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[House Report 111-324]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]


111th Congress                                                   Report
  1st Session             HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES              111-324
                    ======================================================================
 
 VETERANS' SMALL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE AND SERVICEMEMBERS PROTECTION ACT 
                                OF 2009 

                                _______
                                

November 2, 2009.--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. 3949]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Veterans' Affairs, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 3949) to amend title 38, United States Code, and 
the Servicemember Civil Relief Act, to make certain 
improvements in the laws relating to benefits administered by 
the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes, 
having considered the same, report favorably thereon without 
amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Purpose and Summary..............................................     2
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     2
Hearings.........................................................     9
Subcommittee Consideration.......................................    11
Committee Consideration..........................................    11
Committee Votes..................................................    11
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................    12
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............    12
New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and Tax Expenditures    12
Earmarks and Tax and Tariff Benefits.............................    12
Committee Cost Estimate..........................................    12
Congressional Budget Office Estimate.............................    12
Federal Mandates Statement.......................................    15
Advisory Committee Statement.....................................    15
Constitutional Authority Statement...............................    16
Applicability to Legislative Branch..............................    16
Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation...................    16
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill as Reported.............    19

                          Purpose and Summary

    H.R. 3949 was introduced by Representative Bob Filner of 
California, Chairman of the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, on 
October 28, 2009. H.R. 3949 would enhance opportunities for 
veteran-owned small businesses and extend the authorization for 
the Veterans' Advisory Committee on Education of the U.S. 
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). H.R. 3949 would strengthen 
protections for servicemembers under the Servicemembers Civil 
Relief Act (SCRA). H.R. 3949 would improve the outreach 
activities of the VA, establish a scholarship program in order 
to increase the pool of educated specialists with a degree or 
certificate in blind rehabilitation and expand burial benefits 
provided to the parents of veterans who die in combat or in 
preparation for combat and who have no other eligible dependent 
survivors.
    H.R. 3949 is comprised of a number of bills introduced in 
the first session of the 111th Congress. These bills include 
H.R. 2461, the Veterans Small Business Verification Act, 
introduced by Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin of South 
Dakota, the Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Economic 
Opportunity; H.R. 3223, a bill to amend title 38, United States 
Code, to improve the Department of Veterans Affairs contracting 
goals and preferences for small business concerns owned and 
controlled by veterans, introduced by Representative Steve 
Buyer of Indiana, the Ranking Member of the Committee; H.R. 
2614, the Veterans' Advisory Committee on Education 
Reauthorization Act of 2009, introduced by Representative Ann 
Kirkpatrick of Arizona; H.R. 2696, the Servicemembers' Rights 
Protection Act, introduced by Representative Brad Miller of 
North Carolina; H.R. 2874, the Helping Active Duty Deployed Act 
of 2009, introduced by Representative Gerald E. Connolly of 
Virginia; H.R. 32, the Veterans Outreach Improvement Act of 
2009, introduced by Representative Mike McIntyre of North 
Carolina; H.R. 228, a bill to direct the Secretary of Veterans 
Affairs to establish a scholarship program for students seeking 
a degree or certificate in the areas of visual impairment and 
orientation and mobility, introduced by Representative Sheila 
Jackson-Lee of Texas; and H.R. 761, the Corey Shea Act, 
introduced by Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts.

                  Background and Need for Legislation


             TITLE I--SMALL BUSINESS AND EDUCATION MATTERS

    The Veterans Benefits, Health Care, and Information 
Technology Act of 2006, Public Law 109-461 (120 Stat. 3403), 
requires the VA to maintain the VetBiz Vendor Information Page 
(VIP) database containing Veteran Owned Small Business (VOSB) 
and Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB). 
This law also requires the VA to verify that registered firms 
meet the eligibility requirements to be classified as VOSBs or 
SDVOSBs to be included in the database.
    Eligibility requirements for VOSBs or SDVOSBs include the 
following: a veteran is a person who has served on active duty 
with the U.S. military and who was discharged or released under 
conditions other than dishonorable; a VOSB must be no less than 
51 percent owned by one or more veterans, the veteran must 
manage and maintain daily business operation; a service-
disabled veteran must have a rating between 0-100 percent; a 
SDVOSB must be no less than 51 percent owned by one or more 
veterans, the veteran must manage and maintain daily business 
operation. If a veteran is permanent and totally service-
disabled, the spouse or permanent caregiver must manage and 
maintain daily business operation; and eligibility requirements 
for VIP verification requires that a small business concern 
must be owned and controlled by one or more eligible veterans, 
service-disabled veteran, or surviving spouse.
    The purpose of the VIP database is to increase VA 
contracting opportunities for VOSBs or SDVOSBs by providing a 
one-stop shop for VA contracting officers looking to provide a 
set-aside for VOSBs or SDVOSBs.
    The Government Accountability Office informed the Committee 
that if a small business that is owned and controlled by a 
veteran wants to be listed in the VIP database the business 
owners must voluntarily request VOSB and SDVOSB verification. 
Once a business is listed on the VIP database, regardless of 
whether they have been verified, they may qualify to receive 
competitive set-asides or sole-source awards. In addition, the 
VA published a proposed rule on August 20, 2008, which would 
require the VA to use its set-aside and sole-source award 
authorities only for VOSB and SDVOSB that have been verified to 
be owned and controlled by a veteran. Until this rule is 
finalized, the VA will continue to use its set-aside and sole-
source award authorities for VOSB and SDVOSB that are 
registered in the VIP database but not necessarily verified to 
be owned and controlled by a veteran.
    Recognizing the efforts that the VA has established to 
verify VOSBs and SDVOSBs, the VA continues to award contracts 
to businesses that are registered in the VIP database but have 
yet to be verified.
    Section 101 would require the VA to verify small business 
concerns prior to being listed in the VIP database.
    The Federal government has implemented a policy to promote 
small businesses owned and controlled by groups such as small 
businesses owned by women, minorities, businesses in specified 
areas called HUBZones, and businesses owned by service disabled 
veterans under the Small Business Act (Public Law 85-536 (72 
Stat. 384)). Federal agencies are given goals in terms of 
procurement dollars for each group with a total of 26 percent 
of Federal contracting dollars to be awarded to small 
businesses. Recognizing the special obligation to promote 
SDVOSB, the goal is three percent of procurement spending for 
each Federal agency under Public Law 106-50 (113 Stat. 233) and 
Executive Order 13360.
    Contracting officers are therefore presented with competing 
requirements in attempting to meet the set aside goals for the 
various groups. Meeting those goals is further complicated by 
statutory language that could be interpreted to give one set 
aside group priority over others. At a minimum, all small 
business set aside groups should compete equally without a 
competitive advantage being given to any one group.
    However, statutory language for some groups uses the word 
``shall'' in directing how contracting officers award contracts 
to certain groups, such as those belonging to section 8(a) of 
the Small Business Act. This gives section 8(a) businesses a 
competitive advantage over SDVOSBs because the statutory 
language related to SDVOSB set asides uses the word ``may'' and 
contracting officers interpret the law as requiring them to 
give 8(a) firms a higher priority than SDVOSB.
    Therefore, Congress enacted Public Law 109-461 to make it 
easier for contracting officers at the VA to meet and exceed 
the three percent goal for SDVOSB by adding new sections 8127 
and 8128 to title 38, United States Code. These sections 
established SDVOSB as the priority for VA contracting goals and 
provided additional tools for VA Contracting Officers to award 
contracts to qualified SDVOSB.
    Section 102 of H.R. 3949 would amend section 8127(c) of 
title 38, United States Code, by changing the word ``may'' to 
``shall,'' thereby giving VA contracting officers the authority 
to award contracts to SDVOSBs on an equal footing with small 
businesses operating under section 8(a) of the Small Business 
Act.
    This section would also direct the Secretary of VA to issue 
interim guidance not later than 30 days after enactment of this 
Act. The Committee notes that it has taken nearly three years 
for VA to partially implement the database provisions of Public 
Law 109-461 and finds such delay unacceptable. The result is 
that qualified veteran and disabled veteran-owned businesses 
have not been able to take advantage of the provisions of 
Public Law 109-461.
    Section 103 of H.R. 3949 would reauthorize the Veteran's 
Advisory Committee on Education for six years. The authority 
for this Committee is slated to expire on December 31, 2009. 
This section would extend this authorization to December 31, 
2015.
    For nearly 30 years, the Veteran's Advisory Committee on 
Education has provided the Secretary of the U.S. Department of 
Veterans Affairs (VA) with advice on the administration of 
education and training entitlements available under the VA's 
jurisdiction.
    The current makeup on the Advisory Committee consists of 
professionals with strong credentials in education, labor and 
management, along with representatives of institutions that 
provide education to eligible veterans under programs 
administered by the VA.
    Some of the education programs that the Advisory Committee 
has provided valuable feedback include the Post-Vietnam Era 
Veterans Education Assistance Program; Montgomery G.I. Bill, 
Montgomery G.I. Bill--Select Reserves, Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, and 
Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance Program. In 
addition to these programs, the Committee may also review the 
administration of the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment, 
and Veteran Work-Study Programs which also provide education 
and training opportunities for military veterans.
    In the 110th Congress, both the House and Senate were 
considering several significant pieces of legislation to 
augment education entitlements for servicemembers and veterans. 
At the same time, the Advisory Committee was able to provide 
the Secretary of VA Secretary with timely advice on several of 
these proposals in addition to conducting town hall meetings to 
hear directly from stakeholders interested in the education 
benefits. As Congress continues to provide oversight on the 
implementation of new education entitlements and considers 
legislation to improve existing programs, it is important for 
the Secretary to have the continued guidance provided by the 
Veterans' Advisory Committee on Education.
    The Advisory Committee was last reauthorized with the 
passage of the Veterans Benefits Act of 2003, Public Law 108-
183 (117 Stat. 2651) which provided a six-year extension from 
December 31, 2003 to December 31, 2009. On September 24, 2009, 
the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity held a legislative 
hearing in which Mr. Keith Wilson, Director, Office of 
Education Service of the VA, testified on the Administration's 
support of reauthorizing the advisory committee.

           TITLE II--SERVICEMEMBERS CIVIL RELIEF ACT MATTERS

    During the 110th Congress, Representative Patrick Murphy of 
Pennsylvania introduced H.R. 3298, the 21st Century 
Servicemembers Protection Act. This legislation sought to amend 
the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (50 U.S.C. App. 501 et 
seq.) (SCRA) to cover service contracts such as cellular phone 
service, utilities, cable television, or internet access. 
Similar to provisions in section 305 of the SCRA that govern 
residential leases and automobile leases, this legislation 
would allow servicemembers with deployment orders to terminate 
or suspend their service contracts without fee or penalty.
    H.R. 3298 also sought to add specific penalties for 
creditors who refuse to reduce interest rates as they are 
already required to do under the SCRA. If a creditor knowingly 
or negligently fails to reduce interest rates upon notification 
from a servicemember with deployment orders, that creditor may 
be exposed to criminal penalties or civil damages.
    On April 16, 2008, Representative Murphy testified before 
the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity at a legislative 
hearing:

          Soon after my election to Congress, a JAG [Judge 
        Advocate General] attorney who does legal assistance in 
        the 101st Airborne contacted me to let me know about a 
        growing problem that many deployed servicemembers are 
        currently facing.
          He explained to me that many of the soldiers he 
        worked with have had their credit reports damaged 
        during their deployments over issues concerning their 
        contracts with cellular telephone or internet service 
        providers. This JAG attorney was able to put one of his 
        own contracts on hold during his deployment, but to do 
        so he was forced to pay a costly fee.
          Looking into this further, I also discovered that 
        some financial institutions were slow or unwilling to 
        reduce servicemembers' interest rates during their 
        deployments, even though these creditors are already 
        required to do so by law.
          I learned that when servicemembers and their families 
        ran into problems with service providers and creditors, 
        they not only had to deal with the strain of 
        deployment, but also faced repeated harassment by 
        collection agencies.

    Provisions of H.R. 3298 were included in Public Law 110-389 
(122 Stat. 4145) which inserted a new section 305A titled 
``Termination or Suspension of Contracts for Cellular Telephone 
Service'' in the SCRA. This provision allowed deployed 
servicemembers the option to request a termination of their 
cellular phone contracts if they are deployed outside of the 
continental United States for a period of not less than 90 
days. The remaining provisions of H.R. 3298 were not enacted 
into law during the remainder of the 110th Congress.
    In the 111th Congress, Representative Brad Miller of North 
Carolina introduced H.R. 2696, the Servicemembers' Rights 
Protection Act, on June 4, 2009. This legislation seeks to 
amend the SCRA to add a new title authorizing the U.S. Attorney 
General to bring a civil action in U.S. district court to 
enforce provisions of the Act.
    During the September 24, 2009, legislative hearing of the 
Subcommittee on Economic Opportunities, Representative Miller 
testified in favor of the need to explicitly state that there 
is a private cause of action in the SCRA, cited a Congressional 
Research Service Report (R40456, published March 23, 2009) 
which stated:

          In Batie v. Subway Real Estate Corp [2008 U.S. Dist. 
        LEXIS 11458 (N.D. Tex. February 15, 2008)] a 
        servicemember alleged that Subway Corporation violated 
        the SCRA by evicting him from two commercial spaces 
        while he was deployed to Afghanistan. After obtaining 
        declaratory judgments in the State of Texas courts, 
        Subway evicted the servicemember from the spaces under 
        lease. Batie filed suit in the federal district court 
        seeking relief from the declaratory judgments and for 
        compensatory and punitive damages for the alleged 
        violations of the SCRA. The U.S. district court 
        declined to overturn the state declaratory judgments, 
        stating ``Congress envisioned that state courts--not 
        federal district courts--would decide claims involving 
        SCRA's tenant protections during eviction 
        proceedings.'' The court interpreted the act to mean 
        that jurisdiction is not exclusive in federal court and 
        that the act does not compel federal adjudication of 
        all cases implicating the statute's provisions. Denying 
        the claim for compensatory and punitive damages, the 
        court referred to the failure of the servicemember to 
        cite any provisions in the SCRA authorizing damages. 
        Further, the court found that, even if the 
        servicemember maintains the SCRA as a basis for 
        damages, ``there is no provision in SCRA that 
        authorizes a private cause of action to remedy 
        violations of the statute.''
          The servicemember's claims were dismissed by the 
        court. However, Batie filed a Motion for 
        Reconsideration citing cases in which courts have 
        interpreted certain sections of the SCRA to create a 
        private cause of action. In light of the precedent 
        cited by Batie's motion, the court vacated its earlier 
        decision and reinstated the complaint for further 
        adjudication. [Footnotes omitted].

    At that same hearing, another witness, Colonel Robert 
Norton (Retired), Deputy Director for Government Relations, 
Military Officers Association of America, provided testimony 
for the hearing record that cited another court case:

          In a 2008 case (Hurley v. Deutsche Bank Trust 
        Company), [2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80526 (W.D. Mich. 
        September 30, 2008)] National Guard Sergeant James 
        Hurley's house was foreclosed and his dependents were 
        evicted from the property, and the property was sold to 
        a third party during his deployment to Iraq. Sergeant 
        Hurley sued in federal district court in Michigan 
        seeking damages for violation of his rights under the 
        SCRA. The federal court ruled, however, that there is 
        no ``right of private cause of action'' to enforce 
        violations of the SCRA. Although this case ultimately 
        was resolved in favor of Sergeant Hurley, it points out 
        that some courts do not recognize a right of private 
        cause of action under the SCRA.

    Various sections of the SCRA include provisions providing 
for penalties for violations of the afforded protections. The 
Act does not specifically state who may bring an application 
for relief, nor does it specifically exclude private 
individuals from filing a cause of action. Some courts 
considering the issue have found that a private cause of action 
exists under the SCRA but other courts disagree.
    The split in the U.S. district courts creates uncertainty 
in how the Act may be enforced in the future. In many 
jurisdictions across the country it may be unclear whether a 
servicemember has the right to bring a private cause of action 
for violations of the SCRA. This ambiguity is likely to persist 
if the courts continue to reach different conclusions on the 
right to bring a private cause of action. Congress seeks to 
provide guidance to the courts by clarifying the purpose and 
intent of the Act, and unambiguously state that a private cause 
of action does exist.
    On June 15, 2009, Representative Gerald E. Connolly of 
Virginia introduced H.R. 2874, Helping Active Duty Deployed Act 
of 2009, which would permit a veteran to terminate a family 
cell phone plan, residential, commercial or motor vehicle lease 
without penalties and requires institutions of higher learning 
to provide a refund to a veteran where academic credit is not 
given due to military service.
    On September 24, 2009, Representative Connolly testified 
before the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity on his 
legislation:

          [H.R. 2874] would provide consistent protections 
        within the SCRA for troops who need to terminate a 
        residential or motor vehicle lease due to deployment or 
        change of station. The SCRA already permits the 
        cancellation of motor vehicle leases and prohibits 
        early termination penalties. It also permits 
        cancellation of residential leases, but it does not 
        provide protection from early termination fees. Just as 
        with automobile leases, servicemembers are not choosing 
        to end these contracts before they are fulfilled. They 
        are doing so because they have been ordered by the 
        United States government to deploy into combat or 
        change stations, and they should not face a penalty for 
        obeying the call to duty.

    Section 201 of H.R. 3949 would allow a servicemember to 
terminate certain service contracts if the servicemember has 
received orders to deploy for a period of not less than 90 
days, or a change of duty station that does not support such 
service;
    Section 202 would revise provisions concerning arrearages 
and other obligations to prohibit a lessor from charging an 
early termination charge with respect to a residential, 
professional, business, or agricultural rental lease or a motor 
vehicle lease entered into by a person who subsequently enters 
military service, or for a servicemember who has received 
orders for permanent change of station or for deployment in 
support of a military operation.
    Section 203 would amend the SCRA to authorize the Attorney 
General to bring a civil action in U.S. district courts to 
enforce provisions of the Act to include restraining orders and 
injunctions, damages, and penalties. This section would also 
explicitly provide that there is a private right of action for 
violations of the SCRA.

                   TITLE III--OTHER BENEFITS MATTERS

    Section 301 of H.R. 3949 would help improve the outreach 
activities of the VA. With more than 23 million veterans who 
have served this country, the VA is faced with the challenge of 
informing and helping veterans and their families apply for the 
benefits and programs available through the VA. The ability of 
the VA to execute its mission is often hindered by a lack of 
internal coordination among the Veterans Health Administration, 
Veterans Benefits Administration, and the National Cemetery 
Administration.
    Representative Mike McIntyre of North Carolina introduced 
H.R. 67 in the 110th Congress to help the VA improve its 
outreach efforts. The bill was introduced on January 4, 2007, 
and passed the House of Representatives on May 23, 2007. In the 
111th Congress, Mr. McIntyre introduced the identical measure 
as H.R. 32 on January 6, 2009.
    Section 301 would require internal coordination of the VA's 
outreach activities, and would create a grant program for State 
and county veterans' agencies to assist with the VA's outreach 
efforts. As part of the grant program, the Committee urges the 
Secretary of VA to solicit input from, and work closely with, 
State and county officials during the development of annual 
outcome measures. The Committee expects the performance and 
outcome measurement process to be a collaborative one.
    Section 302 of H.R. 3949 would provide for the 
establishment of a scholarship program for students seeking a 
degree or certificate in the areas of visual impairment and 
orientation and mobility. This provision would encourage 
individuals to enter the field of blind rehabilitation so that 
they can help legally blind veterans. There are estimated to be 
160,000 blind veterans, of which approximately 35,000 are 
enrolled in the VA to receive health care services. Because the 
most prevalent cause of legal blindness and low-vision is age-
related, it is estimated that the incidence of blindness among 
the veteran population will increase by nearly 50 percent over 
the next few years.
    Although laws have been enacted in previous sessions of 
Congress to provide for specialists who can help veterans with 
low-vision or blindness, the VA has not been able to meet the 
statutory requirements because of the lack of specialists with 
the necessary education and training. Public Law 104-262 (110 
Stat. 3177), the Veterans Health Care Eligibility Reform Act of 
1996, required the VA to maintain its capacity to provide 
specialized rehabilitative services to disabled veterans. In 
addition, Public Law 109-461 (120 Stat. 3403), the Veterans 
Benefits, Health Care, and Information Technology Act of 2006, 
included a provision to increase the number of Blind 
Rehabilitation Outpatient Specialists serving our nation's 
veterans.
    During the 110th Congress, Representative Sheila Jackson-
Lee of Texas introduced H.R. 1240 on February 28, 2007, which 
was passed by the House of Representatives as part of H.R. 1315 
on July 30, 2007. In the 111th Congress, Ms. Jackson-Lee 
reintroduced the scholarship bill as H.R. 228 on January 7, 
2009.
    Section 303 of H.R. 3949 would amend section 2402 of title 
38, United States Code, to expand burial benefits provided by 
the VA to the parents of veterans who die in combat or in 
preparation for combat and who have no other eligible dependent 
survivors.
    Currently, the spouse or surviving spouse of an eligible 
veteran is allowed interment in a national cemetery even if the 
veteran is not buried or memorialized in a national cemetery. 
Also, certain minor children and unmarried adult children may 
be buried in a national cemetery. Former spouses and other 
family members are excluded, including parents. Waivers may be 
requested to this policy from the VA, but can only be bestowed 
after the survivor dies.
    H.R. 761 was introduced on January 28, 2009, by 
Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, on behalf of his 
constituent, Mrs. Denise Anderson. On November 12, 2008, Mrs. 
Anderson's son, Specialist Corey Shea was killed by an Iraqi 
Army soldier in uniform in Mosul. Specialist Shea was 21 years 
old. Mrs. Anderson filed a formal request with VA to be buried 
with her son when she died based upon the fact that he had no 
other dependents eligible for this burial benefit. VA denied 
her request.
    The adopted language reflects the Committee's intent to 
avoid displacing veterans entitled to burial in national 
cemeteries. It specifically limits the eligibility to this 
benefit to the biological father or mother or in the case of 
adoption, a father through adoption or mother through adoption 
and limits placement of qualifying deceased parents to the 
gravesite of the fallen servicemember. It also grants the 
Secretary discretion to determine whether space is available to 
confer the benefit and requires the Secretary of VA in 
consultation with the Secretary of the U.S. Department of 
Defense to provide guidance by which a qualifying parent may be 
designated for interment in a national cemetery. The provisions 
of section 303 would apply to qualifying parents who die on or 
after the date of enactment of this Act and whose son or 
daughter were hostile casualties or die of a training-related 
injury on or after October 7, 2001. The Committee intends that 
the Secretary of VA will ensure that no veteran shall be 
displaced to comply with conferring this benefit. The Committee 
also intends that no more than two parents may be eligible for 
this benefit. Further, the Committee intends that the Secretary 
exercise discretion in furtherance of fairness when 
administering these provisions to recognize the unique burden 
on surviving parents of our fallen servicemembers.

                                Hearings

    On September 24, 2009, the Subcommittee on Economic 
Opportunity conducted a legislative hearing on a number of 
bills introduced during the 111th Congress, including H.R. 
2461, H.R. 2614, H.R. 2696, H.R. 2874, and H.R. 3223. The 
following witnesses testified: The Honorable Bob Filner of 
California, Chairman of the Committee on Veterans' Affairs; The 
Honorable Ciro D. Rodriguez of Texas; The Honorable John R. 
Carter of Texas; The Honorable Brad Miller of North Carolina; 
The Honorable David Loebsack of Iowa; The Honorable Gerald E. 
Connolly of Virginia; Ms. Lynn M. Schubert, President, The 
Surety and Fidelity Association of America; Mr. Mark Walker, 
Assistant Director, Economic Commission, The American Legion; 
Mr. Justin Brown, Legislative Associate, Veterans of Foreign 
Wars of the U.S.; Mr. John L. Wilson, Associate National 
Legislative Director, Disabled American Veterans; Mr. Richard 
F. Weidman, Executive Director for Policy and Government 
Affairs, Vietnam Veterans of America; Ms. Christina M. Roof, 
National Deputy Legislative Director, AMVETS; Mr. Uldric L. 
Fiore, Jr., Director, Soldier and Family Legal Services, Office 
of the Judge Advocate General, U.S. Army, U.S. Department of 
Defense; Mr. Keith M. Wilson, Director, Office of Education 
Service, Veterans Benefits Administration, U.S. Department of 
Veterans Affairs; accompanied by Mr. F. John Brizzi, Jr., 
Deputy Assistant General Counsel, U.S. Department of Veterans 
Affairs; Ms. Gail Wegner, Acting Director, Office of Small and 
Disadvantaged Business Utilization, U.S. Department of Veterans 
Affairs. Those submitting statements for the record include: 
Mr. John M. McWilliam, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Veterans' 
Employment and Training Service, U.S. Department of Labor; Mr. 
Jot D. Carpenter, Jr., Vice President, Government Affairs, 
CTIA--The Wireless Association'; Mr. Patrick 
Campbell, Chief Legislative Counsel, Iraq and Afghanistan 
Veterans of America; Military Officers Association of America; 
Mr. Mark McCallum, General Counsel and Director of Government 
Relations, National Association of Surety Bond Producers; Mr. 
John S. Odom, Jr., Jones, Odom, Davis and Politz, L.L.P., 
Shreveport, Louisiana; and, Mr. Brian Hawthorne, Legislative 
Director, Student Veterans of America.
    On October 8, 2009, the Subcommittee on Disability 
Assistance and Memorial Affairs held a legislative hearing on a 
number of bills introduced during the 111th Congress, including 
H.R. 761. The following witnesses testified: The Honorable 
Barney Frank of Massachusetts, accompanied by Mrs. Denise 
Anderson of Mansfield, Massachusetts (Gold Star Mother); The 
Honorable Brian Higgins of New York; The Honorable Bruce E. 
Kasold, Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims; Mr. 
Bart F. Stichman, Joint Executive Director, National Veterans 
Legal Services Program; Mr. John L. Wilson, Assistant National 
Legislative Director, Disabled American Veterans; Ms. Lesley 
Witter, Director of Political Affairs, National Funeral 
Directors Association; Mr. Richard F. Weidman, Executive 
Director for Policy and Government Affairs, Vietnam Veterans of 
America; Ms. Vivianne Cisneros Wersel, Au.D., Chair, 
Legislative Committee, Gold Star Wives of America, Inc.; Mr. 
Thomas Zampieri, Ph.D., Director of Government Relations, 
Blinded Veterans Association; Mr. Richard Paul Cohen, Executive 
Director, National Organization of Veterans' Advocates, Inc.; 
Mr. Steve L. Muro, Acting Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs, 
National Cemetery Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans 
Affairs; The Honorable James P. Terry, Chairman, Board of 
Veterans' Appeals, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Mr. 
Thomas Pamperin, Deputy Director, Policy and Procedures, 
Compensation and Pension Service, Veterans Benefits 
Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 
accompanied by Mr. Richard Hipolit, Assistant General Counsel, 
Office of General Counsel, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. 
Those submitting statements for the record include: The 
Honorable Bob Filner of California, Chairman, Committee on 
Veterans' Affairs; The Honorable Christopher J. Lee of New 
York; Military Officers Association of America; National 
Military Family Association; Paralyzed Veterans of America; 
and, Ms. Deirdre Parke Holleman, Executive Director, The 
Retired Enlisted Association.

                       Subcommittee Consideration

    On October 8, 2009, the Subcommittee on Economic 
Opportunity met in an open markup session and ordered H.R. 
2461, H.R. 2614, H.R. 2696, as amended, and H.R. 2874, as 
amended, favorably forwarded to the full Committee by voice 
vote. During consideration of these bills the following 
amendments were offered:
    An amendment in the nature of a substitute to H.R. 2696, 
offered by Mr. Perriello of Virginia to expand the list of 
covered contracts to include telephone, internet, cable and 
certain utility services that are not available in the new 
assigned duty station, was agreed to by voice vote.
    An amendment in the nature of a substitute to H.R. 2874, 
offered by Mr. Perriello of Virginia to allow servicemembers 
being deployed or who received permanent change of station to 
cancel their cellular phone on a family contract without 
affecting the service provided to the family who will remain in 
their current residence. This amendment also removed the 
provision that provided tuition relief for post-secondary 
students called to military service to prevent a dual referral 
with the Committee on Education and Labor, was agreed to by 
voice vote.
    On October 21, 2009, the Subcommittee on Disability 
Assistance and Memorial Affairs met in open markup session and 
ordered favorably forwarded to the full Committee H.R. 761, as 
amended. During consideration of this bill the following 
amendment was offered:
    An amendment in the nature of a substitute to H.R. 761, 
offered by Mr. Hall of New York, was agreed to by voice vote.

                        Committee Consideration

    On October 28, 2009, the full Committee met in an open 
markup session, a quorum being present, and ordered H.R. 3949 
reported favorably to the House of Representatives, 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. 3949 reported to the House. A motion by Mr. 
Buyer of Indiana to order H.R. 3949 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. 3949 does not contain any congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in 
clause 9(e), 9(f), or 9(g) 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. 
3949 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. 3949 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, October 29, 2009.
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. 3949, the 
Veterans' Small Business Assistance and Servicemembers 
Protection Act of 2009.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Camille 
Woodland.
            Sincerely,
                                      Douglas W. Elmendorf,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 3949--Veterans' Small Business Assistance and Servicemembers 
        Protection Act of 2009

    Summary: H.R. 3949 would affect several veterans programs 
including outreach, education, and burial benefits. The bill 
also would amend laws pertaining to veteran-owned small 
businesses and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. CBO 
estimates that implementing this legislation would cost $81 
million over the 2010-2014 period, assuming appropriation of 
the necessary amounts. The bill also contains provisions that 
would increase both direct spending and revenues, but CBO 
estimates that those impacts would be insignificant.
    H.R. 3949 would impose intergovernmental and private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA). 
CBO estimates that the costs of the mandates would not exceed 
the thresholds established in UMRA for intergovernmental or 
private-sector mandates ($69 million and $139 million, 
respectively, in 2009, adjusted annually for inflation).
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary impact of H.R. 3949 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--
                                                    ------------------------------------------------------------
                                                       2010      2011      2012      2013      2014    2010-2014
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                 CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION\1\Veterans' Outreach:
    Authorization Level............................         0        25        25        25         0         75
    Estimated Outlays..............................         0         8        21        30        14         73
Visual Impairment Education Assistance Program:
    Estimated Authorization Level..................         1         1         2         2         2          8
    Estimated Outlays..............................         1         1         2         2         2          8
    Total Changes:
        Estimated Authorization Level..............         1        26        27        27         2         83
        Estimated Outlays..........................         1         9        23        32        16        81
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\Enacting H.R. 3949 also would have an insignificant effect on direct spending and revenues.

    Basis of estimate: H.R. 3949 contains provisions that would 
increase discretionary spending for programs administered by 
the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). CBO assumes that this 
legislation will be enacted near the beginning of fiscal year 
2010, that the specified authorizations will be appropriated 
near the start of each fiscal year, and that outlays will 
follow historical spending patterns for similar programs.

Spending subject to appropriation

    Veterans' Outreach. Section 301 would allow VA to provide 
grants to state veterans agencies to improve outreach 
activities, particularly in areas with large or growing 
populations of veterans and their dependents. The purpose of 
the outreach would be to ensure that those individuals are 
fully informed about their eligibility for veterans' benefits 
and programs. The provision would authorize the appropriation 
of $25 million for each of 2011, 2012, and 2013. The grants 
could be used to:
           Allow VA to enter into contracts with state 
        veterans agencies to carry out, improve, coordinate, or 
        enhance outreach by VA;
           Allow state veterans agencies to issue 
        grants to local governments for outreach activities;
           Allow states to establish a program for 
        local governments to provide outreach to veterans;
           Allow state veterans agencies to perform 
        outreach activities in a local area if the local 
        government elects not to participate in the grant 
        program; and
           Provide education and training for state and 
        local government employees to provide outreach 
        services.
    Such grants to states could provide no more than 50 percent 
of the cost of the state and local outreach activities and 
should not replace existing state and local funding for those 
purposes. Also, no portion of the grant could be used for 
administrative purposes such as salaries for employees. CBO 
estimates that implementing section 301 would cost $73 million 
over the 2010-2014 period, assuming appropriation of the 
specified amounts.
    Visual Impairment Education Assistance Program. Section 302 
would direct VA to establish a scholarship program for students 
seeking a degree or certificate in the areas of visual 
impairment or orientation and mobility. Section 302 also would 
require VA to publicize the program. The scholarship would pay 
up to $15,000 per year for an eligible full-time student for up 
to six years. Under the program, the maximum financial 
assistance that VA would provide for any student would be 
$45,000, and the scholarship recipients would be required to 
work for VA for at least three years upon completion of the 
degree or certificate program.
    There are about 40 schools that offer certificate or degree 
programs in visual impairment or orientation and mobility 
(mostly master's degree programs), each with an average of 
about five students per program. Most of those schools 
currently provide some form of financial aid for students in 
those programs. CBO assumes that at least one new student per 
year per master's program would be eligible for the VA 
scholarship, as well as 10 undergraduates per year. On that 
basis, CBO estimates that implementing the scholarship program, 
including outreach, would increase spending subject to 
appropriation by about $8 million over the 2010-2014 period.
    Clarification of Veterans Status for Inclusion in VA 
Database. Section 101 would require VA to verify the veteran 
status of the owners of the small businesses included in the 
database of veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned 
businesses. Any business where such status cannot be verified 
would be removed from the database until it was confirmed. CBO 
estimates that any costs associated with section 101 would be 
insignificant.
    Veterans' Advisory Committee on Education. Section 102 
would extend the existence of the Veterans' Advisory Committee 
on Education until December 31, 2015. Under current law, the 
committee would remain authorized only through the end of 2009. 
CBO estimates that enacting this section would have no 
significant impact on the federal budget.

Direct spending

    Section 303 would allow the biological or adopted parents 
of a veteran who died after October 7, 2001, to be interred at 
the same gravesite as the veteran--assuming there is space 
available--if the veteran:
           Is interred in a national cemetery;
           Does not have a spouse, surviving spouse, or 
        child who is buried or may be eligible for burial in a 
        national cemetery; and
           Died in combat or from a training-related 
        injury.
    Under current law, parents of deceased veterans are not 
eligible for burial in national cemeteries.
    Based on information from the Department of Defense and VA 
on combat- and training-related deaths, marriage rates, parent 
mortality rates, and interment rates in VA cemeteries, CBO 
estimates that very few additional individuals would become 
eligible for interment in national cemeteries if section 303 
was enacted. Therefore, CBO estimates that this provision would 
have an insignificant impact on direct spending.

Revenues

    Section 203 would permit the Attorney General to bring a 
civil action against certain violators of the Servicemembers 
Civil Relief Act (Public Law 108-189). Because violators of the 
act could be subject to civil fines, the federal government 
might collect additional fines if the bill is enacted. 
Collections of civil fines are recorded in the budget as 
revenues. CBO expects that any additional revenues would not be 
significant because of the relatively small number of cases 
likely to be affected.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: H.R. 3949 
would impose intergovernmental and private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA. It would prohibit residential utilities (some 
of which are publically owned), and cellular telephone, 
telephone change, and multichannel video programming service 
providers from imposing early termination fees or reconnection 
charges when servicemembers cancel contracts. It also would 
require providers to refund fees paid in advance. The bill also 
would prohibit real property and motor vehicle lessors from 
imposing early termination fees and require them to accept 
payments for unpaid amounts on a prorated basis. CBO estimates 
that the costs of the mandates would not exceed the thresholds 
established in UMRA for intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates ($69 million and $139 million respectively, in 2009, 
adjusted annually for inflation).
    Estimate prepared by: Federal costs: Mark Grabowicz, 
Camille Woodland, and Dwayne Wright; Impact on state, local, 
and tribal governments: Burke Doherty and Lisa Ramirez-Branum; 
Impact on the private sector: Elizabeth Bass.
    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. 3949 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. 
3949.

                   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. 3949 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


             TITLE I--SMALL BUSINESS AND EDUCATION MATTERS

Section 101. Clarification of responsibility of Secretary of Veterans 
        Affairs to verify small business

    This section would clarify current law that the Secretary 
will not include a small business in the Vendor Information 
Page database unless it has been verified that the small 
business is owned and controlled by a veteran. If a veteran 
owns and controls a small business and indicates the person is 
a veteran with a service-connected disability, the Secretary 
would be required to verify this information.
    This section directs the Secretary to verify a small 
business concern no later than 60 days after the date of the 
enactment of this Act. The Secretary must notify the individual 
who owns and controls the small business concern: that a 
verification is required; a verification requires the person 
who owns and controls the small business concern to apply for 
inclusion in the database; the application for inclusion in the 
database will grant the Secretary permission to access personal 
information to verify information in the application; a person 
who owns and controls the small business must respond to the 
Secretary of VA within 90 days that they understand the 
requirements or they will be removed from the database.

Section 102. Improvement of Department of Veterans Affairs contracting 
        goals and preferences for small business concerns owned and 
        controlled by veterans

    This section would amend section 8127(c) of title 38, 
United States Code, by changing the word ``may'' to ``shall'' 
and direct the Secretary of VA to issue interim guidance not 
later than 30 days after enactment of this Act.

Section 103. Reauthorization of Veterans' Advisory Committee on 
        Education

    This section reauthorizes the VA's Veterans' Advisory 
Committee on Education through 2015.

           TITLE II--SERVICEMEMBERS CIVIL RELIEF ACT MATTERS

Section 201. Termination of service contracts

    This section would amend section 305A of the Servicemembers 
Civil Relief Act to allow a servicemember to terminate certain 
service contracts if the servicemember has received military 
orders to deploy for a period of not less than 90 days, or a 
change of duty station that does not support such service. 
Furthermore, it allows a servicemember to keep the phone number 
to the extent practicable and in accordance with applicable 
law.
    Covered contracts in this section include cellular 
telephone service (including family plans with the 
servicemember), telephone service, multi-channel video 
programming service and internet service. This also includes 
home water, electricity, home heating oil and natural gas 
services.
    This section requires the servicemember to deliver a 
written notice of termination of service contract and military 
order to the service provider by hand delivery, private 
carrier, fax, U.S. Postal Service with return receipt request 
and sufficient postage. Termination of the service contract is 
effective on the date that such notice is delivered.
    This section also prevents the service provider from 
imposing an early termination charge, but allows for the 
service provider to collect appropriate tax, obligation or 
liability under the contract. It allows the servicemember to 
re-subscribe, without reinstatement charges, within 90 days of 
redeployment after the end of deployment or change of duty 
station has concluded. It also requires the service provider to 
return any advance payment fees within 60 days after the 
termination date.

Section 202. Residential and motor vehicle leases

    This section would amend subsection (e) of section 305 of 
the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to revise provisions 
concerning arrearages and other obligations to prohibit a 
lessor from charging an early termination charge with respect 
to a residential, professional, business, or agricultural 
rental lease or a motor vehicle lease entered into by a person 
who subsequently enters military service, or for a 
servicemember who has received orders for permanent change of 
station or for deployment in support of a military operation. 
This section would provide that lease amounts for a period 
preceding the lease termination shall be paid on a pro-rated 
basis; and that unpaid lease charges shall be paid by the 
lessee.

Section 203. Enforcement by the Attorney General and by private right 
        of action

    This section amends the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to 
add a new title, Title VIII--Civil Liability, at the end of the 
Act. This new title would include three new sections: section 
801, section 802, and section 803.
    New section 801 would authorize the U.S. Attorney General 
to bring a civil action in U.S. district court to enforce 
provisions of the Act. It also authorizes the court to grant 
appropriate relief to include money damages. Penalty fees for 
the first violation will not exceed $55,000 and $110,000 for 
any subsequent violation. This section provides the intervenor 
rights to aggrieved person for a civil action that has already 
been started.
    New section 802 would clarify that a person has a private 
right of action to file a civil action for violations under the 
Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. The court may award costs and 
attorney fees to the prevailing party.
    New section 803 would provide that the rights granted under 
sections 801 or 802 will not limit or exclude any other rights 
that may also be available under Federal or state law.

                   TITLE III--OTHER BENEFITS MATTERS

Section 301. Improvement of outreach activities within Department of 
        Veterans Affairs

    This section would require the Secretary of the VA to 
establish and annually review a plan to coordinate outreach 
activities between the VA's Office of the Secretary, Office of 
Public Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Veterans 
Benefit Administration, and National Cemetery Administration.
    This section would authorize appropriations of $25,000,000 
for fiscal years 2011, 2012, and 2013 for the VA to establish a 
grant program for State or county veterans' agencies. The 
grantees, in turn, are to coordinate, improve, or otherwise 
enhance outreach activities. This includes outreach activities 
to help inform veterans and their families about the benefits 
and programs for which they are eligible and to assist them in 
applying for these benefits and programs. This grant may fund 
no more than 50 percent of the total costs of State and local 
government outreach activities, and may not supplant existing 
state and local funds for outreach activities.
    Finally, this section would establish a separate 
appropriations account for outreach activities. This means that 
the VA would be required to submit budget justification 
materials to Congress which would include a separate statement 
of the amount requested to be appropriated for outreach 
activities.

Section 302. Visual Impairment and Orientation and Mobility 
        Professionals Education Assistance Program

    This section would require the VA to establish and carry 
out a scholarship program for individuals who are accepted or 
currently enrolled in a program leading to a degree or 
certificate in visual impairment or orientation and mobility, 
or a dual degree or certification in both areas. Scholarship 
recipients must also agree to work in the VA as full-time 
employees for three years upon completing their education. The 
financial assistance provided through this scholarship would 
cover the tuition and fees, with the maximum assistance set at 
$15,000 per academic year and $45,000 in total. Those who fail 
to complete their education or fulfill their service 
requirements would be required to repay the VA an amount equal 
to the unearned portion of such assistance. This may be waived 
if the Secretary determines that the noncompliance was due to 
circumstances beyond the control of the scholarship recipient.

Section 303. Interment in national cemeteries of parents of certain 
        deceased veterans

    Subsection (a) of section 303 would provide the short title 
of this section as the ``Corey Shea Act.''
    Subsection (b) would give the Secretary of VA the 
discretion to provide space available burial benefits to 
qualifying parents in the gravesite of their deceased son or 
daughter who died in combat or died of a combat-related 
training injury and who has no other eligible survivors as 
identified under section 2402(5) of title 38, United States 
Code. The term parent would mean the biological mother or 
father or in the case of adoption, the adoptive mother or 
father. Subsection (c) would require the Secretary of VA, in 
consultation with the Secretary of Defense, to develop guidance 
to allow designation for this benefit. Subsection (d) would 
make necessary conforming amendments. Subsection (e) would 
establish an effective date for the death of a qualifying 
parent that occurs on or after the date of enactment and where 
the fallen son or daughter died on or after October 7, 2001.

         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 I. GENERAL PROVISIONS

Chap.                                                               Sec.
1.  General.......................................................   101
     * * * * * * *

              PART V. BOARDS, ADMINISTRATIONS, AND SERVICES

     * * * * * * *
80.  Visual Impairment and Orientation and Mobility Professionals 
8001.       Education Assistance Program........................

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


PART I--GENERAL PROVISIONS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 1--GENERAL

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 107. Certain service deemed not to be active service

  (a) Service before July 1, 1946, in the organized military 
forces of the Government of the Commonwealth of the 
Philippines, while such forces were in the service of the Armed 
Forces of the United States pursuant to the military order of 
the President dated July 26, 1941, including among such 
military forces organized guerrilla forces under commanders 
appointed, designated, or subsequently recognized by the 
Commander in Chief, Southwest Pacific Area, or other competent 
authority in the Army of the United States, shall not be deemed 
to have been active military, naval, or air service for the 
purposes of any law of the United States conferring rights, 
privileges, or benefits upon any person by reason of the 
service of such person or the service of any other person in 
the Armed Forces, except benefits under--
          (1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

          (3) chapters 11, 13 (except section 1312(a)), 23, and 
        24 (to the extent provided for in [section 2402(8)] 
        section 2402(a)(8)) of this title.
Except as provided in subsection (c) or (d), payments under 
such chapters shall be made at a rate of $0.50 for each dollar 
authorized, and where annual income is a factor in entitlement 
to benefits, the dollar limitations in the law specifying such 
annual income shall apply at a rate of $0.50 for each dollar. 
Any payments made before February 18, 1946, to any such member 
under such laws conferring rights, benefits, or privileges 
shall not be deemed to have been invalid by reason of the 
circumstance that such member's service was not service in the 
Armed Forces or any component thereof within the meaning of any 
such law.
  (b) Service in the Philippine Scouts under section 14 of the 
Armed Forces Voluntary Recruitment Act of 1945 shall not be 
deemed to have been active military, naval, or air service for 
the purposes of any of the laws administered by the Secretary 
except--
          (1) * * *
          (2) chapters 11, 13 (except section 1312(a)), 23, and 
        24 (to the extent provided for in [section 2402(8)] 
        section 2402(a)(8)) of this title.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


            CHAPTER 5--AUTHORITY AND DUTIES OF THE SECRETARY

                    SUBCHAPTER I--GENERAL AUTHORITIES

Sec.
501.  Rules and regulations.
     * * * * * * *

                   SUBCHAPTER IV--OUTREACH ACTIVITIES

561.  Outreach activities: coordination of activities within the 
          Department.
562.  Outreach activities: cooperative activities with States; grants to 
          States for improvement of outreach.
563.  Outreach activities: funding.
564.  Definition of outreach.
565.  Authorization of appropriations.
     * * * * * * *

                   SUBCHAPTER IV--OUTREACH ACTIVITIES

Sec. 561. Outreach activities: coordination of activities within the 
                    Department

  (a) Coordination Procedures.--The Secretary shall establish 
and maintain procedures for ensuring the effective coordination 
of the outreach activities of the Department between and among 
the following:
          (1) The Office of the Secretary.
          (2) The Office of Public Affairs.
          (3) The Veterans Health Administration.
          (4) The Veterans Benefits Administration.
          (5) The National Cemetery Administration.
  (b) Annual Review of Procedures.--The Secretary shall--
          (1) annually review the procedures in effect under 
        subsection (a) for the purpose of ensuring that those 
        procedures meet the requirements of that subsection; 
        and
          (2) make such modifications to those procedures as 
        the Secretary considers appropriate in light of such 
        review in order to better achieve that purpose.

Sec. 562. Outreach activities: cooperative activities with States; 
                    grants to States for improvement of outreach

  (a) Purpose.--It is the purpose of this section to provide 
for assistance by the Secretary to State and county veterans 
agencies to carry out programs in locations within the 
respective jurisdictions of such agencies that offer a high 
probability of improving outreach and assistance to veterans, 
and to the spouses, children, and parents of veterans, to 
ensure that such individuals are fully informed about, and 
assisted in applying for, any veterans' and veterans-related 
benefits and programs (including State veterans' programs) for 
which they may be eligible.
  (b) Priority for Areas With High Concentration of Eligible 
Individuals.--In providing assistance under this section, the 
Secretary shall give priority to State and county veteran 
agencies in locations--
          (1) that have relatively large concentrations of 
        populations of veterans and other individuals referred 
        to in subsection (a); or
          (2) that are experiencing growth in the population of 
        veterans and other individuals referred to in 
        subsection (a).
  (c) Contracts for Outreach Services.--The Secretary may enter 
into a contract with a State or county veterans agency in order 
to carry out, coordinate, improve, or otherwise enhance 
outreach by the Department and the State or county (including 
outreach with respect to a State or county veterans program). 
As a condition of entering into any such contract, the 
Secretary shall require the agency to submit annually to the 
Secretary a three-year plan for the use of any funds provided 
to the agency pursuant to the contract and to meet the annual 
outcome measures developed by the Secretary under subsection 
(d)(4).
  (d) Grants.--(1) The Secretary may make a grant to a State or 
county veterans agency to be used to carry out, coordinate, 
improve, or otherwise enhance--
          (A) outreach activities, including activities carried 
        out pursuant to a contract entered into under 
        subsection (c); and
          (B) activities to assist in the development and 
        submittal of claims for veterans and veterans-related 
        benefits, including activities carried out pursuant to 
        a contract entered into under subsection (c).
  (2) A State veterans agency that receives a grant under this 
subsection may award all or a portion of the grant to county 
veterans agencies within the State to provide outreach services 
for veterans, on the basis of the number of veterans residing 
in the jurisdiction of each county.
  (3) To be eligible for a grant under this subsection, a State 
or county veterans agency shall submit to the Secretary an 
application containing such information and assurances as the 
Secretary may require. The Secretary shall require a State or 
county veterans agency to include, as part of the agency's 
application--
          (A) a three-year plan for the use of the grant; and
          (B) a description of the programs through which the 
        agency will meet the annual outcome measures developed 
        by the Secretary under paragraph (4).
  (4)(A) The Secretary shall develop and provide to the 
recipient of a grant under this subsection written guidance on 
annual outcome measures, Department policies, and procedures 
for applying for grants under this section.
  (B) The Secretary shall annually review the performance of 
each State or county veterans agency that receives a grant 
under this section.
  (C) In the case of a State or county veterans agency that is 
a recipient of a grant under this subsection that does not meet 
the annual outcome measures developed by the Secretary, the 
Secretary shall require the agency to submit a remediation plan 
under which the agency shall describe how and when it plans to 
meet such outcome measures. The Secretary must approve such 
plan before the Secretary may make a subsequent grant to that 
agency under this subsection.
  (5) No portion of any grant awarded under this subsection may 
be used for the purposes of administering the grant funds or to 
subsidize the salaries of State or county veterans service 
officers or other employees of a State or county veterans 
agency that receives a grant under this subsection.
  (6) Federal funds provided to a State or county veterans 
agency under this subsection may not be used to provide more 
than 50 percent of the total cost of the State or county 
government activities described in paragraph (1) and shall be 
used to expand existing outreach programs and services and not 
to supplant State and local funding that is otherwise 
available.
  (7) In awarding grants under this subsection, the Secretary 
shall give priority to State and county veterans agencies that 
serve the largest populations of veterans.
  (8)(A) In a case in which a county government does not have a 
county veterans agency, the county government may be awarded a 
grant under this subsection to establish such an agency.
  (B) In a case in which a county government does not have a 
county veterans agency and does not seek to establish such an 
agency through the use of a grant under this subsection, the 
State veterans agency for the State in which the county is 
located may use a grant under this section to provide outreach 
services for that county.
  (C) In the case of a State in which no State or county 
veterans agency seeks to receive a grant under this subsection, 
the funds that would otherwise be allocated for that State 
shall be reallocated to those States in which county veterans 
agencies exist and have sought grants under this subsection.
  (9) A grant under this subsection may be used to provide 
education and training, including on-the-job training, for 
State, county, and local government employees who provide (or 
when trained will provide) veterans outreach services in order 
for those employees to obtain accreditation in accordance with 
procedures approved by the Secretary and, for employees so 
accredited, for purposes of continuing education.
  (e) Definitions.--For the purposes of this section:
          (1) The term ``State veterans agency'' means the 
        element of the government of a State that has 
        responsibility for programs and activities of that 
        State government relating to veterans benefits.
          (2) The term ``county veterans agency'' means the 
        element of the government of a county or municipality 
        that has responsibility for programs and activities of 
        that county or municipal government relating to 
        veterans benefits.

Sec. 563. Outreach activities: funding

  (a) Separate Account.--Amounts for the outreach activities of 
the Department under this subchapter shall be budgeted and 
appropriated through a separate appropriation account.
  (b) Separate Statement of Amount.--In the budget 
justification materials submitted to Congress in support of the 
Department budget for any fiscal year (as submitted with the 
budget of the President under section 1105(a) of title 31), the 
Secretary shall include a separate statement of the amount 
requested to be appropriated for that fiscal year for the 
account specified in subsection (a).

Sec. 564. Definition of outreach

  For purposes of this subchapter, the term ``outreach'' means 
the act or process of taking steps in a systematic manner to 
provide information, services, and benefits counseling to 
veterans, and the survivors of veterans, who may be eligible to 
receive benefits under the laws administered by the Secretary 
to ensure that those individuals are fully informed about, and 
assisted in applying for, any benefits and programs under such 
laws for which they may be eligible.

Sec. 565. Authorization of appropriations

  There is authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary for 
each of fiscal years 2011, 2012, and 2013, $25,000,000 to carry 
out this subchapter, including making grants under section 
562(d) of this title.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


PART II--GENERAL BENEFITS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 23--BURIAL BENEFITS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 2301. Flags

  (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (e) The Secretary shall furnish a flag to drape the casket of 
each deceased person who is buried in a national cemetery by 
virtue of eligibility for burial in such cemetery under 
[section 2402(6)] section 2402(a)(6) of this title. After the 
burial, the flag shall be given to the next of kin or to such 
other person as the Secretary considers appropriate.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 2306. Headstones, markers, and burial receptacles

  (a) The Secretary shall furnish, when requested, appropriate 
Government headstones or markers at the expense of the United 
States for the unmarked graves of the following:
          (1) * * *
          (2) Any individual eligible for burial in a national 
        cemetery (but not buried there), except for those 
        persons or classes of persons enumerated in [section 
        2402(4)] section 2402(a)(4), (5), and (6) of this 
        title.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

          (4) Any individual described in [section 2402(5)] 
        section 2402(a)(5) of this title who is buried in a 
        veterans' cemetery owned by a State.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 24--NATIONAL CEMETERIES AND MEMORIALS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 2402. Persons eligible for interment in national cemeteries

  [Under such regulations] (a) Under such regulations as the 
Secretary may prescribe and subject to the provisions of 
section 6105 of this title, the remains of the following 
persons may be buried in any open national cemetery under the 
control of the National Cemetery Administration:
          (1) Any veteran (which for the purposes of this 
        chapter includes a person who died in the active 
        military, naval, or air service).
          (2) Any member of a Reserve component of the Armed 
        Forces, and any member of the Army National Guard or 
        the Air National Guard, whose death occurs under 
        honorable conditions while such member is hospitalized 
        or undergoing treatment, at the expense of the United 
        States, for injury or disease contracted or incurred 
        under honorable conditions while such member is 
        performing active duty for training, inactive duty 
        training, or undergoing that hospitalization or 
        treatment at the expense of the United States.
          (3) Any member of the Reserve Officers' Training 
        Corps of the Army, Navy, or Air Force whose death 
        occurs under honorable conditions while such member 
        is--
                  (A) attending an authorized training camp or 
                on an authorized practice cruise;
                  (B) performing authorized travel to or from 
                that camp or cruise; or
                  (C) hospitalized or undergoing treatment, at 
                the expense of the United States, for injury or 
                disease contracted or incurred under honorable 
                conditions while such member is--
                          (i) attending that camp or on that 
                        cruise;
                          (ii) performing that travel; or
                          (iii) undergoing that hospitalization 
                        or treatment at the expense of the 
                        United States.
          (4) Any citizen of the United States who, during any 
        war in which the United States is or has been engaged, 
        served in the armed forces of any government allied 
        with the United States during that war, and whose last 
        such service terminated honorably.
          (5) The spouse, surviving spouse (which for purposes 
        of this chapter includes a surviving spouse who had a 
        subsequent remarriage), minor child (which for purposes 
        of this chapter includes a child under 21 years of age, 
        or under 23 years of age if pursuing a course of 
        instruction at an approved educational institution), 
        and, in the discretion of the Secretary, unmarried 
        adult child of any of the persons listed in paragraphs 
        (1) through (4) and paragraph (7).
          (6) Such other persons or classes of persons as may 
        be designated by the Secretary.
          (7) Any person who at the time of death was entitled 
        to retired pay under chapter 1223 of title 10 or would 
        have been entitled to retired pay under that chapter 
        but for the fact that the person was under 60 years of 
        age.
          (8) Any individual whose service is described in 
        subsection (a) or (b) of section 107 of this title if 
        such individual at the time of death--
                  (A) was a citizen of the United States or an 
                alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence 
                in the United States; and
                  (B) resided in the United States.
          (9)(A) The parent of a person described in 
        subparagraph (B), if the Secretary determines that 
        there is available space at the gravesite where the 
        person described in subparagraph (B) is interred.
          (B) A person described in this subparagraph is a 
        person described in paragraph (1) who--
                  (i) is a hostile casualty or died from a 
                training-related injury;
                  (ii) is interred in a national cemetery; and
                  (iii) at the time of the person's parent's 
                death, did not have a spouse, surviving spouse, 
                or child who is buried or who, upon death, may 
                be eligible for burial in a national cemetery 
                pursuant to paragraph (5).
  (b) For purposes of subsection (a)(9) of this section:
          (1) The term ``parent'' means a biological father or 
        a biological mother or, in the case of adoption, a 
        father through adoption or a mother through adoption.
          (2) The term ``hostile casualty'' means a person who, 
        as a member of the Armed Forces, dies as the direct 
        result of hostile action with the enemy, while in 
        combat, while going to or returning from a combat 
        mission if the cause of death was directly related to 
        hostile action, or while hospitalized or undergoing 
        treatment at the expense of the United States for 
        injury incurred during combat, and includes a person 
        killed mistakenly or accidentally by friendly fire 
        directed at a hostile force or what is thought to be a 
        hostile force, but does not include a person who dies 
        due to the elements, a self-inflicted wound, combat 
        fatigue, or a friendly force while the person was in an 
        absent-without-leave, deserter, or dropped-from-rolls 
        status or was voluntarily absent from a place of duty.
          (3) The term ``training-related injury'' means an 
        injury incurred by a member of the Armed Forces while 
        performing authorized training activities in 
        preparation for a combat mission.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


PART III--READJUSTMENT AND RELATED BENEFITS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 36--ADMINISTRATION OF EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SUBCHAPTER II--MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 3692. Advisory committee

  (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (c) The committee shall remain in existence until [December 
31, 2009] December 31, 2015.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


             PART V--BOARDS, ADMINISTRATIONS, AND SERVICES

Chap.                                                               Sec.
71.  Board of Veterans' Appeals...................................  7101
     * * * * * * *
80.  Visual Impairment and Orientation and Mobility Professionals 
              Education Assistance Program........................ 8001.
     * * * * * * *

      CHAPTER 80--VISUAL IMPAIRMENT AND ORIENTATION AND MOBILITY 
               PROFESSIONALS EDUCATION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

Sec.
8001. Establishment of scholarship program; purpose.
8002. Application and acceptance.
8003. Amount of assistance; duration.
8004. Agreement.
8005. Repayment for failure to satisfy requirements of agreement.

Sec. 8001. Establishment of scholarship program; purpose

  (a) Establishment.--Subject to the availability of 
appropriations, the Secretary shall establish and carry out a 
scholarship program to provide financial assistance in 
accordance with this chapter to an individual--
          (1) who is accepted for enrollment or currently 
        enrolled in a program of study leading to a degree or 
        certificate in visual impairment or orientation and 
        mobility, or a dual degree or certification in both 
        such areas, at an accredited (as determined by the 
        Secretary) educational institution that is in a State; 
        and
          (2) who enters into an agreement with the Secretary 
        as described in section 8004 of this chapter.
  (b) Purpose.--The purpose of the scholarship program 
established under this chapter is to increase the supply of 
qualified blind rehabilitation specialists for the Department 
and the Nation.
  (c) Outreach.--The Secretary shall publicize the scholarship 
program established under this chapter to educational 
institutions throughout the United States, with an emphasis on 
disseminating information to such institutions with high 
numbers of Hispanic students and to Historically Black Colleges 
and Universities.

Sec. 8002. Application and acceptance

  (a) Application.--(1) To apply and participate in the 
scholarship program under this chapter, an individual shall 
submit to the Secretary an application for such participation 
together with an agreement described in section 8004 of this 
chapter under which the participant agrees to serve a period of 
obligated service in the Department as provided in the 
agreement in return for payment of educational assistance as 
provided in the agreement.
  (2) In distributing application forms and agreement forms to 
individuals desiring to participate in the scholarship program, 
the Secretary shall include with such forms the following:
          (A) A fair summary of the rights and liabilities of 
        an individual whose application is approved (and whose 
        agreement is accepted) by the Secretary.
          (B) A full description of the terms and conditions 
        that apply to participation in the scholarship program 
        and service in the Department.
  (b) Approval.--(1) Upon the Secretary's approval of an 
individual's participation in the scholarship program, the 
Secretary shall, in writing, promptly notify the individual of 
that acceptance.
  (2) An individual becomes a participant in the scholarship 
program upon such approval by the Secretary.

Sec. 8003. Amount of assistance; duration

  (a) Amount of Assistance.--The amount of the financial 
assistance provided for an individual under this chapter shall 
be the amount determined by the Secretary as being necessary to 
pay the tuition and fees of the individual. In the case of an 
individual enrolled in a program of study leading to a dual 
degree or certification in both the areas of study described in 
section 8001(a)(1) of this chapter, the tuition and fees shall 
not exceed the amounts necessary for the minimum number of 
credit hours to achieve such dual certification or degree.
  (b) Relationship to Other Assistance.--Financial assistance 
may be provided to an individual under this chapter to 
supplement other educational assistance to the extent that the 
total amount of educational assistance received by the 
individual during an academic year does not exceed the total 
tuition and fees for such academic year.
  (c) Maximum Amount of Assistance.--(1) In no case may the 
total amount of assistance provided under this chapter for an 
academic year to an individual who is a full-time student 
exceed $15,000.
  (2) In the case of an individual who is a part-time student, 
the total amount of assistance provided under this chapter 
shall bear the same ratio to the amount that would be paid 
under paragraph (1) if the participant were a full-time student 
in the program of study being pursued by the individual as the 
coursework carried by the individual to full-time coursework in 
that program of study.
  (3) In no case may the total amount of assistance provided to 
an individual under this chapter exceed $45,000.
  (d) Maximum Duration of Assistance.--The Secretary may 
provide financial assistance to an individual under this 
chapter for not more than six years.

Sec. 8004. Agreement

  An agreement between the Secretary and a participant in the 
scholarship program under this chapter shall be in writing, 
shall be signed by the participant, and shall include--
          (1) the Secretary's agreement to provide the 
        participant with financial assistance as authorized 
        under this chapter;
          (2) the participant's agreement--
                  (A) to accept such financial assistance;
                  (B) to maintain enrollment and attendance in 
                the program of study described in section 
                8001(a)(1) of this chapter;
                  (C) while enrolled in such program, to 
                maintain an acceptable level of academic 
                standing (as determined by the educational 
                institution offering such program under 
                regulations prescribed by the Secretary); and
                  (D) after completion of the program, to serve 
                as a full-time employee in the Department for a 
                period of three years, to be served within the 
                first six years after the participant has 
                completed such program and received a degree or 
                certificate described in section 8001(a)(1) of 
                this chapter; and
          (3) any other terms and conditions that the Secretary 
        determines appropriate for carrying out this chapter.

Sec. 8005. Repayment for failure to satisfy requirements of agreement

  (a) In General.--An individual who receives educational 
assistance under this chapter shall repay to the Secretary an 
amount equal to the unearned portion of such assistance if the 
individual fails to satisfy the requirements of the agreement 
entered into under section 8004 of this chapter, except in 
circumstances authorized by the Secretary.
  (b) Amount of Repayment.--The Secretary shall establish, by 
regulations, procedures for determining the amount of the 
repayment required under this subsection and the circumstances 
under which an exception to the required repayment may be 
granted.
  (c) Waiver or Suspension of Compliance.--The Secretary shall 
prescribe regulations providing for the waiver or suspension of 
any obligation of an individual for service or payment under 
this chapter (or an agreement under this chapter) whenever 
noncompliance by the individual is due to circumstances beyond 
the control of the individual or whenever the Secretary 
determines that the waiver or suspension of compliance is in 
the best interest of the United States.
  (d) Obligation as Debt to United States.--An obligation to 
repay the Secretary under this section is, for all purposes, a 
debt owed the United States. A discharge in bankruptcy under 
title 11 does not discharge a person from such debt if the 
discharge order is entered less than five years after the date 
of the termination of the agreement or contract on which the 
debt is based.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


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) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (c) Sole Source Contracts for Contracts Above Simplified 
Acquisition Threshold.--For purposes of meeting the goals under 
subsection (a), and in accordance with this section, a 
contracting officer of the Department [may] shall award a 
contract to a small business concern owned and controlled by 
veterans using procedures other than competitive procedures 
if--
          (1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (f) Database of Veteran-Owned Businesses.--(1) * * *
  (2)(A) To be eligible for inclusion in the database, such a 
veteran shall submit to the Secretary such information as the 
Secretary may require with respect to the small business 
concern or the veteran. Application for inclusion in the 
database shall constitute permission under section 552a of 
title 5 (commonly referred to as the Privacy Act) for the 
Secretary to access such personal information maintained by the 
Secretary as may be necessary to verify the information 
contained in the application.
  (B) If the Secretary receives an application for inclusion in 
the database from an individual whose status as a veteran 
cannot be verified because the Secretary does not maintain 
information with respect to the veteran status of the 
individual, the Secretary may not include the small business 
concern owned or controlled by the individual in the database 
maintained by the Secretary until the Secretary receives such 
information as may be necessary to verify that the individual 
is a veteran.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  [(4) In maintaining the database, the Secretary shall carry 
out at least the following two verification functions:
  [(A) Verification that each small business concern listed in 
the database is owned and controlled by veterans.
  [(B) In the case of a veteran who indicates a service- 
connected disability, verification of the service-disabled 
status of such veteran.]
  (4) No small business concern may be listed in the database 
until the Secretary has verified that--
          (A) the small business concern is owned and 
        controlled by veterans; and
          (B) in the case of a small business concern for which 
        the person who owns or controls the concern indicates 
        that the person is a veteran with a service-connected 
        disability, that the person is a veteran with a 
        service-connected disability.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

                              ----------                              


                    SERVICEMEMBERS CIVIL RELIEF ACT

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

  (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents of this Act is 
as follows:
     * * * * * * *

 [TITLE III--RENT, INSTALLMENT CONTRACTS, MORTGAGES, LIENS, ASSIGNMENT, 
                                 LEASES]

 TITLE III. RENT, INSTALLMENT CONTRACTS, MORTGAGES, LIENS, ASSIGNMENT, 
                        LEASES, SERVICE CONTRACTS

     * * * * * * *
[Sec. 305A. Termination or suspension of contracts for cellular 
          telephone service.]
Sec. 305A. Termination of service contracts.
     * * * * * * *

              TITLE VIII--CIVIL LIABILITY FOR NONCOMPLIANCE

Sec. 801. Enforcement by the Attorney General.
Sec. 802. Private right of action.
Sec. 803. Preservation of other remedies.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


TITLE II--GENERAL RELIEF

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 207. MAXIMUM RATE OF INTEREST ON DEBTS INCURRED BEFORE MILITARY 
                    SERVICE.

  (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  [(f) Preservation of Other Remedies.--The penalties provided 
under subsection (e) are in addition to and do not preclude any 
other remedy available under law to a person claiming relief 
under this section, including any award for consequential or 
punitive damages.]

 TITLE III--RENT, INSTALLMENT CONTRACTS, MORTGAGES, LIENS, ASSIGNMENT, 
                       LEASES, SERVICE CONTRACTS

SEC. 301. EVICTIONS AND DISTRESS.

  (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  [(c) Penalties.--
          [(1) Misdemeanor.--Except as provided in subsection 
        (a), a person who knowingly takes part in an eviction 
        or distress described in subsection (a), or who 
        knowingly attempts to do so, shall be fined as provided 
        in title 18, United States Code, or imprisoned for not 
        more than one year, or both.
          [(2) Preservation of other remedies and rights.--The 
        remedies and rights provided under this section are in 
        addition to and do not preclude any remedy for wrongful 
        conversion (or wrongful eviction) otherwise available 
        under the law to the person claiming relief under this 
        section, including any award for consequential and 
        punitive damages.]
  (c) Misdemeanor.--Except as provided in subsection (a), a 
person who knowingly takes part in an eviction or distress 
described in subsection (a), or who knowingly attempts to do 
so, shall be fined as provided in title 18, United States Code, 
or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 302. PROTECTION UNDER INSTALLMENT CONTRACTS FOR PURCHASE OR LEASE.

  (a) * * *
  [(b) Penalties.--
          [(1) Misdemeanor.--A person who knowingly resumes 
        possession of property in violation of subsection (a), 
        or in violation of section 107 of this Act, or who 
        knowingly attempts to do so, shall be fined as provided 
        in title 18, United States Code, or imprisoned for not 
        more than one year, or both.
          [(2) Preservation of other remedies and rights.--The 
        remedies and rights provided under this section are in 
        addition to and do not preclude any remedy for wrongful 
        conversion otherwise available under law to the person 
        claiming relief under this section, including any award 
        for consequential and punitive damages.]
  (b) Misdemeanor.--A person who knowingly resumes possession 
of property in violation of subsection (a), or in violation of 
section 107 of this Act, or who knowingly attempts to do so, 
shall be fined as provided in title 18, United States Code, or 
imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 303. MORTGAGES AND TRUST DEEDS.

  (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  [(d) Penalties.--
          [(1) Misdemeanor.--A person who knowingly makes or 
        causes to be made a sale, foreclosure, or seizure of 
        property that is prohibited by subsection (c), or who 
        knowingly attempts to do so, shall be fined as provided 
        in title 18, United States Code, or imprisoned for not 
        more than one year, or both.
          [(2) Preservation of other remedies.--The remedies 
        and rights provided under this section are in addition 
        to and do not preclude any remedy for wrongful 
        conversion otherwise available under law to the person 
        claiming relief under this section, including 
        consequential and punitive damages.]
  (d) Misdemeanor.--A person who knowingly makes or causes to 
be made a sale, foreclosure, or seizure of property that is 
prohibited by subsection (c), or who knowingly attempts to do 
so, shall be fined as provided in title 18, United States Code, 
or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 305. TERMINATION OF RESIDENTIAL OR MOTOR VEHICLE LEASES.

  (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  [(e) Arrearages and Other Obligations and Liabilities.--Rents 
or lease amounts unpaid for the period preceding the effective 
date of the lease termination shall be paid on a prorated 
basis. In the case of the lease of a motor vehicle, the lessor 
may not impose an early termination charge, but any taxes, 
summonses, and title and registration fees and any other 
obligation and liability of the lessee in accordance with the 
terms of the lease, including reasonable charges to the lessee 
for excess wear, use and mileage, that are due and unpaid at 
the time of termination of the lease shall be paid by the 
lessee.]
  (e) Arrearages and Other Obligations and Liabilities.--
          (1) Leases of premises.--Rent amounts for a lease 
        described in subsection (b)(1) that are unpaid for the 
        period preceding the effective date of the lease 
        termination shall be paid on a prorated basis. The 
        lessor may not impose an early termination charge, but 
        any taxes, summonses, or other obligations and 
        liabilities of the lessee in accordance with the terms 
        of the lease, including reasonable charges to the 
        lessee for excess wear, that are due and unpaid at the 
        time of termination of the lease shall be paid by the 
        lessee.
          (2) Leases of motor vehicles.--Lease amounts for a 
        lease described in subsection (b)(2) that are unpaid 
        for the period preceding the effective date of the 
        lease termination shall be paid on a prorated basis. 
        The lessor may not impose an early termination charge, 
        but any taxes, summonses, title and registration fees, 
        or other obligations and liabilities of the lessee in 
        accordance with the terms of the lease, including 
        reasonable charges to the lessee for excess wear or use 
        and mileage, that are due and unpaid at the time of 
        termination of the lease shall be paid by the lessee.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  [(h) Penalties.--
          [(1) Misdemeanor.--Any person who knowingly seizes, 
        holds, or detains the personal effects, security 
        deposit, or other property of a servicemember or a 
        servicemember's dependent who lawfully terminates a 
        lease covered by this section, or who knowingly 
        interferes with the removal of such property from 
        premises covered by such lease, for the purpose of 
        subjecting or attempting to subject any of such 
        property to a claim for rent accruing subsequent to the 
        date of termination of such lease, or attempts to do 
        so, shall be fined as provided in title 18, United 
        States Code, or imprisoned for not more than one year, 
        or both.
          [(2) Preservation of other remedies.--The remedy and 
        rights provided under this section are in addition to 
        and do not preclude any remedy for wrongful conversion 
        otherwise available under law to the person claiming 
        relief under this section, including any award for 
        consequential or punitive damages.]
  (h) Misdemeanor.--Any person who knowingly seizes, holds, or 
detains the personal effects, security deposit, or other 
property of a servicemember or a servicemember's dependent who 
lawfully terminates a lease covered by this section, or who 
knowingly interferes with the removal of such property from 
premises covered by such lease, for the purpose of subjecting 
or attempting to subject any of such property to a claim for 
rent accruing subsequent to the date of termination of such 
lease, or attempts to do so, shall be fined as provided in 
title 18, United States Code, or imprisoned for not more than 
one year, or both.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


[SEC. 305A. TERMINATION OR SUSPENSION OF CONTRACTS FOR CELLULAR 
                    TELEPHONE SERVICE.

  [(a) In General.--A servicemember who receives orders to 
deploy outside of the continental United States for not less 
than 90 days or for a permanent change of duty station within 
the United States may request the termination or suspension of 
any contract for cellular telephone service entered into by the 
servicemember before the date of the commencement of such 
deployment or permanent change if the servicemember's ability 
to satisfy the contract or to utilize the service will be 
materially affected by such deployment or permanent change. The 
request shall include a copy of the servicemember's military 
orders.
  [(b) Relief.--Upon receiving the request of a servicemember 
under subsection (a), the cellular telephone service contractor 
concerned shall--
          [(1) grant the requested relief without imposition of 
        an early termination fee for termination of the 
        contract or a reactivation fee for suspension of the 
        contract; or
          [(2) in the case that such servicemember is deployed 
        outside the continental United States as described in 
        subsection (a), permit the servicemember to suspend the 
        contract at no charge until the end of the deployment 
        without requiring, whether as a condition of suspension 
        or otherwise, that the contract be extended.
  [(c) Cellular Telephone Service Defined.--In this section, 
the term ``cellular telephone service'' has the meaning given 
the term ``commercial mobile service'' in section 332(d) of the 
Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 332(d)).]

SEC. 305A. TERMINATION OF SERVICE CONTRACTS.

  (a) Termination by Servicemember.--A servicemember may 
terminate a contract described in subsection (c) at any time 
after the date the servicemember receives military orders--
          (1) to deploy with a military unit, or as an 
        individual, in support of a contingency operation for a 
        period of not less than 90 days; or
          (2) for a change of permanent station to a location 
        that does not support the contract.
  (b) Special Rule for Cellular or Telephone Exchange 
Service.--In any case in which a contract being terminated 
under subsection (a) or (d) is for cellular telephone service 
or telephone exchange service, the servicemember may keep, to 
the extent practicable and in accordance with applicable law, 
the telephone number the servicemember has under the contract 
for a period not to exceed 90 days after the period of 
deployment or change of permanent station has concluded.
  (c) Covered Contracts.--This section applies to a contract 
for cellular telephone service, telephone exchange service, 
multichannel video programming service, Internet access 
service, or residential utility service involving the provision 
of water, electricity, home heating oil, or natural gas.
  (d) Family Plans.--In the case of a contract for cellular 
telephone service entered into by any individual in which a 
servicemember is a designated beneficiary of such contract, the 
individual may terminate such contract--
          (1) with respect to the servicemember if the 
        servicemember is eligible to terminate contracts 
        pursuant to subsection (a); and
          (2) with respect to all of the designated 
        beneficiaries of such contract if all such 
        beneficiaries accompany the servicemember in a change 
        of permanent station to a location that does not 
        support the contract.
  (e) Manner of Termination.--Termination of a contract under 
subsection (a) or (d) shall be made by delivery of a written 
notice of such termination and a copy of the servicemember's 
military orders to the service provider, delivered--
          (1) by hand delivery;
          (2) by private business carrier;
          (3) by facsimile; or
          (4) by United States mail, addressed as designated by 
        the service provider, return receipt requested, with 
        sufficient postage.
  (f) Date of Contract Termination.--Termination of a contract 
under subsection (a) or (d) is effective as of the date on 
which the notice under subsection (e) is delivered.
  (g) Other Obligations and Liabilities.--The service provider 
under the contract may not impose an early termination charge, 
but any tax or any other obligation or liability of the 
servicemember that, in accordance with the terms of the 
contract, is due and unpaid or unperformed at the time of 
termination of the contract shall be paid or performed by the 
servicemember. If the servicemember re-subscribes to the 
service provided under a covered contract in the 90-day period 
after the period of deployment or change of permanent station 
has concluded, the service provider may not impose a charge for 
reinstating service, other than a charge to cover any cost of 
installing or acquiring new equipment that existing customers 
received, and for which such customers paid a similar charge, 
during such period.
  (h) Return of Advance Payments.--Not later than 60 days after 
the effective date of the termination of the contract, the 
service provider shall refund to the servicemember any fee or 
other amount to the extent paid for a period extending after 
such date, except for the remainder of the monthly or similar 
billing period in which the termination occurs if it is not 
reasonably possible to determine a pro-rata amount for such 
remainder.
  (i) Definitions.--In this section:
          (1) The term ``cellular telephone service'' means 
        commercial mobile service, as that term is defined in 
        section 332(d) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 
        U.S.C. 332(d)).
          (2) The term ``contingency operation'' has the 
        meaning given that term by section 101(a)(13) of title 
        10, United States Code.
          (3) The term ``Internet access service'' has the 
        meaning given that term under section 231(e)(4) of the 
        Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 231(e)(4)).
          (4) The term ``multichannel video programming 
        service'' means video programming service provided by a 
        multichannel video programming distributor, as such 
        term is defined in section 602(13) of the 
        Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 522(13)).
          (5) The term ``telephone exchange service'' has the 
        meaning given that term under section 3 of the 
        Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 153).

SEC. 306. PROTECTION OF LIFE INSURANCE POLICY.

  (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  [(e) Penalties.--
          [(1) Misdemeanor.--A person who knowingly takes an 
        action contrary to this section, or attempts to do so, 
        shall be fined as provided in title 18, United States 
        Code, or imprisoned for not more than one year, or 
        both.
          [(2) Preservation of other remedies.--The remedy and 
        rights provided under this section are in addition to 
        and do not preclude any remedy for wrongful conversion 
        otherwise available under law to the person claiming 
        relief under this section, including any consequential 
        or punitive damages.]
  (e) Misdemeanor.--A person who knowingly takes an action 
contrary to this section, or attempts to do so, shall be fined 
as provided in title 18, United States Code, or imprisoned for 
not more than one year, or both.

SEC. 307. ENFORCEMENT OF STORAGE LIENS.

  (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  [(c) Penalties.--
          [(1) Misdemeanor.--A person who knowingly takes an 
        action contrary to this section, or attempts to do so, 
        shall be fined as provided in title 18, United States 
        Code, or imprisoned for not more than one year, or 
        both.
          [(2) Preservation of other remedies.--The remedy and 
        rights provided under this section are in addition to 
        and do not preclude any remedy for wrongful conversion 
        otherwise available under law to the person claiming 
        relief under this section, including any consequential 
        or punitive damages.]
  (c) Misdemeanor.--A person who knowingly takes an action 
contrary to this section, or attempts to do so, shall be fined 
as provided in title 18, United States Code, or imprisoned for 
not more than one year, or both.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                      TITLE VIII--CIVIL LIABILITY

SEC. 801. ENFORCEMENT BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL.

  (a) Civil Action.--The Attorney General may commence a civil 
action in any appropriate United States district court against 
any person who--
          (1) engages in a pattern or practice of violating 
        this Act; or
          (2) engages in a violation of this Act that raises an 
        issue of significant public importance.
  (b) Relief.--In a civil action commenced under subsection 
(a), the court may--
          (1) grant any appropriate equitable or declaratory 
        relief with respect to the violation;
          (2) award all other appropriate relief, including 
        monetary damages, to any person aggrieved by the 
        violation; and
          (3) may, to vindicate the public interest, assess a 
        civil penalty--
                  (A) in an amount not exceeding $55,000 for a 
                first violation; and
                  (B) in an amount not exceeding $110,000 for 
                any subsequent violation.
  (c) Intervention.--Upon timely application, a person 
aggrieved by a violation with respect to which the civil action 
is commenced may intervene in such action, and may obtain such 
appropriate relief as the person could obtain in a civil action 
under section 802 with respect to that violation, along with 
costs and a reasonable attorney fee.

SEC. 802. PRIVATE RIGHT OF ACTION.

  (a) In General.--Any person aggrieved by a violation of this 
Act may in a civil action--
          (1) obtain any appropriate equitable or declaratory 
        relief with respect to the violation; and
          (2) recover all other appropriate relief, including 
        monetary damages.
  (b) Costs and Attorney Fees.--The court may award to a 
servicemember who prevails in an action brought under 
subsection (a) the costs of the action, including a reasonable 
attorney fee.

SEC. 803. PRESERVATION OF REMEDIES.

   Nothing in section 801 or 802 shall be construed to preclude 
or limit any remedy otherwise available under other law, 
including consequential and punitive damages.