of the Treasury shall invest any portion of the fund that, as determined by the Commission, is not required to meet current expenses. Each investment shall be made in an interest bearing obligation of the United States or an obligation guaranteed as to principal and interest by the United States that, as determined by the Commission, has a maturity suitable for the fund.’.

SEC. 302. BURIAL BENEFITS FOR CERTAIN VETERANS WHO DIE IN STATE NURSING HOMES.

    Subsection (a) of section 2303 is amended to read as follows:

    ‘(a)(1) When a veteran dies in a facility described in paragraph (2), the Secretary shall--

      ‘(A) pay the actual cost (not to exceed $300) of the burial and funeral or, within such limits, may make contracts for such services without regard to the laws requiring advertisement for proposals for supplies and services for the Department; and

      ‘(B) when such a death occurs in a State, transport the body to the place of burial in the same or any other State.

    ‘(2) A facility described in this paragraph is--

      ‘(A) a Department facility (as defined in section 1701(4) of this title) to which the deceased was properly admitted for hospital, nursing home, or domiciliary care under section 1710 or 1711(a) of this title; or

      ‘(B) an institution at which the deceased veteran was, at the time of death, receiving--

        ‘(i) hospital care in accordance with section 1703 of this title;

        ‘(ii) nursing home care under section 1720 of this title; or

        ‘(iii) nursing home care pursuant to payments made under section 1741 of this title.’.

Passed the House of Representatives July 16, 1996.

Attest:

ROBIN H. CARLE,

Clerk.