Summary: H.R.674 — 112th Congress (2011-2012)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Public Law No: 112-56 (11/21/2011)

(This measure has not been amended since it was passed by the Senate on November 10, 2011. The summary of that version is repeated here.)

Title I: Three Percent Withholding Repeal and Job Creation Act - 3% Withholding Repeal and Job Creation Act - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to repeal the 3% withholding requirement on payments due to vendors providing goods and services to federal, state, and local governmental entities.

Title II: VOW to Hire Heroes - VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 - Subtitle A: Retraining Veterans - (Sec. 211) Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA), by July 1, 2012, to establish and commence a program of retraining assistance for veterans who: (1) are at least 35 but not more than 60 years of age, (2) were last discharged from active-duty service under conditions other than dishonorable, (3) are unemployed, (4) are not eligible for educational assistance under other VA programs, (5) are not in receipt of compensation for a service-connected disability rated total due to unemployability, (6) were not enrolled in any federal or state job training program at any time during the 180-day period ending on the date of application for assistance, and (7) applies for such assistance by October 1, 2013. Entitles each eligible veteran to up to 12 months of job training assistance toward a high-demand occupation. Requires the Secretary of Labor to contact each such veteran within 30 days after completion or termination of such training or assistance in order to facilitate employment. Requires: (1) such Secretaries to enter into a joint agreement to carry out such assistance, and (2) the VA Secretary to report to Congress on assistance provided. Provides funding. Terminates assistance authority on March 31, 2014.

Subtitle B: Improving the Transition Assistance Program - (Sec. 221) Directs the Secretaries of Defense (DOD) and Homeland Security (DHS) to require the participation of members of the Armed Forces (members) being separated from active duty, and their spouses, in DOD's transition assistance program (TAP). Allows such Secretaries to waive the participation requirement with respect to: (1) such groups or classifications of members for whom participation is not, and would not be, of assistance since such members are unlikely to face major readjustment, health care, employment, or other challenges associated with transition to civilian life; and (2) individual members possessing specialized skills who are needed to support a unit's imminent deployment.

(Sec. 222) Requires the Secretary of Labor to contract with a qualified organization to conduct a study to identify any equivalences between the skills developed by members through various military occupational specialties and the qualifications required for various positions of civilian employment. Requires a report on study results from the contractor to such Secretary, which shall be transmitted to Congress. Requires the skills equivalencies to be published on the Internet and regularly updated. Directs the Secretary of Defense to ensure that each member participating in TAP receive an individualized equivalencies assessment and to make each assessment available to the Secretaries of VA and Labor.

(Sec. 223) Requires: (1) the VA Secretary to contract with appropriate contractors to provide TAP functions at all locations where TAP is being carried out, and (2) such contractors to provide members being separated from active duty, and their spouses, with appropriate TAP services. Requires such contracts to be entered into within two years after the enactment of this Act.

(Sec. 224) Authorizes the Secretaries of Labor, VA, DHS, and DOD, in carrying out TAP, to contract with private entities that have experience with instructing members on relevant topics on job training and job searching, including academic readiness and educational opportunities.

(Sec. 225) Authorizes the Secretaries of DOD and DHS, as part of TAP, to permit an eligible member to participate in an apprenticeship or pre-apprenticeship program that provides them with the education, training, and services necessary to transition to meaningful employment.

(Sec. 226) Directs the Comptroller General (CG) to conduct a review of TAP, and to submit review results and recommendations to Congress.

Subtitle C: Improving the Transition of Veterans to Civilian Employment - (Sec. 231) Amends the Wounded Warrior Act to extend through 2014 the authority of the VA Secretary to provide the same rehabilitation and vocational benefits to members with severe injuries or illnesses as are provided to veterans.

(Sec. 232) Expands the authority of the VA Secretary to make payments to employers to provide on-job training to veterans to include veterans who have not been rehabilitated to the point of employability.

(Sec. 233) Entitles certain veterans with service-connected disabilities who have exhausted their rights to unemployment benefits to participation in an additional VA rehabilitation program. Limits the duration of such a program to 12 months. Makes the 12-year period of eligibility for a VA rehabilitation program inapplicable under such additional program. Directs the CG to review the VA training and rehabilitation program, and report review results to Congress.

(Sec. 234) Directs the VA Secretary to award grants to up to three nonprofit organizations under a two-year collaborative veterans' training, mentoring, and placement program for eligible veterans seeking employment. Requires such Secretary to: (1) report to Congress on the process for awarding such grants, (2) assess the performance of grant recipients, and (3) report assessment results to Congress. Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 235) Treats an individual as a veteran, a disabled veteran, or a preference eligible for purposes of appointments to federal competitive service positions if the individual meets all other qualifications except for the requirement of discharge or release from active duty under honorable conditions, as long as such individual submits to the federal officer making the appointment a certification that he or she is expected to be discharged or released under honorable conditions within 120 days after submission of the certification. Requires the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to: (1) designate agencies to establish a program to provide employment assistance to members being separated from active duty, and (2) ensure that such programs are coordinated with TAP.

(Sec. 236) Authorizes the DOD Secretary to establish a two-year pilot program to assess the feasibility and advisability of providing to members on terminal leave work experience with civilian employees and contractors of DOD to facilitate the transition of such members from military service to employment in the civilian labor market. Requires a pilot program report from such Secretary to Congress.

(Sec. 237) Requires (under current law, authorizes) the Assistant Secretary for Veterans' Employment and Training to carry out a two-year demonstration project on the credentialing and licensing of veterans. Requires the Assistant Secretary of Labor of Veterans' Employment and Training to: (1) conduct a study comparing the costs incurred by DOD in training members for military occupational specialties selected for the demonstration project with costs incurred by the VA and Department of Labor in providing employment-related assistance to veterans who previously held such military occupational specialties, and (2) report study results to Congress.

(Sec. 238) Requires the inclusion of TAP performance measures in annual Department of Labor reports on veterans job counseling, training, and placement programs.

(Sec. 239) Directs the Secretary of Labor to include in such annual reports with respect to the 2003 program year and thereafter an evaluation of whether eligible veterans are receiving priority of service and are being fully served by qualified job training programs.

(Sec. 240) Directs the VA Secretary to require that each disabled veterans' outreach program specialist and local veterans' employment representative who receives training by the National Veterans' Employment and Training Services Institute is given a final training examination.

(Sec. 241) Requires each of the above specialists and representatives to perform only duties related to the employment, training, and placement needs of veterans, and not other duties that detract from their ability to perform such duties. Directs the VA Secretary to conduct regular audits to ensure compliance with such requirement.

Subtitle D: Improvements to Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights - (Sec. 251) Includes the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment within the benefits and rights of employment for purposes of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.

Subtitle E: Other Matters - (Sec. 261) Amends the Internal Revenue Code to: (1) increase the amount of wages eligible for the work opportunity tax credit for veterans who are hired after being unemployed for six months or more during the one-year period ending on the hiring date ($14,000 of first-year wages) or disabled veterans who are either hired within one year after discharge from active duty ($12,000 of first-year wages) or who are hired after being unemployed for six months or more during the one-year period ending on the hiring date ($24,000 of first-year wages), and (2) allow tax-exempt organizations to claim the lesser of the amount of the work opportunity tax credit for hiring veterans or the amount of the payroll taxes paid by such organizations during the calendar year. Extends through 2012 such credit with respect to such veterans. Provides a credit against payroll taxes for qualified tax-exempt organizations employing such veterans.

(Sec. 262) Extends through FY2016 the current $90 limit on VA pension paid to veterans residing in nursing homes when their nursing costs are paid through title XIX (Medicaid) of the Social Security Act.

(Sec. 263) Limits VA payments for ambulance services to the lesser of the actual charges or the rates permitted under title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act.

(Sec. 264) Extends through FY2016 VA authority to obtain veterans' income verification information from the Commissioner of Social Security or the Secretary of the Treasury.

(Sec. 265) Extends through FY2016 VA authority to charge a loan fee for certain subsequent housing loans made to veterans.

Title III: Other Provisions Relating to Federal Vendors - (Sec. 301) Amends the Internal Revenue Code to extend the 100% continuing levy for delinquent taxes to payments due to a vendor of property (currently, goods or services) sold or leased to the federal government.

(Sec. 302) Directs the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and federal agency heads, to conduct and report on a study on ways to reduce the amount of federal tax owed but not paid by persons submitting bids or proposals for the procurement of property or services by the federal government.

Title IV: Modification of Calculation of Modified Adjusted Gross Income for Determining Certain Healthcare Program Eligibility - (Sec. 401) Amends the Internal Revenue Code to include social security benefits that are excluded from gross income in the calculation of modified adjusted gross income for purposes of determining eligibility for the tax credit for coverage under a qualified health plan.

Requires the Secretary of the Treasury, annually, to estimate the impact of the modification to adjusted gross income made by this title on the income and balances of the social security trust funds and, not less frequently than quarterly, to transfer from the general fund an amount sufficient to prevent any reduction in the income and balances of such trust funds.

Title V: Budgetary Effects - (Sec. 501) Provides for compliance of the budgetary effects of this Act with the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010.