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112th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                    112-314

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

 
  TO REVISE THE FEDERAL CHARTER FOR THE BLUE STAR MOTHERS OF AMERICA, 
  INC., TO REFLECT A CHANGE IN ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR MEMBERSHIP

                                _______
                                

December 5, 2011.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Smith of Texas, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the 
                               following,

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 2815]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the 
bill (H.R. 2815) to revise the Federal charter for the Blue 
Star Mothers of America, Inc., to reflect a change in 
eligibility requirements for membership, having considered the 
same, reports favorably thereon without amendment and 
recommends that the bill do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Purpose and Summary..............................................     1
Background and Need for the Legislation..........................     2
Hearings.........................................................     3
Committee Consideration..........................................     3
Committee Votes..................................................     3
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     3
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................     4
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................     4
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................     5
Advisory on Earmarks.............................................     5
Section-by-Section Analysis......................................     5
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............     5

                          Purpose and Summary

    H.R. 2815 revises the Federal charter for the Blue Star 
Mothers of America to reflect changes in eligibility 
requirements for membership.

                Background and Need for the Legislation

    The Blue Star Mothers of America is a federally chartered 
organization.\1\ The purposes of the corporation are 
``patriotic, educational, social, and for service,'' and 
include--
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\See 36 U.S.C. sec. 30502.

         1) Lperpetuating the Blue Star Mothers of America, 
        Inc., and the memory of all the men and women who have 
        served our country as members of the Armed Forces;
         2) Lmaintaining true allegiance to the Government of 
        the United States;
         3) Leducating members of the corporation and others 
        not to divulge military, naval, or other Government 
        information;
         4) Lassisting in veterans' ceremonies;
         5) Lattending patriotic rallies and meetings;
         6) Lfostering true democracy;
         7) Lcaring for unsupported mothers who gave their sons 
        to the service of the Nation;
         8) Laiding in bringing about recognition of the need 
        for permanent civilian defense in each community and 
        the need to be always alert against invasion of un-
        American activities;
         9) Lupholding the American institutions of freedom, 
        justice, and equal rights; and
        10) Ldefending the United States from all enemies.\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\36 U.S.C. sec. 30503.

    Membership is open to ``a mother, adoptive mother, or 
stepmother (who has given a mother's care at least since the 
stepchild was age 13) [living in the U.S.] of a son or daughter 
who . . . is serving in the Armed Forces . . . or has served 
in, or has been honorably discharged from, the Armed Forces in 
World War II or the Korean hostilities. . . .''\3\ The 
organization has over 5,000 members in 225 chapters around the 
U.S.\4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\36 U.S.C. sec. 30504.
    \4\Information provided by the Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Blue Star Mothers of America states that:

        On January 22, 1942 the Flint News Advertiser printed a 
        coupon asking Mothers of serviceman to return the 
        coupon after filling it out. The following February 1st 
        300 mothers met in the Durant Hotel, in Flint Michigan. 
        Captain George H. Maines, who had conceived the idea 
        for this group, acted as the chair of this first 
        meeting. It was decided that after receiving 1000 
        responses from the ad to form a permanent organization. 
        . . . Chapters then formed in Michigan, Ohio, 
        Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon, California, 
        Iowa and Washington. In June 1960 the organization was 
        chartered by Congress.

        Mothers volunteered throughout the tough times of World 
        War II. They worked in hospitals, train stations, 
        packed care packages for soldiers and were a working 
        part of homeland security during times our time of war. 
        The organization waned in size over the years but was 
        held together by mothers showing pride in both their 
        children and country. In recent times we have began to 
        grow in strength. Being attacked on our own soil has 
        once again started mothers hanging flags in their 
        windows at home proclaiming pride in the fact that we 
        have children protecting our freedom during a time of 
        war.

        Our organization . . . provides support for active duty 
        service personnel, promotes patriotism, assists 
        Veterans organizations, and [is] available to assist in 
        homeland volunteer efforts to help our country remain 
        strong.\5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \5\Website of Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc.

    The National President of the Blue Star Mothers sent a 
letter to the Committee requesting that the Committee amend 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
their Federal charter. The letter stated that:

        At the National Convention held in Grand Junction 
        Colorado in August 2010 a resolution was passed by the 
        convention body revising the language regarding 
        eligibility. . . . As Mothers of . . . American service 
        members and veterans we recognize the changing family 
        dynamics and have found it extremely important to 
        include other `mother[s]' who have played a part in 
        raising these military heroes and also those mothers 
        who are not residents of the U.S. The additional change 
        regards amendment to the original charter language of 
        1960 that included only the Korean conflict and prior 
        years since our membership consists of mothers of all 
        conflicts.\6\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \6\Letter from Wendy Hoffman, National President, Blue Star Mothers 
of America, Inc., to Lamar Smith (Nov. 7, 2011).

    H.R. 2815 amends the Blue Star Mothers' Federal charter to 
open eligibility to ``a mother (meaning a woman who filled the 
role of birth mother, adoptive mother, stepmother, foster-
mother, grandmother, or legal guardian) of a person who'' is 
serving in the Armed Forces or who has served at any time. 
Finally, to be eligible, the mother does not have to reside in 
the U.S. as long as she is a U.S. citizen.

                                Hearings

    The Committee on the Judiciary held no hearings on H.R. 
2815.

                        Committee Consideration

    On November 17, 2011, the Committee met in open session and 
ordered the bill H.R. 2815 favorably reported without amendment 
by voice vote, a quorum being present.

                            Committee Votes

    In compliance with clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that there 
were no recorded votes during the Committee's consideration of 
H.R. 2815.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that the 
findings and recommendations of the Committee, based on 
oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) of rule X of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, are incorporated in the 
descriptive portions of this report.

               New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures

    Clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives is inapplicable because this legislation does 
not provide new budgetary authority or increased tax 
expenditures.

               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee sets forth, with 
respect to the bill, H.R. 2815, the following estimate and 
comparison prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                  Washington, DC, December 2, 2011.
Hon. Lamar Smith, Chairman,
Committee on the Judiciary,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 2815, a bill to 
revise the federal charter for the Blue Star Mothers of 
America, Inc., to reflect a change in eligibility requirements 
for membership.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Dawn Regan, 
who can be reached at 226-2840.
            Sincerely,
                                      Douglas W. Elmendorf,
                                                  Director.

Enclosure

cc:
        Honorable John Conyers, Jr.
        Ranking Member
H.R. 2815--A bill to revise the federal charter for the Blue Star 
        Mothers of America, Inc., to reflect a change in eligibility 
        requirements for membership.



As ordered reported by the House Committee on the Judiciary on 
                       November 17, 2011




    H.R. 2815 would amend title 36 of the U.S. Code to expand 
eligibility for membership in the Blue Star Mothers of America, 
Inc. The bill would broaden the definition of mother to include 
a woman who filled the role of stepmother for any period of 
time in the child's life, foster mother, grandmother, or legal 
guardian. Also, the bill would remove the eligibility 
requirement that participants have to be the mothers of 
military members who served during World War II or the Korean 
hostilities. Further, eligibility would be expanded to include 
U.S. citizens who live outside the United States.
    Because chartered organizations listed in title 36 are not 
agencies of the U.S. government and are not conferred Federal 
benefits, CBO estimates that enacting the bill would have no 
impact on the Federal budget. Enacting H.R. 2815 would not 
affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go 
procedures do not apply.
    H.R. 2815 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 Dawn Regan. The 
estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                    Performance Goals and Objectives

    The Committee states that pursuant to clause 3(c)(4) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, H.R. 
2815 revises the Federal charter for the Blue Star Mothers of 
America to reflect changes in eligibility requirements for 
membership.

                          Advisory on Earmarks

    In accordance with clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, H.R. 2815 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.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

    Sec. 1. Modification of Eligibility Requirements for 
Membership in Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc.
    The section amends paragraph 1 of section 30504 of title 36 
of the United States Code to modify the Blue Star Mothers' 
Federal charter to open eligibility to ``a mother (meaning a 
woman who filled the role of birth mother, adoptive mother, 
stepmother, foster-mother, grandmother, or legal guardian) of a 
person who'' is serving in the Armed Forces or who has served 
at any time. The section also amends paragraph 2 to provide 
that to be eligible, a mother does not have to reside in the 
U.S. as long as she is a U.S. citizen.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italics, existing law in which no change 
is proposed is shown in roman):

TITLE 36, UNITED STATES CODE

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SUBTITLE II--PATRIOTIC AND NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


PART B--ORGANIZATIONS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 305--BLUE STAR MOTHERS OF AMERICA, INC.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 30504. Membership

  An individual is eligible for membership in the corporation 
if--
          (1) [she is a mother, adoptive mother, or stepmother 
        (who has given a mother's care at least since the 
        stepchild was age 13) of a son or daughter who--] she 
        is a mother (meaning a woman who filled the role of 
        birth mother, adoptive mother, stepmother, foster-
        mother, grandmother, or legal guardian) of a person 
        who--
                  (A) * * *
                  (B) has served in, or has been honorably 
                discharged from, the Armed Forces [in World War 
                II or the Korean hostilities]; and
          (2) she is living in the United States or is a United 
        States citizen living outside the United States.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *