Text: H.R.4110 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)

Text available as:

Shown Here:
Public Law No: 105-368 (11/11/1998)

 
[105th Congress Public Law 368]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]


<DOC>
[DOCID: f:publ368.105]


[[Page 112 STAT. 3315]]

Public Law 105-368
105th Congress

                                 An Act


 
To amend title 38, United States Code, to improve benefits and services 
   provided to Persian Gulf War veterans, to provide a cost-of-living 
   adjustment in rates of compensation paid to veterans with service-
   connected disabilities, to enhance programs providing health care, 
compensation, education, insurance, and other benefits for veterans, and 
       for other purposes. <<NOTE: Nov. 11, 1998 -  [H.R. 4110]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
the <<NOTE: Veterans Programs Enhancement Act of 1998.>> United States 
of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

     <<NOTE: 38 USC 101 note.>> (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited 
as the ``Veterans Programs Enhancement Act of 1998''.

    (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--PROVISIONS RELATING TO VETERANS OF PERSIAN GULF WAR AND FUTURE 
                                CONFLICTS

<<NOTE: .38 USC 1117 note.>> Sec. 101. Agreement with National Academy 
           of Sciences regarding evaluation of health consequences of 
           service in Southwest Asia during the Persian Gulf War.

Sec. 102. Health care for veterans of Persian Gulf War and future 
           conflicts.
Sec. 103. National center on war-related illnesses and post-deployment 
           health 
           issues.
Sec. 104. Coordination of activities.
Sec. 105. Improving effectiveness of care of Persian Gulf War veterans.
Sec. 106. Contract for independent recommendations on research and for 
           development of curriculum on care of Persian Gulf War 
           veterans.
Sec. 107. Extension and improvement of evaluation of health status of 
           spouses and children of Persian Gulf War veterans.

                   TITLE II--EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT

                      Subtitle A--Education Matters

Sec. 201. Calculation of reporting fee based on total veteran enrollment 
           during a calendar year.
Sec. 202. Election of advance payment of work-study allowance.
Sec. 203. Alternative to twelve semester hour equivalency requirement.
Sec. 204. Medical evidence for flight training requirements.
Sec. 205. Waiver of wage increase and minimum payment rate requirements 
           for Government job training program approval.
Sec. 206. Expansion of education outreach services.
Sec. 207. Information on minimum requirements for education benefits for 
           members of the Armed Forces discharged early from duty for 
           the convenience of the Government.

 Subtitle B--Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act 
                               Amendments

Sec. 211. Enforcement of rights with respect to a State as an employer.
Sec. 212. Protection of extraterritorial employment and reemployment 
           rights of members of the uniformed services.

[[Page 112 STAT. 3316]]

Sec. 213. Complaints relating to reemployment of members of the 
           uniformed services in Federal service.

             TITLE III--COMPENSATION, PENSION, AND INSURANCE

Sec. 301. Medal of Honor special pension.
Sec. 302. Accelerated death benefit for Servicemembers' Group Life 
           Insurance and Veterans' Group Life Insurance participants.
Sec. 303. Assessment of effectiveness of insurance and survivor benefits 
           programs for survivors of veterans with service-connected 
           disabilities.
Sec. 304. National Service Life Insurance program.

                       TITLE IV--MEMORIAL AFFAIRS

Sec. 401. Commemoration of individuals whose remains are unavailable for 
           interment.
Sec. 402. Merchant mariner burial and cemetery benefits.
Sec. 403. Redesignation of National Cemetery System and establishment of 
           Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs.
Sec. 404. State cemetery grants program.

                   TITLE V--COURT OF VETERANS APPEALS

       Subtitle A--Administrative Provisions Relating to the Court

Sec. 501. Continuation in office of judges pending confirmation for 
           second term.
Sec. 502. Exemption of retirement fund from sequestration orders.
Sec. 503. Adjustments for survivor annuities.
Sec. 504. Reports on retirement program modifications.

                      Subtitle B--Renaming of Court

Sec. 511. Renaming of the Court of Veterans Appeals.
Sec. 512. Conforming amendments.
Sec. 513. Effective date.

                            TITLE VI--HOUSING

Sec. 601. Loan guarantee for multifamily transitional housing for 
           homeless veterans.
Sec. 602. Veterans housing benefit program fund account consolidation.
Sec. 603. Extension of eligibility of members of Selected Reserve for 
           veterans housing loans.
Sec. 604. Applicability of procurement law to certain contracts of 
           Department of Veterans Affairs.

             TITLE VII--CONSTRUCTION AND FACILITIES MATTERS

Sec. 701. Authorization of major medical facility projects.
Sec. 702. Authorization of major medical facility leases.
Sec. 703. Authorization of appropriations.
Sec. 704. Increase in threshold for major medical facility leases for 
           purposes of 
           congressional authorization.
Sec. 705. Threshold for treatment of parking facility project as a major 
           medical 
           facility project.
Sec. 706. Parking fees.
Sec. 707. Master plan regarding use of Department of Veterans Affairs 
           lands at West Los Angeles Medical Center, California.
Sec. 708. Designation of Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 
           Aspinwall, Pennsylvania.
Sec. 709. Designation of Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 
           Gainesville, Florida.
Sec. 710. Designation of Department of Veterans Affairs outpatient 
           clinic, Columbus, Ohio.

         TITLE VIII--HEALTH PROFESSIONALS EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE

Sec. 801. Short title.
Sec. 802. Scholarship program for Department of Veterans Affairs 
           employees 
           receiving education or training in the health professions.
Sec. 803. Education debt reduction program for Veterans Health 
           Administration health professionals.
Sec. 804. Repeal of prohibition on payment of tuition loans.
Sec. 805. Conforming amendments.
Sec. 806. Coordination with appropriations provision.

    TITLE IX--MISCELLANEOUS MEDICAL CARE AND MEDICAL ADMINISTRATION 
                               PROVISIONS

Sec. 901. Examinations and care associated with certain radiation 
           treatment.

[[Page 112 STAT. 3317]]

Sec. 902. Extension of authority to counsel and treat veterans for 
           sexual trauma.
Sec. 903. Management of specialized treatment and rehabilitative 
           programs.
Sec. 904. Authority to use for operating expenses of Department of 
           Veterans Affairs medical facilities amounts available by 
           reason of the limitation on pension for veterans receiving 
           nursing home care.
Sec. 905. Report on nurse locality pay.
Sec. 906. Annual report on program and expenditures of Department of 
           Veterans Affairs for domestic response to weapons of mass 
           destruction.
Sec. 907. Interim appointment of Under Secretary for Health.

                         TITLE X--OTHER MATTERS

Sec. 1001. Requirement for naming of Department property.
Sec. 1002. Members of the Board of Veterans' Appeals.
Sec. 1003. Flexibility in docketing and hearing of appeals by Board of 
           Veterans' 
           Appeals.
Sec. 1004. Disabled veterans outreach program specialists.
Sec. 1005. Technical amendments.

            TITLE XI--COMPENSATION COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENT

Sec. 1101. Increase in rates of disability compensation and dependency 
           and indemnity compensation.
Sec. 1102. Publication of adjusted rates.

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--PROVISIONS RELATING TO VETERANS OF PERSIAN GULF WAR AND FUTURE 
                                CONFLICTS

SEC. 101. AGREEMENT WITH <<NOTE: 38 USC 1117 note.>>  NATIONAL ACADEMY 
            OF SCIENCES REGARDING EVALUATION OF HEALTH CONSEQUENCES OF 
            SERVICE IN SOUTHWEST ASIA DURING THE PERSIAN GULF WAR.

    (a) Purpose.--The purpose of this section is to provide for the 
National Academy of Sciences, an independent nonprofit scientific 
organization with appropriate expertise which is not a part of the 
Federal Government, to review and evaluate the available scientific 
evidence regarding associations between illness and service in the 
Persian Gulf War.
    (b) Agreement.--(1) The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall seek to 
enter into an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences for the 
Academy to perform the activities covered by this section. The Secretary 
shall seek to enter into the agreement not later than 2 months after the 
date of the enactment of this Act.
    (2)(A) If the Secretary is unable within the time period set forth 
in paragraph (1) to enter into an agreement with the Academy for the 
purposes of this section on terms acceptable to the Secretary, the 
Secretary shall seek to enter into an agreement for purposes of this 
section with another appropriate scientific organization that is not 
part of the Federal Government, operates as a not-for-profit entity, and 
has expertise and objectivity comparable to that of the Academy.
    (B) If the Secretary enters into an agreement with another 
organization under this paragraph, any reference in this section

[[Page 112 STAT. 3318]]

to the National Academy of Sciences shall be treated as a reference to 
such other organization.
    (c) Review of Scientific Evidence.--(1) Under the agreement under 
subsection (b), the National Academy of Sciences shall conduct a 
comprehensive review and evaluation of the available scientific and 
medical information regarding the health status of Gulf War veterans and 
the health consequences of exposures to risk factors during service in 
the Persian Gulf War. In conducting such review and evaluation, the 
Academy shall--
            (A) identify the biological, chemical, or other toxic 
        agents, environmental or wartime hazards, or preventive 
        medicines or vaccines (including the agents specified in 
        subsection (d)(1)) to which members of the Armed Forces who 
        served in the Southwest Asia theater of operations during the 
        Persian Gulf War may have been exposed by reason of such 
        service;
            (B) identify the illnesses associated with the agents, 
        hazards, or medicines or vaccines identified under subparagraph 
        (A); and
            (C) identify the illnesses (including diagnosed illnesses 
        and undiagnosed illnesses) for which there is scientific 
        evidence of a higher prevalence among populations of Gulf War 
        veterans when compared with other appropriate populations of 
        individuals.

    (2) In identifying illnesses under subparagraphs (B) and (C) of 
paragraph (1), the Academy shall review and summarize the relevant 
scientific evidence regarding illnesses, including symptoms, adverse 
reproductive health outcomes, and mortality, among the members described 
in paragraph (1)(A) and among other appropriate populations of 
individuals.
    (3) In conducting the review and evaluation under paragraph (1), the 
Academy shall, for each illness identified under subparagraph (B) or (C) 
of that paragraph, assess the latency period, if any, between service or 
exposure to any potential risk factor (including an agent, hazard, or 
medicine or vaccine identified under subparagraph (A) of that paragraph) 
and the manifestation of such illness.
    (d) Specified Agents.--(1) In identifying under subsection (c)(1)(A) 
the agents, hazards, or preventive medicines or vaccines to which 
members of the Armed Forces may have been exposed, the National Academy 
of Sciences shall consider the following:
            (A) The following organophosphorous pesticides:
                    (i) Chlorpyrifos.
                    (ii) Diazinon.
                    (iii) Dichlorvos.
                    (iv) Malathion.
            (B) The following carbamate pesticides:
                    (i) Proxpur.
                    (ii) Carbaryl.
                    (iii) Methomyl.
            (C) The carbamate pyridostigmine bromide used as nerve agent 
        prophylaxis.
            (D) The following chlorinated hydrocarbons and other 
        pesticides and repellents:
                    (i) Lindane.
                    (ii) Pyrethrins.
                    (iii) Permethrins.
                    (iv) Rodenticides (bait).

[[Page 112 STAT. 3319]]

                    (v) Repellent (DEET).
            (E) The following low-level nerve agents and precursor 
        compounds at exposure levels below those which produce 
        immediately apparent incapacitating symptoms:
                    (i) Sarin.
                    (ii) Tabun.
            (F) The following synthetic chemical compounds:
                    (i) Mustard agents at levels below those which cause 
                immediate blistering.
                    (ii) Volatile organic compounds.
                    (iii) Hydrazine.
                    (iv) Red fuming nitric acid.
                    (v) Solvents.
            (G) The following sources of radiation:
                    (i) Depleted uranium.
                    (ii) Microwave radiation.
                    (iii) Radio frequency radiation.
            (H) The following environmental particulates and 
        pollutants:
                    (i) Hydrogen sulfide.
                    (ii) Oil fire byproducts.
                    (iii) Diesel heater fumes.
                    (iv) Sand micro-particles.
            (I) Diseases endemic to the region (including the 
        following):
                    (i) Leishmaniasis.
                    (ii) Sandfly fever.
                    (iii) Pathogenic escherichia coli.
                    (iv) Shigellosis.
            (J) Time compressed administration of multiple live, 
        ``attenuated'', and toxoid vaccines.

    (2) The consideration of agents, hazards, and medicines and vaccines 
under paragraph (1) shall not preclude the Academy from identifying 
other agents, hazards, or medicines or vaccines to which members of the 
Armed Forces may have been exposed for purposes of any report under 
subsection (h).
    (3) <<NOTE: Deadline. Reports.>>  Not later than 6 months after 
entry into the agreement under subsection (b), the Academy shall submit 
to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the House of 
Representatives a report specifying the agents, hazards, and medicines 
and vaccines considered under paragraph (1).

    (e) Scientific Determinations Concerning Illnesses.--(1) For each 
illness identified under subparagraph (B) or (C) of subsection (c)(1), 
the National Academy of Sciences shall determine (to the extent 
available scientific evidence permits) whether there is scientific 
evidence of an association of that illness with Gulf War service or 
exposure during Gulf War service to one or more agents, hazards, or 
medicines or vaccines. In making those determinations, the Academy shall 
consider--
            (A) the strength of scientific evidence, the replicability 
        of results, the statistical significance of results, and the 
        appropriateness of the scientific methods used to detect the 
        association;
            (B) in any case where there is evidence of an apparent 
        association, whether there is reasonable confidence that that 
        apparent association is not due to chance, bias, or confounding;

[[Page 112 STAT. 3320]]

            (C) the increased risk of the illness among human or animal 
        populations exposed to the agents, hazards, or medicines or 
        vaccines;
            (D) whether a plausible biological mechanism or other 
        evidence of a causal relationship exists between exposure to the 
        agents, hazards, or medicines or vaccines and the illnesses;
            (E) in any case where information about exposure levels is 
        available, whether the evidence indicates that the levels of 
        exposure of the studied populations were of the same magnitude 
        as the estimated likely exposures of Gulf War veterans; and
            (F) whether there is an increased risk of illness among Gulf 
        War veterans in comparison with appropriate peer groups.

    (2) The Academy shall include in its reports under subsection (h) a 
full discussion of the scientific evidence and reasoning that led to its 
conclusions under this subsection.
    (f ) Recommendations for Additional Scientific Studies.--(1) Under 
the agreement under subsection (b), the National Academy of Sciences 
shall make any recommendations that it considers appropriate for 
additional scientific studies (including studies relating to treatment 
models) to resolve areas of continuing scientific uncertainty relating 
to the health consequences of service in the Persian Gulf War or 
exposure to toxic agents, environmental or wartime hazards, or 
preventive medicines or vaccines associated with Gulf War service.
    (2) In making recommendations for additional studies, the Academy 
shall consider the available scientific data, the value and relevance of 
the information that could result from such studies, and the cost and 
feasibility of carrying out such studies.
    (g) Subsequent Reviews.--(1) Under the agreement under subsection 
(b), the National Academy of Sciences shall conduct on a periodic and 
ongoing basis additional reviews of the evidence and data relating to 
its activities under this section.
    (2) As part of each review under this subsection, the Academy 
shall--
            (A) conduct as comprehensive a review as is practicable of 
        the information referred to in subsection (c), the evidence 
        referred to in subsection (e), and the data referred to in 
        subsection (f ) that became available since the last review of 
        such information, evidence, and data under this section; and
            (B) make determinations under the subsections referred to in 
        subparagraph (A) on the basis of the results of such review and 
        all other reviews previously conducted for purposes of this 
        section.

    (h) Reports by Academy.--(1) Under the agreement under subsection 
(b), the National Academy of Sciences shall submit to the Committees on 
Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the House of Representatives and the 
Secretary of Veterans Affairs periodic written reports regarding the 
Academy's activities under the agreement.
    (2) <<NOTE: Deadline.>>  The first report under paragraph (1) shall 
be submitted not later than 2 years after entry into the agreement under 
subsection (b). That report shall include--
            (A) the determinations and discussion referred to in 
        subsection (e); and
            (B) any recommendations of the Academy under sub
        section (f ).

[[Page 112 STAT. 3321]]

    (3) Reports shall be submitted under this subsection at least once 
every 2 years, as measured from the date of the report under paragraph 
(2).
    (4) In any report under this subsection (other than the report under 
paragraph (2)), the Academy may specify an absence of meaningful 
developments in the scientific or medical community with respect to the 
activities of the Academy under this section during the 2-year period 
ending on the date of such report.
    (i) Reports by Secretary.--(1) The Secretary shall review each 
report from the Academy under subsection (h). As part of such review, 
the Secretary shall seek comments on, and evaluation of, the Academy's 
report from the heads of other affected departments and agencies of the 
United States.
    (2) Based upon a review under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall 
submit to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the 
House of Representatives a report on the available scientific and 
medical information regarding the health consequences of Persian Gulf 
War service and of exposures to risk factors during service in the 
Persian Gulf War. The Secretary shall include in the report the 
Secretary's recommendations as to whether there is sufficient evidence 
to warrant a presumption of service-connection for the occurrence of a 
specified condition in Gulf War veterans. In determining whether to make 
such a recommendation, the Secretary shall consider the matters 
specified in subparagraphs (A) through (F) of subsection (e)(1).
    (3) <<NOTE: Deadline.>>  The report under this subsection shall be 
submitted not later than 120 days after the date on which the Secretary 
receives the report from the Academy.

    ( j) Sunset.--This section shall cease to be effective 11 years 
after the last day of the fiscal year in which the National Academy of 
Sciences enters into an agreement with the Secretary under subsection 
(b).
    (k) Definition.--In this section, the term ``toxic agent, 
environmental or wartime hazard, or preventive medicine or vaccine 
associated with Gulf War service'' means a biological, chemical, or 
other toxic agent, environmental or wartime hazard, or preventive 
medicine or vaccine that is known or presumed to be associated with 
service in the Armed Forces in the Southwest Asia theater of operations 
during the Persian Gulf War, whether such association arises as a result 
of single, repeated, or sustained exposure and whether such association 
arises through exposure singularly or in combination.

SEC. 102. HEALTH CARE FOR VETERANS OF PERSIAN GULF WAR AND FUTURE 
            CONFLICTS.

    (a) Authority.--Section 1710(e) is amended--
            (1) by adding at the end of paragraph (1) the following new 
        subparagraph:

    ``(D) Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3), a veteran who served on 
active duty in a theater of combat operations (as determined by the 
Secretary in consultation with the Secretary of Defense) during a period 
of war after the Persian Gulf War, or in combat against a hostile force 
during a period of hostilities (as defined in section 1712A(a)(2)(B) of 
this title) after the date of the enactment of this subparagraph, is 
eligible for hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care 
under subsection (a)(2)(F) for any illness,

[[Page 112 STAT. 3322]]

notwithstanding that there is insufficient medical evidence to conclude 
that such condition is attributable to such service.'';
            (2) in paragraph (2)(B), by inserting ``or (1)(D)'' after 
        ``paragraph (1)(C)'';
            (3) in paragraph (3)--
                    (A) by striking ``and'' at the end of subparagraph 
                (A);
                    (B) by striking ``December 31, 1998.'' in 
                subparagraph (B) and inserting ``December 31, 2001; 
                and''; and
                    (C) by adding at the end the following new 
                subparagraph:
            ``(C) in the case of care for a veteran described in 
        paragraph (1)(D), after a period of 2 years beginning on the 
        date of the veteran's discharge or release from active military, 
        naval, or air service.''; and
            (4) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

    ``(5) When the Secretary first provides care for veterans using the 
authority provided in paragraph (1)(D), the Secretary shall establish a 
system for collection and analysis of information on the general health 
status and health care utilization patterns of veterans receiving care 
under that paragraph. <<NOTE: Deadline. Reports.>> Not later than 18 
months after first providing care under such authority, the Secretary 
shall submit to Congress a report on the experience under that 
authority. The Secretary shall include in the report any recommendations 
of the Secretary for extension of that authority.''.

     <<NOTE: Deadline. 38 USC 1710 note.>> (b) Implementation Report.--
Not later than October 1, 1999, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall 
submit to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and House of 
Representatives a report on the Secretary's plan for establishing and 
operating the system for collection and analysis of information required 
by paragraph (5) of section 1710(e) of title 38, United States Code, as 
added by subsection (a)(4).

<<NOTE: 38 USC 303 note.>> SEC. 103. NATIONAL CENTER ON WAR-RELATED 
            ILLNESSES AND POST-DEPLOYMENT HEALTH ISSUES.

    (a) Assessment.-- <<NOTE: Contracts.>> The Secretary of Veterans 
Affairs shall seek to enter into an agreement with the National Academy 
of Sciences, or another appropriate independent organization, under 
which such entity shall assist in developing a plan for the 
establishment of a national center or national centers for the study of 
war-related illnesses and post-deployment health issues. The purposes of 
such a center may include--
            (1) carrying out and promoting research regarding the 
        etiologies, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of war-related 
        illnesses and post-deployment health issues; and
            (2) promoting the development of appropriate health 
        policies, including monitoring, medical recordkeeping, risk 
        communication, and use of new technologies.

    (b) Recommendations and Report.--With respect to such a center, an 
agreement under this section shall provide for the Academy (or other 
entity) to--
            (1) make recommendations regarding: (A) design of an 
        organizational structure or structures, operational scope, 
        staffing and resource needs, establishment of appropriate 
        databases, the advantages of single or multiple sites, 
        mechanisms for implementing recommendations on policy, and 
        relationship to academic or scientific entities; (B) the role or 
        roles that relevant

[[Page 112 STAT. 3323]]

        Federal departments and agencies should have in the 
        establishment and operation of any such center or centers; and 
        (C) such other matters as it considers appropriate; and
            (2) report to the <<NOTE: Deadline.>> Secretary, the 
        Secretaries of Defense and Health and Human Services, and the 
        Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and House of 
        Representatives, not later than 1 year after the date of the 
        enactment of this Act, on its recommendations.

    (c) Report on Establishment of National Center.-- 
<<NOTE: Deadline.>> Not later than 60 days after receiving the report 
under subsection (b), the Secretaries specified in subsection (b)(2) 
shall submit to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs and Armed Services 
of the Senate and the Committees on Veterans' Affairs and Natoinal 
Security of the House of Representatives a joint report on the findings 
and recommendations contained in that report. Such report may set forth 
an operational plan for carrying out any recommendation in that report 
to establish a national center or centers for the study of war-related 
illnesses. No action to carry out such plan may be taken after the 
submission of such report until the end of a 90-day period following the 
date of the submission.

SEC. 104. COORDINATION OF ACTIVITIES.

    Section 707 of the Persian Gulf War Veterans' Health Status Act 
(title VII of Public Law 102-585; 38 U.S.C. 527 note) is 
amended--
            (1) in the heading, by striking ``government activities on 
        health-related research'' and inserting the following: ``health-
        related government activities'';
            (2) in subsection (a), by striking ``research''; and
            (3) by striking subsection (b) and inserting the following:

    ``(b) Public Advisory Committee.-- 
<<NOTE: Deadlines. Establishment.>> Not later than January 1, 1999, the 
head of the department or agency designated under subsection (a) shall 
establish an advisory committee consisting of members of the general 
public, including Persian Gulf War veterans and representatives of such 
veterans, to provide advice to the head of that department or agency on 
proposed research studies, research plans, or research strategies 
relating to the health consequences of military service in the Southwest 
Asia theater of operations during the Persian Gulf War. The department 
or agency head shall consult with such advisory committee on a regular 
basis.

    ``(c) Reports.--(1) Not later than March 1 of each year, the head of 
the department or agency designated under subsection (a) shall submit to 
the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and House of 
Representatives a report on--
            ``(A) the status and results of all such research activities 
        undertaken by the executive branch during the previous year; and
            ``(B) research priorities identified during that year.

    ``(2)(A) Not later than 120 days after submission of the 
epidemiological research study conducted by the Department of Veterans 
Affairs entitled `VA National Survey of Persian Gulf Veterans--Phase 
III', the head of the department or agency designated under subsection 
(a) shall submit to the congressional committees specified in paragraph 
(1) a report on the findings under that study and any other pertinent 
medical literature.
    ``(B) With respect to any findings of that study and any other 
pertinent medical literature which identify scientific evidence of

[[Page 112 STAT. 3324]]

a greater relative risk of illness or illnesses in family members of 
veterans who served in the Persian Gulf War theater of operations than 
in family members of veterans who did not so serve, the head of the 
department or agency designated under subsection (a) shall seek to 
ensure that appropriate research studies are designed to follow up on 
such findings.
    ``(d) Public Availability of Research Findings.--The head of the 
department or agency designated under subsection (a) shall ensure that 
the findings of all research conducted by or for the executive branch 
relating to the health consequences of military service in the Persian 
Gulf theater of operations during the Persian Gulf War (including 
information pertinent to improving provision of care for veterans of 
such service) are made available to the public through peer-reviewed 
medical journals, the World Wide Web, and other appropriate media.
    ``(e) Outreach.--The head of the department or agency 
designated under subsection (a) shall ensure that the appropriate 
departments consult and coordinate in carrying out an ongoing program to 
provide information to those who served in the Southwest Asia theater of 
operations during the Persian Gulf War relating to: (1) the health 
risks, if any, resulting from any risk factors associated with such 
service; and (2) any services or benefits available with respect to such 
health risks.''.

<<NOTE: 38 USC 1117 note.>> SEC. 105. IMPROVING EFFECTIVENESS OF CARE OF 
            PERSIAN GULF WAR VETERANS.

    (a) Assessment by National Academy of Sciences.-- 
<<NOTE: Deadline. Contracts.>> Not later than April 1, 1999, the 
Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall enter into a contract with the 
National Academy of Sciences to review the available scientific data in 
order to--
            (1) assess whether a methodology could be used by the 
        Department of Veterans Affairs for determining the efficacy of 
        treatments furnished to, and health outcomes (including 
        functional status) of, Persian Gulf War veterans who have been 
        treated for illnesses which may be associated with their service 
        in the Persian Gulf War; and
            (2) identify, to the extent feasible, with respect to each 
        undiagnosed illness prevalent among such veterans and for any 
        other chronic illness that the Academy determines to warrant 
        such review, empirically valid models of treatment for such 
        illness which employ successful treatment modalities for 
        populations with similar symptoms.

    (b) Action on Report.--(1) After receiving the final report of the 
National Academy of Sciences under subsection (a), the Secretary shall, 
if a reasonable and scientifically feasible methodology is identified by 
the Academy, develop an appropriate mechanism to monitor and study the 
effectiveness of treatments furnished to, and health outcomes of, 
Persian Gulf War veterans who suffer from diagnosed and undiagnosed 
illnesses which may be associated with their service in the Persian Gulf 
War.
    (2) The Secretary shall submit to the Committees on Veterans' 
Affairs of the Senate and House of Representatives a report on the 
implementation of paragraph (1).
    (3) The Secretary <<NOTE: Deadline.>>  shall carry out paragraphs 
(1) and (2) not later than 180 days after receiving the final report of 
the National Academy of Sciences under subsection (a).

[[Page 112 STAT. 3325]]

SEC. 106. CONTRACT FOR INDEPENDENT RECOMMENDATIONS ON RESEARCH AND FOR 
            DEVELOPMENT OF CURRICULUM ON CARE OF PERSIAN GULF WAR 
            VETERANS.

    Section 706 of the Persian Gulf War Veterans' Health Status Act 
(title VII of Public Law 102-585; 38 U.S.C. 527 note) is amended by 
adding at the end the following new subsection:
    ``(d) Research Review and Development of Medical 
Education Curriculum.--(1) In order to further understand the health 
consequences of military service in the Persian Gulf theater of 
operations during the Persian Gulf War and of new research findings with 
implications for improving the provision of care for veterans of such 
service, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Secretary of Defense 
shall seek to enter into an agreement with the National Academy of 
Sciences under which the Institute of Medicine of the Academy would--
            ``(A) develop a curriculum pertaining to the care and 
        treatment of veterans of such service who have ill-defined or 
        undiagnosed illnesses for use in the continuing medical 
        education of both general and specialty physicians who provide 
        care for such veterans; and
            ``(B) on an ongoing basis, periodically review and provide 
        recommendations regarding the research plans and research 
        strategies of the Departments relating to the health 
        consequences of military service in the Persian Gulf theater of 
        operations during the Persian Gulf War.

    ``(2) Recommendations to be provided under paragraph (1)(B) include 
any recommendations that the Academy considers appropriate for 
additional scientific studies (including studies related to treatment 
models) to resolve areas of continuing scientific uncertainty relating 
to the health consequences of any aspects of such military service. In 
making recommendations for additional studies, the Academy shall 
consider the available scientific data, the value and relevance of the 
information that could result from such studies, and the cost and 
feasibility of carrying out such studies.
    ``(3) <<NOTE: Deadline.>> Not later than 9 months after the 
Institute of Medicine provides the Secretaries the curriculum developed 
under paragraph (1)(A), the Secretaries shall provide for the conduct of 
continuing education programs using that curriculum. Those programs 
shall include instruction which seeks to emphasize use of appropriate 
protocols of diagnosis, referral, and treatment of such veterans.''.

SEC. 107. EXTENSION AND IMPROVEMENT OF EVALUATION OF HEALTH STATUS OF 
            SPOUSES AND CHILDREN OF PERSIAN GULF WAR VETERANS.

    (a) One-Year Extension.--Subsection (b) of section 107 of the 
Persian Gulf War Veterans' Benefits Act (title I of Public Law 103-446; 
38 U.S.C. 1117 note) is amended by striking ``December 31, 1998'' and 
inserting ``December 31, 1999''.
    (b) Termination of Certain Testing and Evaluation Requirements.--
Subsection (a) of such section is amended--
            (1) by striking ``the'' after ``Secretary of '';
            (2) by striking ``study'' both places it appears and 
        inserting ``program''; and
            (3) by striking the sentence following paragraph (3).

    (c) Enhanced Flexibility in Examinations.--Subsection (d) of such 
section is amended--

[[Page 112 STAT. 3326]]

            (1) by striking ``shall'' and inserting ``may''; and
            (2) by inserting ``, including fee arrangements described in 
        section 1703 of title 38, United States Code'' after 
        ``arrangements''.

    (d) Outreach.--Subsection (g) of such section is amended--
            (1) by striking ``to ensure'' and all that follows through 
        the period at the end of paragraph (2) and inserting ``for the 
        purposes of the program.''; and
            (2) by adding at the end the following new sentence: ``In 
        conducting such outreach activities, the Secretary shall advise 
        that medical treatment is not available under the program.''.

    (e) Report to Congress.--Subsection (i) of such section is amended 
to read as follows:
    ``(i) Report to Congress.-- <<NOTE: Deadline.>> Not later than July 
31, 1999, the Secretary shall submit to the Committees on Veterans' 
Affairs of the Senate and House of Representatives a report on 
activities with respect to the program, including the provision of 
services under subsection (d).''.

                   TITLE II--EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT

                      Subtitle A--Education Matters

SEC. 201. CALCULATION OF REPORTING FEE BASED ON TOTAL 
            VETERAN ENROLLMENT DURING A CALENDAR YEAR.

    (a) In General.--The second sentence of section 3684(c) is amended 
by striking ``on October 31'' and all that follows through the period 
and inserting ``during the calender year.''.
    (b) Funding.--Section 3684(c), as amended by subsection (a), is 
further amended by adding at the end the following new sentence: ``The 
reporting fee payable under this subsection shall be paid from amounts 
appropriated for readjustment benefits.''.
     <<NOTE: 38 USC 3684 note.>> (c) Effective Date.--The amendments 
made by this section shall apply with respect to calendar years 
beginning after December 31, 1998.

SEC. 202. ELECTION OF ADVANCE PAYMENT OF WORK-STUDY 
            ALLOWANCE.

    (a) In General.--The third sentence of section 3485(a)(1) is amended 
by striking ``An individual shall be paid in advance'' and inserting 
``An individual may elect, in a manner prescribed by the Secretary, to 
be paid in advance''.
     <<NOTE: 38 USC 3485 note.>> (b) Effective Date.--The amendment made 
by subsection (a) shall apply with respect to agreements entered into 
under section 3485 of title 38, United States Code, on or after January 
1, 1999.

SEC. 203. ALTERNATIVE TO TWELVE SEMESTER HOUR EQUIVALENCY REQUIREMENT.

    (a) In General.--The following sections of chapter 30 are each 
amended by striking ``successfully completed'' each place it appears and 
inserting ``successfully completed (or otherwise received academic 
credit for)'': sections 3011(a)(2), 3012(a)(2), 3018(b)(4)(ii), 
3018A(a)(2), 3018B(a)(1)(B), 3018B(a)(2)(B), and 3018C(a)(3).
     <<NOTE: 38 USC 3011 note.>> (b) Effective Date.--The amendments 
made by subsection (a) shall take effect on October 1, 1998.

[[Page 112 STAT. 3327]]

SEC. 204. MEDICAL EVIDENCE FOR FLIGHT TRAINING REQUIREMENTS.

    (a) Title 38, United States Code.--Sections 3034(d)(2) and 
3241(b)(2) are each amended--
            (1) by striking ``pilot's license'' each place it appears 
        and inserting ``pilot certificate''; and
            (2) by inserting ``, on the day the individual begins a 
        course of flight training,'' after ``meets''.

    (b) Title 10, United States Code.--Section 16136(c)(2) of title 10, 
United States Code, is amended--
            (1) by striking ``pilot's license'' each place it appears 
        and inserting ``pilot certificate''; and
            (2) by inserting ``, on the day the individual begins a 
        course of flight training,'' after ``meets''.

     <<NOTE: 10 USC 16136 note.>> (c) Effective Date.--The amendments 
made by this section shall apply with respect to courses of flight 
training beginning on or after October 1, 1998.

SEC. 205. WAIVER OF WAGE INCREASE AND MINIMUM PAYMENT RATE REQUIREMENTS 
            FOR GOVERNMENT JOB TRAINING 
            PROGRAM APPROVAL.

    (a) In General.--Section 3677(b) is amended--
            (1) by inserting ``(1)'' after ``(b)'';
            (2) by redesignating paragraphs (1) and (2) as subparagraphs 
        (A) and (B), respectively;
            (3) in subparagraph (A), as so redesignated, by striking 
        ``(A)'' and ``(B)'' and inserting ``(i)'' and ``(ii)'', 
        respectively; and
            (4) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

    ``(2) The requirement under paragraph (1)(A)(ii) shall not apply 
with respect to a training establishment operated by the United States 
or by a State or local government.''.
     <<NOTE: 38 USC 3677 note.>> (b) Effective Date.--The amendments 
made by subsection (a) shall apply with respect to approval of programs 
of training on the job under section 3677 of title 38, United States 
Code, on or after October 1, 1998.

SEC. 206. EXPANSION OF EDUCATION OUTREACH SERVICES.

    (a) Expansion of Education Outreach Services to Members of the Armed 
Forces.--Section 3034 is amended by adding at the end the following new 
subsection:
    ``(e)(1) In the case of a member of the Armed Forces who 
participates in basic educational assistance under this chapter, the 
Secretary shall furnish the information described in paragraph (2) to 
each such member. The Secretary shall furnish such information as soon 
as practicable after the basic pay of the member has been reduced by 
$1,200 in accordance with section 3011(b) or 3012(c) of this title and 
at such additional times as the Secretary determines appropriate.
    ``(2) The information referred to in paragraph (1) is information 
with respect to the benefits, limitations, procedures, eligibility 
requirements (including time-in-service requirements), and other 
important aspects of the basic educational assistance program under this 
chapter, including application forms for such basic educational 
assistance under section 5102 of this title.
    ``(3) The Secretary shall furnish the forms described in 
paragraph (2) and other educational materials to educational 
institutions, training establishments, and military education personnel, 
as the Secretary determines appropriate.

[[Page 112 STAT. 3328]]

    ``(4) The Secretary shall use amounts appropriated for readjustment 
benefits to carry out this subsection and section 5102 of this title 
with respect to application forms under that section for basic 
educational assistance under this chapter.''.
     <<NOTE: 38 USC 3034 note.>> (b) Effective Date.--The amendment made 
by this section shall take effect 180 days after the date of the 
enactment of this Act.

SEC. 207. INFORMATION ON MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS FOR 
            EDUCATION BENEFITS FOR MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES 
            DISCHARGED EARLY FROM DUTY FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE 
            GOVERNMENT.

    (a) Active Duty Program.--Section 3011 is amended by adding at the 
end the following new subsection:
    ``(i) The Secretary concerned shall inform any member of the Armed 
Forces who has not completed that member's initial obligated period of 
active duty (as described in subsection (a)(1)(A)) and who indicates the 
intent to be discharged or released from such duty for the convenience 
of the Federal Government of the minimum active duty requirements for 
entitlement to educational assistance benefits under this chapter. Such 
information shall be provided to the member in a timely manner.''.
    (b) Reserve Program.--Section 3012 is amended by adding at the end 
the following new subsection:
    ``(g)(1) The Secretary concerned shall inform any member of the 
Armed Forces who has not completed that member's initial service (as 
described in paragraph (2)) and who indicates the intent to be 
discharged or released from such service for the convenience of the 
Federal Government of the minimum service requirements for entitlement 
to educational assistance benefits under this chapter. Such information 
shall be provided to the member in a timely manner.
    ``(2) The initial service referred to in paragraph (1) is the 
initial obligated period of active duty (described in subparagraphs 
(A)(i) or (B)(i) of subsection (a)(1)) or the period of service in the 
Selected Reserve (described in subparagraphs (A)(ii) or (B)(ii) of 
subsection (a)(1)).''.
    (c) Report to Congress.--Section 3036(b)(1) is amended--
            (1) by striking ``and (B)'' and inserting ``(B)''; and
            (2) by inserting before the semicolon the following: ``, and 
        (C) describing the efforts under sections 3011(i) and 3012(g) of 
        this title to inform members of the Armed Forces of the minimum 
        service requirements for entitlement to educational assistance 
        benefits under this chapter and the results from such efforts''.

     <<NOTE: 38 USC 3011 note.>> (d) Effective Dates.--(1) The 
amendments made by subsections (a) and (b) shall take effect 120 days 
after the date of the enactment of this Act.

     <<NOTE: 38 USC 3036 note.>> (2) The amendments made by subsection 
(c) shall apply with respect to reports to Congress submitted by the 
Secretary of Defense under section 3036 of title 38, United States Code, 
on or after January 1, 2000.

[[Page 112 STAT. 3329]]

 Subtitle B--Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act 
                               Amendments

SEC. 211. ENFORCEMENT OF RIGHTS WITH RESPECT TO A STATE AS AN EMPLOYER.

    (a) In General.--Section 4323 is amended to read as follows:

``Sec. 4323. Enforcement of rights with respect to a State or private 
                        employer

    ``(a) Action for Relief.--(1) A person who receives from the 
Secretary a notification pursuant to section 4322(e) of this title of an 
unsuccessful effort to resolve a complaint relating to a State (as an 
employer) or a private employer may request that the Secretary refer the 
complaint to the Attorney General. If the Attorney General is reasonably 
satisfied that the person on whose behalf the complaint is referred is 
entitled to the rights or benefits sought, the Attorney General may 
appear on behalf of, and act as attorney for, the person on whose behalf 
the complaint is submitted and commence an action for relief under this 
chapter for such person. In the case of such an action against a State 
(as an employer), the action shall be brought in the name of the United 
States as the plaintiff in the action.
    ``(2) A person may commence an action for relief with respect to a 
complaint against a State (as an employer) or a private employer if the 
person--
            ``(A) has chosen not to apply to the Secretary for 
        assistance under section 4322(a) of this title;
            ``(B) has chosen not to request that the Secretary refer the 
        complaint to the Attorney General under paragraph (1); or
            ``(C) has been refused representation by the Attorney 
        General with respect to the complaint under such paragraph.

    ``(b) Jurisdiction.--(1) In the case of an action against a State 
(as an employer) or a private employer commenced by the United States, 
the district courts of the United States shall have jurisdiction over 
the action.
    ``(2) In the case of an action against a State (as an employer) by a 
person, the action may be brought in a State court of competent 
jurisdiction in accordance with the laws of the State.
    ``(3) In the case of an action against a private employer by a 
person, the district courts of the United States shall have jurisdiction 
of the action.
    ``(c) Venue.--(1) In the case of an action by the United States 
against a State (as an employer), the action may proceed in the United 
States district court for any district in which the State exercises any 
authority or carries out any function.
    ``(2) In the case of an action against a private employer, the 
action may proceed in the United States district court for any district 
in which the private employer of the person maintains a place of 
business.
    ``(d) Remedies.--(1) In any action under this section, the court may 
award relief as follows:
            ``(A) The court may require the employer to comply with the 
        provisions of this chapter.

[[Page 112 STAT. 3330]]

            ``(B) The court may require the employer to compensate the 
        person for any loss of wages or benefits suffered by reason of 
        such employer's failure to comply with the provisions of this 
        chapter.
            ``(C) The court may require the employer to pay the person 
        an amount equal to the amount referred to in subparagraph (B) as 
        liquidated damages, if the court determines that the employer's 
        failure to comply with the provisions of this chapter was 
        willful.

    ``(2)(A) Any compensation awarded under subparagraph (B) or (C) of 
paragraph (1) shall be in addition to, and shall not diminish, any of 
the other rights and benefits provided for under this chapter.
    ``(B) In the case of an action commenced in the name of the United 
States for which the relief includes compensation awarded under 
subparagraph (B) or (C) of paragraph (1), such compensation shall be 
held in a special deposit account and shall be paid, on order of the 
Attorney General, directly to the person. If the compensation is not 
paid to the person because of inability to do so within a period of 3 
years, the compensation shall be covered into the Treasury of the United 
States as miscellaneous receipts.
    ``(3) A State shall be subject to the same remedies, including 
prejudgment interest, as may be imposed upon any private employer under 
this section.
    ``(e) Equity Powers.--The court may use its full equity powers, 
including temporary or permanent injunctions, temporary restraining 
orders, and contempt orders, to vindicate fully the rights or benefits 
of persons under this chapter.
    ``(f ) Standing.--An action under this chapter may be initiated only 
by a person claiming rights or benefits under this chapter under 
subsection (a) or by the United States under subsection (a)(1).
    ``(g) Respondent.--In any action under this chapter, only an 
employer or a potential employer, as the case may be, shall be a 
necessary party respondent.
    ``(h) Fees, Court Costs.--(1) No fees or court costs may be charged 
or taxed against any person claiming rights under this chapter.
    ``(2) In any action or proceeding to enforce a provision of this 
chapter by a person under subsection (a)(2) who obtained private counsel 
for such action or proceeding, the court may award any such person who 
prevails in such action or proceeding reasonable attorney fees, expert 
witness fees, and other litigation expenses.
    ``(i) Inapplicability of State Statute of Limitations.--No State 
statute of limitations shall apply to any proceeding under this chapter.
    ``( j) Definition.--In this section, the term `private employer' 
includes a political subdivision of a State.''.
     <<NOTE: 38 USC 4323 note.>> (b) Effective Date.--(1) Section 4323 
of title 38, United States Code, as amended by subsection (a), shall 
apply to actions commenced under chapter 43 of such title on or after 
the date of the enactment of this Act, and shall apply to actions 
commenced under such chapter before the date of the enactment of this 
Act that are not final on the date of the enactment of this Act, without 
regard to when the cause of action accrued.

    (2) In the case of any such action against a State (as an employer) 
in which a person, on the day before the date of the enactment of this 
Act, is represented by the Attorney General

[[Page 112 STAT. 3331]]

under section 4323(a)(1) of such title as in effect on such day, the 
court shall upon motion of the Attorney General, substitute the United 
States as the plaintiff in the action pursuant to such section as 
amended by subsection (a).

SEC. 212. PROTECTION OF EXTRATERRITORIAL EMPLOYMENT AND REEMPLOYMENT 
            RIGHTS OF MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES.

    (a) Definition of Employee.--Section 4303(3) is amended by adding at 
the end the following new sentence: ``Such term includes any person who 
is a citizen, national, or permanent resident alien of the United States 
employed in a workplace in a foreign country by an employer that is an 
entity incorporated or otherwise organized in the United States or that 
is controlled by an entity organized in the United States, within the 
meaning of section 4319(c) of this title.''.
    (b) Foreign Countries.--(1) Subchapter II of chapter 43 is amended 
by inserting after section 4318 the following new section:

``Sec. 4319. Employment and reemployment rights in foreign countries

    ``(a) Liability of Controlling United States Employer of Foreign 
Entity.--If an employer controls an entity that is incorporated or 
otherwise organized in a foreign country, any denial of employment, 
reemployment, or benefit by such entity shall be presumed to be by such 
employer.
    ``(b) Inapplicability to Foreign Employer.--This subchapter does not 
apply to foreign operations of an employer that is a foreign person not 
controlled by an United States employer.
    ``(c) Determination of Controlling Employer.--For the purpose of 
this section, the determination of whether an employer controls an 
entity shall be based upon the interrelations of operations, common 
management, centralized control of labor relations, and common ownership 
or financial control of the employer and the entity.
    ``(d) Exemption.--Notwithstanding any other provision of this 
subchapter, an employer, or an entity controlled by an employer, shall 
be exempt from compliance with any of sections 4311 through 4318 of this 
title with respect to an employee in a workplace in a foreign country, 
if compliance with that section would cause such employer, or such 
entity controlled by an employer, to violate the law of the foreign 
country in which the workplace is located.''.
    (2) The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 43 is amended 
by inserting after the item relating to section 4318 the following new 
item:

``4319. Employment and reemployment rights in foreign countries.''.

     <<NOTE: 38 USC 4303 note.>> (c) Effective Date.--The amendments 
made by this section shall apply only with respect to causes of action 
arising after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 213. COMPLAINTS RELATING TO REEMPLOYMENT OF MEMBERS OF THE 
            UNIFORMED SERVICES IN FEDERAL SERVICE.

    (a) In General.--The first sentence of paragraph (1) of section 
4324(c) is amended by inserting before the period at the end the 
following: ``, without regard as to whether the complaint accrued 
before, on, or after October 13, 1994''.

[[Page 112 STAT. 3332]]

     <<NOTE: 38 USC 4324 note.>> (b) Effective Date.--The amendment made 
by subsection (a) shall apply to complaints filed with the Merit Systems 
Protection Board on or after October 13, 1994.

             TITLE III--COMPENSATION, PENSION, AND INSURANCE

SEC. 301. MEDAL OF HONOR SPECIAL PENSION.

    (a) Increase.--Section 1562(a) is amended by striking ``$400'' and 
inserting ``$600''.
     <<NOTE: 38 USC 1562 note.>> (b) Effective Date.--The amendment made 
by subsection (a) shall take effect on the first day of the first month 
beginning on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 302. ACCELERATED DEATH BENEFIT FOR SERVICEMEMBERS' GROUP LIFE 
            INSURANCE AND VETERANS' GROUP LIFE INSURANCE PARTICIPANTS.

    (a) In General.--(1) Subchapter III of chapter 19 is amended by 
adding at the end the following new section:

``Sec. 1980. Option to receive accelerated death benefit

    ``(a) For the purpose of this section, a person shall be considered 
to be terminally ill if the person has a medical prognosis such that the 
life expectancy of the person is less than a period prescribed by the 
Secretary. The maximum length of such period may not exceed 12 months.
    ``(b)(1) A terminally ill person insured under Servicemembers' Group 
Life Insurance or Veterans' Group Life Insurance may elect to receive in 
a lump-sum payment a portion of the face value of the insurance as an 
accelerated death benefit reduced by an amount necessary to assure that 
there is no increase in the actuarial value of the benefit paid, as 
determined by the Secretary.
    ``(2) The Secretary shall prescribe the maximum amount of the 
accelerated death benefit available under this section that the 
Secretary finds to be administratively practicable and actuarially 
sound, but in no event may the amount of the benefit exceed the amount 
equal to 50 percent of the face value of the person's insurance in force 
on the date the election of the person to receive the benefit is 
approved.
    ``(3) A person making an election under this section may elect to 
receive an amount that is less than the maximum amount prescribed under 
paragraph (2). The Secretary shall prescribe the increments in which a 
reduced amount under this paragraph may be elected.
    ``(c) The portion of the face value of insurance which is not paid 
in a lump sum as an accelerated death benefit under this section shall 
remain payable in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
    ``(d) Deductions under section 1969 of this title and premiums under 
section 1977(c) of this title shall be reduced, in a manner consistent 
with the percentage reduction in the face value of the insurance as a 
result of payment of an accelerated death benefit under this section, 
effective with respect to any amounts which would otherwise become due 
on or after the date of payment under this section.

[[Page 112 STAT. 3333]]

    `` <<NOTE: Regulations.>> (e) The Secretary shall prescribe 
regulations to carry out this section. Such regulations shall include 
provisions regarding--
            ``(1) the form and manner in which an application for an 
        election under this section shall be made; and
            ``(2) the procedures under which any such application shall 
        be considered.

    ``(f )(1) An election to receive a benefit under this section shall 
be irrevocable.
    ``(2) A person may not make more than one election under this 
section, even if the election of the person is to receive less than the 
maximum amount of the benefit available to the person under this 
section.
    ``(g) If a person insured under Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance 
elects to receive a benefit under this section and the person's 
Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance is thereafter converted to 
Veterans' Group Life Insurance as provided in section 1968(b) of this 
title, the amount of the benefit paid under this section shall reduce 
the amount of Veterans' Group Life Insurance available to the person 
under section 1977(a) of this title.
    ``(h) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the amount of the 
accelerated death benefit received by a person under this section shall 
not be considered income or resources for purposes of determining 
eligibility for or the amount of benefits under any Federal or 
federally-assisted program or for any other purpose.''.
    (2) The table of sections at the beginning of such chapter is 
amended by inserting after the item relating to section 1979 the 
following new item:

``1980. Option to receive accelerated death benefit.''.

    (b) Conforming Amendments.--Section 1970(g) is amended in the first 
sentence--
            (1) by striking ``Payments of benefits'' and inserting ``Any 
        payments''; and
            (2) by inserting ``an insured or'' after ``or on account 
        of,''.

     <<NOTE: 38 USC 1970 note.>> (c) Effective Date.--The amendments 
made by this section shall take effect 90 days after the date of the 
enactment of this Act.

SEC. 303. ASSESSMENT OF EFFECTIVENESS OF INSURANCE AND SURVIVOR BENEFITS 
            PROGRAMS FOR SURVIVORS OF VETERANS WITH SERVICE-CONNECTED 
            DISABILITIES.

    (a) Report on Assessment.-- <<NOTE: Deadline.>> Not later than 
October 1, 1999, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall submit to the 
Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the House of 
Representatives a report containing an assessment of the adequacy of the 
insurance and survivor benefits programs of the Department of Veterans 
Affairs (including the payment of dependency and indemnity compensation 
under chapter 13 of title 38, United States Code) in meeting the needs 
of survivors of veterans with service-connected disabilities, including 
survivors of catastrophically disabled veterans who cared for those 
veterans.

    (b) Report Elements.--The report on the assessment under subsection 
(a) shall include the following:
            (1) An identification of the characteristics that make a 
        disabled veteran catastrophically disabled.

[[Page 112 STAT. 3334]]

            (2) A statement of the number of veterans with service-
        connected disabilities who participate in insurance programs 
        administered by the Department.
            (3) A statement of the number of survivors of veterans with 
        service-connected disabilities who receive dependency and 
        indemnity compensation under chapter 13 of title 38, United 
        States Code.
            (4) Data on veterans with service-connected disabilities 
        that are relevant to the insurance programs administered by the 
        Department, and an assessment how such data might be used to 
        better determine the cost above standard premium rates of 
        insuring veterans with service-connected disabilities under such 
        programs.
            (5) An analysis of various methods of accounting and 
        providing for the additional cost of insuring the lives of 
        veterans with service-connected disabilities under the insurance 
        programs administered by the Department.
            (6) An assessment of the adequacy and effectiveness of the 
        current insurance programs and dependency and indemnity 
        compensation programs of the Department in meeting the needs of 
        survivors of severely disabled or catastrophically disabled 
        veterans.
            (7) An analysis of various methods of meeting the 
        transitional financial needs of survivors of veterans with 
        service-connected disabilities immediately after the deaths of 
        such veterans.
            (8) Such recommendations as the Secretary considers 
        appropriate regarding means of improving the benefits available 
        to survivors of veterans with service-connected disabilities 
        under programs administered by the Department.

SEC. 304. NATIONAL SERVICE LIFE INSURANCE PROGRAM.

    (a) Eligibility of Certain Veterans for Dividends Under NSLI 
Program.--Section 1919(b) is amended--
            (1) by striking ``sections 602(c)(2) and'' and inserting 
        ``section''; and
            (2) by striking ``sections'' after ``under such'' and 
        inserting ``section''.

     <<NOTE: 38 USC 1919 note.>> (b) Effective Date.--The amendments 
made by this section shall take effect at the end of the 90-day period 
beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act.

                       TITLE IV--MEMORIAL AFFAIRS

SEC. 401. COMMEMORATION OF INDIVIDUALS WHOSE REMAINS ARE UNAVAILABLE FOR 
            INTERMENT.

    (a) Memorial Headstones or Markers for Certain 
Members of the Armed Forces and Spouses.--Subsection (b) of section 2306 
is amended to read as follows:
    ``(b)(1) The Secretary shall furnish, when requested, an appropriate 
memorial headstone or marker for the purpose of commemorating an 
eligible individual whose remains are unavailable. Such a headstone or 
marker shall be furnished for placement in a national cemetery area 
reserved for that purpose under section 2403 of this title, a veterans' 
cemetery owned by a State, or, in the case of a veteran, in a State, 
local, or private cemetery.

[[Page 112 STAT. 3335]]

    ``(2) For purposes of paragraph (1), an eligible individual is any 
of the following:
            ``(A) A veteran.
            ``(B) The spouse or surviving spouse of a veteran.

    ``(3) For purposes of paragraph (1), the remains of an individual 
shall be considered to be unavailable if the individual's remains--
            ``(A) have not been recovered or identified;
            ``(B) were buried at sea, whether by the individual's own 
        choice or otherwise;
            ``(C) were donated to science; or
            ``(D) were cremated and the ashes scattered without 
        interment of any portion of the ashes.

    ``(4) For purposes of this subsection:
            ``(A) The term `veteran' includes an individual who dies in 
        the active military, naval, or air service.
            ``(B) The term `surviving spouse' includes an unremarried 
        surviving spouse whose subsequent remarriage was terminated by 
        death or divorce.''.

    (b) Alternative Commemoration for Certain Spouses.--Such section is 
further amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
    ``(e)(1) When the Secretary has furnished a headstone or marker 
under subsection (a) for the unmarked grave of an individual, the 
Secretary shall, if feasible, add a memorial inscription to that 
headstone or marker rather than furnishing a separate headstone or 
marker under that subsection for the surviving spouse of such 
individual.
    ``(2) When the Secretary has furnished a memorial headstone or 
marker under subsection (b) for purposes of commemorating a veteran or 
an individual who died in the active military, naval, or air service, 
the Secretary shall, if feasible, add a memorial inscription to that 
headstone or marker rather than furnishing a separate memorial headstone 
or marker under that subsection for the surviving spouse of such 
individual.''.
    (c) Memorial Areas.--Section 2403(b) is amended to read as follows:
    `` <<NOTE: Regulations.>> (b) Under regulations prescribed by the 
Secretary, group memorials may be placed to honor the memory of groups 
of individuals referred to in subsection (a), and appropriate memorial 
headstones and markers may be placed to honor the memory of individuals 
referred to in subsection (a) and section 2306(b) of this title.''.

     <<NOTE: 38 USC 2306 note.>> (d) Effective Date.--The amendments 
made by subsections (a) and (b) shall apply to deaths occurring after 
the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 402. MERCHANT MARINER BURIAL AND CEMETERY BENEFITS.

    (a) Benefits.--Part G of subtitle II of title 46, United States 
Code, is amended by inserting after chapter 111 the following new 
chapter:

                ``CHAPTER 112--MERCHANT MARINER BENEFITS

``Sec.
``11201. Eligibility for veterans' burial and cemetery benefits.
``11202. Qualified service.
``11203. Documentation of qualified service.
``11204. Processing fees.

[[Page 112 STAT. 3336]]

``Sec. 11201. Eligibility for veterans' burial and cemetery benefits

    ``(a) Eligibility.--
            ``(1) In general.--The qualified service of a person 
        referred to in paragraph (2) shall be considered to be active 
        duty in the Armed Forces during a period of war for purposes of 
        eligibility for benefits under the following provisions of title 
        38:
                    ``(A) Chapter 23 (relating to burial benefits).
                    ``(B) Chapter 24 (relating to interment in national 
                cemeteries).
            ``(2) Covered individuals.--Paragraph (1) applies to a 
        person who--
                    ``(A) receives an honorable service certificate 
                under 
                section 11203 of this title; and
                    ``(B) is not eligible under any other provision of 
                law for benefits under laws administered by the 
                Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

    ``(b) Reimbursement for Benefits Provided.--The Secretary shall 
reimburse the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for the value of benefits 
that the Secretary of Veterans Affairs provides for a person by reason 
of eligibility under this section.
    ``(c) Applicability.--
            ``(1) General rule.--Benefits may be provided under the 
        provisions of law referred to in subsection (a)(1) by reason of 
        this chapter only for deaths occurring after the date of the 
        enactment of this chapter.
            ``(2) Burials, etc. in national cemeteries.--Notwithstanding 
        paragraph (1), in the case of an initial burial or columbarium 
        placement after the date of the enactment of this chapter, 
        benefits may be provided under chapter 24 of title 38 by reason 
        of this chapter (regardless of the date of death), and in such a 
        case benefits may be provided under section 2306 of such title.

``Sec. 11202. Qualified service

    ``For purposes of this chapter, a person shall be considered to have 
engaged in qualified service if, between August 16, 1945, and December 
31, 1946, the person--
            ``(1) was a member of the United States merchant marine 
        (including the Army Transport Service and the Naval Transport 
        Service) serving as a crewmember of a vessel that was--
                    ``(A) operated by the War Shipping Administration or 
                the Office of Defense Transportation (or an agent of the 
                Administration or Office);
                    ``(B) operated in waters other than inland waters, 
                the Great Lakes, and other lakes, bays, and harbors of 
                the United States;
                    ``(C) under contract or charter to, or property of, 
                the Government of the United States; and
                    ``(D) serving the Armed Forces; and
            ``(2) while so serving, was licensed or otherwise documented 
        for service as a crewmember of such a vessel by an officer or 
        employee of the United States authorized to license or document 
        the person for such service.

[[Page 112 STAT. 3337]]

``Sec. 11203. Documentation of qualified service

    ``(a) Record of Service.--The Secretary, or in the case of personnel 
of the Army Transport Service or the Naval Transport Service, the 
Secretary of Defense, shall, upon application--
            ``(1) issue a certificate of honorable service to a person 
        who, as determined by that Secretary, engaged in qualified 
        service of a nature and duration that warrants issuance of the 
        certificate; and
            ``(2) correct, or request the appropriate official of the 
        Federal Government to correct, the service records of that 
        person to the extent necessary to reflect the qualified service 
        and the issuance of the certificate of honorable service.

    ``(b) Timing of Documentation.--A Secretary receiving an application 
under subsection (a) shall act on the application not later than 1 year 
after the date of that receipt.
    ``(c) Standards Relating to Service.--In making a determination 
under subsection (a)(1), the Secretary acting on the application shall 
apply the same standards relating to the nature and duration of service 
that apply to the issuance of honorable discharges under section 
401(a)(1)(B) of the GI Bill Improvement Act of 1977 (38 U.S.C. 106 
note).
    ``(d) Correction of Records.--An official who is requested under 
subsection (a)(2) to correct the service records of a person shall make 
such correction.

``Sec. 11204. Processing fees

    ``(a) Collection of Fees.--The Secretary, or in the case of 
personnel of the Army Transport Service or the Naval Transport Service, 
the Secretary of Defense, shall collect a fee of $30 from each applicant 
for processing an application submitted under section 11203(a) of this 
title.
    ``(b) Treatment of Fees Collected.--Amounts received by the 
Secretary under this section shall be deposited in the General Fund of 
the Treasury as offsetting receipts of the department in which the Coast 
Guard is operating and ascribed to Coast Guard activities. Amounts 
received by the Secretary of Defense under this section shall be 
deposited in the General Fund of the Treasury as offsetting receipts of 
the Department of Defense. In either case, such amounts shall be 
available, subject to appropriation, for the administrative costs of 
processing applications under section 11203 of this title.''.
    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of chapters at the beginning of 
subtitle II of title 46, United States Code, is amended by inserting 
after the item relating to chapter 111 the following new item:

``112. Merchant Mariner Benefits................................11201''.

<<NOTE: 38 USC 2400 note.>> SEC. 403. REDESIGNATION OF NATIONAL CEMETERY 
            SYSTEM AND ESTABLISHMENT OF UNDER SECRETARY FOR MEMORIAL 
            AFFAIRS.

    (a) Redesignation as National Cemetery Administration.--(1) The 
National Cemetery System of the Department of Veterans Affairs shall 
hereafter be known and designated as the National Cemetery 
Administration. The position of Director of the National Cemetery System 
is hereby redesignated as Under Secretary of Veterans Affairs for 
Memorial Affairs.

[[Page 112 STAT. 3338]]

    (2) Section 301(c)(4) is amended by striking ``National Cemetery 
System'' and inserting ``National Cemetery Administration''.
    (3) Section 307 is amended--
            (A) in the first sentence, by striking ``a Director of the 
        National Cemetery System'' and inserting ``an Under Secretary 
        for Memorial Affairs''; and
            (B) in the second sentence, by striking ``The Director'' and 
        all that follows through ``National Cemetery System'' and 
        inserting ``The Under Secretary is the head of the National 
        Cemetery Administration''.

    (b) Pay Rate for Under Secretary.--Chapter 53 of title 5, United 
States Code, is amended--
            (1) in section 5314, by inserting after the item relating to 
        the Under Secretary for Benefits of the Department of Veterans 
        Affairs the following new item:
            ``Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs, Department of 
        Veterans Affairs.''; and
            (2) in section 5315, by striking ``Director of the National 
        Cemetery System.''.

    (c) Conforming Amendments.--
            (1)(A) The heading of section 307 is amended to read as 
        follows:

``Sec. 307. Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs''.

            (B) The item relating to section 307 in the table of 
        sections at the beginning of chapter 3 is amended to read as 
        follows:

``307. Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs.''.

            (2) Section 2306(d) is amended by striking ``within the 
        National Cemetery System'' each place such term appears and 
        inserting ``under the control of the National Cemetery 
        Administration''.
            (3) Section 2400 is amended--
                    (A) in subsection (a)--
                          (i) by striking ``National Cemetery System'' 
                      and inserting ``National Cemetery Administration 
                      responsible''; and
                          (ii) in the second sentence, by striking 
                      ``Such system'' and all that follows through 
                      ``National Cemetery System'' and inserting ``The 
                      National Cemetery Administration shall be headed 
                      by the Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs'';
                    (B) in subsection (b), by striking ``National 
                Cemetery System'' and inserting ``national cemeteries 
                and other facilities under the control of the National 
                Cemetery Administration''; and
                    (C) by amending the heading to read as follows:

``Sec. 2400. Establishment of National Cemetery Administration; 
                        composition of Administration''.

            (4) The item relating to section 2400 in the table of 
        sections at the beginning of chapter 24 is amended to read as 
        follows:

``2400. Establishment of National Cemetery Administration; composition 
           of Administration.''.

            (5) Section 2402 is amended in the matter preceding 
        paragraph (1) by striking ``in the National Cemetery System'' 
        and

[[Page 112 STAT. 3339]]

        inserting ``under the control of the National Cemetery 
        Administration''.
            (6) Section 2403(c) is amended by striking ``in the National 
        Cemetery System created by this chapter'' and inserting ``under 
        the control of the National Cemetery Administration''.
            (7) Section 2405(c) is amended--
                    (A) by striking ``within the National Cemetery 
                System'' and inserting ``under the control of the 
                National Cemetery Administration''; and
                    (B) by striking ``within such System'' and inserting 
                ``under the control of such Administration''.
            (8) Section 2408(c)(1) is amended by striking ``in the 
        National Cemetery System'' and inserting ``under the control of 
        the National Cemetery Administration''.

     <<NOTE: 38 USC 2400 note.>> (d) References.--
            (1) Any reference in a law, map, regulation, document, 
        paper, or other record of the United States to the National 
        Cemetery System shall be deemed to be a reference to the 
        National Cemetery Administration.
            (2) Any reference in a law, map, regulation, document, 
        paper, or other record of the United States to the Director of 
        the National Cemetery System shall be deemed to be a reference 
        to the Under Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Memorial Affairs.

SEC. 404. STATE CEMETERY GRANTS PROGRAM.

    (a) Amount of Grant Relative to Project Cost.--(1) 
Paragraphs (1) and (2) of section 2408(b) are amended to read as 
follows:
            ``(1) The amount of a grant under this section may not 
        exceed--
                    ``(A) in the case of the establishment of a new 
                cemetery, the sum of: (i) the cost of improvements to be 
                made on the land to be converted into a cemetery; and 
                (ii) the cost of initial equipment necessary to operate 
                the cemetery; and
                    ``(B) in the case of the expansion or improvement of 
                an existing cemetery, the sum of: (i) the cost of 
                improvements to be made on any land to be added to the 
                cemetery; and (ii) the cost of any improvements to be 
                made to the existing cemetery.
            ``(2) If the amount of a grant under this section is less 
        than the amount of costs referred to in subparagraph (A) or (B) 
        of paragraph (1), the State receiving the grant shall contribute 
        the excess of such costs over the grant.''.

     <<NOTE: 38 USC 2408 note.>> (2) The amendment made by paragraph (1) 
shall apply with respect to grants under section 2408 of title 38, 
United States Code, made after the end of the 60-day period beginning on 
the date of the enactment of this Act.

    (b) Authorization of Appropriations Without Fiscal Year 
Limitation.--The first sentence of section 2408(e) is amended by 
striking ``shall remain available until the end of the second fiscal 
year following the fiscal year for which they are appropriated'' and 
inserting ``shall remain available until expended''.
    (c) Extension of Authorization of Appropriations for Grant 
Program.--Paragraph (2) of section 2408(a) is amended to read as 
follows:

[[Page 112 STAT. 3340]]

    ``(2) There is authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be 
necessary for fiscal year 1999 and for each succeeding fiscal year 
through fiscal year 2004 for the purpose of making grants under 
paragraph (1).''.

                   TITLE V--COURT OF VETERANS APPEALS

       Subtitle A--Administrative Provisions Relating to the Court

SEC. 501. CONTINUATION IN OFFICE OF JUDGES PENDING CONFIRMATION FOR 
            SECOND TERM.

    Section 7253(c) is amended by adding at the end the following new 
sentence: ``A judge who is nominated by the President for appointment to 
an additional term on the Court without a break in service and whose 
term of office expires while that nomination is pending before the 
Senate may continue in office for up to 1 year while that nomination is 
pending.''.

SEC. 502. EXEMPTION OF RETIREMENT FUND FROM SEQUESTRATION ORDERS.

    Section 7298 is amended by adding at the end the following new 
subsection:
    ``(g) For purpose of section 255(g)(1)(B) of the Balanced Budget and 
Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 (2 U.S.C. 905(g)(1)(B)), the 
retirement fund shall be treated in the same manner as the Claims 
Judges' Retirement Fund.''.

SEC. 503. ADJUSTMENTS FOR SURVIVOR ANNUITIES.

    Subsection (o) of section 7297 is amended to read as follows:
    ``(o) Each survivor annuity payable from the retirement fund shall 
be increased at the same time as, and by the same percentage by which, 
annuities payable from the Judicial Survivors' Annuities Fund are 
increased pursuant to section 376(m) of title 28.''.

SEC. 504. REPORTS ON RETIREMENT PROGRAM MODIFICATIONS.

    (a) Report on Judges' Retirement System.-- <<NOTE: Deadline.>> Not 
later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the chief 
judge of the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims shall 
submit to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and House of 
Representatives a report on the feasibility and desirability of merging 
the retirement plan of the judges of that court with retirement plans of 
other Federal judges.

    (b) Report on Survivor Annuities Plan.-- <<NOTE: Deadline.>> Not 
later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the 
chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims 
shall submit to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and 
House of Representatives a report on the feasibility and desirability of 
allowing judges of that court to participate in the survivor annuity 
programs available to other Federal judges.

[[Page 112 STAT. 3341]]

                      Subtitle B--Renaming of Court

SEC. 511. RENAMING OF THE COURT OF VETERANS APPEALS.

     <<NOTE: 38 USC 7251 note.>> (a) In General.--The United States 
Court of Veterans Appeals is hereby renamed as, and shall hereafter be 
known and designated as, the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans 
Claims.

    (b) Section 7251.--Section 7251 is amended by striking ``United 
States Court of Veterans Appeals'' and inserting ``United States Court 
of Appeals for Veterans Claims''.

SEC. 512. CONFORMING AMENDMENTS.

    (a) Conforming Amendments to Title 38, United States Code.--
            (1) The following sections are amended by striking ``Court 
        of Veterans Appeals'' each place it appears and inserting 
        ``Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims'': sections 5904, 
        7101(b), 7252(a), 7253, 7254, 7255, 7256, 7261, 7262, 7263, 
        7264, 7266(a)(1), 7267(a), 7268(a), 7269, 7281(a), 7282(a), 
        7283, 7284, 7285(a), 7286, 7291, 7292, 7296, 7297, and 7298.
            (2)(A) The heading of section 7286 is amended to read as 
        follows:

``Sec. 7286. Judicial Conference of the Court''.

            (B) The heading of section 7291 is amended to read as 
        follows:

``Sec. 7291. Date when Court decision becomes final''.

            (C) The heading of section 7298 is amended to read as 
        follows:

``Sec. 7298. Retirement Fund''.

            (3) The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 72 is 
        amended as follows:
                    (A) The item relating to section 7286 is amended to 
                read as follows:

``7286. Judicial Conference of the Court.''.

                    (B) The item relating to section 7291 is amended to 
                read as follows:

``7291. Date when Court decision becomes final.''.

                    (C) The item relating to section 7298 is amended to 
                read as follows:

``7298. Retirement Fund.''.

            (4)(A) The heading of chapter 72 is amended to read as 
        follows:

   ``CHAPTER 72--UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR VETERANS CLAIMS''.

            (B) The item relating to chapter 72 in the table of chapters 
        at the beginning of title 38, United States Code, and the item 
        relating to such chapter in the table of chapters at the 
        beginning of part V are amended to read as follows:

``72. United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.........7251''.

    (b) Conforming Amendments to Other Laws.--

[[Page 112 STAT. 3342]]

            (1) The following provisions of law are amended by striking 
        ``Court of Veterans Appeals'' each place it appears and 
        inserting ``Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims'':
                    (A) Section 8440d of title 5, United States Code.
                    (B) Section 2412 of title 28, United States Code.
                    (C) Section 906 of title 44, United States Code.
                    (D) Section 109 of the Ethics in Government Act of 
                1978 (5 U.S.C. App.).
            (2)(A) The heading of section 8440d of title 5, United 
        States Code, is amended to read as follows:

``Sec. 8440d. Judges of the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans 
                        Claims''.

            (B) The item relating to such section in the table of 
        sections at the beginning of chapter 84 of such title is amended 
        to read as follows:

``8440d. Judges of the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans 
           Claims.''.

     <<NOTE: 38 USC 7251 note.>> (c) Other Legal References.--Any 
reference in a law, regulation, document, paper, or other record of the 
United States to the United States Court of Veterans Appeals shall be 
deemed to be a reference to the United States Court of Appeals for 
Veterans Claims.

<<NOTE: 38 USC 7251 note.>> SEC. 513. EFFECTIVE DATE.

    This subtitle, and the amendments made by this subtitle, shall take 
effect on the first day of the first month beginning more than 90 days 
after the date of the enactment of this Act.

                            TITLE VI--HOUSING

SEC. 601. LOAN GUARANTEE FOR MULTIFAMILY TRANSITIONAL 
            HOUSING FOR HOMELESS VETERANS.

    (a) In General.--Chapter 37 is amended by adding at the end the 
following new subchapter:

``SUBCHAPTER VI--LOAN GUARANTEE FOR MULTIFAMILY TRANSITIONAL HOUSING FOR 
                            HOMELESS VETERANS

``Sec. 3771. Definitions

    ``For purposes of this subchapter:
            ``(1) The term `veteran' has the meaning given such term by 
        paragraph (2) of section 101.
            ``(2) The term `homeless veteran' means a veteran who is a 
        homeless individual.
            ``(3) The term `homeless individual' has the meaning given 
        such term by section 103 of the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless 
        Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11302).

``Sec. 3772. General authority

    ``(a) The Secretary may guarantee the full or partial repayment of a 
loan that meets the requirements of this subchapter.
    ``(b)(1) Not more than 15 loans may be guaranteed under subsection 
(a), of which not more than five such loans may be guaranteed during the 
3-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this subchapter.

[[Page 112 STAT. 3343]]

    ``(2) A guarantee of a loan under subsection (a) shall be in an 
amount that is not less than the amount necessary to sell the loan in a 
commercial market.
    ``(3) Not more than an aggregate amount of $100,000,000 in loans may 
be guaranteed under subsection (a).
    ``(c) A loan may not be guaranteed under this subchapter unless, 
before closing such loan, the Secretary has approved the loan.
    `` <<NOTE: Contracts.>> (d)(1) The Secretary shall enter into 
contracts with a qualified nonprofit organization, or other qualified 
organization, that has experience in underwriting transitional housing 
projects to obtain advice in carrying out this subchapter, including 
advice on the terms and conditions necessary for a loan that meets the 
requirements of section 3773 of this title.

    ``(2) For purposes of paragraph (1), a nonprofit organization is an 
organization that is described in paragraph (3) or (4) of subsection (c) 
of section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and is exempt from 
tax under subsection (a) of such section.
    ``(e) The Secretary may carry out this subchapter in advance of the 
issuance of regulations for such purpose.
    ``(f ) The Secretary may guarantee loans under this subchapter 
notwithstanding any requirement for prior appropriations for such 
purpose under any provision of law.

``Sec. 3773. Requirements

    ``(a) A loan referred to in section 3772 of this title meets the 
requirements of this subchapter if each of the following requirements is 
met:
            ``(1) The loan--
                    ``(A) is for--
                          ``(i) construction of, rehabilitation of, or 
                      acquisition of land for a multifamily transitional 
                      housing project described in subsection (b), or 
                      more than one of such purposes; or
                          ``(ii) refinancing of an existing loan for 
                      such a project; and
                    ``(B) may also include additional reasonable amounts 
                for--
                          ``(i) financing acquisition of furniture, 
                      equipment, supplies, or materials for the project; 
                      or
                          ``(ii) in the case of a loan made for purposes 
                      of subparagraph (A)(i), supplying the organization 
                      carrying out the project with working capital 
                      relative to the project.
            ``(2) The loan is made in connection with funding or the 
        provision of substantial property or services for such project 
        by either a State or local government or a nongovernmental 
        entity, or both.
            ``(3) The maximum loan amount does not exceed the lesser 
        of--
                    ``(A) that amount generally approved (utilizing 
                prudent underwriting principles) in the consideration 
                and approval of projects of similar nature and risk so 
                as to assure repayment of the loan obligation; and
                    ``(B) 90 percent of the total cost of the project.
            ``(4) The loan is of sound value, taking into account the 
        creditworthiness of the entity (and the individual members of 
        the entity) applying for such loan.

[[Page 112 STAT. 3344]]

            ``(5) The loan is secured.
            ``(6) The loan is subject to such terms and conditions as 
        the Secretary determines are reasonable, taking into account 
        other housing projects with similarities in size, location, 
        population, and services provided.

    ``(b) For purposes of this subchapter, a multifamily transitional 
housing project referred to in subsection (a)(1) is a project that--
            ``(1) provides transitional housing to homeless veterans, 
        which housing may be single room occupancy (as defined in 
        section 8(n) of the United States Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 
        1437f (n)));
            ``(2) provides supportive services and counselling services 
        (including job counselling) at the project site with the goal of 
        making such veterans self-sufficient;
            ``(3) requires that each such veteran seek to obtain and 
        maintain employment;
            ``(4) charges a reasonable fee for occupying a unit in such 
        housing; and
            ``(5) maintains strict guidelines regarding sobriety as a 
        condition of occupying such unit.

    ``(c) Such a project--
            ``(1) may include space for neighborhood retail services or 
        job training programs; and
            ``(2) may provide transitional housing to veterans who are 
        not homeless and to homeless individuals who are not veterans 
        if--
                    ``(A) at the time of taking occupancy by any such 
                veteran or homeless individual, the transitional housing 
                needs of homeless veterans in the project area have been 
                met;
                    ``(B) the housing needs of any such veteran or 
                homeless individual can be met in a manner that is 
                compatible with the manner in which the needs of 
                homeless veterans are met under paragraph (1); and
                    ``(C) the provisions of paragraphs (4) and (5) of 
                subsection (b) are met.

    ``(d) In determining whether to guarantee a loan under this 
subchapter, the Secretary shall consider--
            ``(1) the availability of Department of Veterans Affairs 
        medical services to residents of the multifamily transitional 
        housing project; and
            ``(2) the extent to which needs of homeless veterans are met 
        in a community, as assessed under section 107 of Public Law 102-
        405.

``Sec. 3774. Default

    ``(a) The Secretary shall take such steps as may be necessary to 
obtain repayment on any loan that is in default and that is guaranteed 
under this subchapter.
    ``(b) Upon default of a loan guaranteed under this subchapter and 
terminated pursuant to State law, a lender may file a claim under the 
guarantee for an amount not to exceed the lesser of--
            ``(1) the maximum guarantee; or
            ``(2) the difference between--
                    ``(A) the total outstanding obligation on the loan, 
                including principal, interest, and expenses authorized 
                by

[[Page 112 STAT. 3345]]

                the loan documents, through the date of the public sale 
                (as authorized under such documents and State law); and
                    ``(B) the amount realized at such sale.

``Sec. 3775. Audit

    ``During each of the first 3 years of operation of a multifamily 
transitional housing project with respect to which a loan is guaranteed 
under this subchapter, there shall be an annual, independent audit of 
such operation. Such audit shall include a detailed statement of the 
operations, activities, and accomplishments of such project during the 
year covered by such audit. The party responsible for obtaining such 
audit (and paying the costs therefor) shall be determined before the 
Secretary issues a guarantee under this subchapter.''.
    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the beginning of 
chapter 37 is amended by adding at the end the following new items:

``SUBCHAPTER VI--LOAN GUARANTEE FOR MULTIFAMILY TRANSITIONAL HOUSING FOR 
                            HOMELESS VETERANS

``3771. Definitions.
``3772. General authority.
``3773. Requirements.
``3774. Default.
``3775. Audit.''.

SEC. 602. VETERANS HOUSING BENEFIT PROGRAM FUND ACCOUNT CONSOLIDATION.

    (a) Consolidation of Housing Loan Revolving Funds.--Subchapter III 
of chapter 37 is amended--
            (1) by striking sections 3723, 3724, and 3725; and
            (2) by inserting after section 3721 the following new 
        section:

``Sec. 3722. Veterans Housing Benefit Program Fund

    `` <<NOTE: Establishment.>> (a) There is hereby established in the 
Treasury of the United States a fund known as the Veterans Housing 
Benefit Program Fund (hereafter in this section referred to as the 
`Fund').

    ``(b) The Fund shall be available to the Secretary, without fiscal 
year limitation, for all housing loan operations under this chapter, 
other than administrative expenses, consistent with the Federal Credit 
Reform Act of 1990.
    ``(c) There shall be deposited into the Fund the following, which 
shall constitute the assets of the Fund:
            ``(1) Any amount appropriated to the Fund.
            ``(2) Amounts paid into the Fund under section 3729 of this 
        title or any other provision of law or regulation established by 
        the Secretary imposing fees on persons or other entities 
        participating in the housing loan programs under this chapter.
            ``(3) All other amounts received by the Secretary on or 
        after October 1, 1998, incident to housing loan operations under 
        this chapter, including--
                    ``(A) collections of principal and interest on 
                housing loans made by the Secretary under this chapter;
                    ``(B) proceeds from the sale, rental, use, or other 
                disposition of property acquired under this chapter;
                    ``(C) proceeds from the sale of loans pursuant to 
                sections 3720(h) and 3733(a)(3) of this title; and
                    ``(D) penalties collected pursuant to section 
                3710(g)(4)(B) of this title.

[[Page 112 STAT. 3346]]

    ``(d) Amounts deposited into the Fund under paragraphs (2) and (3) 
of subsection (c) shall be deposited in the appropriate financing or 
liquidating account of the Fund.
    ``(e) For purposes of this section, the term `housing loan' shall 
not include a loan made pursuant to subchapter V of this chapter.''.
     <<NOTE: 38 USC 3722 note.>> (b) Transfers of Amounts into Veterans 
Housing Benefit Program Fund.--All amounts in the following funds are 
hereby transferred to the Veterans Housing Benefit Program Fund:
            (1) The Direct Loan Revolving Fund, as such fund was 
        continued under section 3723 of title 38, United States Code (as 
        such section was in effect on the day before the effective date 
        of this title).
            (2) The Department of Veterans Affairs Loan Guaranty 
        Revolving Fund, as established by section 3724 of such title (as 
        such section was in effect on the day before the effective date 
        of this title).
            (3) The Guaranty and Indemnity Fund, as established by 
        section 3725 of such title (as such section was in effect on the 
        day before the effective date of this title).

    (c) Repeal of Authority to Sell Participation Certificates and of 
Obsolete Requirement to Credit Proceeds.--
            (1) Repeal of authority to sell participation 
        certificates.--Section 3720 is amended by striking subsection 
        (e).
            (2) Repeal of obsolete requirement to credit 
        proceeds.--Section 3733 is amended by striking subsection (e).

    (d) Submission of Summary Financial Statement on 
Housing Programs.--Section 3734 is amended by adding at the end the 
following new subsection:
    ``(c) The information submitted under subsection (a) shall include a 
statement that summarizes the financial activity of each of the housing 
programs operated under this chapter. The statement shall be presented 
in a form that is simple, concise, and readily understandable, and shall 
not include references to financing accounts, liquidating accounts, or 
program accounts.''.
    (e) Conforming and Clerical Amendments.--
            (1) Conforming amendments to chapter 37.--Chapter 37 is 
        amended as follows:
                    (A) Section 3703(e)(1) is amended by striking 
                ``3729(c)(1)'' and inserting ``3729(c)''.
                    (B) Section 3711(k) is amended by striking ``and 
                section 3723 of this title'' both places it appears.
                    (C) Section 3727(c) is amended by striking ``funds 
                established pursuant to sections 3723 and 3724 of this 
                title, as applicable'' and inserting ``fund established 
                pursuant to section 3722 of this title''.
                    (D) Section 3729 is amended--
                          (i) in subsection (c)--
                                    (I) by striking ``(c)(1)'' and 
                                inserting ``(c)''; and
                                    (II) by striking paragraphs (2) and 
                                (3); and
                          (ii) in subsection (a)(1), by striking 
                      ``(c)(1)'' and inserting ``(c)''.
                    (E) Section 3733(a)(6) is amended by striking 
                ``Department of Veterans Affairs Loan Guaranty Revolving 
                Fund established by section 3724(a)'' and inserting 
                ``Veterans

[[Page 112 STAT. 3347]]

                Housing Benefit Program Fund established by section 
                3722(a)''.
                    (F) Section 3734, as amended by subsection (d), is 
                further amended--
                          (i) in subsection (a)--
                                    (I) by striking ``Loan Guaranty 
                                Revolving Fund and the Guaranty and 
                                Indemnity Fund'' in paragraph (1) and 
                                inserting ``Veterans Housing Benefit 
                                Program Fund''; and
                                    (II) by striking ``funds,'' in 
                                paragraph (2) and inserting ``fund,'';
                          (ii) in subsection (b), by striking ``each 
                      fund'' in the matter preceding paragraph (1) and 
                      inserting ``the fund''; and
                          (iii) in subsection (b)(2)--
                                    (I) by striking subparagraph (B);
                                    (II) by redesignating subparagraphs 
                                (C), (D), (E), (F), and (G) as 
                                subparagraphs (B), (C), (D), (E), and 
                                (F), respectively; and
                                    (III) in subparagraph (B), as so 
                                redesignated, by striking ``subsections 
                                (a)(3) and (c)(2) of section 3729'' and 
                                inserting ``section 3729(a)(3)''.
                    (G) Section 3735(a)(3)(A)(i) is amended by striking 
                ``Loan Guaranty Revolving Fund and the Guaranty and 
                Indemnity Fund'' and inserting ``Veterans Housing 
                Benefit Program Fund''.
            (2) Other conforming amendment.--Section 2106(e) is amended 
        by striking ``, as appropriate, deposited in either the direct 
        loan or loan guaranty revolving fund established by section 3723 
        or 3724 of this title, respectively'' and inserting ``deposited 
        in the Veterans Housing Benefit Program Fund established by 
        section 3722 of this title''.
            (3) Technical and clerical amendments.--(A) The 
        heading for section 3734 is amended to read as follows:

``Sec. 3734. Annual submission of information on the Veterans Housing 
                        Benefit Program Fund and housing programs''.

            (B) The heading for section 3763 is amended to read as 
        follows:

``Sec. 3763. Native American Veteran Housing Loan Program Account''.

            (C) The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 37 is 
        amended--
                    (i) by inserting after the item relating to section 
                3721 the following new item:

``3722. Veterans Housing Benefit Program Fund.'';

                    (ii) by striking the items relating to sections 
                3723, 3724, and 3725;
                    (iii) by striking the item relating to section 3734 
                and inserting the following:

``3734. Annual submission of information on the Veterans Housing Benefit 
           Program Fund and housing programs.'';

                and

[[Page 112 STAT. 3348]]

                    (iv) by striking the item relating to section 3763 
                and inserting the following:

``3763. Native American Veteran Housing Loan Program Account.''.

     <<NOTE: 38 USC 2106 note.>> (f ) Effective Date.--This title and 
the amendments made by this title shall take effect on October 1, 1998.

SEC. 603. EXTENSION OF ELIGIBILITY OF MEMBERS OF SELECTED RESERVE FOR 
            VETERANS HOUSING LOANS.

    (a) Extension.--Section 3702(a)(2)(E) is amended by striking 
``October 27, 1999,'' and inserting ``September 30, 2003,''.
    (b) One-Year Extension of Fee Provision.--Section 3729(a)(4) is 
amended--
            (1) by striking ``With respect to a loan closed after 
        September 30, 1993, and before October 1, 2002,'' and inserting 
        ``(A) With respect to a loan closed during the period specified 
        in subparagraph (B)''; and
            (2) by adding at the end the following:

    ``(B) The specified period for purposes of subparagraph (A) is the 
period beginning on October 1, 1993, and ending on September 30, 2002, 
except that in the case of a loan described in subparagraph (D) of 
paragraph (2), such period ends on September 30, 2003.''.

SEC. 604. APPLICABILITY OF PROCUREMENT LAW TO CERTAIN 
            CONTRACTS OF DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS.

    (a) In General.--Section 3720(b) is amended by striking 
``; however'' and all that follows and inserting the following: ``, 
except that title III of the Federal Property and Administrative 
Services Act of 1949 (41 U.S.C. 251 et seq.) shall apply to any contract 
for services or supplies on account of any property acquired pursuant to 
this section.''.
     <<NOTE: 38 USC 3720 note.>> (b) Effective Date.--The amendment made 
by subsection (a) shall apply with respect to contracts entered into 
under section 3720 of title 38, United States Code, after the end of the 
60-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act.

             TITLE VII--CONSTRUCTION AND FACILITIES MATTERS

SEC. 701. AUTHORIZATION OF MAJOR MEDICAL FACILITY PROJECTS.

    (a) In General.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs may carry out the 
following major medical facility projects, with each project to be 
carried out in the amount specified for that project:
            (1) Alterations and demolition at the Department of Veterans 
        Affairs Medical Center, Long Beach, California, in an amount not 
        to exceed $23,200,000.
            (2) Construction and seismic work at the Department of 
        Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Juan, Puerto Rico, in an 
        amount not to exceed $50,000,000.
            (3) Outpatient clinic expansion at the Department of 
        Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Washington, D.C., in an amount 
        not to exceed $29,700,000.
            (4) Construction of a psychogeriatric care building and 
        demolition of a seismically unsafe building at the Department of 
        Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Palo Alto, California, in an 
        amount not to exceed $22,400,000.

[[Page 112 STAT. 3349]]

            (5) Construction of an ambulatory care addition and 
        renovations for ambulatory care at the Department of Veterans 
        Affairs Medical Center, Cleveland (Wade Park), Ohio, in an 
        amount not to exceed $28,300,000, of which $7,500,000 shall be 
        derived from funds appropriated for a fiscal year before fiscal 
        year 1999 that remain available for obligation.
            (6) Construction of an ambulatory care addition at the 
        Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Tucson, Arizona, 
        in an amount not to exceed $35,000,000.
            (7) Construction of an addition for psychiatric care at the 
        Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, in 
        an amount not to exceed $24,200,000.
            (8) Outpatient clinic projects at Auburn and Merced, 
        California, as part of the Northern California Healthcare 
        Systems Project, in an amount not to exceed $3,000,000, to be 
        derived only from funds appropriated for Construction, Major 
        Projects, for a fiscal year before fiscal year 1999 that remain 
        available for obligation.
            (9) Renovations to a nursing home care unit at the 
        Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Lebanon, 
        Pennsylvania, in an amount not to exceed $9,500,000.
            (10) Construction of a spinal cord injury center at the 
        Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Tampa, Florida, 
        in an amount not to exceed $46,300,000, of which $20,000,000 
        shall be derived from funds appropriated for a fiscal year 
        before fiscal year 1999 that remain available for obligation.

    (b) Construction of Parking Facility.--The Secretary may construct a 
parking structure at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 
Denver, Colorado, in an amount not to exceed $13,000,000, of which 
$11,900,000 shall be derived from funds in the Parking Revolving Fund.

SEC. 702. AUTHORIZATION OF MAJOR MEDICAL FACILITY LEASES.

    The Secretary of Veterans Affairs may enter into leases for 
satellite outpatient clinics as follows:
            (1) Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in an amount not to exceed 
        $1,800,000.
            (2) Daytona Beach, Florida, in an amount not to exceed 
        $2,600,000.
            (3) Oakland Park, Florida, in an amount not to exceed 
        $4,100,000.

 SEC. 703. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    (a) In General.--There are authorized to be appropriated to the 
Secretary of Veterans Affairs for fiscal year 1999 and for fiscal year 
2000--
            (1) for the Construction, Major Projects, account 
        $241,100,000 for the projects authorized in section 701(a); and
            (2) for the Medical Care account, $8,500,000 for the leases 
        authorized in section 702.

    (b) Limitation.--(1) The projects authorized in section 701(a) may 
only be carried out using--
            (A) funds appropriated for fiscal year 1999 or fiscal year 
        2000 pursuant to the authorization of appropriations in 
        subsection (a);

[[Page 112 STAT. 3350]]

            (B) funds appropriated for Construction, Major Projects, for 
        a fiscal year before fiscal year 1999 that remain available for 
        obligation; and
            (C) funds appropriated for Construction, Major Projects, for 
        fiscal year 1999 for a category of activity not specific to a 
        project.

    (2) The project authorized in section 701(b) may only be carried out 
using funds appropriated for a fiscal year before fiscal year 1999--
            (A) for the Parking Revolving Fund; or
            (B) for Construction, Major Projects, for a category of 
        activity not specific to a project.

SEC. 704. INCREASE IN THRESHOLD FOR MAJOR MEDICAL FACILITY LEASES FOR 
            PURPOSES OF CONGRESSIONAL AUTHORIZATION.

    Section 8104(a)(3)(B) is amended by striking ``$300,000'' and 
inserting ``$600,000''.

SEC. 705. THRESHOLD FOR TREATMENT OF PARKING FACILITY PROJECT AS A MAJOR 
            MEDICAL FACILITY PROJECT.

    Section 8109(i)(2) is amended by striking ``$3,000,000'' and 
inserting ``$4,000,000''.

SEC. 706. PARKING FEES.

    (a) Limitation.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs may not establish 
or collect any parking fee at any parking facility associated with the 
Spark M. Matsunaga Department of Veterans Affairs Medical and Regional 
Office Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.
     <<NOTE: Deadline.>> (b) Report.--Not later than September 15, 1999, 
the Secretary shall submit to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the 
Senate and House of Representatives a report regarding the Department's 
experience in exercising and administering the authority of the 
Secretary to charge parking fees under subsections (d) and (e) of 
section 8109 of title 38, United States Code. The report shall include--
            (1) the results of a survey which shall describe the parking 
        facilities and number of parking spaces available to employees 
        of the Department at each medical facility of the Department 
        with more than 50 employees;
            (2) an analysis of the means by which the Secretary could 
        implement in a cost-effective manner the authority of the 
        Secretary under subsection (e) of section 8109 of title 38, 
        United States Code; and
            (3) recommendations for amending section 8109 of such 
        title--
                    (A) to address the applicability of parking fees to 
                employees of the Secretary who are employed at a 
                regional office which is co-located with a medical 
                facility;
                    (B) to address the applicability of parking fees to 
                persons using parking facilities at Department of 
                Veterans Affairs medical centers co-located with 
                facilities of the Department of Defense;
                    (C) to link any schedule of applicable fees to 
                applicable commercial rates; and
                    (D) to achieve any other purpose.

[[Page 112 STAT. 3351]]

SEC. 707. MASTER PLAN REGARDING USE OF DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS 
            LANDS AT WEST LOS ANGELES MEDICAL CENTER, CALIFORNIA.

    (a) Report.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall submit to 
Congress a report on the master plan of the Department of Veterans 
Affairs relating to the use of Department lands at the West Los Angeles 
Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, California.
    (b) Report Elements.--The report under subsection (a) shall set 
forth the following:
            (1) The master plan referred to in that subsection, if such 
        a plan currently exists.
            (2) A current assessment of the master plan.
            (3) Any proposal of the Department for a veterans park on 
        the lands referred to in subsection (a), and an assessment of 
        such proposals.
            (4) Any proposal to use a portion of those lands as 
        dedicated green space, and an assessment of such proposals.

    (c) Alternative Report Element.--If a master plan referred to in 
subsection (a) does not exist as of the date of the enactment of this 
Act, the Secretary shall set forth in the report under that subsection, 
in lieu of the matters specified in paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection 
(b), a plan for the development of a master plan for the use of the 
lands referred to in subsection (a) over the next 25 years and over the 
next 50 years.

SEC. 708. DESIGNATION OF DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS MEDICAL CENTER, 
            ASPINWALL, PENNSYLVANIA.

    The Department of Veterans Affairs medical center in Aspinwall, 
Pennsylvania, is hereby designated as the ``H. John Heinz III Department 
of Veterans Affairs Medical Center''. Any reference to that medical 
center in any law, regulation, map, document, record, or other paper of 
the United States shall be considered to be a reference to the H. John 
Heinz III Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

SEC. 709. DESIGNATION OF DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS MEDICAL CENTER, 
            GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA.

    The Department of Veterans Affairs medical center in Gainesville, 
Florida, is hereby designated as the ``Malcom Randall Department of 
Veterans Affairs Medical Center''. Any reference to that medical center 
in any law, regulation, map, document, record, or other paper of the 
United States shall be considered to be a reference to the Malcom 
Randall Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

SEC. 710. DESIGNATION OF DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS 
            OUTPATIENT CLINIC, COLUMBUS, OHIO.

    The Department of Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic in Columbus, 
Ohio, shall after the date of the enactment of this Act be known and 
designated as the ``Chalmers P. Wylie Veterans Outpatient Clinic''. Any 
reference to that outpatient clinic in any law, regulation, map, 
document, record, or other paper of the United States shall be 
considered to be a reference to the Chalmers P. Wylie Veterans 
Outpatient Clinic.

[[Page 112 STAT. 3352]]

 <<NOTE: Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care Personnel Incentive 
Act of 1998.>> TITLE VIII--HEALTH PROFESSIONALS EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE

<<NOTE: 38 USC 101 note.>> SEC. 801. SHORT TITLE.

    This title may be cited as the ``Department of Veterans Affairs 
Health Care Personnel Incentive Act of 1998''.

SEC. 802. SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM FOR DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS 
            EMPLOYEES RECEIVING EDUCATION OR TRAINING IN THE HEALTH 
            PROFESSIONS.

    (a) Program Authority.--Chapter 76 is amended by adding at the end 
the following new subchapter:

         ``SUBCHAPTER VI--EMPLOYEE INCENTIVE SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM

``Sec. 7671. Authority for program

    ``As part of the Educational Assistance Program, the Secretary may 
carry out a scholarship program under this subchapter. The program shall 
be known as the Department of Veterans Affairs Employee Incentive 
Scholarship Program (hereafter in this subchapter referred to as the 
`Program'). The purpose of the Program is to assist, through the 
establishment of an incentive program for individuals employed in the 
Veterans Health Administration, in meeting the staffing needs of the 
Veterans Health Administration for health professional occupations for 
which recruitment or retention of qualified personnel is difficult.

``Sec. 7672. Eligibility; agreement

    ``(a) Eligibility.--To be eligible to participate in the Program, an 
individual must be an eligible Department employee who is accepted for 
enrollment or enrolled (as described in section 7602 of this title) as a 
full-time or part-time student in a field of education or training 
described in subsection (c).
    ``(b) Eligible Department Employees.--For purposes of subsection 
(a), an eligible Department employee is any employee of the Department 
who, as of the date on which the employee submits an application for 
participation in the Program, has been continuously employed by the 
Department for not less than 2 years.
    ``(c) Qualifying Fields of Education or Training.--A scholarship may 
be awarded under the Program only for education and training in a field 
leading to appointment or retention in a position under section 7401 of 
this title.
    ``(d) Award of Scholarships.--Notwithstanding section 7603(d) of 
this title, the Secretary, in selecting participants in the Program, may 
award a scholarship only to applicants who have a record of employment 
with the Veterans Health Administration which, in the judgment of the 
Secretary, demonstrates a high likelihood that the applicant will be 
successful in completing such education or training and in employment in 
such field.
    ``(e) Agreement.--(1) An agreement between the Secretary and a 
participant in the Program shall (in addition to the requirements set 
forth in section 7604 of this title) include the following:
            ``(A) The Secretary's agreement to provide the participant 
        with a scholarship under the Program for a specified number 
        (from one to three) of school years during which the participant

[[Page 112 STAT. 3353]]

        pursues a course of education or training described in 
        subsection (c) that meets the requirements set forth in section 
        7602(a) of this title.
            ``(B) The participant's agreement to serve as a full-time 
        employee in the Veterans Health Administration for a period of 
        time (hereafter in this subchapter referred to as the `period of 
        obligated service') determined in accordance with regulations 
        prescribed by the Secretary of up to three calendar years for 
        each school year or part thereof for which the participant was 
        provided a scholarship under the Program, but for not less than 
        3 years.
            ``(C) The participant's agreement to serve under 
        subparagraph (B) in a Department facility selected by the 
        Secretary.

    ``(2) In a case in which an extension is granted under section 
7673(c)(2) of this title, the number of years for which a scholarship 
may be provided under the Program shall be the number of school years 
provided for as a result of the extension.
    ``(3) In the case of a participant who is a part-time student, the 
period of obligated service shall be reduced in accordance with the 
proportion that the number of credit hours carried by such participant 
in any such school year bears to the number of credit hours required to 
be carried by a full-time student in the course of training being 
pursued by the participant, but in no event to less than 1 year.

``Sec. 7673. Scholarship

    ``(a) Scholarship.--A scholarship provided to a participant in the 
Program for a school year shall consist of payment of the tuition (or 
such portion of the tuition as may be provided under subsection (b)) of 
the participant for that school year and payment of other reasonable 
educational expenses (including fees, books, and laboratory expenses) 
for that school year.
    ``(b) Amounts.--The total amount of the scholarship payable under 
subsection (a)--
            ``(1) in the case of a participant in the Program who is a 
        full-time student, may not exceed $10,000 for any 1 year; and
            ``(2) in the case of a participant in the Program who is a 
        part-time student, shall be the amount specified in paragraph 
        (1) reduced in accordance with the proportion that the number of 
        credit hours carried by the participant in that school year 
        bears to the number of credit hours required to be carried by a 
        full-time student in the course of education or training being 
        pursued by the participant.

    ``(c) Limitation on Years of Payment.--(1) Subject to paragraph (2), 
a participant in the Program may not receive a scholarship under 
subsection (a) for more than three school years.
    ``(2) The Secretary may extend the number of school years for which 
a scholarship may be awarded to a participant in the Program who is a 
part-time student to a maximum of six school years if the Secretary 
determines that the extension would be in the best interest of the 
United States.
    ``(d) Payment of Educational Expenses by Educational Institutions.--
The Secretary may arrange with an educational institution in which a 
participant in the Program is enrolled for the payment of the 
educational expenses described in subsection

[[Page 112 STAT. 3354]]

(a). Such payments may be made without regard to subsections (a) and (b) 
of section 3324 of title 31.

``Sec. 7674. Obligated service

    ``(a) In General.--Each participant in the Program shall provide 
service as a full-time employee of the Department for the period of 
obligated service provided in the agreement of the participant entered 
into under section 7603 of this title. Such service shall be provided in 
the full-time clinical practice of such participant's profession or in 
another health-care position in an assignment or location determined by 
the Secretary.
    ``(b) Determination of Service Commencement Date.--(1) Not later 
than 60 days before a participant's service commencement date, the 
Secretary shall notify the participant of that service commencement 
date. That date is the date for the beginning of the participant's 
period of obligated service.
    ``(2) As soon as possible after a participant's service commencement 
date, the Secretary shall--
            ``(A) in the case of a participant who is not a full-time 
        employee in the Veterans Health Administration, appoint the 
        participant as such an employee; and
            ``(B) in the case of a participant who is an employee in the 
        Veterans Health Administration but is not serving in a position 
        for which the participant's course of education or training 
        prepared the participant, assign the participant to such a 
        position.

    ``(3)(A) In the case of a participant receiving a degree from a 
school of medicine, osteopathy, dentistry, optometry, or podiatry, the 
participant's service commencement date is the date upon which the 
participant becomes licensed to practice medicine, osteopathy, 
dentistry, optometry, or podiatry, as the case may be, in a State.
    ``(B) In the case of a participant receiving a degree from a school 
of nursing, the participant's service commencement date is the later 
of--
            ``(i) the participant's course completion date; or
            ``(ii) the date upon which the participant becomes licensed 
        as a registered nurse in a State.

    ``(C) In the case of a participant not covered by subparagraph (A) 
or (B), the participant's service commencement date is the later of--
            ``(i) the participant's course completion date; or
            ``(ii) the date the participant meets any applicable 
        licensure or certification requirements.

    `` <<NOTE: Regulations.>> (4) The Secretary shall by regulation 
prescribe the service commencement date for participants who were part-
time students. Such regulations shall prescribe terms as similar as 
practicable to the terms set forth in paragraph (3).

    ``(c) Commencement of Obligated Service.--(1) Except as provided in 
paragraph (2), a participant in the Program shall be considered to have 
begun serving the participant's period of obligated service--
            ``(A) on the date, after the participant's course completion 
        date, on which the participant (in accordance with subsection 
        (b)) is appointed as a full-time employee in the Veterans Health 
        Administration; or
            ``(B) if the participant is a full-time employee in the 
        Veterans Health Administration on such course completion

[[Page 112 STAT. 3355]]

        date, on the date thereafter on which the participant is 
        assigned to a position for which the participant's course of 
        training prepared the participant.

    ``(2) A participant in the Program who on the participant's course 
completion date is a full-time employee in the Veterans Health 
Administration serving in a capacity for which the participant's course 
of training prepared the participant shall be considered to have begun 
serving the participant's period of obligated service on such course 
completion date.
    ``(d) Course Completion Date Defined.--In this section, the term 
`course completion date' means the date on which a participant in the 
Program completes the participant's course of education or training 
under the Program.

``Sec. 7675. Breach of agreement: liability

    ``(a) Liquidated Damages.--A participant in the Program (other than 
a participant described in subsection (b)) who fails to accept payment, 
or instructs the educational institution in which the participant is 
enrolled not to accept payment, in whole or in part, of a scholarship 
under the agreement entered into under section 7603 of this title shall 
be liable to the United States for liquidated damages in the amount of 
$1,500. Such liability is in addition to any period of obligated service 
or other obligation or liability under the agreement.
    ``(b) Liability During Course of Education or Training.--(1) Except 
as provided in subsection (d), a participant in the Program shall be 
liable to the United States for the amount which has been paid to or on 
behalf of the participant under the agreement if any of the following 
occurs:
            ``(A) The participant fails to maintain an acceptable level 
        of academic standing in the educational institution in which the 
        participant is enrolled (as determined by the educational 
        institution under regulations prescribed by the Secretary).
            ``(B) The participant is dismissed from such educational 
        institution for disciplinary reasons.
            ``(C) The participant voluntarily terminates the course of 
        education or training in such educational institution before the 
        completion of such course of education or training.
            ``(D) The participant fails to become licensed to practice 
        medicine, osteopathy, dentistry, podiatry, or optometry in a 
        State, fails to become licensed as a registered nurse in a 
        State, or fails to meet any applicable licensure requirement in 
        the case of any other health-care personnel who provide either 
        direct patient-care services or services incident to direct 
        patient-care services, during a period of time determined under 
        regulations prescribed by the Secretary.
            ``(E) In the case of a participant who is a part-time 
        student, the participant fails to maintain employment, while 
        enrolled in the course of training being pursued by the 
        participant, as a Department employee.

    ``(2) Liability under this subsection is in lieu of any service 
obligation arising under a participant's agreement.
    ``(c) Liability During Period of Obligated Service.--(1) Except as 
provided in subsection (d), if a participant in the Program breaches the 
agreement by failing for any reason to complete such participant's 
period of obligated service, the United States shall

[[Page 112 STAT. 3356]]

be entitled to recover from the participant an amount determined in 
accordance with the following formula:

 
                                                t-s
      A=3<greek-PH>             (       ------------------       )
                                                 t
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 

    ``(2) In such formula:
            ``(A) `A' is the amount the United States is entitled to 
        recover.
            ``(B) `<greek-PH>' is the sum of--
                    ``(i) the amounts paid under this subchapter to or 
                on behalf of the participant; and
                    ``(ii) the interest on such amounts which would be 
                payable if at the time the amounts were paid they were 
                loans bearing interest at the maximum legal prevailing 
                rate, as determined by the Treasurer of the United 
                States.
            ``(C) `t' is the total number of months in the participant's 
        period of obligated service, including any additional period of 
        obligated service in accordance with section 7673(c)(2) of this 
        title.
            ``(D) `s' is the number of months of such period served by 
        the participant in accordance with section 7673 of this title.

    ``(d) Limitation on Liability for Reductions-in-Force.--Liability 
shall not arise under subsection (b)(1)(E) or (c) in the case of a 
participant otherwise covered by the subsection concerned if the 
participant fails to maintain employment as a Department employee due to 
a staffing adjustment.
    ``(e) Period for Payment of Damages.--Any amount of damages which 
the United States is entitled to recover under this section shall be 
paid to the United States within the 1-year period beginning on the date 
of the breach of the agreement.

``Sec. 7676. Expiration of program

    ``The Secretary may not furnish scholarships to individuals who have 
not commenced participation in the Program before December 31, 2001.''.
    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the beginning of 
such chapter is amended by adding at the end the following new items:

         ``SUBCHAPTER VI--EMPLOYEE INCENTIVE SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM

``7671. Authority for program.
``7672. Eligibility; agreement.
``7673. Scholarship.
``7674. Obligated service.
``7675. Breach of agreement: liability.
``7676. Expiration of program.''.

SEC. 803. EDUCATION DEBT REDUCTION PROGRAM FOR VETERANS HEALTH 
            ADMINISTRATION HEALTH PROFESSIONALS.

    (a) Program Authority.--Chapter 76 (as amended by section 802(a)), 
is further amended by adding after subchapter VI the following new 
subchapter:

[[Page 112 STAT. 3357]]

           ``SUBCHAPTER VII--EDUCATION DEBT REDUCTION PROGRAM

``Sec. 7681. Authority for program

    ``(a) In General.--(1) As part of the Educational Assistance 
Program, the Secretary may carry out an education debt reduction program 
under this subchapter. The program shall be known as the Department of 
Veterans Affairs Education Debt Reduction Program (hereafter in this 
subchapter referred to as the `Education Debt Reduction Program').
    ``(2) The purpose of the Education Debt Reduction Program is to 
assist in the recruitment of qualified health care professionals for 
positions in the Veterans Health Administration for which recruitment or 
retention of an adequate supply of qualified personnel is difficult.
    ``(b) Relationship to Educational Assistance Program.--Education 
debt reduction payments under the Education Debt Reduction Program may 
be in addition to other assistance available to individuals under the 
Educational Assistance Program.

``Sec. 7682. Eligibility

    ``(a) Eligibility.--An individual is eligible to participate in the 
Education Debt Reduction Program if the individual--
            ``(1) is a recently appointed employee in the Veterans 
        Health Administration serving under an appointment under section 
        7402(b) of this title in a position for which recruitment or 
        retention of qualified health-care personnel (as determined by 
        the Secretary) is difficult; and
            ``(2) owes any amount of principal or interest under a loan, 
        the proceeds of which were used by or on behalf of that 
        individual to pay costs relating to a course of education or 
        training which led to a degree that qualified the individual for 
        the position referred to in paragraph (1).

    ``(b) Covered Costs.--For purposes of subsection (a)(2), costs 
relating to a course of education or training include--
            ``(1) tuition expenses;
            ``(2) all other reasonable educational expenses, including 
        expenses for fees, books, and laboratory expenses; and
            ``(3) reasonable living expenses.

    ``(c) Recently Appointed Individuals.--For purposes of subsection 
(a), an individual shall be considered to be recently appointed to a 
position if the individual has held that position for less than 6 
months.

``Sec. 7683. Education debt reduction

    ``(a) In General.--Education debt reduction payments under the 
Education Debt Reduction Program shall consist of 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.
    ``(b) Frequency of Payment.--(1) The Secretary may make education 
debt reduction payments to any given participant in the Education Debt 
Reduction Program on a monthly or annual basis, as determined by the 
Secretary.
    ``(2) The Secretary shall make such payments at the end of the 
period determined by the Secretary under paragraph (1).

[[Page 112 STAT. 3358]]

    ``(c) Performance Requirement.--The Secretary may make education 
debt reduction payments to a participant in the Education Debt Reduction 
Program for a period only if the Secretary determines that the 
individual maintained an acceptable level of performance in the position 
or positions served by the participant during the period.
    ``(d) Maximum Annual Amount.--(1) Subject to paragraph (2), the 
amount of education debt reduction payments made to a participant for a 
year under the Education Debt Reduction Program may not exceed--
            ``(A) $6,000 for the first year of the participant's 
        participation in the Program;
            ``(B) $8,000 for the second year of the participant's 
        participation in the Program; and
            ``(C) $10,000 for the third year of the participant's 
        participation in the Program.

    ``(2) The total amount payable to a participant in such Program for 
any year may not exceed the amount of the principal and interest on 
loans referred to in subsection (a) that is paid by the individual 
during such year.

``Sec. 7684. Expiration of program

    ``The Secretary may not make education debt reduction payments to 
individuals who have not commenced participation in the Education Debt 
Reduction Program before December 31, 2001.''.
    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the 
beginning of such chapter (as amended by section 802(b)) is further 
amended by adding at the end the following new items:

           ``SUBCHAPTER VII--EDUCATION DEBT REDUCTION PROGRAM

``7681. Authority for program.
``7682. Eligibility.
``7683. Education debt reduction.
``7684. Expiration of program.''.

SEC. 804. REPEAL OF PROHIBITION ON PAYMENT OF TUITION LOANS.

    Section 523(b) of the Veterans Health Care Act of 1992 (Public Law 
102-585; 106 Stat. 4959; 38 U.S.C. 7601 note) is repealed.

SEC. 805. CONFORMING AMENDMENTS.

    Chapter 76 is amended as follows:
            (1) Section 7601(a) is amended--
                    (A) by striking ``and'' at the end of paragraph (2);
                    (B) by striking the period at the end of paragraph 
                (3) and inserting a semicolon; and
                    (C) by adding at the end the following new 
                paragraphs:
            ``(4) the employee incentive scholarship program provided 
        for in subchapter VI of this chapter; and''; and
            ``(5) the education debt reduction program provided for in 
        subchapter VII of this chapter.''.
            (2) Section 7602 is amended--
                    (A) in subsection (a)(1)--
                          (i) by striking ``subchapter I or II'' and 
                      inserting ``subchapter II, III, or VI'';
                          (ii) by striking ``or for which'' and 
                      inserting ``, for which''; and
                          (iii) by inserting before the period at the 
                      end the following: ``, or for which a scholarship 
                      may be awarded

[[Page 112 STAT. 3359]]

                      under subchapter VI of this chapter, as the case 
                      may be''; and
                    (B) in subsection (b), by striking ``subchapter I or 
                II'' and inserting ``subchapter II, III, or VI''.
            (3) Section 7603 is amended--
                    (A) in subsection (a)--
                          (i) by striking ``To apply to participate in 
                      the Educational Assistance Program,'' and 
                      inserting ``(1) To apply to participate in the 
                      Educational Assistance Program under subsection 
                      II, III, V, or VI of this chapter,''; and
                          (ii) by adding at the end the following:

    ``(2) To apply to participate in the Educational Assistance Program 
under subchapter VII of this chapter, an individual shall submit to the 
Secretary an application for such participation.''; and
                    (B) in subsection (b)(1), by inserting ``(if 
                required)'' before the period at the end.
            (4) Section 7604 is amended by striking ``subchapter II, 
        III, or V'' in paragraphs (1)(A), (2)(D), and (5) and inserting 
        ``subchapter II, III, V, or VI''.
            (5) Section 7632 is amended--
                    (A) in paragraph (1)--
                          (i) by striking ``and the Tuition 
                      Reimbursement Program'' and inserting ``, the 
                      Tuition Reimbursement Program, the Employee 
                      Incentive Scholarship Program, and the Education 
                      Debt Reduction Program''; and
                          (ii) by inserting ``(if any)'' after ``number 
                      of 
                      students'';
                    (B) in paragraph (2), by inserting ``(if any)'' 
                after 
                ``education institutions''; and
                    (C) in paragraph (4)--
                          (i) by striking ``and per participant'' and 
                      inserting ``, per participant''; and
                          (ii) by inserting ``, per participant in the 
                      Employee Incentive Scholarship Program, and per 
                      participant in the Education Debt Reduction 
                      Program'' before the period at the end.
            (6) Section 7636 is amended by striking ``or a stipend'' and 
        inserting ``a stipend, or education debt reduction''.

SEC. 806. COORDINATION WITH APPROPRIATIONS PROVISION.

    This title shall be considered to be the authorizing legislation 
referred to in the third proviso under the heading ``Veterans Health 
Administration--medical care'' in title I of the Departments of Veterans 
Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies 
Appropriations Act, 1999, and the reference in that proviso to the 
``Primary Care Providers Incentive Act'' shall be treated as referring 
to this title.

[[Page 112 STAT. 3360]]

    TITLE IX--MISCELLANEOUS MEDICAL CARE AND MEDICAL ADMINISTRATION 
                               PROVISIONS

SEC. 901. EXAMINATIONS AND CARE ASSOCIATED WITH CERTAIN 
            RADIATION TREATMENT.

    (a) In General.--Chapter 17 is amended by inserting after section 
1720D the following new section:

``Sec. 1720E. Nasopharyngeal radium irradiation

    ``(a) The Secretary may provide any veteran a medical examination, 
and hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care, which the 
Secretary determines is needed for the treatment of any cancer of the 
head or neck which the Secretary finds may be associated with the 
veteran's receipt of nasopharyngeal radium irradiation treatments in 
active military, naval, or air service.
    ``(b) The Secretary shall provide care and services to a veteran 
under subsection (a) only on the basis of evidence in the service 
records of the veteran which document nasopharyngeal radium irradiation 
treatment in service, except that, notwithstanding the absence of such 
documentation, the Secretary may provide such care to a veteran who--
            ``(1) served as an aviator in the active military, naval, or 
        air service before the end of the Korean conflict; or
            ``(2) underwent submarine training in active naval service 
        before January 1, 1965.''.

    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the beginning of 
such chapter is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 
1720D the following new item:

``1720E. Nasopharyngeal radium irradiation.''.

SEC. 902. EXTENSION OF AUTHORITY TO COUNSEL AND TREAT VETERANS FOR 
            SEXUAL TRAUMA.

    Section 1720D(a) is amended by striking ``December 31, 1998'' in 
paragraphs (1) and (3) and inserting ``December 31, 2001''.

SEC. 903. MANAGEMENT OF SPECIALIZED TREATMENT AND REHABILITATIVE 
            PROGRAMS.

    (a) Standards of Job Performance.--Section 1706(b) is amended--
            (1) in paragraph (2), by striking ``April 1, 1997, April 1, 
        1998, and April 1, 1999'' and inserting ``April 1, 1999, April 
        1, 2000, and April 1, 2001''; and
            (2) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

    ``(3)(A) To ensure compliance with paragraph (1), the Under 
Secretary for Health shall prescribe objective standards of job 
performance for employees in positions described in subparagraph (B) 
with respect to the job performance of those employees in carrying out 
the requirements of paragraph (1). Those job performance standards shall 
include measures of workload, allocation of resources, and quality-of-
care indicators.
    ``(B) Positions described in this subparagraph are positions in the 
Veterans Health Administration that have responsibility for allocating 
and managing resources applicable to the requirements of paragraph (1).

[[Page 112 STAT. 3361]]

    ``(C) The Under Secretary shall develop the job performance 
standards under subparagraph (A) in consultation with the Advisory 
Committee on Prosthetics and Special Disabilities Programs and the 
Committee on Care of Severely Chronically Mentally Ill Veterans.''.
     <<NOTE: 38 USC 1706 note.>> (b) Deadline for Prescribing 
Standards.--The standards of job performance required by paragraph (3) 
of section 1706(b) of title 38, United States Code, as added by 
subsection (a), shall be prescribed not later than January 1, 1999.

SEC. 904. AUTHORITY TO USE FOR OPERATING EXPENSES OF DEPARTMENT OF 
            VETERANS AFFAIRS MEDICAL FACILITIES AMOUNTS AVAILABLE BY 
            REASON OF THE LIMITATION ON PENSION FOR VETERANS RECEIVING 
            NURSING HOME CARE.

    (a) In General.--Section 5503(a)(1)(B) is amended by striking 
``Effective through September 30, 1997, any'' in the second sentence and 
inserting ``Any''.
     <<NOTE: 38 USC 5503 note.>> (b) Effective Date.--The amendment made 
by subsection (a) shall take effect as of October 1, 1997.

<<NOTE: Deadlines. 38 USC 7451 note.>> SEC. 905. REPORT ON NURSE 
            LOCALITY PAY.

    (a) Report Required.--(1) Not later than February 1, 1999, the 
Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall submit to the Committees on 
Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the House of Representatives a 
report assessing the system of locality-based pay for nurses established 
under the Department of Veterans Affairs Nurse Pay Act of 1990 (Public 
Law 101-366) and now set forth in section 7451 of title 38, United 
States Code.
    (2) The Secretary shall submit with the report under paragraph (1) a 
copy of the report on the locality pay system prepared by the contractor 
pursuant to a contract with Systems Flow, Inc., that was entered into on 
May 22, 1998.
    (b) Matters To Be Included.--The report of the Secretary under 
subsection (a)(1) shall include the following:
            (1) An assessment of the effects of the locality-based pay 
        system, including information, shown by facility and grade 
        level, regarding the frequency and percentage increases, if any, 
        in the rate of basic pay under that system of nurses employed in 
        the Veterans Health Administration.
            (2) An assessment of the manner in which that system is 
        being applied.
            (3) Plans and recommendations of the Secretary for 
        administrative and legislative improvements or revisions to the 
        locality pay system.
            (4) An explanation of the reasons for any decision not to 
        adopt any recommendation in the report referred to in subsection 
        (a)(2).

    (c) Updated Report.--Not later than February 1, 2000, the Secretary 
shall submit to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and 
House of Representatives a report updating the report submitted under 
subsection (a)(1).

SEC. 906. ANNUAL REPORT ON PROGRAM AND EXPENDITURES OF DEPARTMENT OF 
            VETERANS AFFAIRS FOR DOMESTIC RESPONSE TO WEAPONS OF MASS 
            DESTRUCTION.

    (a) In General.--Subchapter II of chapter 5 is amended by adding at 
the end the following new section:

[[Page 112 STAT. 3362]]

``Sec. 530. Annual report on program and expenditures for domestic 
                        response to weapons of mass destruction

    ``(a) The Secretary shall submit to the Committees on Veterans' 
Affairs of the Senate and House of Representatives an annual report, to 
be submitted each year at the time that the President submits the budget 
for the next fiscal year under section 1105 of title 31, on the 
activities of the Department relating to preparation for, and 
participation in, a domestic medical response to an attack involving 
weapons of mass destruction.
    ``(b) Each report under subsection (a) shall include the following:
            ``(1) A statement of the amounts of funds and the level of 
        personnel resources (stated in terms of full-time equivalent 
        employees) expected to be used by the Department during the next 
        fiscal year in preparation for a domestic medical response to an 
        attack involving weapons of mass destruction, including the 
        anticipated source of those funds and any anticipated shortfalls 
        in funds or personnel resources to achieve the tasks assigned 
        the Department by the President in connection with preparation 
        for such a response.
            ``(2) A detailed statement of the funds expended and 
        personnel resources (stated in terms of full-time equivalent 
        employees) used during the fiscal year preceding the fiscal year 
        during which the report is submitted in preparation for a 
        domestic medical response to an attack involving weapons of mass 
        destruction or in response to such an attack, including 
        identification of the source of those funds and a description of 
        how those funds were expended.
            ``(3) A detailed statement of the funds expended and 
        expected to be expended, and the personnel resources (stated in 
        terms of full-time equivalent employees) used and expected to be 
        used, during the fiscal year during which the report is 
        submitted in preparation for a domestic medical response to an 
        attack involving weapons of mass destruction or in response to 
        such an attack, including identification of the source of funds 
        expended and a description of how those funds were expended.

    `` <<NOTE: Expiration date.>> (c) This section shall expire on 
January 1, 2009.''.

    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the beginning of 
such chapter is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 
529 the following new item:

``530. Annual report on program and expenditures for domestic response 
           to weapons of mass destruction.''.

SEC. 907. INTERIM APPOINTMENT OF UNDER SECRETARY FOR HEALTH.

    The President may appoint to the position of Under Secretary for 
Health of the Department of Veterans Affairs, for service through June 
30, 1999, the individual whose appointment to that position under 
section 305 of title 38, United States Code, expired on September 28, 
1998.

[[Page 112 STAT. 3363]]

                         TITLE X--OTHER MATTERS

SEC. 1001. REQUIREMENT FOR NAMING OF DEPARTMENT PROPERTY.

    (a) In General.--(1) Subchapter II of chapter 5, as amended by 
section 906(a), is further amended by adding at the end the following 
new section:

``Sec. 531. Requirement relating to naming of Department 
                        property

    ``Except as expressly provided by law, a facility, structure, or 
real property of the Department, and a major portion (such as a wing or 
floor) of any such facility, structure, or real property, may be named 
only for the geographic area in which the facility, structure, or real 
property is located.''.
    (2) The table of sections at the beginning of such chapter is 
amended by inserting after the item relating to section 530, as added by 
section 906(b), the following new item:

``531. Requirement relating to naming of Department property.''.

     <<NOTE: 38 USC 531 note.>> (b) Effective Date.--Section 531 of 
title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a)(1), shall apply 
with respect to the assignment or designation of the name of a facility, 
structure, or real property of the Department of Veterans Affairs (or of 
a major portion thereof ) after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 1002. MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF VETERANS' APPEALS.

    (a) Requirement for Board Members To Be Attorneys.--Section 7101A(a) 
is amended--
            (1) by inserting ``(1)'' after ``(a)''; and
            (2) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

    ``(2) Each member of the Board shall be a member in good standing of 
the bar of a State.''.
    (b) Employment Reversion Rights.--Paragraph (2) of section 7101A(d) 
is amended to read as follows:
    ``(2)(A) Upon removal from the Board under paragraph (1) of a member 
of the Board who before appointment to the Board served as an attorney 
in the civil service, the Secretary shall appoint that member to an 
attorney position at the Board, if the removed member so requests. If 
the removed member served in an attorney position at the Board 
immediately before appointment to the Board, appointment to an attorney 
position under this paragraph shall be in the grade and step held by the 
removed member immediately before such appointment to the Board.
    ``(B) The Secretary is not required to make an appointment to an 
attorney position under this paragraph if the Secretary determines that 
the member of the Board removed under paragraph (1) is not qualified for 
the position.''.

SEC. 1003. FLEXIBILITY IN DOCKETING AND HEARING OF APPEALS BY BOARD OF 
            VETERANS' APPEALS.

    (a) Flexibility in Order of Consideration and Determination.--
Subsection (a) of section 7107 is amended--
            (1) in paragraph (1), by inserting ``in paragraphs (2) and 
        (3) and'' after ``Except as provided'';

[[Page 112 STAT. 3364]]

            (2) in paragraph (2), by striking the second sentence and 
        inserting the following: ``Any such motion shall set forth 
        succinctly the grounds upon which the motion is based. Such a 
        motion may be granted only--
            ``(A) if the case involves interpretation of law of general 
        application affecting other claims;
            ``(B) if the appellant is seriously ill or is under severe 
        financial hardship; or
            ``(C) for other sufficient cause shown.''; and
            (3) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

    ``(3) A case referred to in paragraph (1) may be postponed for later 
consideration and determination if such postponement is necessary to 
afford the appellant a hearing.''.
    (b) Scheduling of Field Hearings.--Subsection (d) of such section is 
amended--
            (1) in paragraph (2), by striking ``in the order'' and all 
        that follows through the end and inserting ``in accordance with 
        the place of the case on the docket under subsection (a) 
        relative to other cases on the docket for which hearings are 
        scheduled to be held within that area.''; and
            (2) by striking paragraph (3) and inserting the following 
        new paragraph (3):

    ``(3) A hearing to be held within an area served by a regional 
office of the Department may, for cause shown, be advanced on motion for 
an earlier hearing. Any such motion shall set forth succinctly the 
grounds upon which the motion is based. Such a motion may be granted 
only--
            ``(A) if the case involves interpretation of law of general 
        application affecting other claims;
            ``(B) if the appellant is seriously ill or is under severe 
        financial hardship; or
            ``(C) for other sufficient cause shown.''.

SEC. 1004. DISABLED VETERANS OUTREACH PROGRAM SPECIALISTS.

    (a) In General.--Section 4103A(a)(1) is amended--
            (1) in the first sentence, by striking ``for each 6,900 
        veterans residing in such State'' through the period and 
        inserting ``for each 7,400 veterans who are between the ages of 
        20 and 64 residing in such State.'';
            (2) in the third sentence, by striking ``of the Vietnam 
        era''; and
            (3) by striking the fourth sentence.

     <<NOTE: 38 USC 4103A note.>> (b) Effective Date.--The amendments 
made by this section shall apply with respect to appointments of 
disabled veterans' outreach program specialists under section 4103A of 
title 38, United States Code, on or after the date of the enactment of 
this Act.

SEC. 1005. TECHNICAL AMENDMENTS.

    (a) Section Redesignation.--Section 1103, as added by section 
8031(a) of the Veterans Reconciliation Act of 1997 (title VIII of Public 
Law 105-33), is redesignated as section 1104, and the item relating to 
that section in the table of sections at the beginning of chapter 11 is 
revised to reflect that redesignation.
    (b) Other Amendments to Title 38, United States Code.--
            (1) Section 712(a) is amended by striking ``the date of 
        enactment of this section'' and inserting ``November 2, 1994,''.

[[Page 112 STAT. 3365]]

            (2) Section 1706(b)(1) is amended by striking ``the date of 
        the enactment of this section'' at the end of the first sentence 
        and inserting ``October 9, 1996''.
            (3) Section 1710(e)(2)(A)(ii) is amended by striking 
        ``section 2'' and inserting ``section 3''.
            (4) Section 1803(c)(2) is amended by striking ``who 
        furnishes health care that the Secretary determines authorized'' 
        and inserting ``furnishing health care services that the 
        Secretary determines are authorized''.
            (5) Section 2408(d)(1) is amended--
                    (A) by striking ``the date of the enactment of this 
                subsection'' and inserting ``November 21, 1997,''; and
                    (B) by striking ``on the condition described in'' 
                and inserting ``subject to the condition specified in''.
            (6) Section 3018B(a)(2)(E) is amended by striking ``before 
        the one-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of 
        this section,'' and inserting ``before October 23, 1993,''.
            (7) Section 3231(a)(2) is amended by striking ``subsection 
        (f )'' and inserting ``subsection (e)''.
            (8) Section 3674A(b)(1) is amended by striking ``after the 
        18-month period beginning on the date of the enactment of this 
        section''.
            (9) Section 3680A(d)(2)(C) is amended by striking 
        ``section''.
            (10) Section 3714(f )(1)(B) is amended by striking ``more 
        than 45 days after the date of the enactment of the Veterans' 
        Benefits and Programs Improvement Act of 1988'' and inserting 
        ``after January 1, 1989''.
            (11) Section 3727(a) is amended by striking ``the date of 
        enactment of this section'' and inserting ``May 7, 1968''.
            (12) Section 3730(a) is amended by striking ``Within'' and 
        all that follows through ``steps to'' and inserting ``The 
        Secretary shall''.
            (13) Section 4102A(e)(1) is amended by striking the second 
        sentence and inserting the following: ``A person may not be 
        assigned after October 9, 1996, as such a Regional Administrator 
        unless the person is a veteran.''.
            (14) Section 4110A is amended--
                    (A) by striking subsection (b); and
                    (B) by redesignating paragraph (3) of subsection (a) 
                as subsection (b) and striking ``paragraph (1)'' therein 
                and inserting ``subsection (a)''.
            (15) Section 5303A(d) is amended--
                    (A) in paragraph (2)(B), by striking ``on or after 
                the date of the enactment of this subsection'' and 
                inserting ``after October 13, 1982,''; and
                    (B) in paragraph (3)(B)(i), by striking ``on or 
                after the date of the enactment of this subsection,'' 
                and inserting ``after October 13, 1982,''.
            (16) Section 5313(d)(1) is amended by striking ``the date of 
        the enactment of this section,'' and inserting ``October 7, 
        1980,''.
            (17) Section 5315(b)(1) is amended by striking ``the date of 
        the enactment of this section,'' and inserting ``October 17, 
        1980,''.
            (18) Section 8107(b)(3)(E) is amended by striking ``section 
        7305'' and inserting ``section 7306(f )(1)(A)''.

[[Page 112 STAT. 3366]]

    (c) Public Law 104-275.--The Veterans' Benefits Improvements Act of 
1996 (Public Law 104-275) is amended as follows:
            (1) Section 303(b) (110 Stat. 3332; 38 U.S.C. 4104 note) is 
        amended by striking ``sections 4104(b)(1) and (c)'' and 
        inserting ``subsections (b)(1) and (c) of section 4104''.
            (2) Section 705(e) (110 Stat. 3350; 38 U.S.C. 545 note) is 
        amended by striking ``section 5316'' and inserting ``section 
        5315''.

            TITLE XI--COMPENSATION COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENT

<<NOTE: 38 USC 1114 note.>> SEC. 1101. INCREASE IN RATES OF DISABILITY 
            COMPENSATION AND DEPENDENCY AND INDEMNITY COMPENSATION.

    (a) Rate Adjustment.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall, 
effective on December 1, 1998, increase the dollar amounts in effect for 
the payment of disability compensation and dependency and indemnity 
compensation by the Secretary, as specified in subsection (b).
    (b) Amounts To Be Increased.--The dollar amounts to be increased 
pursuant to subsection (a) are the following:
            (1) Compensation.--Each of the dollar amounts in effect 
        under section 1114 of title 38, United States Code.
            (2) Additional compensation for dependents.--Each of the 
        dollar amounts in effect under section 1115(1) of such title.
            (3) Clothing allowance.--The dollar amount in effect under 
        section 1162 of such title.
            (4) New dic rates.--The dollar amounts in effect under 
        paragraphs (1) and (2) of section 1311(a) of such title.
            (5) Old dic rates.--Each of the dollar amounts in effect 
        under section 1311(a)(3) of such title.
            (6) Additional dic for surviving spouses with minor 
        children.--The dollar amount in effect under section 1311(b) of 
        such title.
            (7) Additional dic for disability.--The dollar amounts in 
        effect under sections 1311(c) and 1311(d) of such title.
            (8) DIC for dependent children.--The dollar amounts in 
        effect under sections 1313(a) and 1314 of such title.

    (c) Determination of Increase.--(1) The increase under 
subsection (a) shall be made in the dollar amounts specified in 
subsection (b) as in effect on November 30, 1998.
    (2) Except as provided in paragraph (3), each such amount shall be 
increased by the same percentage as the percentage by which benefit 
amounts payable under title II of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 401 
et seq.) are increased effective December 1, 1998, as a result of a 
determination under section 215(i) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 415(i)).
    (3) Each dollar amount increased pursuant to paragraph (2) shall, if 
not a whole dollar amount, be rounded down to the next lower whole 
dollar amount.
    (d) Special Rule.--The Secretary may adjust administratively, 
consistent with the increases made under subsection (a), the rates of 
disability compensation payable to persons within the purview of section 
10 of Public Law 85-857 (72 Stat. 1263) who are not

[[Page 112 STAT. 3367]]

in receipt of compensation payable pursuant to chapter 11 of title 38, 
United States Code.

<<NOTE: Federal Register, publication. 38 USC 1114 note.>> SEC. 1102. 
            PUBLICATION OF ADJUSTED RATES.

    At the same time as the matters specified in section 215(i)(2)(D) of 
the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 415(i)(2)(D)) are required to be 
published by reason of a determination made under section 215(i) of such 
Act during fiscal year 1998, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall 
publish in the Federal Register the amounts specified in subsection (b) 
of section 1101, as increased pursuant to that section.

    Approved November 11, 1998.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 4110 (S. 2273):
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

HOUSE REPORTS: No. 105-627 (Comm. on Veterans' Affairs).
SENATE REPORTS: No. 105-341 accompanying S. 2273 (Comm. on Veterans' 
Affairs).
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 144 (1998):
            Aug. 3, considered and passed House.
            Sept. 30, considered and passed Senate, amended, in lieu of 
                S. 2273.
            Oct. 10, House concurred in Senate amendment with 
                amendments.
            Oct. 21, Senate concurred in House amendments.
WEEKLY COMPILATION OF PRESIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS, Vol. 34 (1998):
            Nov. 11, Presidential statement.

                                  <all>