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Text of the Veterans’ Benefits Improvements Act of 1996

This bill was enacted after being signed by the President on October 9, 1996. The text of the bill below is as of Sep 24, 1996 (Reported by Senate Committee).

This is not the latest text of this bill.

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S 1711 RS

Calendar No. 625

104th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 1711

[Report No. 104-371]

To establish a commission to evaluate the programs of the Federal Government that assist members of the Armed Forces and veterans in readjusting to civilian life, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

April 29, 1996

Mr. DOLE introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

September 24 (legislative day, SEPTEMBER 20), 1996

Reported by Mr. SIMPSON, with an amendment and an amendment to the title

[Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert the part printed in italic]


A BILL

To establish a commission to evaluate the programs of the Federal Government that assist members of the Armed Forces and veterans in readjusting to civilian life, and for other purposes.

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

[Struck out->] SECTION 1. ESTABLISHMENT OF COMMISSION. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (a) ESTABLISHMENT- There is established a commission to be known as the Commission on Service Members and Veterans Transition Assistance (hereafter in this Act referred to as the ‘Commission’). [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (b) MEMBERSHIP- [<-Struck out]

      [Struck out->] (1) IN GENERAL- The Commission shall be composed of 12 members appointed from among private United States citizens with appropriate and diverse veterans, military, organizational, and management experiences and historical perspectives, of whom-- [<-Struck out]

        [Struck out->] (A) four shall be appointed by the Chairman of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the Senate, in consultation with the Ranking Member of that committee; [<-Struck out]

        [Struck out->] (B) four shall be appointed by the Chairman of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the House of Representatives, in consultation with the Ranking Member of that committee; [<-Struck out]

        [Struck out->] (C) two shall be appointed by the Chairman of the Committee on Armed Services of the Senate, in consultation with the Ranking Member of that committee; and [<-Struck out]

        [Struck out->] (D) two shall be appointed by the Chairman of the Committee on National Security of the House of Representatives, in consultation with the Ranking Member of that committee. [<-Struck out]

      [Struck out->] (2) VSO MEMBERS- One member of the Commission appointed under each of subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph (1) shall be a representative of a veterans service organization. [<-Struck out]

      [Struck out->] (3) DATE- The appointments of the members of the Commission shall be made not later than 45 days after the date of enactment of this Act. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (c) PERIOD OF APPOINTMENT; VACANCIES- Members shall be appointed for the life of the Commission. Any vacancy in the Commission shall not affect its powers, but shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (d) INITIAL MEETING- Not later than 30 days after the date on which all members of the Commission have been appointed, the Commission shall hold its first meeting. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (e) QUORUM- A majority of the members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum, but a lesser number may hold hearings. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (f) CHAIRMAN AND VICE CHAIRMAN- The Commission shall select a Chairman and Vice Chairman from among its members. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (g) MEETINGS- The Commission shall meet at the call of the Chairman. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (h) PANELS- The Commission may establish panels composed of less than the full membership of the Commission for the purpose of carrying out the Commission’s duties under this Act. The actions of such panels shall be subject to the review and control of the Commission. Any findings and determinations made by such a panel shall not be considered the findings and determinations of the Commission unless approved by the Commission. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (i) AUTHORITY OF INDIVIDUALS TO ACT FOR COMMISSION- Any member or agent of the Commission may, if authorized by the Commission, take any action which the Commission is authorized to take under this Act. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 2. DUTIES OF COMMISSION. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (a) IN GENERAL- The Commission shall-- [<-Struck out]

      [Struck out->] (1) review the efficacy and appropriateness of veterans transition and assistance programs in providing assistance to members of the Armed Forces in making the transition and adjustment to civilian life upon their separation from the Armed Forces and in providing assistance to veterans in adjusting to civilian life; [<-Struck out]

      [Struck out->] (2) evaluate proposals for improving such programs, including proposals to consolidate, streamline, and enhance the provision of such assistance and proposals for alternative means of providing such assistance; and [<-Struck out]

      [Struck out->] (3) make recommendations to Congress regarding means of ensuring the continuing utility of such programs and assistance and of otherwise improving such programs and the provision of such assistance. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (b) REVIEW OF PROGRAMS TO ASSIST MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES AT SEPARATION- [<-Struck out]

      [Struck out->] (1) IN GENERAL- While carrying out the general duties specified in subsection (a), the members of the Commission appointed under subparagraphs (C) and (D) of section 1(b)(1) shall review primarily programs intended to assist members of the Armed Forces at the time of their separation from service in the Armed Forces, including programs designed to assist families of such members in preparing for the transition of such members from military life to civilian life and to facilitate that transition. [<-Struck out]

      [Struck out->] (2) SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS- In carrying out the review, such members of the Commission shall determine-- [<-Struck out]

        [Struck out->] (A) the adequacy of the programs referred to in paragraph (1) for their purposes; [<-Struck out]

        [Struck out->] (B) the adequacy of the support of the Armed Forces for such programs; [<-Struck out]

        [Struck out->] (C) the effect, if any, of the existence of such programs on combat readiness; [<-Struck out]

        [Struck out->] (D) the extent to which such programs provide members of the Armed Forces with job-search skills; [<-Struck out]

        [Struck out->] (E) the extent to which such programs prepare such members for employment in the private sector and in the public sector; [<-Struck out]

        [Struck out->] (F) the effectiveness of such programs in assisting such members in finding employment in the public sector; and [<-Struck out]

        [Struck out->] (G) the means by which such programs could be improved in order to assist such members in securing meaningful employment in the private sector upon their separation from service. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (c) REVIEW OF PROGRAMS TO ASSIST VETERANS- [<-Struck out]

      [Struck out->] (1) IN GENERAL- While carrying out the general duties specified in subsection (a), the members of the Commission appointed under subparagraphs (A) and (B) of section 1(b)(1) shall review primarily the adequacy of programs intended to assist veterans (including disabled veterans, homeless veterans, and economically disadvantaged veterans), including the programs referred to in paragraph (2). [<-Struck out]

      [Struck out->] (2) COVERED PROGRAMS- The programs referred to in paragraph (1) are the following: [<-Struck out]

        [Struck out->] (A) Educational assistance programs. [<-Struck out]

        [Struck out->] (B) Job counseling, job training, and job placement services programs. [<-Struck out]

        [Struck out->] (C) Rehabilitation and training programs. [<-Struck out]

        [Struck out->] (D) Housing loan programs. [<-Struck out]

        [Struck out->] (E) Small business loan and small business assistance programs. [<-Struck out]

        [Struck out->] (F) Employment and employment training programs for employment in the public sector and the private sector. [<-Struck out]

        [Struck out->] (G) Federal Government personnel policies (including veterans’ preference policies) and the enforcement of such policies. [<-Struck out]

        [Struck out->] (H) Programs that prepare the families of veterans for their transition from military life to civilian life and facilitate that transition. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (d) REPORTS- [<-Struck out]

      [Struck out->] (1) IMPLEMENTING PLAN- Not later than 90 days after the date on which all members of the Commission have been appointed, the Commission shall submit to the Committees on Veterans’ Affairs and Armed Services of the Senate and the Committees on Veterans’ Affairs and National Security of the House of Representatives a report setting forth a plan for the work of the Commission. The Commission shall develop the plan in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and the heads of other appropriate departments and agencies of the Federal Government. [<-Struck out]

      [Struck out->] (2) FINAL REPORT- [<-Struck out]

        [Struck out->] (A) REQUIREMENT- Not later than one year after the date of the first meeting of the Commission, the Commission shall submit to the committees referred to in paragraph (1), and to the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Education, a report setting forth the activities, findings, and recommendations of the Commission, including any recommendations for legislative action and administrative action as the Commission considers appropriate. [<-Struck out]

        [Struck out->] (B) EXECUTIVE COMMENT- Not later than 90 days after receiving the report referred to in subparagraph (A), the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall jointly submit to Congress a report setting forth the comments of such Secretaries with respect to the report. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 3. POWERS OF COMMISSION. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (a) HEARINGS- The Commission may hold such hearings, sit and act at such times and places, take such testimony, and receive such evidence as the Commission considers advisable to carry out the purposes of this Act. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (b) INFORMATION FROM FEDERAL AGENCIES- The Commission may secure directly from the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and any other department or agency of the Federal Government such information as the Commission considers necessary to carry out its duties under this Act. Upon request of the Chairman of the Commission, the head of such department or agency shall furnish such information expeditiously to the Commission. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 4. MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (a) POSTAL SERVICES- The Commission may use the United States mails in the same manner and under the same conditions as other departments and agencies of the Federal Government. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (b) GIFTS- The Commission may accept, use and dispose of gifts or donations of services or property. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (c) MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT- The Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall, upon the request of the Chairman of the Commission, furnish the Commission, on a reimbursable basis, any administrative and support services as the Commission may require. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 5. COMMISSION PERSONNEL MATTERS. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (a) COMPENSATION OF MEMBERS- Each member of the Commission who is not an officer or employee of the Federal Government shall be compensated at a rate equal to the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay prescribed for level IV of the Executive Schedule under section 5315 of title 5, United States Code, for each day (including travel time) during which such member is engaged in performing the duties of the Commission. All members of the Commission who are officers or employees of the United States shall serve without compensation in addition to that received for their services as officers or employees of the United States. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (b) TRAVEL AND TRAVEL EXPENSES- [<-Struck out]

      [Struck out->] (1) TRAVEL- Members and personnel of the Commission may travel on military aircraft, military vehicles, or other military conveyances when travel is necessary in the performance of a responsibility of the Commission except when the cost of commercial transportation is less expensive. [<-Struck out]

      [Struck out->] (2) EXPENSES- The members of the Commission shall be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, at rates authorized for employees of agencies under subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code, while away from their homes or regular places of business in the performance of services for the Commission. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (c) STAFF- [<-Struck out]

      [Struck out->] (1) IN GENERAL- The Chairman of the Commission may, without regard to civil service laws and regulations, appoint and terminate an executive director and such other additional personnel as may be necessary to enable the Commission to perform its duties. In appointing an individual as executive director, the Chairman shall, to the maximum extent practicable, attempt to appoint an individual who is a veteran. The employment of an executive director shall be subject to confirmation by the Commission. [<-Struck out]

      [Struck out->] (2) COMPENSATION- The Chairman of the Commission may fix the compensation of the executive director and other personnel without regard to the provisions of chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of title 5, United States Code, relating to classification of positions and General Schedule pay rates, except that the rate of pay for the executive director and other personnel may not exceed the rate payable for level V of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of such title. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (d) DETAIL OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES- Upon request of the Chairman of the Commission, the head of any department or agency of the Federal Government may detail, on a nonreimbursable basis, any personnel of the department or agency to the Commission to assist the Commission in carrying out its duties. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (e) PROCUREMENT OF TEMPORARY AND INTERMITTENT SERVICES- The Chairman of the Commission may procure temporary and intermittent services under section 3109(b) of title 5, United States Code, at rates for individuals which do not exceed the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay prescribed for level IV of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of such title. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 6. TERMINATION OF COMMISSION. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] The Commission shall terminate 90 days after the date on which the Commission submits its report under section 2(d)(2). [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 7. DEFINITIONS. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] For the purposes of this Act-- [<-Struck out]

      [Struck out->] (1) The term ‘veterans transition and assistance program’ means any program of the Federal Government, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Education, the purpose of which is-- [<-Struck out]

        [Struck out->] (A) to assist, by rehabilitation or other means, members of the Armed Forces in readjusting or otherwise making the transition to civilian life upon their separation from service in the Armed Forces; or [<-Struck out]

        [Struck out->] (B) to assist veterans in civilian life. [<-Struck out]

      [Struck out->] (2) The term ‘members of the Armed Forces’ includes individuals serving in the reserve components of the Armed Forces. [<-Struck out]

      [Struck out->] (3) The term ‘veteran’ has the meaning given such term in section 101(2) of title 38, United States Code. [<-Struck out]

      [Struck out->] (4) The term ‘veterans service organization’ means any organization covered by section 5902(a) of title 38, United States Code. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 8. FUNDING. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (a) IN GENERAL- The Secretary of Defense shall, upon the request of the Chairman of the Commission, make available to the Commission such amounts as the Commission may require to carry out its duties under this Act. The Secretary shall make such amounts available from amounts appropriated for the Department of Defense. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (b) AVAILABILITY- Any sums made available to the Commission under subsection (a) shall remain available, without fiscal year limitation, until the termination of the Commission. [<-Struck out]

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

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

    (b) TABLE OF CONTENTS- The table of contents of this Act is as follows:

      Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

      Sec. 2. References to title 38, United States Code.

TITLE I--COMMISSION ON TRANSITION ASSISTANCE

      Sec. 101. Establishment of commission.

      Sec. 102. Duties of commission.

      Sec. 103. Powers of commission.

      Sec. 104. Miscellaneous administrative provisions.

      Sec. 105. Commission personnel matters.

      Sec. 106. Termination of commission.

      Sec. 107. Definitions.

      Sec. 108. Funding.

TITLE II--LIFE INSURANCE PROGRAMS

      Sec. 201. Short title.

      Sec. 202. Removal of gender references with respect to Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance.

      Sec. 203. Conversion of retired reservist Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance to Veterans’ Group Life Insurance and extension of Veterans’ Group Life Insurance to members of the Ready Reserves.

      Sec. 204. Conversion of SGLI and VGLI to commercial life insurance.

      Sec. 205. Technical amendment.

TITLE III--BENEFITS PROVISIONS

      Sec. 301. Expansion of period of Vietnam era for certain veterans.

      Sec. 302. Revision of authority relating to centers for minority veterans and women veterans.

      Sec. 303. Outer burial receptacles.

      Sec. 304. Clarification of eligibility of minors for burial in national cemeteries.

      Sec. 305. Extension of authority to treat alternative teacher certification programs as educational institutions for certain educational assistance purposes.

      Sec. 306. Direct loans to refinance loans under Native American Veteran Housing Loan Pilot Program.

      Sec. 307. Clothing allowance for incarcerated veterans.

      Sec. 308. Appointment of veterans service organizations as claimants’ representatives.

      Sec. 309. Provision of copies of Board of Veterans’ Appeals decisions.

      Sec. 310. Extension of certain authorities for services for homeless veterans.

TITLE IV--EMPLOYMENT AND REEMPLOYMENT RIGHTS OF MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES

      Sec. 401. Purposes.

      Sec. 402. Definitions.

      Sec. 403. Discrimination against persons who serve in the uniformed services and acts of reprisal prohibited.

      Sec. 404. Reemployment rights of persons who serve in the uniformed services.

      Sec. 405. Reemployment positions.

      Sec. 406. Leave.

      Sec. 407. Health plans.

      Sec. 408. Employee pension benefit plans.

      Sec. 409. Enforcement of employment or reemployment rights.

      Sec. 410. Enforcement of rights with respect to a State or private employer.

      Sec. 411. Enforcement of rights with respect to Federal executive agencies.

      Sec. 412. Enforcement of rights with respect to certain Federal agencies.

      Sec. 413. Conduct of investigation; subpoenas.

      Sec. 414. Transition rules and effective dates.

      Sec. 415. Effective dates.

SEC. 2. REFERENCES TO TITLE 38, UNITED STATES CODE.

    Except as otherwise expressly provided, whenever in this Act an amendment or repeal is expressed in terms of an amendment to or repeal of 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--COMMISSION ON TRANSITION ASSISTANCE

SEC. 101. ESTABLISHMENT OF COMMISSION.

    (a) ESTABLISHMENT- There is established a commission to be known as the Commission on Service Members and Veterans Transition Assistance (hereafter in this title referred to as the ‘Commission’).

    (b) MEMBERSHIP- (1) The Commission shall be composed of 12 members appointed from among private United States citizens with appropriate and diverse experiences, expertise, and historical perspectives on veterans, military, organizational, and management matters, of whom--

      (A) four shall be appointed by the Chairman of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the Senate, in consultation with the Ranking Member of that committee;

      (B) four shall be appointed by the Chairman of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the House of Representatives, in consultation with the Ranking Member of that committee;

      (C) two shall be appointed by the Chairman of the Committee on Armed Services of the Senate, in consultation with the Ranking Member of that committee; and

      (D) two shall be appointed by the Chairman of the Committee on National Security of the House of Representatives, in consultation with the Ranking Member of that committee.

    (2)(A) One member of the Commission appointed under each of subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph (1) shall be a representative of a veterans service organization.

    (B) To the maximum extent practicable, the individuals appointed as members of the Commission shall be veterans.

    (C) Not more than seven of the members of the Commission may be members of the same political party.

    (3) The appointments of members of the Commission shall, to the maximum extent practicable, be made after consultation with representatives of veterans service organizations.

    (4) The appointments of the members of the Commission shall be made not later than 45 days after the date of enactment of this Act.

    (c) PERIOD OF APPOINTMENT; VACANCIES- Members shall be appointed for the life of the Commission. Any vacancy in the Commission shall not affect its powers, but shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.

    (d) INITIAL MEETING- Not later than 30 days after the date on which all members of the Commission have been appointed, the Commission shall hold its first meeting.

    (e) QUORUM- A majority of the members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum, but a lesser number may hold hearings.

    (f) CHAIRMAN AND VICE CHAIRMAN- The Commission shall select a Chairman and Vice Chairman from among its members.

    (g) MEETINGS- The Commission shall meet at the call of the Chairman of the Commission.

    (h) PANELS- The Commission may establish panels composed of less than the full membership of the Commission for the purpose of carrying out the Commission’s duties. The actions of such panels shall be subject to the review and control of the Commission. Any findings and determinations made by such a panel shall not be considered the findings and determinations of the Commission unless approved by the Commission.

    (i) AUTHORITY OF INDIVIDUALS TO ACT FOR COMMISSION- Any member or agent of the Commission may, if authorized by the Commission, take any action which the Commission is authorized to take under this title.

SEC. 102. DUTIES OF COMMISSION.

    (a) IN GENERAL- The Commission shall--

      (1) review the efficacy and appropriateness of veterans transition and assistance programs in providing assistance to members of the Armed Forces in making the transition and adjustment to civilian life upon their separation from the Armed Forces and in providing assistance to veterans in making the transition to, and adjusting to, civilian life;

      (2) review the allocation under law of responsibility for the administration of veterans transition and assistance programs among the various departments and agencies of the Federal Government and determine the feasibility and desirability of consolidating such administration in one such department or agency;

      (3) evaluate proposals for improving such programs, including proposals to consolidate, streamline, and enhance the provision of such assistance and proposals for alternative means of providing such assistance; and

      (4) make recommendations to Congress regarding means of ensuring the continuing utility of such programs and assistance and of otherwise improving such programs and the provision of such assistance.

    (b) REVIEW OF PROGRAMS TO ASSIST MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES AT SEPARATION- (1) While carrying out the general duties specified in subsection (a), the members of the Commission appointed under subparagraphs (C) and (D) of section 101(b)(1) shall review primarily the programs intended to assist members of the Armed Forces at the time of their separation from service in the Armed Forces, including programs designed to assist families of such members in preparing for the transition of such members from military life to civilian life and to facilitate that transition.

    (2) In carrying out the review, such members of the Commission shall determine--

      (A) the adequacy of the programs referred to in paragraph (1) for their purposes;

      (B) the adequacy of the support of the Armed Forces for such programs;

      (C) the effect, if any, of the existence of such programs on military readiness;

      (D) the extent to which such programs provide members of the Armed Forces with job-search skills;

      (E) the extent to which such programs prepare such members for employment in the private sector and in the public sector;

      (F) the effectiveness of such programs in assisting such members in finding employment in the public sector upon their separation from service; and

      (G) the ways in which such programs could be improved in order to assist such members in securing meaningful employment in the private sector upon their separation from service.

    (c) REVIEW OF PROGRAMS TO ASSIST VETERANS- (1) While carrying out the general duties specified in subsection (a), the members of the Commission appointed under subparagraphs (A) and (B) of section 101(b)(1) shall--

      (A) review the adequacy of programs intended to assist veterans (including disabled veterans, homeless veterans, and economically disadvantaged veterans) in adjusting to civilian life, including the programs referred to in paragraph (2); and

      (B) consider--

        (i) whether the scope, focus, or content of such programs should be changed as a result of the conversion of the Armed Forces to an all-volunteer force; and

        (ii) whether responsibility for administration of such programs should be transferred to a department or agency other than the Department of Veterans Affairs as a result of such conversion and, if so, the department or agency to which the administration should be transferred.

    (2) The programs referred to in paragraph (1)(A) are the following:

      (A) Educational assistance programs.

      (B) Job counseling, job training, and job placement services programs.

      (C) Rehabilitation and training programs.

      (D) Housing loan programs.

      (E) Small business loan and small business assistance programs.

      (F) Employment and employment training programs for employment in the public sector and the private sector, including employer training programs and union apprenticeship programs.

      (G) Federal Government personnel policies (including veterans’ preference policies) and the enforcement of such policies.

      (H) Programs that prepare the families of members of the Armed Forces for their transition from military life to civilian life and facilitate that transition.

    (d) REPORTS- (1) Not later than 90 days after the date on which all members of the Commission have been appointed, the Commission shall submit to the Committees on Veterans’ Affairs and Armed Services of the Senate and the Committees on Veterans’ Affairs and National Security of the House of Representatives a report setting forth a plan for the work of the Commission. The Commission shall develop the plan in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and the heads of other appropriate departments and agencies of the Federal Government.

    (2)(A) Not later than one year after the date of the first meeting of the Commission, the Commission shall submit to the committees referred to in paragraph (1), and to the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Education, a report setting forth the activities, findings, and recommendations of the Commission, including any recommendations for legislative action and administrative action as the Commission considers appropriate.

    (B) Not later than 90 days after receiving the report referred to in subparagraph (A), the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall jointly transmit the report to Congress, together with the Secretaries’ comments on the report.

SEC. 103. POWERS OF COMMISSION.

    (a) HEARINGS- The Commission may hold such hearings, sit and act at such times and places, take such testimony, and receive such evidence as the Commission considers advisable to carry out the purposes of this title.

    (b) INFORMATION FROM FEDERAL AGENCIES- The Commission may secure directly from the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and any other department or agency of the Federal Government such information as the Commission considers necessary to carry out its duties under this title. Upon request of the Chairman of the Commission, the head of such department or agency shall furnish such information expeditiously to the Commission.

SEC. 104. MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS.

    (a) POSTAL SERVICES- The Commission may use the United States mails in the same manner and under the same conditions as other departments and agencies of the Federal Government.

    (b) GIFTS- The Commission may accept, use, and dispose of gifts or donations of services or property.

    (c) MISCELLANEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT- The Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall, upon the request of the Chairman of the Commission, furnish the Commission, on a reimbursable basis, any administrative and support services as the Commission may require.

SEC. 105. COMMISSION PERSONNEL MATTERS.

    (a) COMPENSATION OF MEMBERS- Each member of the Commission shall be compensated at a rate equal to the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay prescribed for level IV of the Executive Schedule under section 5315 of title 5, United States Code, for each day (including travel time) during which such member is engaged in performing the duties of the Commission.

    (b) TRAVEL AND TRAVEL EXPENSES- (1) Members and personnel of the Commission may travel on military aircraft, military vehicles, or other military conveyances when travel is necessary in the performance of a duty of the Commission except when the cost of commercial transportation is less expensive.

    (2) The members of the Commission shall be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, at rates authorized for employees of agencies under subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code, while away from their homes or regular places of business in the performance of services for the Commission.

    (c) STAFF- (1) The Chairman of the Commission may, without regard to civil service laws and regulations, appoint and terminate an executive director and such other additional personnel as may be necessary to enable the Commission to perform its duties. In appointing an individual as executive director, the Chairman shall, to the maximum extent practicable, attempt to appoint an individual who is a veteran. The employment of an executive director shall be subject to confirmation by the Commission.

    (2) The Chairman of the Commission may fix the compensation of the executive director and other personnel without regard to the provisions of chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of title 5, United States Code, relating to classification of positions and General Schedule pay rates, except that the rate of pay for the executive director and other personnel may not exceed the rate payable for level V of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of such title.

    (d) DETAIL OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES- Upon request of the Chairman of the Commission, the head of any department or agency of the Federal Government may detail, on a nonreimbursable basis, any personnel of the department or agency to the Commission to assist the Commission in carrying out its duties.

    (e) PROCUREMENT OF TEMPORARY AND INTERMITTENT SERVICES- The Chairman of the Commission may procure temporary and intermittent services under section 3109(b) of title 5, United States Code, at rates for individuals which do not exceed the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay prescribed for level IV of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of such title.

SEC. 106. TERMINATION OF COMMISSION.

    The Commission shall terminate 90 days after the date on which the Commission submits its report under section 102(d)(2).

SEC. 107. DEFINITIONS.

    For the purposes of this title--

      (1) The term ‘veterans transition and assistance program’ means any program of the Federal Government, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Education, the purpose of which is--

        (A) to assist, by rehabilitation or other means, members of the Armed Forces in readjusting or otherwise making the transition to civilian life upon their separation from service in the Armed Forces; or

        (B) to assist veterans in making the transition to civilian life.

      (2) The term ‘Armed Forces’ has the meaning given such term in section 101(10) of title 38, United States Code.

      (3) The term ‘veteran’ has the meaning given such term in section 101(2) of title 38, United States Code.

      (4) The term ‘veterans service organization’ means any organization covered by section 5902(a) of title 38, United States Code.

SEC. 108. FUNDING.

    (a) IN GENERAL- The Secretary of Defense shall, upon the request of the Chairman of the Commission, make available to the Commission such amounts as the Commission may require to carry out its duties under this title. The Secretary shall make such amounts available from amounts appropriated for the Department of Defense.

    (b) AVAILABILITY- Any sums made available to the Commission under subsection (a) shall remain available, without fiscal year limitation, until the termination of the Commission.

TITLE II--LIFE INSURANCE PROGRAMS

SEC. 201. SHORT TITLE.

    This title may be cited as the ‘Veterans’ Insurance Reform Act of 1996’.

SEC. 202. REMOVAL OF GENDER REFERENCES WITH RESPECT TO SERVICEMEN’S GROUP LIFE INSURANCE.

    (a) IN GENERAL- The following provisions are amended by striking out ‘Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance’ each place it appears and inserting in lieu thereof ‘Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance’:

      (1) Subsections (a), (c), and (e) of section 1967.

      (2) Subsections (a) through (d) of section 1969.

      (3) Subsections (a), (f), and (g) of section 1970.

      (4) Section 1971(b).

      (5) Section 1973.

      (6) The text of section 1974(a).

      (7) Subsections (a) (other than the third and fourth sentences), (d), and (g) of section 1977.

      (8) Section 3017(a)(2)(A)(i).

      (9) Section 3224(1).

    (b) CONFORMING AND CLERICAL AMENDMENTS- (1) Section 1315(f)(1)(F) is amended by striking out ‘servicemen’s group life insurance’ and inserting in lieu thereof ‘servicemembers’ group life insurance’.

    (2)(A) The heading of subchapter III of chapter 19 is amended to read as follows:

‘SUBCHAPTER III--SERVICEMEMBERS’ GROUP LIFE INSURANCE’.

    (B) The item relating to such subchapter in the table of sections at the beginning of such chapter is amended to read as follows:

‘Subchapter III--Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance’.

    (3)(A) The section head of section 1974 is amended to read as follows:

‘Sec. 1974. Advisory Council on Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance’.

    (B) The item relating to such section in the table of sections at the beginning of chapter 19 is amended to read as follows:

      ‘1974. Advisory Council on Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance.’.

    (d) REFERENCES- (1) Any reference to Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance in any Federal law, Executive order, regulation, delegation of authority, or other document of the Federal Government shall be deemed to refer to Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance.

    (2) Any reference to the Advisory Council on Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance in any Federal law, Executive order, regulation, delegation of authority, or other document of the Federal Government shall be deemed to refer to the Advisory Council on Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance.

SEC. 203. CONVERSION OF RETIRED RESERVIST SERVICEMEMBERS’ GROUP LIFE INSURANCE TO VETERANS’ GROUP LIFE INSURANCE AND EXTENSION OF VETERANS’ GROUP LIFE INSURANCE TO MEMBERS OF THE READY RESERVES.

    (a) DEFINITIONS- Section 1965(5) is amended--

      (1) by adding ‘and’ at the end of subparagraph (B);

      (2) by striking out subparagraphs (C) and (D); and

      (3) by redesignating subparagraph (E) as subparagraph (C).

    (b) PERSONS INSURED- Section 1967 is amended--

      (1) in subsection (a)--

        (A) by adding ‘and’ at the end of paragraph (1);

        (B) by striking out paragraphs (3) and (4); and

        (C) in the full sentence in the matter following paragraph (2), by striking out ‘or the first day a member of the Reserves, whether or not assigned to the Retired Reserve of a uniformed service, meets the qualifications of section 1965(5)(C) of this title, or the first day a member of the Reserves meets the qualifications of section 1965(5)(D) of this title,’;

      (2) by striking out subsection (d); and

      (3) by redesignating subsection (e) as subsection (d).

    (c) DURATION AND TERMINATION OF COVERAGE- Section 1968(a) is amended--

      (1) by striking out ‘subparagraph (B), (C), or (D) of section 1965(5)’ in the matter preceding paragraph (1) and inserting in lieu thereof ‘section 1965(5)(B)’;

      (2) by striking out paragraph (4) and inserting in lieu thereof the following new paragraph (4):

      ‘(4) with respect to a member of the Ready Reserve of a uniformed service who meets the qualifications set forth in section 1965(5)(B) of this title, one hundred and twenty days after separation or release from such assignment, unless on the date of such separation or release the member is totally disabled, under criteria established by the Secretary, in which event the insurance shall cease one year after the date of separation or release from such assignment, or on the date the insured ceases to be totally disabled, whichever is the earlier date, but in no event prior to the

expiration of one hundred and twenty days after separation or release from such assignment.’; and

      (3) by striking out paragraphs (5) and (6).

    (d) DEDUCTIONS- Section 1969 is amended--

      (1) in subsection (a)(2), by striking out ‘is assigned to the Reserve (other than the Retired Reserve)’ and all that follows through ‘section 1965(5)(D) of this title,’;

      (2) by striking out subsection (e); and

      (3) by redesignating subsections (f) and (g) as subsections (e) and (f), respectively.

    (e) CONVERSION OF SGLI TO VGLI- The Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance of any member of the Retired Reserve of a uniformed service shall be converted to Veterans’ Group Life Insurance effective 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act.

SEC. 204. CONVERSION OF SGLI AND VGLI TO COMMERCIAL LIFE INSURANCE.

    (a) OPTION TO CONVERT SGLI- Subsection (b) of section 1968 is amended to read as follows:

    ‘(b)(1) Each policy purchased under this subchapter shall contain a provision, in terms approved by the Secretary, that, except as hereinafter provided, Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance which is continued in force after expiration of the period of duty or travel under section 1967(b) or 1968(a) of this title, effective the day after the date such insurance would cease, shall, at the election of the member or former member concerned--

      ‘(A) be automatically converted to Veterans’ Group Life Insurance subject to (i) the timely payment of the initial premium under terms prescribed by the Secretary, and (ii) the terms and conditions set forth in section 1977 of this title; or

      ‘(B) be converted to an individual policy of insurance as described in section 1977(e) of this title upon written application for conversion made to the participating company selected by the member and payment of the required premiums.

    ‘(2) Automatic conversion under paragraph (1)(A) shall be effective only in the case of an otherwise eligible member or former member who is separated or released from a period of active duty or active duty for training or inactive duty training on or after the date on which the Veterans’ Group Life Insurance program (provided for under section 1977 of this title) becomes effective.’.

    (b) CONVERSION OF VGLI- Section 1977 is amended--

      (1) in subsection (a), by striking out the fourth and fifth sentences and inserting in lieu thereof the following sentence: ‘If any person insured under Veterans’ Group Life Insurance again becomes insured under Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance but dies before terminating or converting such person’s Veterans’ Group Life Insurance to Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance, Veterans’ Group Life Insurance will be payable only if such person is insured for less than $200,000 under Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance, and then only in an amount which when added to the amount of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance payable shall not exceed $200,000.’; and

      (2) in subsection (e), by striking out the third sentence and inserting in lieu thereof the following new sentence: ‘A Veterans’ Group Life Insurance policy converted to an individual policy under this subsection shall terminate on the date before the date on which the individual policy becomes effective.’.

SEC. 205. TECHNICAL AMENDMENT.

    Section 1977(a) is amended by striking out ‘and (e)’ each place it appears in the first and second sentences.

TITLE III--BENEFITS PROVISIONS

SEC. 301. EXPANSION OF PERIOD OF VIETNAM ERA FOR CERTAIN VETERANS.

    (a) IN GENERAL- Section 101(29) of title 38, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:

    ‘(29) The term ‘Vietnam era’ means the following:

      ‘(A) The period beginning on February 28, 1961, and ending on May 7, 1975, in the case of a veteran who served in the Republic of Vietnam during such period.

      ‘(B) The period beginning on August 5, 1964, and ending on May 7, 1975, in all other cases.’.

    (b) LIMITED EXPANSION FOR SPECIFIC PURPOSES- (1)(A) Paragraphs (1)(B) and (3) of section 1116(a) of such title are each amended by striking out ‘during the Vietnam era’ and inserting in lieu thereof ‘during the period beginning on January 9, 1962, and ending on May 7, 1975,’.

    (B) Paragraphs (1)(A), (2)C), (2)(E), (2)(F), and (4) of such section are each amended by striking out ‘during the Vietnam era’ and inserting in lieu thereof ‘during the period beginning on January 9, 1962, and ending on May 7, 1975’.

    (2) Section 1710(e)(1)(A) of such title is amended--

      (A) in clause (i), by striking out ‘during the Vietnam era,’ and inserting in lieu thereof ‘during the period beginning on January 9, 1962, and ending on May 7, 1975,’; and

      (B) in clause (ii), by striking out ‘such era’ and inserting in lieu thereof ‘such period’.

    (c) EFFECTIVE DATE- The amendments made by this section shall take effect on January 1, 1997. No benefit may be paid or provided by reason of such amendments for any period before such date.

SEC. 302. REVISION OF AUTHORITY RELATING TO CENTERS FOR MINORITY VETERANS AND WOMEN VETERANS.

    (a) SES STATUS OF DIRECTORS- Sections 317(b) and 318(b) are each amended by inserting ‘career or’ before ‘noncareer’.

    (b) ADDITIONAL FUNCTIONS OF CENTER FOR MINORITY VETERANS- Section 317(d) is amended--

      (1) by redesignating paragraph (10) as paragraph (12); and

      (2) by inserting after paragraph (9) the following new paragraphs (10) and (11):

      ‘(10) Advise the Secretary and other appropriate officials on the effectiveness of the Department’s efforts to accomplish the goals of section 492B of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 289a-2) with respect to the inclusion of minorities in clinical research and on particular health conditions affecting the health of members of minority groups which should be studied as part of the Department’s medical research program and promote cooperation between the Department and other sponsors of medical research of potential benefit to veterans who are minorities.

      ‘(11) Provide support and administrative services to the Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans provided for under section 544 of this title.’.

    (c) DEFINITION OF MINORITY VETERANS- Section 317 is amended by adding at the end the following:

    ‘(g) In this section--

      ‘(1) The term ‘veterans who are minorities’ means veterans who are minority group members.

      ‘(2) The term ‘minority group member’ has the meaning given such term in section 544(d) of this title.’.

    (d) CLARIFICATION OF FUNCTIONS OF CENTER FOR WOMEN VETERANS- Section 318(d)(10) is amended by striking out ‘(relating to’ and all that follows through ‘and of’ and inserting in lieu thereof ‘(42 U.S.C. 289a-2) with respect to the inclusion of women in clinical research and on’.

    (e) ADDITIONAL FUNCTIONS OF ADVISORY COMMITTEES- (1) Section 542(b) is amended by inserting ‘, including the Center for Women Veterans’ before the period at the end.

    (2) Section 544(b) is amended by inserting ‘, including the Center for Minority Veterans’ before the period at the end.

    (f) TERMINATION DATE OF ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON MINORITY VETERANS- Section 544(e) is amended by striking out ‘December 31, 1997’ and inserting in lieu thereof ‘December 31, 1999’.

SEC. 303. OUTER BURIAL RECEPTACLES.

    (a) IN GENERAL- Subsection (d) of section 2306 is amended--

      (1) in paragraph (1), by striking out ‘a grave liner’ each place it appears and inserting in lieu thereof ‘an outer burial receptacle’;

      (2) in paragraph (2)--

        (A) by striking out ‘grave liners’ and inserting in lieu thereof ‘outer burial receptacles’; and

        (B) by striking out ‘specifications and procedures’ and inserting in lieu thereof ‘regulations or procedures’; and

      (3) by adding at the end the following:

    ‘(3) Regulations or procedures under paragraph (2) may specify that--

      ‘(A) an outer burial receptacle other than a grave liner be provided in lieu of a grave liner at the election of the survivors of the interred veteran; and

      ‘(B) if an outer burial receptacle other than a grave liner is provided in lieu of a grave liner upon an election of such survivors, such survivors be required--

        ‘(i) to pay the amount by which the cost of the outer burial receptacle exceeds the cost of the grave liner that would otherwise have been provided in the absence of the election; and

        ‘(ii) to pay the amount of the administrative costs incurred by the Secretary concerned in providing the outer burial receptacle in lieu of such grave liner.

    ‘(4) Regulations or procedures under paragraph (2) may provide for the use of a voucher system, or other system of reimbursement approved by the Secretary concerned, for payment for outer burial receptacles other than grave liners provided under such regulations or procedures.’.

    (b) CONFORMING AMENDMENTS- (1) The section heading of such section is amended to read as follows:

‘Sec. 2306. Headstones, markers, and burial receptacles’.

    (2) The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 23 is amended by striking out the item relating to section 2306 and inserting in lieu thereof the following new item:

      ‘2306. Headstones, markers, and burial receptacles.’.

SEC. 304. CLARIFICATION OF ELIGIBILITY OF MINORS FOR BURIAL IN NATIONAL CEMETERIES.

    Section 2402(5) is amended by inserting after ‘minor child’ the following: ‘(which for purposes of this chapter includes a child under 21 years of age, or under 23 years of age if pursuing a course of instruction at an approved educational institution)’.

SEC. 305. EXTENSION OF AUTHORITY TO TREAT ALTERNATIVE TEACHER CERTIFICATION PROGRAMS AS EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS FOR CERTAIN EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE PURPOSES.

    Section 3452(c) is amended in the second sentence by striking out ‘September 30, 1996’ and inserting in lieu thereof ‘December 31, 1998’.

SEC. 306. DIRECT LOANS TO REFINANCE LOANS UNDER NATIVE AMERICAN VETERAN HOUSING LOAN PILOT PROGRAM.

    (a) AUTHORITY- Section 3762 is amended--

      (1) by redesignating subsection (h) as subsection (i); and

      (2) by inserting after subsection (g) the following new subsection (h):

    ‘(h)(1) The Secretary may make direct loans to Native American veterans in order to enable such veterans to refinance existing loans made under this section.

    ‘(2)(A) The Secretary may not make a loan under this subsection unless the loan meets the requirements set forth in subparagraphs (B), (C), and (E) of paragraph (1) of section 3710(e) of this title.

    ‘(B) The Secretary may not make a loan under this subsection unless the loan will bear an interest rate at least one percentage point less than the interest rate borne by the loan being refinanced.

    ‘(C) Paragraphs (2) and (3) of such section 3710(e) shall apply to any loan made under this subsection, except that for the purposes of this subsection the reference to subsection (a)(8) of section 3710 of this title in such paragraphs (2) and (3) shall be deemed to be a reference to this subsection.’.

    (b) LOAN FEE- Section 3729(a)(2)(E) of such title is amended by striking out ‘or 3712(a)(1)(F)’ and inserting in lieu thereof ‘3712(a)(1)(F), or 3762(h)’.

SEC. 307. CLOTHING ALLOWANCE FOR INCARCERATED VETERANS.

    (a) IN GENERAL- 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 incarcerated in a Federal, State, or local penal institution for a period in excess of sixty days and furnished clothing without charge by the institution, the amount of any clothing allowance payable to the veteran under section 1162 of this title shall be reduced by an amount equal to 1/365 th of the amount of the allowance otherwise payable under that section for each day during the 12-month period preceding the date of the payment of the allowance on which the veteran was so incarcerated.’.

    (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. 308. APPOINTMENT OF VETERANS SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS AS CLAIMANTS’ REPRESENTATIVES.

    (a) POWER OF ATTORNEY NAMING A VETERANS SERVICE ORGANIZATION- Section 5902 is amended--

      (1) by redesignating subsection (c) as subsection (d); and

      (2) by inserting after subsection (b) the following new subsection (c):

    ‘(c)(1) Unless a claimant specifically indicates in a power of attorney filed with the Department a desire to appoint only a recognized representative of an organization listed in or approved under subsection (a), the Secretary may, for any purpose, treat the power of attorney naming such an organization, a specific office of such an organization, or a recognized representative of such an organization as the claimant’s representative as an appointment of the entire organization as the claimant’s representative.

    ‘(2) Whenever the Secretary is required or permitted to notify a claimant’s representative, and the claimant has named in a power of attorney an organization listed in or approved under subsection (a), a specific office of such an organization, or a recognized representative of such an organization without specifically indicating a desire to appoint only a recognized representative of the organization, the Secretary shall notify the organization at the address designated by the organization for the purpose of receiving the notification concerned.’.

    (b) APPLICABILITY- The amendments made by this section apply to any power of attorney filed with the Department of Veterans Affairs, regardless of the date of its execution.

SEC. 309. PROVISION OF COPIES OF BOARD OF VETERANS’ APPEALS DECISIONS.

    Section 7104(e) is amended to read as follows:

    ‘(e)(1) After reaching a decision on a case, the Board shall promptly mail a copy of its written decision to the claimant at the last known address of the claimant.

    ‘(2) If the claimant has an authorized representative, the Board shall--

      ‘(A) mail a copy of its written decision to the authorized representative at the last known address of the authorized representative; or

      ‘(B) send a copy of its written decision to the authorized representative by any means reasonably likely to provide the authorized representative with a copy of the decision within the same time a copy would be expected to reach the authorized representative if sent by first-class mail.’.

SEC. 310. EXTENSION OF CERTAIN AUTHORITIES FOR SERVICES FOR HOMELESS VETERANS.

    (a) AUTHORITY FOR COMMUNITY-BASED RESIDENTIAL CARE FOR HOMELESS CHRONICALLY MENTALLY ILL VETERANS AND OTHER VETERANS- Section 115(d) of the Veterans’ Benefits and Services Act of 1988 (38 U.S.C. 1712 note) is amended by striking out ‘December 31, 1997’ and inserting in lieu thereof ‘December 31, 1998’.

    (b) AUTHORIZATIONS OF APPROPRIATIONS FOR HOMELESS VETERANS REINTEGRATION PROJECTS- Section 738(e)(1) 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.’.

TITLE IV--EMPLOYMENT AND REEMPLOYMENT RIGHTS OF MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES

SEC. 401. PURPOSES.

    Section 4301(a)(2) is amended by striking out ‘under honorable conditions’.

SEC. 402. DEFINITIONS.

    Section 4303(16) is amended by inserting ‘national’ before ‘emergency’.

SEC. 403. DISCRIMINATION AGAINST PERSONS WHO SERVE IN THE UNIFORMED SERVICES AND ACTS OF REPRISAL PROHIBITED.

    Section 4311 is amended by striking out subsections (b) and (c) and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

    ‘(b) An employer may not discriminate in employment against or take any adverse employment action against any person because such person (1) has taken an action to enforce a protection afforded any person under this chapter, (2) has testified or otherwise made a statement in or in connection with any proceeding under this chapter, (3) has assisted or otherwise participated in an investigation under this chapter, or (4) has exercised a right provided for in this chapter. This subsection shall apply with respect to a person regardless of whether the person has performed service in the uniformed services.

    ‘(c) An employer shall be considered to have engaged in actions prohibited--

      ‘(1) under subsection (a), if the person’s membership, application for membership, service, application for service, or obligation for service in the uniformed services is a motivating factor in the employer’s action, unless the employer can prove that the action would have been taken in the absence of such membership, application for membership, service, application for service, or obligation for service; or

      ‘(2) under subsection (b), if the person’s (A) action to enforce a protection afforded any person under this chapter, (B) testimony or making of a statement in or in connection with any proceeding under this chapter, (C) assistance or other participation in an investigation under this chapter, or (D) exercise of a right provided for in this chapter, is a motivating

factor in the employer’s action, unless the employer can prove that the action would have been taken in the absence of such person’s enforcement action, testimony, statement, assistance, participation, or exercise of a right.

    ‘(d) The prohibitions in subsections (a) and (b) shall apply to any position of employment, including a position covered by section 4312(d)(1)(C).’.

SEC. 404. REEMPLOYMENT RIGHTS OF PERSONS WHO SERVE IN THE UNIFORMED SERVICES.

    (a) INCLUSION OF PREPARATION AND TRAVEL TIME PRIOR TO SERVICE- Section 4312(a) is amended by striking out ‘who is absent from a position of employment’ and inserting in lieu thereof ‘whose absence from a position of employment is necessitated’.

    (b) LIMITATION ON SERVICE EXEMPTION TO WAR OR NATIONAL EMERGENCY- Section 4312(c)(4)(B) is amended to read as follows:

        ‘(B) ordered to or retained on active duty (other than for training) under any provision of law because of a war or national emergency declared by the President or the Congress, as determined by the Secretary concerned;’.

    (c) BRIEF, NONRECURRENT PERIODS OF SERVICE- Section 4312(d)(2)(C) is amended by striking out ‘is brief or for a nonrecurrent period and without a reasonable expectation’ and inserting in lieu thereof ‘is for a brief, nonrecurrent period and there is no reasonable expectation’.

    (d) CONFORMING AMENDMENTS TO REDESIGNATIONS IN TITLE 10- Section 4312(c) is amended--

      (1) in paragraph (3), by striking out ‘section 270’ and inserting in lieu thereof ‘section 10147’; and

      (2) in paragraph (4)--

        (A) by striking out ‘section 672(a), 672(g), 673, 673b, 673c, or 688’ in subparagraph (A) and inserting in lieu thereof ‘section 688, 12301(a), 12301(g), 12302, 12304, or 12305’;

        (B) by striking out ‘section 673b’ in subparagraph (C) and inserting in lieu thereof ‘section 12304’; and

        (C) by striking out ‘section 3500 or 8500’ in subparagraph (E) and inserting in lieu thereof ‘section 12406’.

SEC. 405. REEMPLOYMENT POSITIONS.

    Section 4313(a)(4) is amended--

      (1) by striking out ‘uniform services’ in subparagraph (A)(ii) and inserting in lieu thereof ‘uniformed services’; and

      (2) by striking out ‘of lesser status and pay which’ and inserting in lieu thereof ‘which is the nearest approximation to a position referred to first in clause (A)(i) and then in clause (A)(ii) which’.

SEC. 406. LEAVE.

    Section 4316(d) is amended by adding at the end the following new sentence: ‘No employer may require any such person to use vacation, annual, or similar leave during such period of service.’.

SEC. 407. HEALTH PLANS.

    Section 4317(a) is amended--

      (1) by striking out ‘(a)(1)(A) Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3), in’ and inserting in lieu thereof ‘(a)(1) In’;

      (2) by redesignating clauses (i) and (ii) of paragraph (1) (as amended by paragraph (1) of this section) as subparagraphs (A) and (B), respectively;

      (3) by redesignating subparagraph (B) as paragraph (2); and

      (4) by redesignating subparagraph (C) as paragraph (3), and in that paragraph by redesignating clauses (i) and (ii) as subparagraphs (A) and (B), respectively, and by redesignating subclauses (I) and (II) as clauses (i) and (ii), respectively.

SEC. 408. EMPLOYEE PENSION BENEFIT PLANS.

    The last sentence of section 4318(b)(2) is amended by striking out ‘services,’ and inserting in lieu thereof ‘services, such payment period’.

SEC. 409. ENFORCEMENT OF EMPLOYMENT OR REEMPLOYMENT RIGHTS.

    (a) TECHNICAL AMENDMENT- The second sentence of section 4322(d) is amended by inserting ‘attempt to’ before ‘resolve’.

    (b) NOTIFICATION- Section 4322(e) is amended--

      (1) in the matter preceding paragraph (1), by striking out ‘with respect to a complaint under subsection (d) are unsuccessful,’ and inserting in lieu thereof ‘with respect to any complaint filed under subsection (a) do not resolve the complaint,’; and

      (2) in paragraph (2), by inserting ‘or the Office of Personnel Management’ after ‘Federal executive agency’.

SEC. 410. ENFORCEMENT OF RIGHTS WITH RESPECT TO A STATE OR PRIVATE EMPLOYER.

    Section 4323(a) is amended--

      (1) in paragraph (1), by striking out ‘of an unsuccessful effort to resolve a complaint’; and

      (2) in paragraph (2)(A), by striking out ‘regarding the complaint under section 4322(c)’ and inserting in lieu thereof ‘under section 4322(a)’.

SEC. 411. ENFORCEMENT OF RIGHTS WITH RESPECT TO FEDERAL EXECUTIVE AGENCIES.

    (a) REFERRAL- Section 4324(a)(1) is amended by striking out ‘of an unsuccessful effort to resolve a complaint relating to a Federal executive agency’.

    (b) ALTERNATIVE SUBMISSION OF COMPLAINT- Section 4324(b) is amended--

      (1) in the matter preceding paragraph (1), by inserting ‘or the Office of Personnel Management’ after ‘Federal executive agency’; and

      (2) in paragraph (1), by striking out ‘regarding a complaint under section 4322(c)’ and inserting in lieu thereof ‘under section 4322(a)’.

    (c) RELIEF- Section 4324(c)(2) is amended--

      (1) by inserting ‘or the Office of Personnel Management’ after ‘Federal executive agency’; and

      (2) by striking out ‘employee’ and inserting in lieu thereof ‘Office’.

SEC. 412. ENFORCEMENT OF RIGHTS WITH RESPECT TO CERTAIN FEDERAL AGENCIES.

    Section 4325(d)(1) is amended--

      (1) by striking out ‘, alternative employment in the Federal Government under this chapter,’; and

      (2) by striking out ‘employee’ the last place it appears and inserting in lieu thereof ‘employees’.

SEC. 413. CONDUCT OF INVESTIGATION; SUBPOENAS.

    Section 4326(a) is amended by inserting ‘have reasonable access to and the right to interview persons with information relevant to the investigation and shall’ after ‘at all reasonable times,’.

SEC. 414. TRANSITION RULES AND EFFECTIVE DATES.

    (a) REEMPLOYMENT- Section 8(a) of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (Public Law 103-353; 108 Stat. 3175; 38 U.S.C. 4301 note) is amended--

      (1) in paragraph (3), by adding at the end thereof the following: ‘Any service begun up to 60 days after the date of enactment of this Act, which is served up to 60 days after the date of enactment of this Act pursuant to orders issued under section 502(f) of title 32, United States Code, shall be considered under chapter 43 of title 38, United States Code, as in effect on the day before such date of enactment. Any service pursuant to orders issued under such section 502(f) served after 60 days after the date of enactment of this Act, regardless of when begun, shall be considered under the amendments made by this Act.’; and

      (2) in paragraph (4), by striking out ‘such period’ and inserting in lieu thereof ‘such 60-day period’.

    (b) INSURANCE- Section 8(c)(2) of such Act is amended by striking out ‘person on active duty’ and inserting in lieu thereof ‘person serving a period of service in the uniformed services’.

SEC. 415. EFFECTIVE DATES.

    (a) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in subsection (b), the amendments made by this title shall take effect as of October 13, 1994.

    (b) REORGANIZED TITLE 10 REFERENCES- The amendments made by section 404(d) of this Act shall take effect as of December 1, 1994.

    Amend the title to read as follows: ‘To amend title 38, United States Code, to improve the benefits programs administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, to provide for a study of the Federal programs for veterans, and for other purposes.’.