Report text available as:

  • TXT
  • PDF   (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip ?

110th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                     110-785

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



 
 IMPROVING VETERANS' OPPORTUNITY IN EDUCATION AND BUSINESS ACT OF 2008

                                _______
                                

 July 29, 2008.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

  Mr. Filner, from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 6221]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

  The Committee on Veterans' Affairs, to whom was referred the 
bill (H.R. 6221) to amend title 38, United States Code, to 
require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to include in each 
contract the Secretary enters for the acquisition of goods and 
services a provision that requires the contractee to comply 
with the contracting goals and preferences for small business 
concerns owned or controlled by veterans, and for other 
purposes, having considered the same, report favorably thereon 
with an amendment and recommend that the bill as amended do 
pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Amendment........................................................     2
Purpose and Summary..............................................     4
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     4
Hearings.........................................................     6
Subcommittee Consideration.......................................     7
Committee Consideration..........................................     7
Committee Votes..................................................     7
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     7
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............     8
New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and Tax Expenditures     8
Earmarks and Tax and Tariff Benefits.............................     8
Committee Cost Estimate..........................................     8
Congressional Budget Office Estimate.............................     8
Federal Mandates Statement.......................................    10
Advisory Committee Statement.....................................    10
Constitutional Authority Statement...............................    10
Applicability to Legislative Branch..............................    11
Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation...................    11
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill as Reported.............    12

                               Amendment

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

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Improving Veterans' Opportunity in 
Education and Business Act of 2008''.

SEC. 2. CONTRACTING GOALS AND PREFERENCES FOR VETERAN-OWNED SMALL 
                    BUSINESS CONCERNS.

  Section 8127 of title 38, United States Code, is amended--
          (1) by redesignating subsections (j) and (k) as subsections 
        (k) and (l), respectively; and
          (2) by inserting after subsection (i) the following:
  ``(j) Applicability of Requirements to Contracts.--(1) If the 
Secretary enters, on or after June 1, 2007, into a contract, memorandum 
of understanding, agreement, or other arrangement with any governmental 
entity or person to acquire goods or services, or both, the Secretary 
shall include in such contract, memorandum, agreement, or other 
arrangement a requirement that the entity or person will comply with 
the provisions of this section in acquiring such goods or services, or 
both.
  ``(2) Coordination.--The Secretary shall take such action as may be 
necessary to ensure that the efforts to comply with this section of the 
Department and governmental entities and persons to which paragraph (1) 
applies are coordinated.
  ``(3) The Secretary shall modify contracts, memorandums of 
understanding, agreements, and other arrangements of the Department in 
effect on the date of enactment of the Improving Veterans' Opportunity 
in Education and Business Act of 2008 to comply with this 
subsection.''.

SEC. 3. FIVE-YEAR PILOT PROGRAM FOR ON-CAMPUS WORKSTUDY POSITIONS.

  (a) Establishment of Pilot Program.--The Secretary of Veterans 
Affairs shall conduct a five-year pilot project to test the feasibility 
and advisability of expanding the scope of qualifying workstudy 
activities for purposes of section 3485(a)(4) of title 38, United 
States Code, including workstudy positions available on site at 
educational institutions.
  (b) Type of Workstudy Positions.--The workstudy positions referred to 
in subsection (a) may include positions in academic departments 
(including positions as tutors or research, teaching, and lab 
assistants) and in student services (including positions in career 
centers and financial aid, campus orientation, cashiers, admissions, 
records, and registration offices).
  (c) Regulations.--The Secretary shall issue regulations to carry out 
the pilot project under this section, including regulations providing 
for the supervision of workstudy positions referred to in subsection 
(a) by appropriate personnel of the Department.
  (d) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized to be 
appropriated to the Secretary $10,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2009 
through 2013 to carry out the pilot project under this section.
  (e) Funding.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, this 
section shall not be carried out with any funds provided for or under 
any authority of the Readjustment benefits program described by the 
list of Appropriated Entitlements and Mandatories for Fiscal Year 1997 
contained in the Conference Report to accompany H.R. 2015 of the 105th 
Congress, the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (H. Report 105-217). Instead, 
no funds shall be obligated for the purpose of carrying out this 
section except discretionary funds appropriated specifically for the 
purpose of carrying out this section in appropriation Acts enacted 
after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 4. MILITARY OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTY TRANSITION (MOST) PROGRAM.

  (a) In General.--Subchapter II of chapter 36 of title 38, United 
States Code, is amended by inserting after section 3687 the following 
new section:

``Sec. 3687A. Military occupational specialty transition (MOST) program

  ``(a) Establishment; Eligibility.--
          ``(1) In general.--Subject to the availability of 
        appropriations, the Secretary shall carry out a program of 
        training to provide eligible veterans with skills relevant to 
        the job market.
          ``(2) Eligible veteran.--For purposes of this section, the 
        term `eligible veteran' means any veteran if--
                  ``(A) such veteran's military occupational specialty 
                at the time of discharge is determined by the Secretary 
                to have limited transferability to the civilian job 
                market;
                  ``(B) such veteran is not otherwise eligible for 
                education or training services under this title;
                  ``(C) such veteran has not acquired a marketable 
                skill since leaving military service;
                  ``(D) such veteran was discharged under conditions 
                not less than general under honorable conditions; and
                  ``(E)(i) such veteran has been unemployed for at 
                least 90 of the 180 days preceding the date of 
                application for the program established under this 
                section; or
                  ``(ii) the maximum hourly rate of pay of such veteran 
                during such 180-day period is not more than 150 percent 
                of the Federal minimum wage.
  ``(b) MOST Program.--The program established under this section shall 
provide for payments to employers who provide for eligible veterans a 
program of apprenticeship or on-the-job training if--
          ``(1) such program is approved as provided in paragraph (1) 
        or (2) of section 3687(a) of this title;
          ``(2) the rate of pay for veterans participating in the 
        program is not less than the rate of pay for nonveterans in 
        similar jobs; and
          ``(3) the Secretary reasonably expects that--
                  ``(A) the veteran will be qualified for employment in 
                that field upon completion of training; and
                  ``(B) the employer providing the program will hire 
                the veteran at the completion of training.
  ``(c) Payments to Employers.--
          ``(1) In general.--Subject to the availability of 
        appropriations, the Secretary shall enter into contracts with 
        employers to provide programs of apprenticeship or on-the-job 
        training which meet the requirements of this section. Such 
        contract shall provide for the payment of the amounts described 
        in subsection (b) to employers whose programs meet such 
        requirements.
          ``(2) Amount of payments.--The amount paid under this section 
        with respect to any eligible veteran for any period shall be 50 
        percent of the wages paid by the employer to such veteran for 
        such period. Wages shall be calculated on an hourly basis.
          ``(3) Amount and duration of payments.--
                  ``(A) In general.--Except as provided in subparagraph 
                (B)--
                          ``(i) the amount paid under this section with 
                        respect to a veteran participating in the 
                        program established under this section may not 
                        exceed $20,000 in the aggregate and $1,666.67 
                        per month; and
                          ``(ii) such payments may only be made during 
                        the first 12 months of such veteran's 
                        participation in the program.
                  ``(B) Veterans participating on less than full-time 
                basis.--In the case of a veteran participating in the 
                program on a less than full-time basis, the Secretary 
                may extend the number of months of payments under 
                subparagraph (A) and proportionally adjust the amount 
                of such payments, but the maximum amount paid with 
                respect to a veteran may not exceed the maximum amount 
                of $20,000 and the maximum amount of such payments may 
                not exceed 24 months.
          ``(4) Payments made on quarterly basis.--Payments under this 
        section shall be made on a quarterly basis.
          ``(5) Employer report.--Each employer providing a program of 
        apprenticeship or on-the-job training pursuant to this section 
        shall submit to the Secretary on a quarterly basis a report 
        certifying the wages paid to eligible veterans under such 
        program (which shall be certified by the veteran as being 
        correct) and containing such other information as the Secretary 
        may specify. Such report shall be submitted in the form and 
        manner required by the Secretary.
  ``(d) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized to be 
appropriated $60,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2009 through 2018 to 
carry out this section.
  ``(e) Reporting.--The Secretary shall include a detailed description 
of activities carried out under this section in the annual report 
prepared by the Veterans Benefits Administration.
  ``(f) Separate Accounting.--The Department shall have a separate line 
item in budget proposals of the Department for funds to be appropriated 
to carry out this section.''.
  (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections for such chapter is 
amended by inserting after the item relating to section 3687 the 
following new item:

``3687A. Military occupational specialty transition (MOST) program.''.
  (c) Conforming Amendments.--(1) Subsection (a)(1) of section 3034 of 
such title is amended by striking ``and 3687'' and inserting ``3687, 
and 3687A''.
  (2) Subsections (a)(1) and (c) of section 3241 of such title are each 
amended by striking ``section 3687'' and inserting ``sections 3687 and 
3687A''.
  (3) Subsection (d)(1) of section 3672 of such title is amended by 
striking ``and 3687'' and inserting ``3687, and 3687A''.
  (4) Paragraph (3) of section 4102A(b) of such title is amended by 
striking ``section 3687'' and inserting ``section 3687 or 3687A''.

                          Purpose and Summary

    H.R. 6221 was introduced by Representative John Boozman of 
Arkansas, the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Economic 
Opportunity, on June 10, 2008. This legislation, as amended, 
would require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to include 
in each contract the Secretary enters for the acquisition of 
goods and services a provision that requires the contractee to 
comply with the contracting goals and preferences for small 
business concerns owned or controlled by veterans, and for 
other purposes.
    H.R. 6221, includes provisions from H.R. 6224, introduced 
by Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin of South Dakota, 
the Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, 
that would authorize the VA to establish a five-year pilot 
work-study program for veterans, and provisions from H.R. 6272, 
introduced by Representative Peter Welch of Vermont, that would 
revise and update the Service Members Occupational Conversion 
and Training Act (SMOCTA) program as the Military Occupational 
Specialty Transition (MOST) Program.

                  Background and Need for Legislation


  CONTRACTING GOALS AND PREFERENCES FOR VETERAN-OWNED SMALL BUSINESS 
                                CONCERNS

    Over the years, Congress has developed specific programs 
aimed at assisting and promoting certain segments of the small 
business community. Measures such as the Veterans 
Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act of 1999 
(Public Law 106-50), the Veterans Benefits Act of 2003 (Public 
Law 108-183) and Executive Order 13360 of October 20, 2004, 
which established a goal of three percent procurement of all 
Federal acquisition from small businesses owned and operated by 
service-disabled veterans, have attempted to promote and 
encourage small businesses owned by disabled veterans. 
Unfortunately, Small Business Administration data for 2006, the 
most recent year for complete data, shows the combined Federal 
percentage of procurement dollars to be .087 percent of one 
percent or about one-third of the goal set forth in Executive 
Order 13360.
    Responding to concerns voiced by veteran small business 
owners as well as Federal contracting officials, the Veterans 
Benefits, Health Care, and Information Technology Act of 2006 
(Public Law 109-461) contained provisions that required the VA 
to provide certain contracting preferences to small businesses 
owned by veterans and service-disabled veterans.
    During the second session of the 110th Congress, the 
Committee became aware that the VA had concluded an agreement 
with the U.S. Army that would have the Army providing 
contracting services to the VA. The Committee also learned that 
the VA Office of General Counsel had issued an informal verbal 
opinion that the veteran-owned small business provisions of 
Public Law 109-461 did not apply to agents acting on behalf of 
the Department.
    The Committee believes that any agent of VA is bound by the 
same statutory provisions as those that bind the Department. 
H.R. 6221 clarifies the intent of the small business provisions 
in Public Law 109-461 that these provisions apply not only to 
the VA, but also to any agency, entity, or person acting on 
behalf of the VA. H.R. 6221 requires that specific language be 
included in future agreements between the VA and any agent that 
such agent's actions on behalf of the VA are expected to be in 
compliance with the VA's responsibilities under any laws and 
regulations promoting veteran and service-disabled veteran-
owned small businesses.

       FIVE-YEAR PILOT PROGRAM FOR ON-CAMPUS WORK-STUDY POSITIONS

    On October 18, 2007, the Subcommittee on Economic 
Opportunity conducted a hearing titled ``Updating the 
Montgomery G.I. Bill.'' In this hearing, Mr. David A. Guzman, 
Legislative Director for the National Association of Veterans 
Program Administrators (NAVPA) testified for the need to expand 
current work-study programs to allow veterans to supplement 
their income. Currently, veterans who are utilizing their 
educational entitlements at accredited two-year or four-year 
colleges and universities that qualify for VA work-study 
benefits are limited to VA-related employment opportunities. 
These positions normally are restricted to handling VA 
paperwork at the institute of higher learning or VA office, 
performing VA outreach services, and working at VA medical 
facilities or other VA offices.
    The Committee is convinced that expanding the types of 
positions available under the VA work-study program to 
encompass the types of work-study positions available to other 
students would enhance the veterans' educational experience and 
opportunity for obtaining employment following graduation. H.R. 
6221 directs the VA to conduct a five-year pilot project to 
expand on existing work-study activities for veterans by 
allowing veterans the option of working in academic departments 
and student services, and put them on par with students that 
qualify for a work-study position under programs not 
administered by the VA.

       MILITARY OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTY TRANSITION (MOST) PROGRAM

    The SMOCTA program was first authorized in 1992 to respond 
to the needs of veterans who had been hurt by the downsizing of 
the military, especially personnel whose specialty did not have 
direct applicability to the civilian employment market. 
Veterans eligible for assistance were those with military 
occupations that were not transferable into the private sector; 
those that were unemployed for a long period of time, and those 
with a 30 percent or greater service-connected disability.
    SMOCTA reimburses employers to offset their cost of 
training recently separated servicemembers for stable and 
permanent positions that involves significant training, usually 
lasting between six and 18 months. Besides reimbursing 
employers for training, SMOCTA provides funds for assessments, 
development of training plans, and supportive services for the 
veteran. In exchange for this assistance, employers guarantee 
jobs for veterans.
    According to the Paralyzed Veterans of America, SMOCTA was 
considered one of the better programs to serve transitioning 
military personnel. Given today's economic conditions and the 
high demands we place on our veterans, the rationale for 
reestablishing SMOCTA is stronger than ever.
    According to a May 2008 Bureau of Labor Statistics report, 
in 2006, Gulf War-era II veterans aged 18 to 54 years had a 
higher unemployment rate (6.5 percent) than did non-veterans 
(4.7 percent) and the unemployment rate of Gulf War-era II 
veterans aged 25 to 34 years (7.5 percent) was higher than the 
unemployment rate of non-veterans in the same age group (4.6 
percent). Gulf War-era II veterans follow those of the Gulf 
War-era I cohort which extended from August 1990 to August 
2001.
    As disturbing as those figures are, the situation will 
likely continue to deteriorate for new veterans. More and more 
of those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan will return 
home and face an economy that just experienced its sharpest 
one-month increase in unemployment in 22 years, from 5 percent 
in April to 5.5 percent in May. The Committee is concerned that 
more servicemembers are coming home from war at a time when 
there are fewer jobs for American workers. In addition, the 
global economy is becoming more and more complex and demands 
new skills. We know our veterans and returning servicemembers 
posses the work ethic, the intelligence, and the discipline to 
succeed in any environment, from the battlefield to the 
boardroom. Congress needs to ensure that these men and women 
are as equipped to compete for jobs in the economy as they were 
trained to defeat our adversaries in combat.
    The current GI Bill On-the-Job Training and Apprenticeship 
Program offers the ideal approach to creating a pool of newly 
trained veterans skilled in modern technology and job skills as 
the most appropriate means to implement the concepts in SMOCTA. 
Therefore, the Committee supports a revised version of SMOCTA, 
the MOST Program to retrain veterans.
    Today, 95 percent or more of new enlistees are opting to 
enroll in the G.I. Bill. As a result, a majority of those 
recently discharged have access to education and training 
relevant to today's civilian job market. The MOST Program is 
intended for veterans who are beyond their statutory delimiting 
date for G.I. Bill or vocational rehabilitation benefits and 
have few training options to update their job skills as they 
approach their mid-career point.
    The VA has in place the necessary regulations and 
relationships with the State Approving Agencies (SAA) and the 
Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS) to implement 
the program. The SAA and VETS already play important statutory 
roles in identifying, developing and approving training 
programs under the On-the-Job Training and Apprenticeship 
Program.
    The bill sets several qualifications for both veterans and 
training programs with the expectation that the VA and 
Department of Labor's VETS will work closely in implementing 
the program.

                                Hearings

    On June 19, 2008, the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity 
held a legislative hearing on a number of bills introduced in 
the 110th Congress, including H.R. 6221, H.R. 6224 and H.R. 
6272. The following witnesses testified: The Honorable Bob 
Filner of California; The Honorable Dennis A. Cardoza of 
California; The Honorable Zoe Lofgren of California; The 
Honorable John R. Carter of Texas; The Honorable John Boozman 
of Arkansas; The Honorable Stephanie Herseth Sandlin of South 
Dakota; The Honorable Peter Welch of Vermont; Mr. Charles 
Huebner, Chief of Paralympics, United States Olympic Committee; 
Mr. Bobby Franklin, Executive Vice President, CTIA The Wireless 
Association; Mr. Kerry Baker, Associate National Legislative 
Director, Disabled American Veterans; Mr. Joseph C. Sharpe, 
Jr., Deputy Director, National Economic Commission, The 
American Legion; Mr. Richard Daley, Associate Legislation 
Director, Paralyzed Veterans of America; Mr. Rick Weidman, 
Executive Director for Policy and Government Affairs, Vietnam 
Veterans of America; and, Mr. R. Keith Pedigo, Associate Deputy 
Under Secretary for Policy and Program Management, U.S. 
Department of Veterans Affairs, accompanied by Ms. Diane 
Hartmann, Director, National Programs and Special Events, U.S. 
Department of Veterans Affairs. Those submitting statements for 
the record included: The Honorable Michael Dominguez, Principal 
Deputy Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness), U.S. 
Department of Defense; The Honorable Charles Ciccolella, 
Assistant Secretary for Veterans' Employment and Training, U.S. 
Department of Labor; and, Ms. Rebecca Noah Poynter, Owner, 
OnPoynt Communications, Dallas, Texas.

                       Subcommittee Consideration

    On June 26, 2008, the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity 
met in open markup session and ordered favorably forwarded to 
the full Committee H.R. 6221, H.R. 6224 and H.R. 6272 by voice 
vote.

                        Committee Consideration

    On July 16, 2008, the full Committee met in an open markup 
session, a quorum being present, and ordered H.R. 6221, as 
amended, reported favorably to the House of Representatives, by 
voice vote. During consideration of the bill the following 
amendment was considered: An amendment in the nature of a 
substitute by Mr. John Boozman of Arkansas to incorporate 
language from H.R. 6224 and H.R. 6272, was agreed to by voice 
vote.

                            Committee Votes

    Clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires the Committee to list the record votes 
on the motion to report the legislation and amendments thereto. 
There were no record votes taken on amendments or in connection 
with ordering H.R. 6221 reported to the House. A motion by Mr. 
Buyer of Indiana to order H.R. 6221, as amended, reported 
favorably to the House of Representatives was agreed to by 
voice vote.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII and clause 
(2)(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives, the Committee's oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the descriptive portions of 
this report.

         Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives

    In accordance with clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee's performance 
goals and objectives are reflected in the descriptive portions 
of this report.

   New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and Tax Expenditures

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee adopts as its 
own the estimate of new budget authority, entitlement 
authority, or tax expenditures or revenues contained in the 
cost estimate prepared by the Director of the Congressional 
Budget Office pursuant to section 402 of the Congressional 
Budget Act of 1974.

                  Earmarks and Tax and Tariff Benefits

    H.R. 6221 does not contain any congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in 
clause 9(d), 9(e), or 9(f) of rule XXI of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives.

                        Committee Cost Estimate

    The Committee adopts as its own the cost estimate on H.R. 
6221 prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office pursuant to section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act 
of 1974.

               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the following is the cost estimate 
for H.R. 6221 provided by the Congressional Budget Office 
pursuant to section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, July 29, 2008.
Hon. Bob Filner,
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. 6221, the 
Improving Veterans' Opportunity in Education and Business Act 
of 2008.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Camille 
Woodland.
            Sincerely,
                                         Robert A. Sunshine
                                   (For Peter R. Orszag, Director).
    Enclosure.

H.R. 6221--Improving Veterans' Opportunity in Education and Business 
        Act of 2008

    Summary: H.R. 6221 would require the Department of Veterans 
Affairs (VA) to establish and expand programs to improve 
veterans' employment opportunities. CBO estimates that 
implementing the bill would cost $314 million over the 2009-
2013 period, assuming appropriation of the estimated amounts. 
(That estimate does not include costs, if any, that might 
result from terminating contracts under section 2.) Enacting 
the bill would not affect direct spending or revenues.
    H.R. 6221 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA); 
any costs to state, local, or tribal governments would be 
incurred voluntarily.
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary impact of H.R. 6221 is shown in the following table. 
The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 700 
(veterans benefits and services).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                 By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                         -------------------------------------------------------
                                                            2009     2010     2011     2012     2013   2009-2013
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                 CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION 1
MOST Program:
    Authorization Level.................................       60       60       60       60       60       300
    Estimated Outlays...................................       30       57       60       60       60       267
Work-Study Pilot Program:
    Authorization Level.................................       10       10       10       10       10        50
    Estimated Outlays...................................        7       10       10       10       10        47
Total Changes:
    Authorization Level.................................       70       70       70       70       70       350
    Estimated Outlays...................................       37       67       70       70       70       314
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1 Total does not include costs, if any, resulting from the termination of contracts under section 2.

    Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that the 
legislation will be enacted near the start of fiscal year 2009, 
that the specified amounts will be appropriated each year, and 
that outlays will follow historical spending patterns for 
similar programs.
    H.R. 6221 would authorize appropriations to expand job 
training, work-study, and small business opportunities for 
veterans. Based on information from VA, CBO estimates that the 
bill would cost $314 million over the 2009-2013 period, 
assuming appropriation of the specified amounts.
    Military Occupational Specialty Transition (MOST) Program. 
Section 4 would establish the MOST program to increase 
veterans' opportunities to participate in apprenticeships or 
on-the-job training. Under MOST, VA would pay employers 50 
percent of an eligible veteran's salary--up to $20,000 per 
trainee--for up to a year during the training or 
apprenticeship. The bill would authorize the appropriation of 
$60 million each year over the 2009-2013 period. Based on 
information from VA, CBO expects more than 3,000 veterans to 
participate in the program annually. CBO estimates that 
implementing the MOST program would cost $267 million over the 
2009-2013 period, assuming appropriation of the specified 
amounts.
    Work-Study Pilot Program. Section 3 would require VA to 
conduct a five-year pilot program to expand work-study 
opportunities for veterans. The current work-study program for 
veterans is limited to positions in certain VA facilities and, 
on campus, to assisting other veterans in obtaining veterans' 
education benefits. Under this pilot, veterans could also take 
positions in academic departments and student services. H.R. 
6221 would authorize the appropriation of $10 million each year 
over the 2009-2013 period for this program. Given information 
from VA, CBO anticipates that nearly 3,500 additional veterans 
each year would participate in work-study under this provision. 
CBO estimates that costs to VA would increase by $47 million 
over the 2009-2013 period, assuming appropriation of the 
specified amounts.
    Contracting Goals for Veteran-Owned Business. Section 2 
would direct VA to include a provision in all contracts it 
enters with any government entity or person to acquire goods or 
services requiring them to comply with VA's goals for 
contracting preferences for small business concerns owned and 
controlled by certain veterans. If enacted, this provision 
would affect all future contracts--which CBO estimates would 
have no significant budgetary effect--and would require that 
all existing VA contracts be modified to comply with VA's 
current contracting goals.
    According to VA, there are currently about 70 outstanding 
contracts, all arranged through the Army Corps of Engineers or 
the General Services Administration. VA reports that the cost 
for modifying a contract is about $300. Therefore, CBO 
estimates that the cost for modifying current contracts would 
be about $21,000, assuming availability of appropriated funds. 
However, it might be impossible to implement those changes for 
some contracts that are currently in effect without terminating 
those contracts or some subcontracts. CBO does not have 
sufficient information to determine which contracts might 
require termination and therefore cannot estimate any potential 
costs associated with such termination.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: H.R. 6221 
contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined in UMRA. 
Contracts between VA and state, local, or tribal governments 
would have to include goals by those governments for increasing 
contracts with small business that are owned and controlled by 
veterans. Any costs those governments incur to comply with 
contract conditions would be incurred voluntarily.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Camille Woodland; 
Impact on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Lisa Ramirez-
Branum; Impact on the Private Sector: Daniel Frisk.
    Estimate approved by: Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                       Federal Mandates Statement

    The Committee adopts as its own the estimate of Federal 
mandates regarding H.R. 6221 prepared by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office pursuant to section 423 of the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.

                      Advisory Committee Statement

    No advisory committees within the meaning of section 5(b) 
of the Federal Advisory Committee Act would be created by H.R. 
6221.

                   Constitutional Authority Statement

    Pursuant to clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee finds that the 
Constitutional authority for H.R. 6221 is provided by Article 
I, section 8 of the Constitution of the United States.

                  Applicability to Legislative Branch

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not relate to 
the terms and conditions of employment or access to public 
services or accommodations within the meaning of section 
102(b)(3) of the Congressional Accountability Act.

             Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation


Section 1. Short title

    This section would provide the short title of H.R. 6221, as 
the ``Improving Veterans' Opportunity in Education and Business 
Act of 2008.''

Section 2. Contracting goals and preferences for veteran-owned small 
        business concerns

    This section amends section 8127 of title 38, United States 
Code, to require VA to include in any contract with an agent to 
perform contracting services on behalf of VA a requirement that 
the agent will comply with the provisions of section 8127.

Section 3. Five-year pilot program for on-campus work-study positions

    This section would establish a five-year pilot program to 
determine the feasibility and advisability of expanding the 
scope of work-study positions for veterans to include work 
study positions traditionally available to other students. In 
addition, this section authorizes $10,000,000 annually, subject 
to the availability of appropriations for such purpose, for 
each year from 2009 to 2013 to carry out the pilot project.

Section 4. Military Occupational Specialty Transition Program

    This section would create a new section 3687A in title 38, 
United States Code, to authorize $60 million for each of fiscal 
years 2009 through 2018, subject to the availability of 
appropriations, the Military Occupational Specialty Transition 
(MOST) Program. This new section defines an eligible veteran 
for purposes of this section as a veteran with a discharge 
under conditions not less than general under honorable 
conditions; that the veteran's military occupation is 
determined by the Secretary to have limited transferability to 
the civilian job market; that the veteran must not be eligible 
for education or training services under title 38; that the 
veteran shall not have acquired a marketable skill since 
leaving military service; that the veteran has been unemployed 
for 90 of the last 180 days preceding application for the 
program; and, that the veteran's hourly rate of pay during the 
preceding 180-day period did not exceed 150 percent of the 
federal minimum wage.
    In addition, this section sets the conditions under which 
the Secretary shall make payments to employers who provide 
apprenticeship or on-the-job-training and describes payments to 
employers under the MOST Program. This new section requires the 
Secretary to include a report on the operations of this section 
as part of the Veterans Benefits Administration Annual Report 
and requires the Secretary to include a line item for this 
section in the Secretary's annual budget request.

         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 italic, existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

                      TITLE 38, UNITED STATES CODE




           *       *       *       *       *       *       *
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. 3034. Program administration

  (a)(1) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the 
provisions of sections 3470, 3471, 3474, 3476, 3482(g), 3483, 
and 3485 of this title and the provisions of subchapters I and 
II of chapter 36 of this title (with the exception of sections 
3680(c), 3680(f), 3686(a), [and 3687] 3687, and 3687A) shall be 
applicable to the provision of educational assistance under 
this chapter.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


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

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



                     SUBCHAPTER IV--ADMINISTRATION


Sec. 3241. Requirements

  (a)(1) The provisions of sections 3470, 3471, 3474, 3476, 
3483, 3485, and 3491(a)(1) of this title and the provisions of 
chapter 36 of this title (with the exception of [section 3687] 
sections 3687 and 3687A) shall be applicable with respect to 
individuals who are pursuing programs of education while 
serving on active duty.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (c) The provisions of sections 3470, 3471, 3474, 3476, 3483, 
and 3491(a) (other than clause (1)) of this title and the 
provisions of chapter 36 of this title (with the exception of 
[section 3687] sections 3687 and 3687A) shall be applicable 
with respect to individuals who are pursuing programs of 
education following discharge or release from active duty.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


           CHAPTER 36--ADMINISTRATION OF EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS


                 SUBCHAPTER I--STATE APPROVING AGENCIES

Sec.
3670.  Scope of approval.
     * * * * * * *

                 SUBCHAPTER II--MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

     * * * * * * *
3687A.  Military occupational specialty transition (MOST) program.

SUBCHAPTER I--STATE APPROVING AGENCIES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 3672. Approval of courses

  (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (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 apprenticeship and on the job training programs for the 
purposes of sections 3677 [and 3687] 3687, and 3687A 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 assistance and services to the Secretary, 
and to State approving agencies, to increase the use of 
apprenticeships.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SUBCHAPTER II--MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 3687A. MILITARY OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTY TRANSITION (MOST) PROGRAM

  (a) Establishment; Eligibility.--
          (1) In general.--Subject to the availability of 
        appropriations, the Secretary shall carry out a program 
        of training to provide eligible veterans with skills 
        relevant to the job market.
          (2) Eligible veteran.--For purposes of this section, 
        the term ``eligible veteran'' means any veteran if--
                  (A) such veteran's military occupational 
                specialty at the time of discharge is 
                determined by the Secretary to have limited 
                transferability to the civilian job market;
                  (B) such veteran is not otherwise eligible 
                for education or training services under this 
                title;
                  (C) such veteran has not acquired a 
                marketable skill since leaving military 
                service;
                  (D) such veteran was discharged under 
                conditions not less than general under 
                honorable conditions; and
                  (E)(i) such veteran has been unemployed for 
                at least 90 of the 180 days preceding the date 
                of application for the program established 
                under this section; or
                  (ii) the maximum hourly rate of pay of such 
                veteran during such 180-day period is not more 
                than 150 percent of the Federal minimum wage.
  (b) MOST Program.--The program established under this section 
shall provide for payments to employers who provide for 
eligible veterans a program of apprenticeship or on-the-job 
training if--
          (1) such program is approved as provided in paragraph 
        (1) or (2) of section 3687(a) of this title;
          (2) the rate of pay for veterans participating in the 
        program is not less than the rate of pay for 
        nonveterans in similar jobs; and
          (3) the Secretary reasonably expects that--
                  (A) the veteran will be qualified for 
                employment in that field upon completion of 
                training; and
                  (B) the employer providing the program will 
                hire the veteran at the completion of training.
  (c) Payments to Employers.--
          (1) In general.--Subject to the availability of 
        appropriations, the Secretary shall enter into 
        contracts with employers to provide programs of 
        apprenticeship or on-the-job training which meet the 
        requirements of this section. Such contract shall 
        provide for the payment of the amounts described in 
        subsection (b) to employers whose programs meet such 
        requirements.
          (2) Amount of payments.--The amount paid under this 
        section with respect to any eligible veteran for any 
        period shall be 50 percent of the wages paid by the 
        employer to such veteran for such period. Wages shall 
        be calculated on an hourly basis.
          (3) Amount and duration of payments.--
                  (A) In general.--Except as provided in 
                subparagraph (B)--
                          (i) the amount paid under this 
                        section with respect to a veteran 
                        participating in the program 
                        established under this section may not 
                        exceed $20,000 in the aggregate and 
                        $1,666.67 per month; and
                          (ii) such payments may only be made 
                        during the first 12 months of such 
                        veteran's participation in the program.
                  (B) Veterans participating on less than full-
                time basis.--In the case of a veteran 
                participating in the program on a less than 
                full-time basis, the Secretary may extend the 
                number of months of payments under subparagraph 
                (A) and proportionally adjust the amount of 
                such payments, but the maximum amount paid with 
                respect to a veteran may not exceed the maximum 
                amount of $20,000 and the maximum amount of 
                such payments may not exceed 24 months.
          (4) Payments made on quarterly basis.--Payments under 
        this section shall be made on a quarterly basis.
          (5) Employer report.--Each employer providing a 
        program of apprenticeship or on-the-job training 
        pursuant to this section shall submit to the Secretary 
        on a quarterly basis a report certifying the wages paid 
        to eligible veterans under such program (which shall be 
        certified by the veteran as being correct) and 
        containing such other information as the Secretary may 
        specify. Such report shall be submitted in the form and 
        manner required by the Secretary.
  (d) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized to 
be appropriated $60,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2009 
through 2018 to carry out this section.
  (e) Reporting.--The Secretary shall include a detailed 
description of activities carried out under this section in the 
annual report prepared by the Veterans Benefits Administration.
  (f) Separate Accounting.--The Department shall have a 
separate line item in budget proposals of the Department for 
funds to be appropriated to carry out this section.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


    CHAPTER 41--JOB COUNSELING, TRAINING, AND PLACEMENT SERVICE FOR 
                                VETERANS

Sec. 4102A. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Veterans' Employment and 
                    Training; program functions; Regional 
                    Administrators

  (a) * * *
  (b) Program Functions.--The Secretary shall carry out the 
following functions:
          (1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

          (3) Ensure that maximum effectiveness and efficiency 
        are achieved in providing services and assistance to 
        eligible veterans under all such programs by 
        coordinating and consulting with the Secretary of 
        Veterans Affairs with respect to (A) programs conducted 
        under other provisions of this title, with particular 
        emphasis on coordination of such programs with 
        readjustment counseling activities carried out under 
        section 1712A of this title, apprenticeship or other 
        on-the-job training programs carried out under [section 
        3687] section 3687 or 3687A of this title, and 
        rehabilitation and training activities carried out 
        under chapter 31 of this title and (B) determinations 
        covering veteran population in a State.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


PART VI--ACQUISITION AND DISPOSITION OF PROPERTY

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


   CHAPTER 81--ACQUISITION AND OPERATION OF HOSPITAL AND DOMICILIARY 
    FACILITIES; PROCUREMENT AND SUPPLY; ENHANCED-USE LEASES OF REAL 
PROPERTY

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SUBCHAPTER II--PROCUREMENT AND SUPPLY

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 8127. Small business concerns owned and controlled by veterans: 
                    contracting goals and preferences

  (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (j) Applicability of Requirements to Contracts.--(1) If the 
Secretary enters, on or after June 1, 2007, into a contract, 
memorandum of understanding, agreement, or other arrangement 
with any governmental entity or person to acquire goods or 
services, or both, the Secretary shall include in such 
contract, memorandum, agreement, or other arrangement a 
requirement that the entity or person will comply with the 
provisions of this section in acquiring such goods or services, 
or both.
  (2) Coordination.--The Secretary shall take such action as 
may be necessary to ensure that the efforts to comply with this 
section of the Department and governmental entities and persons 
to which paragraph (1) applies are coordinated.
  (3) The Secretary shall modify contracts, memorandums of 
understanding, agreements, and other arrangements of the 
Department in effect on the date of enactment of the Improving 
Veterans' Opportunity in Education and Business Act of 2008 to 
comply with this subsection.
  [(j)] (k) Annual Reports.--Not later than December 31 each 
year, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on small 
business contracting during the fiscal year ending in such 
year. Each report shall include, for the fiscal year covered by 
such report, the following:
          (1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  [(k)] (l) Definitions.--In this section:
          (1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *