Text: H.R.7111 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (06/04/2020)

 
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[H.R. 7111 Introduced in House (IH)]

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116th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 7111

 To direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out a retraining 
  assistance program for unemployed veterans, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                              June 4, 2020

 Mr. David P. Roe of Tennessee (for himself, Mr. Bilirakis, Mr. Banks, 
  Mrs. Radewagen, Mr. Bost, Mr. Dunn, Mr. Wenstrup, Mr. Bergman, Mr. 
     Arrington, Mr. Levin of California, Mr. Barr, and Mr. Meuser) 
 introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on 
Veterans' Affairs, and in addition to the Committee on Ways and Means, 
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

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
 To direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out a retraining 
  assistance program for unemployed veterans, 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 ``Veterans Economic Recovery Act of 
2020''.

SEC. 2. COVID-19 VETERAN RAPID RETRAINING ASSISTANCE PROGRAM.

    (a) In General.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall carry out 
a program under which the Secretary shall provide up to 12 months of 
retraining assistance to an eligible veteran for the pursuit of a 
covered program of education. Such retraining assistance shall be in 
addition to any other entitlement to educational assistance or benefits 
for which a veteran is, or has been, eligible.
    (b) Eligible Veterans.--
            (1) In general.--For purposes of this section, the term 
        ``eligible veteran'' means a veteran who--
                    (A) as of the date of the submittal of the 
                application for assistance under this section, is at 
                least 25 years of age but not more than 60 years of 
                age;
                    (B) as of the date of the submittal of the 
                application for assistance under this section, is 
                unemployed by reason of the covered public health 
                emergency, as certified by the veteran;
                    (C) as of the date of the submittal of the 
                application for assistance under this section, is not 
                eligible to receive educational assistance under 
                chapter 30, 31, 32, 33, or 35 of title 38, United 
                States Code, or chapter 1606 or 1607 of title 10, 
                United States Code;
                    (D) is not enrolled in any Federal or State jobs 
                program;
                    (E) is not in receipt of compensation for a 
                service-connected disability rated totally disabling by 
                reason of unemployability; and
                    (F) will not be in receipt of unemployment 
                compensation (as defined in section 85(b) of the 
                Internal Revenue Code of 1986), including any cash 
                benefit received pursuant to subtitle A of title II of 
                division A of the Cares Act (Public Law 116-136), as of 
                the first day on which the veteran would pursue a 
                program of education using retraining assistance under 
                this section.
            (2) Treatment of veterans who transfer entitlement.--For 
        purposes of paragraph (1)(C), a veteran who has transferred all 
        of the veteran's entitlement to educational assistance under 
        section 3319 of title 38, United States Code, shall be 
        considered to be a veteran who is not eligible to receive 
        educational assistance under chapter 33 of such title.
            (3) Failure to complete.--A veteran who receives retraining 
        assistance under this section to pursue a program of education 
        and who fails to complete the program of education shall not be 
        eligible to receive additional assistance under this section.
    (c) Covered Programs of Education.--
            (1) In general.--Each eligible veteran who receives 
        retraining assistance under this section may only use such 
        assistance to pursue a program of education (as such term is 
        defined in section 3452(b) of title 38, United States Code) for 
        training, on a full-time or part-time basis, that--
                    (A) that--
                            (i) is approved under chapter 36 of such 
                        title;
                            (ii) does not lead to a bachelors or 
                        graduate degree; and
                            (iii) is designed to provide training for a 
                        high-demand occupation, as determined under 
                        paragraph (2); or
                    (B) is a high technology programs of education 
                offered by a qualified provider, under the meaning of 
                such terms in section 116 of the Harry W. Colmery 
                Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 (Public Law 
                115-48; 38 U.S.C. 3001 note).
            (2) Accredited programs.--In the case of an accredited 
        program of education, the program of education shall not be 
        considered a covered program of education under this section if 
        the program has received a show cause order from the accreditor 
        of the program during the five-year period preceding the date 
        of the enactment of this Act.
            (3) Determination of high-demand occupations.--
                    (A) Initial implementation.--In carrying out this 
                section, the Secretary shall use the list of high-
                demand occupations compiled by the Commissioner of 
                Labor Statistics until the final list under 
                subparagraph (C) is complete.
                    (B) Study required.--The Secretary of Veterans 
                Affairs shall enter into an agreement with a federally 
                funded research and development corporation or another 
                appropriate non-Department entity for the conduct of a 
                study to determine which occupations are high-demand 
                occupations. Such study shall be completed not later 
                than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this 
                Act.
                    (C) Final list.--The Secretary--
                            (i) may add or remove occupation from the 
                        list in use pursuant to subparagraph (A) during 
                        the 60-day period following the completion of 
                        the study required by subparagraph (B);
                            (ii) shall issue a final list of high-
                        demand occupations for use under this section 
                        by not later than 60 days after the date of the 
                        completion of the study; and
                            (iii) shall make such final list publicly 
                        available on a website of the Department.
                    (D) Use of list.--The Secretary shall use the list 
                developed under this paragraph in order to apply the 
                requirement that retraining assistance under this 
                section is used for training for a high-demand 
                occupation, but the Secretary may remove occupations 
                from the list as the Secretary determines appropriate.
    (d) Amount of Assistance.--
            (1) Retraining assistance.--The Secretary of Veterans 
        Affairs shall provide to an eligible veteran pursuing a covered 
        program of education under the retraining assistance program 
        under this section an amount equal to the amount of educational 
        assistance payable under section 3313(c)(1)(A) for each month 
        the veteran pursues the covered program of education. Such 
        amount shall be payable directly to the educational institution 
        offering the covered program of education pursued by the 
        veteran as follows:
                    (A) 50 percent of the total amount payable shall be 
                paid when the eligible veteran begins the program of 
                education.
                    (B) 25 percent of the total amount payable shall be 
                paid when the eligible veteran completes the program of 
                education.
                    (C) 25 percent of the total amount payable shall be 
                paid when the eligible veteran finds employment in a 
                field related to the program of education.
            (2) Failure to complete.--In the case of a veteran who 
        pursues a covered program of education under the retraining 
        assistance program under this section, but who does not 
        complete the program of education, the Secretary shall pay to 
        the educational institution offering such program of education 
        a pro-rated amount based on the number of months the veteran 
        pursued the program of education--
                    (A) under paragraph (1)(B), which shall be payable 
                when the veteran provides notice to the educational 
                institution that the veteran no longer intends to 
                pursue the program of education; and
                    (B) under paragraph (1)(C), which shall by payable 
                only if the veteran finds employment in a field related 
                to the program of education during the 180-day period 
                beginning on the date on which the veteran withdraws 
                from the program of education.
            (3) Housing stipend.--For each month that an eligible 
        veteran pursues a covered program of education under the 
        retraining assistance program under this section, the Secretary 
        shall pay to the veteran a monthly housing stipend in an amount 
        equal to--
                    (A) in the case of a covered program of education 
                leading to a degree at an institution of higher 
                learning (as that term is defined in section 3452(f) of 
                title 38, United States Code) pursued on more than a 
                half-time basis, the amount specified under subsection 
                (c)(1)(B) of section 3313 of title 38, United States 
                Code;
                    (B) in the case of a covered program of education 
                other than a program of education leading to a degree 
                at an institution other than an institution of higher 
                learning pursued on more than a half-time basis, the 
                amount specified under subsection (g)(3)(A)(ii) of such 
                section;
                    (C) in the case of a covered program of education 
                pursued on less than a half-time basis, the amount 
                specified under subsection (f)(2)(A)(ii) of such 
                section; or
                    (D) in the case of a covered program of education 
                pursued solely through distance learning on more than a 
                half-time basis, the amount specified under subsection 
                (c)(1)(B)(iii) of such section.
            (4) Failure to find employment.--The Secretary shall not 
        make a payment under paragraph (1)(C) with respect to an 
        eligible veteran who completes or fails to completes a program 
        of education under the retraining assistance program under this 
        section if the veteran fails to find employment in a field 
        related to the program of education within the 180-period 
        beginning on the date on which the veteran withdraws from or 
        completes the program.
    (e) No Transferability.--Retraining assistance provided under this 
section may not be transferred to another individual.
    (f) Employment Assistance.--
            (1) In general.--The Secretary of Labor shall contact each 
        veteran who pursues a covered program of education under this 
        section--
                    (A) not later than 30 days after the date on which 
                the veteran begins the program of education to notify 
                the veteran of the availability of employment placement 
                services upon completion of the program; and
                    (B) not later than 14 days after the date on which 
                the veteran completes, or terminates participation in, 
                such program to facilitate the provision of employment 
                placement services to such veteran.
            (2) Provision of information.--The Secretary of Veterans 
        Affairs shall provide to the Secretary of Labor such 
        information as may be necessary to carry out paragraph (1).
    (g) Nonprofit Organization.--
            (1) In general.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs may 
        enter into a memorandum of understanding with one or more 
        qualified nonprofit organizations for the purpose of 
        facilitating the employment of veterans who participate in the 
        retraining assistance program under this section.
            (2) Qualified nonprofit organization.--For purposes of this 
        subsection, a qualified nonprofit organization is a nonprofit 
        organization that--
                    (A) is an association of businesses; and
                    (B) has at least two years of experience providing 
                job placement services for veterans.
    (h) Follow-Up Outreach.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs, in 
coordination with the Secretary of Labor shall contact each veteran who 
completes a covered program of education under the retraining 
assistance program under this section 30, 60, 90, and 180 days after 
the veteran completes such program of education to ask the veteran 
about the experience of the veteran in the retraining assistance 
program and the veteran's employment status.
    (i) Time Frame for Participation.--An eligible veteran who 
participates in the retraining assistance program under this section 
shall--
            (1) begin a program of education by not later than 150 days 
        after the date of the enactment of this Act; and
            (2) complete such program of education by not later than 17 
        months after the date of the enactment of this Act.
    (j) Limitation.--Not more than 35,000 eligible veterans may receive 
retraining assistance under this section.
    (k) Termination.--No retraining assistance may be paid under this 
section after the date that is 17 months after the date of the 
enactment of this Act.
    (l) GAO Report.--Not later than 180 days after the termination of 
the retraining assistance program under subsection (k), the Comptroller 
General shall submit to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the 
Senate and House of Representatives a report on the outcomes and 
effectiveness of the program.
    (m) Definitions.--In this section:
            (1) The term ``covered public health emergency'' means the 
        declaration--
                    (A) of a public health emergency, based on an 
                outbreak of COVID-19 by the Secretary of Health and 
                Human Services under section 319 of the Public Health 
                Service Act (42 U.S.C. 247d); or
                    (B) of a domestic emergency, based on an outbreak 
                of COVID-19 by the President, the Secretary of Homeland 
                Security, or State, or local authority.
            (2) The term ``veteran'' means--
                    (A) a person who served in the active military, 
                naval, or air service, and who was discharged or 
                released therefrom under conditions other than 
                dishonorable; or
                    (B) a member of a reserve component of the Armed 
                Forces who serves on active duty pursuant to section 
                502(f) of title 32, United States Code, for a period of 
                30 days or longer by reason of the covered public 
                health emergency.
    (n) Funding.--
            (1) In general.--For each fiscal year for which the 
        Secretary provides retraining assistance under this section, 
        such sums as may be necessary shall be made available for such 
        assistance from funds appropriated to, or otherwise made 
        available to, the Department for the payment of readjustment 
        benefits.
            (2) Administrative costs.--There is authorized to be 
        appropriated to the Secretary $10,000,000 for administrative 
        costs associated with carrying out this section.

SEC. 3. ACCESS FOR THE SECRETARIES OF LABOR AND VETERANS AFFAIRS TO THE 
              FEDERAL DIRECTORY OF NEW HIRES.

    Section 453A(h) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 653a(h)) is 
amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
            ``(4) Veteran employment.--The Secretaries of Labor and of 
        Veterans Affairs shall have access to information reported by 
        employers pursuant to subsection (b) of this section for 
        purposes of tracking employment of veterans.''.

SEC. 4. EXPANSION OF ELIGIBLE CLASS OF PROVIDERS OF HIGH TECHNOLOGY 
              PROGRAMS OF EDUCATION FOR VETERANS.

    Section 116 of the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance 
Act of 2017 (Public Law 115-48; 38 U.S.C. 3001 note) is amended--
            (1) in subsection (b), by adding at the end the following: 
        ``The Secretary shall treat an individual as an eligible 
        veteran if the Secretary determines that the individual shall 
        become an eligible veteran fewer than 180 days after the date 
        of such determination.'';
            (2) in subsection (c)--
                    (A) in paragraph (3)(A), by striking ``has been 
                operational for at least 2 years'' and inserting 
                ``employs instructors whom the Secretary determines are 
                experts in their respective fields in accordance with 
                paragraph (6)''; and
                    (B) by adding at the end the following new 
                paragraph:
            ``(6) Experts.--The Secretary shall determine whether 
        instructors are experts under paragraph (3)(A) based on 
        evidence furnished to the Secretary by the provider regarding 
        the ability of the instructors to--
                    ``(A) identify professions in need of new employees 
                to hire, tailor the programs to meet market needs, and 
                identify the employers likely to hire graduates;
                    ``(B) effectively teach the skills offered to 
                eligible veterans;
                    ``(C) provide relevant industry experience in the 
                fields of programs offered to incoming eligible 
                veterans; and
                    ``(D) demonstrate relevant industry experience in 
                such fields of programs.'';
            (3) in subsection (d), in the matter preceding paragraph 
        (1), by inserting ``(not including an individual described in 
        the second sentence of subsection (b))'' after ``each eligible 
        veteran'';
            (4) in subsection (e), in the matter preceding paragraph 
        (1), by inserting ``, including a part-time program shorter 
        than six months in duration,'' after ``means a program of 
        education'';
            (5) in subsection (g), by striking ``$15,000,000'' and 
        inserting ``$45,000,000''; and
            (6) by adding at the end the following new subsection (i):
    ``(i) Prohibition on Certain Accounting of Assistance.--The 
Secretary may not consider enrollment in a high technology program of 
education under this section to be assistance under a provision of law 
referred to in section 3695 of title 38, United States Code.''.

SEC. 5. PILOT PROGRAM FOR OFF-BASE TRANSITION TRAINING FOR VETERANS AND 
              SPOUSES.

    (a) Extension of Pilot Program.--Subsection (a) of section 301 of 
the Dignified Burial and Other Veterans' Benefits Improvement Act of 
2012 (Public Law 112-260; 10 U.S.C. 1144 note) is amended--
            (1) by striking ``During the two-year period beginning on 
        the date of the enactment of this Act'' and inserting ``During 
        the 5-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of the 
        Veterans Economic Recovery Act of 2020''; and
            (2) by striking ``to assess the feasibility and 
        advisability of providing such program to eligible individuals 
        at locations other than military installations''.
    (b) Locations.--Subsection (c) of such section is amended--
            (1) in paragraph (1), by striking ``not less than three and 
        not more than five States'' and inserting ``not fewer than 50 
        locations in States (as defined in section 101 of title 38, 
        United States Code)'';
            (2) in paragraph (2), by striking ``at least two'' and 
        inserting ``at least 20''; and
            (3) by adding at the end the following new paragraphs:
            ``(5) Preferences.--In selecting States for participation 
        in the pilot program, the Secretary shall provide a preference 
        for any State with--
                    ``(A) a high rate of usage of unemployment benefits 
                for recently separated members of the Armed Forces; or
                    ``(B) a labor force or economy that has been 
                significantly impacted by the covered public health 
                emergency.
            ``(6) Covered public health emergency.--In this subsection, 
        the term `covered public health emergency' means the 
        declaration--
                    ``(A) of a public health emergency, based on an 
                outbreak of COVID-19 by the Secretary of Health and 
                Human Services under section 319 of the Public Health 
                Service Act (42 U.S.C. 247d); or
                    ``(B) of a domestic emergency, based on an outbreak 
                of COVID-19 by the President, the Secretary of Homeland 
                Security, or State, or local authority.''.
    (c) Annual Report.--Subsection (e) of such section is amended by 
adding at the end the following new sentence: ``Each such report shall 
include information about the employment outcomes of the eligible 
individuals who received such training during the year covered by the 
report.''.
    (d) Conforming Repeal.--Subsection (f) of such section is repealed.

SEC. 6. GRANTS FOR PROVISION OF TRANSITION ASSISTANCE TO MEMBERS OF THE 
              ARMED FORCES AFTER SEPARATION, RETIREMENT, OR DISCHARGE.

    (a) In General.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall make 
grants to eligible organizations for the provision of transition 
assistance to members of the Armed Forces who are separated, retired, 
or discharged from the Armed Forces, and spouses of such members.
    (b) Use of Funds.--The recipient of a grant under this section 
shall use the grant to provide to members of the Armed Forces and 
spouses described in subsection (a) resume assistance, interview 
training, job recruitment training, and related services leading 
directly to successful transition, as determined by the Secretary.
    (c) Eligible Organizations.--To be eligible for a grant under this 
section, an organization shall submit to the Secretary an application 
containing such information and assurances as the Secretary, in 
consultation with the Secretary of Labor, may require.
    (d) Priority.--In making grants under this section, the Secretary 
shall give priority to an organization that--
            (1) provides multiple forms of services described in 
        subsection (b); or
            (2) is located in a State with--
                    (A) a high rate of veteran unemployment;
                    (B) a high rate of usage of unemployment benefits 
                for recently separated members of the Armed Forces; or
                    (C) a labor force or economy that has been 
                significantly impacted by the covered public health 
                emergency (as such term is defined in section 2(m)(2)).
    (e) Amount of Grant.--A grant under this section shall be in an 
amount that does not exceed 50 percent of the amount required by the 
organization to provide the services described in subsection (b).
    (f) Deadline.--The Secretary shall carry out this section not later 
than six months after the effective date of this Act.
    (g) Termination.--The authority to provide a grant under this 
section shall terminate on the date that is five years after the date 
on which the Secretary implements the grant program under this section.
    (h) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized to be 
appropriated $10,000,000 to carry out this section.
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