DEBORAH SAMPSON ACT; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 180
(House of Representatives - November 12, 2019)

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[Pages H8763-H8773]
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                          DEBORAH SAMPSON ACT

  Mr. TAKANO. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the 
bill (H.R. 3224) to amend title 38, United States Code, to provide for 
increased access to Department of Veterans Affairs medical care for 
women veterans, as amended.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                               H.R. 3224

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

       (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Deborah 
     Sampson Act''.
       (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act 
     is as follows:
Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

                TITLE I--VETERANS HEALTH ADMINISTRATION

Sec. 101. Office of Women's Health in the Department of Veterans 
              Affairs.
Sec. 102. Expansion of capabilities of women veterans call center to 
              include text messaging.
Sec. 103. Requirement for Department of Veterans Affairs internet 
              website to provide information on services available to 
              women veterans.
Sec. 104. Report on Women Veterans Retrofit Initiative.
Sec. 105. Establishment of environment of care standards and 
              inspections at Department of Veterans Affairs medical 
              centers.
Sec. 106. Additional funding for primary care and emergency care 
              clinicians in Women Veterans Health Care Mini-Residency 
              Program.
Sec. 107. Establishment of women veteran training module for non-
              Department of Veterans Affairs health care providers.

                         TITLE II--MEDICAL CARE

Sec. 201. Improved access to Department of Veterans Affairs medical 
              care for women veterans.
Sec. 202. Counseling and treatment for sexual trauma.
Sec. 203. Counseling in retreat settings for women veterans and other 
              individuals.
Sec. 204. Improvement of health care services provided to newborn 
              children by Department of Veterans Affairs.

                  TITLE III--REPORTS AND OTHER MATTERS

                          Subtitle A--Reports

Sec. 301. Assessment of effects of intimate partner violence on women 
              veterans by Advisory Committee on Women Veterans.
Sec. 302. Study on staffing of Women Veteran Program Manager program at 
              medical centers of the Department of Veterans Affairs and 
              training of staff.
Sec. 303. Report on availability of prosthetic items for women veterans 
              from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Sec. 304. Study of barriers for women veterans to health care from the 
              Department of Veterans Affairs.
Sec. 305. Report regarding veterans who receive benefits under laws 
              administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
Sec. 306. Study on Women Veteran Coordinator program.

                       Subtitle B--Other Matters

Sec. 321. Anti-harassment and anti-sexual assault policy of the 
              Department of Veterans Affairs.
Sec. 322. Support for organizations that have a focus on providing 
              assistance to women veterans and their families.
Sec. 323. Gap analysis of Department of Veterans Affairs programs that 
              provide assistance to women veterans who are homeless.
Sec. 324. Department of Veterans Affairs public-private partnership on 
              legal services for women veterans.
Sec. 325. Program to assist veterans who experience intimate partner 
              violence or sexual assault.
Sec. 326. Study and task force on veterans experiencing intimate 
              partner violence or sexual assault.

                TITLE I--VETERANS HEALTH ADMINISTRATION

     SEC. 101. OFFICE OF WOMEN'S HEALTH IN THE DEPARTMENT OF 
                   VETERANS AFFAIRS.

       (a) Director of Women's Health.--Subsection (a) of section 
     7306 of title 38, United States Code, is amended--
       (1) by redesignating paragraph (10) as paragraph (11); and
       (2) by inserting after paragraph (9) the following new 
     paragraph:
       ``(10) The Director of Women's Health.''.
       (b) Organization of Office.--
       (1) In general.--Subchapter I of chapter 73 of title 38, 
     United States Code, is amended by adding at the end of the 
     following new sections:

     ``Sec. 7310. Office of Women's Health

       ``(a) Establishment.--(1) The Under Secretary for Health 
     shall establish and operate in the Veterans Health 
     Administration the Office of Women's Health (hereinafter in 
     this section referred to as the `Office'). The Office shall 
     be located at the Central Office of the Department of 
     Veterans Affairs.
       ``(2) The head of the Office is the Director of Women's 
     Health (hereinafter in this section referred to as the 
     `Director'). The Director shall report to the Under Secretary 
     for Health.
       ``(3) The Under Secretary for Health shall provide the 
     Office with such staff and other support as may be necessary 
     for the Office to carry out effectively its functions under 
     this section.
       ``(4) The Under Secretary for Health may reorganize 
     existing offices within the Veterans Health Administration as 
     of the date of the enactment of this section in order to 
     avoid duplication with the functions of the Office.
       ``(b) Purpose.--The functions of the Office include the 
     following:
       ``(1) To provide a central office for monitoring and 
     encouraging the activities of the Veterans Health 
     Administration with respect to the provision, evaluation, and 
     improvement of women veterans' health care services in the 
     Department.
       ``(2) To develop and implement standards of care for the 
     provision of health care for women veterans in the 
     Department.
       ``(3) To monitor and identify deficiencies in standards of 
     care for the provision of health care for women veterans in 
     the Department, to provide technical assistance to medical 
     facilities of the Department to address and remedy 
     deficiencies, and to perform oversight of implementation of 
     standards of care for women veterans' health care in the 
     Department.
       ``(4) To monitor and identify deficiencies in standards of 
     care for the provision of health care for women veterans 
     provided through the community pursuant to this title, and to 
     provide recommendations to the appropriate office to address 
     and remedy any deficiencies.
       ``(5) To oversee distribution of resources and information 
     related to women veterans' health programming under this 
     title.
       ``(6) To promote the expansion and improvement of clinical, 
     research, and educational activities of the Veterans Health 
     Administration with respect the health care of women 
     veterans.
       ``(7) To provide, as part of the annual budgeting process, 
     recommendations with respect to the amount of funds to be 
     requested for furnishing hospital care and medical services 
     to women veterans pursuant to chapter 17 of this title, 
     including, at a minimum, recommendations that ensure that 
     such amount of funds either reflect or exceed the proportion 
     of veterans enrolled in the patient enrollment system under 
     section 1705 of this title who are women.
       ``(8) To provide recommendations to the Under Secretary for 
     Health with respect to modifying the Veterans Equitable 
     Resource Allocation system to ensure that resource 
     allocations under such system reflect the health care needs 
     of women veterans.
       ``(9) To carry out such other duties as the Under Secretary 
     for Health may require.
       ``(c) Recommendations.--If the Under Secretary for Health 
     determines not to implement any recommendation made by the 
     Director with respect to the allocation of resources to 
     address the health care needs of women veterans, the 
     Secretary shall notify the appropriate congressional 
     committees of such determination by not later than 30 days 
     after the date on which the Under Secretary for Health 
     receives the recommendation. Each such notification shall 
     include the following:
       ``(1) The reasoning of the Under Secretary for Health in 
     making such determination.
       ``(2) An alternative, if one is selected, to such 
     recommendation that the Under Secretary for Health will carry 
     out to fulfill the health care needs of women veterans.
       ``(d) Standards of Care.--In this section, the standards of 
     care for the provision of health care for women veterans in 
     the Department shall include, at a minimum, the following:
       ``(1) Requirement for--
       ``(A) at least one designated women's health primary care 
     provider at each medical center whose duties include, to the 
     extent practicable, providing training to other health care 
     providers of the Department with respect to the needs of 
     women veterans; and
       ``(B) at least one designated women's health primary care 
     provider at each community-based outpatient clinic of the 
     Department who may serve female patients as a percentage of 
     the total duties of the provider.
       ``(2) Other requirements as determined by the Under 
     Secretary for Health.
       ``(e) Outreach.--The Director shall ensure that--

[[Page H8764]]

       ``(1) not less frequently than biannually, each medical 
     facility of the Department holds a public forum for women 
     veterans that occurs outside of regular business hours; and
       ``(2) not less frequently than quarterly, each medical 
     facility of the Department convenes a focus group of women 
     veterans that includes a discussion of harassment occurring 
     at such facility.
       ``(f) Definitions.--In this section:
       ``(1) The term `appropriate congressional committees' has 
     the meaning given that term in section 7310A of this title.
       ``(2) The term `facility of the Department' has the meaning 
     given the term in section 1701(3).
       ``(3) The term `Veterans Equitable Resource Allocation 
     system' means the resource allocation system established 
     pursuant to section 429 of the Departments of Veterans 
     Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and Independent 
     Agencies Appropriations Act, 1997 (Public Law 104-204; 110 
     Stat. 2929).

     ``Sec. 7310A. Annual reports on women's Health

       ``(a) Annual Reports.--Not later than December 1 of each 
     year, the Director of Women's Health shall submit to the 
     appropriate congressional committees a report containing the 
     matters under subsections (b) through (g).
       ``(b) Office of Women's Health.--Each report under 
     subsection (a) shall include a description of--
       ``(1) actions taken by the Office of Women's Health in the 
     preceding fiscal year to improve the Department's provision 
     of health care to women veterans;
       ``(2) any identified deficiencies related to the 
     Department's provision of health care to women veterans and 
     the standards of care established in section 7310 of this 
     title, and the Department's plan to address such 
     deficiencies;
       ``(3) the funding and personnel provided to the Office and 
     whether additional funding or personnel are needed to meet 
     the requirements of such section; and
       ``(4) other information that would be of interest to the 
     appropriate congressional committees with respect to 
     oversight of the Department's provision of health care to 
     women veterans.
       ``(c) Access to Gender-specific Services.--Each report 
     under subsection (a) shall include an analysis of the access 
     of women veterans to gender-specific services under 
     contracts, agreements, or other arrangements with non-
     Department medical providers entered into by the Secretary 
     for the provision of hospital care or medical services to 
     veterans. Such analysis shall include data and performance 
     measures for the availability of gender specific services, 
     including--
       ``(1) the average wait time between the veteran's preferred 
     appointment date and the date on which the appointment is 
     completed;
       ``(2) the average driving time required for veterans to 
     attend appointments; and
       ``(3) reasons why appointments could not be scheduled with 
     non-Department medical providers.
       ``(d) Locations Where Women Veterans Are Using Health 
     Care.--Each report under subsection (a) shall include an 
     analysis of the use by women veterans of health care from the 
     Department, including the following information:
       ``(1) The number of women veterans who reside in each 
     State.
       ``(2) The number of women veterans in each State who are 
     enrolled in the system of patient enrollment of the 
     Department established and operated under section 1705(a) 
     this title.
       ``(3) Of the women veterans who are so enrolled, the number 
     who have received health care under the laws administered by 
     the Secretary at least one time during the one-year period 
     preceding the submittal of the report.
       ``(4) The number of women veterans who have been seen at 
     each medical facility of the Department during such year.
       ``(5) The number of appointments that women veterans have 
     had at each such facility during such year.
       ``(6) If known, an identification of the medical facility 
     of the Department in each Veterans Integrated Service Network 
     with the largest rate of increase in patient population of 
     women veterans as measured by the increase in unique women 
     veteran patient use.
       ``(7) If known, an identification of the medical facility 
     of the Department in each Veterans Integrated Service Network 
     with the largest rate of decrease in patient population of 
     women veterans as measured by the decrease in unique women 
     veterans patient use.
       ``(e) Models of Care.--Each report under subsection (a) 
     shall include an analysis of the use by the Department of 
     general primary care clinics, separate but shared spaces, and 
     women's health centers as models of providing health care to 
     women veterans. Such analysis shall include the following:
       ``(1) The number of facilities of the Department that fall 
     into each such model, disaggregated by Veterans Integrated 
     Service Network and State.
       ``(2) A description of the criteria used by the Department 
     to determine which such model is most appropriate for each 
     facility of the Department.
       ``(3) An assessment of how the Department decides to make 
     investments to modify facilities to a different model.
       ``(4) A description of what, if any, plans the Department 
     has to modify facilities from general primary care clinics to 
     another model.
       ``(5) An assessment of whether any facilities could be 
     modified to a separate but shared space for a women's health 
     center within planned investments under the strategic capital 
     investment planning process of the Department.
       ``(6) An assessment of whether any facilities could be 
     modified to a separate or shared space, or women's health 
     center with minor modifications to existing plans under the 
     strategic capital investment planning process of the 
     Department.
       ``(7) An assessment of whether the Department has a goal 
     for how many facilities should fall into each such model.
       ``(f) Staffing.--Each report under subsection (a) shall 
     include an analysis of the staffing of the Department 
     relating to the treatment of women, including the following, 
     disaggregated by Veterans Integrated Service Network and 
     State (except with respect to paragraph (4)):
       ``(1) The number of women's health centers.
       ``(2) The number of patient aligned care teams of the 
     Department relating to women's health.
       ``(3) The number of full- and part-time gynecologists of 
     the Department.
       ``(4) The number of designated women's health care 
     providers of the Department, disaggregated by facility of the 
     Department.
       ``(5) The number of health care providers of the Department 
     who have completed a mini-residency for women's health care 
     through Women Veterans Health Care Mini-Residency Program of 
     the Department during the one-year period preceding the 
     submittal of the report, and the number that plan to 
     participate in such a mini-residency during the one-year 
     period following such date.
       ``(6) The number of designated women's health care 
     providers of the Department who have sufficient female 
     patients to retain their competencies and proficiencies.
       ``(g) Accessibility and Treatment Options.--Each report 
     under subsection (a) shall include an analysis of the 
     accessibility and treatment options for women veterans, 
     including the following:
       ``(1) An assessment of wheelchair accessibility of women's 
     health centers of the Department, including, with respect to 
     each such facility, an assessment of such accessibility for 
     each kind of treatment provided at the center, including with 
     respect to radiology and mammography, that addresses all 
     relevant factors, including door sizes, hoists, and 
     equipment.
       ``(2) The options for women veterans to access female 
     mental health providers and primary care providers.
       ``(3) The options for women veterans at medical facilities 
     of the Department with respect to clothing sizes, including 
     for gowns, drawstring pants, and pajamas.
       ``(h) Definitions.--In this section:
       ``(1) The term `appropriate congressional committees' 
     means--
       ``(A) the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the House of 
     Representatives and the Senate; and
       ``(B) the Committees on Appropriations of the House of 
     Representatives and the Senate.
       ``(2) The term `gender-specific services' means 
     mammography, obstetric care, gynecological care, and such 
     other services as the Secretary determines appropriate.''.
       (2) Clerical amendment.--The table of sections for such 
     chapter is amended by inserting after the item relating to 
     section 7309A the following new items:

``7310. Office of Women's Health.
``7310A. Annual reports on women's Health.''.
       (c) Initial Report.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs 
     shall submit the initial report under section 7310A of title 
     38, United States Code, as added by subsection (b), by not 
     later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this 
     Act.

     SEC. 102. EXPANSION OF CAPABILITIES OF WOMEN VETERANS CALL 
                   CENTER TO INCLUDE TEXT MESSAGING.

       The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall expand the 
     capabilities of the Women Veterans Call Center of the 
     Department of Veterans Affairs to include a text messaging 
     capability.

     SEC. 103. REQUIREMENT FOR DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS 
                   INTERNET WEBSITE TO PROVIDE INFORMATION ON 
                   SERVICES AVAILABLE TO WOMEN VETERANS.

       (a) In General.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall 
     survey the internet websites and information resources of the 
     Department of Veterans Affairs in effect on the day before 
     the date of the enactment of this Act and publish an internet 
     website that serves as a centralized source for the provision 
     to women veterans of information about the benefits and 
     services available to them under laws administered by the 
     Secretary.
       (b) Elements.--The internet website published under 
     subsection (a) shall provide to women veterans information 
     regarding all of the services available in the district in 
     which the veteran is seeking such services, including, with 
     respect to each medical center and community-based outpatient 
     clinic in the applicable Veterans Integrated Service 
     Network--
       (1) the name and contact information of each women veterans 
     program manager;
       (2) a list of appropriate staff for other benefits 
     available from the Veterans Benefits Administration, the 
     National Cemetery Administration, and such other entities as 
     the Secretary considers appropriate; and

[[Page H8765]]

       (3) such other information as the Secretary considers 
     appropriate.
       (c) Updated Information.--The Secretary shall ensure that 
     the information described in subsection (b) that is published 
     on the internet website required by subsection (a) is updated 
     not less frequently than once every 90 days.
       (d) Outreach.--In carrying out this section, the Secretary 
     shall ensure that the outreach conducted under section 
     1720F(i) of title 38, United States Code, includes 
     information regarding the internet website required by 
     subsection (a).
       (e) Derivation of Funds.--Amounts used by the Secretary to 
     carry out this section shall be derived from amounts made 
     available to the Secretary to publish internet websites of 
     the Department.

     SEC. 104. REPORT ON WOMEN VETERANS RETROFIT INITIATIVE.

       (a) Report.--Not later than 180 days after the date of the 
     enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs 
     shall submit to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs and the 
     Committees on Appropriations of the Senate and the House of 
     Representatives a report on requirements to retrofit existing 
     medical facilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs with 
     fixtures, materials, and other outfitting measures to support 
     the provision of care to women veterans at such facilities.
       (b) Elements.--The report under subsection (a) shall 
     include the following:
       (1) An assessment of how the Secretary prioritizes 
     retrofitting existing medical facilities to support provision 
     of care to women veterans in comparison to other 
     requirements.
       (2) A five-year plan for retrofitting medical facilities of 
     the Department to support the provision of care to women 
     veterans.

     SEC. 105. ESTABLISHMENT OF ENVIRONMENT OF CARE STANDARDS AND 
                   INSPECTIONS AT DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS 
                   MEDICAL CENTERS.

       (a) In General.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall 
     establish a policy under which the environment of care 
     standards and inspections at medical centers of the 
     Department of Veterans Affairs include--
       (1) an alignment of the requirements for such standards and 
     inspections with the women's health handbook of the Veterans 
     Health Administration;
       (2) a requirement for the frequency of such inspections;
       (3) delineation of the roles and responsibilities of staff 
     at the medical center who are responsible for compliance;
       (4) the requirement that each medical center submit to the 
     Secretary and make publicly available a report on the 
     compliance of the medical center with the standards; and
       (5) a remediation plan.
       (b) Report.--Not later than 180 days after the date of the 
     enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to the 
     Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and House of 
     Representatives certification in writing that the policy 
     required by subsection (a) has been finalized and 
     disseminated to Department all medical centers.

     SEC. 106. ADDITIONAL FUNDING FOR PRIMARY CARE AND EMERGENCY 
                   CARE CLINICIANS IN WOMEN VETERANS HEALTH CARE 
                   MINI-RESIDENCY PROGRAM.

       (a) In General.--There is authorized to be appropriated to 
     the Secretary of Veterans Affairs $1,000,000 for each fiscal 
     year for the Women Veterans Health Care Mini-Residency 
     Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide 
     opportunities for participation in such program for primary 
     care and emergency care clinicians.
       (b) Treatment of Amounts.--The amounts authorized to be 
     appropriated under subsection (a) shall be in addition to 
     amounts otherwise made available to the Secretary for the 
     purposes set forth in such subsection.

     SEC. 107. ESTABLISHMENT OF WOMEN VETERAN TRAINING MODULE FOR 
                   NON-DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS HEALTH CARE 
                   PROVIDERS.

       (a) In General.--Not later than one year after the date of 
     the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs 
     shall establish and make available to community providers a 
     training module that is specific to women veterans.
       (b) Community Provider Defined.--In this section, the term 
     ``community provider'' means a non-Department of Veterans 
     Affairs health care provider who provides health care to 
     veterans under the laws administered by the Secretary of 
     Veterans Affairs.

                         TITLE II--MEDICAL CARE

     SEC. 201. IMPROVED ACCESS TO DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS 
                   MEDICAL CARE FOR WOMEN VETERANS.

       (a) In General.--Subchapter II of chapter 17 of title 38, 
     United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the 
     following new section:

     ``Sec. 1720J. Medical services for women veterans

       ``(a) Access to Care.--The Secretary shall ensure that 
     women's health primary care services are available during 
     regular business hours at every medical center and community 
     based outpatient clinic of the Department.
       ``(b) Study on Extended Hours of Care.--The Secretary shall 
     conduct a study to assess--
       ``(1) the use of extended hours as a means of reducing 
     barriers to care;
       ``(2) the need for extended hours based on interviews with 
     women veterans and employees; and
       ``(3) the best practices and resources required to 
     implement use of extended hours.
       ``(c) Annual Report to Congress.--Not later than September 
     30 of each year, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee 
     on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on 
     Veterans' Affairs of the House of Representatives a report on 
     compliance with subsection (a).''.
       (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the 
     beginning of such chapter is amended by inserting after the 
     item relating to section 1720I the following new item:

``1720J. Medical services for women veterans.''.

     SEC. 202. COUNSELING AND TREATMENT FOR SEXUAL TRAUMA.

       Section 1720D of title 38, United States Code, is amended--
       (1) in subsection (a)--
       (A) in paragraph (1), by striking ``active duty, active 
     duty for training, or inactive duty training'' and inserting 
     ``duty, regardless of duty status or line of duty 
     determination (as that term is used in section 12323 of title 
     10)''; and
       (B) in paragraph (2)(A), by striking ``active duty, active 
     duty for training, or inactive duty training'' and inserting 
     ``duty, regardless of duty status or line of duty 
     determination (as that term is used in section 12323 of title 
     10)'';
       (2) by striking ``veteran'' each place it appears and 
     inserting ``former member of the Armed Forces'';
       (3) by striking ``veterans'' each place it appears and 
     inserting ``former members of the Armed Forces''; and
       (4) by adding at the end the following new subsection:
       ``(g) In this section, the term `former member of the Armed 
     Forces' includes the following:
       ``(1) A veteran described in section 101(2) of this title.
       ``(2) An individual not described in paragraph (1) who was 
     discharged or released from the Armed Forces under a 
     condition that is not honorable but not--
       ``(A) a dishonorable discharge; or
       ``(B) a discharge by court-martial.''.

     SEC. 203. COUNSELING IN RETREAT SETTINGS FOR WOMEN VETERANS 
                   AND OTHER INDIVIDUALS.

       (a) In General.--Chapter 17 of title 38, United States 
     Code, is amended by inserting after section 1712C the 
     following new section:

     ``Sec. 1712D. Counseling in retreat settings for women 
       veterans and other individuals

       ``(a) Program.--(1) Commencing not later than January 1, 
     2021, the Secretary shall carry out, through the Readjustment 
     Counseling Service of the Veterans Health Administration, a 
     program to provide reintegration and readjustment services 
     described in subsection (b) in group retreat settings to 
     covered individuals, including cohorts of women veterans who 
     are eligible for readjustment counseling services under 
     section 1712A of this title.
       ``(2) The participation of a covered individual in the 
     program under paragraph (1) shall be at the election of the 
     individual.
       ``(b) Covered Services.--The services provided to a covered 
     individual under the program under subsection (a)(1) shall 
     include the following:
       ``(1) Information on reintegration into the family, 
     employment, and community of the individual.
       ``(2) Financial counseling.
       ``(3) Occupational counseling.
       ``(4) Information and counseling on stress reduction.
       ``(5) Information and counseling on conflict resolution.
       ``(6) Such other information and counseling as the 
     Secretary considers appropriate to assist the individual in 
     reintegration into the family, employment, and community of 
     the veteran.
       ``(c) Biennial Reports.--Not later than December 31, 2022, 
     and each even-numbered year thereafter, the Secretary shall 
     submit to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the House of 
     Representatives and the Senate a report on the program under 
     subsection (a)(1).
       ``(d) Covered Individual Defined.--In this section, the 
     term `covered individual' means--
       ``(1) Any veteran who is enrolled in the system of annual 
     patient enrollment under section 1705 of this title.
       ``(2) Any survivor or dependent of a veteran who is 
     eligible for medical care under section 1781 of this 
     title.''.
       (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the 
     beginning of such chapter is amended by inserting after the 
     item relating to section 1712C the following new item:

``1712D. Counseling in retreat settings for women veterans and other 
              individuals.''.

     SEC. 204. IMPROVEMENT OF HEALTH CARE SERVICES PROVIDED TO 
                   NEWBORN CHILDREN BY DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS 
                   AFFAIRS.

       (a) Expansion.--Section 1786 of title 38, United States 
     Code, is amended--
       (1) in subsection (a), in the matter preceding paragraph 
     (1), by striking ``seven days'' and inserting ``14 days''; 
     and
       (2) by adding at the end the following new subsection:
       ``(f) Annual Report.--Not later than 60 days after the end 
     of each fiscal year, the Secretary shall submit to the 
     Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the 
     Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the House of 
     Representatives a report on the health care services provided 
     under subsection (a) during

[[Page H8766]]

     such fiscal year, including the number of newborn children 
     who received such services during such fiscal year.''.
       (b) Authority to Furnish Medically Necessary Transportation 
     for Newborn Children of Certain Women Veterans.--Such section 
     is further amended--
       (1) in subsection (a)--
       (A) in the matter before paragraph (1)--
       (i) by inserting ``and transportation necessary to receive 
     such services'' after ``described in subsection (b)''; and
       (ii) by inserting ``, except as provided in subsection 
     (e),'' after ``14 days'';
       (B) in paragraph (1), by striking ``or'';
       (C) in paragraph (2), by striking the period at the end and 
     inserting ``; or''; and
       (D) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
       ``(3) another location, including a health care facility, 
     if the veteran delivers the child before arriving at a 
     facility described in paragraph (1) or (2).'';
       (2) in subsection (b), by inserting before the period at 
     the end the following: ``, including necessary health care 
     services provided by a facility other than the facility where 
     the newborn child was delivered (including a specialty 
     pediatric hospital) that accepts transfer of the newborn 
     child and responsibility for treatment of the newborn 
     child''; and
       (3) by inserting before subsection (f), as added by 
     subsection (a), the following new subsections:
       ``(c) Transportation.--(1) Transportation furnished under 
     subsection (a) to, from, or between care settings to meet the 
     needs of a newborn child includes costs for either or both 
     the newborn child and parents.
       ``(2) Transportation furnished under subsection (a) is 
     transportation by ambulance, including air ambulance, or 
     other appropriate medically staffed modes of transportation--
       ``(A) to another health care facility (including a 
     specialty pediatric hospital) that accepts transfer of the 
     newborn child or otherwise provides post-delivery care 
     services when the treating facility is not capable of 
     furnishing the care or services required; or
       ``(B) to a health care facility in a medical emergency of 
     such nature that a prudent layperson reasonably expects that 
     delay in seeking immediate medical attention would be 
     hazardous to life or health.
       ``(3) Amounts paid by the Department for transportation 
     under this section shall be derived from the Medical Services 
     appropriations account of the Department.
       ``(d) Reimbursement or Payment for Health Care Services or 
     Transportation.--(1) Pursuant to regulations the Secretary 
     shall prescribe to establish rates of reimbursement and any 
     limitations thereto under this section, the Secretary shall 
     directly reimburse a covered entity for health care services 
     or transportation services provided under this section, 
     unless the cost of the services or transportation is covered 
     by an established agreement or contract. If such an agreement 
     or contract exists, its negotiated payment terms shall apply.
       ``(2)(A) Reimbursement or payment by the Secretary under 
     this section on behalf of an individual to a covered entity 
     shall, unless rejected and refunded by the covered entity 
     within 30 days of receipt, extinguish any liability on the 
     part of the individual for the health care services or 
     transportation covered by such payment.
       ``(B) Neither the absence of a contract or agreement 
     between the Secretary and a covered entity nor any provision 
     of a contract, agreement, or assignment to the contrary shall 
     operate to modify, limit, or negate the requirements of 
     subparagraph (A).
       ``(3) In this subsection, the term `covered entity' means 
     any individual, transportation carrier, organization, or 
     other entity that furnished or paid for health care services 
     or transportation under this section.
       ``(e) Exception.--Pursuant to such regulations as the 
     Secretary shall prescribe to carry out this section, the 
     Secretary may furnish more than 14 days of health care 
     services described in subsection (b), and transportation 
     necessary to receive such services, to a newborn child based 
     on medical necessity if the child is in need of additional 
     care, including a case in which the newborn child has been 
     discharged or released from a hospital and requires 
     readmittance to ensure the health and welfare of the newborn 
     child.''.
       (c) Treatment of Certain Expenses Already Incurred.--
     Pursuant to such regulations as the Secretary of Veterans 
     Affairs shall prescribe, the Secretary may provide 
     reimbursement under section 1786 of title 38, United States 
     Code, as amended by subsection (a), health care services or 
     transportation services furnished to a newborn child during 
     the period beginning on May 5, 2010, and ending on the date 
     of the enactment of this Act, if the Secretary determines 
     that, under the circumstances applicable with respect to the 
     newborn, such reimbursement appropriate.

                  TITLE III--REPORTS AND OTHER MATTERS

                          Subtitle A--Reports

     SEC. 301. ASSESSMENT OF EFFECTS OF INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE 
                   ON WOMEN VETERANS BY ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON 
                   WOMEN VETERANS.

       Section 542(c)(1) of title 38, United States Code, is 
     amended--
       (1) in subparagraph (B), by striking ``and'' at the end;
       (2) by redesignating subparagraph (C) as subparagraph (D); 
     and
       (3) by inserting after subparagraph (B) the following new 
     subparagraph (C):
       ``(C) an assessment of the effects of intimate partner 
     violence on women veterans; and''.

     SEC. 302. STUDY ON STAFFING OF WOMEN VETERAN PROGRAM MANAGER 
                   PROGRAM AT MEDICAL CENTERS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF 
                   VETERANS AFFAIRS AND TRAINING OF STAFF.

       (a) Study.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall conduct 
     a study on the use of the Women Veteran Program Manager 
     program of the Department of Veterans Affairs to determine--
       (1) if the program is appropriately staffed at each medical 
     center of the Department;
       (2) whether each medical center of the Department is 
     staffed with a Women Veteran Program Manager; and
       (3) whether it would be feasible and advisable to have a 
     Women Veteran Program Ombudsman at each medical center of the 
     Department.
       (b) Report.--Not later than 270 days after the date of the 
     enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to the 
     Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the 
     Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the House of 
     Representatives a report on the study conducted under 
     subsection (a).
       (c) Training.--The Secretary shall ensure that all Women 
     Veteran Program Managers and Women Veteran Program Ombudsmen 
     receive the proper training to carry out their duties.

     SEC. 303. REPORT ON AVAILABILITY OF PROSTHETIC ITEMS FOR 
                   WOMEN VETERANS FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS 
                   AFFAIRS.

       Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of 
     this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall submit to 
     the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the 
     Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the House of 
     Representatives a report on the availability from the 
     Department of Veterans Affairs of prosthetic items made for 
     women veterans, including an assessment of the availability 
     of such prosthetic items at each medical facility of the 
     Department. The report shall--
       (1) address efforts on research, development, and 
     employment of additive manufacture technology (commonly 
     referred to as ``3D printing'') to provide prosthetic items 
     for women veterans; and
       (2) include a survey with a representative sample of 50,000 
     veterans (of which women shall be overrrepresented) in 
     amputee care program on satisfaction with prosthetics 
     furnished or procured by the Department that replace 
     appendages or their function.

     SEC. 304. STUDY OF BARRIERS FOR WOMEN VETERANS TO HEALTH CARE 
                   FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS.

       (a) Study Required.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs 
     shall conduct a comprehensive study of the barriers to the 
     provision of comprehensive health care by the Department of 
     Veterans Affairs encountered by women who are veterans. In 
     conducting the study, the Secretary shall--
       (1) survey women veterans who seek or receive hospital care 
     or medical services provided by the Department of Veterans 
     Affairs as well as women veterans who do not seek or receive 
     such care or services;
       (2) administer the survey to a representative sample of 
     women veterans from each Veterans Integrated Service Network; 
     and
       (3) ensure that the sample of women veterans surveyed is of 
     sufficient size for the study results to be statistically 
     significant and is a larger sample than that of the study 
     referred to in subsection (b)(1).
       (b) Use of Previous Studies.--In conducting the study 
     required by subsection (a), the Secretary shall build on the 
     work of the studies of the Department of Veterans Affairs 
     titled--
       (1) ``National Survey of Women Veterans in Fiscal Year 
     2007-2008''; and
       (2) ``Study of Barriers for Women Veterans to VA Health 
     Care 2015''.
       (c) Elements of Study.--In conducting the study required by 
     subsection (a), the Secretary shall conduct research on the 
     effects of the following on the women veterans surveyed in 
     the study:
       (1) The barriers associated with seeking mental health care 
     services, including with respect to provider availability, 
     telehealth access, and family, work, and school obligations.
       (2) The effect of driving distance or availability of other 
     forms of transportation to the nearest medical facility on 
     access to care.
       (3) The effect of access to care in the community.
       (4) The availability of child care.
       (5) The acceptability of integrated primary care, women's 
     health clinics, or both.
       (6) The comprehension of eligibility requirements for, and 
     the scope of services available under, hospital care and 
     medical services.
       (7) The perception of personal safety and comfort in 
     inpatient, outpatient, and behavioral health facilities.
       (8) The gender sensitivity of health care providers and 
     staff to issues that particularly affect women.
       (9) The effectiveness of outreach for health care services 
     available to women veterans.
       (10) The location and operating hours of health care 
     facilities that provide services to women veterans.
       (11) The perception of women veterans regarding the motto 
     of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

[[Page H8767]]

       (12) Such other significant barriers as the Secretary 
     considers appropriate.
       (d) Discharge by Contract.--The Secretary shall enter into 
     a contract with a qualified independent entity or 
     organization to carry out the study and research required 
     under this section.
       (e) Mandatory Review of Data by Certain Department 
     Divisions.--
       (1) In general.--The Secretary shall ensure that the head 
     of each division of the Department of Veterans Affairs 
     specified in paragraph (2) reviews the results of the study 
     conducted under this section. The head of each such division 
     shall submit findings with respect to the study to the Under 
     Secretary for responsibilities relating to health care 
     services for women veterans.
       (2) Specified divisions.--The divisions of the Department 
     of Veterans Affairs specified in this paragraph are the 
     following:
       (A) The Under Secretary for Health.
       (B) The Office of Women's Health.
       (C) The Center for Women Veterans established under section 
     318 of title 38, United States Code.
       (D) The Advisory Committee on Women Veterans established 
     under section 542 of such title.
       (f) Report.--Not later than 30 months after the date of the 
     enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to Congress 
     a report on the study required under this section. The report 
     shall include recommendations for such administrative and 
     legislative action as the Secretary considers appropriate. 
     The report shall also include the findings of the head of 
     each division of the Department specified under subsection 
     (e)(2) and of the Under Secretary for Health.

     SEC. 305. REPORT REGARDING VETERANS WHO RECEIVE BENEFITS 
                   UNDER LAWS ADMINISTERED BY THE SECRETARY OF 
                   VETERANS AFFAIRS.

       (a) Report.--Not later than 180 days after the date of the 
     enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs 
     shall publish a report regarding veterans who receive 
     benefits under laws administered by the Secretary, including 
     the Transition Assistance Program under sections 1142 and 
     1144 of title 10, United States Code.
       (b) Data.--The data regarding veterans published in the 
     report under subsection (a)--
       (1) shall be disaggregated by--
       (A) sex;
       (B) minority group member status; and
       (C) minority group member status listed by sex.
       (2) may not include any personally identifiable 
     information.
       (c) Matters Included.--The report under subsection (a) 
     shall include--
       (1) identification of any disparities in the use of 
     benefits under laws administered by the Secretary; and
       (2) an analysis of the cause of such disparities and 
     recommendations to address such disparities.
       (d) Minority Group Member Defined.--In this section, the 
     term ``minority group member'' has the meaning given that 
     term in section 544 of title 38, United States Code.

     SEC. 306. STUDY ON WOMEN VETERAN COORDINATOR PROGRAM.

       Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of 
     this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall submit to 
     the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the House of 
     Representatives and the Senate a report containing a study on 
     the Women Veteran Coordinator program of the Veterans 
     Benefits Administration of the Department of Veterans 
     Affairs. Such study shall identify the following:
       (1) If the program is appropriately staffed at each 
     regional benefits office of the Department.
       (2) Whether each regional benefits office of the Department 
     is staffed with a Women Veteran Coordinator.
       (3) The position description of the Women Veteran 
     Coordinator.
       (4) Whether an individual serving in the Women Veteran 
     Coordinator position concurrently serves in any other 
     position, and if so, the allocation of time the individual 
     spends in each such position.
       (5) A description of the metrics the Secretary uses to 
     determine the success and performance of the Women Veteran 
     Coordinator.

                       Subtitle B--Other Matters

     SEC. 321. ANTI-HARASSMENT AND ANTI-SEXUAL ASSAULT POLICY OF 
                   THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS.

       (a) In General.--Subchapter II of chapter 5 of title 38, 
     United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the 
     following new section:

     ``Sec. 533. Anti-harassment and anti-sexual assault policy

       ``(a) Establishment.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs 
     shall establish a comprehensive policy to end harassment and 
     sexual assault, including sexual harassment and gender-based 
     harassment, throughout the Department of Veterans Affairs. 
     This policy shall include the following:
       ``(1) A process for employees and contractors of the 
     Department to respond to reported incidents of harassment and 
     sexual assault committed by any non-Department individual 
     within a facility of the Department, including with respect 
     to accountability or disciplinary measures.
       ``(2) A process for employees and contractors of the 
     Department to respond to reported incidents of harassment and 
     sexual assault of any non-Department individual within a 
     facility of the Department.
       ``(3) A process for any non-Department individual to report 
     harassment and sexual assault described in paragraph (1), 
     including an option for confidential reporting, and for the 
     Secretary to respond to and address such reports.
       ``(4) Clear mechanisms for non-Department individuals to 
     readily identify to whom and how to report incidents of 
     harassment and sexual assault committed by another non-
     Department individual.
       ``(5) Clear mechanisms for employees and contractors of the 
     Department to readily identify to whom and how to report 
     incidents of harassment and sexual assault and how to refer 
     non-Department individuals with respect to reporting an 
     incident of harassment or sexual assault.
       ``(6) A process for, and mandatory reporting requirement 
     applicable to, any employee or contractor of the Department 
     who witnesses harassment or sexual assault described in 
     paragraph (1) or (2) within a facility of the Department, 
     regardless of whether the individual affected by such 
     harassment or sexual assault wants to report such harassment 
     or sexual assault.
       ``(7) The actions possible, including disciplinary actions, 
     for employees or contractors of the Department who fail to 
     report incidents of harassment and sexual assault described 
     in paragraph (1) or (2) that the employees or contractors 
     witness.
       ``(8) On an annual or more frequent basis, mandatory 
     training for employees and contractors of the Department 
     regarding how to report and address harassment and sexual 
     assault described in paragraphs (1) and (2), including 
     bystander intervention training.
       ``(9) On an annual or more frequent basis, the distribution 
     of the policy under this subsection and anti-harassment and 
     anti-sexual assault educational materials by mail or email to 
     each individual receiving a benefit under a law administered 
     by the Secretary.
       ``(10) The prominent display of anti-harassment and anti-
     sexual assault messages in each facility of the Department, 
     including how non-Department individuals may report 
     harassment and sexual assault described in paragraphs (1) and 
     (2) at such facility and the points of contact under 
     subsection (b).
       ``(11) The posting on internet websites of the Department, 
     including the main internet website regarding benefits of the 
     Department and the main internet website regarding health 
     care of the Department, of anti-harassment and anti-sexual 
     assault banners specifically addressing harassment and sexual 
     assault described in paragraphs (1) and (2).
       ``(b) Points of Contact.--The Secretary shall designate, as 
     a point of contact to receive reports of harassment and 
     sexual assault described in paragraphs (1) and (2) of 
     subsection (a)--
       ``(1) at least one individual, in addition to law 
     enforcement, at each facility of the Department (including 
     Vet Centers under section 1712A of this title), with regard 
     to that facility;
       ``(2) at least one individual employed in each Veterans 
     Integrated Service Network, with regards to facilities in 
     that Veterans Integrated Service Network;
       ``(3) at least one individual employed in each regional 
     benefits office;
       ``(4) at least one individual employed at each location of 
     the National Cemetery Administration; and
       ``(5) at least one individual employed at the Central 
     Office of the Department to track reports of such harassment 
     and sexual assault across the Department, disaggregated by 
     facility.
       ``(c) Accountability.--The Secretary shall establish a 
     policy to ensure that each facility of the Department and 
     each director of a Veterans Integrated Service Network is 
     responsible for addressing harassment and sexual assault at 
     the facility and the Network. Such policy shall include--
       ``(1) a remediation plan for facilities that experience 
     five or more incidents of sexual harassment, sexual assault, 
     or combination thereof, during any single fiscal year; and
       ``(2) taking appropriate actions under chapter 7 or 
     subchapter V of chapter 74 of this title.
       ``(d) Data.--The Secretary shall ensure that the in-take 
     process for veterans at medical facilities of the Department 
     includes a survey to collect the following information:
       ``(1) Whether the veteran feels safe at the facility and 
     whether any events occurred at the facility that affect such 
     feeling.
       ``(2) Whether the veteran wants to be contacted later by 
     the Department with respect to such safety issues.
       ``(e) Working Group.--(1) The Secretary shall establish a 
     working group to assist the Secretary in implementing 
     policies to carry out this section.
       ``(2) The working group established under paragraph (1) 
     shall consist of representatives from--
       ``(A) veterans service organizations;
       ``(B) State, local, and Tribal veterans agencies; and
       ``(C) other persons the Secretary determines appropriate.
       ``(3) The working group established under paragraph (1) 
     shall develop, and the Secretary shall carry out--
       ``(A) an action plan for addressing changes at the local 
     level to reduce instances of harassment and sexual assault;
       ``(B) standardized media for veterans service organizations 
     and other persons to use in print and on the internet with 
     respect to reducing harassment and sexual assault; and
       ``(C) bystander intervention training for veterans.
       ``(f) Reports.--The Secretary shall submit to the 
     Committees on Veterans' Affairs of

[[Page H8768]]

     the Senate and the House of Representatives an annual report 
     on harassment and sexual assault described in paragraphs (1) 
     and (2) of subsection (a) in facilities of the Department. 
     Each such report shall include the following:
       ``(1) Results of harassment and sexual assault programming, 
     including the End Harassment program.
       ``(2) Results of studies from the Women's Health Practice-
     Based Research Network of the Department relating to 
     harassment and sexual assault.
       ``(3) Data collected on incidents of sexual harassment and 
     sexual assault.
       ``(4) A description of any actions taken by the Secretary 
     during the year preceding the date of the report to stop 
     harassment and sexual assault at facilities of the 
     Department.
       ``(5) An assessment of the implementation of the training 
     required in subsection (a)(7).
       ``(6) A list of resources the Secretary determines 
     necessary to prevent harassment and sexual assault at 
     facilities of the Department.
       ``(g) Definitions.--In this section:
       ``(1) The term `non-Department individual' means any 
     individual present at a facility of the Department who is not 
     an employee or contractor of the Department.
       ``(2) The term `sexual harassment' has the meaning given 
     that term in section 1720D of this title.''.
       (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the 
     beginning of such chapter is amended by adding after the item 
     relating to section 532 the following new item:

``533. Anti-harassment and anti-sexual assault policy.''.
       (c) Definition of Sexual Harassment.--Section 1720D(f) of 
     such title is amended by striking ``repeated,''.
       (d) Deadline.--The Secretary shall commence carrying out 
     section 533 of such title, as added by subsection (a), not 
     later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act.

     SEC. 322. SUPPORT FOR ORGANIZATIONS THAT HAVE A FOCUS ON 
                   PROVIDING ASSISTANCE TO WOMEN VETERANS AND 
                   THEIR FAMILIES.

       Section 2044(e) of title 38, United States Code, is amended 
     by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
       ``(4) There is authorized to be appropriated $20,000,000 
     for fiscal year 2020 to provide, under subsection (a), 
     financial assistance to organizations that have a focus on 
     providing assistance to women veterans and their families.''.

     SEC. 323. GAP ANALYSIS OF DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS 
                   PROGRAMS THAT PROVIDE ASSISTANCE TO WOMEN 
                   VETERANS WHO ARE HOMELESS.

       (a) In General.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall 
     complete an analysis of programs of the Department of 
     Veterans Affairs that provide assistance to women veterans 
     who are homeless or precariously housed to identify the areas 
     in which such programs are failing to meet the needs of such 
     women.
       (b) Report.--Not later than 270 days after the date of the 
     enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to the 
     Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the 
     Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the House of 
     Representatives a report on the analysis completed under 
     subsection (a).

     SEC. 324. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS PUBLIC-PRIVATE 
                   PARTNERSHIP ON LEGAL SERVICES FOR WOMEN 
                   VETERANS.

       (a) Partnership Required.--The Secretary of Veterans 
     Affairs shall establish a partnership with at least one 
     nongovernmental organization to provide legal services to 
     women veterans.
       (b) Focus.--The focus of the partnership established under 
     subsection (a) shall be on the 10 highest unmet needs of 
     women veterans as set forth in the most recently completed 
     Community Homelessness Assessment, Local Education and 
     Networking Groups for Veterans (CHALENG for Veterans) survey.

     SEC. 325. PROGRAM TO ASSIST VETERANS WHO EXPERIENCE INTIMATE 
                   PARTNER VIOLENCE OR SEXUAL ASSAULT.

       (a) Program Required.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs 
     shall carry out a program to assist former members of the 
     armed forces who have experienced or are experiencing 
     intimate partner violence or sexual assault in accessing 
     benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs, including 
     coordinating access to medical treatment centers, housing 
     assistance, and other benefits from the Department.
       (b) Collaboration.--The Secretary shall carry out the 
     program under subsection (a) in collaboration with--
       (1) intimate partner violence shelters and programs;
       (2) rape crisis centers;
       (3) State intimate partner violence and sexual assault 
     coalitions; and
       (4) such other health care or other service providers that 
     serve intimate partner violence or sexual assault victims as 
     determined by the Secretary, particularly those providing 
     emergency services or housing assistance.
       (c) Authorized Activities.--In carrying out the program 
     under subsection (a), the Secretary may conduct the following 
     activities:
       (1) Training for community-based intimate partner violence 
     or sexual assault service providers on--
       (A) identifying former members of the Armed Forces who have 
     been victims of intimate partner violence or sexual assault;
       (B) coordinating with local service providers of the 
     Department; and
       (C) connecting former members of the Armed Forces with 
     appropriate housing, mental health, medical, and other 
     financial assistance or benefits from the Department.
       (2) Assistance to service providers to ensure access of 
     veterans to intimate partner violence and sexual assault 
     emergency services, particularly in underserved areas, 
     including services for Native American veterans (as defined 
     in section 3765 of title 38, United States Code).
       (3) Such other outreach and assistance as the Secretary 
     determines necessary for the provision of assistance under 
     subsection (a).
       (d) Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Assault Outreach 
     Coordinators.--
       (1) In general.--In order to effectively assist veterans 
     who have experienced intimate partner violence or sexual 
     assault, the Secretary may establish local coordinators to 
     provide outreach under the program required by subsection 
     (a).
       (2) Local coordinator knowledge.--The Secretary shall 
     ensure that each coordinator established under paragraph (1) 
     is knowledgeable about--
       (A) the dynamics of intimate partner violence and sexual 
     assault, including safety concerns, legal protections, and 
     the need for the provision of confidential services;
       (B) the eligibility of veterans for services and benefits 
     from the Department that are relevant to recovery from 
     intimate partner violence and sexual assault, particularly 
     emergency housing assistance, mental health care, other 
     health care, and disability benefits; and
       (C) local community resources addressing intimate partner 
     violence and sexual assault.
       (3) Local coordinator assistance.--Each coordinator 
     established under paragraph (1) shall assist intimate partner 
     violence shelters and rape crisis centers in providing 
     services to veterans.

     SEC. 326. STUDY AND TASK FORCE ON VETERANS EXPERIENCING 
                   INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE OR SEXUAL ASSAULT.

       (a) National Baseline Study.--
       (1) In general.--Not later than one year after the date of 
     the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, 
     in consultation with the Attorney General, shall conduct a 
     national baseline study to examine the scope of the problem 
     of intimate partner violence and sexual assault among 
     veterans and spouses and intimate partners of veterans.
       (2) Matters included.--The study under paragraph (1) 
     shall--
       (A) include a literature review of all relevant research on 
     intimate partner violence and sexual assault among veterans 
     and spouses and intimate partners of veterans;
       (B) examine the prevalence of the experience of intimate 
     partner violence among--
       (i) women veterans;
       (ii) veterans who are minority group members (as defined in 
     section 544 of title 38, United States Code, and including 
     other minority populations as the Secretary determines 
     appropriate);
       (iii) urban and rural veterans;
       (iv) veterans who are enrolled in a program under section 
     1720G of title 38, United States Code;
       (v) veterans who are in intimate relationships with other 
     veterans; and
       (vi) veterans who are described in more than one clause of 
     this subparagraph;
       (C) examine the prevalence of the perpetration of intimate 
     partner violence by veterans; and
       (D) include recommendations to address the findings of the 
     study.
       (3) Report.--Not later than 30 days after the date on which 
     the Secretary completes the study under paragraph (1), the 
     Secretary shall submit to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs 
     of the House of Representatives and the Senate a report on 
     such study.
       (b) Task Force.--Not later than 90 days after the date on 
     which the Secretary completes the study under subsection (a), 
     the Secretary, in consultation with the Attorney General and 
     the Secretary of Health and Human Services, shall establish a 
     national task force (in this section referred to as the 
     ``Task Force'') to develop a comprehensive national program, 
     including by integrating facilities, services, and benefits 
     of the Department of Veterans Affairs into existing networks 
     of community-based intimate partner violence and sexual 
     assault services, to address intimate partner violence and 
     sexual assault among veterans.
       (c) Consultation With Stakeholders.--In carrying out this 
     section, the Task Force shall consult with--
       (1) representatives from veteran service organizations and 
     military service organizations;
       (2) representatives from not fewer than three national 
     organizations or State coalitions with demonstrated expertise 
     in intimate partner violence prevention, response, or 
     advocacy; and
       (3) representatives from not fewer than three national 
     organizations or State coalitions, particularly those 
     representing underserved and ethnic minority communities, 
     with demonstrated expertise in sexual assault prevention, 
     response, or advocacy.
       (d) Duties.--The duties of the Task Force shall include the 
     following:
       (1) To review existing services and policies of the 
     Department and develop a comprehensive national program to 
     address intimate partner violence and sexual assault 
     prevention, response, and treatment.

[[Page H8769]]

       (2) To review the feasibility and advisability of 
     establishing an expedited process to secure emergency, 
     temporary benefits, including housing or other benefits, for 
     veterans who are experiencing intimate partner violence or 
     sexual assault.
       (3) To review and make recommendations regarding the 
     feasibility and advisability of establishing dedicated, 
     temporary housing assistance for veterans experiencing 
     intimate partner violence or sexual assault.
       (4) To identify any requirements regarding intimate partner 
     violence assistance or sexual assault response and services 
     that are not being met by the Department and make 
     recommendations on how the Department can meet such 
     requirements.
       (5) To review and make recommendations regarding the 
     feasibility and advisability of providing direct services or 
     contracting for community-based services for veterans in 
     response to a sexual assault, including through the use of 
     sexual assault nurse examiners, particularly in underserved 
     or remote areas, including services for Native American 
     veterans.
       (6) To review the availability of counseling services 
     provided by the Department and through peer network support, 
     and to provide recommendations for the enhancement of such 
     services, to address--
       (A) the perpetration of intimate partner violence and 
     sexual assault; and
       (B) the recovery of veterans, particularly women veterans, 
     from intimate partner violence and sexual assault.
       (7) To review and make recommendations to expand services 
     available for veterans at risk of perpetrating intimate 
     partner violence.
       (e) Report.--Not later than one year after the date of the 
     enactment of this Act, and not less frequently than annually 
     thereafter by October 1 of each year, the Task Force shall 
     submit to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Congress a 
     report on the activities of the Task Force, including any 
     recommendations for legislative or administrative action.
       (f) Definitions.--In this section:
       (1) The term ``Native American veteran'' has the meaning 
     given that term in section 3765 of title 38, United States 
     Code.
       (2) The term ``State'' has the meaning given that term in 
     section 101 of title 38, United States Code.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from 
California (Mr. Takano) and the gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. David P. 
Roe) each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from California.


                             General Leave

  Mr. TAKANO. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may 
have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and 
to insert extraneous material on H.R. 3224, as amended.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from California?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. TAKANO. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 3224, the Deborah Sampson Act, 
introduced by Representative Julia Brownley, the chairwoman of the 
Veterans Affairs' Health Subcommittee.
  This bill comprises 15 bipartisan bills that transform and improve 
comprehensive access to healthcare, benefits, and other resources for 
America's 2 million women veterans.
  This bill is named after Deborah Sampson, a Revolutionary War veteran 
from Massachusetts who served in the Continental Army for 17 months and 
was wounded in battle more than once.
  Deborah Sampson was neither the first nor the only woman to serve in 
the Continental Army, nor was she the first woman to be granted a 
pension by Congress, but she was the most persistent.
  Over 38 years, Congress granted her a pension, backpay, and 
ultimately her husband was granted a survivor's pension after her 
death.
  Mr. Speaker, it is because of the similar persistence of women 
warriors who followed in Deborah Sampson's footsteps that we are now 
considering this bill today.
  The Deborah Sampson Act creates an Office of Women's Health that 
reports directly to the Undersecretary of Health. This office will be 
responsible for internal oversight and resource allocation, including 
inputs to the annual budgeting process.
  Currently, 10 percent of VA facilities do not have gender-specific 
care for women. H.R. 3224, as amended, also increases staffing and 
training for women's health primary care providers so that every single 
woman veteran has access to gender-specific care at her nearest VA 
facility.
  Mr. Speaker, 75 percent of women veterans do not use VA care, often 
because they don't realize that they are eligible. This legislation 
seeks to expand communication outreach capabilities of the department 
to connect more women to VA benefits and healthcare.
  Mr. Speaker, the Deborah Sampson Act also authorizes counseling in 
retreat settings, expands counseling at vet centers for members of the 
Reserve and National Guard who are survivors of military sexual trauma, 
and improves resources for veterans experiencing intimate-partner 
violence and women veterans facing homelessness.
  Throughout this Congress we have addressed the issue of widespread 
sexual harassment and assault at VA facilities. At least one in four 
women veterans experience sexual and gender harassment at VA 
facilities, and that must end.
  No veteran, caregiver, employee, contractor, or other public visitor 
should experience sexual harassment or assault at VA.
  H.R. 3224, as amended, requires that VA develop a comprehensive 
policy that includes bystander intervention, mandatory reporting 
mechanisms for employees, confidential reporting mechanisms for 
veterans, and holds leadership accountable for addressing sexual 
harassment and assault at VA facilities.
  Today, nearly one in four new recruits joining the military is a 
woman. Women veterans are the fastest growing demographic in the 
veterans' community, and VA must be prepared to welcome them.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge all Members to support H.R. 3224, and I reserve 
the balance of my time.
  Mr. DAVID P. ROE of Tennessee. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time 
as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 3224, as amended, the 
Deborah Sampson Act.
  For as long as the United States has been a reality, brave women have 
been stepping up to serve on behalf of her and defending her from her 
enemies.
  This bill is named after one of those amazing women, Deborah Sampson, 
who so believed in the ideals of the American Revolution that she 
disguised herself as a man so that she could join in the fight for 
freedom and independence.
  Deborah Sampson's spirit of bravery, patriotism, and commitment to 
service are still very much alive in the approximately 2 million women 
veterans in the United States today and the almost 400,000 women 
serving on Active Duty or in the Guard and Reserves.
  Those women have fought in defense of the American Dream--on the 
frontlines, in the Pentagon, and everywhere in between, in every branch 
of the armed services. And, once they leave the military, they are, 
increasingly, seeking care from the Department of Veterans Affairs. In 
fact, the number of women using the VA healthcare system has more than 
tripled since 2001 and is expected to continue rising significantly in 
the years ahead.
  VA leaders have been working to make the department more welcoming to 
women veterans, but the fact remains that the VA healthcare system was 
designed for men.
  That is, perhaps, most upsettingly evidenced by the VA study 
published last December that found that a full quarter of the women 
veterans who seek care from the VA are subjected to inappropriate or 
unwanted comments from male veterans on VA grounds.
  That is tragic and unacceptable, just like it is anytime the VA falls 
short of providing the high-quality care, benefits, and services that 
women veterans have earned and certainly deserve, which still, sadly, 
happens all too often.
  The Deborah Sampson Act is legislation introduced by Congresswoman 
Julia Brownley from California--and she is to be applauded for that--
the chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Health and the bipartisan Women 
Veterans Task Force that would help put an end to this.

  The bill would create an Office of Women's Health within the VA, 
require VA to establish an environment of care standards for women 
veterans and ensure that VA medical facilities are retrofitted to meet 
those standards, require and fund VA programs to train providers in VA 
medical facilities and in the community on women's health,

[[Page H8770]]

and improve access to care for women veterans and their newborn 
children.
  It also includes provisions that would help all veterans, women and 
men alike, who experience military sexual trauma, intimate-partner 
violence, sexual assault, or sexual harassment to get the support and 
care that they need.
  Mr. Speaker, there have been a lot of allegations made by Chairman 
Takano, and I make the following remarks with a heavy heart.
  There have been a lot of allegations made by Chairman Takano and 
others in the 2 weeks since the Deborah Sampson Act was marked up in 
the committee about how I and my Republican colleagues feel about this 
legislation and about the women that it is intended to serve.
  So let me be crystal clear. I stand here in strong support of the 
Deborah Sampson Act and all the good it would do for the millions of 
women veterans that it would serve.
  I intend to call for a recorded vote on this bill, and I fully expect 
the vote to prove that there is overwhelming bipartisan support for 
this legislation.
  Mr. Speaker, when I left the Army in 1974, I returned home to 
Tennessee to finish my residency in obstetrics and gynecology and spend 
the better part of my life caring for women in private practice.
  My dedication to ensuring that women, whether they be civilian or 
veteran, have the care that they need is personal, deeply felt, and 
informed by three decades of direct action on behalf of the women who 
are my patients, my friends, my family, my neighbors, my colleagues, 
and my fellow veterans.
  That is why it is so disappointing that, when my Republican 
colleagues and I walked out of the committee markup where this bill was 
being considered in protest to the chairman's actions surrounding it, 
he decided to launch a baseless, identity-politics fueled attack on me 
and other Republican members of the committee by alleging that we were 
walking out on women veterans.
  Nothing can be further from the truth. The chairman knows full well 
that our decision to leave that markup had nothing to do with our 
support for the Deborah Sampson Act, much less our support for women 
veterans, and everything to do with the unprecedented partisanship that 
he displayed when this bill was being considered by our committee.
  So I would like to take this opportunity this afternoon to correct 
the record.
  Chairman Takano has called this bill historic and monumental, yet, 
during the committee's consideration of it, he allowed one Democrat 
member, Congresswoman Brownley, exactly 4 minutes to talk about it 
before cutting off all debate for every other member in the room by 
invoking a procedural tactic that hadn't been used by our committee in 
more than a decade.
  And I will say this: I never used this when I was chairman, nor did 
Chairman Miller.
  He did that to avoid debate on certain Republican amendments that he 
erroneously characterized as toxic and partisan. They were offered in 
good faith to address barriers to care for veteran women and men across 
the country that we have been requesting the chairman to act on for the 
better part of a year.
  One of the amendments that the chairman refused to debate or vote on 
was offered by Congressman   Andy Barr from Kentucky to prevent those 
charged with a serious crime, including violent or sexual crimes 
against children, from caring for children while their veteran parent 
is receiving care from VA until their case has been favorably resolved.
  The lack of childcare services is a serious barrier to care for 
veterans, including many women veterans, as the chairman himself has 
mentioned many times.
  Our committee rightly acted on a bill, H.R. 840, which passed the 
House in February, to break down that barrier by authorizing VA to 
provide childcare for veterans who are engaged in VA treatment. But if 
the veterans cannot rest assured that their children are safe in the VA 
childcare program, they won't use it--they won't use the care--and the 
lack of childcare services will continue to prevent veterans from 
getting the care that they need.
  Congressman Barr's amendment would close a loophole in that bill that 
would allow an individual charged with a serious offense--like child 
molestation--but who is awaiting his or her day in court to be 
responsible for caring for a veteran's child in a VA childcare program 
while their case is pending before the courts.
  Mr. Speaker, I know that there are a lot of things that we cannot 
agree on, but protecting vulnerable children should never be one of 
those things. Yet Chairman Takano has repeatedly refused to address 
this issue and employed a rarely used procedural tactic in our 
committee to disallow debate and votes on it twice in recent months.
  He has also failed to even respond to 11 committee members who wrote 
him in July asking for a legislative hearing on Congressman Barr's 
legislation. It defies understanding.
  Another amendment that the chairman has repeatedly refused to allow 
our committee to debate was offered by Congressman Chip Roy from Texas 
to prohibit VA from sending the name of a veteran or other beneficiary 
to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Instant Criminal 
Background Check System, NICS, solely because VA has determined that a 
person has a service-connected disability or solely because a fiduciary 
has been appointed on their behalf, without the order or finding of a 
judge, a magistrate, or other judicial authority that the person is a 
danger to themselves or others.

  Infringing on a law-abiding American citizen's constitutionally 
protected rights should never occur in a free society unless a very 
high bar has been met. For example, criminals must be convicted in a 
court of law before their names are provided to the NICS list; but, 
under current practice, VA sends veterans' names to the NICS list if 
they have been appointed a fiduciary to help manage their compensation 
benefits.
  This is because, once VA decides that an individual needs help with 
their finances, even though there may be no evidence the individual is 
a danger to themselves or anyone else, a VA bureaucrat sends that 
person's name to the FBI to be added to the NICS list and the veteran 
loses their second amendment right to own a firearm. And these are the 
very people who gave us those rights, protected those rights.
  Legislation that the House passed on a party-line vote earlier this 
year, H.R. 1112, would compound this injustice by requiring VA to also 
report a veteran or beneficiary to the NICS if they have been 
adjudicated by VA as having a mental illness when the veteran files for 
a disability claim--for example, PTSD or depression.
  I have personally heard from veterans across the country--and I mean 
from Long Island to Los Angeles--who tell me that they don't seek VA 
care and benefits that they have earned through their hard-fought 
service for our country because they fear they will lose their Second 
Amendment rights if they do so.
  This is unacceptable at any time and is particularly unacceptable 
during a national suicide crisis when we know that 14 of the 20 veteran 
and servicemember suicide deaths per day already occur among those who 
are not engaged in VA care prior to their deaths.
  Veterans risk their lives to protect our rights. The least we can do 
for them is to protect theirs. But Chairman Takano has once again 
refused to do that, despite making a public vow 8 months ago before the 
American Legion that he would act, as chairman, to protect the Second 
Amendment rights of our Nation's veterans.
  He also, once again, failed to respond to 12 committee members who 
wrote him in July asking for a legislative hearing to discuss veterans' 
Second Amendment issues.
  There are precious few avenues available to the minority party in 
Congress to influence the legislative agenda of the majority party.

                              {time}  1800

  Since February, my Republican colleagues and I have been asking 
Chairman Takano, publicly and privately, to address these issues in our 
committee. Our requests have been ignored. Our letters have gone 
unanswered.
  The only remaining option we have left is to attempt to amend bills 
being marked up by the committee so that we can have an open debate and 
an up-

[[Page H8771]]

or-down vote on these issues. If we win, we win. If we lose, we lose.
  We attempted to amend the Deborah Sampson Act with these amendments 2 
weeks ago, on the advice of the Parliamentarian about the 
appropriateness of these particular amendments, which address serious 
issues facing female and male veterans alike in each one of our States 
and districts, to this particular bill. But the chairman denied us even 
this opportunity.
  That kind of partisanship has never been how this committee has 
operated as long as I have been there. Under the 8 previous years of 
Republican chairmen, debate was never cut off when Democratic members 
offered difficult amendments during committee markups. We allowed our 
Democratic colleagues the opportunity to have their say, and we took 
tough votes when we needed to.
  Mr. Speaker, I wish that we could have had such a different 
conversation today, the day after Veterans Day, than this one. But I 
would be remiss in my duty as ranking member if I did not call out this 
behavior and ways in which it fails our Nation's veterans.
  Chairman Takano has spoken movingly about how he wants us to use his 
chairmanship to stand up for the rights of minority veterans, and I 
commend him for that and have stood alongside him in doing that work, 
including in May, when we stood side-by-side to launch the bipartisan 
Women Veterans Task Force.
  Yet, I urge him now, in carrying out that commitment, not to spurn 
the historical bipartisan traditions of the Veterans' Affairs 
Committee, not to trounce on the rights of the minority members of that 
committee, not to cut corners in favor of expediency over doing our due 
diligence, and not to cast aspersions against me or any other member of 
our committee when we could be debating the issues at hand like our 
constituents sent us here to do.
  Despite our deep disagreements here, I consider Chairman Takano a 
friend, and I know him to be a good and fair man who is motivated by a 
sincere desire to do the right thing for the millions of veterans and 
their families who have sacrificed so much for this great Nation. That 
desire is shared by me and every member of our committee, Republican 
and Democrat alike. I do not doubt that for a second.
  I also do not doubt our ability, under the chairman's leadership, to 
put this unfortunate recent chapter of the committee's history behind 
us and return to the productive bipartisan tradition that our committee 
has known and respected throughout the United States Congress and the 
Nation. In doing so, we will, once again, live up to the example that 
our Nation's veterans, including Deborah Sampson herself, have set.
  I thank the chairman in advance for that. I stand ready to assist him 
however I can, as ranking member and as his friend.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. TAKANO. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  I appreciate the final comments that the ranking member made, I 
believe in good faith and sincerity, and they were words of generosity. 
But I have to rebut some of the claims that he has made.
  While I spent 6 years of my time in Congress in the minority, and in 
the minority on this committee, I can tell you that the minority staff 
and I, and other members of the minority, did offer amendments in good 
faith, but we never did so in order to derail or to obstruct passage of 
important and meaningful legislation. Therefore, the ranking member, 
while he was chairman, can point to many great pieces of legislation, 
including the Forever GI Bill and numerous other bills. It was a very 
productive Congress in the last Congress because the minority worked 
with him.
  Look, bipartisan spirit means that the minority also works in good 
faith. Ms. Brownley, in order to bring the Deborah Sampson Act to the 
floor under suspension, made some significant concessions, for which 
there was nothing offered in return.
  Mr. Barr's amendment on crimes against children has been offered on 
the floor as a motion to recommit, interesting enough, to Ms. 
Brownley's bill on childcare on the floor. That bill was voted down. It 
was voted down on the House floor, and I can only believe that this 
very same legislative language was offered as an amendment to the 
Deborah Sampson bill in defiance of the House already expressing its 
will on that bill.
  I refute the contention that it was offered in good faith before we 
brought Ms. Brownley's legislation on the Deborah Sampson Act in 
committee.
  The ranking member fails to mention that three of the amendments 
related to antilabor legislation, which was hostile to labor. To say 
that this was offered in good faith when he knows that the legislation 
we were bringing forward was intended to be suspension legislation, 
normally, the majority and the minority come to an agreement for a very 
expeditious legislative hearing when it comes to suspension bills.
  Finally, I will mention that I watched the ranking member try to 
subvert the landmark H.R. 8, the universal background checks bill, by 
raising this issue of the NICS list and trying to whip up opposition by 
our veterans service organizations, so I have seen him act in a 
different context against H.R. 8.
  Why he sought in committee to attach legislation related to guns to a 
women's health bill and to expanding opportunities for women veterans 
to utilize fully the benefits they have earned, I cannot fully 
comprehend that attempt.
  I can say, in many instances, I responded to the ranking member's 
requests to actually go outside of regular order for the minority's 
benefit.
  Let me say that I want to use this time now to yield 3 minutes the 
gentlewoman from California (Ms. Brownley), the author of this truly 
historic legislation, chairwoman of our Subcommittee on Health, and 
also the author of the legislation.

  Ms. BROWNLEY of California. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman for 
bringing my bill, the Deborah Sampson Act, to the floor. And I thank 
the ranking member for his support as well.
  In 1782, Deborah Sampson disguised herself as a man so she could 
serve in the Revolutionary War to protect and defend our democracy. She 
was wounded in that war. Her forehead had a gash from a sword, and she 
was shot in the leg. But serving as a man made her invisible.
  Too many decades later, Congress finally granted her petitions for 
the benefits she deserved, and she became one of the first American 
women recognized for her military service.
  Women have served on land, air, and sea in every conflict in our 
Nation's history, yet their remarkable and brave service is often 
overlooked.
  Through my work as chair of the Women Veterans Task Force, I have met 
with countless women veterans across the country who, like Deborah 
Sampson, feel invisible. Their service often goes unnoticed, while 
veteran men around them are always thanked.
  Sadly, women veterans are often harassed when they go to the VA for 
help. This denies them the equitable access to the benefits and care 
they have earned and deserve.
  On a recent visit to VA's only women-centric residential substance 
abuse rehabilitation program, an Army veteran told me the program saved 
her life. When women-focused resources exist, women veterans use them, 
and they thrive.
  That is why this bill is vital for America's 2 million women 
veterans. It will ensure that women have consistent access to 
comprehensive, gender-specific care and services. It will help stop 
harassment and ensure that women veterans are fully recognized for 
their service.
  In 1836, John Quincy Adams stood on the House floor and called Debra 
Sampson's ``heroism, fidelity, and courage'' of the ``very highest and 
noblest order.'' Congress recognized Debra Sampson's service and, in 
doing so, ensured that she was no longer invisible.
  To America's women veterans of today, I stand here to say: We see 
you, and you are invisible no longer.
  I would like to thank Representatives Allred, Brindisi, Correa, 
Cunningham, Delgado, Levin, Lee, Pappas, Rose, Underwood, Velazquez, 
and Wild, who contributed to this legislation.
  I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 3224 to fully recognize and 
honor women veterans' service.

[[Page H8772]]

  

  Mr. TAKANO. Mr. Speaker, may I inquire as to how much time I have 
remaining.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from California has 9\1/2\ 
minutes remaining. The gentleman from Tennessee has 6\1/2\ minutes 
remaining.
  Mr. TAKANO. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. DAVID P. ROE of Tennessee. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the 
gentleman from Lexington, Kentucky (Mr. Barr), my good friend who is a 
member of our Veterans' Affairs Committee. He has been a tireless 
supporter of veterans. I have been in his district on several 
occasions, and the veterans have no better friend than Congressman 
Barr.
  Mr. BARR. Mr. Speaker, I thank my good friend, Dr. Roe. I wish the 
gentleman a happy belated Veterans Day, and I hope he had a good 
weekend. I certainly did back home in Lexington, Kentucky, at Veterans 
Park with the Veterans Park Elementary School choir singing to our 
great veterans back home.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 3224, as amended, 
the Deborah Sampson Act.
  As my colleagues before me have already pointed out, women have 
served our country since the very earliest days of the American 
Revolution. But as the fastest growing segment of our veteran 
population, they are only now starting to get the recognition that they 
deserve.
  I am proud to be here today to support this bill that will ensure 
that the Department of Veterans Affairs provides them the care and 
benefits that their service and their sacrifices have entitled them to.
  And I commend the gentlewoman from New York for her leadership on 
this important legislation.
  I do have to say, Mr. Speaker, however, that any characterization 
that my Republican colleagues on the Veterans' Affairs Committee and I 
feel anything less than pride in the many women who have served and the 
many women who continue to serve today, and a steadfast commitment to 
support them and to meet their needs, is simply untrue. Had my 
colleagues or I been allowed to speak on this bill in committee, that 
would have been very evident to any Member of this House.
  What my colleagues and I do object to are the overly partisan tactics 
that were deployed by the majority when this important bill was being 
considered.

  I am new to the Veterans' Affairs Committee in this Congress, but I 
know that the committee has a long tradition of bipartisanship, where 
Members check their party affiliations at the door and do not shy away 
from debates or disagreements in the spirit of living up to the very 
democratic ideals that our veterans fought to defend. Unfortunately, we 
seem to have lost sight of that great tradition this year.
  As Dr. Roe referenced in his comments earlier, I have been trying 
since February to address an unintended consequence of a House-passed 
bill that could allow an accused child molester who is awaiting 
prosecution to care for a veteran's child in a VA childcare program.
  I do not know any parent in any political party who would want one of 
their own children to be cared for by someone who has been charged with 
a serious crime, like a sexual assault against a minor, before they 
have been fully cleared. Yet, the majority has twice used parliamentary 
procedures rarely if ever seen in the Veterans' Affairs Committee to 
refuse to allow our committee to consider my legislation to prevent 
that from happening to the child of one of our Nation's veterans.
  Most recently, the majority did that when this bill, the Deborah 
Sampson Act, was being considered. Their actions were so unexpected 
that my colleagues and I left the markup when it became clear that the 
chairman was not going to allow us, or any other Member, the 
opportunity to speak, much less offer amendments, and declared that we 
were done voting on the bill.
  I resent the comment that this amendment was not offered in good 
faith.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Mr. DAVID P. ROE of Tennessee. Mr. Speaker, I yield the gentleman 
from Kentucky another 30 seconds.
  Mr. BARR. Mr. Speaker, I can assure you, as the former president of 
Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky, this amendment was offered very much in 
good faith.
  It is disappointing, and it is deeply ironic, given that lack of 
childcare, while certainly not solely a woman's issue, is a well-known 
barrier to care for many women veterans, as my Democratic colleagues 
have pointed out over this past year.

                              {time}  1815

  Given that, it continues to astound me that the chairman would not 
allow us to even discuss my amendment--much less vote on it--and then 
immediately send a press release out after the markup accusing me and 
my fellow Republicans of walking out on the women veterans that my 
amendment would have helped to better serve.
  Mr. TAKANO. Mr. Speaker, it is the essence of bad faith to stand on 
this floor and imply that Democrats do not want or care about the 
safety of our children.
  Let's be clear that the gentleman from Tennessee offered this as a 
motion to recommit, this language, to Ms. Brownley's bill and then, 
after fervently arguing why it was so necessary to be included in Ms. 
Brownley's bill, turned around and voted with every other Member of 
this Chamber for Ms. Brownley's bill. I cite that as evidence that 
there are some crocodile tears being cried here.
  I now yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from Illinois (Ms. 
Underwood), my good friend and a member of the House Veterans Affairs' 
Subcommittee on Health.
  Ms. UNDERWOOD. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 
3224, the Deborah Sampson Act.
  This past Sunday, our office honored over 200 Vietnam war period 
veterans in my district in northern Illinois at a pinning ceremony to 
show our appreciation for their service to our country.
  Today, the day after Veterans Day, I am so proud to be on the House 
floor to continue our work on behalf of veterans.
  I would first like to thank Representative Brownley and my other 
colleagues who have worked so hard to compile this important bill in 
the House.
  In addition to providing better access to resources and benefits 
offered by the VA, the Deborah Sampson Act contains several provisions 
to ensure that women veterans have equitable access to high-quality, 
gender-specific healthcare.
  I am proud that my bill, the Caring for Our Women Veterans Act, is 
included in the Deborah Sampson Act.
  We know that the VA is committed to providing care to all veterans, 
but many VA facilities are not sufficiently equipped to provide 
comprehensive care to women veterans. The Caring for Our Women Veterans 
Act, now sections 305 to 307 of the Deborah Sampson Act, will empower 
the VA to fulfill its mission to honor all veterans.
  The legislation requires VA to report locations where gender-specific 
services are used, how facilities can be improved, and where specialty 
staff is most needed to effectively care for women veterans.
  This legislation will provide VA with the data it needs to 
effectively upgrade clinics and hospitals; to hire, train, and retain 
staff; and, most importantly, to provide earned healthcare to women 
veterans. These changes are long overdue, and it is now even more 
pressing that this legislation is passed.
  Women have served honorably in the Armed Forces since the founding of 
these United States, and women veterans are the fastest growing group 
within the veteran population.
  We have a collective responsibility to care for our veterans when 
they return home, and the Deborah Sampson Act helps achieve that by 
removing barriers that women veterans face on a daily basis. I urge my 
colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support my bill, the Caring 
for Our Women Veterans Act, and the underlying Deborah Sampson Act.
  Mr. DAVID P. ROE of Tennessee. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of 
my time.
  Mr. TAKANO. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from 
California (Mr. Correa), my good friend.
  Mr. CORREA. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 3224, the Deborah

[[Page H8773]]

Sampson Act, as amended. I am proud to join my colleague, 
Representative Brownley of California, in support of this most 
important bill to improve the healthcare provided for America's more 
than 2 million women veterans.
  I thank the chairwoman of the House Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee on 
Health for including my bipartisan bill, Improving Oversight of Women 
Veterans' Care Act.
  In 2016, the Government Accountability Office reported that the 
Veterans Health Administration had limited information on the VA 
medical centers' compliance with certain health standards for women 
veterans and access to gender-specific care provided by non-VA doctors.
  In response, this legislation requires an annual report on the access 
of gender-specific services provided under community care contracts, 
including the average wait and driving times.
  This bill is also directing the VA to establish a report on 
facilities' compliance with environment of care standards.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Mr. TAKANO. Mr. Speaker, I yield an additional 20 seconds to the 
gentleman from California.
  Mr. CORREA. Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to pass H.R. 3224.
  Mr. DAVID P. ROE of Tennessee. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of 
my time.
  Mr. TAKANO. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from 
Pennsylvania (Ms. Wild), my good friend.
  Ms. WILD. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of this bill.
  Today, in my community and across our country, far too many Americans 
lack adequate access to fair housing, quality healthcare, and simple 
legal services, and too many of those Americans are veterans.
  Today, women continue to take on new roles and responsibilities in 
every branch of our armed services. According to Iraq and Afghanistan 
Veterans of America, more than 345,000 women have deployed since 9/11.
  When these women return home, they face different challenges than 
their male counterparts, and they are disproportionately affected by 
crises that affect veterans of both genders, like homelessness, with 
women veterans making up the fastest growing portion of the homeless 
vet population.

  Last week, I had the privilege of speaking with women veterans in my 
district about these issues and other issues, and I heard how critical 
these problems are for them.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentlewoman has expired.
  Mr. TAKANO. Mr. Speaker, I yield an additional 20 seconds to the 
gentlewoman from Pennsylvania.
  Ms. WILD. That is why I am so proud to have introduced the Improving 
Legal Services for Female Veterans Act, which is included in the 
Deborah Sampson Act.
  The very least that our men and women in uniform should be able to 
expect once they come home is that they won't have to fight for basic 
dignity, support, and opportunity after they put their lives on the 
line for our country.
  Mr. TAKANO. Mr. Speaker, I have no further speakers, and I am 
prepared to close. I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. DAVID P. ROE of Tennessee. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the 
balance of my time.
  Mr. Speaker, certainly I think, on our side of the aisle, we are 
going to call for a recorded vote on this. This bill will pass 
overwhelmingly, and I congratulate Congresswoman Brownley, who is a 
good friend, for bringing this legislation forward. She has worked 
tirelessly for this, and I think you are going to see great support. 
The VA has a long way to go in doing this.
  I will say this. If I am privileged enough to get reelected to this 
body and to be placed on the Veterans' Affairs Committee again and to 
chair this committee, I will make this statement right here on the 
floor now: I will not treat the minority the same way we have been 
treated.
  The only way we have been able to bring legislation up on this floor 
when we are shut out is the amendment process, and we can debate it and 
vote it up or down. That is what Americans do.
  We should bring these bills up, and if they don't float on their 
merit in the majority, I am a big boy, I understand that. If you lose, 
you lose, and if you win, you win. But we should be allowed to be 
heard.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. TAKANO. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.
  Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to hear that the ranking member 
recommends to his colleagues and all Members of the House that they 
support this excellent legislation by Representative Brownley.
  The minority knew in committee that this was excellent legislation. I 
am sorry to see that they chose procedural games to play politics with 
an excellent piece of legislation that they now say they are 
supporting, and I am very pleased that they are going to support this 
legislation.
  I urge my colleagues to pass this excellent bill. We worked hard to 
put this legislation in the form that would be acceptable to all 
Members of the House, and that is why we are moving this legislation 
under suspension of the rules.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge all my colleagues to support this bill, and I 
yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. SABLAN. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 3224, the Deborah 
Sampson Act, which removes barriers faced by women veterans accessing 
health care and benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  Our country has more than 2 million women veterans who live in every 
Congressional district, including the Northern Mariana Islands.
  And the number of women veterans seeking VA health care has doubled 
since 2000.
  While the women veteran population continues to grow, the VA has not 
kept up in providing the care and services tailored to their unique 
health care needs.
  The Deborah Sampson Act, which I cosponsored, improves women's care 
at the VA by requiring at least one designated women's health provider 
in each VA facility, retrofitting existing medical facilities to 
improve privacy and environmental care conditions, and expanding access 
to newborn care. The bill also increases funding for legal and support 
services to focus on unmet needs among women veterans, like prevention 
of eviction and foreclosure and child support issues.
  Passage of H.R. 3224 is critical to ensuring the VA has the capacity 
and resources to meet the current and future needs of women veterans.
  I thank the gentlelady from California, Ms. Brownley, for her 
leadership on this legislation and urge my colleagues to support H.R. 
3224.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from California (Mr. Takano) that the House suspend the rules 
and pass the bill, H.R. 3224, as amended.
  The question was taken.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. In the opinion of the Chair, two-thirds 
being in the affirmative, the ayes have it.
  Mr. ROE of Tennessee. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and 
nays.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX, further 
proceedings on this motion will be postponed.

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