Text: S.2407 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (07/31/2019)

 
[Congressional Bills 116th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[S. 2407 Introduced in Senate (IS)]

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116th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                S. 2407

 To amend title 38, United States Code, to provide criminal penalties 
  for individuals acting as agents or attorneys for the preparation, 
presentation, or prosecution of a claim under a law administered by the 
Secretary of Veterans Affairs without being recognized by the Secretary 
               for such purposes, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                             July 31, 2019

  Mr. Daines 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 provide criminal penalties 
  for individuals acting as agents or attorneys for the preparation, 
presentation, or prosecution of a claim under a law administered by the 
Secretary of Veterans Affairs without being recognized by the Secretary 
               for such purposes, 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. IMPROVEMENTS RELATING TO RECOGNITION BY SECRETARY OF 
              VETERANS AFFAIRS OF AGENTS AND ATTORNEYS TO REPRESENT 
              VETERANS.

    (a) Penalties for Representing Without Recognition by Secretary of 
Veterans Affairs.--
            (1) In general.--Section 5905 of title 38, United States 
        Code, is amended to read as follows:
``Sec. 5905. Penalty for certain acts
    ``Whoever commits any of the following acts shall be fined as 
provided in title 18, or imprisoned for not more than one year, or 
both:
            ``(1) Acts or tries to act as an agent or attorney for the 
        preparation, presentation, or prosecution of a claim under a 
        law administered by the Secretary--
                    ``(A) without recognition by the Secretary as an 
                agent or attorney under section 5904 of this title; or
                    ``(B) while suspended or excluded under subsection 
                (b) of such section.
            ``(2) The act of unlawfully withholding from any claimant 
        or beneficiary any part of a benefit or claim under the laws 
        administered by the Secretary that is allowed and due to the 
        claimant or beneficiary.''.
            (2) Effective date.--The amendment made by paragraph (1) 
        shall apply with respect to acts committed after the date that 
        is 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.
    (b) Renewal of Recognition.--Subsection (a) of section 5904 of such 
title is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
    ``(7)(A) Recognition under this section shall be for such period as 
the Secretary considers appropriate, but not for any period greater 
than five years.
    ``(B) The Secretary may, as the Secretary considers appropriate, 
renew a recognition of an individual under this section for a term 
specified pursuant to subparagraph (A) upon submittal to the Secretary 
by the individual of an application therefor.
    ``(C) Upon after receiving an application of an individual for 
renewal under subparagraph (B) and before renewing such recognition 
under such subparagraph, the Secretary shall review--
            ``(i) the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of 
        claims by the individual covered by this section; and
            ``(ii) any fee agreements of the individual for such 
        preparation, presentation, and prosecution that have been 
        disputed.''.
    (c) Notice Relating to Fees.--Subsection (c) of such section is 
amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
    ``(5)(A) An individual recognized under this section who enters 
into a fee agreement with a person to act as an agent or attorney for 
the person in a manner covered by this section shall notify the person 
of the person's rights under this subsection, especially with respect 
to the right to make a request under paragraph (3)(A).
    ``(B) Notification under this paragraph shall be both verbal and in 
writing, with the writing initialed or signed by the person to 
acknowledge that the person understands his or her rights under this 
subsection.''.
    (d) Biennial Reviews by General Counsel of the Department of 
Veterans Affairs.--Such section is amended by adding at the end the 
following new subsection:
    ``(e) Biennial Reviews by General Counsel.--(1) Not less frequently 
than once every two years, the General Counsel of the Department shall 
submit to Congress a report on activities under this section.
    ``(2) Each report submitted under subparagraph (A) shall include, 
for the period covered by the report, the following:
            ``(A) A discussion of the rates generally charged for 
        services covered by this section.
            ``(B) A discussion of the requests made by claimants under 
        subsection (c)(3)(A).
            ``(C) A discussion of the fees reduced under such 
        subsection.
            ``(D) The number of claims for benefits under laws 
        administered by the Secretary that were prepared, presented, or 
        prosecuted by an individual acting as an agent or attorney who 
        did so while not recognized under this section.''.
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