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107th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                     107-570

======================================================================







 
TO AMEND THE CHARTER OF THE VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS OF THE UNITED 
  STATES ORGANIZATION TO MAKE MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES WHO RECEIVE 
  SPECIAL PAY FOR DUTY SUBJECT TO HOSTILE FIRE OR IMMINENT DANGER 
  ELIGIBLE FOR MEMBERSHIP IN THE ORGANIZATION, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

                                _______
                                

   July 12, 2002.--Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be 
                                printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Sensenbrenner, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 3838]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the 
bill (H.R. 3838) to amend the charter of the Veterans of 
Foreign Wars of the United States organization to make members 
of the armed forces who receive special pay for duty subject to 
hostile fire or imminent danger eligible for membership in the 
organization, and for other purposes, having considered the 
same, reports favorably thereon without amendment and 
recommends that the bill do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Purpose and Summary..............................................     2
Background and Need for the Legislation..........................     2
Hearings.........................................................     2
Committee Consideration..........................................     2
Vote of the Committee............................................     2
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     2
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................     3
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................     3
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................     3
Constitutional Authority Statement...............................     4
Section-by-Section Analysis and Discussion.......................     4
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............     4
Markup Transcript................................................     5

                          Purpose and Summary

    H.R. 3838 would amend the Federal charter of the Veterans 
of Foreign Wars (VFW).

                Background and Need for the Legislation

    The charter of the VFW would be amended by H.R. 3838 to 
allow any member of the Armed Forces who has received hostile 
fire or imminent danger pay to be a member of the VFW. 
Currently, the language of the charter provides that the member 
of the Armed Forces must have served honorably and received a 
campaign medal for service or have served honorably for a 
specific period on the Korean peninsula. Without this amendment 
members of the Armed Forces who served under equally as 
dangerous conditions as those experienced in campaign medal 
service and Korea in conflict areas such as Somalia or Kosovo 
cannot be eligible for VFW membership.
    The VFW charter would also be amended to include the word 
``charitable'' as one of the purposes of the VFW. According to 
the VFW, its members volunteered millions of hours and gave 
support to local communities and the needy in the millions of 
dollars in 2001 and volunteerism has always been a large part 
of the mission of the VFW. In some States, VFW is being denied 
qualification as a charitable organization under section 501(c) 
of the Tax Code because the word ``charitable'' is not included 
in their charter language regardless of the level of charitable 
work that the VFW provides. The amendment would remedy that 
problem.
    These amendments to the VFW charter reflect the language of 
two resolutions approved by the voting delegates of the VFW at 
their National Convention.

                                Hearings

    No hearings were held on H.R. 3838.

                        Committee Consideration

    On April 17, 2002, the Subcommittee on Immigration and 
Claims met in open session and ordered favorably reported the 
bill H.R. 3838, by voice vote, a quorum being present. On July 
10, 2002, the Committee met in open session and ordered 
favorably reported the bill H.R. 3838 without amendment by 
voice vote, a quorum being present.

                         Vote of the Committee

    There were no recorded votes taken on H.R. 3838.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee reports that the 
findings and recommendations of the Committee, based on 
oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) of rule X of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, are incorporated in the 
descriptive portions of this report.

                    Performance Goals and Objectives

    H.R. 3838 is amended to allow veterans from any conflicts 
that involved hostile fire or imminent danger pay to become 
members of the VFW and clarifies that one of the purposes of 
the organization is charitable work.

               New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures

    Clause 3(c)(2) of House rule XIII is inapplicable because 
this legislation does not provide new budgetary authority or 
increased tax expenditures.

               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee sets forth, with 
respect to the bill, H.R. 3838, the following estimate and 
comparison prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, July 12, 2002.
Hon. F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., Chairman,
Committee on the Judiciary,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 3838, a bill to 
amend the charter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
States organization to make members of the armed forces who 
receive special pay for duty subject to hostile fire or 
imminent danger eligible for membership in the organization, 
and for other purposes.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Melissa E. 
Zimmerman, who can be reached at 226-2840.
            Sincerely,
                                  Dan L. Crippen, Director.

Enclosure

cc:
        Honorable John Conyers, Jr.
        Ranking Member
H.R. 3838--A bill to amend the charter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars 
        of the United States organization to make members of the Armed 
        Forces who receive special pay for duty subject to hostile fire 
        or imminent danger eligible for membership in the organization, 
        and for other purposes.
    H.R. 3838 would make several changes to the Federal charter 
for the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, a 
veterans association. These changes would confer no Federal 
benefits. Thus, CBO estimates that enacting this legislation 
would result in no cost to the Federal Government. Because H.R. 
3838 would not affect direct spending or receipts, pay-as-you-
go procedures would not apply. The bill contains no 
intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would not affect the budgets 
of State, local, or tribal governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Melissa E. 
Zimmerman, who can be reached at 226-2840. This estimate was 
approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant Director for 
Budget Analysis.

                   Constitutional Authority Statement

    Pursuant to clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee finds the authority for 
this legislation in article 1, section 8 of the Constitution.

               Section-by-Section Analysis and Discussion

SECTION 1. AMENDMENTS TO VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS OF THE UNITED STATES 
                                CHARTER

    Section 1(a) adds a subsection to 36 U.S.C. 230103 to make 
membership in the VFW available to any individual who served in 
an area where, because they were subject to hostile fire or 
imminent danger as defined in 37 U.S.C. 310, they were entitled 
to special pay.
    Section 1(b) adds the word ``charitable'' to the section of 
the VFW charter which states the purpose of the organization.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italics, existing law in which no change 
is proposed is shown in roman):

                     TITLE 36, UNITED STATES CODE

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


           SUBTITLE II--PATRIOTIC AND NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                         PART B--ORGANIZATIONS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


      CHAPTER 2301--VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS OF THE UNITED STATES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 230102. Purposes

    The purposes of the corporation are fraternal, patriotic, 
historical, charitable, and educational, and are--
            (1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 230103. Membership

    An individual is eligible for membership in the corporation 
only if the individual served honorably as a member of the 
Armed Forces of the United States--
            (1) in a foreign war, insurrection, or expedition 
        in service that--
                    (A) * * *
                    (B) is governed by the authorization of the 
                award of a campaign badge by the United States 
                Government; [or]
            (2) on the Korean peninsula or in its territorial 
        waters for at least 30 consecutive days, or a total of 
        60 days, after June 30, 1949[.]; or
            (3) in an area which entitled the individual to 
        receive special pay for duty subject to hostile fire or 
        imminent danger under section 310 of title 37.

                           Markup Transcript



                            BUSINESS MEETING

                        WEDNESDAY, JULY 10, 2002

                  House of Representatives,
                                Committee on the Judiciary,
                                                    Washington, DC.
    The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:17 a.m., in 
Room 2141, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. F. James 
Sensenbrenner, Jr. [Chairman of the Committee] presiding.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The Committee will be in order. A 
working quorum is present.
    It is the intention of the Chair to deal with the three 
veterans bills en bloc and then the two private bills en bloc 
before getting to the homeland security bill, H.R. 5005.
    The first item on the agenda is the consideration of H.R. 
3838, 3214, and 3988, which, without objection, will be 
considered en bloc. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from 
Pennsylvania, Mr. Gekas, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on 
Immigration, Border Security, and Claims, for a motion.
    Mr. Gekas. Mr. Chairman, the Subcommittee on Immigration, 
Border Security, and Claims reports favorably the bills H.R. 
3838, H.R. 3214, and H.R. 3988, and moves their favorable 
recommendation to the full House.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Without objection, the bills will 
be considered as read and open for amendment at any point.
    [The bill, H.R. 3838, follows:]
    
    
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The Chair recognizes the gentleman 
from Pennsylvania to strike the last word.
    Mr. Gekas. I thank the Chair.
    These three bills attend to membership problems that have 
been encountered by three of our esteemed veterans 
organizations: the American Legion, the VFW, and AMVETS. In 
each case, the current language of their charters prevents 
veterans from succeeding conflicts or wars or battles to be 
eligible for respective membership in those organizations.
    For instance, in the VFW problem, the veterans from the 
action in Somalia and Kosovo would be ineligible under the 
current charter language. This would cure that and mean--it 
would allow those which were actually conflicts and people 
actually died, those would be cleared up in the language of the 
new charter.
    As to the AMVETS, which was currently--is currently 
restricted to American veterans of World War II, Korea, and 
Vietnam, the language is changed to allow people to join who 
had been in consequent conflicts and wars after those three. So 
people in Desert Storm and Desert Shield, for instance, 
otherwise ineligible, would now become eligible for the AMVETS.
    In the Legion, by quirk of the current language, the people 
who are veterans of Desert Shield and Desert Storm again and 
Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan would not be eligible to 
join the American Legion. This language, as we propose, would 
allow them to qualify for those.
    I ask for unanimous approval of these three bills.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentlewoman from Texas, Ms. 
Jackson Lee.
    Ms. Jackson Lee. Thank you very much. Let me indicate my 
support for these three bills, which, again, would amend the 
Federal charter of the American veterans of World War II under 
H.R. 3214, and would--World War II, Korea, and Vietnam vets, to 
reflect changes made at their 1998 convention, and in H.R. 3838 
would amend the Federal charter of the Veterans of Foreign 
Wars. This legislation would allow any member of the Armed 
Forces who received hostile fire or imminent danger pay to be a 
member of the VFW. And I agree with taking them en bloc, and 
H.R. 3988, this bill makes a technical amendment to the 
membership qualifications language of the Federal charter of 
the American Legion. We're doing as we have been asked and 
reviewed, and, therefore, I ask my colleagues to unanimously 
support this legislation as we move forward.
    Mr. Coble. Mr. Chairman?
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Without objection, all Members may 
insert opening statements in the record at this point.
    Are there amendments? The gentleman from North Carolina.
    Mr. Coble. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word and 
will not consume my 5 minutes.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman is recognized for 5 
minutes.
    Mr. Coble. I'd like to ask the gentleman from Pennsylvania 
a question, if I may.
    Mr. Gekas, it is my belief that the agencies involved 
endorse these proposals.
    Mr. Gekas. That's correct. The individual organizations 
themselves approve, of course, and many of the current members 
approve, from what we've been able to discern, and future 
members, of course, would like to see----
    Mr. Coble. I thank you.
    Reclaiming my time, Mr. Chairman, I'm a member of the VFW 
and the American Legion Post back in North Carolina, and I 
can't speak nationally but I know back home our post continues 
to suffer the loss of membership of younger members. Most of 
our members are--I don't mean in the geezer stage, but at least 
we're advancing in age, and I think--I think these proposals 
will address that and probably bring--why is everybody smiling 
when I say ``geezer'' and looking at me?
    But I yield back, Mr. Chairman, and endorse passage.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Without objection, the gentleman 
from North Carolina's name will be stricken from the roll of 
geezers.
    Are there amendments? [Laughter.]
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Hearing none, the Chair notes the 
presence of a reporting quorum. The question occurs on the 
motion to report H.R. 3838, 3214, and 3988 favorably en bloc. 
Those in favor will say aye. Opposed, no.
    The ayes appear to have it, and the motion to report 
favorably is adopted.
    Without objection, the Chairman is authorized to move to go 
to conference pursuant to House rules. Without objection, the 
staff is directed to make any technical and conforming changes, 
and all Members will be given 2 days, as provided by the rules, 
in which to submit additional dissenting, supplemental, or 
minority views.