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108th Congress                                            Rept. 108-572
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                      Part 1

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



 
                  VETERANS EARN AND LEARN ACT OF 2004

                                _______
                                

                 June 25, 2004.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

   Mr. Smith of New Jersey, from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 1716]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

  The Committee on Veterans' Affairs, to whom was referred the 
bill (H.R. 1716) to amend title 38, United States Code, to 
improve educational assistance programs of the Department of 
Veterans Affairs for apprenticeship or other on-job training, 
and for other purposes, having considered the same, reports 
favorably thereon with an amendment and recommends that the 
bill as amended do pass.

  The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS; REFERENCES TO TITLE 38, 
                    UNITED STATES CODE.

  (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Veterans Earn and 
Learn Act of 2004''.
  (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents of this Act is as 
follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents; references to title 38, United 
States Code.
Sec. 2. Reference to title 38, United States Code.

                       TITLE I--EDUCATION MATTERS

Sec. 101. Findings.
Sec. 102. Modification of benefit entitlement charges for certain on-
job training programs.
Sec. 103. Incentive payment for early completion of apprenticeship 
training.
Sec. 104. Increase in benefit for individuals pursuing apprenticeship 
or on-job training.
Sec. 105. Authority for competency-based apprenticeship programs.
Sec. 106. Pilot program to provide on-job benefits to train Department 
of Veterans Affairs' claims adjudicators.
Sec. 107. Requirement for coordination of data among the Departments of 
Veterans Affairs, Defense, and Labor with respect to on-job training.
Sec. 108. Technical and conforming amendments.

               TITLE II--BENEFITS AND EMPLOYMENT MATTERS

Sec. 201. Codification of administrative actions relating to 
presumptions of service connection for veterans exposed to ionizing 
radiation.
Sec. 202. Offset of veterans' disability compensation and dependency 
and indemnity compensation from awards under radiation exposure 
compensation program.
Sec. 203. Exclusion of life insurance proceeds from consideration as 
income for veterans' pension purposes.
Sec. 204. Effective date of death pension.
Sec. 205. Certain service-connected disability benefits authorized for 
persons disabled by treatment or vocational rehabilitation provided by 
the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Sec. 206. Report of employment placement, retention, and advancement of 
recently separated servicemembers.

                       TITLE III--HOUSING MATTERS

Sec. 301. Increase in, and annual indexing of, maximum amount of home 
loan guaranty for construction and purchase of homes.
Sec. 302. Authority to provide specially adapted housing to certain 
disabled veterans.
Sec. 303. Transitional housing amendments.

                   TITLE IV--MEMORIAL AFFAIRS MATTERS

Sec. 401. Eligibility of certain persons for burial in Arlington 
National Cemetery.
Sec. 402. Designation of Prisoner of War/Missing in Action National 
Memorial, Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside, California.

                     TITLE V--MISCELLANEOUS MATTERS

Sec. 501. Technical amendments relating to the United States Court of 
Appeals for Veterans Claims.
Sec. 502. Cross-reference amendments relating to concurrent payment of 
retired pay and veterans' disability compensation.

SEC. 2. REFERENCE TO TITLE 38, UNITED STATES CODE.

   Except as otherwise expressly provided, whenever in this Act an 
amendment or repeal is expressed in terms of an amendment to, or repeal 
of, a section or other provision, the reference shall be considered to 
be made to a section or other provision of title 38, United States 
Code.

                       TITLE I--EDUCATION MATTERS

SEC. 101. FINDINGS.

  Congress makes the following findings:
          (1) Educational assistance programs for veterans for 
        apprenticeship and on-job training of the Department of 
        Veterans Affairs assist employers to hire and retain skilled 
        workers.
          (2) These programs establish a link between training afforded 
        to servicemembers while serving in the Armed Forces and 
        training available in civilian settings for purposes of 
        occupational licensing and credentialing.
          (3) These programs develop a more highly educated and 
        productive work force.

SEC. 102. MODIFICATION OF BENEFIT ENTITLEMENT CHARGES FOR CERTAIN ON-
                    JOB TRAINING PROGRAMS.

  (a) In General.--Section 3687 is amended by adding at the end the 
following new subsection:
  ``(e)(1) For each month that an individual (as defined in paragraph 
(3)) is paid a training assistance allowance under subsection (a), the 
entitlement of the individual shall be charged at a percentage rate 
(rounded to the nearest percent) that is equal to the ratio of--
          ``(A) such training assistance allowance for the period of 
        months involved, to
          ``(B) the applicable monthly educational assistance allowance 
        payable to the individual for such period of months.
  ``(2) For any month in which an individual fails to complete 120 
hours of training, the entitlement otherwise chargeable under paragraph 
(1) shall be reduced in the same proportion as the monthly training 
assistance allowance payable is reduced under subsection (b)(3).
  ``(3) In this section, the term `individual' means--
          ``(A) an eligible veteran for purposes of chapter 34 of this 
        title who is entitled, under chapter 30 or 34 of this title, as 
        the case may be, to monthly educational assistance allowances 
        payable under section 3015(e) of this title, or
          ``(B) an eligible person for purposes chapter 35 of this 
        title, who is entitled, under section 3510 of this title, to 
        monthly educational assistance allowances payable under section 
        3532(a) of this title
as the case may be.''.
  (b) Effective Date.--The amendment made by subsection (a) shall apply 
with respect to months beginning on or after the date that is 1 year 
after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 103. INCENTIVE PAYMENT FOR EARLY COMPLETION OF APPRENTICESHIP 
                    TRAINING.

  (a) Montgomery GI Bill.--(1) Section 3032(c) is amended by adding at 
the end the following new paragraph:
  ``(4)(A) In the case of an individual who successfully completes a 
full-time program of apprenticeship before entitlement to monthly 
educational assistance allowance payable under this subsection for that 
program is exhausted, the Secretary shall pay to the individual a lump-
sum amount equal to the difference between--
          ``(i) the total amount of educational assistance allowances 
        that could have been paid to the individual under this 
        subsection for the successful completion of that program, and
          ``(ii) the amount of educational assistance allowance paid to 
        the individual for the program under this subsection.
  ``(B) In the case of a lump sum payment paid to an individual under 
subparagraph (A), the individual's entitlement under this chapter (and 
chapter 34 of this title, if applicable) shall be charged at the 
applicable rate under paragraph (3).''.
  (2) Paragraph (1) of such section is amended by striking ``Except as 
provided in paragraph (2)'' and inserting ``Subject to the succeeding 
provisions''.
  (b) Post-Vietnam Era Veterans' Educational Assistance.--(1) Section 
3233 is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
  ``(e)(1) In the case of an individual who successfully completes a 
full-time program of apprenticeship before entitlement to monthly 
benefit payment payable under this section for that program is 
exhausted, the Secretary shall pay to the individual a lump-sum amount 
equal to the difference between--
          ``(A) the total amount of monthly benefit payments that could 
        have been paid to the individual under this section for the 
        successful completion of that program, and
          ``(B) the amount of monthly benefit payments paid to the 
        individual for the program under this section.
  ``(2) In the case of a lump sum payment paid to an individual under 
paragraph (1), the individual's entitlement under this chapter shall be 
charged at the applicable rate under subsections (c) and (d).''.
  (2) Subsection (a) of such section is amended by striking ``Except as 
provided in subsection (b)'' and inserting ``Subject to the succeeding 
provisions''.
  (c) Veterans' Educational Assistance and Survivors' and Dependents' 
Educational Assistance.--Section 3687, as amended by section 102, is 
further amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
  ``(f)(1) In the case of an individual (as defined in subsection 
(e)(3)) who successfully completes a full-time program of 
apprenticeship before entitlement to monthly educational assistance 
allowance payable for that program is exhausted, the Secretary shall 
pay to the individual a lump-sum amount equal to the difference 
between--
          ``(A) the total amount of educational assistance allowances 
        that could have been paid to the individual under subsection 
        (a) for the successful completion of that program, and
          ``(B) the amount of educational assistance allowance paid to 
        the individual for the program under subsection (a).
  ``(2) In the case of a lump sum payment paid to an individual under 
paragraph (1), the entitlement of the individual under chapter 30, 34, 
or 35 of this title, as the case may be, shall be charged at the 
applicable rate under subsection (e).''.
  (d) Selected Reserve Montgomery GI Bill.--(1) Section 16131(d) of 
title 10, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the 
following new paragraph:
  ``(4)(A) In the case of an individual who successfully completes a 
full-time program of apprenticeship before entitlement to monthly 
educational assistance allowance payable under this subsection for that 
program is exhausted, the Secretary shall pay to the individual a lump-
sum amount equal to the difference between--
          ``(i) the total amount of educational assistance allowances 
        that could have been paid to the individual under this 
        subsection for the successful completion of that program, and
          ``(ii) the amount of educational assistance allowance paid to 
        the individual for the program under this subsection.
  ``(B) In the case of a lump sum payment paid to an individual under 
subparagraph (A), the individual's entitlement under this chapter shall 
be charged at the applicable rate under paragraph (3).''.
  (2) Paragraph (1) of such section is amended by striking ``Except as 
provided in paragraph (2)'' and inserting ``Subject to the succeeding 
provisions of this subsection''.
  (e) Effective Date.--The amendments made by this section shall apply 
to programs of training beginning on or after the date of the enactment 
of this Act and ending before October 1, 2010.

SEC. 104. INCREASE IN BENEFIT FOR INDIVIDUALS PURSUING APPRENTICESHIP 
                    OR ON-JOB TRAINING.

  (a) Montgomery GI Bill.--Subsection (c)(1) of section 3032 is 
amended--
          (1) by striking ``75 percent'' and inserting ``85 percent'' 
        in subparagraph (A);
          (2) by striking ``55 percent'' and inserting ``65 percent'' 
        in subparagraph (B); and
          (3) by striking ``35 percent'' and inserting ``45 percent'' 
        in subparagraph (C).
  (b) Post-Vietnam Era Veterans' Educational Assistance.--Subsection 
(a) of section 3233 is amended--
          (1) by striking ``75 percent'' and inserting ``85 percent'' 
        in paragraph (1);
          (2) by striking ``55 percent'' and inserting ``65 percent'' 
        in paragraph (2); and
          (3) by striking ``35 percent'' and inserting ``45 percent'' 
        in paragraph (3).
  (c) Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance.--Subsection 
(b)(2) of section 3687 is amended by striking ``$574 for the first six 
months, $429 for the second six months, $285 for the third six 
months,'' and inserting ``$650 for the first six months, $507 for the 
second six months, $366 for the third six months,''.
  (d) Selected Reserve Montgomery GI Bill.--Subsection (d)(1) of 
section 16131 of title 10, United States Code, is amended--
          (1) by striking ``75 percent'' and inserting ``85 percent'' 
        in subparagraph (A);
          (2) by striking ``55 percent'' and inserting ``65 percent'' 
        in subparagraph (B); and
          (3) by striking ``35 percent'' and inserting ``45 percent'' 
        in subparagraph (C).
  (e) Effective Date.--The amendments made by this section shall apply 
with respect to months beginning on or after October 1, 2005, and 
before October 1, 2010.

SEC. 105. AUTHORITY FOR COMPETENCY-BASED APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAMS.

  (a) In General.--Section 3672(c) is amended--
          (1) by striking ``(1)'' and ``(2)'' and inserting ``(A)'' and 
        ``(B)'', respectively;
          (2) by inserting ``(1)'' after ``(c)''; and
          (3) by adding at the end the following new paragraphs:
  ``(2) The period of a program of apprenticeship may be determined 
based upon a specific period of time (commonly referred to as a `time-
based program'), based upon the demonstration of successful mastery of 
skills (commonly referred to as a `competency-based program'), or based 
upon a combination thereof.
  ``(3)(A) In the case of a competency-based program of apprenticeship, 
in determining the period of such a program, State approving agencies 
shall take into consideration the approximate term of the program 
recommended in registered apprenticeship program standards recognized 
by the Secretary of Labor.
  ``(B) The sponsor of a competency-based program of apprenticeship 
shall provide notice to the State approving agency involved of any such 
standards that may apply to the program and the proposed approximate 
period of training under the program.
  ``(4) The Secretary of Labor shall notify the Secretary upon the 
successful completion of a program of apprenticeship by a veteran, 
eligible veteran, or eligible person, as the case may be.''.
  (b) Increased Use of Apprenticeships.--Section 3672(d)(1) is amended 
by adding at the end the following new sentence: ``The Secretary of 
Labor shall provide such assistance and services to the Secretary, and 
to State approving agencies, to increase the use of apprenticeships.''.
  (c) On-Job Training.--Section 3677 is amended by adding at the end 
the following new subsection:
  ``(d)(1) The sponsor of any program of training on the job shall 
submit notice to the Secretary upon the successful completion of the 
program by the veteran, eligible veteran, or eligible person, as the 
case may be.
  ``(2) The term `training on the job' includes training commonly 
referred to as `on-job learning'.''.
  (d) Funding for Department Computer System Modifications.--From 
amounts appropriated to the Department of Veterans Affairs for fiscal 
year 2005 for readjustment benefits, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs 
shall use an amount not to exceed $3,000,000 to modify computer systems 
and to develop procedures required to carry out the amendments made by 
subsection (a) and sections 102, 103, and 104.

SEC. 106. PILOT PROGRAM TO PROVIDE ON-JOB BENEFITS TO TRAIN DEPARTMENT 
                    OF VETERANS AFFAIRS' CLAIMS ADJUDICATORS.

  Section 3677, as amended by section 105(c), is further amended by 
adding at the end the following new subsection:
  ``(e)(1) The Secretary shall conduct a pilot program under which, the 
Secretary shall operate a program of training on the job under this 
section for a period (notwithstanding subsection (c)(2)) of up to three 
years in duration to train employees of the Department to become 
qualified adjudicators of claims for compensation, dependency and 
indemnity compensation, and pension.
  ``(2) Amounts of educational assistance, monthly benefit payments, 
and training assistance allowance under chapters 30, 31, 32, 34, and 35 
of this title, as the case may be, shall be payable to such employees 
during each month of training under the program.
  ``(3)(A) Not later than 3 years after the implementation of the pilot 
project, the Secretary shall submit to Congress an initial report on 
the pilot project. The report shall include an assessment of the 
usefulness of the program in recruiting and retaining of personnel of 
the Department as well as an assessment of the value of the program as 
a training program.
  ``(B) Not later than 18 months after the date on which the initial 
report under subparagraph (A) is submitted, the Secretary shall submit 
to Congress, a final report on the pilot project. The final report 
shall include recommendations of the Secretary with respect to 
continuation of the pilot project and with respect to expansion of the 
types of claims for which the extended period of on the job training is 
available to train such employees.
  ``(4) The pilot project shall terminate 5 years after the date of the 
implementation of the project.''.

SEC. 107. REQUIREMENT FOR COORDINATION OF DATA AMONG THE DEPARTMENTS OF 
                    VETERANS AFFAIRS, DEFENSE, AND LABOR WITH RESPECT 
                    TO ON-JOB TRAINING.

  Section 3694 is amended--
          (1) by striking ``In carrying out'' and inserting ``(a) In 
        General.--In carrying out''; and
          (2) by adding at the end the following new subsection:
  ``(b) Coordination of Information Among the Departments of Veterans 
Affairs, Defense, and Labor With Respect to On-Job Training.--At the 
time of a servicemember's discharge or release from active duty 
service, the Secretary of Defense shall furnish to the Secretary such 
pertinent information concerning each registered apprenticeship pursued 
by the servicemember during the period of active duty service of the 
servicemember. The Secretary, in conjunction with the Secretary of 
Labor, shall encourage and assist States and private organizations to 
give credit to servicemembers for the registered apprenticeship program 
so pursued in the case of any related apprenticeship program the 
servicemember may pursue as a civilian.''.

SEC. 108. TECHNICAL AND CONFORMING AMENDMENTS.

  (a) Definition of Training Establishment.--Section 3452(e) is amended 
by striking ``or any State apprenticeship agency, or any State board of 
vocational education, or any joint apprenticeship committee, or the 
Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training established pursuant to the Act 
of August 16, 1937, popularly known as the `National Apprenticeship 
Act' (29 U.S.C. 50 et seq.),'' and inserting ``any State board of 
vocational education, any Federal or State apprenticeship registration 
agency, any joint apprenticeship committee established pursuant to the 
Act of August 16, 1937, popularly known as the `National Apprenticeship 
Act' (29 U.S.C. 50 et seq.),''.
  (b) Clarification of Applicable Apprenticeship Standards.--(1) 
Section 3672(c)(1), as amended by section 105(a), is amended in 
subparagraph (A) by inserting ``apprenticeship'' before ``standards''.
  (2) Section 3672(d)(1) is amended by striking ``of programs of 
training on the job (including programs of apprenticeship)'' and 
inserting ``of apprenticeship and on the job training programs''.
  (c) Record-Keeping Requirements for Qualified Providers of 
Entrepreneurship Courses.--(1) Section 3675(c) is amended by adding at 
the end the following new paragraph:
  ``(4) Notwithstanding paragraph (3), a qualified provider of 
entrepreneurship courses shall maintain such records as the Secretary 
determines to be necessary to comply with reporting requirements that 
apply under section 3684(a)(1) of this title with respect to eligible 
persons and veterans enrolled in an entrepreneurship course offered by 
the provider.''.
  (2) The amendment made by paragraph (1) shall take effect as if 
included in the enactment of section 305(a) of the Veterans Benefits 
Act of 2003 (Public Law 108-183; 117 Stat. 2660).

               TITLE II--BENEFITS AND EMPLOYMENT MATTERS

SEC. 201. CODIFICATION OF ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIONS RELATING TO 
                    PRESUMPTIONS OF SERVICE CONNECTION FOR VETERANS 
                    EXPOSED TO IONIZING RADIATION.

  (a) Covered Diseases.--Subsection (c)(2) of section 1112 is amended 
by adding at the end the following new subparagraphs:
          ``(Q) Cancer of the bone.
          ``(R) Cancer of the brain.
          ``(S) Cancer of the colon.
          ``(T) Cancer of the lung.
          ``(U) Cancer of the ovary.''.
  (b) Covered Radiation-Risk Activities.--Subsection (c)(3)(B) of such 
section is amended by adding at the end the following new clause:
                  ``(iv) Service in a capacity which, if performed as 
                an employee of the Department of Energy, would qualify 
                the individual for inclusion as a member of the Special 
                Exposure Cohort under section 3621(14) of the Energy 
                Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act 
                of 2000 (42 U.S.C. 7384l(14)).''.
  (c) Effective Date.--The amendments made by this section shall take 
effect as of March 26, 2002.

SEC. 202. OFFSET OF VETERANS' DISABILITY COMPENSATION AND DEPENDENCY 
                    AND INDEMNITY COMPENSATION FROM AWARDS UNDER 
                    RADIATION EXPOSURE COMPENSATION PROGRAM.

  (a) Offset in Lieu of Forfeiture From Disability Compensation.--
Subsection (c) of section 1112 is amended by adding at the end the 
following new paragraph:
  ``(4) A radiation-exposed veteran who receives a payment under the 
provisions of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act of 1990 (42 
U.S.C. 2210 note) shall not be deprived, by reason of the receipt of 
that payment, of receipt of compensation to which that veteran is 
entitled by reason of paragraph (1), but there shall be deducted from 
payment of such compensation the amount of the payment under that 
Act.''.
  (b) Offset in Lieu of Forfeiture From Dependency and Indemnity 
Compensation.--Section 1310 is amended by adding at the end the 
following new paragraph:
  ``(c) A person who receives a payment under the provisions of the 
Radiation Exposure Compensation Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 2210 note) shall 
not be deprived, by reason of the receipt of that payment, of receipt 
of dependency and indemnity compensation to which that person is 
otherwise entitled, but there shall be deducted from payment of such 
dependency and indemnity compensation the amount of the payment under 
that Act.''.
  (c) Effective Date.--Paragraph (4) of section 1112(c) of title 38, 
United States Code, as added by subsection (a), shall take effect with 
respect to compensation payments for months beginning after March 26, 
2002. Subsection (c) of section 1310 of such title, as added by 
subsection (b), shall take effect with respect to dependency and 
indemnity compensation payments for months beginning after March 26, 
2002.

SEC. 203. EXCLUSION OF LIFE INSURANCE PROCEEDS FROM CONSIDERATION AS 
                    INCOME FOR VETERANS' PENSION PURPOSES.

  Section 1503(a) is amended--
          (1) by striking ``and'' at the end of paragraph (9);
          (2) by striking the period at the end of the paragraph (10) 
        and inserting ``; and''; and
          (3) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
          ``(11) lump-sum proceeds of any life insurance policy on a 
        veteran, for purposes of pension under subchapter III of this 
        chapter.''.

SEC. 204. EFFECTIVE DATE OF DEATH PENSION.

  Section 5110(d) is amended--
          (1) by striking ``(1)'';
          (2) by striking ``death compensation or dependency and 
        indemnity compensation'' and inserting ``death compensation, 
        dependency and indemnity compensation, or death pension''; and
          (3) by striking paragraph (2).

SEC. 205. CERTAIN SERVICE-CONNECTED DISABILITY BENEFITS AUTHORIZED FOR 
                    PERSONS DISABLED BY TREATMENT OR VOCATIONAL 
                    REHABILITATION PROVIDED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF 
                    VETERANS AFFAIRS.

  (a) Authorized Benefits.--Section 1151 is amended by adding at the 
end the following new subsection:
  ``(c) A qualifying additional disability under this section shall be 
treated in the same manner as if it were a service-connected disability 
for purposes of the following provisions of this title:
          ``(1) Chapter 21, relating to specially adapted housing.
          ``(2) Chapter 31, relating to vocational rehabilitation.
          ``(3) Chapter 39, relating to automobiles and adaptive 
        equipment.''.
  (b) Effective Date.--Subsection (c) of section 1151 of title 38, 
United States Code, as added by subsection (a), shall apply with 
respect to eligibility for benefits and services provided by the 
Secretary of Veterans Affairs on or after the date of the enactment of 
this Act.
  (c) Administration of Offset Provision.--Subsection (b) of such 
section is amended--
          (1) by inserting ``(1)'' after ``(b)'';
          (2) by inserting ``(except as otherwise provided in paragraph 
        (2))'' after ``service-connected, then''; and
          (3) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
  ``(2) In any case in which an amount of a judgment, settlement, or 
compromise covered by paragraph (1) is specifically designated for a 
benefit other than as compensation for loss of earning capacity or for 
pain and suffering, such amount shall be offset under paragraph (1) 
only against the comparable benefit provided under this title (if any). 
Any amounts attributable to pain and suffering, loss of earnings 
capacity, or loss of consortium or society shall be offset against 
benefits otherwise payable under this chapter, and any amounts 
attributable to wrongful death shall be offset against benefits 
otherwise payable under chapter 13 of this title.''.
  (d) Effective Date.--The amendment made by subsection (c) shall apply 
with respect to any judgment, settlement, or compromise covered by 
section 1151(b) of title 38, United States Code, that becomes final on 
or after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 206. REPORT OF EMPLOYMENT PLACEMENT, RETENTION, AND ADVANCEMENT OF 
                    RECENTLY SEPARATED SERVICEMEMBERS.

  (a) Contract for Report.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall 
enter into a contract with a qualified entity to conduct a study of and 
prepare a report on the employment histories of recently separated 
servicemembers.
  (b) Content of Report.--(1) The study conducted pursuant to 
subsection (a) shall consist of an analysis of employment-related data 
that has been collected with respect to recently separated 
servicemembers.
  (2) In conducting the study, the qualified entity shall--
          (A) determine whether the employment obtained by recently 
        separated servicemembers is commensurate with training and 
        education of those servicemembers;
          (B) determine whether recently separated servicemembers 
        received educational assistance or training and rehabilitation 
        under programs administered by the Secretary of Veterans 
        Affairs under chapter 30 or 31 of title 38, United States Code, 
        or under chapter 1606 of title 10, United States Code;
          (C) determine whether transition assistance services provided 
        to recently separated servicemembers assisted those 
        servicemembers in obtaining civilian employment;
          (D) analyze trends in hiring of veterans by the private 
        sector; and
          (E) identify recently separated servicemembers who have 
        reached senior level management positions.
  (c) Use of Data.--In conducting the study under subsection (a), the 
qualified entity shall review data compiled and reported by Bureau of 
Labor Statistics and shall collect additional data on the employment 
histories of recently separated servicemembers available from such 
other sources as the qualified entity determines to be appropriate.
  (d) Contract Requirements.--(1) The contract entered into under 
subsection (a) shall contain such terms and conditions as the Secretary 
may require. The contract shall require that the report on the study be 
submitted to the Secretary not later than 2 years after the date on 
which the contract was entered into.
  (2) The report required under subsection (a) shall contain the 
findings and conclusions of the qualified entity on the study and 
specific recommendations to improve employment opportunities for 
veterans recently separated from service in the Armed Forces, including 
if appropriate recommendations for--
          (A) the establishment of networks of contacts for employment 
        of such veterans in the private sector;
          (B) outreach to private sector leaders on the merits and 
        sound business practice of hiring such veterans; and
          (C) additional methods to facilitate communication between 
        private sector employers and such veterans who are seeking 
        employment.
  (e) Funding.--Payment by the Secretary for the contract entered into 
under subsection (a)--
          (1) shall be made from the Department of Veterans Affairs 
        appropriations account from which payments for readjustment 
        benefits are made; and
          (2) may not exceed $490,000.
  (f) Definitions.--In this section:
          (1) The term ``qualified entity'' means an entity or 
        organization that meets the following requirements:
                  (A) Demonstrated experience in conducting employment 
                surveys of recently separated servicemembers, including 
                Internet-based surveys, that meet such quality 
                assurance requirements as the Secretary determines 
                appropriate.
                  (B) Demonstrated familiarity with veteran employment 
                matters.
                  (C) Demonstrated ability in developing plans to 
                market veterans as employment assets.
                  (D) Demonstrated ability to acquire services at no 
                cost from other organizations, such as technology, 
                staff services, and advertising services.
                  (E) Demonstrated ability to develop relationships, 
                establish employment networks, and facilitate 
                interaction between private and public sector leaders 
                and veterans.
          (2) The term ``employment history'' means, with respect to a 
        recently separated servicemember, training, placement, 
        retention, and advancement in employment of that servicemember.
          (3) The term ``recently separated servicemember'' means any 
        veteran (as defined in section 101(2) of title 38, United 
        States Code) discharged or released from active duty in the 
        Armed Forces of the United States during the 16-year period 
        beginning on January 1, 1990.

                       TITLE III--HOUSING MATTERS

SEC. 301. INCREASE IN, AND ANNUAL INDEXING OF, MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF HOME 
                    LOAN GUARANTY FOR CONSTRUCTION AND PURCHASE OF 
                    HOMES.

  (a) Maximum Loan Guaranty Based on 100 Percent of the Freddie Mac 
Conforming Loan Rate.--Section 3703(a)(1) is amended by striking 
``$60,000'' each place it appears in subparagraphs (A)(i)(IV) and (B) 
and inserting ``the maximum guaranty amount (as defined in subparagraph 
(C))''.
  (b) Definition.--Such section is further amended by adding at the end 
the following new subparagraph:
  ``(C) In this paragraph, the term `maximum guaranty amount' means the 
dollar amount that is equal to 25 percent of the Freddie Mac conforming 
loan limit limitation determined under section 305(a)(2) of the Federal 
Home Loan Mortgage Corporation Act (12 U.S.C. 1454(a)(2)) for a single-
family residence, as adjusted for the year involved.''.

SEC. 302. AUTHORITY TO PROVIDE SPECIALLY ADAPTED HOUSING TO CERTAIN 
                    DISABLED VETERANS.

  The text of section 2101 is amended to read as follows:
  ``(a) Acquisition of Housing With Special Features.--(1) Subject to 
paragraph (3), the Secretary may assist a disabled veteran described in 
paragraph (2) in acquiring a suitable housing unit with special 
fixtures or movable facilities made necessary by the nature of the 
veteran's disability, and necessary land therefor.
  ``(2) A veteran is described in this paragraph if the veteran is 
entitled to compensation under chapter 11 of this title for a permanent 
and total service-connected disability that meets any of the following 
criteria:
          ``(A) The disability is due to the loss, or loss of use, of 
        both lower extremities such as to preclude locomotion without 
        the aid of braces, crutches, canes, or a wheelchair.
          ``(B) The disability is due to--
                  ``(i) blindness in both eyes, having only light 
                perception, plus
                  ``(ii) loss or loss of use of one lower extremity.
          ``(C) The disability is due to the loss or loss of use of one 
        lower extremity together with--
                  ``(i) residuals of organic disease or injury; or
                  ``(ii) the loss or loss of use of one upper 
                extremity,
which so affect the functions of balance or propulsion as to preclude 
locomotion without the aid of braces, crutches, canes, or a wheelchair.
          ``(D) The disability is due to the loss, or loss of use, of 
        both upper extremities such as to preclude use of the arms at 
        or above the elbows.
  ``(3) The regulations prescribed under subsection (c) shall require 
that assistance under paragraph (1) may be provided to a veteran only 
if the Secretary finds that--
          ``(A) it is medically feasible for the veteran to reside in 
        the proposed housing unit and in the proposed locality;
          ``(B) the proposed housing unit bears a proper relation to 
        the veteran's present and anticipated income and expenses; and
          ``(C) the nature and condition of the proposed housing unit 
        are such as to be suitable to the veteran's needs for dwelling 
        purposes.
  ``(b) Adaptations to Residence of Veteran.--(1) Subject to paragraph 
(3), the Secretary shall assist any disabled veteran described in 
paragraph (2) (other than a veteran who is eligible for assistance 
under subsection (a))--
          ``(A) in acquiring such adaptations to such veteran's 
        residence as are determined by the Secretary to be reasonably 
        necessary because of such disability; or
          ``(B) in acquiring a residence already adapted with special 
        features determined by the Secretary to be reasonably necessary 
        for the veteran because of such disability.
  ``(2) A veteran is described in this paragraph if the veteran is 
entitled to compensation under chapter 11 of this title for a permanent 
and total service-connected disability that meets either of the 
following criteria:
          ``(A) The disability is due to blindness in both eyes with 5/
        200 visual acuity or less.
          ``(B) The disability includes the anatomical loss or loss of 
        use of both hands.
  ``(3) Assistance under paragraph (1) may be provided only to a 
veteran who the Secretary determines--
          ``(A) is residing in and reasonably intends to continue 
        residing in a residence owned by such veteran or by a member of 
        such veteran's family; or
          ``(B) if the veteran's residence is to be constructed or 
        purchased, will be residing in and reasonably intends to 
        continue residing in a residence owned by such veteran or by a 
        member of such veteran's family.
  ``(c) Regulations.--Assistance under this section shall be provided 
in accordance with such regulations as the Secretary may prescribe.''.

SEC. 303. TRANSITIONAL HOUSING AMENDMENTS.

  (a) Use of Veteran Volunteers.--Section 2051 is amended by adding at 
the end the following new subsection:
  ``(g) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a multifamily 
transitional housing project that is funded by a loan guaranteed under 
this subchapter may accept uncompensated voluntary services performed 
by any eligible entity (as that term is defined in section 2011(d) of 
this title) in connection with the construction, alteration, or repair 
of such project.''.
  (b) Authorization for Commercially-Leased Space.--Section 2052(c)(1) 
is amended by striking ``services'' and inserting ``services, other 
commercial activities,''.

                   TITLE IV--MEMORIAL AFFAIRS MATTERS

SEC. 401. ELIGIBILITY OF CERTAIN PERSONS FOR BURIAL IN ARLINGTON 
                    NATIONAL CEMETERY.

  (a) In General.--(1) Chapter 24 is amended by adding at the end the 
following new section:

``Sec. 2412. Arlington National Cemetery: eligibility of certain 
                    persons for burial

  ``(a)(1) The remains of a member or former member of a reserve 
component of the Armed Forces who at the time of death was under 60 
years of age and who, but for age, would have been eligible at the time 
of death for retired pay under chapter 1223 of title 10 may be buried 
in Arlington National Cemetery on the same basis as the remains of 
members of the Armed Forces entitled to retired pay under that chapter.
  ``(2) The remains of the dependents of a member whose remains are 
permitted under paragraph (1) to be buried in Arlington National 
Cemetery may be buried in that cemetery on the same basis as dependents 
of members of the Armed Forces entitled to retired pay under such 
chapter 1223.
  ``(b)(1) The remains of a member of a reserve component of the Armed 
Forces who dies in the line of duty while performing active duty for 
training or inactive duty training may be buried in Arlington National 
Cemetery on the same basis as the remains of a member of the Armed 
Forces who dies while on active duty.
  ``(2) The remains of the dependents of a member whose remains are 
permitted under paragraph (1) to be buried in Arlington National 
Cemetery may be buried in that cemetery on the same basis as dependents 
of members on active duty.''.
  (2) The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 24 is amended 
by adding at the end the following new item:

``2412. Arlington National Cemetery: eligibility of certain persons for 
burial.''.
  (b) Effective Date.--Section 2412 of title 38, United States Code, as 
added by subsection (a), shall apply with respect to interments 
occurring on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 402. DESIGNATION OF PRISONER OF WAR/MISSING IN ACTION NATIONAL 
                    MEMORIAL, RIVERSIDE NATIONAL CEMETERY, RIVERSIDE, 
                    CALIFORNIA.

  (a) Designation.--The memorial to former prisoners of war and members 
of the Armed Forces listed as missing in action that is under 
construction at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, California, 
is hereby designated as a Prisoner of War/Missing in Action National 
Memorial.
  (b) Effect of Designation.--The national memorial designated by 
subsection (a) is not a unit of the National Park System, and the 
designation of the national memorial shall not be construed to require 
Federal funds to be expended for any purpose related to the national 
memorial.

                     TITLE V--MISCELLANEOUS MATTERS

SEC. 501. TECHNICAL AMENDMENTS RELATING TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF 
                    APPEALS FOR VETERANS CLAIMS.

  (a) Restoration of Prior Provision Relating to Chief Judge.--Section 
7253(d)(1) is amended by inserting after ``(1)'' the following: ``The 
chief judge of the Court is the head of the Court.''.
  (b) Capitalization Amendments.--Section 7253(d)(4)(A) is amended by 
striking ``court'' in clauses (i) and (ii) and inserting ``Court''.
  (c) Date of Enactment Reference.--Section 7253(h)(4) is amended by 
striking ``the date of the enactment of this subsection'' and inserting 
``December 27, 2001,''.

SEC. 502. CROSS-REFERENCE AMENDMENTS RELATING TO CONCURRENT PAYMENT OF 
                    RETIRED PAY AND VETERANS' DISABILITY COMPENSATION.

  (a) Prohibition Against Duplication of Benefits.--Section 5304(a)(1) 
is amended by inserting ``as provided in section 1414 of title 10 or'' 
after ``Except''.
  (b) Waiver of Retired Pay.--Section 5305 is amended by striking 
``Any'' in the first sentence and inserting ``Except as provided in 
section 1414 of title 10, any''.

                              Introduction

    The reported bill reflects the Committee's consideration of 
ten bills introduced during the 108th Congress: H.R. 843, H.R. 
1716, H.R. 1735, H.R. 2163, H.R. 2206, H.R. 2612, H.R. 3659, 
H.R. 4065, H.R. 4172, and H.R. 4173.
    On April 30, 2003, the Subcommittee on Benefits held a 
hearing on three bills, including H.R. 1716, the Veterans Earn 
and Learn Act, introduced on April 10, 2003, by Honorable 
Christopher H. Smith and Honorable Lane Evans, the Chairman and 
Ranking Member of the Committee, respectively, and Honorable 
Henry E. Brown, Jr., and Honorable Michael H. Michaud, the 
Chairman and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Benefits, 
respectively.
    On June 11, 2003, the Subcommittee on Benefits held a 
hearing on eight bills, including H.R. 2163, introduced on May 
20, 2003, by Honorable Jeb Bradley and Honorable Michael H. 
Michaud.
    On April 29, 2004, the Subcommittee on Benefits held a 
hearing on ten bills, including H.R. 843, the Injured Veterans 
Benefits Eligibility Act of 2003, introduced on February 13, 
2003, by Honorable Silvestre Reyes, Honorable Lane Evans, 
Honorable Corrine Brown, Honorable Bob Filner, and Honorable 
Neil Abercrombie; H.R. 1735, introduced on April 10, 2003, by 
Honorable Susan A. Davis; H.R. 2206, the Prisoner of War/
Missing in Action National Memorial Act, introduced on May 22, 
2003, by Honorable Ken Calvert, Honorable Jerry Lewis, 
Honorable Mary Bono, Honorable Darrell E. Issa, and Honorable 
Joe Baca; H.R. 2612, the Veterans Adapted Housing Expansion Act 
of 2003, introduced on June 26, 2003, by Honorable Michael H. 
Michaud and Honorable Lane Evans; H.R. 4065, the Veterans 
Housing Affordability Act of 2003, introduced on March 30, 
2004, by Honorable Ginny Brown-Waite; H.R. 4172, introduced on 
April 20, 2004, by Honorable Lane Evans and Honorable Michael 
H. Michaud; H.R. 4173, introduced on April 20, 2004, by 
Honorable Michael H. Michaud, Honorable Henry E. Brown, Jr., 
Honorable Lane Evans, and Honorable Christopher H. Smith; and a 
draft bill to create an open period for active duty 
servicemembers who declined to participate in the Post-Vietnam 
Era Veterans' Educational Assistance Program to elect to 
participate in the program of basic educational assistance 
under the Montgomery GI Bill.
    On May 13, 2004, the Subcommittee on Benefits met and 
unanimously ordered H.R. 1716, as amended, reported favorably 
to the full Committee by voice vote.
    On May 19, 2004, the full Committee met and ordered H.R. 
1716, as amended, reported favorably to the House by unanimous 
voice vote.

                      Summary of the Reported Bill

    H.R. 1716, as amended, would:

    1. LMake Congressional findings with respect to the 
purposes of on-job training and apprenticeship programs 
administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) 
including: helping employers hire and retain skilled workers; 
establishing a link between training afforded to servicemembers 
and civilian training available for purposes of occupational 
licensing and credentialing; and developing a more highly 
educated and productive workforce.

    2. LModify VA on-job training and apprenticeship benefit 
entitlement rates under the Vietnam-era and survivors' and 
dependents' programs to be consistent with the entitlement 
rates for the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty and Selected 
Reserve programs and the Post-Vietnam Era Veterans' Educational 
Assistance Program. The modification would calculate benefits 
entitlement usage for all programs based on ``dollars used'' 
rather than ``time spent'' in training, to help the trainee 
conserve entitlement. This provision would take effect one year 
after date of enactment.

    3. LEstablish an incentive payment for persons 
participating in VA educational assistance programs who 
complete competency-based apprenticeship training early by 
allowing them to receive a lump sum payment for the remaining 
benefit. This provision would apply to training beginning on or 
after date of enactment and ending before October 1, 2010.

    4. LIncrease by 10 percent the percentage of the full-time 
VA monthly educational assistance allowance payable to 
individuals pursuing a full-time apprenticeship or on-job 
training program. For the first six months of training, the 
percentage of the monthly benefit would increase from 75 
percent to 85 percent; for the second six months of training, 
from 55 percent to 65 percent; and for subsequent months from 
35 percent to 45 percent. These percentage increases would 
apply to the Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty and Selected 
Reserve programs, the Post-Vietnam Era Veterans' Educational 
Assistance program, and the Survivors' and Dependents' 
Educational Assistance program. This provision would be in 
effect from October 1, 2005 through September 30, 2010.

    5. LAuthorize VA to pay benefits for competency-based 
apprenticeships and require State approving agencies to take 
into consideration the recommendation of the Secretary of Labor 
regarding the approximate term and standards for registered 
apprenticeship programs. Competency-based apprenticeships are 
completed upon demonstration of mastery of job skills rather 
than a set time period.

    6. LRequire the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish 
a 5-year pilot program that furnishes on-job training benefits 
under VA educational assistance programs to claims adjudicators 
training in its disability compensation, dependency and 
indemnity compensation, and pension programs.

    7. LRequire coordination of information among the 
Departments of Veterans Affairs, Defense, and Labor with 
respect to on-job training or registered apprenticeships 
pursued by servicemembers while serving in the military and 
their receipt of appropriate credit for such training in 
civilian training programs.

    8. LCodify VA regulations establishing cancer of the bone, 
brain, colon, lung and ovary as diseases for which a 
presumption of service connection is made for a veteran exposed 
to ionizing radiation, and amend the definition of ``radiation-
risk activity'' to include service in a capacity which, if 
performed as an employee of the Department of Energy, would 
qualify the individual for the Energy Employees Occupational 
Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000, as amended (42 U.S.C. 
Sec. 7384 et. seq.).

    9. LPermit a radiation-exposed veteran who receives payment 
under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA), 
administered by the Department of Justice, to be eligible for 
VA compensation for a disease presumed to be service connected. 
A survivor who receives a payment under RECA would be entitled 
to dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC). VA compensation 
and DIC would be offset by the amount received under RECA.

    10. LExclude life insurance proceeds from consideration as 
income for death pension benefits, and make an award of death 
pension effective the first day of the month in which the death 
occurred if the claim is received within one year from the date 
of the veteran's death.

    11. LExtend eligibility for vocational rehabilitation 
benefits and specify that specially adapted automobile and 
adaptive equipment benefits may be provided to veterans who are 
injured in a VA hospital due to negligence, carelessness, or 
similar reasons, and to veterans who are injured because of VA-
sponsored rehabilitation or training, and codify a court 
decision finding that such veterans are eligible for specially 
adapted housing grants.

    12. LDirect the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to contract 
for a report on placement, retention, and advancement of 
recently separated veterans in private sector employment for 
the purpose of determining ways to improve their employment 
opportunities.

    13. LIncrease the maximum VA home loan guaranty to 25 
percent of the Freddie Mac conforming loan amount for a single 
family residence and annually index the maximum amount of VA's 
home loan guaranty for construction or purchase of a home to 
that Freddie Mac limit. In 2004, the increase would raise from 
$240,000 to $333,700 the maximum amount for a home loan 
guaranteed by VA.

    14. LExtend eligibility for specially adapted housing 
grants to veterans with permanent and total service-connected 
disabilities due to the loss, or loss of use, of both arms at 
or above the elbow.

    15. LSpecifically allow volunteers to provide services in 
connection with the construction, alteration or repair of 
multifamily transitional housing.

    16. LMake eligible for in-ground burial at Arlington 
National Cemetery a member or former member of a reserve 
component of the Armed Forces who at the time of death was 
under 60 years of age and who, but for age, would have been 
eligible for military retired pay under title 10, United States 
Code. This provision would also extend eligibility to the 
servicemember's dependents.

    17. LMake eligible for in-ground burial at Arlington 
National Cemetery a member of a reserve component of the Armed 
Forces who dies in the line of duty while on active duty for 
training or inactive duty training. This provision would also 
extend eligibility to the servicemember's dependents.

    18. LDesignate a memorial currently under construction at 
the Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, California, as a 
National Prisoner of War/Missing In Action Memorial.

                       Background and Discussion

    Earn and Learn.--Sections 101 through 107 of the bill would 
modernize the on-job training (OJT) and apprenticeship programs 
administered by VA to reflect contemporary American business 
and industry practices and promote veterans' employment 
opportunities. These sections of the bill apply to the 
following VA educational assistance programs: the All-Volunteer 
Force Educational Assistance Program (Montgomery GI Bill-Active 
Duty), chapter 30, title 38, United States Code; the Post-
Vietnam Era Veterans Educational Assistance Program, chapter 
32, title 38, United States Code; the Vietnam-Era Veterans 
Educational Assistance Program, chapter 34, title 38, United 
States Code; the Survivors' and Dependents' Educational 
Assistance Program, chapter 35, title 38, United States Code; 
and the Educational Assistance for Members of the Selected 
Reserve Program, (Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve), chapter 
1606, title 10, United States Code.
    The goal of this chapter of the bill is to modify VA's on-
job training and apprenticeship program to reflect today's 
workplace. The Committee has consulted extensively with 
representatives of organized labor, business, and industry to 
obtain suggestions for improving the design of these programs. 
The Committee has also consulted informally with VA and the 
Department of Labor (DOL), in addition to selected states, to 
learn of their experiences in administering these programs. 
Congress has not significantly modified the content of these 
programs since World War II.
    VA's current OJT and apprenticeship programs pay veterans 
to learn as they earn an income. Rates for the various chapters 
differ somewhat, but in general, for the first six months 
veterans receive a monthly benefit of $675; for the second six 
months $496 monthly; and for the remainder of training $315 
monthly. Congress furnishes a training allowance in these 
amounts to offset the difference between the training wage and 
the wage of the fully-trained employee. OJT can last for up to 
two years; apprenticeships often last as long as five years.
    The Committee notes that traditional college education is a 
well-known part of VA's various educational assistance 
programs, including the current Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB). 
However, on-job training and apprenticeship opportunities under 
MGIB appear to be less recognized and greatly underused when 
compared to the traditional two or four year college education. 
For example, of 321,837 veterans using the MGIB (chapter 30) in 
fiscal year 2003, only 11,346 (3.53 percent) were participating 
in on-job training and apprenticeship programs.
    Under Secretary for Benefits Daniel L. Cooper advised the 
Committee by letter on September 11, 2002, that the OJT-
apprenticeship ``low participation rate is not due to a low 
number of employers but a low veteran participation. The number 
of participating employers is constantly changing, but State 
approving agencies are currently reporting about 7,000 
employers who offer one or more VA-approved OJT or 
apprenticeship programs. Only about 2,200, or not quite 32 
percent, have at least one veteran in training and receiving VA 
education benefits for the training.'' The Committee finds this 
to be unacceptable and intends to emphasize placing veterans in 
these programs to the maximum extent practicable.
    The Committee also notes that 7.2 percent of veterans who 
used the Vietnam-era GI Bill trained through apprenticeship or 
OJT. For World War II veterans, about 18 percent trained in 
this manner. The Committee believes that veterans who have 
served our country and who need apprenticeship or OJT to 
further their employment goals must be provided a better 
program. Former servicemembers bring resourcefulness and 
reliability to the workplace. The preponderance of witnesses 
testifying at the Benefits Subcommittee's April 30, 2003, 
hearing stated that former servicemembers are competitive 
business assets because of their character and commitment, as 
well as years of high quality training and practical work 
experience.
    DOL reports that 858 occupations in America offer 
apprenticeships. Apprenticeship occupations can be categorized 
as follows: arts; business and administrative support; 
installation, maintenance and repair; production; science, 
drafting and computing; and service. Occupations range from 
boilermaker to bricklayer, carpenter to cook, electrician to 
emergency medical technician, and pipe fitter to police 
officer.
    The Committee notes that economic development data from the 
states of Missouri and Pennsylvania demonstrate that these 
programs can be successful. Missouri's aggressive efforts to 
place veterans into OJT and apprenticeships with the state's 
employers provide about $38 million annually in VA education 
and training benefits to those veterans. Pennsylvania is 
reporting similar success. The Governor of Pennsylvania sends 
each separating servicemember a letter to encourage use of VA 
education and training benefits.
    About two-thirds of active duty servicemembers are married 
when they separate from the military. ``Earning and learning'' 
on the job through an OJT or apprenticeship program approved 
for veterans' training can be an excellent way for a 
servicemember to make the transition to civilian life. Because 
some military occupational skills are not readily transferable 
to the civilian economy, some veterans may have to train for a 
new occupation, or retrain to transfer their military skills to 
the civilian market. Veterans with military job skills that are 
transferable to civilian life gain by working and training on 
the job while meeting the necessary licensing and certification 
requirements. Employers gain because hiring veterans is a good 
business decision.

    Findings.--Section 101 of the bill would make Congressional 
findings with respect to broad purposes for VA's OJT and 
apprenticeship programs in both the private and public sectors 
of our economy. These include: helping employers hire and 
retain skilled workers; establishing a link between the 
training afforded to servicemembers while serving in the Armed 
Forces and the training available in civilian settings for 
purposes of occupational licensing and credentialing; and 
developing a more highly educated and productive workforce.

    Modification of benefit entitlement charges for certain on-
job training programs.--Under current law, VA calculates the 
Montgomery GI Bill active duty and Selected Reserve programs 
entitlement usage based on monthly VA payment amounts rather 
than the amount of time spent in training. This ``dollars 
used'' versus ``time spent'' method helps the trainee conserve 
entitlement while participating in the OJT or apprenticeship 
program, leaving additional entitlement for other educational 
pursuits, such as earning an associate degree in a specialized 
technology or meeting initial and on-going licensing or 
credentialing requirements. Therefore, section 102 would make 
the computation of entitlement usage for the chapter 34 and 35 
programs consistent with the ``dollars used'' method applicable 
to the newer programs.

    Incentive payment for early completion of apprenticeship 
training.--Section 103 of the bill would establish an incentive 
payment for program participants who finish their 
apprenticeship training early. As an incentive for trainees to 
complete their apprenticeship or attain journeyworker status 
early, this provision would require VA to pay the trainee a 
lump sum payment for the months of VA entitlement remaining 
that would have been needed to complete the apprenticeship. 
This approach would remove the current disincentive to gain 
journeyworker status in competency-based apprenticeships as 
soon as the veteran has demonstrated the required competencies 
for that status. This provision would be applicable for months 
beginning on or after October 1, 2005 and ending before October 
1, 2010. The Committee expects that the Secretary will monitor 
the effects of these payments on the apprenticeship programs 
and successful employment and make recommendations for 
continuation or modification of the program in future years.

    Increase in benefit for individuals pursuing apprenticeship 
or on-job training.--Section 104 of the bill would increase the 
percentage of the monthly VA benefit for trainees participating 
in VA-approved OJT or apprenticeship programs. Specifically, it 
would increase by 10 percent the percentage of the full-time VA 
monthly educational assistance allowance payable to individuals 
pursuing full-time apprenticeship or on-job training programs. 
For the first six months of training, the percentage of the 
monthly benefit would increase from 75 percent to 85 percent; 
for the second six months of training, from 55 percent to 65 
percent; and for subsequent months from 35 percent to 45 
percent. This provision would be applicable for months 
beginning on or after October 1, 2005 and ending before October 
1, 2010.

    Authority for competency-based apprenticeship programs.--
Section 105 of the bill would authorize the VA to pay benefits 
for competency-based apprenticeships. In today's workplace, 
apprenticeship programs are time-based or competency-based, or 
a combination of the two. In the case of a competency-based 
learning program, this provision requires VA to take into 
consideration the length of the program based on DOL standards. 
Apprenticeships offered in industries that elect not to 
register with the Secretary of Labor, and that are approved for 
veterans' training by a State approving agency, would continue 
to serve as legitimate training and learning opportunities for 
beneficiaries. This section would also furnish the Secretary of 
Veterans Affairs the authority to use up to $3 million to 
develop the computer systems and procedures needed to carry out 
provisions of the bill.

    Pilot program to provide on-job benefits to train 
Department of Veterans Affairs' claims adjudicators.--Section 
106 of the bill would require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs 
to establish a pilot program to furnish on-job training 
benefits to claims adjudicators training in its disability 
compensation, dependency and indemnity (DIC), and pension 
programs. The Committee notes that two of VA's four regional 
offices that adjudicate educational assistance claims already 
offer such training. The Committee further notes this pilot is 
unique because it would waive the current two-year maximum for 
on-job training. VA employees who adjudicate disability, DIC, 
and pension claims require three years to qualify as 
journeyworkers. The Committee believes this provision has the 
potential to increase VA's ability to recruit and retain former 
servicemembers in these important positions, especially given 
the number of employees forecasted to retire over the next 
three years. The Secretary would be required to submit reports 
concerning continuation and expansion of the pilot program.

    Requirement for coordination of data among the Departments 
of Veterans Affairs, Defense, and Labor with respect to on-job 
training.--Section 107 of the bill would require certain 
coordination of information among the Departments of Veterans 
Affairs, Defense, and Labor with respect to on-job training and 
apprenticeship programs: first, at the time of a 
servicemember's separation from active duty, the Secretary of 
Defense would be required to furnish to the Secretary of 
Veterans Affairs information concerning each registered 
apprenticeship pursued by the servicemember during his or her 
active duty service; and second, it would require the Secretary 
of Veterans Affairs, in coordination with the Secretary of 
Labor, to encourage and assist states and private organizations 
to grant credit to servicemembers for skills in any related 
apprenticeship the servicemember may pursue in civilian life.
    The Committee notes that sections 101 through 107 affects 
many entities in the workforce development process, including 
veterans, disabled veterans, business, industry and organized 
labor. Accordingly, a number of groups have formally supported 
these provisions, including The American Legion, Paralyzed 
Veterans of America, The Associated Builders and Contractors, 
United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the 
Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and 
Canada, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied 
Craftworkers, Association of Small Business Development 
Centers, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

    Codification of administrative actions relating to 
presumptions of service connection for veterans exposed to 
ionizing radiation.--Section 201 of the bill would codify 
current VA regulations which added bone cancer, brain cancer, 
colon cancer, lung cancer, and ovarian cancer to the list of 
those diseases presumed to be service-connected for veterans 
exposed to ionizing radiation while in service. This section 
would also codify additional locations where radiation-risk 
activities occurred for purposes of determining which veterans 
qualify for presumption of service-connection of certain 
diseases related to radiation exposure.
    VA amended its regulations for radiation-exposed veterans 
on March 26, 2002, in order to ensure that veterans seeking 
compensation for service-connected disabilities who may have 
been exposed to radiation during military service do not have a 
higher burden of proof than civilians exposed to ionizing 
radiation. Compensation is provided to civilians under the 
Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (Public Law 101-426) and 
the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program 
Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-398).

    Offset of veterans' disability compensation and dependency 
and indemnity compensation from awards under radiation exposure 
compensation program.--Section 202 of the bill would repeal a 
bar that prevents a veteran or survivor from applying for VA 
benefits if the individual had previously received compensation 
of $75,000 from the Department of Justice under the Radiation 
Exposure Compensation Act (RECA). Under current law, veterans 
who first applied for and received a RECA award are prohibited 
from receiving any VA benefits. However, veterans and survivors 
who applied for VA benefits first may then apply for the 
$75,000 RECA award, subject to offset by the Department of 
Justice of the amounts received from VA. The bill would allow 
individuals to receive any VA ``atomic veterans'' benefits for 
which they qualify; however, the amount received under RECA is 
subject to an offset. VA would withhold the benefits check each 
month until the amount of the RECA award has been offset.

    Exclusion of life insurance proceeds from consideration as 
income for veterans' pension purposes.--Section 203 and section 
204 of the bill would ease restrictions on eligibility for VA's 
death pension program for survivors. Section 203 would exclude 
life insurance proceeds from consideration of income for death 
pension benefits. Eligibility for death pension is needs-based 
and largely determined on annual income and ``net worth.'' 
Claimants who receive insurance proceeds and file a pension 
claim within 45 days of the veteran's death have insurance 
proceeds counted as part of their annual income, often reducing 
or precluding pension benefits during their first year of 
potential eligibility. However, for claimants who under current 
law receive lump sum insurance proceeds and wait until for more 
than 45 days after the veteran's death before filing a pension 
claim, the insurance proceeds are counted as ``net worth'' or 
resources rather than as income, and they receive more pension 
benefits during the first year after the veteran's death.

    Effective date of pension.--Section 204 of the bill would 
repeal the 45-day rule for the effective date of death pension. 
Under current law, an award based on a death pension claim 
received more than 45 days after the veteran's death can be 
effective no earlier than the date of the claim. However, if VA 
receives an application for death pension within 45 days of the 
veteran's death, then the effective date of the death pension 
award is the first day of the month in which the death 
occurred. Other VA benefits, such as dependency and indemnity 
compensation, are made retroactive to the date of death if the 
survivor applies for benefits within one year of the veteran's 
death.

    Certain service-connected disability benefits authorized 
for persons disabled by treatment or vocational rehabilitation 
provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.--Section 205(a) 
of the bill would allow veterans who are injured or die as a 
result of negligent or careless VA medical treatment or who are 
injured or die because of VA-sponsored rehabilitation or 
training to qualify for vocational rehabilitation benefits. In 
addition, this section specifies that specially adapted 
automobiles and adaptive equipment may be provided to such 
veterans. Under current law, those veterans who are injured or 
die under the above conditions, their dependents, and their 
surviving spouses are eligible for compensation as if the 
injury or death was service-connected. However, they are not 
currently eligible for all of the benefits awarded to veterans 
with service-connected disabilities.  See Mintz v. Brown, 6 
Vet. App. 277 (1994).
    Under the court's decision in Kilpatrick v. Principi, 327 
F.3d 1375, (Fed. Cir. 2003), veterans who qualify for benefits 
under section 1151 of title 38, United States Code, may also be 
eligible to receive a grant for specially adapted housing under 
chapter 21 of title 38, United States Code. This section would 
codify the court's decision in Kilpatrick. The Committee notes 
that in order to qualify for specially adapted housing or 
automobile grants under this provision, the disability which is 
the basis for the grant must be one which is attributable to 
the section 1151 claim.
    Section 205(b) of the bill would amend subsection (b) of 
section 1151 of title 38, United States Code, to provide that 
where a judgment, settlement or compromise of a claim is offset 
against benefits provided by the Secretary, such offset would 
be applied only to the comparable benefit. For example, if a 
judgment specifically provided $100,000 for specially adapted 
housing, the veteran would not be eligible for a specially 
adapted housing grant from VA, since the VA grant (currently 
$50,000) would be offset against the $100,000 judgment. 
Compensation benefits under section 1151 of title 38, United 
States Code, would be offset against any amounts awarded for 
loss of earnings, pain and suffering or (with respect to a 
dependent's portion of an award under section 1151), for loss 
of consortium or society. Dependency and indemnity benefits 
under chapter 13 of title 38, United States Code, would be 
offset against any amounts awarded for wrongful death. The 
Committee intends that this section should be applied in a 
manner which prevents duplicate payments under section 1151 and 
any award pursuant to a judgment, settlement or compromise of a 
claim, but would not reduce the amount of such award if no 
duplication of benefits would result.

    Report on employment placement, retention, and advancement 
of recently separated servicemembers.--Section 206 of the bill 
would direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to contract for 
a report on employment placement, retention, and advancement of 
recently separated veterans. Since 1990, approximately four 
million servicemembers have transitioned from the Armed Forces 
to the civilian sector. A comprehensive study and report on 
these individuals would provide a valuable tool in determining 
the private sector's perceptions of servicemembers as a 
workforce asset and the effectiveness of transition assistance 
services and job training programs. It would also make 
recommendations for developing a veterans' employment 
networking system.

    Increase in, and annual indexing of, maximum amount of home 
loan guaranty for construction and purchase of homes.--Section 
301 of the bill would index the maximum VA loan amount to 25 
percent of the Freddie Mac conforming loan limitation for a 
single family residence. A loan that meets the conforming loan 
limit is one that is not greater than the limit established 
each October by the Federal Housing Finance Board and meets 
generally accepted standards for quality, type and class. The 
maximum guaranty would be $83,425 for a maximum home loan of 
$333,700 regardless of the size of the unit, and would continue 
to be adjusted annually.
    Under current law, VA guarantees a maximum of $60,000 in 
the event of a default under a VA-guaranteed loan of $240,000, 
regardless of the size of the unit. The amount is not indexed, 
however, requiring Congressional action to increase the amount 
of the guaranty.
    Home prices continue to escalate in many parts of the 
country, far beyond the $240,000 home loan amount under a VA-
guaranteed loan today. For example, the April 29, 2004, 
testimony of the National Association of Realtors notes that in 
2003, the median home price across the state of California was 
$305,000 (with much higher costs in specific cities); $350,000 
for the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut areas; and $407,000 in 
Boston. The current limitation of $240,000 leaves many veterans 
unserved.

    Authority to provide specially adapted housing to certain 
disabled veterans.--Section 302 of the bill would extend 
eligibility for specially adapted housing grants to veterans 
with permanent and total service-connected disabilities due to 
the loss, or loss of use, of both arms at or above the elbow. 
Under current law, veterans who have lost (or lost the use of) 
their lower extremities, or lost their sight plus loss (or loss 
of use of) one extremity, or lost (or lost the use of) one 
lower and one upper extremity qualify for a one-time grant to 
adapt their homes to accommodate their disability. Veterans who 
have lost the use of their hands or are blind receive a smaller 
grant. The current grant amount is $50,000 for the most 
severely disabled veterans and $10,000 for less severely 
disabled veterans. This provision would provide the larger 
benefit to veterans who have lost (or lost the use of) both 
arms at the elbow joints or higher. Section 302 of the bill 
would also reorganize section 2101 of title 38, United States 
Code, for clarity. No substantive change is intended by this 
reorganization.

    Transitional Housing Amendments.--Section 303 of the bill 
would provide that a multifamily transitional housing project 
that is funded by a VA loan guaranty for such housing may 
accept uncompensated voluntary services performed by a public 
or non-profit private entity in connection with the 
construction, alteration, or repair of such projects. 
Currently, VA has no specific authority to accept voluntary 
services. This section would also authorize space for 
commercial activities other than neighborhood retail services 
and job training programs in a transitional housing project. VA 
authority currently is limited to retail services. The 
additional authority is intended to permit other types of 
businesses which can employ veterans to be located at the 
transitional housing location.

    Eligibility of certain persons for burial in Arlington 
National Cemetery.--Section 401 of the bill would eliminate the 
requirement that retired reservists be in receipt of their 
retirement pay under title 10, United States Code, to be 
eligible for in-ground burial at Arlington National Cemetery. 
Retired reservists must be 60 years old in order to receive 
retirement pay. Retirees of the reserve service who are not yet 
60 years old are often referred to as being in the ``grey 
zone.'' The bill would also make eligible for in-ground burial 
members of reserve components who die in the line of duty 
during active duty for training or inactive duty training. 
Similar legislation (H.R. 3423) passed the House on December 
20, 2001 (See H. Rept. 107-346).
    Burial space is limited at Arlington and the Committee 
appreciates the Army's interest in maintaining its strict 
eligibility rules. However, reservists play an essential role 
in the total force concept of today's military. As reservists' 
service in the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq 
demonstrate, the reserve components are responsible for 
providing many critical skills and mission capabilities. The 
Committee believes it is inequitable that a reservist who 
serves our Nation for a minimum of 20 years should be 
ineligible for in-ground burial at Arlington because he or she 
had the misfortune to die prior to attaining age 60. Similarly, 
the Committee sees no reason why a reservist should be 
disqualified for burial at Arlington because that individual 
was in training status when he or she died in the line of duty. 
In today's military, there is often no practical difference 
between active duty and training status, and members of the 
reserve components make a direct contribution to the defense of 
the Nation when technically in ``training'' status.

    Designation of Prisoner of War/Missing in Action National 
Memorial, Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside, California.--
Section 402 of the bill would designate a Prisoner of War/
Missing in Action Memorial at the Riverside National Cemetery 
in Riverside, California as a National Memorial. The memorial 
is the first phase of a larger master plan approved by the 
Riverside National Cemetery Monuments and Memorial Commission, 
a private entity, in conjunction with the VA's National 
Cemetery Administration. The memorial is not being constructed 
on land that could otherwise be used for burials, and no 
federal funds are being used to construct or maintain it. This 
provision would permit but not require federal funds to be used 
at the discretion of the Secretary for maintenance of the 
memorial, should other funding sources prove to be inadequate.

                      Section-By-Section Analysis

    Section 1 would provide that this Act may be cited as the 
``Veterans Earn and Learn Act of 2004.''

    Section 2 states that except as otherwise expressly 
provided, all references are to title 38, United States Code.

    Section 101 would make the following Congressional findings 
with respect to the on-job training and apprenticeship programs 
administered by VA: (1) educational assistance programs for 
veterans for apprenticeship and on-job training of the 
Department of Veterans Affairs assist employers to hire and 
retain skilled workers; (2) these programs establish a link 
between training afforded to servicemembers while serving in 
the Armed Forces and training available in civilian settings 
for purposes of occupational licensing and credentialing; and 
(3) these programs develop a more highly educated and 
productive work force.

    Section 102(a) would add a new subsection (e)(1) to current 
section 3687 of title 38, United States Code, ``Apprenticeship 
or other on-job training.'' This section would require that for 
each month an individual pursues an educational assistance 
program under chapters 34 or 35 of title 38, United States 
Code, and is paid a training assistance allowance, the 
entitlement of the individual be charged at a percentage rate 
that is equal to the ratio of such training assistance 
allowance for the period of months involved applicable to the 
monthly educational assistance allowance payable to the 
individual for such months. Further, this section would require 
that for any month in which an individual fails to complete 120 
hours of training, the educational assistance entitlement 
otherwise chargeable to chapter 34 and chapter 35 of title 38, 
United States Code, be reduced in the same proportion as the 
monthly training assistance allowance payable is reduced under 
subsection (b)(3) of section 3687, title 38, United States 
Code.

    Section 102(b) would make the changes to section 3687 
effective for months beginning on or after one year from date 
of enactment.

    Section 103 would authorize a new incentive payment for 
early completion of apprenticeship training.

    Section 103(a)(1) would add a new paragraph (4)(A) to 
section 3032(c) of title 38, United States Code, to require 
that in the case of an individual who successfully completes a 
full-time program of apprenticeship before entitlement to 
monthly educational assistance allowance payable under chapter 
30 of title 38, United States Code, for that program is 
exhausted, the Secretary shall pay to the individual a lump-sum 
amount equal to the difference between (1) the total amount of 
educational assistance allowances that could have been paid to 
the individual for the successful completion of that program, 
and (2) the amount of educational assistance allowance paid to 
the individual for the program. Section 103(a)(1) would also 
add a new paragraph (4)(B) which would require that a lump sum 
payment paid to an individual under chapter 30 (and chapter 34, 
if applicable) shall be charged at the applicable rate under 
paragraph (3).

    Section 103(b) would add a new subsection (c)(1) to section 
3233 of title 38, United States Code, to make the same changes 
to the Post-Vietnam Era Veterans' Educational Assistance 
Program as section 103(a) makes to the chapter 30 program.

    Section 103(c) would amend section 3687 of title 38, United 
States Code, as amended by section 102, by adding a new 
subsection (f)(1). This subsection would make the same changes 
to the Veterans' Educational Assistance and Survivors and 
Dependents' Educational Assistance program as section 103(a) 
and (b) would make to the chapter 30 and 32 programs, 
respectively.

    Section 103(d)(1) would add a new paragraph (4)(A) to 
section 16131(d) of title 10, United States Code. This section 
would make the same changes to the Montgomery GI Bill Selected 
Reserve program as sections 103(a), (b), and (c) make to the 
chapter 30, 32, and 35 programs, respectively.

    Section 103(e) would provide that the amendments made by 
this section shall apply to programs of training beginning on 
or after the date of the enactment of this Act and ending 
before October 1, 2010.

    Section 104(a) would amend section 3032(c)(1) of title 38, 
United States Code, to increase the percentage amount of the 
monthly educational assistance allowance payable for 
apprenticeship or other on-job training under the Montgomery GI 
Bill-Active Duty (1) for the first six months, from 75 percent 
to 85 percent; (2) for the second six months, from 55 percent 
to 65 percent; and (3) for the third six months, from 35 
percent to 45 percent of the institutional rate for full-time 
students.

    Section 104(b) would make the same percentage changes to 
section 3233(a) of title 38, United States Code, with respect 
to the Post-Vietnam Era Veterans Educational Assistance 
Program, as would be made under section 104(a).

    Section 104(c) would amend section 3687(b)(2) of title 38, 
United States Code which applies to apprenticeship or other on-
job training by increasing the educational assistance allowance 
for the first six months of training from $574 to $650; for the 
second six months of training from $429 to $507; and for the 
third six months of training from $285 to $366.

    Section 104(d) would make the same percentage changes to 
subsection (d)(1) of section 16131 of title 10, United States 
Code, with respect to the Selected Reserve Montgomery GI Bill, 
as would be made under sections 104(a) and (b).

    Section 104(e) would provide that section 104 takes effect 
with respect to months beginning on or after October 1, 2005, 
and before October 1, 2010.

    Section 105 would provide a new authority for competency-
based apprenticeship programs.

    Section 105(a) would create new paragraphs (2), (3)(A), 
(3)(B), and (4) in section 3672(c) of title 38, United States 
Code, to allow an apprenticeship to be determined upon a 
specific period of time (`time-based program'), or based upon 
the demonstration of successful mastery of skills (`competency-
based program'), or a combination of the two. This subsection 
would direct the State approving agencies to consider the 
approximate term of the program recommended in registered 
apprenticeship program standards recognized by the Secretary of 
Labor. This subsection would direct the sponsor of a 
competency-based apprenticeship program to provide notice to 
the State approving agency involved of any standards and the 
proposed approximate period of training time under the program. 
This subsection would further require the Secretary of Labor to 
notify VA upon the successful completion of a program of 
apprenticeship by a veteran, eligible veteran, or eligible 
person, as the case may be.

    Section 105(b) would amend section 3672(d)(1) of title 38, 
United States Code, by adding at the end a requirement that the 
Secretary of Labor provide assistance and services to VA and 
the State approving agencies to increase the use of 
apprenticeships.

    Section 105(c) would amend section 3677 of title 38, United 
States Code, by adding at the end a new section (d)(1) 
requiring that the sponsor of any program of training on the 
job notify VA upon the successful completion of a program by a 
veteran, eligible veteran, or eligible person, as the case may 
be. It would also add a new subsection (d)(2) stating the term 
`training on the job' includes training commonly referred to as 
`on-job learning'.

    Section 105(d) would provide funding for fiscal year 2005 
from the readjustment benefits appropriations account not to 
exceed $3,000,000 to modify computer systems and to develop 
procedures required to carry out the amendments made by 
subsection 105(a) and sections 102, 103, and 104.

    Section 106 would further amend section 3677 of title 38, 
United States Code, by adding subsection (c) to direct the 
Secretary of Veterans Affairs to conduct a pilot program to 
train on the job, in a three-year program, employees of VA to 
become qualified adjudicators of claims for compensation, 
dependency and indemnity compensation, and pension. Trainees 
would receive educational assistance allowance under chapters 
30, 31, 32, 34, and 35 of title 38, United States Code, 
respectively, while training. Not later than three years after 
implementation of the pilot, the Secretary would be required to 
submit a report to Congress which would include an assessment 
of the program's usefulness in recruiting and retaining 
personnel of VA as well as an assessment of the value of the 
program. Not later than 18 months after the initial report, the 
Secretary would be required to submit a final report to 
Congress which would include recommendations of the Secretary 
with respect to continuation of the pilot project and with 
respect to expansion of the program. The pilot project would 
terminate five years after implementation of the program.

    Section 107 would amend section 3694 of title 38, United 
States Code, by adding subsection (b) to require coordination 
of information among the Departments of Veterans Affairs, 
Defense and Labor with respect to on-job training. At the time 
of a servicemember's discharge, the Secretary of Defense would 
be required to furnish VA with information concerning each 
registered apprenticeship pursued by the servicemember during 
active duty. The Secretary of Veterans Affairs, in conjunction 
with the Secretary of Labor, would be required to encourage and 
assist States and private organizations to give credit to a 
servicemember for the registered apprenticeship program pursued 
while on active duty, in the same manner as any related 
apprenticeship program the servicemember may pursue as a 
civilian.

    Section 201(a) would amend subsection (c)(2) of section 
1112 of title 38, United States Code, which authorizes VA to 
presume certain diseases are service-connected for radiation-
exposed veterans by adding the following new subparagraphs: (Q) 
Cancer of the bone; (R) Cancer of the brain; (S) Cancer of the 
colon; (T) Cancer of the lung; and (U) Cancer of the ovary.

    Section 201(b) would amend subsection (c)(3)(B) of section 
1112 of title 38, United States Code, by adding ``service in a 
capacity which, if performed as an employee of the Department 
of Energy, would qualify the individual for inclusion as a 
member of the Special Exposure Cohort under section 3621(14) of 
the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program 
Act of 2000 (42 U.S.C. 73841(14).'' This service would qualify 
as a radiation risk activity for purposes of veterans' 
benefits.

    Section 202(a) would amend subsection (c) of section 1112, 
title 38, United States Code, and provide that a radiation-
exposed veteran who receives a payment under the provisions of 
the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 2210 
note) shall not be deprived, by reason of the receipt of that 
payment, of compensation to which that veteran is entitled, but 
there shall be deducted from payment of such compensation the 
amount of the payment under that Act.

    Section 202(b) would amend section 1310 of title 38, United 
States Code, to provide that a person who receives a payment 
under the provisions of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act 
of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 2210 note) shall not be deprived, by reason 
of the receipt of that payment, of receipt of dependency and 
indemnity compensation to which that person is otherwise 
entitled, but there shall be deducted from payment of such 
dependency and indemnity compensation the amount of the payment 
under that Act.

    Section 202(c) would provide that the new provisions in 
section 1112(c) and section 1310 of title 38, United States 
Code, shall take effect with respect to compensation payments 
and dependency and indemnity compensation payments for months 
beginning after March 26, 2002.

    Section 203 would amend section 1503(a) of title 38, United 
States Code, by excluding lump-sum proceeds of any life 
insurance policy on a veteran, for purposes of determining the 
income of a person otherwise eligible for pension for surviving 
spouses and children (death pension) under subchapter III of 
chapter 15.

    Section 204 would amend section 5110(d)(1) of title 38, 
United States Code, and provide that the effective date of an 
award of death compensation, dependency and indemnity 
compensation, or death pension for which an application is 
received within one year from the date of death shall be the 
first day of the month in which the death occurred. This 
section would also repeal subparagraph (2) of section 5110(d) 
which requires that an application for death pension be 
received within 45 days of death in order to be retroactive to 
the month of the veteran's death.

    Section 205(a) would amend section 1151 of title 38, United 
States Code, by adding a new subsection (c) to provide that a 
qualifying additional disability under section 1151 shall be 
treated in the same manner as if it were a service-connected 
disability for purposes of provisions under chapter 21 of title 
38, United States Code, relating to specially adapted housing; 
chapter 31 of title 38, United States Code, relating to 
vocational rehabilitation; and chapter 39 of title 38, United 
States Code, relating to automobiles and adaptive equipment.

    Section 205(b) would provide that new subsection (c) shall 
apply with respect to eligibility for benefits and services 
provided by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on or after date 
of enactment of this Act.

    Section 205(c) would amend subsection (b) of section 1151, 
title 38, United States Code, by adding a new subparagraph (2) 
providing that in the event that monies received by reason of a 
judgment, settlement, or compromise of a claim covered by 
paragraph (b)(1) are specifically designated for a benefit 
other than compensation for loss of earning capacity or for 
pain and suffering, such amount shall be offset under paragraph 
(1) only against the comparable benefit provided under this 
title (if any). Any amounts attributable to pain and suffering, 
loss of earnings capacity, or loss of consortium or society, 
shall be offset against benefits otherwise payable under this 
chapter and any amounts attributable to wrongful death shall be 
offset against benefits otherwise payable to survivors of the 
veteran under chapter 13 of this title.

    Section 205(d) would provide that the amendment made by 
section 205(c) shall apply with respect to any judgment, 
settlement, or compromise covered by section 1151(b) of title 
38, United States Code, that becomes final on or after the date 
of enactment of this Act.

    Section 206(a) would require the Secretary of Veterans 
Affairs to enter into a contract with a qualified entity to 
conduct a study of and prepare a report on the employment 
histories of recently separated servicemembers.

    Section 206(b)(1) would require that the content of the 
report consist of an analysis of employment-related data that 
has been collected with respect to recently separated 
servicemembers.

    Section 206(b)(2) would require that the qualified entity: 
(A) determine whether the employment obtained by recently 
separated servicemembers is commensurate with training and 
education of those servicemembers; (B) determine whether 
recently separated servicemembers received educational 
assistance or training and rehabilitation under programs 
administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs under chapter 
30 or 31 of title 38, United States Code; (C) determine whether 
transition assistance services provided to recently separated 
servicemembers assisted those servicemembers in obtaining 
civilian employment; (D) analyze trends in hiring of veterans 
by the private sector; and (E) identify recently separated 
servicemembers who have reached senior level management 
positions.

    Section 206(c) would require that in conducting the study, 
the qualified entity shall review data compiled and reported by 
the Bureau of Labor Statistics and shall collect additional 
data on the employment histories of recently separated 
servicemembers available from such other sources as the 
qualified entity determines to be appropriate.

    Section 206(d)(1) would require that the contract contain 
such terms and conditions as the Secretary may require, and 
contain a requirement that the report on the study be submitted 
to the Secretary not later than 2 years after the date on which 
the contract was entered into.

    Section 206(d)(2) would require that the report required by 
the contract contain the findings and conclusions of the 
qualified entity on the study and specific recommendations to 
improve employment opportunities for veterans recently 
separated from service in the Armed Forces, including, if 
appropriate, recommendations for: (A) the establishment of 
networks of contacts for employment of such veterans in the 
private sector; (B) outreach to private sector leaders on the 
merits and sound business practice of hiring such veterans; and 
(C) additional methods to facilitate communication between 
private sector employers and such veterans who are seeking 
employment.

    Section 206(e) would provide that payment by the Secretary 
for the contract entered into under subsection (a) shall be 
made from the Department of Veterans Affairs appropriations 
account from which payments for readjustment benefits are made 
and may not exceed $490,000.

    Section 206(f)(1) would define the term `qualified entity' 
as an entity or organization that meets the following 
requirements: (A) demonstrated experience in conducting 
employment surveys of recently separated servicemembers, 
including Internet-based surveys, that meet such quality 
assurance requirements as the Secretary determines appropriate, 
(B) demonstrated familiarity with veteran employment matters, 
(C) demonstrated ability in developing plans to market veterans 
as employment assets, (D) demonstrated ability to acquire 
services at no cost from other organizations, such as 
technology, staff services, and advertising services, (E) 
demonstrated ability to develop relationships, establish 
employment networks, and facilitate interaction between private 
and public sector leaders and veterans.

    Section 206(f)(2) would define the term `employment 
history' with respect to a recently separated servicemember as 
training, placement, retention, and advancement in employment 
of that servicemember.

    Section 206(f)(3) would define the term `recently separated 
servicemember' as any veteran (as defined in section 101(2) of 
title 38, United States Code) discharged or released from 
active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States during the 
16-year period beginning on January 1, 1990.

    Section 301(a) would amend section 3703(a)(1) of title 38, 
United States Code, by striking the current maximum home loan 
guaranty amount of $60,000 and replacing it with a reference to 
an amount determined annually by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage 
Corporation (Freddie Mac).

    Section 301(b) would further amend section 3703(a)(1) by 
defining the term `maximum guaranty amount' as the dollar 
amount that is equal to 25 percent of the Freddie Mac 
conforming loan limit limitation determined under section 
305(a)(2) of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation Act (12 
U.S.C. 1454(a)(2)) for a single-family residence, as adjusted 
for the year involved.

    Section 302 would amend the text of section 2101, title 38, 
United States Code, to include the loss, or loss of use, of 
both upper arms at or above the elbow as a condition that would 
qualify a veteran for the specially adapted housing grant 
authorized by this section. This section would also reorganize 
section 2101 of title 38, United States Code, for clarity.

    Section 303(a) would add a new section 2051(h) to title 38, 
United States Code, to specifically authorize the use of 
veteran volunteers in connection with the construction, 
alteration, and repair of multifamily transitional housing.

    Section 303(b) would amend section 2052(c)(1) of title 38, 
United States Code, to authorize space for other commercial 
activities in a transitional housing project, in addition to 
neighborhood retail services and job training programs.

    Section 401(a) would amend chapter 24 of title 38, United 
States Code, by adding a new section. New section 2412 of title 
38, United States Code, would make eligible for in-ground 
burial at Arlington the remains of a member or former member of 
a reserve component of the Armed Forces who was under 60 years 
of age and who, but for age, would have been eligible at the 
time of death for retirement pay under chapter 1223 of title 
10, United States Code, on the same basis as the remains of 
members of the Armed Forces entitled to retired pay under that 
chapter. It would also provide eligibility for the member's 
dependents. This section would also make eligible for in-ground 
burial at Arlington the remains of a member of a reserve 
component of the Armed Forces who dies in the line of duty 
while on active duty for training or inactive duty training on 
the same basis as the remains of a member of the Armed Forces 
who dies while on active duty. It would also provide 
eligibility for the member's dependents.

    Section 401(b) would make the effective date of this 
provision applicable with respect to interments occurring on or 
after the date of enactment of this Act.

    Section 402(a) would designate the memorial to former 
prisoners of war and members of the Armed Forces listed as 
missing in action that is under construction at Riverside 
National Cemetery in Riverside, California, as a Prisoner of 
War/Missing in Action National Memorial.

    Section 402(b) would provide that the national memorial 
designated by subsection (a) is not a unit of the National Park 
System, and the designation of the national memorial shall not 
be construed to require Federal funds to be expended for any 
purpose related to the national memorial.

   Letters Regarding Jurisdiction of the Committee on Armed Services

                                                      June 21, 2004

Honorable Christopher Smith
Chairman, Committee on Veterans' Affairs,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC

    Dear Mr. Chairman: I am writing to you concerning the 
jurisdictional interest of the Committee on Armed Services in 
matters being considered in H.R. 1716, a bill to amend title 
38, United States Code, to improve educational assistance 
programs of the Department of Veterans Affairs for 
apprenticeship or other on-job training, and for other 
purposes.
    Our Committee recognizes the importance of H.R. 1716 and 
the need for the legislation to move expeditiously. Therefore, 
while we have a valid claim to jurisdiction over a number of 
provisions of the bill, I do not intend to request a sequential 
referral. This, of course, is conditional on our mutual 
understanding that nothing in this legislation or my decision 
to forego a sequential referral waives, reduces or otherwise 
affects the jurisdiction of the Committee on Armed Services.
    Additionally, the Committee on Armed Services asks that you 
support our request to be conferees on the provisions over 
which we have jurisdiction during any House-Senate conference. 
The Committee also asks that this letter and the Committee on 
Veterans' Affairs response be included in the report of this 
bill.
    With best wishes.

            Sincerely,
                                              Duncan Hunter
                                                           Chairman
                                ------                                

                                                      June 25, 2004

Honorable Duncan Hunter
Chairman, Committee on Armed Services,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC

    Dear Mr. Chairman: Thank you for your letter of June 21, 
2004, regarding the jurisdictional interest of the Committee on 
Armed Services in the bill H.R. 1716, to improve educational 
assistance programs of the Department of Veterans Affairs for 
apprenticeship or other on-job training, and for other 
purposes. This bill was referred primarily to the Committee on 
Veterans' Affairs and additionally to the Committee on Armed 
Services.
    Your willingness to forego a sequential referral to 
expedite House consideration of H.R. 1716 is most appreciated. 
I recognize that the Committee on Armed Services has a valid 
claim to jurisdiction over certain provisions of the bill, and 
this decision to forego sequential referral is not construed by 
the Committee on Veterans' Affairs as affecting the 
jurisdiction of the Committee on Armed Services over the bill 
or as a precedent for other bills. In addition, if a conference 
on H.R. 1716 should become necessary, I will support any 
request by you for the Committee on Armed Services to be 
represented on the conference. Finally, I will include your 
letter and this reply in the report of H.R. 1716.
    Thank you for your cooperation on this matter of interest 
to both of our committees, and I look forward to working with 
you again on other matters.

            Sincerely,
                                       Christopher H. Smith
                                                           Chairman

                    Performance Goals and Objectives

    The reported bill would authorize veterans' benefits 
enhancements and program improvements under the laws 
administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as 
change burial eligibility for Arlington National Cemetery. 
Performance goals and objectives are established in VA's annual 
performance plans and are subject to the Committee's regular 
oversight. In addition, the Committee conducts regular 
oversight of Arlington National Cemetery.

             Statements of the Views of the Administration

 Statement of Honorable Leo S. Mackay, Jr., Ph.D., Deputy Secretary of 
  Veterans Affairs, Before the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, 
                        Subcommittee on Benefits

                             April 30, 2003

    Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for 
providing me the opportunity to testify before you this morning on 
three measures affecting Department of Veterans Affairs education and 
vocational rehabilitation programs and small-business opportunities for 
veterans. The three bills on today's hearing agenda include: H.R. 1460, 
the ``Veterans Entrepreneurship Act of 2003''; H.R. 1716, the 
``Veterans Earn and Learn Act''; and H.R. 1712, the ``Veterans Federal 
Procurement Opportunity Act of 2003.''
          * * * * * * *
H.R. 1716--``Veterans Earn and Learn Act''
    Mr. Chairman, H.R. 1716 would amend title 38, United States Code, 
to improve VA educational assistance programs for apprenticeship and 
other on-job training.
    Section 2 of the bill would modify the computation of on-job 
training and apprenticeship benefit entitlements under chapters 34 and 
35 of title 38, United States Code, to be the same as the entitlement 
charged under chapters 30 and 32, of that title, as well as under the 
chapter 1606, title 10 U.S.C. program. This would provide needed 
uniformity in calculating use of entitlement for such training 
regardless of the benefit chapter under which a student is eligible, 
resulting in greater equity for veterans.
    Section 3 of the bill would establish an incentive payment for 
program participants who finish their apprenticeship training early by 
requiring VA to pay the trainee a lump-sum payment for the months of VA 
entitlement remaining that would have ordinarily been needed to 
complete the apprenticeship.
    Section 4 of the bill would increase the monthly VA benefit for 
trainees who simultaneously pursue apprenticeships or on-job training 
and related classroom instruction (whether or not the trainee was 
pursuing the academic instruction as a requirement of the 
apprenticeship or voluntarily under the trainee's own initiative). 
Currently, education benefits for apprenticeship and on-the-job 
training start at 75 percent of the benefit rate payable for full-time 
institutional training and these job training benefits decrease in 
stages as the individual progresses through the training program. This 
section would pay the full-time institutional rate for periods when the 
individual is in required classroom courses while also in the job 
training program. It will also allow individuals who voluntarily enroll 
in related courses to receive an increase based on the combined 
training, but not to exceed the full-time institutional rate.
    Section 5 of the bill would codify VA's authority to pay benefits 
for competency-based apprenticeships. It would require VA to take into 
consideration the approximate term of the program recommended in 
registered apprenticeship program standards recognized by the Secretary 
of Labor. Apprenticeships offered in industries that choose not to 
register with the Secretary of Labor, and that are approved for 
veterans' training by a state approving agency, would continue to be 
available. It would also authorize VA to use up to $3 million to 
develop the computer systems and procedures needed to carry out the 
above provisions of the bill. Current law permits approval of only 
time-based, fixed length apprenticeships. The 1990's saw a steady move 
away from time-based apprenticeships toward competency-based 
apprenticeships. This change would bring approval of apprenticeships 
into the 21st century.
    Section 6 of the bill would require VA to establish a pilot program 
to furnish on-the-job benefits to claims adjudicators training in its 
disability compensation, dependency and indemnity (DIC), and pension 
programs. The pilot program would permit on-the-job training programs 
of up to 3 years to be approved for claims adjudicators who handle VA's 
Compensation and Pension programs. VA supports this program for claims 
adjudicators. Based on our past experience, the duration of this type 
of training would be approximately two years.
    Section 7 of the bill would require coordination of information 
among the Departments of Veterans Affairs, Defense, and Labor with 
respect to on-job training. The Secretary of Defense would be required 
to furnish to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs information concerning 
each registered apprenticeship pursued by the servicemember during his 
or her active duty service. It would also require the Secretary of 
Veterans Affairs, in conjunction with the Secretary of Labor, to 
encourage and assist states and private organizations to accord credit 
to servicemembers for skills in any related apprenticeship the 
servicemember may pursue in civilian life. We believe such level of 
coordination would be beneficial so that veterans can receive full 
credit for their military training and not have to unnecessarily repeat 
training they received while on active duty.
    We estimate the cost associated with enactment of H.R. 1716 to be 
$47.7 million for fiscal year 2004 and $548.4 million over ten years. 
Unless an offset is found, VA cannot support this legislation.
                                 ______
                                 

 Statement of Frederico Juarbe, Jr., Assistant Secretary for Veterans' 
 Employment and Training, Submitted for the Record to the Subcommittee 
           on Benefits, House Committee on Veterans' Affairs

                             April 30, 2003

    Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, thank you for the 
opportunity to provide comments on the ``Veterans Earn and Learn Act.'' 
This initiative offers updates to the G.I. Bill that would ensure that 
on-the-job training and apprenticeship programs are in step with the 
requirements of the 21st Century Workforce. It would also ensure that 
these programs better support the needs of military veterans of the All 
Volunteer Force as they enter civilian employment.
    This law could help the Department of Labor better achieve its 
mission in a number of ways:

    1.  It makes on-the-job training and apprenticeship programs that 
reflect today's workplace more accessible to today's veteran population 
by standardizing the way VA pays these benefits.

    2.  It encourages a higher rate of veteran participation in on-the-
job training and apprenticeships. Because of the family commitments of 
today's veterans, they must earn while they learn in their transition 
to civilian life.

    3.  It authorizes competency-based criteria for attainment of 
journeyman status in place of exclusively time-based apprenticeships. 
This is more in tune with the credentialing models of today.

    4.  It helps employers hire and retain skilled workers by bridging 
military and civilian skill-sets for the purposes of licensing and 
certification.

    5.  It will require collaboration and coordination between the 
Departments of Defense, Veterans' Affairs and Labor to ensure military-
acquired competencies are recognized in civilian workplaces.

    The Department supports the goals of this bill, in keeping with its 
efforts to meet the demands of the 21st Century Workforce. The cost for 
this program, however, is not included in the President's budget and 
offsets would have to be found.
    In conclusion, I want to thank you and the Committee for the 
opportunity to provide our input on this important piece of 
legislation.
                                ------                                


  Statement of Robert J. Epley, Associate Deputy Under Secretary for 
   Policy and Program Management, Veterans Benefits Administration, 
    Department of Veterans Affairs, Before the, House Committee on 
              Veterans' Affairs, Subcommittee on Benefits

                             June 11, 2003

    Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the 
opportunity to testify on several legislative items of interest to 
veterans. Accompanying me today is John H. Thompson, Deputy General 
Counsel.
          * * * * * * *

                               H.R. 2163

    Section 1 of H.R. 2163 would amend section 1503(a) of title 38, 
United States Code, to add lump-sum proceeds of life insurance policies 
on a veteran to the list of payments that do not count as income for 
purposes of determining eligibility for death pension benefits 
administered by VA under chapter 15 of title 38, United States Code. 
Section 2 of this bill would amend section 5110(d) of title 38, United 
States Code, to make an award of death pension effective the first day 
of the month in which the death occurred if the claim is received 
within one year from the date of death. These provisions were proposed 
by VA in draft legislation submitted to Congress on April 25, 2003.
    Under 38 U.S.C. Sec. 5110(a), an award based on a death pension 
claim received more than 45 days after the veteran's death can be 
effective no earlier than the date of the claim. Pursuant to current 38 
U.S.C. Sec. 5110(d)(2), however, if VA receives an application for 
death pension within 45 days of the veteran's death, then the effective 
date of a death pension award is the first day of the month in which 
the death occurred. Section 5110(d)(2)'s original one-year period was 
reduced to the current 45 days by the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984, 
Pub. L. No. 98-369, 98 Stat. 494, 854-901, as a cost-saving measure. 
Unfortunately, the ``45-day rule'' created a situation that has led to 
unfair and unequal treatment of applicants for VA death pension.
    The practical effect of the ``45-day rule'' in many cases has been 
to exclude lump-sum life insurance proceeds received within 45 days of 
the veteran's death from countable income for pension claimants who 
file their claims more than 45 days after the date of the veteran's 
death. In contrast, claimants who both receive insurance proceeds and 
file pension claims within 45 days of the veteran's death have 
insurance proceeds counted as annual income, often reducing or 
precluding pension benefits during their first year of potential 
eligibility. In other words, claimants who receive insurance proceeds 
within 45 days of death, but who wait 45 days or longer to file pension 
claims, can receive pension effective from the date of claim without 
regard to recently-received insurance proceeds. In essence, claimants 
receiving lump-sum insurance proceeds under the current law are 
encouraged to forego entitlement from the date of death in exchange for 
the exclusion of the insurance payment in determining countable income 
for the following 12 months.
    While many veterans' advocates are aware of this situation and 
advise claimants who receive life insurance proceeds within 45 days of 
death to postpone filing their claims, the current law unfairly 
penalizes claimants who are not well versed in such technical details. 
Fairness dictates that VA rules and procedures be straightforward, 
particularly for claimants who are coping with the loss of loved ones. 
Consequently, we believe the ``45-day rule'' should be eliminated in 
favor of a rule making death pension benefits effective from the first 
day of the month of the veteran's death if the claim is received within 
one year of that date.
    We also believe that this change must go hand in hand with an 
amendment excluding lump-sum life insurance proceeds from the 
computation of income for death pension purposes. Lump-sum life 
insurance proceeds of genuine consequence are more appropriately 
addressed in terms of net worth, as provided in 38 U.S.C. Sec. 1543, 
than in terms of income. Pursuant to section 1543, a claimant is 
ineligible to receive death pension benefits if his or her net worth is 
such that it is reasonable that some portion of it should be consumed 
for his or her maintenance. In our view, a surviving spouse whose 
income, excluding lump-sum life insurance proceeds, and net worth do 
not constitute a bar to pension deserves help from VA.
    We believe these proposed amendments are necessary and appropriate 
to eliminate unequal treatment of death pension applicants and to 
uphold one of the fundamental principles of the pension program, which 
is to ensure that those with the greatest need receive the greatest 
benefit.
    We estimate that the net effect of enactment of both sections of 
this draft bill would cost $649,000 for FY 2004 and $12.8 million for 
the ten-year period FY 2004 through FY 2013.
                                ------                                


   Statement of Robert J. Epley Associate Deputy Under Secretary for 
    Policy and Program Management Veterans Benefits Administration 
                     Department of Veterans Affairs

                             April 29, 2004

    Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee:
    Thank you for the opportunity to testify today and present the 
views of the Department of Veterans Affairs on several bills of great 
interest to our Nation's veterans.

                                H.R. 843

    H.R. 843, the ``Injured Veterans Benefits Eligibility Act of 
2003,'' would amend 38 U.S.C. Sec. 1151 to provide that a qualifying 
additional disability or qualifying death shall be considered a 
service-connected disability or death for purposes of all laws 
administered by VA. If enacted, the bill would create eligibility for 
each of VA's many service-connected benefit programs for veterans with 
non-service-connected injuries incurred as a result of VA training, 
hospitalization, or medical treatment. Thus, under the bill, section 
1151 beneficiaries would attain the same benefit status as veterans who 
were disabled or died in line of duty during their military service.
    The current law places veterans who suffer injuries caused by VA in 
the same position, for the purposes of monthly disability compensation, 
dependency and indemnity compensation, and certain other benefits (for 
example, Specially Adapted Housing) only, as they would be in if the 
disability or death actually resulted from their military service. At 
the same time, however, the Federal Tort Claims Act provides these 
injured veterans a tort remedy against the government for injuries 
incurred as a result of the negligence of a federal employee. Under the 
Act, a claimant who establishes negligence by the government is 
entitled to receive damages as authorized by the law of the State in 
which the tort occurred, except for punitive damages or interest prior 
to judgment. Current law provides that no benefits shall be paid under 
section 1151 to any individual who receives a tort judgment against the 
government or who settles a tort claim against the government until the 
aggregate amount of the compensation that would be paid under section 
1151 equals the total amount of the tort award.
    H.R. 843 would create eligibility for section 1151 beneficiaries 
under various title 38 benefit programs, including hospital, nursing 
home, and outpatient care; service-disabled veterans' insurance; burial 
benefits for death from service-connected disability; survivors' and 
dependents' educational assistance; and automobiles and adaptive 
equipment. Each of these benefits might correspond to an element of the 
damages constituting a tort award against the government under the 
Federal Tort Claims Act. Therefore, the bill might create an anomalous 
dual remedy for veterans with non-service-connected disabilities that 
is more advantageous than the remedy provided for veterans injured 
during their military service. For example, compensatory tort damages 
awarded to a veteran in a judgment against the government might include 
the value of a specially adapted automobile. Under the bill, that 
veteran could simply wait until he has satisfied the tort offset 
provisions to file an initial claim for VA automobile benefits under 
chapter 39 of title 38, United States Code. The veteran would receive 
government assistance in the purchase of an automobile twice, initially 
through the tort award and later under VA's program. Meanwhile, a 
veteran with similar injuries incurred in service would be entitled 
only to the benefits provided under VA's program.
    VA estimates that enactment of H.R. 843 would result in benefit 
costs of approximately $755 thousand for Fiscal Year 2005 and $3.9 
million over ten years. We cannot, however, estimate the costs of 
hospital, nursing home, outpatient and domiciliary care that would 
result from enactment of H.R. 843. The universe of potential 
beneficiaries under the bill would not be large because only 2,491 
persons are currently receiving compensation or dependency and 
indemnity compensation under section 1151. Nevertheless, given the 
panoply of damages available to claimants under the Federal Tort Claims 
Act, we do not believe it is necessary to provide section 1151 
beneficiaries with additional benefits equal to or in excess of those 
designed to fulfill in some measure the high obligation the government 
owes to those who were disabled or died as a result of their service to 
our Nation.
    Therefore, we do not support enactment of H.R. 843.
          * * * * * * *

                       MAXIMUM HOME LOAN GUARANTY

    Mr. Chairman, you requested our views on two bills, H.R. 1735 and 
H.R. 4065, which would increase the maximum VA housing loan guaranty.
    The first bill, H.R. 1735, would increase the maximum guaranty from 
$60,000 to $81,000. The other bill, H.R. 4065, would index the maximum 
guaranty to 22.5 percent of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation 
(also known as ``Freddie Mac'') single family conforming loan limit.
    Neither the law nor regulations set a maximum principal amount for 
a VA guaranteed home loan, so long as the total loan amount does not 
exceed the reasonable value of the property securing the loan, and the 
veteran's present and anticipated income is sufficient to afford the 
loan payments. As a practical matter, Mr. Chairman, requirements set by 
secondary market institutions limit the maximum VA loan to four times 
the guaranty. The current maximum guaranty of $60,000 effectively 
limits VA housing loans to $240,000.
    Increasing the maximum guaranty to $81,000, as proposed by H.R. 
1735, would have the effect of increasing the maximum amount lenders 
are willing to finance to $324,000. If the guaranty were indexed as 
proposed by H.R. 4065, the VA guaranty would increase to $75,082.50, 
which is 22.5 percent of the current Freddie Mac conforming loan limit 
of $333,700. That would increase the effective VA loan limit to 
$300,330. Thereafter, the VA guaranty would be automatically adjusted 
annually in tandem with the Freddie Mac loan limit.
    VA estimates enactment of H.R. 4065 would produce a loan-subsidy 
savings to the Veterans Housing Benefit Program Fund of approximately 
$20.5 million in FY 2005, and a 10-year savings of approximately $71.3 
million. Enactment of H.R. 1735 would produce loan-subsidy savings of 
approximately $22.7 million in FY 2005, and a 10-year savings of 
approximately $82.6 million.
    VA is currently reviewing the results of an independent program 
evaluation of the VA Home Loan program. The maximum home loan guaranty 
was an element of this evaluation. We support the concept but reserve 
our opinion on these two bills until we can complete our analysis of 
the contractor's final report.
          * * * * * * *

                               H.R. 2206

    H.R. 2206 is also known as the ``Prisoner of War/Missing in Action 
National Memorial Act.'' Section 2(b) of this bill would designate the 
memorial to former POWs and members of the Armed Forces listed as 
missing in action to be constructed at the Riverside National Cemetery 
in Riverside, California, as the Prisoners of War/Missing in Action 
National Memorial. Section 2(c) of the bill would prescribe that the 
memorial is not a unit of the National Park System and that the 
designation of the national memorial shall not be construed to require 
or permit Federal funds, other than any funds provided for as of the 
date of enactment of the bill, to be expended for any purpose related 
to the national memorial.
    The memorial will be comprised of a circular plaza located on the 
east side of the upper lake just inside the entrance to the national 
cemetery. The centerpiece of the memorial will be a figurative bronze 
statue of a Vietnam POW. Black granite panels standing on end will be 
placed to the rear of the circular plaza. The names of all known POW 
sites, including the total number of prisoners at each location, will 
be engraved on these panels. The POW sites will be displayed by major 
conflict or campaign.
    The Riverside National Cemetery Memorials and Monuments Commission 
(RNCMMC) is a private organization that has proposed to erect the 
memorial and donate it to the National Cemetery Administration (NCA). 
The Commission is responsible for funding and contracting issues 
related to this project. The RNCMMC is currently raising funds for the 
construction and future maintenance of the memorial through donations. 
The statue for the memorial is finished and is ready for installation 
once the plaza is completed. NCA approved plans for the project in 
March 2004 and designated a location for the memorial within cemetery 
grounds. The RNCMMC anticipates that construction of the plaza will 
commence this summer and plans to dedicate the memorial six months 
after construction begins.
    The National Park Service (NPS) currently maintains and operates 
the National POW Museum located at the Andersonville National Historic 
Site in the State of Georgia. In 1970, Congress authorized the 
establishment of the Andersonville National Historic Site pursuant to 
Public Law 91-465, 84 Stat. 989, in order to ``provide an understanding 
of the overall prisoner-of-war story of the Civil War, to interpret the 
role of prisoner-of-war camps in history, to commemorate the sacrifice 
of Americans who lost their lives in such camps, and to preserve the 
monuments located therein.'' The park and the National POW Museum 
currently serve as a national memorial to all American POWs. 
Accordingly, we recommend that NPS have an opportunity to comment on 
this legislation.
    We estimate that there would be no costs to VA associated with 
designation of a national memorial at Riverside National Cemetery. We 
have no objection to designating the memorial as provided for in 
section 2(b). However, we are concerned that section 2(c) of the bill 
would restrict use of Federal funds to maintain the memorial in the 
event that private funds are not adequate for this purpose. Section 
2(c) would apparently preclude VA from expending any Federal funds for 
future maintenance of the memorial under any circumstances. Although 
the RNCMMC is raising funds to cover the future costs to operate and 
maintain the memorial, should the donating organization become unable 
to meet the future costs associated with maintenance and repair of the 
memorial, VA would be prohibited by section 2(c) from using Federal 
funds to provide such maintenance or repairs.
    Without authority to use Federal funds for the care and maintenance 
of the memorial, we do not support this legislation.
          * * * * * * *

                               H.R. 2612

    The next bill I will discuss, Mr. Chairman, is H.R. 2612. This 
measure would authorize the Secretary to provide specially adapted 
housing grants to veterans with permanent and total service-connected 
disabilities due to the loss or loss of use of both upper extremities 
such as to preclude use of the arms at and below the elbows.
    VA favors enactment of H.R. 2612, provided that the Congress can 
find offsetting savings.
    Under current law, veterans who are entitled to compensation under 
chapter 11 of title 38, United States Code, for certain permanent and 
total service-connected disabilities described in section 2101(a) of 
title 38 are eligible for grants of up to $50,000 to acquire homes 
which are equipped with special features made necessary by the nature 
of their disabilities. The qualifying disabilities generally involve 
either the loss or loss of use of both lower extremities, or the loss 
or loss of use of one lower extremity together with certain other 
conditions specified in the statute.
    H.R. 2612 would add ``the loss, or loss of use, of both upper 
extremities such as to preclude use of the arms at and below the 
elbows'' as a disability that qualifies for this grant.
    Currently, veterans who have lost or lost the use of both hands are 
eligible for a special housing adaptations grant of up to $10,000. That 
grant, authorized by section 2101(b) of title 38, United States Code, 
will pay for the adaptations to veterans' homes which may be necessary 
by reason of the veterans' disabilities. The grant authorized by 
section 2101(a) will pay for up to 50 percent of the total cost to the 
veterans of the adapted homes and necessary land. Veterans who are 
eligible for the grant under section 2101(a) may not receive a grant 
under section 2101(b). Therefore, if H.R. 2612 is enacted, veterans who 
have lost or lost the use of their arms at and below the elbow would 
qualify for the full $50,000 specially adapted housing grant rather 
than the more limited $10,000 grant.
    VA supports providing the increased benefit for this class of 
severely-injured veterans.
    VA estimates that approximately 12 additional veterans per year 
would become eligible for the increased grant if H.R. 2612 is enacted. 
This would produce costs of $480,000 per year, with a 10-year cost of 
$4.8 million.
          * * * * * * *

                               H.R. 4172

    Mr. Chairman, H.R. 4172 would amend title 38 in three respects with 
regard to benefits for radiation-related disabilities and deaths.
    Section 1(a) of H.R. 4172 would add cancer of the bone, brain, 
colon, lung, and ovary to the list of diseases for which a presumption 
of service connection is available for a radiation-exposed veteran. VA 
amended its regulations effective March 26, 2002, by adding these 
diseases to the list of diseases for which a presumption of service 
connection is available for veterans who participated in a radiation-
risk activity while serving on active duty or as a member of a reserve 
component while on active duty for training or inactive duty training. 
VA did so in order to ensure that veterans who may have been exposed to 
radiation during military service do not have a higher burden of proof 
than civilians exposed to ionizing radiation who may be entitled to 
compensation for these cancers under the Radiation Exposure 
Compensation Act (RECA), Public Law 101-426, and the Energy Employees 
Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000, Public Law 106-
398. Section 1(a) of the bill would merely codify in statute this 
provision in the current regulations.
    Section 1(b) of H.R. 4172 would also codify another provision in 
existing VA regulations. It would amend the definition of ``radiation-
risk activity'' in 38 U.S.C. Sec. 1112(c)(3)(B) to include service in a 
capacity which, if performed as an employee of the Department of 
Energy, would qualify the individual as a member of the Special 
Exposure Cohort pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Sec. 7384l(14). The Energy 
Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000 
authorizes compensation and benefits for certain Department of Energy 
(DOE) employees and DOE contractor or subcontractor employees who were 
employed at certain DOE facilities during certain time periods. Under 
that Act, if a ``member of the Special Exposure Cohort'' develops a 
``specified cancer'' after beginning employment at one of these 
facilities, the cancer is presumed to have been sustained in the 
performance of duty and is compensable. Effective March 26, 2002, VA 
expanded the definition of ``radiation-risk activity'' in 38 C.F.R. 
Sec. 3.309(d)(3)(ii) to include the same employment criteria as 
required pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Sec. 7384l(14) to qualify as a ``member 
of the Special Cohort.'' VA does not object to the statutory 
codifications in sections 1(a) and 1(b) of the bill.
    Section 2(a) of H.R. 4172 would amend 38 U.S.C. Sec. 1112(c) to 
provide that a radiation-exposed veteran who receives a RECA payment 
would be eligible for VA compensation for a disease presumed to be 
service connected under section 1112(c). Section 2(b) would amend 38 
U.S.C. Sec. 1112(c) to provide that a person who receives a RECA 
payment would be entitled to receive dependency and indemnity 
compensation (DIC). VA compensation and DIC would be offset by the 
amount received under RECA. VA favors enactment, provided that Congress 
can find an offset, of section 2 because it would enable veterans to 
receive ongoing compensation for the continued effects of their 
radiation-exposed disabilities. Section 2 would also be consistent with 
38 U.S.C. Sec. 1151(b), which provides for an offset of veterans 
benefits against potentially-duplicative awards pursuant to the Federal 
Tort Claims Act. However, we would also recommend amendment to section 
6(e) of RECA, which currently provides that acceptance of a RECA 
payment ``shall be in full satisfaction of all claims of or on behalf 
of that individual against the United States . . . that arise out of 
exposure to radiation, from atmospheric nuclear testing, in the 
affected area . . . at any time during the period described in 
subsection (a)(1), (a)(2)(A), or (a)(2)(B) of section 4(a), exposure to 
radiation in a uranium mine, mill, . . . or exposure to radiation as a 
result of onsite participation in a test involving the atmospheric 
detonation of a nuclear device.''
    VA estimates that enactment of H.R. 4172 would not produce any 
benefit costs until Fiscal Year 2008. The projected 10-year cost of 
this measure is approximately $29.6 million.
          * * * * * * *

                               H. R. 4173

    Mr. Chairman, H.R. 4173 would require VA to enter into a contract 
with an organizational entity described therein that would study and 
prepare a report on employment placement, retention, and advancement of 
recently-separated servicemembers. The organization would analyze 
employment-related data to determine whether the employment obtained by 
recently-separated veterans is commensurate with their training, 
whether these veterans received educational assistance or training 
under the MGIB or VA's Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment 
programs, and whether transition assistance services helped the 
veterans in obtaining civilian employment. It would also analyze trends 
in the hiring of veterans in the private sector and identify recently-
separated veterans that have reached senior level management positions. 
The contract would require that the contractor submit the study to VA 
not later than 2 years after the date on which the contract was made. 
The contract would not exceed $490,000 and would be funded through the 
VA's compensation and pension appropriations.
    VA supports the goals of H.R. 4173. We believe such a study should 
be done in consultation with the Department of Labor (DOL) and should 
not be duplicative of DOL requirements to study modifications to 
certain employment reforms. We note, however, that VA has under 
consideration long-term plans for a broad-based study of the full 
panoply of veterans' transition benefits, including but not limited to 
employment. VA believes it may be advantageous to broaden a study 
contract beyond what is contemplated in the bill. VA also believes it 
would be more appropriate to fund this study out of the Readjustment 
Benefits account--which provides funding for educational training and 
vocational rehabilitation. While the funding limit in H.R. 4173 is 
sufficient for the work contemplated in the bill, additional funding 
may be needed in the future for further studies.
    We further note that the ``Qualified Entity'' provision may be too 
narrowly tailored to provide fair competition. In addition, the bill 
purports to study ``recently separated servicemembers,'' defining 
``recently separated'' as within the previous 16 years. We believe this 
timeframe is too long, since there have been many significant 
enhancements to employment programs for separating servicemembers over 
the past sixteen years. Within that timeframe, Congress put into place 
the successful transition assistance program, which was further 
enhanced based on the findings of the ``Principi Commission.'' 
Continued improvements to these programs are an ongoing process. 
Because of these enhancements, the results of this study would not 
represent the changes brought about by these more recent programs. The 
study would be more significant if it was limited to measuring the 
impact of current programs and services. Further, because the nature of 
military service has changed dramatically over the past three years, an 
evaluation of sixteen-year-old data could erode the otherwise 
beneficial results of such a study.

               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    The following letter was received from the Congressional 
Budget Office concerning the cost of the reported bill:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                       Washington, DC, June 3, 2004

Hon. Christopher H. Smith
Chairman, Committee on Veterans' Affairs,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC

    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed table showing the direct spending effects 
of H.R. 1716, the Veterans Earn and Learn Act of 2004. A 
detailed explanation of the basis of the estimate will be 
forthcoming shortly.
    H.R. 1716 would affect several veterans programs, including 
housing readjustment benefits, compensation, pensions, and 
burial. CBO estimates that enacting this legislation would 
decrease direct spending for veterans programs by $15 million 
over the 2005-2009 period and by $19 million over the 2005-2014 
period. In addition, CBO estimates that discretionary spending 
resulting from H.R. 1716 would be less than $500,000 a year 
over the 2005-2009 period.
    H.R. 1716 contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined 
by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would not affect 
the budgets of state, local, or tribal governments. The bill 
contains a private-sector mandate, but CBO estimates that the 
annual cost of this mandate would not exceed the threshold 
established in UMRA ($120 million in 2004, adjusted annually 
for inflation).
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
happy to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Sarah T. 
Jennings, who can be reached at 226-2840.

            Sincrely,
                                        Douglas Holtz-Eakin
                                                           Director
    Enclosure.
               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

                                                       June 3, 2004




                                                  Estimated Changes in Direct Spending Under H.R. 1716



                                                                                    By Fiscal Year, in Millions of Dollars
                                                     ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                        2004      2005     2006     2007     2008     2009     2010     2011     2012     2013     2014
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                                                    HOUSING

Spending Under Current Law..........................   ^\2,036    ^\144    ^\140    ^\144    ^\149    ^\153    ^\152    ^\155       96       98      165

Proposed Changes....................................         0     ^\39     ^\41     ^\42     ^\42     ^\43     ^\44     ^\45        *        1        9

Spending Under H.R. 1716............................   ^\2,036    ^\183    ^\181    ^\186    ^\191    ^\196    ^\196    ^\200       96       99      174

                                                        VETERANS' READJUSTMENT BENEFITS

Spending Under Current Law..........................     2,665    2,852    3,008    3,166    3,315    3,458    3,590    3,737    3,853    3,974    4,098

Proposed Changes....................................         0        4       40       42       48       51       56      ^\7        5        5        5

Spending Under H.R. 1716............................     2,665    2,856    3,048    3,208    3,363    3,509    3,646    3,730    3,858    3,979    4,103

                                                   COMPENSATION, PENSION, AND BURIAL BENEFITS

Spending Under Current Law..........................    30,585   35,858   33,713   31,472   34,366   34,754   35,180   38,339   33,919   37,254   37,944

Proposed Changes....................................         0        2        1        1        1        2        2        2        2        2        2

Spending Under H.R. 1716............................    30,585   35,860   33,714   31,473   34,367   34,756   35,182   38,341   33,921   37,256   37,946

  Total Proposed Changes 1..........................         0     ^\33        1        1        6        9       14     ^\50        8        7       16

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SOURCE: Congressional Budget Office.
NOTE: * = less than $500,000.
1\\Five- and 10-year costs in the text differ slightly from a summation of the annual costs shown here because of rounding.





                     Statement of Federal Mandates

    The preceding Congressional Budget Office cost estimate 
states that the bill contains no intergovernmental or private 
sector mandates that would exceed the threshold established in 
UMRA as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.

                 Statement of Constitutional Authority

    Pursuant to Article I, section 8 of the United States 
Constitution, the reported bill is authorized by Congress' 
power to ``provide for the common Defense and general Welfare 
of the United States.''

         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 38, UNITED STATES CODE



           *       *       *       *       *       *       *
PART II--GENERAL BENEFITS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 11--COMPENSATION FOR SERVICE-CONNECTED DISABILITY OR

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SUBCHAPTER II--WARTIME DISABILITY COMPENSATION

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 1112. Presumptions relating to certain diseases and disabilities

  (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (c)(1) * * *
  (2) The diseases referred to in paragraph (1) of this 
subsection are the following:
          (A) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

          (Q) Cancer of the bone.
          (R) Cancer of the brain.
          (S) Cancer of the colon.
          (T) Cancer of the lung.
          (U) Cancer of the ovary.
  (3) For the purposes of this subsection:
          (A) * * *
          (B) The term ``radiation-risk activity'' means any of 
        the following:
                  (i) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

                          (iv) Service in a capacity which, if 
                        performed as an employee of the 
                        Department of Energy, would qualify the 
                        individual for inclusion as a member of 
                        the Special Exposure Cohort under 
                        section 3621(14) of the Energy 
                        Employees Occupational Illness 
                        Compensation Program Act of 2000 (42 
                        U.S.C. 7384l(14)).
  (4) A radiation-exposed veteran who receives a payment under 
the provisions of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act of 
1990 (42 U.S.C. 2210 note) shall not be deprived, by reason of 
the receipt of that payment, of receipt of compensation to 
which that veteran is entitled by reason of paragraph (1), but 
there shall be deducted from payment of such compensation the 
amount of the payment under that Act.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


             SUBCHAPTER VI--GENERAL COMPENSATION PROVISIONS

Sec. 1151. Benefits for persons disabled by treatment or vocational 
                    rehabilitation

  (a) * * *
  (b)(1) Where an individual is, on or after December 1, 1962, 
awarded a judgment against the United States in a civil action 
brought pursuant to section 1346(b) of title 28 or, on or after 
December 1, 1962, enters into a settlement or compromise under 
section 2672 or 2677 of title 28 by reason of a disability or 
death treated pursuant to this section as if it were service-
connected, then (except as otherwise provided in paragraph (2)) 
no benefits shall be paid to such individual for any month 
beginning after the date such judgment, settlement, or 
compromise on account of such disability or death becomes final 
until the aggregate amount of benefits which would be paid but 
for this subsection equals the total amount included in such 
judgment, settlement, or compromise.
  (2) In any case in which an amount of a judgment, settlement, 
or compromise covered by paragraph (1) is specifically 
designated for a benefit other than as compensation for loss of 
earning capacity or for pain and suffering, such amount shall 
be offset under paragraph (1) only against the comparable 
benefit provided under this title (if any). Any amounts 
attributable to pain and suffering, loss of earnings capacity, 
or loss of consortium or society shall be offset against 
benefits otherwise payable under this chapter, and any amounts 
attributable to wrongful death shall be offset against benefits 
otherwise payable under chapter 13 of this title.
  (c) A qualifying additional disability under this section 
shall be treated in the same manner as if it were a service-
connected disability for purposes of the following provisions 
of this title:
          (1) Chapter 21, relating to specially adapted 
        housing.
          (2) Chapter 31, relating to vocational 
        rehabilitation.
          (3) Chapter 39, relating to automobiles and adaptive 
        equipment.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 13--DEPENDENCY AND INDEMNITY COMPENSATION FOR SERVICE-CONNECTED 
DEATHS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SUBCHAPTER II--DEPENDENCY AND INDEMNITY COMPENSATION

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 1310. Deaths entitling survivors to dependency and indemnity 
                    compensation

  (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (c) A person who receives a payment under the provisions of 
the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 2210 
note) shall not be deprived, by reason of the receipt of that 
payment, of receipt of dependency and indemnity compensation to 
which that person is otherwise entitled, but there shall be 
deducted from payment of such dependency and indemnity 
compensation the amount of the payment under that Act.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


 CHAPTER 15--PENSION FOR NON-SERVICE-CONNECTED DISABILITY OR DEATH OR 
FOR SERVICE

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 1503. Determinations with respect to annual income

  (a) In determining annual income under this chapter, all 
payments of any kind or from any source (including salary, 
retirement or annuity payments, or similar income, which has 
been waived, irrespective of whether the waiver was made 
pursuant to statute, contract, or otherwise) shall be included 
except--
          (1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

          (9) in the case of a veteran or surviving spouse 
        pursuing a course of education or vocational 
        rehabilitation or training, amounts equal to amounts 
        paid by such veteran or surviving spouse for such 
        course of education or vocational rehabilitation or 
        training, including (A) amounts paid for tuition, fees, 
        books, and materials, and (B) in the case of such a 
        veteran or surviving spouse in need of regular aid and 
        attendance, unreimbursed amounts paid for unusual 
        transportation expenses in connection with the pursuit 
        of such course of education or vocational 
        rehabilitation or training, to the extent that such 
        amounts exceed the reasonable expenses which would have 
        been incurred by a nondisabled person using an 
        appropriate means of transportation (public 
        transportation, if reasonably available); [and]
          (10) in the case of a child, any current-work income 
        received during the year, to the extent that the total 
        amount of such income does not exceed an amount equal 
        to the sum of--
                  (A) * * *
                  (B) if the child is pursuing a course of 
                postsecondary education or vocational 
                rehabilitation or training, the amount paid by 
                such child for such course of education or 
                vocational rehabilitation or training, 
                including the amount paid for tuition, fees, 
                books, and materials[.]; and
          (11) lump-sum proceeds of any life insurance policy 
        on a veteran, for purposes of pension under subchapter 
        III of this chapter.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 20--BENEFITS FOR HOMELESS VETERANS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


   SUBCHAPTER VI--LOAN GUARANTEE FOR MULTIFAMILY TRANSITIONAL HOUSING

Sec. 2051. General authority

  (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (g) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a multifamily 
transitional housing project that is funded by a loan 
guaranteed under this subchapter may accept uncompensated 
voluntary services performed by any eligible entity (as that 
term is defined in section 2011(d) of this title) in connection 
with the construction, alteration, or repair of such project.

Sec. 2052. Requirements

  (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (c) Such a project--
          (1) may include space for neighborhood retail 
        services, other commercial activities, or job training 
        programs; and

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 21--SPECIALLY ADAPTED HOUSING FOR DISABLED VETERANS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 2101. Veterans eligible for assistance

  [(a) The Secretary is authorized, under such regulations as 
the Secretary may prescribe, to assist any veteran who is 
entitled to compensation under chapter 11 of this title for 
permanent and total service-connected disability--
          [(1) due to the loss, or loss of use, of both lower 
        extremities, such as to preclude locomotion without the 
        aid of braces, crutches, canes, or a wheelchair, or
          [(2) which includes (A) blindness in both eyes, 
        having only light perception, plus (B) loss or loss of 
        use of one lower extremity, or
          [(3) due to the loss or loss of use of one lower 
        extremity together with (A) residuals of organic 
        disease or injury, or (B) the loss or loss of use of 
        one upper extremity, which so affect the functions of 
        balance or propulsion as to preclude locomotion without 
        the aid of braces, crutches, canes, or a wheelchair,

in acquiring a suitable housing unit with special fixtures or 
movable facilities made necessary by the nature of the 
veteran's disability, and necessary land therefor. The 
regulations of the Secretary shall include, but not be limited 
to, provisions requiring findings that (1) it is medically 
feasible for such veteran to reside in the proposed housing 
unit and in the proposed locality; (2) the proposed housing 
unit bears a proper relation to the veteran's present and 
anticipated income and expenses; and (3) the nature and 
condition of the proposed housing unit are such as to be 
suitable to the veteran's needs for dwelling purposes.
  [(b)(1) Subject to paragraph (2) of this subsection, the 
Secretary, under regulations which the Secretary shall 
prescribe, shall assist any veteran (other than a veteran who 
is eligible for assistance under subsection (a) of this 
section) who is entitled to compensation under chapter 11 of 
this title for a permanent and total service-connected 
disability which--
          [(A) is due to blindness in both eyes with 5/200 
        visual acuity or less, or
          [(B) includes the anatomical loss or loss of use of 
        both hands,

in acquiring such adaptations to such veteran's residence as 
are determined by the Secretary to be reasonably necessary 
because of such disability or in acquiring a residence already 
adapted with special features determined by the Secretary to be 
reasonably necessary for the veteran because of such 
disability.
  [(2) Assistance under paragraph (1) of this subsection may be 
provided only to a veteran who the Secretary determines is 
residing in and reasonably intends to continue residing in a 
residence owned by such veteran or by a member of such 
veteran's family or, if the veteran's residence is to be 
constructed or purchased, will be residing in and reasonably 
intends to continue residing in a residence owned by such 
veteran or by a member of such veteran's family.
  [(c)(1) The Secretary may provide assistance under subsection 
(a) to a member of the Armed Forces serving on active duty who 
is suffering from a disability described in paragraph (1), (2), 
or (3) of that subsection if such disability is the result of 
an injury incurred or disease contracted in or aggravated in 
line of duty in the active military, naval, or air service. 
Such assistance shall be provided to the same extent as 
assistance is provided under that subsection to veterans 
eligible for assistance under that subsection and subject to 
the requirements of the second sentence of that subsection.
  [(2) The Secretary may provide assistance under subsection 
(b) to a member of the Armed Forces serving on active duty who 
is suffering from a disability described in subparagraph (A) or 
(B) of paragraph (1) of that subsection if such disability is 
the result of an injury incurred or disease contracted in or 
aggravated in line of duty in the active military, naval, or 
air service. Such assistance shall be provided to the same 
extent as assistance is provided under that subsection to 
veterans eligible for assistance under that subsection and 
subject to the requirements of paragraph (2) of that 
subsection.]
  (a) Acquisition of Housing With Special Features.--(1) 
Subject to paragraph (3), the Secretary may assist a disabled 
veteran described in paragraph (2) in acquiring a suitable 
housing unit with special fixtures or movable facilities made 
necessary by the nature of the veteran's disability, and 
necessary land therefor.
  (2) A veteran is described in this paragraph if the veteran 
is entitled to compensation under chapter 11 of this title for 
a permanent and total service-connected disability that meets 
any of the following criteria:
          (A) The disability is due to the loss, or loss of 
        use, of both lower extremities such as to preclude 
        locomotion without the aid of braces, crutches, canes, 
        or a wheelchair.
          (B) The disability is due to--
                  (i) blindness in both eyes, having only light 
                perception, plus
                  (ii) loss or loss of use of one lower 
                extremity.
          (C) The disability is due to the loss or loss of use 
        of one lower extremity together with--
                  (i) residuals of organic disease or injury; 
                or
                  (ii) the loss or loss of use of one upper 
                extremity,
which so affect the functions of balance or propulsion as to 
preclude locomotion without the aid of braces, crutches, canes, 
or a wheelchair.
          (D) The disability is due to the loss, or loss of 
        use, of both upper extremities such as to preclude use 
        of the arms at or above the elbows.
  (3) The regulations prescribed under subsection (c) shall 
require that assistance under paragraph (1) may be provided to 
a veteran only if the Secretary finds that--
          (A) it is medically feasible for the veteran to 
        reside in the proposed housing unit and in the proposed 
        locality;
          (B) the proposed housing unit bears a proper relation 
        to the veteran's present and anticipated income and 
        expenses; and
          (C) the nature and condition of the proposed housing 
        unit are such as to be suitable to the veteran's needs 
        for dwelling purposes.
  (b) Adaptations to Residence of Veteran.--(1) Subject to 
paragraph (3), the Secretary shall assist any disabled veteran 
described in paragraph (2) (other than a veteran who is 
eligible for assistance under subsection (a))--
          (A) in acquiring such adaptations to such veteran's 
        residence as are determined by the Secretary to be 
        reasonably necessary because of such disability; or
          (B) in acquiring a residence already adapted with 
        special features determined by the Secretary to be 
        reasonably necessary for the veteran because of such 
        disability.
  (2) A veteran is described in this paragraph if the veteran 
is entitled to compensation under chapter 11 of this title for 
a permanent and total service-connected disability that meets 
either of the following criteria:
          (A) The disability is due to blindness in both eyes 
        with 5/200 visual acuity or less.
          (B) The disability includes the anatomical loss or 
        loss of use of both hands.
  (3) Assistance under paragraph (1) may be provided only to a 
veteran who the Secretary determines--
          (A) is residing in and reasonably intends to continue 
        residing in a residence owned by such veteran or by a 
        member of such veteran's family; or
          (B) if the veteran's residence is to be constructed 
        or purchased, will be residing in and reasonably 
        intends to continue residing in a residence owned by 
        such veteran or by a member of such veteran's family.
  (c) Regulations.--Assistance under this section shall be 
provided in accordance with such regulations as the Secretary 
may prescribe.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


             CHAPTER 24--NATIONAL CEMETERIES AND MEMORIALS

Sec.
2400.    Establishment of National Cemetery Administration; composition 
          of Administration.
     * * * * * * *
2412.    Arlington National Cemetery: eligibility of certain persons for 
          burial.
     * * * * * * *

Sec. 2412. Arlington National Cemetery: eligibility of certain persons 
                    for burial

  (a)(1) The remains of a member or former member of a reserve 
component of the Armed Forces who at the time of death was 
under 60 years of age and who, but for age, would have been 
eligible at the time of death for retired pay under chapter 
1223 of title 10 may be buried in Arlington National Cemetery 
on the same basis as the remains of members of the Armed Forces 
entitled to retired pay under that chapter.
  (2) The remains of the dependents of a member whose remains 
are permitted under paragraph (1) to be buried in Arlington 
National Cemetery may be buried in that cemetery on the same 
basis as dependents of members of the Armed Forces entitled to 
retired pay under such chapter 1223.
  (b)(1) The remains of a member of a reserve component of the 
Armed Forces who dies in the line of duty while performing 
active duty for training or inactive duty training may be 
buried in Arlington National Cemetery on the same basis as the 
remains of a member of the Armed Forces who dies while on 
active duty.
  (2) The remains of the dependents of a member whose remains 
are permitted under paragraph (1) to be buried in Arlington 
National Cemetery may be buried in that cemetery on the same 
basis as dependents of members on active duty.

PART III--READJUSTMENT AND RELATED BENEFITS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 30--ALL-VOLUNTEER FORCE EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SUBCHAPTER IV--TIME LIMITATION FOR USE OF ELIGIBILITY AND ENTITLEMENT; 
GENERAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 3032. Limitations on educational assistance for certain 
                    individuals

  (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (c)(1) [Except as provided in paragraph (2)] Subject to the 
succeeding provisions of this subsection, the amount of the 
monthly educational assistance allowance payable to an 
individual pursuing a full-time program of apprenticeship or 
other on-job training under this chapter is--
          (A) for each of the first six months of the 
        individual's pursuit of such program, [75] 85 percent 
        of the monthly educational assistance allowance 
        otherwise payable to such individual under this 
        chapter;
          (B) for each of the second six months of the 
        individual's pursuit of such program, [55] 65 percent 
        of such monthly educational assistance allowance; and
          (C) for each of the months following the first 12 
        months of the individual's pursuit of such program, 
        [35] 45 percent of such monthly educational assistance 
        allowance.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (4)(A) In the case of an individual who successfully 
completes a full-time program of apprenticeship before 
entitlement to monthly educational assistance allowance payable 
under this subsection for that program is exhausted, the 
Secretary shall pay to the individual a lump-sum amount equal 
to the difference between--
          (i) the total amount of educational assistance 
        allowances that could have been paid to the individual 
        under this subsection for the successful completion of 
        that program, and
          (ii) the amount of educational assistance allowance 
        paid to the individual for the program under this 
        subsection.
  (B) In the case of a lump sum payment paid to an individual 
under subparagraph (A), the individual's entitlement under this 
chapter (and chapter 34 of this title, if applicable) shall be 
charged at the applicable rate under paragraph (3).

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 32--POST-VIETNAM ERA VETERANS' EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SUBCHAPTER III--ENTITLEMENT; DURATION

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 3233. Apprenticeship or other on-job training

  (a) [Except as provided in subsection (b)] Subject to the 
succeeding provisions of this section, the amount of the 
monthly benefit payment to an individual pursuing a full-time 
program of apprenticeship or other on-job training under this 
chapter is--
          (1) for each of the first six months of the 
        individual's pursuit of such program, [75] 85 percent 
        of the monthly benefit payment otherwise payable to 
        such individual under this chapter;
          (2) for each of the second six months of the 
        individual's pursuit of such program, [55] 65 percent 
        of such monthly benefit payment; and
          (3) for each of the months following the first 12 
        months of the individual's pursuit of such program, 
        [35] 45 percent of such monthly benefit payment.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (e)(1) In the case of an individual who successfully 
completes a full-time program of apprenticeship before 
entitlement to monthly benefit payment payable under this 
section for that program is exhausted, the Secretary shall pay 
to the individual a lump-sum amount equal to the difference 
between--
          (A) the total amount of monthly benefit payments that 
        could have been paid to the individual under this 
        section for the successful completion of that program, 
        and
          (B) the amount of monthly benefit payments paid to 
        the individual for the program under this section.
  (2) In the case of a lump sum payment paid to an individual 
under paragraph (1), the individual's entitlement under this 
chapter shall be charged at the applicable rate under 
subsections (c) and (d).

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 34--VETERANS' EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SUBCHAPTER I--PURPOSE; DEFINITIONS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 3452. Definitions

  For the purposes of this chapter and chapter 36 of this 
title--
  (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (e) The term ``training establishment'' means any 
establishment providing apprentice or other training on the 
job, including those under the supervision of a college or 
university or any State department of education, [or any State 
apprenticeship agency, or any State board of vocational 
education, or any joint apprenticeship committee, or the Bureau 
of Apprenticeship and Training established pursuant to the Act 
of August 16, 1937, popularly known as the ``National 
Apprenticeship Act'' (29 U.S.C. 50 et seq.),] any State board 
of vocational education, any Federal or State apprenticeship 
registration agency, any joint apprenticeship committee 
established pursuant to the Act of August 16, 1937, popularly 
known as the `National Apprenticeship Act' (29 U.S.C. 50 et 
seq.), or any agency of the Federal Government authorized to 
supervise such training.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 36--ADMINISTRATION OF EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SUBCHAPTER I--STATE APPROVING AGENCIES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 3672. Approval of courses

  (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (c)(1) In the case of programs of apprenticeship where--
          [(1)] (A) the apprenticeship standards have been 
        approved by the Secretary of Labor pursuant to section 
        2 of the Act of August 16, 1937 (popularly known as the 
        ``National Apprenticeship Act'') (29 U.S.C. 50a), as a 
        national apprenticeship program for operation in more 
        than one State, and
          [(2)] (B) the training establishment is a carrier 
        directly engaged in interstate commerce which provides 
        such training in more than one State,

the Secretary shall act as a ``State approving agency'' as such 
term is used in section 3687(a)(1) of this title and shall be 
responsible for the approval of all such programs.
  (2) The period of a program of apprenticeship may be 
determined based upon a specific period of time (commonly 
referred to as a ``time-based program''), based upon the 
demonstration of successful mastery of skills (commonly 
referred to as a ``competency-based program''), or based upon a 
combination thereof.
  (3)(A) In the case of a competency-based program of 
apprenticeship, in determining the period of such a program, 
State approving agencies shall take into consideration the 
approximate term of the program recommended in registered 
apprenticeship program standards recognized by the Secretary of 
Labor.
  (B) The sponsor of a competency-based program of 
apprenticeship shall provide notice to the State approving 
agency involved of any such standards that may apply to the 
program and the proposed approximate period of training under 
the program.
  (4) The Secretary of Labor shall notify the Secretary upon 
the successful completion of a program of apprenticeship by a 
veteran, eligible veteran, or eligible person, as the case may 
be.
  (d)(1) Pursuant to regulations prescribed by the Secretary in 
consultation with the Secretary of Labor, the Secretary and 
State approving agencies shall actively promote the development 
[of programs of training on the job (including programs of 
apprenticeship)] of apprenticeship and on the job training 
programs for the purposes of sections 3677 and 3687 of this 
title and shall utilize the services of disabled veterans' 
outreach program specialists under section 4103A of this title 
to promote the development of such programs. The Secretary of 
Labor shall provide such assistance and services to the 
Secretary, and to State approving agencies, to increase the use 
of apprenticeships.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 3675. Approval of accredited courses

  (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (c)(1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (4) Notwithstanding paragraph (3), a qualified provider of 
entrepreneurship courses shall maintain such records as the 
Secretary determines to be necessary to comply with reporting 
requirements that apply under section 3684(a)(1) of this title 
with respect to eligible persons and veterans enrolled in an 
entrepreneurship course offered by the provider.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 3677. Approval of training on the job

  (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (d)(1) The sponsor of any program of training on the job 
shall submit notice to the Secretary upon the successful 
completion of the program by the veteran, eligible veteran, or 
eligible person, as the case may be.
  (2) The term ``training on the job'' includes training 
commonly referred to as ``on-job learning''.
  (e)(1) The Secretary shall conduct a pilot program under 
which, the Secretary shall operate a program of training on the 
job under this section for a period (notwithstanding subsection 
(c)(2)) of up to three years in duration to train employees of 
the Department to become qualified adjudicators of claims for 
compensation, dependency and indemnity compensation, and 
pension.
  (2) Amounts of educational assistance, monthly benefit 
payments, and training assistance allowance under chapters 30, 
31, 32, 34, and 35 of this title, as the case may be, shall be 
payable to such employees during each month of training under 
the program.
  (3)(A) Not later than 3 years after the implementation of the 
pilot project, the Secretary shall submit to Congress an 
initial report on the pilot project. The report shall include 
an assessment of the usefulness of the program in recruiting 
and retaining of personnel of the Department as well as an 
assessment of the value of the program as a training program.
  (B) Not later than 18 months after the date on which the 
initial report under subparagraph (A) is submitted, the 
Secretary shall submit to Congress, a final report on the pilot 
project. The final report shall include recommendations of the 
Secretary with respect to continuation of the pilot project and 
with respect to expansion of the types of claims for which the 
extended period of on the job training is available to train 
such employees.
  (4) The pilot project shall terminate 5 years after the date 
of the implementation of the project.

SUBCHAPTER II--MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 3687. Apprenticeship or other on-job training

  (a) * * *
  (b)(1) * * *

 [Effective July 1, 2004, paragraph (2) of section 3687(b), as amended 
 by section 302(d) of Public Law 108-183 (117 Stat. 2659), provides as 
                               follows:]

  (2) The monthly training assistance allowance of an eligible 
person pursuing a program described under subsection (a) shall 
be [$574 for the first six months, $429 for the second six 
months, $285 for the third six months,] $650 for the first six 
months, $507 for the second six months, $366 for the third six 
months, and $144 for the fourth and any succeeding six-month 
period of training.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (e)(1) For each month that an individual (as defined in 
paragraph (3)) is paid a training assistance allowance under 
subsection (a), the entitlement of the individual shall be 
charged at a percentage rate (rounded to the nearest percent) 
that is equal to the ratio of--
          (A) such training assistance allowance for the period 
        of months involved, to
          (B) the applicable monthly educational assistance 
        allowance payable to the individual for such period of 
        months.''.
  (2) For any month in which an individual fails to complete 
120 hours of training, the entitlement otherwise chargeable 
under paragraph (1) shall be reduced in the same proportion as 
the monthly training assistance allowance payable is reduced 
under subsection (b)(3).
  (3) In this section, the term ``individual'' means--
          (A) an eligible veteran for purposes of chapter 34 of 
        this title who is entitled, under chapter 30 or 34 of 
        this title, as the case may be, to monthly educational 
        assistance allowances payable under section 3015(e) of 
        this title, or
          (B) an eligible person for purposes chapter 35 of 
        this title, who is entitled, under section 3510 of this 
        title, to monthly educational assistance allowances 
        payable under section 3532(a) of this title
as the case may be.
  (f)(1) In the case of an individual (as defined in subsection 
(e)(3)) who successfully completes a full-time program of 
apprenticeship before entitlement to monthly educational 
assistance allowance payable for that program is exhausted, the 
Secretary shall pay to the individual a lump-sum amount equal 
to the difference between--
          (A) the total amount of educational assistance 
        allowances that could have been paid to the individual 
        under subsection (a) for the successful completion of 
        that program, and
          (B) the amount of educational assistance allowance 
        paid to the individual for the program under subsection 
        (a).
  (2) In the case of a lump sum payment paid to an individual 
under paragraph (1), the entitlement of the individual under 
chapter 30, 34, or 35 of this title, as the case may be, shall 
be charged at the applicable rate under subsection (e).

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 3694. Use of other Federal agencies

  [In carrying out] (a) In General.--In carrying out the 
Secretary's functions under this chapter or chapter 34 or 35 of 
this title, the Secretary may utilize the facilities and 
services of any other Federal department or agency. Any such 
utilization shall be pursuant to proper agreement with the 
Federal department or agency concerned; and payment to cover 
the cost thereof shall be made either in advance or by way of 
reimbursement, as may be provided in such agreement.
  (b) Coordination of Information Among the Departments of 
Veterans Affairs, Defense, and Labor With Respect to On-Job 
Training.--At the time of a servicemember's discharge or 
release from active duty service, the Secretary of Defense 
shall furnish to the Secretary such pertinent information 
concerning each registered apprenticeship pursued by the 
servicemember during the period of active duty service of the 
servicemember. The Secretary, in conjunction with the Secretary 
of Labor, shall encourage and assist States and private 
organizations to give credit to servicemembers for the 
registered apprenticeship program so pursued in the case of any 
related apprenticeship program the servicemember may pursue as 
a civilian.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 37--HOUSING AND SMALL BUSINESS LOANS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 3703. Basic provisions relating to loan guaranty and insurance

  (a)(1)(A) Any loan to a veteran eligible for benefits under 
this chapter, if made for any of the purposes specified in 
section 3710 of this title and in compliance with the 
provisions of this chapter, is automatically guaranteed by the 
United States in an amount not to exceed the lesser of--
          (i)(I) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

          (IV) in the case of any loan of more than $144,000 
        for a purpose specified in clause (1), (2), (3), (6), 
        or (8) of section 3710(a) of this title, the lesser of 
        [$60,000] the maximum guaranty amount (as defined in 
        subparagraph (C)) or 25 percent of the loan; or
  (B) The maximum amount of guaranty entitlement available to a 
veteran for purposes specified in section 3710 of this title 
shall be $36,000, or in the case of a loan described in 
subparagraph (A)(i)(IV) of this paragraph, [$60,000] the 
maximum guaranty amount (as defined in subparagraph (C)), 
reduced by the amount of entitlement previously used by the 
veteran under this chapter and not restored as a result of the 
exclusion in section 3702(b) of this title.
  (C) In this paragraph, the term ``maximum guaranty amount'' 
means the dollar amount that is equal to 25 percent of the 
Freddie Mac conforming loan limit limitation determined under 
section 305(a)(2) of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation 
Act (12 U.S.C. 1454(a)(2)) for a single-family residence, as 
adjusted for the year involved.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


PART IV--GENERAL ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 51--CLAIMS, EFFECTIVE DATES, AND PAYMENTS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SUBCHAPTER II--EFFECTIVE DATES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 5110. Effective dates of awards

  (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (d)[(1)] The effective date of an award of [death 
compensation or dependency and indemnity compensation] death 
compensation, dependency and indemnity compensation, or death 
pension for which application is received within one year from 
the date of death shall be the first day of the month in which 
the death occurred.
  [(2) The effective date of an award of death pension for 
which application is received within 45 days from the date of 
death shall be the first day of the month in which the death 
occurred.]

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 53--SPECIAL PROVISIONS RELATING TO BENEFITS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 5304. Prohibition against duplication of benefits

  (a)(1) Except as provided in section 1414 of title 10 or to 
the extent that retirement pay is waived under other provisions 
of law, not more than one award of pension, compensation, 
emergency officers', regular, or reserve retirement pay, or 
initial award of naval pension granted after July 13, 1943, 
shall be made concurrently to any person based on such person's 
own service or concurrently to any person based on the service 
of any other person.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 5305. Waiver of retired pay

  [Any] Except as provided in section 1414 of title 10, any 
person who is receiving pay pursuant to any provision of law 
providing retired or retirement pay to persons in the Armed 
Forces, or as a commissioned officer of the National Oceanic 
and Atmospheric Administration or of the Public Health Service, 
and who would be eligible to receive pension or compensation 
under the laws administered by the Secretary if such person 
were not receiving such retired or retirement pay, shall be 
entitled to receive such pension or compensation upon the 
filing by such person with the department by which such retired 
or retirement pay is paid of a waiver of so much of such 
person's retired or retirement pay as is equal in amount to 
such pension or compensation. To prevent duplication of 
payments, the department with which any such waiver is filed 
shall notify the Secretary of the receipt of such waiver, the 
amount waived, and the effective date of the reduction in 
retired or retirement pay.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


PART V--BOARDS, ADMINISTRATIONS, AND SERVICES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 72--UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR VETERANS CLAIMS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SUBCHAPTER I--ORGANIZATION AND JURISDICTION

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 7253. Composition

  (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (d) Chief Judge.--(1) The chief judge of the Court is the 
head of the Court. The chief judge of the Court shall be the 
judge of the Court in regular active service who is senior in 
commission among the judges of the Court who--
          (A) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (4)(A) The term of a chief judge shall be terminated before 
the end of the term prescribed by paragraph (3) if--
          (i) the chief judge leaves regular active service as 
        a judge of the [court] Court; or
          (ii) the chief judge notifies the other judges of the 
        [court] Court in writing that such judge desires to be 
        relieved of the duties of chief judge.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (h) Temporary Expansion of Court.--(1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (4) A judge of the Court as of [the date of the enactment of 
this subsection] December 27, 2001, who was appointed to the 
Court before January 1, 1991, may accept appointment as a judge 
of the Court under this subsection notwithstanding that the 
term of office of the judge on the Court has not yet expired 
under this section. The term of office of an incumbent judge 
who receives an appointment as described in the preceding 
sentence shall be 15 years, which includes any period remaining 
in the unexpired term of the judge. Any service following an 
appointment under this subsection shall be treated as though 
served as part of the original term of office of that judge on 
the Court.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

                              ----------                              


             SECTION 16131 OF TITLE 10, UNITED STATES CODE

Sec. 16131. Educational assistance program: establishment; amount

  (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (d)(1) [Except as provided in paragraph (2)] Subject to the 
succeeding provisions of this subsection, the amount of the 
monthly educational assistance allowance payable to a person 
pursuing a full-time program of apprenticeship or other on-the-
job training under this chapter is--
          (A) for each of the first six months of the person's 
        pursuit of such program, [75] 85 percent of the monthly 
        educational assistance allowance otherwise payable to 
        such person under this chapter;
          (B) for each of the second six months of the person's 
        pursuit of such program, [55] 65 percent of such 
        monthly educational assistance allowance; and
          (C) for each of the months following the first 12 
        months of the person's pursuit of such program, [35] 45 
        percent of such monthly educational assistance 
        allowance.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (4)(A) In the case of an individual who successfully 
completes a full-time program of apprenticeship before 
entitlement to monthly educational assistance allowance payable 
under this subsection for that program is exhausted, the 
Secretary shall pay to the individual a lump-sum amount equal 
to the difference between--
          (i) the total amount of educational assistance 
        allowances that could have been paid to the individual 
        under this subsection for the successful completion of 
        that program, and
          (ii) the amount of educational assistance allowance 
        paid to the individual for the program under this 
        subsection.
  (B) In the case of a lump sum payment paid to an individual 
under subparagraph (A), the individual's entitlement under this 
chapter shall be charged at the applicable rate under paragraph 
(3).

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *