Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed Senate amended (07/17/1998)

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Title I: Department of Veterans Affairs

Title II: Department of Housing and Urban Development

Title III: Independent Agencies

Title IV: General Provisions

Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, 1999 - Makes appropriations for FY 1999 for the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development and for sundry independent agencies.

Title I: Department of Veterans Affairs - Makes appropriations for the Department of Veterans Affairs for: (1) veterans' compensation, pensions, and readjustment benefits; (2) veterans' insurance and indemnities; (3) veterans' housing, education, and vocational rehabilitation loan accounts; (4) veterans' medical care; (5) medical and prosthetic research; (6) medical administration; (7) the General post fund, national homes; (8) departmental administration; (9) the National Cemetery System; (10) the Office of Inspector General; (11) construction; (12) the parking revolving fund; and (13) grants to States for construction of extended care facilities and cemeteries. Sets forth authorized uses of, and limitations on, funds made available under this title.

(Sec. 110) Authorizes the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to convey specified real property along and adjacent to Ridgecrest Children's Center in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, to the University of Alabama.

Title II: Department of Housing and Urban Development - Makes appropriations for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for: (1) public and Indian housing; (2) the Public Housing Capital and Operating Funds; (3) drug elimination grants for low-income housing; (4) revitalization of severely distressed public housing; (5) Native American housing block grants; (6) Indian housing loan guarantees; (7) establishing an Office of Rural Housing and Economic Development; (8) housing opportunities for persons with AIDS; (9) community development block grants; (10) brownfields redevelopment; (11) the HOME investment partnerships program; (12) homeless assistance grants; (13) housing for special populations; (14) the Federal Housing Administration (FHA); (15) the Government National Mortgage Association; (16) housing policy development and research; (17) fair housing activities; (18) management and administration; (19) the Office of Inspector General; and (20) carrying out the Federal Housing Enterprise Financial Safety and Soundness Act of 1992.

Sets forth authorized uses of, and limitations on, funds made available under this title.

(Sec. 201) Extends certain provisions regarding contributions for low-income housing projects and the demolition, disposition, or conversion to home ownership of public housing.

Amends the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, 1996 to extend provisions regarding the streamlining of Section 8 tenant-based assistance.

Amends the Balanced Budget Downpayment Act, I to extend provisions regarding public and assisted housing minimum rents and preferences.

(Sec. 208) Requires the Secretary of HUD to make a grant for any State that: (1) received an allocation for FY 1998 under the AIDS Housing Opportunity Act; (2) is not otherwise eligible for such allocation for FY 1999 because the State does not have the required number of AIDS cases; and (3) would meet such requirement if the cases in the metropolitan statistical area (MSA) for any city within the State (which was not eligible in FY 1998 but is eligible for FY 1999) were considered to be cases outside of such MSAs.

(Sec. 210) Amends the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992 to extend the Secretary of HUD's authority to enter into certain risk-sharing agreements to determine Federal credit enhancements for loans for affordable multifamily housing. Increases the number of units to which those agreements may apply in FY 1999.

(Sec. 211) Amends the National Housing Act to: (1) extend certain conditions on obtaining FHA mortgage insurance with regard to calculations of downpayment and makes such calculations applicable to all mortgages (currently, those originating in Alaska and Hawaii); and (2) raise the limit on the amount of principal obligations involved in order to be eligible for such insurance.

(Sec. 216) Deems the term "States" to include Indian tribes and Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa for purposes of eligibility for funding under community development block grant provisions of the 1998 Supplemental Appropriations and Rescissions Act.

(Sec. 222) Repeals specified Section 8 contract renewal authority of the Secretary of HUD under the Balanced Budget Downpayment Act, I.

(Sec. 223) Authorizes eligible low-income housing project owners to: (1) prepay mortgages on such projects; and (2) request voluntary termination of a mortgage insurance contract with respect to such a project, notwithstanding certain requirements under the National Housing Act. Permits mortgage prepayment or contract termination only if: (1) such prepayment or termination is consistent with the terms of the mortgage on, or insurance contract for, the project; and (2) the owner agrees not to increase rent charges for any project dwelling during the 60-day period beginning on the prepayment or termination.

(Sec. 224) Amends the Public and Assisted Housing Drug Elimination Act of 1990 to make Indian tribes eligible to receive grants for elimination of drug-related crime in public housing.

(Sec. 226) Amends the National Housing Act to authorize the Secretary of HUD to conduct certain multifamily mortgage auctions through December 31, 2002.

(Sec. 228) Requires the Secretary of HUD to report annually to the Congress on a plan to address each material weakness, reportable condition, and noncompliance with an applicable law or regulation identified in the FHA's most recent audited financial statement.

(Sec. 229) Requires owners of low-income housing that intend to take certain actions, including termination of low-income affordability restrictions through prepayment or voluntary termination, to, within at least a year before the date such action is taken and notwithstanding existing law: (1) file a notice indicating such intent with the chief executive officer of the State or local government for the jurisdiction within which the housing is located; and (2) provide each tenant with a copy of such notice. Makes exceptions to such requirement for cases in which prepayment or termination is necessary to effect conversion to ownership by a priority purchaser or where an owner has provided legal notice as of July 7, 1998, under terms of current law.

(Sec. 230) Directs the Comptroller General to report annually to specified congressional committees on the extent, and cost to consumers, of steering by lenders to certain mortgage loans insured by the Secretary of HUD under the National Housing Act and the degree to which lenders have complied with requirements regarding mortgage limits.

Title III: Independent Agencies - Makes appropriations for: (1) the American Battle Monuments Commission; (2) the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board; (3) the Department of the Treasury for community development financial institutions; (4) the Consumer Product Safety Commission; (5) the Corporation for National and Community Service; (6) the Office of Inspector General; (7) the Court of Veterans Appeals; and (8) the Department of Defense for Army cemeterial expenses.

Appropriates funds for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for: (1) science and technology activities; (2) environmental programs and management; (3) the Office of Inspector General; (4) buildings and facilities; (5) Superfund; (6) the leaking underground storage tank program; (7) oil spill response programs; and (8) assistance to States and Indian tribes for environmental programs and infrastructure.

Bars EPA from using funds provided under this Act to enter into or approve agreements that enable the export of Government-owned ships to be dismantled in foreign countries unless the EPA Administrator certifies to the Congress that the environmental standards imposed in the country in which the vessel is to be dismantled or scrapped are comparable to U.S. standards.

Prohibits EPA from using funds under any Act to issue or enforce a regulation or to establish an interpretation or guideline under the Edible Oil Regulatory Reform Act that does not recognize, with respect to the fats, oils, and greases described by such Act, differences in physical, chemical, biological, and other properties and environmental effects. Directs the EPA Administrator to issue regulations amending existing oil pollution prevention regulations to comply with requirements of such Act.

Appropriates funds for: (1) the Executive Office of the President for the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Council on Environmental Quality, and the Office of Environmental Quality; and (2) the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General.

Makes appropriations for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for: (1) disaster relief; (2) disaster assistance direct loans; (3) salaries and expenses; (4) the Office of Inspector General; (5) emergency management planning and assistance; (6) a specified emergency food and shelter program; and (7) the National Flood Insurance Fund.

Establishes a Radiological Emergency Preparedness Fund in the Treasury and makes appropriations for the Fund.

Amends the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 to extend through FY 1999: (1) a certain ceiling on obligations issued under the national flood insurance program; (2) the authority for new flood insurance contracts; and (3) the authorization of appropriations for certain studies.

Makes appropriations for: (1) the General Services Administration for the Consumer Information Center; (2) the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for the International Space Station, the space shuttle program, space, earth, life, and microgravity science and academic programs, aeronautics, space transportation, and technology research and development, mission support, and the Office of Inspector General; (3) the National Credit Union Administration's Central Liquidity Facility; (4) the National Science Foundation for research, major construction projects, science and engineering education and human resources programs, salaries and expenses, and the Office of Inspector General; (5) the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation; and (6) the Selective Service System.

Sets forth authorized uses of, and limitations on, such funds.

Title IV: General Provisions - Sets forth provisions regarding availability, and prohibitions on the use, of funds appropriated by this Act. Expresses the sense of the Congress that equipment and products purchased with funds made available in this Act should be American-made. (Sec. 423) Requires entities that receive Federal grants for providing emergency shelter for homeless individuals to: (1) ascertain whether or not each adult seeking shelter is a veteran; (2) provide such individuals counseling relating to the availability of veterans benefits; and (3) notify the Secretary of Veterans Affairs of the number and identity of such individuals. Makes entities that fail to meet such requirements ineligible for additional grants or other Federal funds for carrying out emergency shelter activities for homeless individuals.

(Sec. 425) Amends the United States Housing Act of 1937 to require public housing agencies to establish standards for occupancy in public housing dwellings and assistance under Section 8 that: (1) permanently prohibit occupancy by, and Section 8 assistance for, persons who have been convicted of producing methamphetamine on the premises in violation of Federal or State law; and (2) immediately and permanently terminate the tenancy of, and such assistance for, such persons.

(Sec. 426) Expresses the sense of the Senate that it should be the goal of the Department of Veterans Affairs to serve all veterans at health care facilities within 250 miles of their homes and to minimize travel distances if specialized services are unavailable at a facility within such distance. Requires the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to report to specified congressional committees on the estimated costs to, and impact on, the veterans' health care system of making specialty care available to all veterans within such distance.

(Sec. 428) Authorizes the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy to enter into an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences for the Academy to study methods for evaluating federally- funded research and development programs.

(Sec. 429) Permits the NASA Administrator to provide liability insurance for, or indemnification to, developers of experimental aerospace vehicles developed or used in execution of agreements between NASA and developers. Sets forth conditions on such authority.

(Sec. 430) Amends the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act to make certain native Alaskans who are Vietnam veterans eligible for up to 160 acres of certain Federal land. Directs the Secretary of the Interior to: (1) study the circumstances of veterans who were eligible for such allotments under an earlier Act but who did not apply and are not eligible under this Act; and (2) report recommendations to specified congressional committees.