Text: H.R.1716 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)All Information (Except Text)

Text available as:

  • TXT
  • PDF (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip?

Shown Here:
Reported in House (06/25/2004)

 
[Congressional Bills 108th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 1716 Reported in House (RH)]

                                                 Union Calendar No. 334
108th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 1716

                      [Report No. 108-572, Part I]

     To amend title 38, United States Code, to improve educational 
     assistance programs of the Department of Veterans Affairs for 
    apprenticeship or other on-job training, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                             April 10, 2003

  Mr. Smith of New Jersey (for himself, Mr. Evans, Mr. Brown of South 
  Carolina, and Mr. Michaud) introduced the following bill; which was 
referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, and in addition to the 
Committee on Armed Services, for a period to be subsequently determined 
 by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as 
        fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

                             June 25, 2004

 Additional sponsors: Mrs. Jo Ann Davis of Virginia, Mr. LoBiondo, Mr. 
Gillmor, Mr. Foley, Mr. Filner, Ms. Millender-McDonald, Mr. Renzi, Mr. 
Bilirakis, Mrs. Davis of California, Mr. Bradley of New Hampshire, Ms. 
    Harris, Mr. Udall of New Mexico, Ms. Bordallo, Mr. Holden, Mr. 
 Abercrombie, Mr. Strickland, Mr. Gutierrez, Mr. Rodriguez, Ms. Hooley 
 of Oregon, Ms. Herseth, Mr. Baker, Mr. Chandler, Ms. Corrine Brown of 
                        Florida, and Mr. Sandlin

                             June 25, 2004

   Reported from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs with an amendment
 [Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert the part printed 
                               in italic]

                             June 25, 2004

   Referral to the Committee on Armed Services extended for a period 
                  ending not later than June 25, 2004

                             June 25, 2004

 Committee on Armed Services discharged; committed to the Committee of 
  the Whole House on the State of the Union and ordered to be printed
 [For text of introduced bill, see copy of bill as introduced on April 
                               10, 2003]

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
     To amend title 38, United States Code, to improve educational 
     assistance programs of the Department of Veterans Affairs for 
    apprenticeship or other on-job training, and for other purposes.

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

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS; REFERENCES TO TITLE 38, 
              UNITED STATES CODE.

    (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Veterans Earn and 
Learn Act of 2004''.
    (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents of this Act is as 
follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents; references to title 38, United 
                            States Code.
Sec. 2. Reference to title 38, United States Code.

                       TITLE I--EDUCATION MATTERS

Sec. 101. Findings.
Sec. 102. Modification of benefit entitlement charges for certain on-
                            job training programs.
Sec. 103. Incentive payment for early completion of apprenticeship 
                            training.
Sec. 104. Increase in benefit for individuals pursuing apprenticeship 
                            or on-job training.
Sec. 105. Authority for competency-based apprenticeship programs.
Sec. 106. Pilot program to provide on-job benefits to train Department 
                            of Veterans Affairs' claims adjudicators.
Sec. 107. Requirement for coordination of data among the Departments of 
                            Veterans Affairs, Defense, and Labor with 
                            respect to on-job training.
Sec. 108. Technical and conforming amendments.

               TITLE II--BENEFITS AND EMPLOYMENT MATTERS

Sec. 201. Codification of administrative actions relating to 
                            presumptions of service connection for 
                            veterans exposed to ionizing radiation.
Sec. 202. Offset of veterans' disability compensation and dependency 
                            and indemnity compensation from awards 
                            under radiation exposure compensation 
                            program.
Sec. 203. Exclusion of life insurance proceeds from consideration as 
                            income for veterans' pension purposes.
Sec. 204. Effective date of death pension.
Sec. 205. Certain service-connected disability benefits authorized for 
                            persons disabled by treatment or vocational 
                            rehabilitation provided by the Department 
                            of Veterans Affairs.
Sec. 206. Report of employment placement, retention, and advancement of 
                            recently separated servicemembers.

                       TITLE III--HOUSING MATTERS

Sec. 301. Increase in, and annual indexing of, maximum amount of home 
                            loan guaranty for construction and purchase 
                            of homes.
Sec. 302. Authority to provide specially adapted housing to certain 
                            disabled veterans.
Sec. 303. Transitional housing amendments.

                   TITLE IV--MEMORIAL AFFAIRS MATTERS

Sec. 401. Eligibility of certain persons for burial in Arlington 
                            National Cemetery.
Sec. 402. Designation of Prisoner of War/Missing in Action National 
                            Memorial, Riverside National Cemetery, 
                            Riverside, California.

                     TITLE V--MISCELLANEOUS MATTERS

Sec. 501. Technical amendments relating to the United States Court of 
                            Appeals for Veterans Claims.
Sec. 502. Cross-reference amendments relating to concurrent payment of 
                            retired pay and veterans' disability 
                            compensation.

SEC. 2. REFERENCE 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--EDUCATION MATTERS

SEC. 101. FINDINGS.

    Congress makes the following findings:
            (1) Educational assistance programs for veterans for 
        apprenticeship and on-job training of the Department of 
        Veterans Affairs assist employers to hire and retain skilled 
        workers.
            (2) These programs establish a link between training 
        afforded to servicemembers while serving in the Armed Forces 
        and training available in civilian settings for purposes of 
        occupational licensing and credentialing.
            (3) These programs develop a more highly educated and 
        productive work force.

SEC. 102. MODIFICATION OF BENEFIT ENTITLEMENT CHARGES FOR CERTAIN ON-
              JOB TRAINING PROGRAMS.

    (a) In General.--Section 3687 is amended by adding at the end the 
following new subsection:
    ``(e)(1) For each month that an individual (as defined in paragraph 
(3)) is paid a training assistance allowance under subsection (a), the 
entitlement of the individual shall be charged at a percentage rate 
(rounded to the nearest percent) that is equal to the ratio of--
            ``(A) such training assistance allowance for the period of 
        months involved, to
            ``(B) the applicable monthly educational assistance 
        allowance payable to the individual for such period of months.
    ``(2) For any month in which an individual fails to complete 120 
hours of training, the entitlement otherwise chargeable under paragraph 
(1) shall be reduced in the same proportion as the monthly training 
assistance allowance payable is reduced under subsection (b)(3).
    ``(3) In this section, the term `individual' means--
            ``(A) an eligible veteran for purposes of chapter 34 of 
        this title who is entitled, under chapter 30 or 34 of this 
title, as the case may be, to monthly educational assistance allowances 
payable under section 3015(e) of this title, or
            ``(B) an eligible person for purposes of chapter 35 of this 
        title, who is entitled, under section 3510 of this title, to 
        monthly educational assistance allowances payable under section 
        3532(a) of this title
as the case may be.''.
    (b) Effective Date.--The amendment made by subsection (a) shall 
apply with respect to months beginning on or after the date that is 1 
year after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 103. INCENTIVE PAYMENT FOR EARLY COMPLETION OF APPRENTICESHIP 
              TRAINING.

    (a) Montgomery GI Bill.--(1) Section 3032(c) is amended by adding 
at the end the following new paragraph:
    ``(4)(A) In the case of an individual who successfully completes a 
full-time program of apprenticeship before entitlement to monthly 
educational assistance allowance payable under this subsection for that 
program is exhausted, the Secretary shall pay to the individual a lump-
sum amount equal to the difference between--
            ``(i) the total amount of educational assistance allowances 
        that could have been paid to the individual under this 
        subsection for the successful completion of that program, and
            ``(ii) the amount of educational assistance allowance paid 
        to the individual for the program under this subsection.
    ``(B) In the case of a lump sum payment paid to an individual under 
subparagraph (A), the individual's entitlement under this chapter (and 
chapter 34 of this title, if applicable) shall be charged at the 
applicable rate under paragraph (3).''.
    (2) Paragraph (1) of such section is amended by striking ``Except 
as provided in paragraph (2)'' and inserting ``Subject to the 
succeeding provisions''.
    (b) Post-Vietnam Era Veterans' Educational Assistance.--(1) Section 
3233 is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
    ``(e)(1) In the case of an individual who successfully completes a 
full-time program of apprenticeship before entitlement to monthly 
benefit payment payable under this section for that program is 
exhausted, the Secretary shall pay to the individual a lump-sum amount 
equal to the difference between--
            ``(A) the total amount of monthly benefit payments that 
        could have been paid to the individual under this section for 
        the successful completion of that program, and
            ``(B) the amount of monthly benefit payments paid to the 
        individual for the program under this section.
    ``(2) In the case of a lump sum payment paid to an individual under 
paragraph (1), the individual's entitlement under this chapter shall be 
charged at the applicable rate under subsections (c) and (d).''.
    (2) Subsection (a) of such section is amended by striking ``Except 
as provided in subsection (b)'' and inserting ``Subject to the 
succeeding provisions''.
    (c) Veterans' Educational Assistance and Survivors' and Dependents' 
Educational Assistance.--Section 3687, as amended by section 102, is 
further amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
    ``(f)(1) In the case of an individual (as defined in subsection 
(e)(3)) who successfully completes a full-time program of 
apprenticeship before entitlement to monthly educational assistance 
allowance payable for that program is exhausted, the Secretary shall 
pay to the individual a lump-sum amount equal to the difference 
between--
            ``(A) the total amount of educational assistance allowances 
        that could have been paid to the individual under subsection 
        (a) for the successful completion of that program, and
            ``(B) the amount of educational assistance allowance paid 
        to the individual for the program under subsection (a).
    ``(2) In the case of a lump sum payment paid to an individual under 
paragraph (1), the entitlement of the individual under chapter 30, 34, 
or 35 of this title, as the case may be, shall be charged at the 
applicable rate under subsection (e).''.
    (d) Selected Reserve Montgomery GI Bill.--(1) Section 16131(d) of 
title 10, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the 
following new paragraph:
    ``(4)(A) In the case of an individual who successfully completes a 
full-time program of apprenticeship before entitlement to monthly 
educational assistance allowance payable under this subsection for that 
program is exhausted, the Secretary shall pay to the individual a lump-
sum amount equal to the difference between--
            ``(i) the total amount of educational assistance allowances 
        that could have been paid to the individual under this 
        subsection for the successful completion of that program, and
            ``(ii) the amount of educational assistance allowance paid 
        to the individual for the program under this subsection.
    ``(B) In the case of a lump sum payment paid to an individual under 
subparagraph (A), the individual's entitlement under this chapter shall 
be charged at the applicable rate under paragraph (3).''.
    (2) Paragraph (1) of such section is amended by striking ``Except 
as provided in paragraph (2)'' and inserting ``Subject to the 
succeeding provisions of this subsection''.
    (e) Effective Date.--The amendments made by this section shall 
apply to programs of training beginning on or after the date of the 
enactment of this Act and ending before October 1, 2010.

SEC. 104. INCREASE IN BENEFIT FOR INDIVIDUALS PURSUING APPRENTICESHIP 
              OR ON-JOB TRAINING.

    (a) Montgomery GI Bill.--Subsection (c)(1) of section 3032 is 
amended--
            (1) by striking ``75 percent'' and inserting ``85 percent'' 
        in subparagraph (A);
            (2) by striking ``55 percent'' and inserting ``65 percent'' 
        in subparagraph (B); and
            (3) by striking ``35 percent'' and inserting ``45 percent'' 
        in subparagraph (C).
    (b) Post-Vietnam Era Veterans' Educational Assistance.--Subsection 
(a) of section 3233 is amended--
            (1) by striking ``75 percent'' and inserting ``85 percent'' 
        in paragraph (1);
            (2) by striking ``55 percent'' and inserting ``65 percent'' 
        in paragraph (2); and
            (3) by striking ``35 percent'' and inserting ``45 percent'' 
        in paragraph (3).
    (c) Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance.--Subsection 
(b)(2) of section 3687 is amended by striking ``$574 for the first six 
months, $429 for the second six months, $285 for the third six 
months,'' and inserting ``$650 for the first six months, $507 for the 
second six months, $366 for the third six months,''.
    (d) Selected Reserve Montgomery GI Bill.--Subsection (d)(1) of 
section 16131 of title 10, United States Code, is amended--
            (1) by striking ``75 percent'' and inserting ``85 percent'' 
        in subparagraph (A);
            (2) by striking ``55 percent'' and inserting ``65 percent'' 
        in subparagraph (B); and
            (3) by striking ``35 percent'' and inserting ``45 percent'' 
        in subparagraph (C).
    (e) Effective Date.--The amendments made by this section shall 
apply with respect to months beginning on or after October 1, 2005, and 
before October 1, 2010.

SEC. 105. AUTHORITY FOR COMPETENCY-BASED APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAMS.

    (a) In General.--Section 3672(c) is amended--
            (1) by striking ``(1)'' and ``(2)'' and inserting ``(A)'' 
        and ``(B)'', respectively;
            (2) by inserting ``(1)'' after ``(c)''; and
            (3) by adding at the end the following new paragraphs:
    ``(2) The period of a program of apprenticeship may be determined 
based upon a specific period of time (commonly referred to as a `time-
based program'), based upon the demonstration of successful mastery of 
skills (commonly referred to as a `competency-based program'), or based 
upon a combination thereof.
    ``(3)(A) In the case of a competency-based program of 
apprenticeship, in determining the period of such a program, State 
approving agencies shall take into consideration the approximate term 
of the program recommended in registered apprenticeship program 
standards recognized by the Secretary of Labor.
    ``(B) The sponsor of a competency-based program of apprenticeship 
shall provide notice to the State approving agency involved of any such 
standards that may apply to the program and the proposed approximate 
period of training under the program.
    ``(4) The Secretary of Labor shall notify the Secretary upon the 
successful completion of a program of apprenticeship by a veteran, 
eligible veteran, or eligible person, as the case may be.''.
    (b) Increased Use of Apprenticeships.--Section 3672(d)(1) is 
amended by adding at the end the following new sentence: ``The 
Secretary of Labor shall provide such assistance and services to the 
Secretary, and to State approving agencies, to increase the use of 
apprenticeships.''.
    (c) On-Job Training.--Section 3677 is amended by adding at the end 
the following new subsection:
    ``(d)(1) The sponsor of any program of training on the job shall 
submit notice to the Secretary upon the successful completion of the 
program by the veteran, eligible veteran, or eligible person, as the 
case may be.
    ``(2) The term `training on the job' includes training commonly 
referred to as `on-job learning'.''.
    (d) Funding for Department Computer System Modifications.--From 
amounts appropriated to the Department of Veterans Affairs for fiscal 
year 2005 for readjustment benefits, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs 
shall use an amount not to exceed $3,000,000 to modify computer systems 
and to develop procedures required to carry out the amendments made by 
subsection (a) and sections 102, 103, and 104.

SEC. 106. PILOT PROGRAM TO PROVIDE ON-JOB BENEFITS TO TRAIN DEPARTMENT 
              OF VETERANS AFFAIRS' CLAIMS ADJUDICATORS.

    Section 3677, as amended by section 105(c), is further amended by 
adding at the end the following new subsection:
    ``(e)(1) The Secretary shall conduct a pilot program under which, 
the Secretary shall operate a program of training on the job under this 
section for a period (notwithstanding subsection (c)(2)) of up to three 
years in duration to train employees of the Department to become 
qualified adjudicators of claims for compensation, dependency and 
indemnity compensation, and pension.
    ``(2) Amounts of educational assistance, monthly benefit payments, 
and training assistance allowance under chapters 30, 31, 32, 34, and 35 
of this title, as the case may be, shall be payable to such employees 
during each month of training under the program.
    ``(3)(A) Not later than 3 years after the implementation of the 
pilot project, the Secretary shall submit to Congress an initial report 
on the pilot project. The report shall include an assessment of the 
usefulness of the program in recruiting and retaining of personnel of 
the Department as well as an assessment of the value of the program as 
a training program.
    ``(B) Not later than 18 months after the date on which the initial 
report under subparagraph (A) is submitted, the Secretary shall submit 
to Congress, a final report on the pilot project. The final report 
shall include recommendations of the Secretary with respect to 
continuation of the pilot project and with respect to expansion of the 
types of claims for which the extended period of on the job training is 
available to train such employees.
    ``(4) The pilot project shall terminate 5 years after the date of 
the implementation of the project.''.

SEC. 107. REQUIREMENT FOR COORDINATION OF DATA AMONG THE DEPARTMENTS OF 
              VETERANS AFFAIRS, DEFENSE, AND LABOR WITH RESPECT TO ON-
              JOB TRAINING.

    Section 3694 is amended--
            (1) by striking ``In carrying out'' and inserting ``(a) In 
        General.--In carrying out''; and
            (2) by adding at the end the following new subsection:
    ``(b) Coordination of Information Among the Departments of Veterans 
Affairs, Defense, and Labor With Respect to On-Job Training.--At the 
time of a servicemember's discharge or release from active duty 
service, the Secretary of Defense shall furnish to the Secretary such 
pertinent information concerning each registered apprenticeship pursued 
by the servicemember during the period of active duty service of the 
servicemember. The Secretary, in conjunction with the Secretary of 
Labor, shall encourage and assist States and private organizations to 
give credit to servicemembers for the registered apprenticeship program 
so pursued in the case of any related apprenticeship program the 
servicemember may pursue as a civilian.''.

SEC. 108. TECHNICAL AND CONFORMING AMENDMENTS.

    (a) Definition of Training Establishment.--Section 3452(e) is 
amended by striking ``or any State apprenticeship agency, or any State 
board of vocational education, or any joint apprenticeship committee, 
or the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training established pursuant to 
the Act of August 16, 1937, popularly known as the `National 
Apprenticeship Act' (29 U.S.C. 50 et seq.),'' and inserting ``any State 
board of vocational education, any Federal or State apprenticeship 
registration agency, any joint apprenticeship committee established 
pursuant to the Act of August 16, 1937, popularly known as the 
`National Apprenticeship Act' (29 U.S.C. 50 et seq.),''.
    (b) Clarification of Applicable Apprenticeship Standards.--(1) 
Section 3672(c)(1), as amended by section 105(a), is amended in 
subparagraph (A) by inserting ``apprenticeship'' before ``standards''.
    (2) Section 3672(d)(1) is amended by striking ``of programs of 
training on the job (including programs of apprenticeship)'' and 
inserting ``of apprenticeship and on the job training programs''.
    (c) Record-Keeping Requirements for Qualified Providers of 
Entrepreneurship Courses.--(1) Section 3675(c) is amended by adding at 
the end the following new paragraph:
    ``(4) Notwithstanding paragraph (3), a qualified provider of 
entrepreneurship courses shall maintain such records as the Secretary 
determines to be necessary to comply with reporting requirements that 
apply under section 3684(a)(1) of this title with respect to eligible 
persons and veterans enrolled in an entrepreneurship course offered by 
the provider.''.
    (2) The amendment made by paragraph (1) shall take effect as if 
included in the enactment of section 305(a) of the Veterans Benefits 
Act of 2003 (Public Law 108-183; 117 Stat. 2660).

               TITLE II--BENEFITS AND EMPLOYMENT MATTERS

SEC. 201. CODIFICATION OF ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIONS RELATING TO 
              PRESUMPTIONS OF SERVICE CONNECTION FOR VETERANS EXPOSED 
              TO IONIZING RADIATION.

    (a) Covered Diseases.--Subsection (c)(2) of section 1112 is amended 
by adding at the end the following new subparagraphs:
            ``(Q) Cancer of the bone.
            ``(R) Cancer of the brain.
            ``(S) Cancer of the colon.
            ``(T) Cancer of the lung.
            ``(U) Cancer of the ovary.''.
    (b) Covered Radiation-Risk Activities.--Subsection (c)(3)(B) of 
such section is amended by adding at the end the following new clause:
                    ``(iv) Service in a capacity which, if performed as 
                an employee of the Department of Energy, would qualify 
                the individual for inclusion as a member of the Special 
                Exposure Cohort under section 3621(14) of the Energy 
                Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act 
                of 2000 (42 U.S.C. 7384l(14)).''.
    (c) Effective Date.--The amendments made by this section shall take 
effect as of March 26, 2002.

SEC. 202. OFFSET OF VETERANS' DISABILITY COMPENSATION AND DEPENDENCY 
              AND INDEMNITY COMPENSATION FROM AWARDS UNDER RADIATION 
              EXPOSURE COMPENSATION PROGRAM.

    (a) Offset in Lieu of Forfeiture From Disability Compensation.--
Subsection (c) of section 1112 is amended by adding at the end the 
following new paragraph:
    ``(4) A radiation-exposed veteran who receives a payment under the 
provisions of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act of 1990 (42 
U.S.C. 2210 note) shall not be deprived, by reason of the receipt of 
that payment, of receipt of compensation to which that veteran is 
entitled by reason of paragraph (1), but there shall be deducted from 
payment of such compensation the amount of the payment under that 
Act.''.
    (b) Offset in Lieu of Forfeiture From Dependency and Indemnity 
Compensation.--Section 1310 is amended by adding at the end the 
following new paragraph:
    ``(c) A person who receives a payment under the provisions of the 
Radiation Exposure Compensation Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 2210 note) shall 
not be deprived, by reason of the receipt of that payment, of receipt 
of dependency and indemnity compensation to which that person is 
otherwise entitled, but there shall be deducted from payment of such 
dependency and indemnity compensation the amount of the payment under 
that Act.''.
    (c) Effective Date.--Paragraph (4) of section 1112(c) of title 38, 
United States Code, as added by subsection (a), shall take effect with 
respect to compensation payments for months beginning after March 26, 
2002. Subsection (c) of section 1310 of such title, as added by 
subsection (b), shall take effect with respect to dependency and 
indemnity compensation payments for months beginning after March 26, 
2002.

SEC. 203. EXCLUSION OF LIFE INSURANCE PROCEEDS FROM CONSIDERATION AS 
              INCOME FOR VETERANS' PENSION PURPOSES.

    Section 1503(a) is amended--
            (1) by striking ``and'' at the end of paragraph (9);
            (2) by striking the period at the end of the paragraph (10) 
        and inserting ``; and''; and
            (3) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
            ``(11) lump-sum proceeds of any life insurance policy on a 
        veteran, for purposes of pension under subchapter III of this 
        chapter.''.

SEC. 204. EFFECTIVE DATE OF DEATH PENSION.

    Section 5110(d) is amended--
            (1) by striking ``(1)'';
            (2) by striking ``death compensation or dependency and 
        indemnity compensation'' and inserting ``death compensation, 
        dependency and indemnity compensation, or death pension''; and
            (3) by striking paragraph (2).

SEC. 205. CERTAIN SERVICE-CONNECTED DISABILITY BENEFITS AUTHORIZED FOR 
              PERSONS DISABLED BY TREATMENT OR VOCATIONAL 
              REHABILITATION PROVIDED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS 
              AFFAIRS.

    (a) Authorized Benefits.--Section 1151 is amended by adding at the 
end the following new subsection:
    ``(c) A qualifying additional disability under this section shall 
be treated in the same manner as if it were a service-connected 
disability for purposes of the following provisions of this title:
            ``(1) Chapter 21, relating to specially adapted housing.
            ``(2) Chapter 31, relating to vocational rehabilitation.
            ``(3) Chapter 39, relating to automobiles and adaptive 
        equipment.''.
    (b) Effective Date.--Subsection (c) of section 1151 of title 38, 
United States Code, as added by subsection (a), shall apply with 
respect to eligibility for benefits and services provided by the 
Secretary of Veterans Affairs on or after the date of the enactment of 
this Act.
    (c) Administration of Offset Provision.--Subsection (b) of such 
section is amended--
            (1) by inserting ``(1)'' after ``(b)'';
            (2) by inserting ``(except as otherwise provided in 
        paragraph (2))'' after ``service-connected, then''; and
            (3) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
    ``(2) In any case in which an amount of a judgment, settlement, or 
compromise covered by paragraph (1) is specifically designated for a 
benefit other than as compensation for loss of earning capacity or for 
pain and suffering, such amount shall be offset under paragraph (1) 
only against the comparable benefit provided under this title (if any). 
Any amounts attributable to pain and suffering, loss of earnings 
capacity, or loss of consortium or society shall be offset against 
benefits otherwise payable under this chapter, and any amounts 
attributable to wrongful death shall be offset against benefits 
otherwise payable under chapter 13 of this title.''.
    (d) Effective Date.--The amendment made by subsection (c) shall 
apply with respect to any judgment, settlement, or compromise covered 
by section 1151(b) of title 38, United States Code, that becomes final 
on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 206. REPORT OF EMPLOYMENT PLACEMENT, RETENTION, AND ADVANCEMENT OF 
              RECENTLY SEPARATED SERVICEMEMBERS.

    (a) Contract for Report.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall 
enter into a contract with a qualified entity to conduct a study of and 
prepare a report on the employment histories of recently separated 
servicemembers.
    (b) Content of Report.--(1) The study conducted pursuant to 
subsection (a) shall consist of an analysis of employment-related data 
that has been collected with respect to recently separated 
servicemembers.
    (2) In conducting the study, the qualified entity shall--
            (A) determine whether the employment obtained by recently 
        separated servicemembers is commensurate with training and 
        education of those servicemembers;
            (B) determine whether recently separated servicemembers 
        received educational assistance or training and rehabilitation 
        under programs administered by the Secretary of Veterans 
        Affairs under chapter 30 or 31 of title 38, United States Code, 
        or under chapter 1606 of title 10, United States Code;
            (C) determine whether transition assistance services 
        provided to recently separated servicemembers assisted those 
        servicemembers in obtaining civilian employment;
            (D) analyze trends in hiring of veterans by the private 
        sector; and
            (E) identify recently separated servicemembers who have 
        reached senior level management positions.
    (c) Use of Data.--In conducting the study under subsection (a), the 
qualified entity shall review data compiled and reported by Bureau of 
Labor Statistics and shall collect additional data on the employment 
histories of recently separated servicemembers available from such 
other sources as the qualified entity determines to be appropriate.
    (d) Contract Requirements.--(1) The contract entered into under 
subsection (a) shall contain such terms and conditions as the Secretary 
may require. The contract shall require that the report on the study be 
submitted to the Secretary not later than 2 years after the date on 
which the contract was entered into.
    (2) The report required under subsection (a) shall contain the 
findings and conclusions of the qualified entity on the study and 
specific recommendations to improve employment opportunities for 
veterans recently separated from service in the Armed Forces, including 
if appropriate recommendations for--
            (A) the establishment of networks of contacts for 
        employment of such veterans in the private sector;
            (B) outreach to private sector leaders on the merits and 
        sound business practice of hiring such veterans; and
            (C) additional methods to facilitate communication between 
        private sector employers and such veterans who are seeking 
        employment.
    (e) Funding.--Payment by the Secretary for the contract entered 
into under subsection (a)--
            (1) shall be made from the Department of Veterans Affairs 
        appropriations account from which payments for readjustment 
        benefits are made; and
            (2) may not exceed $490,000.
    (f) Definitions.--In this section:
            (1) The term ``qualified entity'' means an entity or 
        organization that meets the following requirements:
                    (A) Demonstrated experience in conducting 
                employment surveys of recently separated 
                servicemembers, including Internet-based surveys, that 
                meet such quality assurance requirements as the 
                Secretary determines appropriate.
                    (B) Demonstrated familiarity with veteran 
                employment matters.
                    (C) Demonstrated ability in developing plans to 
                market veterans as employment assets.
                    (D) Demonstrated ability to acquire services at no 
                cost from other organizations, such as technology, 
                staff services, and advertising services.
                    (E) Demonstrated ability to develop relationships, 
                establish employment networks, and facilitate 
                interaction between private and public sector leaders 
                and veterans.
            (2) The term ``employment history'' means, with respect to 
        a recently separated servicemember, training, placement, 
        retention, and advancement in employment of that servicemember.
            (3) The term ``recently separated servicemember'' means any 
        veteran (as defined in section 101(2) of title 38, United 
        States Code) discharged or released from active duty in the 
        Armed Forces of the United States during the 16-year period 
        beginning on January 1, 1990.

                       TITLE III--HOUSING MATTERS

SEC. 301. INCREASE IN, AND ANNUAL INDEXING OF, MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF HOME 
              LOAN GUARANTY FOR CONSTRUCTION AND PURCHASE OF HOMES.

    (a) Maximum Loan Guaranty Based on 100 Percent of the Freddie Mac 
Conforming Loan Rate.--Section 3703(a)(1) is amended by striking 
``$60,000'' each place it appears in subparagraphs (A)(i)(IV) and (B) 
and inserting ``the maximum guaranty amount (as defined in subparagraph 
(C))''.
    (b) Definition.--Such section is further amended by adding at the 
end the following new subparagraph:
    ``(C) In this paragraph, the term `maximum guaranty amount' means 
the dollar amount that is equal to 25 percent of the Freddie Mac 
conforming loan limit limitation determined under section 305(a)(2) of 
the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation Act (12 U.S.C. 1454(a)(2)) 
for a single-family residence, as adjusted for the year involved.''.

SEC. 302. AUTHORITY TO PROVIDE SPECIALLY ADAPTED HOUSING TO CERTAIN 
              DISABLED VETERANS.

    The text of section 2101 is amended to read as follows:
    ``(a) Acquisition of Housing With Special Features.--(1) Subject to 
paragraph (3), the Secretary may assist a disabled veteran described in 
paragraph (2) in acquiring a suitable housing unit with special 
fixtures or movable facilities made necessary by the nature of the 
veteran's disability, and necessary land therefor.
    ``(2) A veteran is described in this paragraph if the veteran is 
entitled to compensation under chapter 11 of this title for a permanent 
and total service-connected disability that meets any of the following 
criteria:
            ``(A) The disability is due to the loss, or loss of use, of 
        both lower extremities such as to preclude locomotion without 
        the aid of braces, crutches, canes, or a wheelchair.
            ``(B) The disability is due to--
                    ``(i) blindness in both eyes, having only light 
                perception, plus
                    ``(ii) loss or loss of use of one lower extremity.
            ``(C) The disability is due to the loss or loss of use of 
        one lower extremity together with--
                    ``(i) residuals of organic disease or injury; or
                    ``(ii) the loss or loss of use of one upper 
                extremity,
        which so affect the functions of balance or propulsion as to 
        preclude locomotion without the aid of braces, crutches, canes, 
        or a wheelchair.
            ``(D) The disability is due to the loss, or loss of use, of 
        both upper extremities such as to preclude use of the arms at 
        or above the elbows.
    ``(3) The regulations prescribed under subsection (c) shall require 
that assistance under paragraph (1) may be provided to a veteran only 
if the Secretary finds that--
            ``(A) it is medically feasible for the veteran to reside in 
        the proposed housing unit and in the proposed locality;
            ``(B) the proposed housing unit bears a proper relation to 
        the veteran's present and anticipated income and expenses; and
            ``(C) the nature and condition of the proposed housing unit 
        are such as to be suitable to the veteran's needs for dwelling 
        purposes.
    ``(b) Adaptations to Residence of Veteran.--(1) Subject to 
paragraph (3), the Secretary shall assist any disabled veteran 
described in paragraph (2) (other than a veteran who is eligible for 
assistance under subsection (a))--
            ``(A) in acquiring such adaptations to such veteran's 
        residence as are determined by the Secretary to be reasonably 
        necessary because of such disability; or
            ``(B) in acquiring a residence already adapted with special 
        features determined by the Secretary to be reasonably necessary 
        for the veteran because of such disability.
    ``(2) A veteran is described in this paragraph if the veteran is 
entitled to compensation under chapter 11 of this title for a permanent 
and total service-connected disability that meets either of the 
following criteria:
            ``(A) The disability is due to blindness in both eyes with 
        5/200 visual acuity or less.
            ``(B) The disability includes the anatomical loss or loss 
        of use of both hands.
    ``(3) Assistance under paragraph (1) may be provided only to a 
veteran who the Secretary determines--
            ``(A) is residing in and reasonably intends to continue 
        residing in a residence owned by such veteran or by a member of 
        such veteran's family; or
            ``(B) if the veteran's residence is to be constructed or 
        purchased, will be residing in and reasonably intends to 
        continue residing in a residence owned by such veteran or by a 
        member of such veteran's family.
    ``(c) Regulations.--Assistance under this section shall be provided 
in accordance with such regulations as the Secretary may prescribe.''.

SEC. 303. TRANSITIONAL HOUSING AMENDMENTS.

    (a) Use of Veteran Volunteers.--Section 2051 is amended by adding 
at the end the following new subsection:
    ``(g) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a multifamily 
transitional housing project that is funded by a loan guaranteed under 
this subchapter may accept uncompensated voluntary services performed 
by any eligible entity (as that term is defined in section 2011(d) of 
this title) in connection with the construction, alteration, or repair 
of such project.''.
    (b) Authorization for Commercially-Leased Space.--Section 
2052(c)(1) is amended by striking ``services'' and inserting 
``services, other commercial activities,''.

                   TITLE IV--MEMORIAL AFFAIRS MATTERS

SEC. 401. ELIGIBILITY OF CERTAIN PERSONS FOR BURIAL IN ARLINGTON 
              NATIONAL CEMETERY.

    (a) In General.--(1) Chapter 24 is amended by adding at the end the 
following new section:
``Sec. 2412. Arlington National Cemetery: eligibility of certain 
              persons for burial
    ``(a)(1) The remains of a member or former member of a reserve 
component of the Armed Forces who at the time of death was under 60 
years of age and who, but for age, would have been eligible at the time 
of death for retired pay under chapter 1223 of title 10 may be buried 
in Arlington National Cemetery on the same basis as the remains of 
members of the Armed Forces entitled to retired pay under that chapter.
    ``(2) The remains of the dependents of a member whose remains are 
permitted under paragraph (1) to be buried in Arlington National 
Cemetery may be buried in that cemetery on the same basis as dependents 
of members of the Armed Forces entitled to retired pay under such 
chapter 1223.
    ``(b)(1) The remains of a member of a reserve component of the 
Armed Forces who dies in the line of duty while performing active duty 
for training or inactive duty training may be buried in Arlington 
National Cemetery on the same basis as the remains of a member of the 
Armed Forces who dies while on active duty.
    ``(2) The remains of the dependents of a member whose remains are 
permitted under paragraph (1) to be buried in Arlington National 
Cemetery may be buried in that cemetery on the same basis as dependents 
of members on active duty.''.
    (2) The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 24 is amended 
by adding at the end the following new item:

``2412. Arlington National Cemetery: eligibility of certain persons for 
                            burial.''.
    (b) Effective Date.--Section 2412 of title 38, United States Code, 
as added by subsection (a), shall apply with respect to interments 
occurring on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 402. DESIGNATION OF PRISONER OF WAR/MISSING IN ACTION NATIONAL 
              MEMORIAL, RIVERSIDE NATIONAL CEMETERY, RIVERSIDE, 
              CALIFORNIA.

    (a) Designation.--The memorial to former prisoners of war and 
members of the Armed Forces listed as missing in action that is under 
construction at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, California, 
is hereby designated as a Prisoner of War/Missing in Action National 
Memorial.
    (b) Effect of Designation.--The national memorial designated by 
subsection (a) is not a unit of the National Park System, and the 
designation of the national memorial shall not be construed to require 
Federal funds to be expended for any purpose related to the national 
memorial.

                     TITLE V--MISCELLANEOUS MATTERS

SEC. 501. TECHNICAL AMENDMENTS RELATING TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF 
              APPEALS FOR VETERANS CLAIMS.

    (a) Restoration of Prior Provision Relating to Chief Judge.--
Section 7253(d)(1) is amended by inserting after ``(1)'' the following: 
``The chief judge of the Court is the head of the Court.''.
    (b) Capitalization Amendments.--Section 7253(d)(4)(A) is amended by 
striking ``court'' in clauses (i) and (ii) and inserting ``Court''.
    (c) Date of Enactment Reference.--Section 7253(h)(4) is amended by 
striking ``the date of the enactment of this subsection'' and inserting 
``December 27, 2001,''.

SEC. 502. CROSS-REFERENCE AMENDMENTS RELATING TO CONCURRENT PAYMENT OF 
              RETIRED PAY AND VETERANS' DISABILITY COMPENSATION.

    (a) Prohibition Against Duplication of Benefits.--Section 
5304(a)(1) is amended by inserting ``as provided in section 1414 of 
title 10 or'' after ``Except''.
    (b) Waiver of Retired Pay.--Section 5305 is amended by striking 
``Any'' in the first sentence and inserting ``Except as provided in 
section 1414 of title 10, any''.




                                                 Union Calendar No. 334

108th CONGRESS

  2d Session

                               H. R. 1716

                      [Report No. 108-572, Part I]

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL

     To amend title 38, United States Code, to improve educational 
     assistance programs of the Department of Veterans Affairs for 
    apprenticeship or other on-job training, and for other purposes.

_______________________________________________________________________

                             June 25, 2004

   Reported from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs with an amendment

                             June 25, 2004

   Referral to the Committee on Armed Services extended for a period 
                  ending not later than June 25, 2004.

                             June 25, 2004

 Committee on Armed Services discharged; committed to the Committee of 
  the Whole House on the State of the Union and ordered to be printed