Text: S.319 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (02/06/2017)

 
[Congressional Bills 115th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[S. 319 Introduced in Senate (IS)]

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115th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                 S. 319

   To amend title 38, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of 
Veterans Affairs to establish within the Department of Veterans Affairs 
   a center of excellence in the prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, 
treatment, and rehabilitation of health conditions relating to exposure 
                             to burn pits.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                            February 6, 2017

  Ms. Klobuchar (for herself, Mr. Tillis, Mr. Booker, Mr. Rounds, Mr. 
 Franken, Ms. Baldwin, Mrs. Gillibrand, and Mr. Brown) introduced the 
 following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on 
                           Veterans' Affairs

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
   To amend title 38, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of 
Veterans Affairs to establish within the Department of Veterans Affairs 
   a center of excellence in the prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, 
treatment, and rehabilitation of health conditions relating to exposure 
                             to burn pits.

    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 ``Helping Veterans Exposed to Burn 
Pits Act''.

SEC. 2. ESTABLISHMENT OF CENTER OF EXCELLENCE IN PREVENTION, DIAGNOSIS, 
              MITIGATION, TREATMENT, AND REHABILITATION OF HEALTH 
              CONDITIONS RELATING TO EXPOSURE TO BURN PITS AND OTHER 
              ENVIRONMENTAL EXPOSURES.

    (a) In General.--Subchapter II of chapter 73 of title 38, United 
States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section:
``Sec. 7330C. Center of excellence in prevention, diagnosis, 
              mitigation, treatment, and rehabilitation of health 
              conditions relating to exposure to burn pits and other 
              environmental exposures
    ``(a) Establishment.--(1) The Secretary shall establish within the 
Department a center of excellence in the prevention, diagnosis, 
mitigation, treatment, and rehabilitation of health conditions relating 
to exposure to burn pits and other environmental exposures to carry out 
the responsibilities specified in subsection (d).
    ``(2) The Secretary shall establish the center of excellence under 
paragraph (1) through the use of--
            ``(A) the directives and policies of the Department in 
        effect as of the date of the enactment of the Helping Veterans 
        Exposed to Burn Pits Act;
            ``(B) the recommendations of the Comptroller General of the 
        United States and Inspector General of the Department in effect 
        as of such date; and
            ``(C) guidance issued by the Secretary of Defense under 
        section 313 of the National Defense Authorization Act for 
        Fiscal Year 2013 (Public Law 112-239; 10 U.S.C. 1074 note).
    ``(b) Selection of Site.--In selecting the site for the center of 
excellence established under subsection (a), the Secretary shall 
consider entities that--
            ``(1) are equipped with the specialized equipment needed to 
        study, diagnose, and treat health conditions relating to 
        exposure to burn pits and other environmental exposures;
            ``(2) have a track record of publishing information 
        relating to post-deployment health exposures among veterans who 
        served in the Armed Forces in support of Operation Iraqi 
        Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom;
            ``(3) have access to animal models and in vitro models of 
        dust immunology and lung injury consistent with the injuries of 
        members of the Armed Forces who served in support of Operation 
        Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom; and
            ``(4) have expertise in allergy, immunology, and pulmonary 
        diseases.
    ``(c) Collaboration.--The Secretary shall ensure that the center of 
excellence collaborates, to the maximum extent practicable, with the 
Secretary of Defense, institutions of higher education, and other 
appropriate public and private entities (including international 
entities) to carry out the responsibilities specified in subsection 
(d).
    ``(d) Responsibilities.--The center of excellence shall have the 
following responsibilities:
            ``(1) To provide for the development, testing, and 
        dissemination within the Department of best practices for the 
        treatment of health conditions relating to exposure to burn 
        pits and other environmental exposures.
            ``(2) To provide guidance for the health systems of the 
        Department and the Department of Defense in determining the 
        personnel required to provide quality health care for members 
        of the Armed Forces and veterans with health conditions 
        relating to exposure to burn pits and other environmental 
        exposures.
            ``(3) To establish, implement, and oversee a comprehensive 
        program to train health professionals of the Department and the 
        Department of Defense in the treatment of health conditions 
        relating to exposure to burn pits and other environmental 
        exposures.
            ``(4) To facilitate advancements in the study of the short-
        term and long-term effects of exposure to burn pits and other 
        environmental exposures.
            ``(5) To disseminate within medical facilities of the 
        Department best practices for training health professionals 
        with respect to health conditions relating to exposure to burn 
        pits and other environmental exposures.
            ``(6) To conduct basic science and translational research 
        on health conditions relating to exposure to burn pits and 
        other environmental exposures for the purposes of understanding 
        the etiology of such conditions and developing preventive 
        interventions and new treatments.
            ``(7) To provide medical treatment to veterans diagnosed 
        with medical conditions specific to exposure to burn pits and 
        other environmental exposures.
    ``(e) Use of Burn Pits Registry Data.--In carrying out its 
responsibilities under subsection (d), the center of excellence shall 
have access to and make use of the data accumulated by the burn pits 
registry established under section 201 of the Dignified Burial and 
Other Veterans' Benefits Improvement Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-260; 
38 U.S.C. 527 note).
    ``(f) Definitions.--In this section:
            ``(1) The term `burn pit' means an area of land located in 
        Afghanistan or Iraq that--
                    ``(A) is designated by the Secretary of Defense to 
                be used for disposing solid waste by burning in the 
                outdoor air; and
                    ``(B) does not contain a commercially manufactured 
                incinerator or other equipment specifically designed 
                and manufactured for the burning of solid waste.
            ``(2) The term `other environmental exposures' means 
        exposure to environmental hazards, including burn pits, dust or 
        sand, hazardous materials, and waste at any site in Afghanistan 
        or Iraq that emits smoke containing pollutants present in the 
        environment or smoke from fires or explosions.
    ``(g) Funding.--(1) There is authorized to be appropriated to carry 
out this section $4,100,000 for each of the first five fiscal years 
beginning after the date of the enactment of the Helping Veterans 
Exposed to Burn Pits Act.
    ``(2) The Secretary may award additional amounts on a competitive 
basis to the center of excellence from the medical and prosthetics 
research account of the Department for the purpose of conducting 
research under this section relating to clinical and scientific 
investigation.''.
    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the beginning of 
chapter 73 of such title is amended by inserting after the item 
relating to section 7330B the following new item:

``7330C. Center of excellence in prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, 
                            treatment, and rehabilitation of health 
                            conditions relating to exposure to burn 
                            pits and other environmental exposures.''.
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