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108th Congress                                            Rept. 108-574
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                      Part 1

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



 
TO AUTHORIZE THE PRINCIPAL OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS 
   FOR VETERANS CLAIMS TO BE AT ANY LOCATION IN THE WASHINGTON, D.C. 
                           METROPOLITAN AREA

                                _______
                                

                 June 25, 2004.--Ordered to be printed.

                                _______
                                

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

                                 REPORT

                        [To accompany H.R. 3936]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Veterans' Affairs, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 3936) to amend title 38, United States Code, to 
authorize the principal office of the United States Court of 
Appeals for Veterans Claims to be at any location in the 
Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, rather than only in the 
District of Columbia, and expressing the sense of Congress that 
a dedicated Veterans Courthouse and Justice Center should be 
provided for that Court and those it serves and should be 
located, if feasible, at a site owned by the United States that 
is part of or proximate to the Pentagon Reservation, and for 
other purposes, having considered the same, reports favorably 
thereon without amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.

                              Introduction

    On March 11, 2004, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the 
Veterans' Affairs Committee, Honorable Christopher H. Smith and 
Honorable Lane Evans, along with Honorable Ike Skelton, 
introduced H.R. 3936, which would authorize the principal 
office of the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans 
Claims to be at any location in the Washington, D.C., 
metropolitan area, rather than only in the District of 
Columbia, and express the sense of Congress that a dedicated 
Veterans Courthouse and Justice Center should be provided for 
that Court and those it serves and should be located, if 
feasible, at a site owned by the United States that is part of 
or proximate to the Pentagon Reservation.
    On April 29, 2004, the Subcommittee on Benefits held a 
hearing on 10 bills, including H.R. 3936.
    On May 13, 2004, the Subcommittee on Benefits met and 
ordered H.R. 3936 reported favorably to the full Committee by 
unanimous voice vote.
    On May 19, 2004, the full Committee met and ordered H.R. 
3936 reported favorably to the House by unanimous voice vote.

                      Summary of the Reported Bill

    H.R. 3936 would:

    1. LAuthorize the principal office of the U.S. Court of 
Appeals for Veterans Claims to be located at any location in 
the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, rather than only in 
the District of Columbia.

    2. LMake findings and express the sense of Congress that 
all other Article I courts of the United States are located in 
a dedicated courthouse; that the U.S. Court of Appeals for 
Veterans Claims, since its creation in 1988, has been located 
in a commercial office building; and that a dedicated Veterans 
Courthouse and Justice Center should be provided for the Court 
and the veterans it serves, and should be located, if feasible, 
at a site owned by the United States that is part of or 
proximate to the Pentagon Reservation.

    3. LRequires not later than 90 days after the date of 
enactment of this bill that the Secretary of Defense, the 
Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and the Administrator of General 
Services submit to the House and Senate Committees on Veterans' 
Affairs and Armed Services a joint report on the feasibility of 
locating a new Veterans Courthouse and Justice Center at an 
appropriate Pentagon Reservation site.

                       Background and Discussion

    H.R. 3936 would authorize the U.S. Court of Appeals for 
Veterans Claims, now located in commercial office space in the 
District of Columbia, to seek a new location in the greater 
national capital region. This measure would also express the 
sense of Congress that a dedicated Veterans Courthouse and 
Justice Center should be provided for the Court and the 
veterans it serves. It would be located, if possible, next to 
Interstate Highway 395 on one of three small parking lots that 
are part of the Pentagon Reservation in Arlington, Virginia.
    The Court, created by Public Law 100-687 in 1988, is an 
independent Article I judicial tribunal that for the first time 
gave our Nation's veterans the right to judicial review of the 
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits decisions on their 
disability, pension, education and other claims. It should, 
like all other Article I courts, have a permanent courthouse.
    In addition to the Court, occupants of the new Courthouse 
would be representatives of veterans that regularly practice 
before the Court, for example, the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono 
Program, the National Veterans Legal Services Program, and the 
appellate attorneys of veterans service organizations. The 
Court and the offices of its constituents pay over $3.7 million 
per year for their rent. The General Services Administration 
anticipates that the Court's rental costs will increase 
substantially in the not-too-distant future. Therefore, the 
Committee believes that it would be desirable to relocate the 
Court on a government-owned site, if possible.
    In testimony before the Subcommittee on Benefits on April 
29, 2004, Honorable Kenneth B. Kramer, Chief Judge of the U.S. 
Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, stated the rationale for 
a dedicated Veterans Courthouse and Justice Center. (See 
Statement of the Views of the U.S. Court of Appeals for 
Veterans Claims, page 6.) During his testimony, Chief Judge 
Kramer referred to a letter he had written to Secretary of 
Defense Rumsfeld to ask for his support for the construction on 
presently available Pentagon Reservation land of a courthouse 
that would become a permanent home for the Court. The Committee 
believes that the letter and its reply provide useful 
background for understanding the proposed courthouse, and they 
follow:

         U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims,
                        Chambers of Chief Judge Ken Kramer,
                                   Washington, DC, October 24, 2003
Hon. Donald H. Rumsfeld
Secretary of Defense,
Washington, DC

    Dear Mr. Secretary: I ask for your support for the construction of 
a United States Veterans Courthouse and Justice Center (Courthouse) on 
presently available Pentagon Reservation land. The Courthouse would 
become the permanent home for the United States Court of Appeals for 
Veterans Claims (the Court).
    It is my understanding that the Department of Defense (DoD) has 
initiated a feasibility study to determine the ``highest and best 
possible use'' of three sites in Arlington, Virginia: the Hayes, Eads, 
and Fern Street parking lots, located on the Pentagon Reservation, 
south of Interstate 395, just north of Army Navy Drive (an aerial map 
of the sites is enclosed) [map not included]; and that, after the study 
has been completed, the DoD may use its enhanced leasing authority to 
request proposals for private development. I ask that this enhanced 
leasing authority be utilized to construct the Courthouse on one of 
these sites.
    The Court is an independent Article I judicial tribunal created by 
statute in 1988 to hear appeals from final decisions of the Board of 
Veterans' Appeals denying benefits administered by the Department of 
Veterans Affairs (VA). By creating the Court, Congress gave our 
nation's veterans, for the first time, the right to judicial review of 
VA benefits decisions. The Court, housed since its founding in a 
commercial office building in the District of Columbia, is presently 
the only Article I court not located in a dedicated courthouse (the 
other Article I courts are the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed 
Forces, the U.S. Tax Court, and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims).
    In addition to the Court, occupants of the Courthouse would be 
members of those constituencies that regularly practice before the 
Court--VA General Counsel Group VII, the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono 
Program, and appellate attorneys of the Disabled American Veterans 
(DAV), the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), and the National 
Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP). The Veterans Consortium Pro 
Bono Program is a federally funded grant program, administered through 
the Legal Services Corporation, to recruit, train, and mentor attorneys 
to provide pro bono representation to veterans and their families in 
cases before the Court. The DAV and PVA are veterans service 
organizations that have historically had staff members housed at 
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities where they represent 
veterans benefits claimants. The NVLSP is a public-interest program 
devoted to representing veterans and their families. Consultation is 
also underway with other veterans organizations to determine their 
interest in having a presence in the Courthouse.
    The General Services Administration (GSA) has estimated that the 
Courthouse would require 121,000 gross square feet or 112,000 rentable 
square feet of interior space. (It is not anticipated that, if 
additional veterans organizations were to occupy space, there would be 
any significant impact on square footage requirements.) GSA could work 
with DoD to coordinate pre-design and pre-construction studies to 
determine the feasibility of use of one of the sites for the 
Courthouse, would provide input during design and construction based on 
guidelines for federal courthouses, and, once construction was 
completed, act as the federal leasing agent. The Court and its 
constituencies that have expressed an intent to relocate in the 
Courthouse pay (or expressed a willingness to pay, based upon present 
rental costs) over $3.7 million per year for rent. GSA anticipates 
that, at least for the Court and VA, rental costs will increase 
substantially in the not-too-distant future. Arlington County 
government officials have indicated that they support the Courthouse 
and have offered to assist in this project.
    Given the past, present, and future sacrifices of the many men and 
women of our Armed Forces, I cannot imagine a higher or better use for 
one of these present parking-lot sites than a stand-alone, dedicated 
Veterans Courthouse and Justice Center which would embody the gratitude 
this nation holds towards every veteran who--in Abraham Lincoln's 
words--``shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his 
orphan.'' The Pentagon Reservation site, would be the ideal setting, 
given its proximity to the Pentagon, Arlington Cemetery, and the soon-
to-be-constructed Air Force Memorial. The Courthouse would express our 
government's strong commitment to the ideal of justice for veterans and 
DoD's use of its enhanced leasing authority would permit the project to 
come to fruition with a minimum of appropriated funds.
    I thank you for your consideration of this undertaking as a timely 
and tangible means of demonstrating to the nation's veterans and their 
families how much their sacrifices are valued. I would very much 
appreciate an opportunity to meet with you to discuss this matter. A 
member of my staff will call your scheduler to request a meeting at 
your convenience.

            Sincerely,
                                          Kenneth B. Kramer
    Enclosure.

    cc: [courtesy copies omitted].
                               __________
                        U.S. Department of Defense,
                        Office of the Secretary of Defense,
                                  Washington, DC, December 30, 2003
Hon. Ken Kramer
Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims,
Washington, DC

    Dear Chief Judge Kramer: Thank you for your recent letter to 
Secretary Rumsfeld and your corresponding note to me requesting 
Department of Defense (DoD) support for the construction of a United 
States Veterans Courthouse and Justice Center on land that is part of 
the Pentagon Reservation. I am responding on behalf of the Secretary. I 
regret that the Department cannot support your request. The land is not 
presently available because it is being used to provide essential 
parking for DoD employees. In addition, we have a continuing need for 
the property in the longer term, both for parking and as part of our 
security buffer from uncontrolled development proximate to the 
Pentagon.
    As you mentioned in your letter, DoD has initiated a feasibility 
study to gauge the level of private sector interest in entering into an 
``Enhanced-Use Lease'' agreement in accordance with the provisions of 
Section 2667 of Title 10, United States Code. The study includes the 
requirement to accommodate continuing DoD requirements for the land, as 
well as our anti-terrorism and force protection needs; specifically: 
maintaining the present level of employee parking, the possible 
relocation of the Navy Exchange Service Station (which sits on land 
that will be transferred to the Secretary of the Army for use by 
Arlington National Cemetery), compliance with line-of-site 
restrictions, and effecting other critical structural security and 
design features. Should ``Enhanced-Use-Leasing'' prove feasible, we 
would not object to the General Services Administration working with 
our selected developer to see if your requirement for a new United 
States Veterans Courthouse and Justice Center could be met within this 
context.
    As an alternative, you may wish to consider leasing or purchasing 
other land in the area. There are some private sector sites well suited 
to your requirements that would provide you with a prominent location.
    I hope this information will be helpful in your search for a site 
to accommodate the United States Veterans Courthouse and Justice 
Center.

            Sincerely,
                                         Raymond F. DuBois,
                                                           Director

    H.R. 3936 would also require the Secretary of Defense, the 
Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Administrator of General 
Services to submit a joint report to the House and Senate 
Committees on Armed Services and Veterans' Affairs on the 
feasibility of locating a new Veterans Courthouse and Justice 
Center at an appropriate site owned by the United States that 
is part of or near the Pentagon Reservation.

                      Section-By-Section Analysis

    Section 1 of the bill would authorize the principal office 
of the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims to be 
located at any location in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan 
area.

    Section 2(a) of the bill would make the following findings: 
that every Article I court of the United States other than the 
United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims is located 
in a dedicated courthouse; that the United States Court of 
Appeals for Veterans Claims has since its creation in 1988 been 
located in a commercial office building in the District of 
Columbia; that the court should be housed in a dedicated 
courthouse, as are all other Article I courts; that a dedicated 
courthouse for that court constituting a Veterans Courthouse 
and Justice Center would express the gratitude and respect of 
the Nation for the sacrifices of those serving and those who 
have served in the Armed Forces, and their families; and 
location of such a courthouse and judicial center in an area 
proximate to the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery and the 
Air Force Memorial (as planned) in Arlington, Virginia, would 
be symbolic of the high esteem that the Nation holds for its 
veterans.

    Section 2(b) of the bill would express the sense of 
Congress that a dedicated Veterans Courthouse and Justice 
Center should be provided for the United States Court of 
Appeals for Veterans Claims; and that the Secretary of Defense, 
in cooperation with the United States Court of Appeals for 
Veterans Claims, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and the 
Administrator of General Services should determine the 
feasibility of locating such a Veterans Courthouse and Justice 
Center at an appropriate site owned by the United States that 
is part of or proximate to the Pentagon Reservation in 
Arlington, Virginia.

    Section 2(c) of the bill would require the Secretary of 
Defense, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and the 
Administrator of General Services to submit a report on the 
feasibility of locating a new Veterans Courthouse and Justice 
Center at an appropriate site owned by the United States, not 
later than 90 days after the date of enactment of the Act, to 
the Committees on Veterans' Affairs and the Committees on Armed 
Services of the Senate and House of Representatives.

                    Performance Goals and Objectives

    The reported bill pertains to the U.S. Court of Appeals for 
Veterans Claims which is established under Article I of the 
Constitution of the United States. The Court is subject to the 
Committee's regular oversight.

Statement of the Views of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims

 STATEMENT OF HONORABLE KENNETH B. KRAMER, CHIEF JUDGE, U.S. COURT OF 
                      APPEALS FOR VETERANS CLAIMS

                             APRIL 29, 2004

    MR. CHAIRMAN AND DISTINGUISHED MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE:

    On behalf of the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims 
(the Court), I appreciate the opportunity to testify concerning H.R. 
3936. I speak in support of the bill. H.R. 3936 would amend title 38 of 
the United States Code to authorize the Court to locate its principal 
office in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, rather than only in 
the District of Columbia, and would express the sense of Congress that 
a dedicated Veterans Courthouse and Justice Center (Courthouse) should 
be provided for the Court and those it serves. The proposed legislation 
would also require the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Veterans 
Affairs, the Administrator of General Services, and other appropriate 
government officials to work with the Court to explore the feasibility 
of using a site owned by the United States and located on or proximate 
to the Pentagon Reservation. A report to the Congress on this matter 
would be due 90 days after enactment of the legislation.
    The Court is an independent Article I judicial tribunal created by 
statute in 1988 to hear appeals from adverse final decisions of the 
Board of Veterans' Appeals concerning benefits administered by the 
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). By creating the Court, Congress 
gave our nation's veterans, for the first time, the right to judicial 
review of VA benefits decisions. The Court, housed since its founding 
in a commercial office building in the District of Columbia, is 
presently the only Article I court not located in a dedicated 
courthouse (the other Article I courts are the U.S. Court of Appeals 
for the Armed Forces, the U.S. Tax Court, and the U.S. Court of Federal 
Claims).
    Last October, I wrote to DoD Secretary Rumsfeld to ask for his 
support for the construction on presently available Pentagon 
Reservation land of a Courthouse that would become the permanent home 
for the Court. It was my understanding that the Department of Defense 
(DoD) had initiated a feasibility study to determine the ``highest and 
best possible use'' of three sites in Arlington, Virginia: the Hayes, 
Eads, and Fern Street parking lots, located on the Pentagon 
Reservation, south of Interstate 395, just north of Army Navy Drive; 
and that, after the study had been completed, the DoD might use its 
enhanced-leasing authority to request proposals for private 
development. I asked Secretary Rumsfeld to consider using this 
enhanced-leasing authority to construct the Courthouse on one of these 
sites.
    In addition to the Court, occupants of the Courthouse would be 
members of those entities that regularly practice before the Court--VA 
General Counsel Group VII, the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program, 
and appellate attorneys of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), the 
Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), and the National Veterans Legal 
Services Program (NVLSP), as well as the executive office of the U.S. 
Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims Bar Association (CAVC Bar 
Association). The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program is a federally 
funded grant program, administered through the Legal Services 
Corporation, to recruit, train, and mentor attorneys to provide pro 
bono representation to veterans and their families in cases before the 
Court. The DAV and PVA are veterans service organizations that have 
historically had staff members housed at Department of Veterans Affairs 
(VA) facilities where they represent veterans benefits claimants. The 
NVLSP is a public-interest program devoted to representing veterans and 
their families. The CAVC Bar Association is a tax-exempt voluntary 
organization of practitioners before the Court that qualifies to 
receive grants of funds for, e.g., educational programs, pursuant to 38 
U.S.C. Sec. 7285(b)(2). We are asking other veterans organizations 
about their interest in having their legal offices in the Courthouse.
    The General Services Administration (GSA) has preliminarily 
estimated that an appropriate Courthouse would require 121,000 gross 
square feet or 112,000 rentable square feet of interior space. (It is 
not anticipated that, if additional veterans organizations were to 
occupy space, there would be any significant impact on square-footage 
requirements.) GSA can work with DoD on predesign and preconstruction 
studies to determine the feasibility of use of one of the DoD sites for 
the Courthouse, can provide input during design and construction based 
on guidelines for federal courthouses, and, once construction was 
completed, act as the federal leasing agent. The Court and its 
constituencies that have expressed an intent to relocate in the 
Courthouse pay (or have expressed a willingness to pay, based upon 
present rental costs) over $3.7 million per year for rent. GSA 
anticipates that, at least for the Court and VA, rental costs at our 
present D.C. location will increase substantially in the near future.
    In December 2003, I received a response to my letter to Secretary 
Rumsfeld. The response came from the Honorable Raymond F. DuBois, the 
DoD Deputy Under Secretary for Installations and the Environment. In 
his letter, Mr. DuBois stated that a feasibility study had been 
initiated to ``gauge the level of private sector interest in entering 
into an `Enhanced-Use Lease' agreement in accordance with the 
provisions of Section 2667 of Title 10, United States Code.'' He 
pointed out that requirements for use of the land include DoD's anti-
terrorism and force-protection needs''; specifically, he listed 
``maintaining the present level of employee parking, the possible 
relocation of the Navy Exchange Service Station (which sits on land 
that will be transferred to the Secretary of the Army for use by 
Arlington National Cemetery), compliance with line-of-site [sic] 
restrictions, and effecting other critical structural security and 
design features.'' He went on to say the following: ``Should `Enhanced-
Use-Leasing' prove feasible, we would not object to the [GSA] working 
with our selected developer to see if your requirement for a new United 
States Veterans Courthouse and Justice Center could be met within this 
context.''
    GSA has been supportive, with members of the National Capital 
Region staff providing assistance and preliminary analysis. In a 
December 2003 letter, Administrator Stephen A. Perry wrote as follows, 
concerning the initiative to locate the Courthouse on or near the 
Pentagon Reservation: ``We share your vision for this worthy 
undertaking, and we will continue to support you on this or any other 
alternatives you may consider.'' Arlington County government officials 
have indicated that they support the Courthouse and have offered to 
assist in this project.
    I continue to follow the progress of the DoD feasibility study, and 
have been informed that it is not yet final, but should be complete 
within the next few weeks. Should the study be positive concerning 
enhanced-lease development by the private sector, the Court would work 
with DoD, the developer it selects, GSA, and the constituents who 
intend to co-locate with the Court to try to make the Veterans 
Courthouse and Justice Center a reality.
    Given the past, present, and future sacrifices of the many men and 
women of our Armed Forces, I cannot imagine a higher or better use for 
one of these present parking-lot sites than a stand-alone, dedicated 
Veterans Courthouse and Justice Center to embody the gratitude that 
this nation holds for those who--in Abraham Lincoln's words--``shall 
have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan.'' The Pentagon 
Reservation site would be the ideal setting, given its proximity to the 
Pentagon, Arlington Cemetery, and the soon-to-be-constructed Air Force 
Memorial. The Courthouse would express our government's strong 
commitment to the ideal of justice for veterans and DoD's use of its 
enhanced-leasing authority would permit the project to come to fruition 
with a minimum expenditure of appropriated funds. We would, of course, 
be glad to cooperate in the preparation of the report called for by 
section 2(c) of H.R. 3936.
    In closing, I want to express my gratitude for the support of the 
sponsors of this legislation, Chairman Smith, ranking minority member 
Evans, and Armed Services Committee ranking minority member Skelton and 
for the invaluable assistance of your Committees staff, especially Pat 
Ryan, Kingston Smith, and Mary Ellen McCarthy. I thank you for your 
consideration of H.R. 3936, which would greatly advance this 
undertaking, as a timely and tangible symbol of justice for our 
nation's veterans and their families whose sacrifices are greatly 
valued.

               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, May 26, 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 cost estimate for H.R. 3936, a bill to 
amend title 38, United States Code, to authorize the principal 
office of the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans 
Claims to be at any location in the Washington, D.C., 
metropolitan area, rather than only in the District of 
Columbia, and expressing the sense of Congress that a dedicated 
Veterans Courthouse and Justice Center should be provided for 
that Court and those it serves and should be located, if 
feasible, at a site owned by the United States that is part of 
or proximate to the Pentagon Reservation, and for other 
purposes.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Dwayne M. 
Wright, who can be reached at 226-2840.

            Sincerely,
                                       Douglas Holtz-Eakin,
                                                           Director
    Enclosure.
                                ------                                


               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

                                                       May 26, 2004

 H.R. 3936, a bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to authorize 
the principal office of the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans 
  Claims to be at any location in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan 
area, rather than only in the District of Columbia, and expressing the 
  sense of Congress that a dedicated Veterans Courthouse and Justice 
Center should be provided for that Court and those it serves and should 
 be located, if feasible, at a site owned by the United States that is 
    part of or proximate to the Pentagon Reservation, and for other 
                                purposes

As ordered reported by the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs on May 
                                19, 2004

    H.R. 3936 would authorize the Court of Appeals for Veterans 
Claims (CAVC) to locate its principal office anywhere in the 
Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Under current law, the 
principal office of the CAVC must be located in the District of 
Columbia. According to the CAVC, it currently has no plans to 
move from the current location in the District, nor are there 
plans to dedicate a Veterans Courthouse in the District of 
Columbia, or in the metropolitan area within the next five 
years. Therefore, CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 3936 
would not have any significant near-term effect on federal 
spending.
    While the CAVC indicates it does not plan to move from its 
current location in the near future, the bill contains the 
sense of the Congress that appears to urge the CAVC to pursue 
acquiring a dedicated Veterans Courthouse and Justice Center at 
an appropriate site owned by the United States that is near or 
proximate to the Pentagon Reservation in Arlington, Virginia. 
In fact, according to the General Services Administration 
(GSA), the Court has begun the process of inquiry into a 
possible relocation at some point in time but GSA has not 
incorporated a specific project or funding in its five-year 
plan for CAVC relocation. GSA indicates that, once CAVC decides 
to relocate, the process of site acquisition and building 
design and construction could take about five years to 
accomplish and cost about $35 million--$1 million for project 
studies and site acquisition, $6 million for building design, 
and $28 million for building construction. If the CAVC chose to 
seriously pursue relocation during the next several years, it 
is possible that some or all this cost could occur over the 
2006-2009 period, subject to the availability of appropriated 
funds.
    H.R. 3936 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    On May 14, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for H.R. 3936, 
as introduced on March 11, 2004. The two versions of the 
legislation are identical, as are the two estimates.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Dwayne M. 
Wright, who can be reached at 226-2840. This estimate was 
approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant Director for 
Budget Analysis.

                     Statement of Federal Mandates

    The preceding Congressional Budget Office cost estimate 
states that the bill contains no intergovernmental or private 
sector mandates 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):

              SECTION 7255 OF TITLE 38, UNITED STATES CODE

Sec. 7255. Offices

  The principal office of the Court of Appeals for Veterans 
Claims shall be in the [District of Columbia], Washington, 
D.C., metropolitan area, but the Court may sit at any place 
within the United States.

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