H. Rept. 113-212 - 113th Congress (2013-2014)
September 17, 2013, As Reported by the Veterans' Affairs Committee

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House Report 113-212 - PUTTING VETERANS FUNDING FIRST ACT OF 2013




[House Report 113-212]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]


113th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                    113-212

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



 
               PUTTING VETERANS FUNDING FIRST ACT OF 2013

                                _______
                                

 September 17, 2013.--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. 813]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Veterans' Affairs, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 813) to amend title 38, United States Code, to 
provide for advance appropriations for certain discretionary 
accounts of the Department of Veterans Affairs, having 
considered the same, report favorably thereon with amendments 
and recommend that the bill as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Amendment........................................................     2
Summary..........................................................     7
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     7
Hearings.........................................................    14
Subcommittee Consideration.......................................    14
Committee Consideration..........................................    14
Committee Votes..................................................    15
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................    15
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............    15
New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and Tax Expenditures    15
Earmarks and Tax and Tariff Benefits.............................    15
Committee Cost Estimate..........................................    15
Congressional Budget Office Estimate.............................    15
Federal Mandates Statement.......................................    18
Advisory Committee Statement.....................................    18
Constitutional Authority Statement...............................    18
Applicability to Legislative Branch..............................    18
Statement on Duplication of Federal Programs.....................    19
Disclosure of Directed Rulemaking................................    19
Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation...................    19
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill as Reported.............    21

                               Amendment

    The amendments are as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Putting Veterans Funding First Act of 
2013''.

SEC. 2. SCORING OF BUDGETARY EFFECTS.

  The budgetary effects of this Act, for the purpose of complying with 
the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010, shall be determined by 
reference to the latest statement titled ``Budgetary Effects of PAYGO 
Legislation'' for this Act, submitted for printing in the Congressional 
Record by the Chairman of the House Budget Committee, provided that 
such statement has been submitted prior to the vote on passage.

SEC. 3. ADVANCE APPROPRIATIONS FOR CERTAIN DISCRETIONARY ACCOUNTS OF 
                    THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS.

  (a) In General.--Section 117 of title 38, United States Code, is 
amended--
          (1) by striking ``medical care accounts of the Department'' 
        each place it appears and inserting ``discretionary accounts of 
        the Department'';
          (2) in subsection (c)--
                  (A) by striking ``medical care accounts of the 
                Veterans Health Administration, Department of Veterans 
                Affairs account'' and inserting ``accounts of the 
                Department of Veterans Affairs account'';
                  (B) in paragraph (1), by inserting ``Veterans Health 
                Administration,'' after ``(1)'';
                  (C) in paragraph (2), by inserting ``Veterans Health 
                Administration,'' after ``(2)'';
                  (D) in paragraph (3), by inserting ``Veterans Health 
                Administration,'' after ``(3)'';
                  (E) by adding at the end the following new 
                paragraphs:
          ``(4) Veterans Health Administration, Medical and Prosthetic 
        Research.
          ``(5) National Cemetery Administration.
          ``(6) Veterans Benefits Administration, Native American 
        Veteran Housing Loan Program Account.
          ``(7) Departmental Administration, General Administration, 
        General Operating Expenses.
          ``(8) Departmental Administration, General Operating 
        Expenses, Veterans Benefits Administration.
          ``(9) Departmental Administration, Information Technology 
        Systems.
          ``(10) Departmental Administration, Office of the Inspector 
        General.
          ``(11) Departmental Administration, Construction, Major 
        Projects.
          ``(12) Departmental Administration, Construction, Minor 
        Projects.
          ``(13) Departmental Administration, Grants for Construction 
        of State Extended Care Facilities.
          ``(14) Departmental Administration, Grants for Construction 
        of Veterans Cemeteries.''; and
                  (F) in the subsection heading, by striking ``Medical 
                Care Accounts'' and inserting ``Discretionary 
                Accounts''; and
          (3) in the section heading, by striking ``certain medical 
        care accounts'' and inserting ``certain discretionary 
        accounts''.
  (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the beginning of 
chapter 1 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by striking the 
item relating to section 117 and inserting the following new item:

``117. Advance appropriations for certain discretionary accounts.''.

  (c) Effective Date.--The amendments made by subsection (a) shall 
apply with respect to fiscal year 2016 and each subsequent fiscal year.

SEC. 4. COMPTROLLER GENERAL REVIEW OF DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS 
                    MEDICAL CARE BUDGET SUBMISSION.

  Section 4 of the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency 
Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-81; 38 U.S.C. 117 note) is amended to read 
as follows:

``SEC. 4. COMPTROLLER GENERAL REVIEW OF DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS 
                    MEDICAL CARE BUDGET SUBMISSION.

  ``(a) Review of Budget Submission; Reports.--For each of fiscal years 
2015, 2016, and 2017, the Comptroller General of the United States 
shall--
          ``(1) review the budget requests for the medical care 
        accounts of the Department of Veterans Affairs in the 
        President's budget request submitted pursuant to section 1105 
        of title 31, United States Code; and
          ``(2) submit to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs, 
        Appropriations, and the Budget of the Senate and House of 
        Representatives a report or reports on the results of each such 
        review.
  ``(b) Timing and Scope of Reports.--In determining the timing and 
scope for the submittal of the report or reports required under 
subsection (a), the Comptroller General shall consult with the 
Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and House of 
Representatives.
  ``(c) Medical Care Accounts.--In this section, the term `medical care 
accounts of the Department of Veterans Affairs' means the following 
medical care accounts of the Veterans Health Administration, Department 
of Veterans Affairs account:
          ``(1) Medical Services.
          ``(2) Medical Support and Compliance.
          ``(3) Medical Facilities.''.

SEC. 5. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS BUDGET PLANNING REFORM.

  (a) Future-Years Veterans Program.--
          (1) In general.--Chapter 1 of title 38, United States Code, 
        is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

``Sec. 119. Future-Years Veterans Program

  ``(a) Submission to Congress.--The Secretary shall submit to Congress 
each year, at or about the time that the President's budget is 
submitted to Congress pursuant to section 1105(a) of title 31, a 
Future-Years Veterans Program reflecting the estimated expenditures and 
proposed appropriations included in that budget. Any such Future-Years 
Veterans Program shall cover the fiscal year with respect to which the 
budget is submitted and at least the four succeeding fiscal years.
  ``(b) Consistency.--(1) The Secretary shall ensure that amounts 
described in subparagraph (A) of paragraph (2) for any fiscal year are 
consistent with amounts described in subparagraph (B) of such paragraph 
for that fiscal year.
  ``(2) Amounts referred to in paragraph (1) are the following:
          ``(A) The amounts specified in program and budget information 
        submitted to Congress by the Secretary in support of 
        expenditure estimates and proposed appropriations in the budget 
        submitted to Congress by the President under section 1105(a) of 
        title 31 for any fiscal year, as shown in the Future-Years 
        Veterans Program submitted pursuant to subsection (a).
          ``(B) The total amounts of estimated expenditures and 
        proposed appropriations necessary to support the programs, 
        projects, and activities of the Department of Veterans Affairs 
        included pursuant to paragraph (5) of section 1105(a) of title 
        31 in the budget submitted to Congress under that section for 
        any fiscal year.
  ``(c) Contents.--The Future-Years Veterans Program under subsection 
(a) shall set forth the five-year plan of the Department to address the 
commitment of the United States to veterans and the resources necessary 
to meet that commitment and shall be developed and updated, as 
appropriate, annually by the Secretary. Each Future-Years Veterans 
Program shall include an explanation of--
          ``(1) the information that was used to develop program 
        planning guidance for the Future-Years Veterans Program; and
          ``(2) how the resource allocations included in the Future-
        Years Veterans Program correlate to such five-year strategy.''.
          (2) Clerical amendment.--The table of sections at the 
        beginning of such chapter is amended by inserting after the 
        item relating to section 118 the following new item:

``119. Future-Years Veterans Program.''.

          (3) Effective date.--Section 119 of title 38, United States 
        Code, as added by paragraph (1), shall apply with respect to 
        the preparation and submission of the fiscal year 2018 budget 
        request for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  (b) Quadrennial Veterans Review.--
          (1) In general.--Such chapter is further amended by adding 
        after section 119, as added by subsection (a)(1), the following 
        new section:

``Sec. 120. Quadrennial veterans review

  ``(a) Requirement.--(1) Not later than fiscal year 2017, and every 
fourth year thereafter, the Secretary shall conduct a review of the 
strategy for meeting the commitment of the United States to veterans 
and the resources necessary to meet that commitment (in this section 
referred to as a `quadrennial veterans review').
  ``(2) Each quadrennial veterans review shall include a comprehensive 
examination of the policies and strategies of the United States with 
respect to veterans, including recommendations regarding the long-term 
strategy and priorities for programs, services, benefits, and outcomes 
regarding veterans and guidance on the programs, assets, capabilities, 
budget, policies, and authorities of the Department.
  ``(3) The Secretary shall conduct each quadrennial veterans review in 
consultation with key officials of the Department, the heads of other 
Federal agencies, and other relevant governmental and nongovernmental 
entities, including State, local, and tribal government officials, 
members of Congress, veterans service organizations, private sector 
representatives, academics, and other policy experts.
  ``(4) The Secretary shall ensure that each quadrennial veterans 
review is coordinated with the Future-Years Veterans Program required 
under section 119 of this title.
  ``(b) Contents of Review.--In each quadrennial veterans review, the 
Secretary shall--
          ``(1) delineate a veterans strategy consistent with the 
        commitment of the United States to veterans and refine a 
        strategy for the types of, and provision of, programs, 
        services, benefits, and outcomes consistent with current 
        authorities and requirements;
          ``(2) outline and prioritize the full range of programs and 
        capabilities regarding veterans provided by the Federal 
        Government;
          ``(3) identify the budget plan required to provide sufficient 
        resources to successfully execute the full range of such 
        programs and capabilities;
          ``(4) include an assessment of the organizational alignment 
        of the Department with respect to the strategy referred to in 
        paragraph (1) and the programs and capabilities referred to in 
        paragraph (2);
          ``(5) review and assess the effectiveness of the mechanisms 
        of the Department for executing the process of turning the 
        requirements identified in the quadrennial veterans review into 
        a plan to meet such requirements, including an expenditure plan 
        for the Department; and
          ``(6) identify emerging trends, problems, opportunities, and 
        issues that could affect veterans or the Department during the 
        ten-year period following the period covered by the review.
  ``(c) Submission to Congress.--(1) The Secretary shall submit to the 
Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the House of 
Representatives a report regarding each quadrennial veterans review. 
The Secretary shall submit the report in the year following the year in 
which the review is conducted, but not later than the date on which the 
President submits the budget for the next fiscal year to Congress under 
section 1105 of title 31, United States Code.
  ``(2) Each report submitted under paragraph (1) shall include--
          ``(A) the results of the quadrennial veterans review;
          ``(B) a description of the challenges to, and opportunities 
        for, the assumed or defined veterans-related interests of the 
        Nation that were examined for the purposes of that review;
          ``(C) the strategy for meeting the Nation's commitment to 
        veterans, including a prioritized list of the missions of the 
        Department;
          ``(D) a description of the interagency cooperation, 
        preparedness of Federal assets, infrastructure, budget plan, 
        and other elements of the programs and policies of the Nation 
        associated with the strategy referred to in subsection (b)(1) 
        that are required to execute successfully the full range of 
        programs and capabilities identified in such strategy and the 
        programs and capabilities outlined under subsection (b)(2);
          ``(E) an assessment of the organizational alignment of the 
        Department with the strategy referred to in subsection (b)(1) 
        and the programs and capabilities outlined under subsection 
        (b)(2), including the Department's organizational structure, 
        management systems, budget and accounting systems, human 
        resources systems, procurement systems, and physical and 
        technical infrastructure;
          ``(F) a discussion of the status of cooperation among Federal 
        agencies in the effort to promote national support for 
        veterans;
          ``(G) a discussion of the status of cooperation between the 
        Federal Government and State, local, and tribal governments in 
        supporting veterans and providing programs, services, benefits, 
        and outcomes to assist veterans;
          ``(H) an explanation of any underlying assumptions used in 
        conducting the review; and
          ``(I) any other matter the Secretary considers 
        appropriate.''.
          (2) Clerical amendment.--The table of sections at the 
        beginning of such chapter is amended by inserting after the 
        item relating to section 119, as added by subsection (a)(2), 
        the following new item:

``120. Quadrennial veterans review.''.

  (c) Policy Guidance.--
          (1) In general.--Such chapter is further amended by adding 
        after section 120, as added by subsection (b)(1), the following 
        new section:

``Sec. 121. Policy guidance

  ``The Secretary shall provide annually to the appropriate officials 
of the Department written policy guidance for the preparation and 
review of the planning and program recommendations and budget proposals 
of the elements of the Department of such officials. Such guidance 
shall include guidance on the objectives of the Department in 
accordance with Future-Years Veterans Program under section 119 of this 
title and the quadrennial veterans review under section 120 and the 
resource levels projected to be available for the period of time for 
which such recommendations and proposals are to be effective.''.
          (2) Clerical amendment.--The table of sections at the 
        beginning of such chapter is amended by inserting after the 
        item relating to section 120, as added by subsection (b)(2), 
        the following new item:

``121. Policy guidance.''.

  (d) Chief Strategy Officer of the Department of Veterans Affairs.--
          (1) In general.--Chapter 3 of title 38, United States Code, 
        is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

``Sec. 323. Chief Strategy Officer

  ``(a) In General.--The Secretary shall designate the Assistant 
Secretary whose functions include planning, studies, and evaluations as 
the Chief Strategy Officer of the Department. The Chief Strategy 
Officer shall advise the Secretary on long-range strategy and 
implications.
  ``(b) Responsibilities.--The Chief Strategy Officer is the principal 
advisor to the Secretary and other senior officials of the Department, 
and shall provide independent analysis and advice to the Secretary and 
such officials. The Chief Strategy Officer shall carry out the 
following responsibilities:
          ``(1) Conducting cost estimation and cost analysis for the 
        programs of the Department.
          ``(2) Establishing policies for, and overseeing the 
        integration of, the planning, programming, budgeting and 
        execution process for the Department.
          ``(3) Providing analysis and advice on matters relating to 
        the planning and programming phase of the planning, 
        programming, budgeting and execution process, and the 
        preparation of materials and guidance for such process, as 
        directed by the Secretary, working in coordination with the 
        Assistant Secretary for Management.
          ``(4) Developing and executing the Future-Years Veterans 
        Program of the Department, as specified under section 119 of 
        this title.
          ``(5) Developing resource discussions relating to 
        requirements under consideration in the quadrennial veterans 
        review under section 120 of this title.
          ``(6) Formulating study guidance for analysis of alternatives 
        for programs and initiatives, including any necessary 
        acquisitions, development, or procurement commensurate with 
        such alternatives, and performance of such analysis as directed 
        by the Secretary.
          ``(7) Reviewing, analyzing, and evaluating programs for 
        executing approved strategies and policies, ensuring that 
        information on programs and expected outcomes is presented 
        accurately and completely.
          ``(8) Ensuring that the costs of programs and alternatives 
        are presented accurately and completely by assisting in 
        establishing standards, policies, and procedures for the 
        conduct of cost estimation and cost analysis throughout the 
        Department, including guidance relating to the proper selection 
        of confidence levels in cost estimates generally and for 
        specific programs of the Department.
          ``(9) Conducting studies at the request of the Secretary 
        regarding costs, policy assumptions, and strategic implications 
        of current policies and possible alternatives.
          ``(10) Communicating directly to the Secretary and the Deputy 
        Secretary of Veterans Affairs about matters for which the Chief 
        Strategy Officer is responsible without obtaining the approval 
        or concurrence of any other official within the Department.''.
          (2) Clerical amendment.--The table of sections at the 
        beginning of such chapter is amended by inserting after the 
        item relating to section 322 the following new item:

``323. Chief Strategy Officer.''.

SEC. 6. STUDY ON THE FUNCTIONS AND ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE OF THE 
                    OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS AND OF 
                    THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS.

  (a) Secretary of Veterans Affairs Study.--The Secretary of Veterans 
Affairs shall conduct a study of the functions and organizational 
structure of the Office of the Secretary and of the Department of 
Veterans Affairs.
  (b) Contents of Study.--In conducting the study under subsection (a), 
the Secretary shall consider whether the allocation of functions and 
the organizational structure of the Department, as of the date of the 
enactment of this Act, constitute the most effective, efficient, and 
economical allocation and structure to assist the Secretary in carrying 
out the duties and responsibilities of the Secretary. The Secretary 
shall also consider--
          (1) whether the organization of the Office and the Department 
        is--
                  (A) optimally structured to assist the Secretary in 
                the effective exercise of control over the Department, 
                including--
                          (i) policy development and strategic 
                        planning;
                          (ii) programming, planning, and budget 
                        development and policy, program, and budget 
                        execution; and
                          (iii) contingency planning; and
                  (B) the most effective and efficient organization for 
                the initiation, development, and articulation of 
                veterans' policy and the provision of benefits and 
                services;
          (2) means of improving and strengthening the oversight and 
        accountability within the Office and Department;
          (3) factors inhibiting efficient and effective execution of 
        the functions of the Office and the Department, including 
        factors relating to--
                  (A) any duplication of functions (both within and 
                between the Office and Department);
                  (B) the availability to the Secretary of sufficient 
                and detailed information regarding the operation of the 
                Department to enable effective planning, policy 
                execution, and oversight; and
                  (C) the sufficiency of resources, including 
                personnel, to carry out current and projected 
                requirements in a more effective and efficient manner; 
                and
          (4) possible alternative allocations and realignments of 
        authorities and functions within the Office and Department to 
        improve the Department's overall operation and better provide 
        benefits and services.
  (c) Independent Contractor Study.--The Secretary shall enter into a 
contract with an appropriate entity under which the entity shall carry 
out an independent study of the same matters required to be considered 
by the Secretary under subsection (b). The Secretary shall ensure that 
the entity has full access to such information as the contractor 
requires in order to conduct the study and that the contractor 
otherwise receives full cooperation from all officials and entities of 
the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  (d) Report to Congress.--Not later than one year after the date of 
the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall 
submit to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and House 
of Representatives a report on the Secretary's study under subsection 
(a). The report shall include--
          (1) the findings and conclusions of the Secretary with 
        respect to each of the matters set forth in subsection (b);
          (2) any recommendations of the Secretary for organizational 
        changes in the Office of the Secretary and the overall 
        Department and a description of the means for implementing each 
        recommendation; and
          (3) a copy of the report of the independent contractor under 
        subsection (c), together with such comments on such report as 
        the Secretary considers appropriate.

SEC. 7. PERFORMANCE AWARDS IN THE SENIOR EXECUTIVE SERVICE.

  For each of fiscal years 2014 through 2018, the Secretary of Veterans 
Affairs may not pay any performance awards under section 5384 of title 
5, United States Code.

    Amend the title so as to read:
    A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to provide 
for advance appropriations for certain discretionary accounts 
of the Department of Veterans Affairs, to direct the Secretary 
of Veterans Affairs to submit to Congress a Future-Years 
Veterans Program and a quadrennial veterans review, to 
establish in the Department of Veterans Affairs a Chief 
Strategy Officer, and for other purposes.

                                Summary

    H.R. 813, the ``Putting Veterans Funding First Act of 
2013,'' was introduced on February 25, 2013, by Committee 
Chairman Jeff Miller of Florida. H.R. 813, as amended, 
incorporates H.R. 813 as introduced as well as provisions from 
H.R. 806, introduced by Representative Julia Brownley of 
California, H.R. 2704, introduced by Committee Ranking Minority 
Member Michael H. Michaud of Maine, and a free-standing 
provision. Together, these provisions would authorize advance 
appropriations for all Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) 
discretionary accounts; extend the review by the Government 
Accountability Office (GAO) of VA's budget submission for VA 
medical care accounts; place a five year moratorium on VA 
Senior Executive Service (SES) bonus payments; establish a 
Future Years Veterans Program to require a submission by VA of 
estimated expenditures and proposed appropriations necessary to 
support the programs, projects, and activities of VA covering, 
at a minimum, a five-year period; require VA to conduct a 
``Quadrennial Veterans Review'' every four years and to submit 
such review to the Congress; direct VA to designate a Chief 
Strategy Officer to be the principal advisor to the Secretary 
on long range planning activities; and require VA, as well as 
an independent entity, to conduct a simultaneous review of VA's 
organizational structure.

                  Background and Need for Legislation


Section 1--Short title

    Section 1 provides the short title of H.R. 813, as amended, 
as the ``Putting Veterans Funding First Act of 2013.''

Section 2--Scoring of budgetary effects

    Section 4 of the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010 
(Public Law 111-139; 124 Stat. 8) provides for a required 
statement to appear with certain legislation in order to lay 
out the process for publishing the budgetary effects of such 
legislation. Section 2 of H.R. 813, as amended, contains the 
required statement, which states that the budgetary effects of 
the Act shall be determined by reference to a statement 
submitted for printing in the Congressional Record by the 
Chairman of the House Budget Committee prior to a vote on 
passage.

Section 3--Advance appropriations for certain discretionary accounts of 
        the Department of Veterans Affairs

    Section 3 of the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and 
Transparency Act (Public Law 111-81; 123 Stat. 2137) directed 
that for each fiscal year, beginning with fiscal year (FY) 
2011, discretionary new budget authority provided in 
appropriations for VA's medical care accounts shall be made 
available for that fiscal year and include advance 
discretionary new budget authority that first becomes available 
for the first fiscal year after the budget year. The three 
medical care accounts specified in the law are the medical 
services account, the medical support and compliance account, 
and the medical facilities account. Collectively, those three 
accounts aggregate nearly $54.5 billion in the FY 2014 advance 
appropriation, and represent 86 percent of VA's total 
discretionary budget.
    The motive behind the law's enactment was, in part, a 
recognition of the harmful effects that delayed enactment of 
annual appropriations bills had on VA's health care system. 
Prior to the law's enactment, the VA budget had been in place 
prior to the start of the fiscal year only four times in the 
previous 20 years. The FY 2010 Independent Budget described the 
impact of delayed appropriations as follows:

          Although significant strides have been made to 
        increase the level of VA health-care funding during the 
        past several years, the inability of Congress and the 
        Administration to agree upon and enact veterans' 
        health-care appropriations legislation on time 
        continues to hamper and threaten VA health care. When 
        VA does not receive its funding in a timely manner, it 
        is forced to ration health care. Much-needed medical 
        staff cannot be hired, medical equipment cannot be 
        procured, waiting times for veterans increase, and the 
        quality of care suffers.

    The years following enactment of the law have not seen an 
improvement in timely enactment of VA appropriations bills. On 
the contrary, short-term continuing resolutions (which fund 
agencies at the prior year's appropriation level) are the order 
of the day, as are threatened government shutdowns due to a 
lack of agreement among the President, Senate, and House of 
Representatives on an overarching budget framework. Indeed, as 
of the printing of this report there is no full-year 
appropriation bill yet for VA (or any agency), and neither is 
there agreement on a continuing resolution, presenting the 
possibility of a government shutdown. VA health care would be 
insulated if that were to occur because it has already received 
its FY 2014 appropriation in advance. However, the other VA 
discretionary accounts which fund, among other items, 
disability claims processing, information technology 
investments, medical facility construction, and national 
cemetery operations, would be impacted.
    At the Committee's July 17, 2013, hearing Mr. Carl Blake, 
of the Paralyzed Veterans of America, testified on behalf of 
the co-authors of the Independent Budget in favor of 
legislation to provide advance appropriations authority for 
VA's entire discretionary budget, and not just VA's medical 
care accounts. He described the harmful effects of continuing 
resolutions on the programs funded through the remaining, non-
medical care appropriation accounts accordingly:

          [A]lthough the VA medical care budget accounts may 
        contain sufficient funding to open a new outpatient 
        clinic, the fact that VA's IT funding is still provided 
        through the regular annual appropriations process can 
        mean that computers or other IT systems might not be 
        available until Congress completes its work on VA's 
        regular appropriations bills. Similarly, some of the 
        funding for Medical and Prosthetic Research directly 
        contributes to clinical care, but it is out of sync 
        with the provision of medical care funding done through 
        advance appropriations. Thus, while VA researchers' 
        salaries and benefits (paid by the Medical Services 
        appropriation) are now secured at day one of a fiscal 
        year, their awarded research projects may be delayed or 
        interrupted because that appropriation is not yet 
        approved by Congress.
          Moreover, VA construction accounts that fund vital 
        infrastructure maintenance and improvement projects 
        would also be more efficient if were provided through 
        advance appropriations. Uncertain funding levels and 
        delayed contract awards add to overrun costs on 
        important VA capital projects. Finally, the Veterans 
        Benefits Administration's ability to address the 
        backlog of pending claims and transform itself into a 
        modern 21st century organization is hindered by annual 
        budget fights and endless continuing resolutions. 
        Moreover, because VBA's reform is heavily dependent on 
        automation and information technology, its 
        transformation would benefit from the timely and 
        predictable funding resulting from advance 
        appropriations.

    Officials at VA believe, too, that providing advance 
appropriations for all of VA's discretionary accounts would 
have a positive impact. During his appearance at a legislative 
seminar on August 12, 2013, at the 2013 DAV National Convention 
in Orlando, Florida, Mr. Danny Pummel, Principal Deputy Under 
Secretary for Benefits at VA's Veterans Benefits Administration 
stated the following:

          Advance appropriations for VBA would be a good thing, 
        absolutely it would be a good thing. It would allow us 
        to better serve veterans and allows us to obtain and be 
        able to program the resources that we need to do our 
        job. One of the things that we worry about every year 
        is coming under a continuing resolution; there are 
        certain things you can't do under a continuing 
        resolution. Because we rely so much on IT and our 
        contractors to support us and help us in our mission, 
        being in a period of continuing resolution actually 
        puts veterans at a disadvantage every year. I would say 
        that from a VBA perspective, anything that we could do 
        to get advance appropriations would be a good thing for 
        America's veterans.

    Another panelist at the DAV Convention, VA Under Secretary 
for Health, Dr. Robert Petzel, also commented on the positive 
effect of advance appropriations on VA's medical care system, 
as well as the potential impact of the advance appropriation of 
VA's Information Technology budget:

          It has been a very positive thing for VHA. The fact 
        that we know quite closely what the budget is going to 
        look like for two years makes planning and execution 
        much more rational and really much, much more 
        effective. Overall it has been a very positive thing 
        for us. When you look at the areas that surround us 
        that affect our operations that aren't getting an 
        advance appropriation, it's easy to see from our 
        perspective why it might be a desirable thing to extend 
        it to other areas. IT would be an excellent example. 
        There is really nothing that we do that doesn't require 
        IT. IT is our bloodstream in the health care system, 
        it's absolutely essential. The fact that they do not 
        have an advance appropriation in some ways inhibits our 
        ability to do some things. It's been an excellent 
        program for VHA.

    The Committee agrees with these VA officials and the 
witnesses who testified at the Committee's July 17, 2013, 
hearing.
    Section 3 of H.R. 813, as amended, would amend section 117 
of title 38, United States Code, to require that, beginning 
with Fiscal Year 2016, discretionary new budget authority be 
made available for all VA discretionary accounts, and that new 
budget authority for an advance appropriation covering all VA 
discretionary accounts be made available for the first fiscal 
year after the budget year. The Committee believes that advance 
appropriation for all VA discretionary accounts is entirely 
consistent with the preference that funding for veterans 
already enjoys relative to other government spending. VA is 
exempt from ongoing sequestration affecting every other Federal 
agency and, as discussed, already is provided an advance 
appropriation for 86 percent of its discretionary budget. 
Advance appropriating the remaining 14 percent of VA 
discretionary spending would completely insulate VA funding for 
veterans from the ongoing difficulty between the Congress and 
the President in meeting the fiscal challenges confronting the 
nation. Regardless of party politics, the Committee strongly 
believes that veterans should not have their funding held 
hostage due to Washington, D.C. dysfunction.

Section 4--Comptroller General review of Department of Veterans Affairs 
        medical care budget submission

    Section 4 of the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and 
Transparency Act (Public Law 111-81; 123 Stat. 2137) required 
the Comptroller General of the Government Accountability Office 
(GAO) to review the President's budget submission in order to 
assess whether the relevant components of the request for VA 
medical care were consistent with the estimates of the 
resources required by VA for the provision of medical care, as 
forecast by using the Enrollee Health Care Projection Model 
(EHCPM). The EHCPM is used by VA in its budget formulation 
process to develop resource estimates for health care services. 
According to GAO, those estimates account for roughly 85 
percent of VA's health care budget estimate in FY 2014.
    In order to improve the transparency of VA budget 
submissions for VA medical care, the Veterans Health Care 
Budget Reform and Transparency Act required the GAO review for 
FY 2012, 2013, and 2014. GAO completed its final budget review 
mandate with publication of its third report, in August 2013, 
titled ``Veterans Health Care: Improvements Made, but 
Additional Actions Needed to Address Problems Related to 
Estimates Supporting President's Request.''
    Testifying on behalf of the Independent Budget (IB) co-
authors at the Committee's July 17, 2013, hearing in support of 
legislation to extend GAO's review of VA budget submissions, 
Mr. Carl Blake with the Paralyzed Veterans of America noted 
that the first two GAO reports found ``unjustified, 
questionable changes VA made during the internal budget 
development process.'' Because of the useful information 
gleaned from GAO's budget reviews, the IB co-authors 
enthusiastically endorsed an extension of the requirement to 
cover future budget years. The Committee, also, has found that 
GAO's reports provided valuable information and analyses that 
have informed oversight and decision-making about VA's health 
care resources. For this reason, the Committee favors the 
continuation of a statutory requirement for GAO to review the 
President's budget requests for VA health care.
    Section 4 of H.R. 813, as amended, would extend for three 
years the requirement for GAO to conduct a review of the budget 
requests submitted by the administration for VA medical care 
accounts. Section 4 would also require GAO to consult with the 
House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committees in determining 
the timing and scope of the budget reviews. Although the 
Committee leaves the determination of the specific areas for 
review, as well as the timing of the resulting report or 
reports, to GAO, it requires GAO to consult with the Committees 
concerning these issues. This approach is designed to ensure 
that the Committees obtain the benefit of GAO's experience and 
expertise in VA health care programs, but also have the 
opportunity to advise GAO of the work that will be most useful 
to the Committees in their oversight over VA health care.

Section 5--Department of Veterans Affairs Budget Planning Reform

    Section 5 of H.R. 813, as amended, would reform the manner 
in which the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) determines, 
plans for, and delivers health care, benefits and services, by 
requiring the VA to periodically review and assess veterans' 
needs, identify a plan of action to meet these changing needs, 
and align its resource requirements with its current, and 
future, operations. Section 5 would do this by codifying a 
planning, programming, and budget execution process (PPBE) 
within VA. In its origins, PPBE (then known as PPBS) goes back 
over five decades to the Department of Defense (DoD).\1\ Before 
the advent of the PPBS budgeting system, the defense budget was 
described as follows:

    \1\See, generally, Chapter IV, ``The FY 1963 Budget: Introducing 
the PPBS,'' History of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Volume 
5, The McNamara Ascendancy, Lawrence S. Kaplan, et al, Office of the 
Secretary, Historical Office (2006).

          The defense budget was far from the vital policy 
        instrument it should have been. Rather than a mechanism 
        for integrating strategy, forces, and costs, it was 
        essentially a bookkeeping device for dividing funds 
        between Services and accounts and a blunt instrument 
        for keeping a lid on defense spending. The information 
        contained in the defense budget was primarily useful 
        for day-to-day administration of the hundreds of 
        departments and agencies in DoD. It was not very useful 
        for helping the President, members of the Congress, and 
        the Secretary of Defense to establish priorities and 
        choose between competing programs. In fact, by focusing 
        their attention on individual appropriation titles such 
        as procurement or construction or personnel rather than 
        major missions such as strategic retaliatory forces or 
        continental air defense forces, it detracted from 
        making such judgments.\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\How Much is Enough?: Shaping the Defense Program 1961-1963, 
Alain C. Enthoven and K. Wayne Smith, Rand Corporation (2005, 1971) at 
11.

    The PPBE process is intended to better align resources and 
requirements.\3\ ``PPBE is an agency-wide methodology for 
aligning resources in a comprehensive, disciplined, top-down 
approach that supports the agency's vision and mission. It 
focuses on translating strategy into actionable programs and 
bringing together agency priorities and strategic outcomes 
within the agency's resource constraints.''\4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\Prior to the advent of PPBS at the DoD, Enthoven describes the 
prevailing system as: ``The results of requirements planning done 
without explicit regard to costs, and budget planning done without 
explicit regard to needs, were absolutely predictable: open ended 
requirements met arbitrary budget ceilings, and something had to give. 
Again, predictably, it was military requirements. The idea became 
accepted that the budget would meet less than the full stated 
requirement in any given year, with whatever remained being an 
unanalyzed `risk' to be accepted by the administration. Thus, the 
administration had its budget, the military its requirements. This 
approach was bound to produce imbalances and inconsistencies. Half of a 
$100-billion defense program chosen unsystematically is very different 
from a balanced, carefully chosen $50-billion program.'' Ibid, at 14.
    \4\NASA Financial Management Requirements Volume 4 Planning 
Programming Budgeting and Execution July 2006 Office of the Chief 
Financial Officer, at 1-1.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Section 5 of H.R. 813, as amended, would assist the VA's 
nascent efforts in establishing a fully mature PPBE system 
within the VA by codifying the following framework:
            Future-Years Veterans Program
    Section 5(a) of H.R. 813, as amended, would, beginning in 
FY 2018, require VA to submit a Future-Years Veterans Program 
with its annual budget submission. The Future-Years Veterans 
Program would lay out a five-year programming plan matched to 
the VA's current and projected needs and aligned with a 
carefully considered plan of action.
            Quadrennial Veterans Review
    To inform the preparation of the Future-Years Veterans 
Program, section 5(b) of H.R. 813, as amended, requires VA to 
conduct a Quadrennial Veterans Review every four years, 
beginning in FY 2017. The Quadrennial Veterans Review is to be 
a comprehensive forward-looking examination of the 
opportunities, challenges, policies and strategies of the 
Nation as they relate to veterans. The QVR is the basis for the 
Future-Years Veterans Program, and ensures that VA's roadmap is 
aligned with where it needs to go.
            Policy guidance
    Section 5(c) of H.R. 813, as amended, requires the 
Secretary to provide annual policy guidance to inform the 
preparation and review of VA's planning, programming and budget 
proposals to ensure that VA's near-term budgets are aligned 
with VA's longer term strategic outlook. This ensures overall 
accountability and that all of the VA's various components are 
aligned with its overall strategy.
            Chief Strategy Officer
    Section 5(d) of H.R. 813, as amended, would designate a 
Chief Strategy Officer to provide the Secretary with long-range 
strategies and implications, and to bolster VA's analytical and 
cost-estimation capabilities.
    The Committee does not initially expect that VA will be 
able to provide the same level of detailed information in the 
Quadrennial Veterans Review (as added by section 5(b)) or the 
Future Years Veterans Program (as added by section 5(a)) as 
that provided by DoD and other federal agencies with more 
experience in the PPBE process, but the Committee does expect 
VA to strive to meet the overall goal of a robust PPBE system. 
The Committee believes that the PPBE system will lead to a more 
transparent resourcing process from VA, and enable the VA to 
weigh alternatives, enunciate milestones, more rationally plan 
for, and expend, resources across the entire department. PPBE 
will lead to more detailed budget submissions that will assist 
Congress in providing the resources needed by the VA. In 
addition, a PPBE system is critical for the advance 
appropriations funding mechanism for VA medical care, as 
currently exists, as well as the proposed extension of this 
authority to all VA discretionary accounts as contained in 
section 3 of H.R. 813, as amended.
    The Committee believes that ultimately a PPBE system will 
lead to greater accountability and provide the tools for VA to 
meet its obligations to, in the words of Abraham Lincoln that 
serves as the VA's motto, ``care for him who shall have borne 
the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan.''

Section 6--Study on the functions and organizational structure of the 
        Office of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and of the 
        Department of Veterans Affairs

    Section 6 of H.R. 813, as amended, would require the 
Secretary to carry out a study of the organizational structure 
of the Department to assess how well it addresses current and 
future veteran needs. This section also requires that an 
independent contractor conduct a simultaneous study of VA's 
organization in order to obtain an independent assessment and 
set of recommendations. These reports are due one year after 
enactment.
    It is the Committee's hope that VA begins to address how 
best it can provide benefits and services to veterans looking 
toward the future, and how an advance appropriations funding 
mechanism, coupled with a PPBE budgeting system, will require 
VA to better align its long-term strategic outlook with its 
organizational structure. The Committee believes that the study 
provided for in this section is the first step in this ongoing 
conversation.

Section 7--Performance awards in the Senior Executive Service

    The Senior Executive Service (SES) was established in 1978 
for the purpose of cultivating a professional cadre of highly 
skilled executives tasked with Federal government program 
operations and oversight. In addition to basic pay rates 
ranging, roughly, from $120,000 to $180,000, section 5384 of 
title 5, United States Code, authorizes the payment of 
performance awards to members of the SES ranging anywhere from 
5 to 20 percent of basic pay. Such awards are intended to 
encourage excellence in performance and may not be paid to any 
executive whose performance was determined to be less than 
fully successful.
    According to the Congressional Budget Office, VA has been 
averaging SES performance award payouts of slightly less than 
$4 million in recent years. Although performance awards are 
intended to reward senior executives for their work, the 
continued payout of large bonuses to SES employees by VA, 
notwithstanding the tight fiscal climate, record deficits, and 
the vast needs of veterans served by VA, has attracted the 
Committee's attention. Further, serious questions exist 
regarding the dubious correlation between the payment of a 
bonus and the attainment of organizational goals. For example, 
VA has a disability claims backlog that has reached crisis 
proportions in recent years. However, only this year were SES 
performance awards withheld for executives of the Veterans 
Benefits Administration. The Veterans Health Administration, 
too, has been criticized for awards provided to hospital and 
network managers for the same period covered by VA Inspector 
General investigations linking hospital mismanagement with 
preventable patient deaths. Accordingly, the Committee believes 
that a top-to-bottom review of VA's performance pay system is 
in order, to include payments to SES employees.
    Section 7 of H.R. 813, as amended, would preclude the VA 
Secretary from paying any performance awards under section 5384 
of title 5, United States Code, for each of fiscal years 2014 
through 2018. Such an action would not only allow time for a 
thorough review of VA's performance pay system, but also 
recognized the priority that must be placed on ensuring scarce 
resources are allocated appropriately during a tight fiscal 
climate.

                                Hearings

    On July 17, 2013, the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs 
conducted a legislative hearing on H.R. 813 (from which section 
3 of H.R. 813, as amended, is derived), H.R. 806 (from which 
section 4 of H.R. 813, as amended, is derived), and H.R. 2704 
(from which sections 5 and 6 of H.R. 813, as amended, are 
derived). The following witnesses testified:
    Mr. Robert D. Snyder, Acting Assistant Secretary, Office of 
Policy and Planning, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; 
accompanying Mr. Snyder was Ms. Helen Tierney, Executive in 
Charge of the Office of Management and Chief Financial Officer, 
and Mr. Duane C. Flemming, Director, Policy Analysis and 
Forecasting, Office of the Assistant Deputy Undersecretary for 
Health, Veterans Health Administration; Mr. Carl Blake, 
National Legislative Director, Paralyzed Veterans of America, 
on behalf of the Independent Budget co-authors; accompanying 
Mr. Blake was Mr. Adrian Atizado, Assistant National 
Legislative Director, Disabled American Veterans; Mr. Ray 
Kelley, Director, National Legislative Service, Veterans of 
Foreign Wars; and Ms. Diane Zumatto, National Legislative 
Director, AMVETS; and Mr. Louis J. Celli, Jr., Director, 
National Legislative Division, The American Legion.

                       Subcommittee Consideration

    There was no Subcommittee consideration of these bills.

                        Committee Consideration

    On August 1, 2013, the full Committee met in an open markup 
session, a quorum being present, and ordered H.R. 813, as 
amended, reported favorably to the House of Representatives by 
voice vote.
    During consideration of H.R. 813, the following amendment 
was considered and agreed to by voice vote:

          An amendment in the nature of a substitute offered by 
        Mr. Bilirakis of Florida incorporating the text of H.R. 
        813 as introduced, provisions of H.R. 806, H.R. 2704 as 
        introduced, and a free-standing provision placing a 
        five-year moratorium on VA executive bonuses.

                            Committee Votes

    Clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires the Committee to list the recorded 
votes on the motion to report the legislation and amendments 
thereto. There were no recorded votes taken on amendments or in 
connection with ordering H.R. 813, as amended, reported to the 
House. A motion by Ranking Member Michael H. Michaud of Maine 
to report H.R. 813, as amended, 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. 813, as amended, 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. 
813, as amended, 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. 2189, as amended, provided by the Congressional Budget 
Office pursuant to section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act 
of 1974.
                                                   August 15, 2013.
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. 813, the Putting 
Veterans Funding First Act of 2013.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Ann E. 
Futrell.
            Sincerely,
                                              Douglas W. Elmendorf.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 813--Putting Veterans Funding First Act of 2013

    Summary: H.R. 813 would authorize appropriations in advance 
for certain programs within the Department of Veterans Affairs 
(VA) and eliminate performance awards for senior executive 
staff at that agency. CBO estimates that implementing the bill 
would have a net cost of $21 billion over the 2014-2018 period, 
assuming appropriations action consistent with the bill. 
Enacting H.R. 813 would not affect direct spending or revenues; 
therefore, pay-as-you go procedures do not apply.
    H.R. 813 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA).
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary impact of H.R. 813 is shown in the following table. 
The costs of this legislation fall within budget functions 700 
(veterans benefits and services) and 800 (general government).
    Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes the 
legislation will be enacted in fiscal year 2014, that the 
necessary amounts will be appropriated for each year, and that 
outlays will follow historical spending patterns for similar 
and existing programs.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                 By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                         -------------------------------------------------------
                                                            2014     2015     2016     2017     2018   2014-2018
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION

Advance Appropriations:
    Estimated Authorization Level.......................        0        0    8,831    9,111    9,407    27,349
    Estimated Outlays...................................        0        0    5,991    7,370    7,814    21,175
Performance Awards for Senior Executive Staff:
    Estimated Authorization level.......................       -4       -4       -4       -4       -4       -18
    Estimated Outlays...................................       -4       -4       -4       -4       -4       -18
VA Budget Planning Reform:
    Estimated Authorization Level.......................        *        *        1        1        1         3
    Estimated Outlays...................................        *        *        1        1        1         3
GAO Review of VA Medical Care Budget Submission:
    Estimated Authorization Level.......................        *        *        *        1        0         2
    Estimated Outlays...................................        *        *        *        1        *         2
    Total Changes:
        Estimated Authorization Level...................       -3       -3    8,829    9,109    9,404    27,336
        Estimated Outlays...............................       -3       -3    5,989    7,368    7,811   21,162
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Notes: VA = Department of Veterans Affairs; GAO = Government Accountability Office.
        Components may not sum to totals because of rounding.
        * = less than $500,000.

Advance appropriations

    Section 3 would authorize appropriations for 11 specific 
budget accounts:
          
 Medical and Prosthetic Research,
          
 National Cemetery Administration,
          
 Native American Veteran Housing Loan 
        Program,
          
 General Administration--General Operating 
        Expenses,
          
 General Operating Expenses--Veterans 
        Benefits Administration,
          
 Information Technology Systems,
          
 Office of the Inspector General,
          
 Major Construction Projects,
          
 Minor Construction Projects,
          
 Grants for Construction of State Extended 
        Care Facilities, and
          
 Grants for Construction of Veteran 
        Cemeteries.
    Under current law, appropriations for those budget accounts 
are provided each year. For each year starting in 2016, and for 
each account listed above, section 3 would authorize 
appropriations for that fiscal year as well as advance 
appropriations for the following fiscal year. CBO estimates 
that implementing that provision would cost about $21 billion 
over the 2014-2018 period, assuming appropriation of the 
necessary amounts.
    CBO's estimate of the authorization of appropriations 
required under the bill are the same as projections for the 
2016-2018 period in the most recent CBO baseline, completed in 
May 2013. Those amounts are derived from the 2013 appropriated 
level for each account and adjusted for anticipated inflation. 
CBO expects that those amounts would be sufficient to provide 
services at the current level. However, if VA were to 
significantly expand the programs funded through those 
accounts, such as construction or research projects, additional 
funding would be required.

Performance awards for senior executive staff

    Section 7 would eliminate performance awards to senior 
executive staff at VA over the 2014-2018 period. In recent 
years, VA spent slightly less than $4 million annually for such 
performance awards. Assuming that similar amounts would be 
provided under current law over the next five years, CBO 
estimates that implementing section 7 would reduce costs for 
pay and performance by $18 million over the 2014-2018 period, 
assuming appropriations are reduced by that amount.

VA budget planning reform

    Section 5 would require VA to submit to the Congress 
several reports. The first report would be entitled the Future-
Years Veterans Program and include a spending plan for the 
subsequent five years and a plan for meeting the goals of the 
department. It would be included as part of VA's annual budget 
submission to the Congress, starting with the budget submission 
for 2018. Also under section 5, VA would be required to 
complete a quadrennial review of the policies, strategies, 
outcomes, benefits, and services for veterans provided by the 
department. That review would start in 2017 and be completed 
every four years thereafter.
    Section 5 also would require VA to designate a current 
Assistant Secretary as the Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) for the 
department. The CSO would be responsible for providing advice 
and analysis regarding the programming and budgeting of 
department activities. CBO estimates that implementing section 
5 would cost $3 million over the 2014-2018 period, subject to 
the availability of appropriated funds.

GAO review of VA medical care budget submission

    Section 4 would require the Comptroller General of the 
United States to review and report on the accuracy of the 
budget submission for VA's medical care accounts for fiscal 
years 2015-2017. Based on information from the Government 
Accountability Office on the staff needed to prepare that 
report in the past (roughly eight full-time and part-time staff 
prepare the report over the duration of a year), CBO estimates 
that implementing this section would cost $2 million over the 
2014-2018 period, assuming the availability of appropriated 
funds.
    Pay-As-You-Go considerations: None.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: H.R. 813 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA and would impose no costs on state, local, or 
tribal governments.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal costs: Ann E. Futrell and 
Dwayne Wright; Impact on state, local, and tribal governments: 
Lisa Ramirez-Branum; Impact on the private sector: Elizabeth 
Bass.
    Estimate approved by: Peter H. Fontaine, Assistant Director 
for Budget Analysis.

                       Federal Mandates Statement

    The Committee adopts as its own the estimate of Federal 
mandates regarding H.R. 813, as amended, 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. 
813, as amended.

                 Statement of Constitutional Authority

    Pursuant to Article I, section 8 of the United States 
Constitution, the reported bill is authorized by Congress' 
power to ``provide for the common Defense and general Welfare 
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.

              Statement on Duplication of Federal Programs

    Pursuant to section 3(j) of H. Res. 5, 113th Cong. (2013), 
the Committee finds that no provision of H.R. 813, as amended, 
establishes or reauthorizes a program of the Federal Government 
known to be duplicative of another Federal program, a program 
that was included in any report from the Government 
Accountability Office to Congress pursuant to section 21 of 
Public Law 111-139, or a program related to a program 
identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal Domestic 
Assistance.

                   Disclosure of Directed Rulemaking

    Pursuant to section 3(k) of H. Res. 5, 113th Cong. (2013), 
the Committee estimates that H.R. 813, as amended, does not 
require any directed rule makings.

             Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation


Section 1--Short title

    Section 1 would establish the short title of H.R. 813, as 
amended, as the ``Putting Veterans Funding First Act of 2013.''

Section 2--Scoring of budgetary effects

    Section 2 contains the required statement on the budgetary 
effects of H.R. 813, as amended, in compliance with the 
Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010.

Section 3--Advance appropriations for certain discretionary accounts of 
        the Department of Veterans Affairs

    Section 3(a) would amend section 117 of title 38, United 
States Code, to require that discretionary new budget authority 
be made available for all VA discretionary accounts, and that 
new budget authority for an advance appropriation covering all 
VA discretionary accounts be made available for the first 
fiscal year after the budget year.
    Section 3(b) would apply the requirements of section 3(a) 
to fiscal year 2016 and each subsequent fiscal year.

Section 4--Comptroller General review of Department of Veterans Affairs 
        medical care budget submission

    Section 4 would amend section 4 of the Veterans Health Care 
Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009 to require a review 
by the Comptroller General, in each of fiscal years 2015, 2016 
and 2017, of the budget requests for the medical care accounts 
of VA, and to submit to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs and 
Budget in the House and Senate a report or reports on the 
results of such review. The timing and scope for the submittal 
of the reports would be determined after consultation with the 
House and Senate Committees on Veterans' Affairs.

Section 5--Department of Veterans Affairs budget planning reform

    Section 5(a) would, beginning with the submission of the 
Fiscal Year 2018 VA budget, require the submission of a 
``Future-Years Veterans Program'' reflecting the estimated 
expenditures and proposed appropriations necessary to support 
the programs, projects, and activities of VA. The Future-Years 
Veterans Program would cover, at a minimum, the budget year and 
the subsequent four fiscal years.
    Section 5(b) would require, beginning in fiscal year 2017, 
VA to conduct a ``Quadrennial Veterans Review'' every four 
years to study the strategy for meeting the commitment of the 
United States to veterans and the resources necessary to meet 
that commitment. The reviews would be comprehensive of all 
programs/policies and would include recommendations on the 
resources necessary to effect the execution of the elements of 
the strategic review. The reviews would be required to be 
coordinated with the Future-Years Veterans Program and would be 
developed in consultation with other key officials of VA, the 
heads of other Federal agencies, and other relevant 
governmental and nongovernmental entities. The contents of the 
reviews would include a delineated veterans strategy consistent 
with the commitment of the United States to veterans; a 
prioritization of the full range of programs and capabilities 
regarding veterans provided by the Federal Government; an 
identification of the budget plan required to provide 
sufficient resources to successfully execute the full range of 
such programs and capabilities; an assessment of the 
organizational alignment of VA with respect to any such 
strategy; a review and assessment of the effectiveness of the 
mechanisms of the Department for executing the process of 
turning the requirements identified in the quadrennial review 
into a plan to meet the requirements; and an identification of 
emerging trends, problems, opportunities, and issues that could 
veterans or VA during the ten-year period following the period 
covered by the review. Following the review a report would be 
required to be submitted to the House and Senate Committees on 
Veterans' Affairs in the year following the year in which the 
review was conducted.
    Section 5(c) would require the VA Secretary to provide 
annually written policy guidance to appropriate VA officials 
for the preparation and review of the planning and program 
recommendations and budget proposals of the various elements of 
VA. Such guidance would include the objectives of VA in 
accordance with the Future-Years Veterans Program and the 
quadrennial veterans review, as well as the resource levels 
projected to be available for the period of time for which such 
recommendations and proposals are to be in effect.
    Section 5(d) would require VA to designate among the 
existing, authorized number of Assistant Secretaries one to 
function as VA's ``Chief Strategy Officer.'' The Chief Strategy 
Officer (CSO) would be the Secretary's principal advisor on 
long-range strategy and the implications of that strategy. The 
CSO would also be responsible for the development and execution 
of the Future-Years Veterans Program.

Section 6--Study on the functions and organizational structure of the 
        Office of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and of the 
        Department of Veterans Affairs

    Section 6(a) would direct VA to study its own functions and 
organizational structure to assess whether such structure is 
optimal in assisting in the Secretary's effective exercise of 
control over the department.
    Section 6(b) would require the study to assess whether the 
organization of VA constitutes the most effective, efficient, 
and economical allocation and structure to assist the Secretary 
in carrying out the duties and responsibilities of the 
Secretary. It would also mandate the Secretary's consideration 
of certain elements in the conduct of the study.
    Section 6(c) would require VA to entire into a contract 
with an independent entity to study the same matters outlined 
in the study required of VA under section 6(a).
    Section 6(d) would require a report to be submitted to the 
House and Senate Committees on Veterans' Affairs on the 
Secretary's study under section 6(a), which report would 
include the findings and recommendations of the Secretary with 
respect to the matters covered under the report, any 
recommended organizational changes, and a copy of the report of 
the independent entity required under section 6(c), along with 
any comments on such report as the Secretary considers 
appropriate.

Section 7--Performance awards in the Senior Executive Service

    Section 7 would preclude the VA Secretary from paying any 
performance awards under section 5384 of title 5, United States 
Code, for each of fiscal years 2014 through 2018.

         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

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PART I--GENERAL PROVISIONS

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                           CHAPTER 1--GENERAL


Sec.
101. Definitions.
     * * * * * * *
[117. Advance appropriations for certain medical care accounts.]
117. Advance appropriations for certain discretionary accounts.
     * * * * * * *
119. Future-Years Veterans Program.
120. Quadrennial veterans review.
121. Policy guidance.

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Sec. 117. Advance appropriations for [certain medical care accounts] 
                    certain discretionary accounts

  (a) In General.--For each fiscal year, beginning with fiscal 
year 2011, discretionary new budget authority provided in an 
appropriations Act for the [medical care accounts of the 
Department] discretionary accounts of the Department shall--
          (1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (b) Estimates Required.--The Secretary shall include in 
documents submitted to Congress in support of the President's 
budget submitted pursuant to section 1105 of title 31, United 
States Code, detailed estimates of the funds necessary for the 
[medical care accounts of the Department] discretionary 
accounts of the Department for the fiscal year following the 
fiscal year for which the budget is submitted.
  (c) [Medical Care Accounts] Discretionary Accounts.--For 
purposes of this section, the term ``[medical care accounts of 
the Department] discretionary accounts of the Department'' 
means the following [medical care accounts of the Veterans 
Health Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs account] 
accounts of the Department of Veterans Affairs account:
          (1) Veterans Health Administration, Medical Services.
          (2) Veterans Health Administration, Medical Support 
        and Compliance.
          (3) Veterans Health Administration, Medical 
        Facilities.
          (4) Veterans Health Administration, Medical and 
        Prosthetic Research.
          (5) National Cemetery Administration.
          (6) Veterans Benefits Administration, Native American 
        Veteran Housing Loan Program Account.
          (7) Departmental Administration, General 
        Administration, General Operating Expenses.
          (8) Departmental Administration, General Operating 
        Expenses, Veterans Benefits Administration.
          (9) Departmental Administration, Information 
        Technology Systems.
          (10) Departmental Administration, Office of the 
        Inspector General.
          (11) Departmental Administration, Construction, Major 
        Projects.
          (12) Departmental Administration, Construction, Minor 
        Projects.
          (13) Departmental Administration, Grants for 
        Construction of State Extended Care Facilities.
          (14) Departmental Administration, Grants for 
        Construction of Veterans Cemeteries.

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Sec. 119. Future-Years Veterans Program

  (a) Submission to Congress.--The Secretary shall submit to 
Congress each year, at or about the time that the President's 
budget is submitted to Congress pursuant to section 1105(a) of 
title 31, a Future-Years Veterans Program reflecting the 
estimated expenditures and proposed appropriations included in 
that budget. Any such Future-Years Veterans Program shall cover 
the fiscal year with respect to which the budget is submitted 
and at least the four succeeding fiscal years.
  (b) Consistency.--(1) The Secretary shall ensure that amounts 
described in subparagraph (A) of paragraph (2) for any fiscal 
year are consistent with amounts described in subparagraph (B) 
of such paragraph for that fiscal year.
  (2) Amounts referred to in paragraph (1) are the following:
          (A) The amounts specified in program and budget 
        information submitted to Congress by the Secretary in 
        support of expenditure estimates and proposed 
        appropriations in the budget submitted to Congress by 
        the President under section 1105(a) of title 31 for any 
        fiscal year, as shown in the Future-Years Veterans 
        Program submitted pursuant to subsection (a).
          (B) The total amounts of estimated expenditures and 
        proposed appropriations necessary to support the 
        programs, projects, and activities of the Department of 
        Veterans Affairs included pursuant to paragraph (5) of 
        section 1105(a) of title 31 in the budget submitted to 
        Congress under that section for any fiscal year.
  (c) Contents.--The Future-Years Veterans Program under 
subsection (a) shall set forth the five-year plan of the 
Department to address the commitment of the United States to 
veterans and the resources necessary to meet that commitment 
and shall be developed and updated, as appropriate, annually by 
the Secretary. Each Future-Years Veterans Program shall include 
an explanation of--
          (1) the information that was used to develop program 
        planning guidance for the Future-Years Veterans 
        Program; and
          (2) how the resource allocations included in the 
        Future-Years Veterans Program correlate to such five-
        year strategy.

Sec. 120. Quadrennial veterans review

  (a) Requirement.--(1) Not later than fiscal year 2017, and 
every fourth year thereafter, the Secretary shall conduct a 
review of the strategy for meeting the commitment of the United 
States to veterans and the resources necessary to meet that 
commitment (in this section referred to as a ``quadrennial 
veterans review'').
  (2) Each quadrennial veterans review shall include a 
comprehensive examination of the policies and strategies of the 
United States with respect to veterans, including 
recommendations regarding the long-term strategy and priorities 
for programs, services, benefits, and outcomes regarding 
veterans and guidance on the programs, assets, capabilities, 
budget, policies, and authorities of the Department.
  (3) The Secretary shall conduct each quadrennial veterans 
review in consultation with key officials of the Department, 
the heads of other Federal agencies, and other relevant 
governmental and nongovernmental entities, including State, 
local, and tribal government officials, members of Congress, 
veterans service organizations, private sector representatives, 
academics, and other policy experts.
  (4) The Secretary shall ensure that each quadrennial veterans 
review is coordinated with the Future-Years Veterans Program 
required under section 119 of this title.
  (b) Contents of Review.--In each quadrennial veterans review, 
the Secretary shall--
          (1) delineate a veterans strategy consistent with the 
        commitment of the United States to veterans and refine 
        a strategy for the types of, and provision of, 
        programs, services, benefits, and outcomes consistent 
        with current authorities and requirements;
          (2) outline and prioritize the full range of programs 
        and capabilities regarding veterans provided by the 
        Federal Government;
          (3) identify the budget plan required to provide 
        sufficient resources to successfully execute the full 
        range of such programs and capabilities;
          (4) include an assessment of the organizational 
        alignment of the Department with respect to the 
        strategy referred to in paragraph (1) and the programs 
        and capabilities referred to in paragraph (2);
          (5) review and assess the effectiveness of the 
        mechanisms of the Department for executing the process 
        of turning the requirements identified in the 
        quadrennial veterans review into a plan to meet such 
        requirements, including an expenditure plan for the 
        Department; and
          (6) identify emerging trends, problems, 
        opportunities, and issues that could affect veterans or 
        the Department during the ten-year period following the 
        period covered by the review.
  (c) Submission to Congress.--(1) The Secretary shall submit 
to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the 
House of Representatives a report regarding each quadrennial 
veterans review. The Secretary shall submit the report in the 
year following the year in which the review is conducted, but 
not later than the date on which the President submits the 
budget for the next fiscal year to Congress under section 1105 
of title 31, United States Code.
  (2) Each report submitted under paragraph (1) shall include--
          (A) the results of the quadrennial veterans review;
          (B) a description of the challenges to, and 
        opportunities for, the assumed or defined veterans-
        related interests of the Nation that were examined for 
        the purposes of that review;
          (C) the strategy for meeting the Nation's commitment 
        to veterans, including a prioritized list of the 
        missions of the Department;
          (D) a description of the interagency cooperation, 
        preparedness of Federal assets, infrastructure, budget 
        plan, and other elements of the programs and policies 
        of the Nation associated with the strategy referred to 
        in subsection (b)(1) that are required to execute 
        successfully the full range of programs and 
        capabilities identified in such strategy and the 
        programs and capabilities outlined under subsection 
        (b)(2);
          (E) an assessment of the organizational alignment of 
        the Department with the strategy referred to in 
        subsection (b)(1) and the programs and capabilities 
        outlined under subsection (b)(2), including the 
        Department's organizational structure, management 
        systems, budget and accounting systems, human resources 
        systems, procurement systems, and physical and 
        technical infrastructure;
          (F) a discussion of the status of cooperation among 
        Federal agencies in the effort to promote national 
        support for veterans;
          (G) a discussion of the status of cooperation between 
        the Federal Government and State, local, and tribal 
        governments in supporting veterans and providing 
        programs, services, benefits, and outcomes to assist 
        veterans;
          (H) an explanation of any underlying assumptions used 
        in conducting the review; and
          (I) any other matter the Secretary considers 
        appropriate.

Sec. 121. Policy guidance

  The Secretary shall provide annually to the appropriate 
officials of the Department written policy guidance for the 
preparation and review of the planning and program 
recommendations and budget proposals of the elements of the 
Department of such officials. Such guidance shall include 
guidance on the objectives of the Department in accordance with 
Future-Years Veterans Program under section 119 of this title 
and the quadrennial veterans review under section 120 and the 
resource levels projected to be available for the period of 
time for which such recommendations and proposals are to be 
effective.

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               CHAPTER 3--DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

Sec.
301. Department.
     * * * * * * *
323. Chief Strategy Officer.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 323. Chief Strategy Officer

  (a) In General.--The Secretary shall designate the Assistant 
Secretary whose functions include planning, studies, and 
evaluations as the Chief Strategy Officer of the Department. 
The Chief Strategy Officer shall advise the Secretary on long-
range strategy and implications.
  (b) Responsibilities.--The Chief Strategy Officer is the 
principal advisor to the Secretary and other senior officials 
of the Department, and shall provide independent analysis and 
advice to the Secretary and such officials. The Chief Strategy 
Officer shall carry out the following responsibilities:
          (1) Conducting cost estimation and cost analysis for 
        the programs of the Department.
          (2) Establishing policies for, and overseeing the 
        integration of, the planning, programming, budgeting 
        and execution process for the Department.
          (3) Providing analysis and advice on matters relating 
        to the planning and programming phase of the planning, 
        programming, budgeting and execution process, and the 
        preparation of materials and guidance for such process, 
        as directed by the Secretary, working in coordination 
        with the Assistant Secretary for Management.
          (4) Developing and executing the Future-Years 
        Veterans Program of the Department, as specified under 
        section 119 of this title.
          (5) Developing resource discussions relating to 
        requirements under consideration in the quadrennial 
        veterans review under section 120 of this title.
          (6) Formulating study guidance for analysis of 
        alternatives for programs and initiatives, including 
        any necessary acquisitions, development, or procurement 
        commensurate with such alternatives, and performance of 
        such analysis as directed by the Secretary.
          (7) Reviewing, analyzing, and evaluating programs for 
        executing approved strategies and policies, ensuring 
        that information on programs and expected outcomes is 
        presented accurately and completely.
          (8) Ensuring that the costs of programs and 
        alternatives are presented accurately and completely by 
        assisting in establishing standards, policies, and 
        procedures for the conduct of cost estimation and cost 
        analysis throughout the Department, including guidance 
        relating to the proper selection of confidence levels 
        in cost estimates generally and for specific programs 
        of the Department.
          (9) Conducting studies at the request of the 
        Secretary regarding costs, policy assumptions, and 
        strategic implications of current policies and possible 
        alternatives.
          (10) Communicating directly to the Secretary and the 
        Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs about matters for 
        which the Chief Strategy Officer is responsible without 
        obtaining the approval or concurrence of any other 
        official within the Department.

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                              ----------                              


    VETERANS HEALTH CARE BUDGET REFORM AND TRANSPARENCY ACT OF 2009



           *       *       *       *       *       *       *
[SEC. 4. COMPTROLLER GENERAL REVIEW OF THE ACCURACY OF VA MEDICAL CARE 
                    BUDGET SUBMISSION IN RELATION TO BASELINE HEALTH 
                    CARE MODEL PROJECTION.

  [(a) Review of Accuracy of Medical Care Budget Submission.--
The Comptroller General shall conduct a review of each budget 
of the President for a fiscal year that is submitted to 
Congress pursuant to section 1105(a) of title 31 in order to 
assess whether or not the relevant components of the amounts 
requested in such budget for such fiscal year for the medical 
care accounts of the Department of Veterans Affairs specified 
in section of title 38, United States Code, as added by section 
3, are consistent with estimates of the resources required by 
the Department for the provision of medical care and services 
in such fiscal year, as forecast using the Enrollee Health Care 
Projection Model, or other methodologies used by the 
Department.
  [(b) Reports.--
          [(1) In general.--Not later than 120 days after the 
        date of each year in 2011, 2012, and 2013, on which the 
        President submits the budget request for the next 
        fiscal year under section of title 31, United States 
        Code, the Comptroller General shall submit to the 
        Committees on Veterans' Affairs, Appropriations, and 
        the Budget of the Senate and the Committees on 
        Veterans' Affairs, Appropriations, and the Budget of 
        the House of Representatives and to the Secretary a 
        report on the review conducted under subsection (a).
          [(2) Elements.--Each report under this paragraph 
        shall include, for the fiscal year beginning in the 
        year in which such report is submitted, the following:
                  [(A) An assessment of the review conducted 
                under subsection (a).
                  [(B) The basis for such assessment.
                  [(C) Such additional information as the 
                Comptroller General determines appropriate.
          [(3) Availability to the public.--Each report 
        submitted under this subsection shall also be made 
        available to the public.]

SEC. 4. COMPTROLLER GENERAL REVIEW OF DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS 
                    MEDICAL CARE BUDGET SUBMISSION.

  (a) Review of Budget Submission; Reports.--For each of fiscal 
years 2015, 2016, and 2017, the Comptroller General of the 
United States shall--
          (1) review the budget requests for the medical care 
        accounts of the Department of Veterans Affairs in the 
        President's budget request submitted pursuant to 
        section 1105 of title 31, United States Code; and
          (2) submit to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs, 
        Appropriations, and the Budget of the Senate and House 
        of Representatives a report or reports on the results 
        of each such review.
  (b) Timing and Scope of Reports.--In determining the timing 
and scope for the submittal of the report or reports required 
under subsection (a), the Comptroller General shall consult 
with the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and 
House of Representatives.
  (c) Medical Care Accounts.--In this section, the term 
``medical care accounts of the Department of Veterans Affairs'' 
means the following medical care accounts of the Veterans 
Health Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs account:
          (1) Medical Services.
          (2) Medical Support and Compliance.
          (3) Medical Facilities.

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