Text: H.R.512 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

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Referred in Senate (02/14/2017)


115th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. R. 512


IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

February 14, 2017

Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs


AN ACT

To amend title 38, United States Code, to permit veterans to grant access to their records in the databases of the Veterans Benefits Administration to certain designated congressional employees, 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.

This Act may be cited as the “Working to Integrate Networks Guaranteeing Member Access Now Act” or the “WINGMAN Act”.

SEC. 2. Provision of access to case-tracking information.

(a) In general.—Chapter 59 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

§ 5906. Access of certain congressional employees to veteran records

“(a) In general.— (1) The Secretary shall provide to each veteran who submits a claim for benefits under the laws administered by the Secretary an opportunity to permit a covered congressional employee employed in the office of the Member of Congress representing the district where the veteran resides to have access to all of the records of the veteran in the databases of the Veterans Benefits Administration.

“(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, upon receipt of the permission from the veteran under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall provide read-only access to such records to such a covered congressional employee in a manner that does not allow such employee to modify the data contained in such records or in any part of a database of the Veterans Benefits Administration.

“(3) A Member of Congress may designate not more than two employees of the Member as covered congressional employees.

“(b) Requirements.—The Secretary may not impose any requirement other than the requirements specified under subsection (e)(1) before treating an employee as a covered congressional employee for purposes of this section.

“(c) Nonrecognition.—A covered congressional employee may not be recognized as an agent or attorney under this chapter.

“(d) Limitation on use of funds.—None of the amounts made available to carry out this section may be used to design, develop, or administer any training for purposes of providing training to covered congressional employees.

“(e) Definitions.—In this section:

“(1) The term ‘covered congressional employee’ means a permanent, full-time employee of a Member of Congress—

“(A) whose responsibilities include assisting the constituents of the Member with issues regarding departments or agencies of the Federal Government;

“(B) who satisfies the criteria required by the Secretary for recognition as an agent or attorney under this chapter; and

“(C) who is designated by the Member of Congress as a covered congressional employee for purposes of this section.

“(2) The term ‘database of the Veterans Benefits Administration’ means any database of the Veterans Benefits Administration in which the records of veterans relating to claims for benefits under the laws administered by the Secretary are retained, including information regarding medical records, compensation and pension exams records, rating decisions, statements of the case, supplementary statements of the case, notices of disagreement, Form–9, and any successor form.

“(3) The term ‘Member of Congress’ means a Representative, a Senator, a Delegate to Congress, or the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico.”.

(b) Clerical amendment.—The table of sections at the beginning of such chapter is amended by adding at the end the following new item:


“5906. Access of certain congressional employees to veteran records.”.

(c) No authorization of appropriations.—No additional funds are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section or the amendments made by this section. This section and such amendments may only be carried out using amounts otherwise authorized to be appropriated, of which, during the period of fiscal years 2018 through 2021, not more than $10,000,000 may be obligated or expended for such purpose.

Passed the House of Representatives February 13, 2017.

    Attest: karen l. haas,   
    Clerk.