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H.R. 6342 (109th): Veterans Programs Extension Act of 2006

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


12/21/2006--Public Law. Veterans Programs Extension Act of 2006 - (Sec. 2) Amends federal veterans' benefits provisions to extend through 2007: (1) the authority for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care for veteran participants in Department of Defense (DOD) chemical and biological warfare testing; (2) VA treatment and rehabilitation for seriously mentally ill homeless veterans; (3) additional VA services for homeless and seriously mentally ill veterans; (4) the Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans; and (5) VA authority for the purchase of grave markers to be placed at the graves of veterans in private cemeteries.

Extends through: (1) FY2007 a grant and per diem assistance program for homeless veterans; and (2) June 30, 2007, an educational assistance allowance program for veterans pursuing work-study.

(Sec. 3) Expands eligibility under the Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance Program to include the spouse or child of a member of the Armed Forces who: (1) is hospitalized or receiving outpatient medical care; (2) has a total permanent disability incurred in the line of duty; and (3) is likely to be discharged or released due to such disability.

(Sec. 4) Provides a deadline of six months after the enactment of this Act for biennial reports by the Secretaries of Veterans Affairs and Defense on educational assistance programs provided to members and veterans. Makes such reporting requirement permanent (currently ends on January 1, 2005).

(Sec. 5) Extends through 2008 (currently, 2004) required biennial reports from the Advisory Committee on Women Veterans.

(Sec. 6) Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (Secretary) to designate at least six VA health-care facilities as centers of Parkinson's disease research, education, and clinical activities. Requires appropriate geographic distribution of such facilities. Requires the VA's Under Secretary for Health to establish a panel to assess the scientific and clinical merit of proposals submitted for participation as such a center. Authorizes appropriations.

Directs the Secretary to designate at least two VA health-care facilities as multiple sclerosis centers of excellence. Requires the Under Secretary for Health to establish a panel to assess the scientific and clinical merit of proposals submitted for participation as such a center. Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 7) Authorizes the Secretary to carry out specified major medical facility leases in FY2006 and FY2007. Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 9) Codifies recently enacted VA cost-of-living adjustments in veterans' disability compensation, additional compensation for dependents, the clothing allowance for certain disabled veterans, and dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses and children.