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H.R. 5404 (113th): Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2014

The text of the bill below is as of Sep 8, 2014 (Introduced).


I

113th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 5404

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

September 8, 2014

(for himself and Mr. Miller of Florida) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and in addition to the Committees on Armed Services and the Budget, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

A BILL

To amend title 38, United States Code, to extend certain expiring provisions of law administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title; table of contents

(a)

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2014 .

(b)

Table of contents

The table of contents for this Act is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

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

Sec. 3. Scoring of budgetary effects.

Title I—Extensions of Authority Relating to Health Care

Sec. 101. Extension of requirement to provide nursing home care to certain veterans with service-connected disabilities.

Sec. 102. Extension of authority for pilot program on counseling in retreat settings for women veterans newly separated from service in the Armed Forces.

Sec. 103. Extension of authority for pilot program on assistance for child care for certain veterans receiving health care.

Sec. 104. Extension of authority to make grants to veterans service organizations for transportation of highly rural veterans.

Sec. 105. Extension of requirement for report on activities of Department of Defense-Department of Veterans Affairs Interagency Program Office.

Sec. 106. Extension of authority for the performance of medical disabilities examinations by contract physicians.

Sec. 107. Extension of authority for collection of copayments for hospital care and nursing home care.

Sec. 108. Extension of authority for recovery from third parties of cost of care and services furnished to veterans with health-plan contracts for non-service-connected disability.

Title II—Extensions of Authority Relating to Homelessness

Sec. 201. Extension of current funding level for comprehensive service programs for homeless veterans.

Sec. 202. Extension of authority for homeless veterans reintegration programs.

Sec. 203. Extension of authority to provide referral and counseling services for certain veterans at risk of homelessness.

Sec. 204. Extension of authority for treatment and rehabilitation services for seriously mentally ill and homeless veterans.

Sec. 205. Extension of authority to provide housing assistance for homeless veterans.

Sec. 206. Extension of authority to provide financial assistance for supportive services for very low-income veteran families in permanent housing.

Sec. 207. Extension of authority for grant program for homeless veterans with special needs.

Sec. 208. Extension of authority for the Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans.

Title III—Extensions of Authority Relating to Benefits

Sec. 301. Extension of authority for the Veterans’ Advisory Committee on Education.

Sec. 302. Extension of authority for calculating net value of real property at time of foreclosure.

Sec. 303. Extension of authority relating to vendee loans.

Sec. 304. Extension of authority to provide rehabilitation and vocational benefits to members of the Armed Forces with severe injuries or illnesses.

Title IV—Other Extensions of Authority and Other Matters

Sec. 401. Extension of authority to transport certain individuals to and from Department of Veterans Affairs facilities.

Sec. 402. Extension of authority for operation of the Department of Veterans Affairs regional office in Manila, the Republic of the Philippines.

Sec. 403. Extension of requirement to provide reports to Congress regarding equitable relief in the case of administrative error.

Sec. 404. Extension of authority for Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans.

Sec. 405. Extension of authority for temporary expansion of eligibility for specially adapted housing assistance for certain veterans with disabilities causing difficulty ambulating.

Sec. 406. Extension of authority for agreement with National Academy of Sciences.

Sec. 407. Assistance and enforcement of USERRA rights with respect to employers that are Federal departments and agencies.

Sec. 408. Health professionals education debt reduction.

Sec. 409. Amendments to Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014.

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.

3.

Scoring of budgetary effects

The budgetary effects of this Act, for the purpose of complying with the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010, shall be determined by reference to the latest statement titled Budgetary Effects of PAYGO Legislation for this Act, submitted for printing in the Congressional Record by the Chairman of the House Budget Committee, provided that such statement has been submitted prior to the vote on passage.

I

Extensions of Authority Relating to Health Care

101.

Extension of requirement to provide nursing home care to certain veterans with service-connected disabilities

Section 1710A(d) is amended by striking December 31, 2014 and inserting December 31, 2015.

102.

Extension of authority for pilot program on counseling in retreat settings for women veterans newly separated from service in the Armed Forces

(a)

Extension of authority

Subsection (d) of section 203 of the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010 ( Public Law 111–163 ; 124 Stat. 1143; 38 U.S.C. 1712A note) is amended to read as follows:

(d)

Termination

The authority to carry out a pilot program under this section shall terminate on December 31, 2015.

.

(b)

Authorization of appropriations

Subsection (f) of such section is amended by striking fiscal years 2010 and 2011 and inserting fiscal years 2010, 2011, and 2015 .

103.

Extension of authority for pilot program on assistance for child care for certain veterans receiving health care

(a)

Extension of authority

Subsection (e) of section 205 of the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010 ( Public Law 111–163 ; 124 Stat. 1144; 38 U.S.C. 1710 note) is amended to read as follows:

(e)

Termination

The authority to carry out a pilot program under this section shall terminate on December 31, 2015.

.

(b)

Authorization of appropriations

Subsection (h) of such section is amended by striking 2014 and inserting 2015 .

104.

Extension of authority to make grants to veterans service organizations for transportation of highly rural veterans

Section 307(d) of the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010 ( Public Law 111–163 ; 124 Stat. 1154; 38 U.S.C. 1710 note) is amended by striking 2014 and inserting 2015 .

105.

Extension of requirement for report on activities of Department of Defense-Department of Veterans Affairs Interagency Program Office

Section 1635(h)(1) of the Wounded Warrior Act (title XVI of Public Law 110–181 ; 122 Stat. 460; 10 U.S.C. 1071 note) is amended by striking 2014 and inserting 2015.

106.

Extension of authority for the performance of medical disabilities examinations by contract physicians

Section 704(c) of the Veterans Benefits Act of 2003 ( Public Law 108–183 ; 38 U.S.C. 5101 note) is amended by striking December 31, 2014 and inserting December 31, 2015.

107.

Extension of authority for collection of copayments for hospital care and nursing home care

Section 1710(f)(2)(B) is amended by striking September 30, 2014 and inserting September 30, 2015.

108.

Extension of authority for recovery from third parties of cost of care and services furnished to veterans with health-plan contracts for non-service-connected disability

Section 1729(a)(2)(E) is amended by striking October 1, 2014 and inserting October 1, 2015.

II

Extensions of Authority Relating to Homelessness

201.

Extension of current funding level for comprehensive service programs for homeless veterans

Section 2013(7) is amended by striking $150,000,000 and inserting $250,000,000 .

202.

Extension of authority for homeless veterans reintegration programs

Section 2021(e)(1)(F) is amended by striking 2014 and inserting 2015 .

203.

Extension of authority to provide referral and counseling services for certain veterans at risk of homelessness

Section 2023(d) is amended by striking September 30, 2014 and inserting September 30, 2015.

204.

Extension of authority for treatment and rehabilitation services for seriously mentally ill and homeless veterans

(a)

General treatment

Section 2031(b) is amended by striking December 31, 2014 and inserting September 30, 2015.

(b)

Additional services at certain locations

Section 2033(d) is amended by striking December 31, 2014 and inserting September 30, 2015.

205.

Extension of authority to provide housing assistance for homeless veterans

Section 2041(c) is amended by striking December 31, 2014 and inserting September 30, 2015.

206.

Extension of authority to provide financial assistance for supportive services for very low-income veteran families in permanent housing

Section 2044(e)(1)(E) is amended by striking fiscal years 2013 and 2014 and inserting fiscal years 2013 through 2015 .

207.

Extension of authority for grant program for homeless veterans with special needs

Section 2061(d)(1) is amended by striking 2014 and inserting 2015.

208.

Extension of authority for the Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans

Section 2066(d) is amended by striking December 31, 2014 and inserting December 31, 2017.

III

Extensions of Authority Relating to Benefits

301.

Extension of authority for the Veterans’ Advisory Committee on Education

Section 3692(c) is amended by striking December 31, 2014 and inserting December 31, 2017.

302.

Extension of authority for calculating net value of real property at time of foreclosure

Section 3732(c)(11) is amended by striking October 1, 2014 and inserting October 1, 2015.

303.

Extension of authority relating to vendee loans

Section 3733(a)(7) is amended—

(1)

in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by striking September 30, 2014 and inserting September 30, 2015; and

(2)

in subparagraph (C), by striking September 30, 2014, and inserting September 30, 2015,.

304.

Extension of authority to provide rehabilitation and vocational benefits to members of the Armed Forces with severe injuries or illnesses

Section 1631(b)(2) of the Wounded Warrior Act (title XVI of Public Law 110–181 ; 122 Stat. 458; 10 U.S.C. 1071 note) is amended by striking December 31, 2014 and inserting December 31, 2015.

IV

Other Extensions of Authority and Other Matters

401.

Extension of authority to transport certain individuals to and from Department of Veterans Affairs facilities

Section 111A(a)(2) is amended by striking December 31, 2014 and inserting December 31, 2015.

402.

Extension of authority for operation of the Department of Veterans Affairs regional office in Manila, the Republic of the Philippines

Section 315(b) is amended by striking December 31, 2014 and inserting September 30, 2015.

403.

Extension of requirement to provide reports to Congress regarding equitable relief in the case of administrative error

Section 503(c) is amended by striking December 31, 2014 and inserting December 31, 2015.

404.

Extension of authority for Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans

Section 544(e) is amended by striking December 31, 2014 and inserting December 31, 2017.

405.

Extension of authority for temporary expansion of eligibility for specially adapted housing assistance for certain veterans with disabilities causing difficulty ambulating

Section 2101(a)(4) is amended—

(1)

in subparagraph (A), by striking September 30, 2014 and inserting September 30, 2015; and

(2)

in subparagraph (B), by striking fiscal year 2014 and inserting each of fiscal years 2014 and 2015.

406.

Extension of authority for agreement with National Academy of Sciences

Section 3(i) of the Agent Orange Act of 1991 ( Public Law 102–4 ; 105 Stat. 13; 38 U.S.C. 1116 note) is amended by striking October 1, 2014 and inserting December 31, 2015.

407.

Assistance and enforcement of USERRA rights with respect to employers that are Federal departments and agencies

(a)

Assistance

Section 4321 is amended—

(1)

by striking The Secretary and inserting (a) State and private employers.—The Secretary ;

(2)

by inserting after this chapter the following: with respect to a State (as an employer) or a private employer; and

(3)

by adding at the end the following new subsection:

(b)

Federal employers

The Office of Special Counsel established by section 1211 of title 5 shall provide assistance to any person with respect to the employment and reemployment rights and benefits to which such person is entitled under this chapter with respect to a Federal executive agency or the Office of Personnel Management. In providing such assistance, the Special Counsel may request the assistance of existing Federal and State agencies engaged in similar or related activities and utilize the assistance of volunteers.

.

(b)

Investigation and enforcement

Section 4324 is amended—

(1)

in subsection (a)—

(A)

by striking paragraph (1) and inserting the following new paragraph (1):

(1)
(A)

A person described in subparagraph (B) may file a complaint with the Office of Special Counsel established by section 1211 of title 5, and the Special Counsel shall investigate such complaint.

(B)

A person described in this subparagraph is a person who claims that—

(i)

such person is entitled under this chapter to employment or reemployment rights or benefits with respect to employment by an employer that is a Federal executive agency; and

(ii)

such employer or the Office of Personnel Management has failed or refused, or is about to fail or refuse, to comply with the provisions of this chapter.

(C)

Such a complaint shall be in writing, be in such form as the Special Counsel may prescribe, include the name and address of the employer against whom the complaint is filed, and contain a summary of the allegations that form the basis for the complaint.

; and

(B)

in paragraph (2)—

(i)

in subparagraph (A), by striking the person on whose behalf a complaint is referred and inserting a person who submits a complaint; and

(ii)

in subparagraph (B)—

(I)

by striking 60 days and inserting 90 days; and

(II)

by striking receives a referral and inserting receives a person’s complaint;

(2)

in subsection (b)—

(A)

by striking paragraphs (1) and (2); and

(B)

by redesignating paragraphs (3) and (4) as paragraphs (1) and (2), respectively; and

(3)

by adding at the end the following new subsection:

(e)

This subchapter does not apply to any action relating to benefits to be provided under the Thrift Savings Plan under title 5.

.

(c)

Technical and conforming amendments

Chapter 43 is amended—

(1)

in section 4322

(A)

in subsection (a)—

(i)

in paragraph (1), by inserting after an employer the following: that is a State or a private employer; and

(ii)

in paragraph (2)—

(I)

by striking (A);

(II)

by striking ; or and inserting a comma; and

(III)

by striking subparagraph (B);

(B)

in subsection (c)(1), by striking or 4324, as the case may be;

(C)

in subsection (e)(2), by striking (in the case of a person submitting a complaint against a State or private employer) or section 4324 (in the case of a person submitting a complaint against a Federal executive agency or the Office of Personnel Management);

(D)

by striking subsection (g); and

(E)

by striking the section heading and inserting the following: Investigation and resolution of claims with respect to a State or private employer ;

(2)

in section 4325(d)

(A)

in paragraph (1), by inserting or the Special Counsel after Secretary ; and

(B)

in paragraph (2), by inserting , the Special Counsel, after Secretary ;

(3)

in section 4326

(A)

in subsection (a)—

(i)

by striking the Secretary’s duly authorized representatives and inserting the duly authorized representatives of the Secretary or the Special Counsel, as the case may be, and

(ii)

by striking the Secretary considers and inserting the Secretary or the Special Counsel, as the case may be, considers;

(B)

in subsection (b), by inserting after Secretary both places it appears the following: (or the Special Counsel, as the case may be); and

(C)

in subsection (c), by inserting or the Special Counsel after Secretary each place it appears;

(4)

in section 4327

(A)

in subsection (a)(2), by striking 4324(a)(1),; and

(B)

in subsection (b), by inserting the Special Counsel, after the Secretary,; and

(5)

in section 4332(b)(3)

(A)

by striking received a referral and inserting received a complaint submitted; and

(B)

by striking for such referral.

(d)

Clerical amendment

The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 43 is amended by striking the item relating to section 4322 and inserting the following new item:

4322. Investigation and resolution of claims with respect to a State or private employer.

.

(e)

Effective date

(1)

In general

This section and the amendments made by this section shall take effect on the date that is 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(2)

Transfer of functions; funding

During the 90-day period following the date of the enactment of this Act, the Special Counsel shall enter into an agreement with the Secretary of Labor to transfer to the Special Counsel such sums as may be necessary to carry out the functions reassigned to the Special Counsel pursuant to this section. The Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall coordinate with the Special Counsel and the Secretary of Labor in entering into and carrying out such agreement. No funds may be transferred under an agreement entered into under this paragraph on or after the first day of any period for which appropriations are provided for the Office of Special Counsel in an appropriations Act (other than a continuing resolution) enacted subsequent to the date of the enactment of this Act.

408.

Health professionals education debt reduction

Section 7683 is amended—

(1)

by striking subsection (a) and inserting the following new subsection:

(a)

In general

Education debt reduction payments under the Education Debt Reduction Program shall consist of—

(1)

payments to individuals selected to participate in the program of amounts to reimburse such individuals for payments by such individuals of principal and interest on loans described in section 7682(a)(2) of this title; or

(2)

payments for the principal and interest on such loans of such individuals to the holders of such loans.

;

(2)

in subsections (b) and (c), by striking payments to both places it appears and inserting payments to or for; and

(3)

in subsection (d)—

(A)

in paragraph (1), by striking made to and inserting made to or for; and

(B)

in paragraph (2)(A), by striking payable to that and inserting payable to or for that.

409.

Amendments to Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014

(a)

Expanded availability of hospital care and medical services

Section 101 of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 ( Public Law 113–146 ; 38 U.S.C. 1701 note) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (c)—

(A)

in paragraph (1)(A), by inserting provide the veteran an appointment that exceeds the wait-time goals described in such subsection or before place such; and

(B)

in paragraph (2), by inserting (or other digital channel) after website;

(2)

in subsection (d)—

(A)

in paragraph (1)(A), by adding at the end the following new sentence: An agreement entered into pursuant to this subparagraph may not be treated as a public contract for the acquisition of goods or services and is not subject to any provision of law governing public contracts or the acquisition of goods or services. Before entering into an agreement pursuant to this subparagraph, the Secretary shall, to the maximum extent practicable and consistent with the requirements of this section, furnish such care and services to such veterans under this section with such entities pursuant to sharing agreements, existing contracts entered into by the Secretary, or other processes available at medical facilities of the Department.; and

(B)

in paragraph (2)(B)(ii)—

(i)

in subclause (I), by striking The Secretary and inserting Except as provided by subclause (III), the Secretary ; and

(ii)

by adding at the end the following new subclause:

(III)

Special rules for Alaska and Maryland

With respect to furnishing care or services under this section in Alaska, the Secretary shall negotiate a rate in accordance with the Alaska Fee Schedule of the Department of Veterans Affairs except in instances where the Secretary enters into another agreement, including a contract or provider agreement. With respect to furnishing care or services under this section in Maryland, in the event of an all-payer Medicare waiver under section 1115A of the Social Security Act ( 42 U.S.C. 1315a ), the Secretary shall ensure that rates are negotiated in accordance with rates established pursuant to such waiver, except in instances where the Secretary enters into another payment agreement.

;

(3)

in subsection (l)(1), by inserting a copy of before any medical record; and

(4)

by adding at the end the following new subsection:

(t)

Waiver of certain printing requirements

Section 501 of title 44, United States Code, shall not apply in carrying out this section.

.

(b)

Collaboration between VA and Indian Health Service

Section 102 of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 ( Public Law 113–146 ; 38 U.S.C. 1701 note) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (b), by striking The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall establish and inserting the following: The Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Director of the Indian Health Service shall jointly establish and implement;

(2)

in subsection (c), by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

(3)

Entering into an agreement between the Department and the Indian Health Service described in paragraph (2)(A) with respect to the effect of such agreement on the priority access of any Indian to health care services provided through the Indian Health Service, the eligibility of any Indian to receive health services through the Indian Health Service, and the quality of health care services provided to any Indian through the Indian Health Service.

; and

(3)

by striking subsection (d).

(c)

Prompt payment

Section 105 of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 ( Public Law 113–146 ; 38 U.S.C. 1701 note) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (a), by striking section 1315 and inserting part 1315 ;

(2)

in subsection (b)(2), by striking chapter 39 and inserting chapter 39 of title 31 ; and

(3)

in subsection (d), by striking required by subsection (b) and inserting required by subsection (c).

(d)

Improvement of access to mobile vet centers

Section 204 of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 ( Public Law 113–146 ; 38 U.S.C. 1701 note) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (a)—

(A)

in paragraph (1), by inserting and readjustment counseling services after other health care; and

(B)

in paragraph (2)—

(i)

in subparagraph (B), by inserting and events after locations; and

(ii)

in subparagraph (C), by inserting and outreach contacts after appointments; and

(2)

in subsection (b)(2)—

(A)

in subparagraph (A)—

(i)

in the matter preceding clause (i), by inserting and readjustment counseling after telemedicine services; and

(ii)

in clause (iii), by inserting and outreach contracts after appointments;

(B)

in subparagraph (B), by inserting and readjustment counseling after health care services; and

(C)

in subparagraph (E), by striking mobile vet centers and.

(e)

Improved transparency

Section 206(b) of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 ( Public Law 113–146 ; 38 U.S.C. 1701 note) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1), by striking comprehensive database and inserting comprehensive, machine-readable data set;

(2)

in paragraph (3), by striking notice in the database of the reason and inserting notice of the reason; and

(3)

in paragraphs (2), (3), and (4), by striking database each place it appears and inserting data.

(f)

Information on credentials

Section 207 of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 ( Public Law 113–146 ; 38 U.S.C. 1701 note) is amended by striking successor database each place it appears and inserting successor data set.

(g)

Report on staffing shortages

Section 301(b)(3) of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 ( Public Law 113–146 ) is amended—

(1)

in subparagraph (A), by striking Not later and all that follows through 2019 and inserting the following: On October 1 of each year beginning in 2015 and ending in 2019; and

(2)

in subparagraph (B)—

(A)

in clause (iii), by striking at each and all that follows through the period at the end and inserting the following: or guidelines of the Department with respect to determining the ratio of residents to staff supervising residents.; and

(B)

by striking clause (v) and inserting the following new clause:

(v)

Efforts of the Department, as of the date of the submittal of the report, to recruit and retain medical residents to work for the Veterans Health Administration as full-time employees.

.

(h)

Project ARCH

Section 403(j) of the Veterans' Mental Health and Other Care Improvements Act of 2008 ( Public Law 110–387 ; 38 U.S.C. 1703 note) is amended—

(1)

by striking In carrying out and inserting Notwithstanding any provision of law relating to the use of competitive procedures in entering into contracts, in carrying out; and

(2)

by inserting under this section after make use of contracts entered into.

(i)

Clarification of approval of courses of education provided by public institutions of higher learning and in-State tuition rate for veterans

Paragraph (1) of section 3679(c) is amended to read as follows:

(1)

Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter and subject to paragraphs (3) through (6), the Secretary shall disapprove a course of education provided by a public institution of higher learning if the institution charges tuition and fees for that course for covered individuals who are pursuing the course with educational assistance under chapter 30 or 33 of this title while living in the State in which the institution is located at a rate that is higher than the rate the institution charges for tuition and fees for that course for residents of the State in which the institution is located, regardless of the covered individual's State of residence.

.