H. Rept. 112-80 - 112th Congress (2011-2012)
May 20, 2011, As Reported by the Veterans' Affairs Committee

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House Report 112-80 - DIRECTING THE SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS TO ESTABLISH A VETSTAR AWARD PROGRAM




[House Report 112-80]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]


112th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                     112-80

======================================================================
 
  DIRECTING THE SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS TO ESTABLISH A VETSTAR 
                             AWARD PROGRAM

                                _______
                                

  May 20, 2011.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

    Mr. Miller of Florida, from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 802]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

  The Committee on Veterans' Affairs, to whom was referred the 
bill (H.R. 802) to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to 
establish a VetStar Award Program, having considered the same, 
report favorably thereon with amendments and recommend that the 
bill as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Amendment........................................................     2
Purpose and Summary..............................................     2
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     2
Hearings.........................................................     3
Subcommittee Consideration.......................................     4
Committee Consideration..........................................     4
Committee Votes..................................................     4
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     4
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............     4
New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and Tax Expenditures     5
Earmarks and Tax and Tariff Benefits.............................     5
Committee Cost Estimate..........................................     5
Congressional Budget Office Estimate.............................     5
Federal Mandates Statement.......................................     6
Advisory Committee Statement.....................................     6
Constitutional Authority Statement...............................     6
Applicability to Legislative Branch..............................     6
Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation...................     6
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill as Reported.............     6

                               Amendment

    The amendment is as follows:

          Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute to H.R. 802 
                         Offered by Mr. Filner

  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. VETSTAR AWARD PROGRAM.

  (a) In General.--Section 532 of title 38, United States Code, is 
amended--
          (1) by striking ``The Secretary may'' and inserting ``(a) 
        Advertising in National Media.--The Secretary may''; and
          (2) by adding at the end the following new subsection:
  ``(b) VetStar Award Program.--(1) The Secretary shall establish an 
award program, to be known as the `VetStar Award Program', to annually 
recognize businesses for their contributions to veterans' employment.
  ``(2) The Secretary shall establish a process for the administration 
of the award program, including criteria for--
          ``(A) categories and sectors of businesses eligible for 
        recognition each year; and
          ``(B) objective measures to be used in selecting businesses 
        to receive the award.''.
  (b) Clerical Amendments.--
          (1) Section heading.--The heading of such section is amended 
        by adding at the end the following: ``; VetStar Award 
        Program''.
          (2) Table of sections.--The table of sections at the 
        beginning of chapter 5 of such title is amended by striking the 
        item relating to section 532 and inserting the following new 
        item:

``532. Authority to advertise in national media; VetStar Award 
Program.''.

  Amend the title so as to read:

      A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to direct 
the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish a VetStar Award 
Program.

                          Purpose and Summary

    H.R. 802 was introduced on February 18, 2011 by 
Representative Bob Filner of California. H.R. 802 directs the 
Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to establish the VetStar 
Award Program, to annually recognize businesses for their 
contributions to veterans' employment.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    Veterans have experienced higher than normal rates of 
unemployment during the current economic recession as shown by 
the following table derived from data provided by the Bureau of 
Labor Statistics (BLS):
    During the 111th Congress, the Subcommittee on Economic 
Opportunity received testimony from veteran stakeholders 
concerning the rates of unemployment among some veterans when 
compared to their civilian counterparts, and the challenges 
faced by the small business community. This sentiment was 
shared by veteran stakeholders at the March 3, 2011 
subcommittee hearing on Veterans' Employment and Training 
Service's Budget and State Grant Program.
    In 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that 
the ``unemployment rate for veterans who served in the military 
since September 2001--a group referred to as Gulf War-era II 
veterans--was 10.3 percent in 2009.'' The following table 
illustrates the effects of the recent economic downturn on Gulf 
Era II veterans when compared with their non-veteran peers.

  EMPLOYMENT STATUS OF GULF WAR-ERA II VETERANS AGE 18 AND OVER, NOT SEASONALLY ADJUSTED, JANUARY 2006-PRESENT
                                              [Levels in thousands]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             Civilian labor force
                                       ----------------------------------------------------------------
                          Civilian                                  Employed            Unemployed       Not in
   Month  and year    noninstitutional            Percent of ------------------------------------------    the
                          population      Total                         Percent of                        labor
                                                  population    Total                 Total     Rate      force
                                                                        population
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Apr-07..............           1,483       1,270       85.6      1,206       81.3         64       5.0       214
Apr-08..............           1,591       1,328       83.5      1,254       78.8         74       5.6       263
Apr-09..............           1,902       1,552       81.6      1,392       73.2        160      10.3       350
Apr-10..............           2,101       1,694       80.6      1,472       70.0        223      13.1       407
Apr-11..............           2,466       1,962       79.5      1,748       70.9        214      10.9       505
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


         EMPLOYMENT STATUS OF NONVETERANS AGE 18 AND OVER, NOT SEASONALLY ADJUSTED, JANUARY 2006-PRESENT
                                              [Levels in thousands]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             Civilian labor force
                                       ----------------------------------------------------------------  Not in
                          Civilian                                  Employed            Unemployed         the
   Month and year     noninstitutional            Percent of ------------------------------------------   labor
                         population       Total   population            Percent of                        force
                                                                Total   population    Total      Rate
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Apr-07..............         199,254     136,602       68.6    131,000       65.7      5,602       4.1    62,652
Apr-08..............         201,747     138,495       68.6    132,119       65.5      6,375       4.6    63,252
Apr-09..............         203,975     139,733       68.5    127,950       62.7     11,783       8.4    64,242
Apr-10..............         206,378     140,337       68.0    127,291       61.7     13,046       9.3    66,041
Apr-11..............         208,727     139,957       67.1    128,072       61.4     11,885       8.5    68,771
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As seen in the tables above, Gulf War-era II veterans have 
experienced unemployment rates above their non-veteran 
counterparts for several years. The Committee believes it is 
important to use every available avenue to reduce unemployment 
among all veterans, especially those who are now returning from 
combat. One of the ways to show the nation's appreciation to 
employers who are meeting that challenge is to recognize 
companies who set an aggressive standard for hiring, retaining, 
and promoting veterans.
    Therefore, H.R. 802 will highlight hiring efforts by 
employers by creating an incentive for businesses to employ 
veterans by directing the VA to develop a low-cost, annual 
awards program that recognize businesses who excel at hiring 
veterans. The award can be displayed by business owners to 
emphasize their business' commitment to the veteran community. 
The program requirements and selection process would be 
determined and run by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

                                Hearings

    On May 3, 2011, the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity 
conducted a legislative hearing on various bills introduced 
during the 112th Congress, including H.R. 802. The Following 
witnesses testified: Ms. Christina M. Roof, National Acting 
Legislative Director for AMVETS; Mr. Tom Tarantino, Senior 
Legislative Associate with Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of 
America; Mr. Shane Barker, Senior Legislative Associate of the 
National Legislative Service with the Veterans of Foreign Wars 
of the United States; Mr. Robert Madden, Assistant Director for 
the National Economic Commission with The American Legion; Mr. 
Andrew Connolly, a service disabled veteran from Dubuque, IA; 
and Mr. Keith M. Wilson, Director of Education Service, 
Veterans Benefit Administration, with the U.S. Department of 
Veterans Affairs, accompanied by Mr. Jan R. Frye, Deputy 
Assistant Secretary for Acquisitions and Logistics, and Mr. F. 
John. Brizzi, Deputy Assistant General Counsel with the U.S. 
Department of Veterans Affairs. Those submitting statements for 
the record included: Mr. Dr. Vivianne Cisneros Wersel, Au.D., 
Chair of the Government Relations Committee with the Gold Star 
Wives of America, Inc.; Dorothy Gillman, President of the 
National Association of Veterans Programs Administrators; 
Paralyzed Veterans of America; and Vice Admiral (Ret.) Norbert 
R. Ryan, Jr. President of the Military Officers Association of 
America.

                       Subcommittee Consideration

    On March 5, 2011, the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity 
met in an open markup session and ordered favorably forwarded 
to the full Committee H.R. 802 by voice vote.

                        Committee Consideration

    On May 12, 2011, the full Committee met in an open markup 
session, a quorum being present, and ordered H.R. 802, as 
amended, reported favorably to the House of Representatives, by 
voice vote. During consideration of the bill the following 
amendment was considered:
    An amendment in the nature of a substitute, offered by 
Ranking Member Bob Filner of California, which amended section 
532 of title 38, United States Code, to include the provisions 
of H.R. 802 as introduced was agreed to by voice vote.

                            Committee Votes

    Clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires the Committee to list the record votes 
on the motion to report the legislation and amendments thereto. 
There were no recorded votes taken on amendments to or in 
connection with ordering H.R. 802 reported to the House. A 
motion by Mr. Braley of Iowa to order H.R. 802, as amended, 
reported favorably to the House of Representatives was agreed 
to by voice vote.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

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

         Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives

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

   New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and Tax Expenditures

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

                  Earmarks and Tax and Tariff Benefits

    H.R. 802 does not contain any congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in 
clause 9 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. 
802 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. 802 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, May 16, 2011.
Hon. Jeff Miller,
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. 802, a bill to 
amend title 38, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of 
Veterans Affairs to establish a VetStar Award Program.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is William Ma.
            Sincerely,
                                              Douglas W. Elmendorf.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 802--A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to direct the 
        Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish a VetStar Award 
        Program

    H.R. 802 would require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to 
establish an award program to annually recognize businesses for 
their contributions to veterans' employment.
    Based on information from the Department of Veterans 
Affairs (VA), CBO anticipates that establishing and 
implementing such an award program would impose few workload 
and budgetary requirements on VA. We expect that the award 
program would require VA staff to develop the award criteria, 
advertise the program, review nominations, and select winners. 
Award recipients would be recognized with awards such as 
trophies and plaques. Assuming the availability of the 
necessary funds, CBO estimates that implementing this bill 
would cost less than $500,000 over the 2012-2016 period for 
additional personnel costs and to purchase awards and 
administrative supplies.
    Enacting H.R. 802 would not affect direct spending or 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    H.R. 802 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is William Ma. The 
estimate was 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. 802 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. 
802.

                   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. 802 is provided by Article I, 
section 8 of the Constitution of the United States.

                  Applicability to Legislative Branch

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

             Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation


Section 1. VetStar Award Program

    This section directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to 
establish a VetStar award program to annually recognize 
businesses who have made significant contributions for veterans 
employment.

         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

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


            CHAPTER 5--AUTHORITY AND DUTIES OF THE SECRETARY


                   Subchapter I--General Authorities


SEC. 501. RULES AND REGULATIONS.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                   Subchapter II--Specified Functions

     * * * * * * *
[532. Authority to advertise in national media.]
532. Authority to advertise in national media; VetStar Award Program.
     * * * * * * *

Subchapter II--Specified Functions

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



Sec. 532. Authority to advertise in national media; VetStar Award 
                    Program

    [The Secretary may]
    (a) Advertising in National Media.--The Secretary may 
purchase advertising in national media outlets for the purpose 
of promoting awareness of benefits under laws administered by 
the Secretary, including promoting awareness of assistance 
provided by the Secretary, including assistance for programs to 
assist homeless veterans, to promote veteran-owned small 
businesses, and to provide opportunities for employment in the 
Department of Veterans Affairs and for education, training, 
compensation, pension, vocational rehabilitation, and 
healthcare benefits, and mental healthcare (including the 
prevention of suicide among veterans).
    (b) VetStar Award Program.--(1) The Secretary shall 
establish an award program, to be known as the ``VetStar Award 
Program'', to annually recognize businesses for their 
contributions to veterans' employment.
    (2) The Secretary shall establish a process for the 
administration of the award program, including criteria for--
          (A) categories and sectors of businesses eligible for 
        recognition each year; and
          (B) objective measures to be used in selecting 
        businesses to receive the award.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *