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114th Congress    }                                         {    Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session       }                                         {    114-738

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



 
      VETERANS' COMPENSATION COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENT ACT OF 2016

                                _______
                                

 September 12, 2016.--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. 4782]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Veterans' Affairs, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 4782) to increase, effective as of December 1, 
2016, the rates of compensation for veterans with service-
connected disabilities and the rates of dependency and 
indemnity compensation for the survivors of certain disabled 
veterans, and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
report favorably thereon with an amendment and recommend that 
the bill as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Amendment........................................................     2
Purpose and Summary..............................................     4
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     5
Hearings.........................................................     7
Subcommittee Consideration.......................................     8
Subcommittee Votes...............................................     8
Committee Consideration..........................................     9
Committee Votes..................................................     9
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     9
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............    10
New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and Tax Expenditures    10
Earmarks and Tax and Tariff Benefits.............................    10
Committee Cost Estimate..........................................    10
Congressional Budget Office Estimate.............................    10
Federal Mandates Statement.......................................    15
Advisory Committee Statement.....................................    15
Constitutional Authority Statement...............................    15
Applicability to Legislative Branch..............................    15
Statement on Duplication of Federal Program......................    15
Disclosure of Directed Rulemaking................................    15
Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation...................    16
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill as Reported.............    18

                               Amendment

    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living 
Adjustment Act of 2016''.

SEC. 2. INCREASE IN RATES OF DISABILITY COMPENSATION AND DEPENDENCY AND 
                    INDEMNITY COMPENSATION.

  (a) Rate Adjustment.--Effective on December 1, 2016, the Secretary of 
Veterans Affairs shall increase, in accordance with subsection (c), the 
dollar amounts in effect on November 30, 2016, for the payment of 
disability compensation and dependency and indemnity compensation under 
the provisions specified in subsection (b).
  (b) Amounts To Be Increased.--The dollar amounts to be increased 
pursuant to subsection (a) are the following:
          (1) Wartime disability compensation.--Each of the dollar 
        amounts under section 1114 of title 38, United States Code.
          (2) Additional compensation for dependents.--Each of the 
        dollar amounts under section 1115(1) of such title.
          (3) Clothing allowance.--The dollar amount under section 1162 
        of such title.
          (4) Dependency and indemnity compensation to surviving 
        spouse.--Each of the dollar amounts under subsections (a) 
        through (d) of section 1311 of such title.
          (5) Dependency and indemnity compensation to children.--Each 
        of the dollar amounts under sections 1313(a) and 1314 of such 
        title.
  (c) Determination of Increase.--
          (1) Percentage.--Except as provided in paragraph (2), each 
        dollar amount described in subsection (b) shall be increased by 
        the same percentage as the percentage by which benefit amounts 
        payable under title II of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 
        401 et seq.) are increased effective December 1, 2016, as a 
        result of a determination under section 215(i) of such Act (42 
        U.S.C. 415(i)).
          (2) Rounding.--Each dollar amount increased under paragraph 
        (1), if not a whole dollar amount, shall be rounded to the next 
        lower whole dollar amount.
  (d) Special Rule.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs may adjust 
administratively, consistent with the increases made under subsection 
(a), the rates of disability compensation payable to persons under 
section 10 of Public Law 85-857 (72 Stat. 1263) who have not received 
compensation under chapter 11 of title 38, United States Code.
  (e) Publication of Adjusted Rates.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs 
shall publish in the Federal Register the amounts specified in 
subsection (b), as increased under this section, not later than the 
date on which the matters specified in section 215(i)(2)(D) of the 
Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 415(i)(2)(D)) are required to be 
published by reason of a determination made under section 215(i) of 
such Act during fiscal year 2017.

SEC. 3. TRANSPORTATION OF DECEASED VETERANS TO VETERANS' CEMETERIES.

  (a) In General.--Subsection (a) of section 2308 of title 38, United 
States Code, is amended to read as follows:
  ``(a) In General.--(1) The Secretary may pay, in addition to any 
amount paid pursuant to section 2302 or 2307 of this title, the cost of 
transportation of the deceased veteran described in paragraph (1) or 
(2) of subsection (b) for burial in a national cemetery or a covered 
veterans' cemetery. Such payment shall not exceed the cost of 
transportation to the national cemetery nearest the veteran's last 
place of residence in which burial space is available.
  ``(2) The Secretary may pay, in addition to any amount paid pursuant 
to section 2302 or 2307 of this title, the cost of transportation of 
the deceased veteran described in subsection (b)(3) for burial in a 
national cemetery. Such payment shall not exceed the cost of 
transportation to the national cemetery nearest the veteran's last 
place of residence in which burial space is available.''.
  (b) Covered Veterans' Cemetery Defined.--Section 2308 of such title 
is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
  ``(c) Covered Veterans' Cemetery Defined.--In this section, the term 
`covered veterans' cemetery' means, with respect to a deceased veteran 
described in subsection (b), a veterans' cemetery owned by a State or a 
tribal organization (as defined in section 3765(4) of this title) in 
which the deceased veteran is eligible to be buried.''.
  (c) Conforming Amendment.--Section 2308 of such title is amended in 
the section heading by adding at the end the following: ``or a 
veterans' cemetery''.
  (d) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the beginning of 
such chapter is amended by striking the item relating to section 2308 
and inserting the following new item:

``2308. Transportation of deceased veterans to a national cemetery or a 
veterans' cemetery.''.

SEC. 4. EXPANSION OF ELIGIBILITY FOR HEADSTONES, MARKERS, AND 
                    MEDALLIONS FOR MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENTS.

  Section 2306(d) of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding 
at the end the following new paragraph:
  ``(5)(A) In carrying out this subsection with respect to a deceased 
individual described in subparagraph (C), the Secretary shall furnish, 
upon request, a headstone or marker under paragraph (1) or a medallion 
under paragraph (4) that signifies the deceased's status as a Medal of 
Honor recipient.
  ``(B) If the Secretary furnished a headstone, marker, or medallion 
under paragraph (1) or (4) for a deceased individual described in 
subparagraph (C) that does not signify the deceased's status as a Medal 
of Honor recipient, the Secretary shall, upon request, replace such 
headstone, marker, or medallion with a headstone, marker, or medallion, 
as the case may be, that so signifies the deceased's status as a Medal 
of Honor recipient.
  ``(C) A deceased individual described in this subparagraph is a 
deceased individual who--
          ``(i) served in the Armed Forces on or after April 6, 1917;
          ``(ii) is eligible for a headstone or marker furnished under 
        paragraph (1) or a medallion furnished under paragraph (4) (or 
        would be so eligible for such headstone, marker, or medallion 
        but for the date of the death of the individual); and
          ``(iii) was awarded the Medal of Honor (including 
        posthumously).''.

SEC. 5. EXPANSION OF PRESIDENTIAL MEMORIAL CERTIFICATE PROGRAM.

  (a) In General.--Section 112(a) of title 38, United States Code, is 
amended by inserting after ``conditions,'' the following: ``persons 
eligible for burial in a national cemetery by reason of paragraph (2), 
(3), or (7) of section 2402(a) of this title,''.
  (b) Application.--The amendment made by subsection (a) shall apply 
with respect to the death of a person eligible for burial in a national 
cemetery by reason of paragraph (2), (3), or (7) of section 2402(a) of 
title 38, United States Code, occurring before, on, or after the date 
of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 6. BURIAL PLOTS AT ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY FOR INDIVIDUALS 
                    AWARDED THE MEDAL OF HONOR.

  (a) Reservation.--Of the number of in-ground burial plots available 
at Arlington National Cemetery as of the date of the enactment of this 
Act, the Secretary of the Army shall reserve 100 such plots to inter 
deceased individuals who have been awarded the Medal of Honor.
  (b) Termination.--The requirement under subsection (a) shall 
terminate on the date on which the Secretary of the Army to the 
Committees on Veterans' Affairs and the Committees on Armed Services of 
the House of Representatives and the Senate a report on the interment 
and inurnment capacity of Arlington National Cemetery that includes--
          (1) the estimated date that the Secretary determines the 
        cemetery will reach maximum interment and inurnment capacity; 
        and
          (2) in light of the unique and iconic meaning of the cemetery 
        to the United States, recommendations for legislative actions 
        and nonlegislative options that the Secretary determines 
        necessary to ensure that the maximum interment and inurnment 
        capacity of the cemetery is not reached until well into the 
        future, including such actions and options with respect to--
                  (A) redefining eligibility criteria for interment and 
                inurnment in the cemetery; and
                  (B) considerations for additional expansion 
                opportunities beyond the current boundaries of the 
                cemetery.

SEC. 7. PILOT PROGRAM ON DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS VETERAN 
                    ENGAGEMENT TEAM EVENTS.

  (a) In General.--
          (1) Pilot program.--Beginning not later than October 1, 2016, 
        the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall carry out a three-year 
        pilot program under which the Secretary shall carry out events, 
        to be known as ``Veteran Engagement Team events''. The 
        Secretary shall ensure that such events are carried out--
                  (A) during the first year during which the Secretary 
                carries out the pilot program, at least once a month in 
                a location within the jurisdiction of each of 10 
                regional offices of the Department of Veterans Affairs, 
                including at least two regional offices in each of the 
                five districts of the Veterans Benefits Administration 
                under the organization of such Administration in effect 
                as of the date of the enactment of this Act; and
                  (B) during each of the second and third years during 
                which the Secretary carries out the pilot program, at 
                least once a month in a location within the 
                jurisdiction of each of 15 regional offices of the 
                Department, including at least three regional offices 
                in each such district.
          (2) Veteran engagement team events.--During each Veteran 
        Engagement Team event, the Secretary shall provide assistance 
        to veterans in completing and adjudicating claims for 
        disability compensation under chapter 11 of title 38, United 
        States Code, and for pension under chapter 15 of such title. 
        The Secretary shall ensure that--
                  (A) all Veteran Engagement Team events occur during 
                the normal business hours of the sponsoring regional 
                office;
                  (B) the events are carried out at different locations 
                within the jurisdiction of each regional office and at 
                least 50 miles from any regional office;
                  (C) a sufficient number of physicians (to be 
                available for opinions only), veteran service 
                representatives and rating veteran service 
                representatives, and other personnel are available at 
                the events to initiate, update, and finalize the 
                completion and adjudication of claims;
                  (D) veterans service organizations have access to the 
                events for purposes of providing assistance to 
                veterans; and
                  (E) a veteran who is unable to complete and 
                adjudicate a claim at an event is informed of what 
                additional information or actions are needed to 
                finalize the claim.
  (b) Location.--In selecting locations for Veteran Engagement Team 
events under this section, the Secretary shall--
          (1) coordinate with veteran service organizations and State 
        and local veterans agencies; and
          (2) seek to select locations that are community-based and 
        easily accessible.
  (c) Transfer of Personnel.--
          (1) Physicians.--The Secretary may not permanently transfer 
        any physician employed by the Veterans Health Administration 
        for the purpose of staffing a Veteran Engagement Team event.
          (2) Payment of salaries.--Any amount payable to an employee 
        of the Department for work performed at a Veteran Engagement 
        Team event is payable only from amounts otherwise available for 
        the payment of the salary of the employee. No additional 
        amounts are authorized to be appropriated under this section 
        for the payment of salaries for Department employee.
  (d) Other Authorities.--In carrying out the pilot program under this 
section, the Secretary may--
          (1) coordinate with States, local governments, nonprofit 
        organizations, and private sector entities to use facilities to 
        host Veteran Engagement Team events for no or minimal costs; 
        and
          (2) accept, on a without compensation basis, services 
        provided by non-Department physicians in rendering medical 
        opinions relating to claims for compensation and pension.
  (e) Customer Satisfaction Surveys.--In carrying out the pilot program 
under this section, the Secretary shall collect and analyze information 
about the customer satisfaction of veterans who have received 
assistance at an Veteran Engagement Team event.
  (f) Reports.--Not later than April 30, 2017, and annually thereafter 
beginning on October 1, 2017, for the duration of the program, the 
Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on the implementation and 
effectiveness of the events. Such report shall include--
          (1) the number and types of claims completed and adjudicated 
        at the events;
          (2) the number and types of claims for which assistance was 
        sought at the events that were not completed or adjudicated at 
        the events and the reasons such claims were not completed or 
        adjudicated; and
          (3) an analysis of the customer satisfaction of veterans who 
        have received assistance at an event based on the information 
        collected under subsection (e).

                          Purpose and Summary

    H.R. 4782, the ``Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living 
Adjustment Act of 2016,'' was introduced by Representative 
Ralph Abraham of Louisiana on March 17, 2016. H.R. 4782, as 
amended, was ordered to be favorably reported to the full House 
on May 18, 2016. This legislation incorporates text of H.R. 
4782, as well as provisions from H.R. 3936, introduced by 
Representative Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania as well as H.R. 
4757, H.R. 4758, and H.R. 4759, introduced by Representative 
Jeff Miller of Florida.
    H.R. 4782, as amended, would (1) as of December 1, 2016, 
increase the rates of Wartime Disability Compensation, 
Compensation for Dependents, Clothing Allowance, Dependency and 
Indemnity Compensation (DIC) to Surviving Spouse, and 
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation to Children by the same 
percentage as the increase in benefits provided under title II 
(Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance) of the Social 
Security Act; (2) authorize the Department of Veterans Affairs 
(VA) to pay the cost of transportation of deceased veterans for 
burial in the nearest veterans' cemetery owned by a State or 
tribal organization in which the deceased veteran is eligible 
to be buried; (3) allow VA to provide a headstone, marker, or 
medallion for deceased veterans who were awarded the Medal of 
Honor; (4) establish that families of certain deceased members 
of the National Guard and Reserve would be eligible to receive 
a Presidential Memorial Certificate; (4) require the Secretary 
of the Army to reserve 100 in-ground burial plots at Arlington 
National Cemetery for deceased individuals who have been 
awarded the Medal of Honor; and (5) establish a three-year 
pilot program of Veteran Engagement Team events to assist 
veterans in completing disability compensation and pension 
claims.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    The purpose of the disability compensation program is to 
provide relief from the impaired earning capacity of veterans 
disabled as the result of their military service. The amount of 
compensation payable varies according to the degree of 
disability. This amount in turn is required by law to 
represent, to the extent practicable, the average impairment in 
earning capacity in civilian occupations resulting from such 
disability or combination of disabilities.
    To be eligible to receive disability compensation, a 
veteran must have a disability incurred or aggravated during 
military service, which is not the result of willful 
misconduct, and must have been discharged under other than 
dishonorable conditions. The responsibility for determining a 
veteran's entitlement to service-connection for a disability 
rests with VA.
    Surviving spouses and dependent children of veterans who 
died of disabilities determined by VA to be service-connected 
(including veterans who died while on active duty) or who had a 
service-connected disability rated at 100 percent for certain 
periods of time prior to death are entitled to receive monthly 
DIC benefits. Additional amounts are paid to survivors who are 
housebound, in need of aid and attendance, or who have minor 
children. The purpose of DIC benefits authorized under chapter 
13 of title 38, U.S.C. is to provide partial compensation to 
the appropriate survivors for the loss in financial support due 
to the service-connected death. Income and need are not factors 
in determining a surviving spouse's or child's entitlement 
because the nation, in part, assumes the legal and moral 
obligation of the veteran to support the spouse and children.
    Each year, the Committee approves and reports legislation 
authorizing the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) by reference 
to the yet-to-be-determined Social Security increase. Section 2 
of H.R. 4782, as amended, would increase the rates of Wartime 
Disability Compensation, Additional Compensation for 
Dependents, Clothing Allowance, Dependency and Indemnity 
Compensation to Surviving Spouse, and Dependency and Indemnity 
Compensation to Children. Such increase in benefits would 
increase to be the same percentage as the increase in benefits 
provided under title II (Old Age, Survivors, and Disability 
Insurance) of the Social Security Act. Section 2 would also 
require that the amounts of any increase be rounded down to the 
nearest lower whole dollar amount.
    Additionally, Section 2 of H.R. 4782, as amended, would 
require the Secretary to publish in the Federal Register the 
increased amounts specified in this Section, not later than the 
date on which the matters specified in section 415(i)(2)(D) of 
the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 415(i)(2)(D)) are required 
to be published by reason of determination made under section 
415(i) of such Act during fiscal year 2017.
    Section 3 would authorize VA to pay the cost of 
transporting the remains of a deceased veteran to the State or 
tribal veterans cemetery nearest to the deceased veteran's last 
residence, if the veteran is eligible to be buried in such 
State or tribal cemetery. The bill limits such payment to no 
more than the cost of transportation to an open national 
cemetery nearest to the veteran's last place of residence. 
Current law only allows VA to pay the cost of transporting the 
remains of a deceased veteran to the nearest open national 
cemetery. This provision would prevent families of deceased 
veterans from being financially penalized if they choose to lay 
their loved one to rest in a State or tribal veterans' 
cemetery.
    Section 4 of the bill would require VA to furnish a 
distinct headstone, marker, or medallion, upon request to adorn 
the graves of deceased recipients of the Medal of Honor. Such 
headstone, marker, or medallion would be provided, upon 
request, to adorn the gravesites of deceased Medal of Honor 
recipients who served in the Armed Forces on or after April 6, 
1917, the date the United States entered World War I. The bill 
provides for special markers for the gravesites of deceased 
Medal of Honor recipients who served on or after April 6, 1917, 
to help protect antique headstones and preserve the vista of 
historic cemeteries.
    Section 5 of H.R. 4782, as amended, would expand 
eligibility for a Presidential Memorial Certificate to certain 
members of the Reserve component of the Armed Forces, and the 
Army National Guard or the Air National Guard. A Presidential 
Memorial Certificate bears the official signature of the 
President of the United States, and expresses the nation's 
gratitude for the individual's service. Under H.R. 4782, as 
amended, an individual would be eligible for such Presidential 
Memorial Certificate if he or she is eligible for interment or 
inurnment in national cemeteries.
    Section 6 of H.R. 4782, as amended, would require the 
Secretary of the Army to reserve 100 in-ground burial plots at 
Arlington National Cemetery for deceased individuals who have 
been awarded the Medal of Honor. This requirement would 
terminate on the date in which the Secretary of the Army 
submits to the Committees on Armed Services and Committees on 
Veterans' Affairs of the House and Senate a report on inurnment 
and internment capacity at Arlington National Cemetery. The 
report would include the estimated date Arlington National 
Cemetery is expected to reach capacity; recommendations for 
legislative or non-legislative actions that would ensue maximum 
interment or inurnment capacity is not reached until well into 
the future; options for redefining eligibility criteria for 
interment or inurnment at Arlington National Cemetery; and 
consideration for additional expansion beyond Arlington 
National Cemetery's current boundaries.
    Furthermore, Section 7 of H.R. 4782, as amended, would 
authorize a three-year pilot program for Veteran Engagement 
Team events in which veterans would be assisted in completing 
VA disability and pension claims, beginning no later than 
October 1, 2016. Physicians, veteran service representatives, 
and rating veteran service representatives would be present at 
the events to provide assistance and inform veterans what 
information or action is required to apply for benefits. 
Section 7 of H.R. 4782, as amended, would dramatically help 
veterans receive the benefits they have earned by reducing the 
barriers between VA and the veterans it serves within the 
community by sending VA employees into the field to assist with 
their claims processing.

                                Hearings

    On April 13, 2016, the Subcommittee on Disability 
Assistance and Memorial Affairs conducted a legislative hearing 
on various bills introduced during the 114th Congress, 
including H.R. 3936; H.R. 4087; H.R. 4757; H.R. 4758; H.R. 
4759; H.R. 4782, all of which are included in H.R. 4782, as 
amended. The following witnesses testified:
          The Honorable Jeff Miller of Florida, U.S. House of 
        Representatives; the Honorable Corrine Brown of 
        Florida, U.S. House of Representatives; The Honorable 
        Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania, U.S. House of 
        Representatives; The Honorable Mia Love of Utah, U.S. 
        House of Representatives; Mr. David R. McLenachen, 
        Deputy Under Secretary for Disability Assistance, 
        Veterans Benefits Administration, U.S. Department of 
        Veterans Affairs, accompanied by: Mr. Matt Sullivan, 
        Deputy Under Secretary of Finance and Planning and CFO, 
        National Cemetery Administration, U.S. Department of 
        Veterans Affairs; Mr. Patrick K. Hallinan, Executive 
        Director, Army National Military Cemeteries, Department 
        of the Army; Mr. Carl Blake, Associate Executive 
        Director for Government Relations, Paralyzed Veterans 
        of America; Mr. Aleks Morosky, Deputy Director, 
        National Legislative Service, Veterans of Foreign Wars 
        of the United States; Mr. Paul R. Varela, Assistant 
        National Legislative Director, Disabled American 
        Veterans; Ms. Elizabeth Davis, Advocate for Survivors' 
        Benefits; and Mr. Edward G. Lilley, Team Leader for 
        Health Policy, National Veterans Affairs and 
        Rehabilitation Division, The American Legion.
    A statement for the record was submitted by the following:
          Mr. John Rowan, National President, Vietnam Veterans 
        of America.

                       Subcommittee Consideration

    On May 11, 2016, the Subcommittee on Disability Assistance 
and Memorial Affairs met in open markup session, a quorum being 
present, and ordered H.R. 4782, as amended, favorably forwarded 
to the full Committee by record vote. During consideration of 
H.R. 4782, the following amendment in the nature of a 
substitute was considered and failed by record vote:
          An Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute offered by 
        Ms. Titus of Nevada, which would have amended the 
        definition of ``spouse'' under section 101 of title 28, 
        United States Code, failed by a recorded vote of 3 yeas 
        and 4 noes.

                           Subcommittee Votes

    In compliance with clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, the following reflects the record 
votes taken on amendments or in connection with ordering H.R. 
4782, as amended, forwarded to the full Committee on May 11, 
2016:
          An Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute offered by 
        Representative Dina Titus of Nevada, which would have 
        amended the definition of ``spouse'' under section 101 
        of title 28, United States Code, failed by a recorded 
        vote of 3 yeas and 4 noes.
        
        
          A motion offered by Representative Abraham of 
        Louisiana to favorably forward H.R. 4782 to full 
        Committee was accepted by a recorded vote of 7 yeas and 
        0 noes, with 1 Member not voting.
        
        
                        Committee Consideration

    On May 18, 2016, the full Committee met in open markup 
session, a quorum being present, and ordered H.R. 4782, as 
amended, favorably reported to the House of Representatives by 
voice vote. During consideration of the bill, the following 
amendments were considered:
          An Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute was 
        offered by Representative Ralph Abraham of Louisiana, 
        which combined the text of H.R. 4757; 4758; 4759; H.R. 
        3936; and, H.R. 4782; was agreed to by voice vote.
          An Amendment to the Amendment in the Nature of a 
        Substitute offered by Representative Corrine Brown of 
        Florida, to H.R. 4782 which would have eliminated 
        section 2(c)(2) of the amendment in the nature of a 
        substitute pertaining to the round-down provision was 
        not agreed to by a recorded vote of 13 nays and 9 yeas.

                            Committee Votes

    In compliance with clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, the following record vote was 
taken on amendments or in connection with ordering H.R. 4782, 
as amended, reported to the House:
    An Amendment to the Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute 
offered by Representative Corrine Brown of Florida, to H.R. 
4782 which would have eliminated section 2(c)(2) of the 
amendment in the nature of a substitute pertaining to the 
round-down provision. The amendment failed by a recorded vote 
of 13 nays and 9 yeas, with 2 not voting.


                      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 establishes the 
following performance goals and objectives for this 
legislation:
          The Secretary will use this authority to increase the 
        rates of Wartime Disability Compensation, Compensation 
        for Dependents, Clothing Allowance, Dependency and 
        Indemnity Compensation to Surviving Spouse, and 
        Dependency and Indemnity Compensation to Children by 
        the same percentage as the increase in benefits 
        provided under title II (Old Age, Survivors, and 
        Disability Insurance) of the Social Security Act; pay 
        the cost of transporting deceased veterans to certain 
        state and tribal cemeteries; provide a distinctive 
        headstone, marker, or medallion for recipients of the 
        Congressional Medal of Honor; expand the Presidential 
        Memorial Certificate Program; reserve 100 in-ground 
        burial plots at Arlington National Cemetery for 
        deceased recipients of the Medal of Honor; and 
        authorize Veteran Engagement Team events.

   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. 4782, 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. 
4782, 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. 4782, as amended, provided by the Congressional Budget 
Office pursuant to section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act 
of 1974:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                 Washington, DC, September 9, 2016.
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. 4782, the 
Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2016.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Dwayne M. 
Wright.
            Sincerely,
                                                        Keith Hall.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 4782--Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2016

    Summary: H.R. 4782 would modify several programs 
administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), 
including veterans' disability and burial benefits. H.R. 4782 
also would create a pilot program intended to help veterans 
apply for VA benefits and would reserve burial plots at 
Arlington National Cemetery for recipients of the Medal of 
Honor. CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 4782 would, on net, 
decrease direct spending by $312 million over the 2017-2026 
period. Pay-as-you-go procedures apply because enacting the 
legislation would affect direct spending. Enacting the bill 
would not affect revenues.
    In addition, CBO estimates that implementing the bill would 
have discretionary costs totaling $7 million over the 2017-2021 
period; that spending would be subject to the availability of 
appropriated funds.
    CBO estimates that enacting the legislation would not 
increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of 
the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2027.
    H.R. 4782 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) 
and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary effect of H.R. 4782 is shown in Table 1. The costs of 
this legislation fall within budget function 700 (veterans 
benefits and services).

 TABLE 1.--ESTIMATED BUDGETARY EFFECTS OF H.R. 4782, THE VETERANS' COMPENSATION COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENT ACT OF
                                                      2016
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                 By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                         -------------------------------------------------------
                                                            2017     2018     2019     2020     2021   2017-2021
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                          DECREASES IN DIRECT SPENDINGa
 
Estimated Budget Authority..............................      -22      -22      -25      -28      -29      -125
Estimated Outlays.......................................      -22      -22      -25      -28      -29      -125
 
                                 INCREASES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
 
Estimated Authorization Level...........................        2        3        3        *        *         7
Estimated Outlays.......................................        2        3        3        *        *         7
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding; * = less than $500,000.
aIn addition to the changes in direct spending shown above, enacting H.R. 4782 would have effects beyond 2021.
  CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 4782 would decrease net direct spending by $312 million over the 2017-2026
  period.

    Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that H.R. 
4782 will be enacted near the beginning of fiscal year 2017, 
that appropriations will reflect the estimated changes each 
year, and that outlays will follow historical spending patterns 
for the affected programs.

Direct spending

    H.R. 4782 contains several provisions that would affect 
direct spending. On net, CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 4782 
would decrease direct spending by $125 million over the 2017-
2021 period, and $312 million over the 2017-2026 period (see 
Table 2).
    Cost-of-Living Adjustment round down. Section 2 would 
increase the amounts paid to veterans for disability 
compensation, and to their survivors for dependency and 
indemnity compensation, by the same cost-of-living adjustment 
(COLA) that recipients of Social Security will receive in 2017. 
Those increased payments would be effective December 1, 2016.
    The COLA that would be authorized by this bill is assumed 
in CBO's baseline, consistent with section 257 of the Balanced 
Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act. Because that COLA is 
assumed in CBO's baseline, authorizing the COLA would have no 
budgetary effect relative to the baseline. Relative to current 
law, CBO estimates that enacting this bill would increase 
spending for those programs by $396 million in fiscal year 
2017. (The annualized cost would be about $528 million in 
subsequent years.) That estimate assumes that the COLA 
effective on December 1, 2017, would be 0.7 percent.

                                                    TABLE 2.--IMPACT OF H.R. 4782 ON DIRECT SPENDING
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                  By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                   -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                     2017    2018    2019    2020    2021    2022    2023    2024    2025    2026   2017-2021  2017-2026
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cost-of-Living Adjustment Round Down:
    Estimated Budget Authority....................     -23     -25     -28     -31     -33     -36     -39     -42     -44     -47       -140       -348
    Estimated Outlays.............................     -23     -25     -28     -31     -33     -36     -39     -42     -44     -47       -140       -348
Transportation of Deceased Veterans to Cemeteries:
    Estimated Budget Authority....................       1       3       3       3       4       4       4       4       4       5         15         36
    Estimated Outlays.............................       1       3       3       3       4       4       4       4       4       5         15         36
    Total Changes:
        Estimated Budget Authority................     -22     -22     -25     -28     -29     -32     -35     -38     -40     -42       -125       -312
    Estimated Outlays.............................     -22     -22     -25     -28     -29     -32     -35     -38     -40     -42       -125       -312
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding.

    Section 2 also would require that the increased payments 
resulting from the cost-of-living adjustment be rounded down to 
the next lower whole dollar. The previous authority to round 
down the COLA expired at the end of calendar year 2013. Based 
on projections of the number of people receiving benefits and 
payments made each year, CBO estimates that enacting this 
section would reduce direct spending by $348 million over the 
2017-2026 period.
    Transportation of Deceased Veterans to Cemeteries. Section 
3 would allow VA to pay for the costs of transporting the 
remains of deceased veterans to state or tribal cemeteries up 
to the amount it would cost to transport those remains to the 
nearest national cemetery. Under current law, VA may pay the 
costs for transporting the remains of deceased veterans to the 
nearest national cemetery.
    Over the 2011-2014 period, VA paid to transport the remains 
of about 20 percent of the veterans who were buried in national 
cemeteries. The average amount paid for that service in 2015 
was about $600. CBO expects that, under this provision, 
requests for payment of transportation costs to state or tribal 
cemeteries would be made at a similar rate and that the average 
cost would be the same.
    The number of veterans buried in state or tribal cemeteries 
grew from 21,300 in 2011 to 23,200 in 2014. CBO expects that 
rate of growth to continue over the 2017-2026 period and 
estimates that the number of such burials will increase from 
24,600 in 2017 to 31,900 in 2026. CBO expects that VA would pay 
to transport remains for about 20 percent of those burials, or 
about 4,900 in 2017, increasing to about 6,400 in 2026. The 
average cost of transporting a veteran's remains grew from $565 
in 2011 to $601 in 2015 and CBO also estimates a similar rate 
of growth in the average payment per veteran over the 2017-2026 
period, leading to an average cost of transport per veteran of 
$762 in 2026.
    On that basis, CBO estimates that enacting section 3 would 
increase direct spending by $36 million over the 2017-2026 
period.
    Burial Markers for Medal of Honor Recipients. Section 4 
would make all Medal of Honor recipients who died after April 
6, 1917, eligible for a headstone, marker, or medallion that 
signifies the veteran's status as a recipient of the Medal of 
Honor. Because of the small number of individuals who would be 
made eligible under section 4 (about 1,100) and the small 
average cost per headstone, marker, or medallion (about $200 
for a headstone or marker and $34 for a medallion in 2015), CBO 
estimates that enacting section 4 would increase direct 
spending by less than $500,000 over the 2017-2026 period.

Spending subject to appropriation

    H.R. 4782 contains provisions that would affect spending 
subject to appropriation, including the creation of a pilot 
program to assist veterans with filing claims for benefits. The 
bill also would require Arlington National Cemetery to reserve 
100 burial plots for recipients of the Medal of Honor. CBO 
estimates that implementing those provisions would cost $7 
million over the 2017-2021 period, subject to the availability 
of appropriated amounts.
    Veterans Engagement Teams. Section 7 would require VA to 
implement a three-year pilot program to carry out monthly 
events at 10 locations in the first year and 15 locations in 
the second and third years, staffed by VA personnel to help 
veterans file claims for benefits. VA also would be required to 
submit annual reports on the implementation and effectiveness 
of such monthly events.
    Based on information from VA, CBO expects each such event 
to be staffed by 15 employees of the Veterans Benefits 
Administration and two employees of the Veterans Health 
Administration. After accounting for the necessary resources to 
complete the events, including supplies, rental space, mileage, 
and potential overtime costs, CBO estimates that the cost per 
event would be about $14,000. CBO estimates that the cost for 
completing a total of 480 events over the three-year period 
would be about $7 million over the 2017-2019 period.
    Burial Plots for Medal of Honor Recipients. Section 6 would 
require the Department of the Army to reserve 100 burial plots 
at Arlington National Cemetery for deceased veterans who have 
been awarded the Medal of Honor. Because the cemetery has 
limited capacity, reserving spaces for such recipients would 
not increase the total number of interments at the cemetery. 
Eligible persons would be interred in the order in which 
requests were submitted until no more interments were possible. 
Therefore, CBO estimates that there would be no additional 
costs associated with reserving spaces for recipients of the 
Medal of Honor.
    Section 6 also would require the Army to submit a report on 
the capacity of Arlington National Cemetery and the ability to 
expand that capacity in order to accommodate interments and 
inurnments in the future. CBO estimates that preparing that 
report would cost less than $500,000 over the 2017-2021 period.
    Expansion of Presidential Memorial Certificates Program. 
Section 5 would make certain deceased veterans who served in 
the National Guard or Reserves eligible to receive a 
Presidential Memorial Certificate. According to VA, the average 
cost in 2015 for a Presidential Memorial Certificate was $1. 
After accounting for the small pool of individuals who would be 
made eligible under section 5, CBO estimates that the cost for 
implementing that requirement would be less than $500,000 over 
the 2017-2021 period.
    Pay-As-You-Go considerations: The Statutory Pay-As-You-Go 
Act of 2010 establishes budget-reporting and enforcement 
procedures for legislation affecting direct spending or 
revenues. The net changes in outlays that are subject to those 
pay-as-you-go procedures are shown in the following table.

           CBO ESTIMATE OF PAY-AS-YOU-GO EFFECTS FOR H.R. 4782 AS ORDERED REPORTED BY THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS ON MAY 18, 2016
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                              By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                           -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                             2016    2017    2018    2019    2020    2021    2022    2023    2024    2025    2026   2016-2021  2016-2026
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               NET DECREASE IN THE DEFICIT
 
Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Impact............       0     -22     -22     -25     -28     -29     -32     -35     -38     -40     -42       -125       -312
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Increase in long-term direct spending and deficits: CBO 
estimates that enacting the legislation would not increase net 
direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2027.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: H.R. 4782 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA and would impose no costs on state, local, or 
tribal governments.
    Previous CBO estimate: On January 22, 2016, CBO transmitted 
an estimate for H.R. 677, the American Heroes COLA Act of 2015, 
as ordered reported by the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs 
on September 17, 2015. Section 2 of H.R. 4782 is similar to 
section 101 of H.R. 677 except H.R. 677 extended the COLA round 
down permanently and H.R. 4782 only makes the extension for one 
year. Differences in the estimates reflect those differences in 
the legislation.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal costs: Dwayne Wright; Impact 
on state, local, and tribal governments: Jon Sperl; Impact on 
the private sector: Paige Piper/Bach.
    Estimate approved by: H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                       Federal Mandates Statement

    The Committee adopts as its own the estimate of Federal 
mandates regarding H.R. 4782, 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. 
4782, as amended.

                   Constitutional Authority Statement

    Pursuant to Article I, section 8 of the United States 
Constitution, H.R. 4782, as amended 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 H.R. 4782, as amended 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(g) of H. Res. 5, 114th Cong. (2015), 
the Committee finds that no provision of H.R. 4782, 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(i) of H. Res. 5, 114th Cong. (2015), 
the Committee estimates that H.R. 4782, as amended, contains no 
directed rule making that would require the Secretary to 
prescribe regulations.

             Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation


Section 1--Short title

    Section 1 would provide the short title of the ``Veterans' 
Compensation Cost-of-Living-Adjustment Act of 2016.''

Section 2--Increase in rates of Disability Compensation and Dependency 
        and Indemnity Compensation.

    Section 2(a) would authorize the Secretary of Veterans 
Affairs to increase, effective December 1, 2016, the dollar 
amounts in effect for the payment of Disability Compensation 
and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation.
    Section 2(b) would specify the amounts that would be 
increased regarding the Wartime Disability Compensation under 
section 1114 of title 38, U.S.C., the Additional Compensation 
for Dependents under section 1115(1) of title 38, U.S.C., the 
Clothing Allowance under section 1162 of title 38, U.S.C., the 
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation to Surviving Spouses 
under section 1311 of title 38, U.S.C., and the Dependency and 
Indemnity Compensation to Children, under sections 1313(a) and 
1314 of title 38, U.S.C.
    Section 2(c) would specify that each amount shall be 
increased by the same percentage by which benefits are 
increased under title II of the Social Security Act.\1\ When 
the amount is not a whole dollar amount, it would be rounded 
down to the next lower dollar amount for all compensation and 
DIC benefits.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\42 U.S.C. Sec. Sec. 401 et seq.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Section 2(d) would provide a special rule authorizing the 
Secretary of VA to adjust administratively, consistent with the 
increases made under subsection (a), the rates of disability 
compensation payable to persons within the purview of section 
10 of Public Law 85-857, who are not in receipt of compensation 
payable pursuant to chapter 11 of title 38, U.S.C.
    Section 2(e) would require the Secretary of VA to publish 
in the Federal Register the amounts specified in subsection 
(b), as increased pursuant to that section.

Section 3--Transportation of deceased veterans to veterans' cemeteries

    Section 3(a) would authorize VA to pay the cost of 
transporting the remains of a deceased veteran to a covered 
veterans' cemetery. Such payment would not exceed the cost of 
transportation to the national cemetery nearest to the 
veteran's last place of residence in which burial space is 
available.
    Section 3(b) would define covered veterans' cemetery as a 
cemetery owned by a State or tribal organization, in which the 
deceased veteran is eligible to be buried.
    Section 3(c) would provide a conforming amendment.
    Section 3(d) would provide a clerical amendment.

Section 4--Expansion of eligibility for headstones, markers, and 
        medallions for Medal of Honor recipients

    Section 4 would authorize VA to provide a distinctive 
headstone, marker, or medallion to adorn the gravesites of 
Medal of Honor recipients who served in the Armed Forces on or 
after April 6, 1917.

Section 5--Expansion of Presidential Memorial Certificate Program

    Section 5(a) would expand eligibility for a Presidential 
Memorial Certificate to members of the Reserve component of the 
Armed Forces, and the Army National Guard or the Air National 
Guard who are eligible to be buried in a national cemetery.
    Section 5(b) would establish that this Section would apply 
with respect to the death of an eligible person occurring 
before, on, or after the date of enactment of this Act.

Section 6--Burial plots at Arlington National Cemetery for individuals 
        awarded the Medal of Honor

    Section 6(a) would require the Secretary of the Army to 
reserve 100 in-ground burial plots at Arlington National 
Cemetery for deceased individuals who have been awarded the 
Medal of Honor.
    Section 6(b) would terminate the requirement under Section 
6(a) on the date in which the Secretary of the Army sends a 
report to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs and Committees on 
Armed Services of the House and Senate on the interment and 
inurnment capacity at Arlington National Cemetery. The report 
would include the estimated date Arlington Nation Cemetery will 
reach maximum interment and inurnment capacity as well as 
legislative and non-legislative options to extend the capacity 
of Arlington National Cemetery.

Section 7--Pilot program on Department of Veterans Affairs Veteran 
        Engagement Team events

    Section 7(a) would authorize the Secretary of VA to carry 
out a three year pilot program of events known as ``Veteran 
Engagement Team'' (VET) events, beginning no later than October 
1, 2016. During the first year, this Section would direct VA to 
carry out VET events in ten regional offices around the 
country. The number of VET events would increase to fifteen 
regional offices in the second and third year of the pilot 
program.
    Section 7(b) would direct the Secretary of VA to coordinate 
with veterans service organizations and state and local 
veterans agencies to select locations for VET events to take 
place. The Secretary should seek locations that are community-
based and easily accessible.
    Section 7(c) would not allow the Secretary of VA to 
permanently transfer any physician employed by the Veterans 
Health Administration for the purpose of staffing a VET event. 
Section 7(c) would also not provide any additional amounts 
authorized to be appropriated for payment to Department 
employees working VET events. Such payment must come from 
amounts otherwise available for payment of the salary.
    Section 7(d) would authorize VA to coordinate with states, 
local governments, nonprofit organizations, and private sector 
entities to use facilities to carry out VET events at no or 
minimal cost. VA may also accept services from non-Department 
physicians in rendering medical opinions relating to claims for 
compensation and pension, on the basis that the Department will 
not provide compensation.
    Section 7(e) would allow the Secretary of VA to collect and 
analyze satisfaction surveys from veterans who receive 
assistance at VET events.
    Section 7(f) would require VA to submit to Congress 
specific reports on the implementation and effectiveness of the 
VET events beginning not later than April 30, 2017, and 
annually thereafter beginning on October 1, 2017 for the 
duration of the program.

         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):

         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, and existing law in which no 
change is proposed is shown in roman):

                      TITLE 38, UNITED STATES CODE




           *       *       *       *       *       *       *
PART I--GENERAL PROVISIONS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 1--GENERAL

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



Sec. 112. Presidential memorial certificate program

  (a) At the request of the President the Secretary may conduct 
a program for honoring the memory of deceased veterans, 
discharged under honorable conditions, persons eligible for 
burial in a national cemetery by reason of paragraph (2), (3), 
or (7) of section 2402(a) of this title, and persons who died 
in the active military, naval, or air service, by preparing and 
sending to eligible recipients a certificate bearing the 
signature of the President and expressing the country's 
grateful recognition of the deceased individual's service in 
the Armed Forces. The award of a certificate to one eligible 
recipient will not preclude authorization of another 
certificate if a request is received from some other eligible 
recipient.
  (b) For the purpose of this section an ``eligible recipient'' 
means the next of kin, a relative or friend upon request, or an 
authorized service representative acting on behalf of such 
relative or friend.
  (c) A certificate may not be furnished under the program 
under subsection (a) on behalf of a deceased person described 
in section 2411(b) of this title.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


PART II--GENERAL BENEFITS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                      CHAPTER 23--BURIAL BENEFITS


Sec.
2301. Flags.
     * * * * * * *
[2308. Transportation of deceased veteran to a national cemetery.]
2308. Transportation of deceased veterans to a national cemetery or a 
          veterans' cemetery.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 2306. Headstones, markers, and burial receptacles

  (a) The Secretary shall furnish, when requested, appropriate 
Government headstones or markers at the expense of the United 
States for the unmarked graves of the following:
  (1) Any individual buried in a national cemetery or in a post 
cemetery.
  (2) Any individual eligible for burial in a national cemetery 
(but not buried there), except for those persons or classes of 
persons enumerated in section 2402(a)(4), (5), and (6) of this 
title.
  (3) Soldiers of the Union and Confederate Armies of the Civil 
War.
  (4) Any individual described in section 2402(a)(5) of this 
title who is buried in a veterans' cemetery owned by a State.
  (5) Any individual who at the time of death was entitled to 
retired pay under chapter 1223 of title 10 or would have been 
entitled to retired pay under that chapter but for the fact 
that the person was under 60 years of age.
  (b)(1) The Secretary shall furnish, when requested, an 
appropriate memorial headstone or marker for the purpose of 
commemorating an eligible individual whose remains are 
unavailable. Such a headstone or marker shall be furnished for 
placement in a national cemetery area reserved for that purpose 
under section 2403 of this title, a veterans' cemetery owned by 
a State, or, in the case of a veteran, in a State, local, or 
private cemetery.
  (2) For purposes of paragraph (1), an eligible individual is 
any of the following:
          (A) A veteran.
          (B) The spouse or surviving spouse of a veteran.
          (C) An eligible dependent child of a veteran.
  (3) For purposes of paragraph (1), the remains of an 
individual shall be considered to be unavailable if the 
individual's remains--
          (A) have not been recovered or identified;
          (B) were buried at sea, whether by the individual's 
        own choice or otherwise;
          (C) were donated to science; or
          (D) were cremated and the ashes scattered without 
        interment of any portion of the ashes.
  (4) For purposes of this subsection:
          (A) The term ``veteran'' includes an individual who 
        dies in the active military, naval, or air service.
          (B) The term ``surviving spouse'' includes a 
        surviving spouse who had a subsequent remarriage.
  (5) For purposes of this section, the term ``eligible 
dependent child'' means a child--
          (A) who is under 21 years of age, or under 23 years 
        of age if pursuing a course of instruction at an 
        approved educational institution; or
          (B) who is unmarried and became permanently 
        physically or mentally disabled and incapable of self-
        support before reaching 21 years of age, or before 
        reaching 23 years of age if pursuing a course of 
        instruction at an approved educational institution.
  (c) A headstone or marker furnished under subsection (a), 
(b), or (d) of this section may be of any material, including 
but not limited to marble, granite, bronze, or slate, requested 
by the person entitled to request such headstone or marker if 
the material requested is determined by the Secretary (1) to be 
cost effective, and (2) in a case in which the headstone or 
marker is to be placed in a national cemetery, to be 
aesthetically compatible with the area of the cemetery in which 
it is to be placed.
  (d)(1) The Secretary shall furnish, when requested, an 
appropriate Government headstone or marker at the expense of 
the United States for the grave of an individual described in 
paragraph (2) or (5) of subsection (a) who is buried in a 
private cemetery, notwithstanding that the grave is marked by a 
headstone or marker furnished at private expense. Such a 
headstone or marker may be furnished only if the individual 
making the request for the Government headstone or marker 
certifies to the Secretary that the headstone or marker will be 
placed on the grave for which the headstone or marker is 
requested, or, if placement on the grave is impossible or 
impracticable, as close as possible to the grave within the 
grounds of the cemetery in which the grave is located.
  (2) Any headstone or marker furnished under this subsection 
shall be delivered by the Secretary directly to the cemetery 
where the grave is located or to a receiving agent for delivery 
to the cemetery.
  (3) The headstone or marker furnished under this subsection 
shall be the headstone or marker selected by the individual 
making the request from among all the headstones and markers 
made available by the Government for selection.
  (4) In lieu of furnishing a headstone or marker under this 
subsection, the Secretary may furnish, upon request, a 
medallion or other device of a design determined by the 
Secretary to signify the deceased's status as a veteran, to be 
attached to a headstone or marker furnished at private expense.
  (5)(A) In carrying out this subsection with respect to a 
deceased individual described in subparagraph (C), the 
Secretary shall furnish, upon request, a headstone or marker 
under paragraph (1) or a medallion under paragraph (4) that 
signifies the deceased's status as a Medal of Honor recipient.
  (B) If the Secretary furnished a headstone, marker, or 
medallion under paragraph (1) or (4) for a deceased individual 
described in subparagraph (C) that does not signify the 
deceased's status as a Medal of Honor recipient, the Secretary 
shall, upon request, replace such headstone, marker, or 
medallion with a headstone, marker, or medallion, as the case 
may be, that so signifies the deceased's status as a Medal of 
Honor recipient.
  (C) A deceased individual described in this subparagraph is a 
deceased individual who--
          (i) served in the Armed Forces on or after April 6, 
        1917;
          (ii) is eligible for a headstone or marker furnished 
        under paragraph (1) or a medallion furnished under 
        paragraph (4) (or would be so eligible for such 
        headstone, marker, or medallion but for the date of the 
        death of the individual); and
          (iii) was awarded the Medal of Honor (including 
        posthumously).
  (e)(1) The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall provide an 
outer burial receptacle for each new grave in an open cemetery 
under the control of the National Cemetery Administration in 
which remains are interred in a casket. The Secretary of the 
Army may provide an outer burial receptacle for such a grave in 
the Arlington National Cemetery.
  (2) The use of outer burial receptacles in a cemetery under 
the control of the National Cemetery Administration or in the 
Arlington National Cemetery shall be in accordance with 
regulations or procedures approved by the Secretary of Veterans 
Affairs or Secretary of the Army, respectively.
  (3) Regulations or procedures under paragraph (2) may specify 
that--
          (A) an outer burial receptacle other than a grave 
        liner be provided in lieu of a grave liner at the 
        election of the survivors of the interred veteran; and
          (B) if an outer burial receptacle other than a grave 
        liner is provided in lieu of a grave liner upon an 
        election of such survivors, such survivors be 
        required--
                  (i) to pay the amount by which the cost of 
                the outer burial receptacle exceeds the cost of 
                the grave liner that would otherwise have been 
                provided in the absence of the election; and
                  (ii) to pay the amount of the administrative 
                costs incurred by the Secretary (or, with 
                respect to Arlington National Cemetery, the 
                Secretary of the Army) in providing the outer 
                burial receptacle in lieu of such grave liner.
  (4) Regulations or procedures under paragraph (2) may provide 
for the use of a voucher system, or other system of 
reimbursement approved by the Secretary (or, with respect to 
Arlington National Cemetery, the Secretary of the Army), for 
payment for outer burial receptacles other than grave liners 
provided under such regulations or procedures.
  (f) The Secretary may furnish a casket or urn, of such 
quality as the Secretary considers appropriate for a dignified 
burial, for burial in a national cemetery of a deceased veteran 
in any case in which the Secretary--
          (1) is unable to identify the veteran's next of kin, 
        if any; and
          (2) determines that sufficient resources for the 
        furnishing of a casket or urn for the burial of the 
        veteran in a national cemetery are not otherwise 
        available.
  (g)(1) When the Secretary has furnished a headstone or marker 
under subsection (a) for the unmarked grave of an individual, 
the Secretary shall, if feasible, add a memorial inscription to 
that headstone or marker rather than furnishing a separate 
headstone or marker under that subsection for the surviving 
spouse or eligible dependent child of such individual.
  (2) When the Secretary has furnished a memorial headstone or 
marker under subsection (b) for purposes of commemorating a 
veteran or an individual who died in the active military, 
naval, or air service, the Secretary shall, if feasible, add a 
memorial inscription to that headstone or marker rather than 
furnishing a separate memorial headstone or marker under that 
subsection for the surviving spouse or eligible dependent child 
of such individual.
  (h)(1) A headstone or marker may not be furnished under 
subsection (a) for the unmarked grave of a person described in 
section 2411(b) of this title.
  (2) A memorial headstone or marker may not be furnished under 
subsection (b) for the purpose of commemorating a person 
described in section 2411(b) of this title.
  (3) A headstone or marker may not be furnished under 
subsection (d) for the grave of a person described in section 
2411(b) of this title.
  (4) A casket or urn may not be furnished under subsection (f) 
for burial of a person described in section 2411(b) of this 
title.

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Sec. 2308. Transportation of deceased veteran to a national cemetery  
                    or a veterans' cemetery

  [(a) In General.--The Secretary may pay, in addition to any 
amount paid pursuant to section 2302 or 2307 of this title, the 
cost of transportation of the deceased veteran described in 
subsection (b) for burial in a national cemetery. Such payment 
shall not exceed the cost of transportation to the national 
cemetery nearest the veteran's last place of residence in which 
burial space is available.]
  (a) In General.--(1) The Secretary may pay, in addition to 
any amount paid pursuant to section 2302 or 2307 of this title, 
the cost of transportation of the deceased veteran described in 
paragraph (1) or (2) of subsection (b) for burial in a national 
cemetery or a covered veterans' cemetery. Such payment shall 
not exceed the cost of transportation to the national cemetery 
nearest the veteran's last place of residence in which burial 
space is available.
  (2) The Secretary may pay, in addition to any amount paid 
pursuant to section 2302 or 2307 of this title, the cost of 
transportation of the deceased veteran described in subsection 
(b)(3) for burial in a national cemetery. Such payment shall 
not exceed the cost of transportation to the national cemetery 
nearest the veteran's last place of residence in which burial 
space is available.
  (b) Deceased Veteran Described.--A deceased veteran described 
in this subsection is any of the following veterans:
          (1) A veteran who dies as the result of a service-
        connected disability.
          (2) A veteran who dies while in receipt of disability 
        compensation (or who but for the receipt of retirement 
        pay or pension under this title, would have been 
        entitled to compensation).
          (3) A veteran whom the Secretary determines is 
        eligible for funeral expenses under section 2302 of 
        this title by virtue of the Secretary determining that 
        the veteran has no next of kin or other person claiming 
        the body of such veteran pursuant to subsection 
        (a)(2)(A) of such section.
  (c) Covered Veterans' Cemetery Defined.--In this section, the 
term ``covered veterans' cemetery'' means, with respect to a 
deceased veteran described in subsection (b), a veterans' 
cemetery owned by a State or a tribal organization (as defined 
in section 3765(4) of this title) in which the deceased veteran 
is eligible to be buried.

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