Text: S.3777 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 115-422 (01/03/2019)

 
[115th Congress Public Law 422]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]



[[Page 5449]]

         FOREVER GI BILL HOUSING PAYMENT FULFILLMENT ACT OF 2018

[[Page 132 STAT. 5450]]

Public Law 115-422
115th Congress

                                 An Act


 
 To require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish a tiger team 
 dedicated to addressing the difficulties encountered by the Department 
  of Veterans Affairs in carrying out section 3313 of title 38, United 
States Code, after the enactment of sections 107 and 501 of the Harry W. 
  Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017. <<NOTE: Jan. 3, 
                          2019 -  [S. 3777]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: Forever GI Bill 
Housing Payment Fulfillment Act of 2018.>> 
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Forever GI Bill Housing Payment 
Fulfillment Act of 2018''.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND SENSE OF CONGRESS.

    (a) Findings.--Congress finds the following:
            (1) On August 16, 2017, the Harry W. Colmery Veterans 
        Educational Assistance Act of 2017 (Public Law 115-48) (known by 
        some as the ``Forever GI Bill'') was enacted into law.
            (2) Such Act makes certain improvements to the Post-9/11 
        Educational Assistance program for veterans, including 
        improvements relating to how the Secretary of Veterans Affairs 
        calculates the amount of payments for monthly housing stipends 
        under that program.
            (3) Section 107 of such Act (Public Law 115-48; 33 U.S.C. 
        3313 note) requires the Secretary to calculate the amount of 
        payments for monthly housing stipends based on the location of 
        the campus of the institution of higher learning where the 
        individual attends classes, a change from the previous direction 
        to make such calculation based on the location of the 
        institution of higher learning.
            (4) Section 501 of such Act (Public Law 115-48; 37 U.S.C. 
        403 note) repeals the inapplicability of a modification of the 
        basic allowance for housing for members of the uniformed 
        services to benefits administered by the Department of Veterans 
        Affairs.
            (5) The amendments made by section 107 and 501 of such Act 
        became effective on August 1, 2018, and January 1, 2018, 
        respectively.
            (6) Representatives of the Department of Veterans Affairs 
        have stated that the Department will not be able to determine 
        proper payment amounts based on the amendment made by section 
        107 of such Act until December 1, 2019.
            (7) Representatives of the Department have also stated that 
        outdated information technology systems have stymied efforts to 
        update necessary information that enable proper

[[Page 132 STAT. 5451]]

        housing payments as required by the provisions of law amended by 
        sections 107 and 501 of such Act.

    (b) Sense of Congress.--It is the sense of Congress that--
            (1) as soon as possible, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs 
        should end the making of improper payment amounts for monthly 
        stipends under section 3313 of title 38, United States Code;
            (2) by January 1, 2020, the Secretary should make whole the 
        individuals entitled to payments of monthly stipends under 
        section 3313 of title 38, United States Code, who have been 
        underpaid as a result of the difficulties encountered by the 
        Department of Veterans Affairs in carrying out such section 
        after the enactment of sections 107 and 501 of the Harry W. 
        Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 (Public Law 
        115-48); and
            (3) no individuals entitled to payments of monthly stipend 
        under section 3313 of title 38, United States Code, who have 
        been overpaid as a result of the difficulties encountered by the 
        Department in carrying out such section after the enactment of 
        sections 107 and 501 of such Act should have overpayments 
        recuperated by the Department.
SEC. 3. TIGER TEAM FOR HOUSING STIPENDS.

    (a) <<NOTE: Deadline.>>  Establishment.--Not later than one day 
after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans 
Affairs shall establish a tiger team (in this section referred to as the 
``Tiger Team'') dedicated to addressing the difficulties encountered by 
the Department of Veterans Affairs in carrying out section 3313 of title 
38, United States Code, after the enactment of sections 107 and 501 of 
the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 (Public 
Law 115-48; 38 U.S.C. 3313 note and 37 U.S.C. 403 note).

    (b) <<NOTE: Deadline.>>  Composition.--Not later than 15 days after 
the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to 
Congress the names and titles of the employees of the Department who 
compose the Tiger Team established under subsection (a), including the 
name and title of the senior-level employee of the Department who serves 
as the lead accountable official of the Tiger Team.

    (c) Duties.--
            (1) <<NOTE: Deadline.>>  Submission to congress.--Not later 
        than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the 
        Tiger Team shall submit to Congress the following:
                    (A) <<NOTE: Plan.>>  A plan describing the 
                following:
                          (i) How the Secretary will obtain the 
                      information necessary to determine the correct 
                      payment amounts for monthly stipends under section 
                      3313 of title 38, United States Code, made after 
                      the enactment of sections 107 and 501 of the Harry 
                      W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 
                      2017 (Public Law 115-48; 38 U.S.C. 3313 note and 
                      37 U.S.C. 403 note), from officials responsible 
                      for the certification of payments of monthly 
                      stipends made under section 3313 of such title.
                          (ii) How the Secretary will modify the 
                      relevant information technology systems of the 
                      Department to correct the payment amounts for 
                      monthly stipends

[[Page 132 STAT. 5452]]

                      under section 3313 of such title made after the 
                      enactment of sections 107 and 501 of such Act 
                      (Public Law 115-48; 38 U.S.C. 3313 note and 37 
                      U.S.C. 403 note) that were deficient.
                          (iii) How the Secretary will identify all of 
                      the individuals who received payments of monthly 
                      stipends under section 3313 of such title that 
                      were not in compliance with such section, after 
                      the enactment of sections 107 and 501 of such Act 
                      (Public Law 115-48; 38 U.S.C. 3313 note and 37 
                      U.S.C. 403 note).
                          (iv) How the Secretary will notify the 
                      individuals described in clause (iii).
                          (v) The procedures the Secretary will use to 
                      correct the payments of monthly stipends under 
                      section 3313 of such title that were deficient as 
                      a result of the difficulties encountered by the 
                      Department of Veterans Affairs in carrying out 
                      such section after the enactment of sections 107 
                      and 501 of such Act (Public Law 115-48; 38 U.S.C. 
                      3313 note and 37 U.S.C. 403 note).
                    (B) <<NOTE: Timeline.>>  A complete timeline for the 
                implementation of the plan described in subparagraph 
                (A).
                    (C) Any additional funding and personnel 
                requirements necessary to support the implementation of 
                the plan described in subparagraph (A), including any 
                such requirements as may be necessary for staffing 
                increases or relevant improvements to the information 
                technology infrastructure of the Department.
            (2) Implementation.--
                    (A) In general.--The Secretary shall implement the 
                plan submitted under paragraph (1)(A).
                    (B) <<NOTE: Deadlines.>>  Periodic updates.--Not 
                less frequently than once every 90 days after submission 
                of the items under paragraph (1), the Tiger Team shall 
                submit to Congress an update on the implementation of 
                the plan described in subparagraph (A) of such 
                paragraph.
            (3) Final report.--
                    (A) In general.--Not later than July 1, 2020, the 
                Tiger Team shall submit to the appropriate congressional 
                committees a final report on the activities and findings 
                of the Tiger Team.
                    (B) Contents.--The report required by subparagraph 
                (A) shall include the following:
                          (i) The number of individuals who were 
                      affected by payments of monthly stipends under 
                      section 3313 of title 38, United States Code, that 
                      were not in compliance with such section after the 
                      enactment of sections 107 and 501 of the Harry W. 
                      Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 
                      2017 (Public Law 115-48; 38 U.S.C. 3313 note and 
                      37 U.S.C. 403 note).
                          (ii) The number of individuals described in 
                      clause (i) who received deficient payments as a 
                      result of the difficulties encountered by the 
                      Department in carrying out section 3313 of such 
                      title after the enactment of sections 107 and 501 
                      of such Act (Public Law 115-48; 38 U.S.C. 3313 
                      note and 37 U.S.C. 403 note), and the total amount 
                      of the deficiency for each individual, 
                      disaggregated by State.

[[Page 132 STAT. 5453]]

                          (iii) The number of individuals described in 
                      clause (ii) who have not received the amount of 
                      monthly stipend to which such individuals are 
                      entitled under section 3313 of such title and an 
                      explanation of why such individuals have not 
                      received such amounts.
                          (iv) <<NOTE: Certification.>>  A certification 
                      of whether the Department is fully compliant with 
                      sections 107 and 501 of such Act (Public Law 115-
                      48; 38 U.S.C. 3313 note and 37 U.S.C. 403 note).
                    (C) Appropriate congressional committees defined.--
                In this paragraph, the term ``appropriate congressional 
                committees'' means the following:
                          (i) The Subcommittee on Military Construction 
                      and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies of the 
                      Committee on Appropriations and the Committee on 
                      Veterans' Affairs of the Senate.
                          (ii) The Subcommittee on Military Construction 
                      and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies of the 
                      Committee on Appropriations and the Committee on 
                      Veterans' Affairs of the House of Representatives.

    (d) Termination.--On the date that is 60 days after the date on 
which the Tiger Team submits the final report required by subsection 
(c)(3), the Secretary shall terminate the Tiger Team established under 
subsection (a).

    Approved January 3, 2019.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--S. 3777:
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CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 164 (2018):
            Dec. 18, considered and passed Senate.
            Dec. 20, considered and passed House.

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