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                                                       Calendar No. 579
111th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                     111-299

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

 
BILL TO EXCLUDE FROM CONSIDERATION AS INCOME UNDER THE NATIVE AMERICAN 
HOUSING ASSISTANCE AND SELF-DETERMINATION ACT OF 1996 AMOUNTS RECEIVED 
BY A FAMILY FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS FOR SERVICE-RELATED 
                 DISABILITIES OF A MEMBER OF THE FAMILY

                                _______
                                

               September 22, 2010.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

    Mr. Dorgan, from the Committee on Indian Affairs, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 3553]

    The Committee on Indian Affairs, to which was referred the 
bill (H.R. 3553) to exclude from consideration as income under 
the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination 
Act of 1996 amounts received by a family from the Department of 
Veterans Affairs for service-related disabilities of a member 
of the family, reports favorably thereon, without amendment, 
and recommends that the bill do pass.

                                Purpose

    The purpose of H.R. 3553 is to exclude from consideration 
as income under the Native American Housing Assistance and 
Self-Determination Act of 1996 (NAHASDA) amounts received by a 
family from the Department of Veterans Affairs for service-
related disabilities of a member of the family and survivor 
benefits.

                               Background

    The NAHASDA reformed the system of housing assistance 
provided to Native Americans through the Department of Housing 
and Urban Development by eliminating several separate programs 
and replacing them with a single Indian housing block grant 
program. The two programs authorized for Indian tribes under 
NAHASDA are the Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) program, 
which is a formula-based grant program, and the Title VI Loan 
Guarantee which provides loan guarantees to Indian tribes for 
private market loans to develop affordable housing. Under the 
IHBG, income that is not specifically listed in the law as 
exempt is taken into account for eligibility requirements under 
the NAHASDA.
    The NAHASDA limits housing assistance to families making 
below 80% of area median income. Tribal poverty rates are 
historically high.\1\ For example, according to the U.S. 
Census, 80% of the median household income for the Navajo 
Nation in 2000 was just $16,906\2\; accordingly, anything over 
this amount would disqualify a Navajo tribal member from 
receiving NAHASDA funded housing assistance. With such a low 
household median income threshold, a fairly modest amount of 
additional income will disqualify a tribal member from 
eligibility. According to the Fiscal Year 2009 Department of 
Veteran Affairs (VA) budget, the average compensation for a 
disabled veteran was $11,521.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\U.S. Census Bureau, 2006 American Community Survey. S0201. 
Selected Population Profile in the United States, Population Group: 
American Indian and Alaska Native alone. The poverty rate of people who 
reported they were American Indian and Alaska Native and no other race 
was 27%.
    \2\U.S. Bureau of the Census, Census 2000. Demographic Profiles of 
2000. Table DP-3. Profile of Selected Economic Characteristics: 2000.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Veterans Affairs disability payments are based on the 
injury received. Therefore the greater the degree of injury the 
higher amount of compensation a veteran is likely to receive, 
making a disabled Indian veteran less likely to meet the 
eligibility requirements for NAHASDA housing assistance. The VA 
has a direct home loan program, however many Indian veterans 
cannot qualify for the loan income eligibility and credit 
requirements due to their low income. This bill helps to 
address the eligibility gap between the VA direct home loan 
program and the NAHASDA eligibility requirements.
    It was not the intent of NAHASDA to disqualify Native 
American veterans from housing assistance because of their 
service-related disability. It is important to note that 
veterans' disability compensation is exempt from taxation under 
federal tax law. The intention of H.R. 3553 is to fix an 
unintended consequence of the NAHASDA funding formula, which 
may deny eligibility for housing assistance to Native veterans.

                          Legislative History

    H.R. 3553 was introduced on September 19, 2009, by 
Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), and was referred to the 
House Committee on Natural Resources. On April 20, 2010, the 
House considered H.R. 3553 under motion to suspend the rules 
and pass the bill by voice vote. On April 21, 2010, H.R. 3553 
was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Committee 
on Indian Affairs. On June 30, 2010, the Committee held an open 
business meeting and approved H.R. 3533 by unanimous voice vote 
without amendment. A companion bill, S. 3246, was introduced by 
Senator Ron Wyden on April 22, 2010, and referred to the 
Committee on Indian Affairs.

                    Section-by-Section of H.R. 3553

    Section 1. Short title. This section states that the Act 
may be cited as the ``Indian Veterans Housing Opportunity Act 
of 2010.''
    Section 2. Exclusion from income. This section excludes 
from consideration as income from NAHASDA; disability, 
dependency and indemnity compensation under chapter 11 of title 
38, Unites States Code.

            Committee Recommendation and Tabulation of Vote

    In an open business session on June 30, 2010 the Committee 
on Indian Affairs, by voice vote, adopted H.R. 3553, without 
amendment, and ordered the bill reported to the Senate, with 
the recommendation that the Senate do pass H.R. 3553.

                    Cost and Budgetary Consideration

    The following cost estimate, as provided by the 
Congressional Budget Office, dated July 23, 2010, was prepared 
for H.R. 3553:

H.R. 3553--Indian Veterans Housing Opportunity Act of 2010

    H.R. 3553 would modify the definition of income under the 
Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act 
of 1996 (Public Law 104-330). CBO estimates that implementing 
the legislation would have no impact on the federal budget. 
Enacting H.R. 3553 would not affect direct spending or 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures would not apply.
    Under Public Law 104-330, entities, such as tribal housing 
authorities, that receive certain federal subsidies to provide 
housing to low-income Indians cannot charge rents that exceed 
30 percent of a family's income. Under the bill, amounts 
received by Indian veterans for disabilities resulting from 
military service would not be included in calculating family 
income. Thus, enacting the bill could reduce the amount of rent 
that certain low-income families would pay for federally 
subsidized housing. Because rents are paid directly to the 
entities that receive federal subsidies to provide low-income 
housing, CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 3553 would not 
affect the federal budget.
    H.R. 3553 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Jeff LaFave. The 
estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                        Executive Communications

    The Committee has received no Executive communications 
regarding H.R. 3553.

               Regulatory and Paperwork Impact Statement

    Paragraph 11(b) of XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate 
requires that each report accompanying a bill evaluate the 
regulatory paperwork impact that would be incurred in carrying 
out the bill. The Committee believes that S. 3553 will have de 
minimis regulatory or paperwork impact.

                        Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with subsection 12 of rule XXXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee notes the following 
changes in existing law (existing law proposed to be omitted is 
enclosed in black brackets, new matter printed in italic):

25 U.S.C. 4103(9)

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


          (9) Income.--The term ``income'' means income from 
        all sources of each member of the household, as 
        determined in accordance with criteria prescribed by 
        the Secretary, except that the following amounts may 
        not be considered as income under this paragraph:
                  (A) Any amounts not actually received by the 
                family.
                  (B) Any amounts that would be eligible for 
                exclusion under section 1382(a)(7) of Title 42.
                  (C) Any amounts received by any member of the 
                family as disability compensation under chapter 
                11 of title 38, Unites States Code, or 
                dependency and indemnity compensation under 
                chapter 13 of such title.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *