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 114th Congress           } HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES {      Report          
 1st Session              }                          {        114-92

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



 
     MILITARY CONSTRUCTION, VETERANS AFFAIRS, AND RELATED AGENCIES 
                       APPROPRIATIONS BILL, 2016

                                _______
                                

 April 24, 2015.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

            Mr. Dent, from the Committee on Appropriations,
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                             MINORITY VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 2029]

    The Committee on Appropriations submits the following 
report in explanation of the accompanying bill making 
appropriations for military construction, the Department of 
Veterans Affairs, and related agencies for the fiscal year 
ending September 30, 2016, and for other purposes.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Purpose of the Bill..............................................     2
Summary of Committee Recommendation..............................     2
Comparative Statement of New Budget Authority....................     4
Management and Oversight Initiatives.............................    14
Department of Defense:
    Military Construction........................................    16
    NATO Security Investment Program.............................    25
    Family Housing Construction and Operation and Maintenance....    25
    Chemical Demilitarization Construction, Defense-Wide.........    28
    Department of Defense Base Closure Account...................    28
    Administrative Provisions....................................    29
Department of Veterans Affairs:
    Veterans Benefits Administration.............................    32
    Veterans Health Administration...............................    34
    National Cemetery Administration.............................    50
    Departmental Administration..................................    51
    Administrative Provisions....................................    65
Related Agencies:
    American Battle Monuments Commission.........................    69
    U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims....................    70
    Cemeterial Expenses, Army....................................    70
    Armed Forces Retirement Home.................................    71
    Administrative Provisions....................................    72
Department of Defense:
    Overseas Contingency Operations..............................    72
General Provisions...............................................    73
House of Representatives Report Requirements.....................    74
    Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives........    74
    Rescissions..................................................    74
    Transfer of Funds............................................    75
    Disclosure of Earmarks and Congressionally Directed Spending 
      Items......................................................    76
    Changes in Application of Existing Law.......................    76
    Appropriations Not Authorized by Law.........................    80
    Program Duplication..........................................    82
    Directed Rule Making.........................................    82
    Full Committee Votes.........................................    83
    Ramseyer Rule................................................    84
    Comparison With the Budget Resolution........................    84
    Five-Year Projection of Outlays..............................    84
    Assistance to State and Local Governments....................    85
    State Project List...........................................    85
    Minority Views...............................................   100

                          Purpose of the Bill

    The purpose of the bill is to support our military and 
their families and provide the benefits and medical care that 
our veterans have earned for their service to our Nation. This 
is accomplished through the programs funded in the bill, which 
provide the facilities and infrastructure needed to house, 
train, and equip our military personnel to defend this nation, 
both in the United States and abroad; provide the housing and 
military community infrastructure that supports a good quality 
of life for them and their families; and allow the military to 
maintain an efficient and effective base structure. The bill 
also funds programs to ensure that all veterans receive the 
benefits and medical care that they have earned as a result of 
the sacrifices they have made in their service to our country. 
Finally, the bill funds four related agencies that provide 
support to our nation's heroes: the American Battle Monuments 
Commission, Cemeterial Expenses, Army (including Arlington 
National Cemetery), the United States Court of Appeals for 
Veterans Claims, and the Armed Forces Retirement Home.

                  Summary of Committee Recommendation

    The Committee recommends $171,135,757,000 in budget 
authority for the fiscal year 2016 programs and activities 
funded in the bill. The fiscal year 2016 recommendation is an 
increase of $4,975,364,000 above the fiscal year 2015 enacted 
level and $2,195,982,000 below the President's request. 
Included in this amount is $94,546,757,000 in mandatory budget 
authority and $76,589,000,000 in discretionary budget 
authority.
    The Committee recommendation highlights the continued 
commitment to our servicemembers and their families and to our 
veterans. In discretionary budget authority, the bill is nearly 
6 percent over the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. The bill 
includes significant increases in military construction, which 
is 11.8 percent over the fiscal year 2015 level, and the 
Department of Veterans affairs budget, which is 5.6 percent 
over the fiscal year 2015 level. While the Committee 
recommendation continues essential support for servicemembers 
and veterans, it does not provide funds for projects or 
activities that lacked sufficient justification or were less 
mission-critical. Where it was prudent, the Committee 
recommendation rescinds prior year funding that is no longer 
needed for the purpose for which it was appropriated while 
leaving sufficient resources to close out contracts.
    The programs funded in the bill for the Department of 
Defense address the priorities of the Department's Agencies and 
the Services for numerous facility challenges that they face. 
The funds provided support new construction, family housing, 
continued cleanup of military bases closed during previous Base 
Realignment and Closure rounds, resource Combatant Commanders 
requirements where appropriate, and ensure that our military 
personnel and their families' quality of life is preserved.
    The total recommended funding level for military 
construction and family housing, including base and Overseas 
Contingency Operations (OCO) funding, is $7,638,000,000, which 
is $1,080,000,000 above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and 
$799,620,000 below the budget request. The total includes 
$7,151,000,000 in base funding and $532,000,000 in OCO funding. 
The recommendation includes full funding for Family Housing, 
funding for necessary construction on our bases, including 
barracks, health facilities and schools, and support for 
critical overseas investments.
    The total funding level for fiscal year 2016 for the 
Department of Veterans Affairs is $163,208,416,000, an increase 
of $4,063,609,000 over the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. Of 
the total, $94,546,757,000 is provided for mandatory benefit 
programs and $68,661,659,000 is allocated to discretionary 
programs such as medical care, claims processing, and 
construction. In this bill, discretionary funding for the 
Department of Veterans Affairs is recommended at 5.6 percent 
over the fiscal year 2015 level. For fiscal year 2016, 
$58,662,202,000 for medical care has been appropriated in 
advance, and the recommendation includes an additional 
$969,554,000 in newly identified needs for VA, focusing on 
caregiver stipends, homelessness, and hepatitis C treatment. 
The recommendation fully funds the request for the 
administrative costs of Veterans Benefits Administration, 
including funding for paperless claims, centralized mail, and 
additional staff. In addition, the Committee recommendation 
includes $63,271,000,000 in advance appropriations for fiscal 
year 2017 for the three health care accounts of the Department 
and $106,412,214,000 in advance appropriations for mandatory 
benefits programs for fiscal year 2017.
    The following table compares amounts recommended in the 
bill to the President's request and amounts appropriated in 
fiscal year 2015:


                  Management and Oversight Initiatives

    The Committee believes the effective stewardship of 
taxpayer dollars is of the highest priority. In the interest of 
eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse in Federal programs, the 
Committee has and will continue to use public hearings, 
briefings, and information requests, and reviews by the 
Government Accountability Office and the Inspectors General to 
promote strong financial and program management, oversight and 
leadership at the Department of Defense, the Department of 
Veterans Affairs, and other agencies under the jurisdiction of 
this bill.
    The fiscal year 2016 appropriations Act and the 
accompanying report address management challenges of the 
Federal agencies funded herein, including directives to 
strengthen financial and program management, eliminate 
redundancy, and improve implementation and oversight of 
initiatives that support the mission of this bill. The 
Committee will use every means at its disposal to reduce 
mismanagement that results in waste, fraud, and abuse.
    Department of Defense (DOD).--In addition to the 
notification and reporting requirements for military 
construction programs contained in Title 10, United States 
Code, the Committee's recommendations include several 
provisions requiring the Department of Defense to report on 
various aspects of military construction programs, or to 
provide notification to the Committee when certain actions are 
taken. The Committee also retains prior approval authority for 
any reprogramming of funds exceeding a specific threshold. In 
one case, the Committee limits any expenditure of construction 
funds until information requested in the fiscal year 2015 
Appropriations Act, and not yet provided whole or in part, is 
received.
    Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).--With the 
$163,208,416,000 provided for the VA in this bill and the 
increase in the number of veterans seeking VA medical services, 
the Committee believes it is important to strengthen its tools 
to monitor spending as well the operating procedures of the VA 
workforce. The following initiatives demonstrate the 
Committee's oversight focus:
    VA electronic health record.--The Committee continues to 
feel it is critical to closely track VA's development of its 
electronic health record. In the aftermath of the DOD and VA 
decision not to pursue a single integrated health record, it 
becomes doubly important to ensure that the two health records 
are designed in a way that permits interoperability between the 
two in order that computable data from one record can be viewed 
and used by clinicians with a different electronic record 
system. The Committee continues the practice of the fiscal 
years 2013, 2014 and 2015 bills to include language requiring 
the VA to provide information on cost, timeline, performance 
benchmarks, and interoperability capacity of the VistA 
Evolution system before release of 75 percent of the funding 
provided. The Committee does not intend to delay the progress 
of developing the health record, but believes continuing 
oversight is necessary to ensure that the health record will 
have the capabilities and interoperability that the Committee 
believes are critical to patient care, as promised by VA 
leadership and in VA documents.
    Disability and appeals claims.--The Committee bill 
continues the aggressive monthly reporting requirements from 
each specific regional office on claims processing performance 
and quarterly reports on remediation efforts at the poorest 
performing regional offices. The Committee is also concerned 
about the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA). Despite adding 100 
FTE last year, the BVA is falling behind and it faces a tsunami 
of appeals because so many claims decisions are being made and 
appeals are proportional to decisions. The Committee requires 
enhanced reporting on the appeals backlog and directs the Board 
to report on the status of the appeals backlog on a quarterly 
basis to include a definition of the backlog, the total number 
of appeals pending, and the total number of appeals in backlog, 
and to identify time-specific metrics related to reduction of 
the backlog. Further, the Committee urges VA to address the 
status of filling open BVA leadership positions, and the plans 
for information technology to address the increasing workload.
    Information Technology (IT).--The Committee continues to 
include bill language prohibiting obligation or expenditure of 
funds for information technology systems development, 
modernization and enhancement until VA submits to the 
Committees a certification of the amounts. The bill limits the 
amount of funds that can be transferred into IT to 10 percent 
of the total of the IT account. The bill contains language 
which allows for the reprogramming of funds among development, 
modernization and enhancement projects upon prior notification 
to, and approval by, the Committees.
    Stricter control of construction funding.--To enhance the 
Committee's capacity to conduct oversight on VA's facility 
construction efforts, several administrative provisions are 
added or strengthened in the bill: (1) no funding greater than 
$5,000,000 may be reprogrammed between construction projects 
unless approved by the Committees on Appropriations of both 
House of Congress; (2) any change to the scope of a 
construction project is prohibited without the approval of the 
Committees; and (3) VA must report any bid savings of 
$5,000,000 or more on projects as soon as they are identified. 
Additionally, the Committee continues bill language limiting 
the availability of these funds to five years. The Committee 
includes additional requirements for the VA as a result of the 
gross facility construction mismanagement with the VA Aurora, 
Colorado hospital project, including reporting on program 
oversight and management controls for current and future VA 
construction projects.
    Access to care for veterans.--In the aftermath of the 
appointment waitlist scandal in Phoenix and other VA hospital 
facilities, the Committee has urged VA to increase its use of 
non-VA contract care in order to provide care to veterans 
faster. One mechanism the Committee has urged VA to use is the 
Patient-Centered Community Care Program (PC3) which uses 
outside contractors to locate appointments for veterans through 
their networks of providers. The Committee is disappointed that 
PC3 is not being used extensively throughout the VA health 
system. As a result, the Committee has established rigorous 
reporting requirements on the usage of PC3 so that Congress 
will have the information it needs to facilitate PC3 use to 
benefit veterans.
    Notification of change in use of funds.--To ensure that the 
Committee is informed of and approves of changes in planned 
uses of medical services funds, the bill continues a 
reprogramming requirement for significant changes in funding of 
non-model initiatives.

                                TITLE I


                         DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE


                     Military Construction Overview


 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level (including rescissions)    $6,558,000,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................     8,437,620,000
Committee recommendation in the bill (including            7,151,000,000
 rescissions).........................................
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................       593,000,000
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................   (1,286,620,000)
 

    Military construction accounts provide funds for new 
construction, construction improvements, planning and design, 
and host nation support. Projects funded by these accounts 
include facilities for operations, training, maintenance, 
research and development, supply, medical care, and force 
protection, as well as unaccompanied housing, utilities 
infrastructure, and land acquisition.
    Reprogramming guidelines.--The following reprogramming 
guidelines apply for all military construction and family 
housing projects. A project or account (including the sub-
elements of an account) which has been specifically reduced by 
the Congress in acting on the budget request is considered to 
be a Congressional interest item and as such, prior approval is 
required. Accordingly, no reprogramming to an item specifically 
reduced below the threshold by the Congress is permitted, 
except that the Department of Defense may seek reprogramming 
for appropriated increments.
    The reprogramming criteria that apply to military 
construction projects (25 percent of the funded amount or 
$2,000,000, whichever is less) continue to apply to new housing 
construction projects and to improvements over $2,000,000. To 
provide the services the flexibility to proceed with 
construction contracts without disruption or delay, the costs 
associated with environmental hazard remediation such as 
asbestos removal, radon abatement, lead-based paint removal or 
abatement, and any other legislated environmental hazard 
remediation may be excluded, if such remediation requirements 
could not be reasonably anticipated at the time of the budget 
submission. This exclusion applies to projects authorized in 
this budget year, as well as projects authorized in prior years 
for which construction has not been completed. Planning and 
design costs associated with military construction and family 
housing projects may also be excluded from these guidelines. In 
instances where prior approval to a reprogramming request for a 
project or account has been received from the Committees on 
Appropriations of both Houses of Congress, the adjusted amount 
approved becomes the new base for any future increase or 
decrease via below-threshold reprogramming (provided that the 
project or account is not a Congressional interest item as 
defined above).
    In addition to these guidelines, the services are directed 
to adhere to the guidance for military construction 
reprogramming actions and notifications, including the 
pertinent statutory authorities contained in Department of 
Defense Financial Management Regulation 7000.14-R and relevant 
updates and policy memoranda. The Committee further encourages 
the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to use a 
format similar to that used by the Office of the Secretary of 
Defense to submit reprogramming requests.
    Facilities Sustainment, Restoration and Modernization 
(FSRM).--The Department of Defense is directed to continue 
describing on form 1390 the backlog of FSRM requirements at 
installations with future construction projects. For troop 
housing requests, form 1391 should describe any FSRM conducted 
in the past two years. Likewise, future requirements for 
unaccompanied housing at the corresponding installation should 
be included. Additionally, the forms should include English 
equivalent measurements for projects presented in metric 
measurement. Rules for funding repairs of facilities under the 
Operation and Maintenance accounts are described below:
          (1) components of the facility may be repaired by 
        replacement. Such replacement can be up to current 
        standards or codes;
          (2) interior arrangements and restorations may be 
        included as repair;
          (3) additions, new facilities, and functional 
        conversions must be performed as military construction 
        projects. Such projects may be done concurrently with 
        repair projects as long as the final conjunctively 
        funded project is a complete and usable facility; and
          (4) the appropriate service secretary shall notify 
        the appropriate committees 21 days prior to carrying 
        out any repair project with an estimated cost in excess 
        of $7,500,000. The Committee strongly encourages the 
        services and defense agencies to indicate the plant 
        replacement value of the facility to be repaired on 
        each such notification.
    Quarterly summary of notifications.--The Committee directs 
the services and the Office of the Secretary of Defense (on 
behalf of itself and defense agencies) to continue to submit a 
quarterly report listing all notifications that have been 
submitted to the Committees during the preceding three-month 
period.
    Work in Progress or Planned (WIP) curve.--The Committee 
directs the services and the Office of the Secretary of Defense 
(on behalf of itself and defense agencies) to submit a WIP 
curve for each project requested in a budget submission over 
$100,000,000 with the 1391 justification to the congressional 
defense committees.
    Transfer of funds to and from the Foreign Currency 
Fluctuations, Construction, Defense Account.--The Committee 
directs the Department of Defense to submit a quarterly report 
to the Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of Congress 
on the transfer of funds from military construction and family 
housing accounts to the Foreign Currency Fluctuations, 
Construction, Defense account. The report shall specify the 
amount transferred to the Foreign Currency account from each 
military construction and/or family housing account, and all 
other accounts for which an appropriation is provided in this 
Act, during the preceding fiscal quarter, and the amounts 
transferred from the Foreign Currency account to the above 
accounts during the same period. This report shall be submitted 
no later than 30 days after the close of each fiscal quarter. 
In addition, the Department of Defense shall notify the 
Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of Congress within 
7 days of transferring any amount in excess of $10,000,000 to 
or from the Foreign Currency account.
    Bid savings.--The Committee has ascertained from cost 
variation notices required by 10 U.S.C. 2853 that the 
Department of Defense continues to have bid savings on 
previously appropriated military construction projects. The 
Committee's recommendation therefore includes rescissions to 
the Army, Air Force, and Defense-Wide construction accounts. 
The Committee directs the Secretary of Defense to continue to 
submit 1002 reports on military construction bid savings at the 
end of each fiscal quarter to the Subcommittee on Military 
Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies of both 
the House and Senate. The Committee further directs the 
Secretary of Defense to assess planned projects within the 
services and the defense agencies under a threshold of 
$10,000,000 in expected costs and report to the congressional 
defense committees 90 days after enactment of this Act a list 
of such projects that could be completed with bid savings and 
subsequent reprogramming actions in lieu of incorporating them 
into a fiscal year or a future year budget submission.
    Defense Access Roads FYDP.--The Committee is concerned 
about the lack of future planning for Defense Access Roads 
(DAR) and transportation infrastructure needs around bases 
beyond fiscal year 2016. The Committee urges the Secretary of 
Defense to work with the Secretary of Transportation to 
prioritize all DAR certified roads and projects in the outyears 
2017-2021, including examining bases in communities that have 
contributed to transportation infrastructure that benefits 
bases and report to the congressional defense committees no 
later than 30 days after enactment of this Act on its findings.
    Defense Access Roads project timeline.--Accompanying Public 
Law Number 113-235, the below language was included requesting 
an updated list of certified unfunded Defense Access Road 
requirements, and a list of unfunded requirements for road 
improvements surrounding military installations. The Committee 
still has yet to receive this report and directs the Department 
of Defense to submit the report 30 days after enactment of this 
Act.

        The Committee is very concerned about the lack of use 
        of the Defense Access Roads program within the 
        Department of Defense. The Committee has heard of many 
        worthwhile road construction/expansion projects in and 
        around military installations that are in great need of 
        funding. These projects would provide a great benefit 
        to the installations and the surrounding communities. 
        Therefore, the Committee directs the Department to 
        review needed projects around military installations as 
        well as a timeline on when those projects will be 
        completed and report back to the Committee not later 
        than 30 days after enactment of this Act. If the 
        Department cannot provide a timeline, they should 
        explain how the program can be changed to meet those 
        requirements.

    High Performance and Sustainable Building Requirements.--
The Committee notes that in March 2013, the Department of 
Defense released Unified Facilities Criteria (UFC) 1-200-02, 
High Performance and Sustainable Building Requirements. UFC 1-
200-02 defines the minimum requirements for planning, design 
and construction, renovation, repair, maintenance and 
operations, and equipment installation in new and existing 
facilities. In a policy memorandum issued in November 2013, 
military components were authorized to pursue greater energy 
and water efficiency if such initiatives are shown to reduce 
total ownership cost of the facility, or preserve or increase 
mission effectiveness in the face of projected resource 
scarcity. The Committee regrets that the Department of Defense 
has done little to increase the use of innovative building 
materials following the inclusion of similar language in the 
report accompanying the Howard P. Buck McKeon National Defense 
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015, H.R. 4435. The 
Committee recognizes that innovative technologies have expanded 
the availability of materials with lower embodied energy for 
facilities that require tall walls and large open spaces with 
minimal intermediate supports. In addition, design techniques 
such as advanced framing contribute to lower material costs, 
increased energy efficiency, and reduced waste in facilities. 
Therefore, the Committee encourages the Department of Defense 
to incorporate the use of innovative renewable building 
materials, systems, and design techniques that support the 
requirements of UFC 1-200-02 and the goals of achieving greater 
efficiency and lower environmental impacts at a lower material 
cost. Furthermore, the Committee encourages the Department of 
Defense to collaborate with the United States Department of 
Agriculture and the United States Forest Service to advance its 
understanding of innovative renewable building materials and 
systems and jointly develop a plan on expanding their use as 
appropriate.
    Facilities in excess of mission requirements.--The 
Committee is concerned that Department of Defense officials 
have stated an estimated 30 percent of Defense facilities are 
in excess of mission requirements, a fiscally unsustainable 
diversion of scarce resources from readiness. Therefore the 
Committee requests, not later than 60 days after enactment of 
this Act, the Secretary of Defense is to provide to the 
congressional defense committees a report detailing each 
department facility with a utilization rate less than 50 
percent of available capacity, the number of uniformed 
personnel and civilian employees at each of those facilities, 
and the annual budget for personnel, as well as operations and 
maintenance costs associated with each identified facility. 
Finally, the report shall indicate any facility determined to 
be 100% in excess of mission requirements.
    Pre-Engineered/Prefabricated Buildings.--The Committee 
encourages the Department of Defense to expand utilization of 
existing GSA Schedule for Pre-Engineered/Prefabricated 
Buildings and Structures (PEBS). The Committee urges DOD 
contracting personnel and agency executives to consider the 
savings in costs and time potentially gained by procuring its 
facility needs, when possible and practical, through the GSA 
Schedule. The Committee also encourages DOD policy makers and 
program managers to streamline the process and eliminate any 
unnecessary bureaucratic, regulatory or policy impediments to 
such GSA procurement.
    Critical Infrastructure.--In a declining military 
construction budget climate, the Committee is aware that there 
is a need to support DOD's requirements to replace or invest 
the aging infrastructure at installations deemed critical by 
current Defense Strategic Guidance and Combatant Commander 
(COCOM) requirements. Installations deemed critical support 
missions in support of our nation's military. For example, 
PACOM's realignment to the Pacific region and our reliance on 
installations within the area of responsibility to have the 
ability to execute their assigned missions will undoubtedly 
increase in the future. The Committee urges DOD to ensure that 
such installations have the proper investment in infrastructure 
that is fully capable of supporting COCOM and services' 
requirements in the future.
    Department of Defense (DOD) excess facilities capacity.--
DOD is facing long term challenges in maintaining its extensive 
portfolio of facilities and reducing unneeded infrastructure. 
The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) has made some 
improvements, but the military departments' use of their 
databases to identify consolidation opportunities is still in 
need of improvement. During the fiscal year 2016 Hearing on 
Installations, Environment, and BRAC Senior DOD officials 
testified that DOD continues to have excess infrastructure and 
that an additional BRAC round is necessary to make further 
reductions and achieve future cost savings. With BRAC 
authorization not under the jurisdiction of this Committee, the 
Committee therefore, directs each Services Assistant Secretary 
for Installations, Energy and Environment to provide a 
strategic plan to manage DOD's excess real property efficiently 
and what opportunities there are to consolidate unutilized or 
underutilized facilities subsequently reducing operation and 
maintenance costs for maintaining those facilities. This report 
shall be submitted no later than 90 days after enactment of 
this Act.

                      Military Construction, Army


 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................      $528,427,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................       743,245,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................       663,245,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................       134,818,000
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................      (80,000,000)
 

    The Committee recommendation includes a rescission of 
$96,000,000 from bid savings under Administrative Provisions.

              Military Construction, Navy and Marine Corps


 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................    $1,018,772,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................     1,669,239,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................     1,349,678,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................       330,906,000
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................     (319,561,000)
 

    The Committee recommendation includes a new title IV, 
Overseas Contingency Operations which includes $244,004,000 of 
``Military Construction, Navy and Marine Corps'' projects that 
were requested in title I for which funding is provided in 
title IV.
    Live-Fire Training Range Complex (NW Field).--The Committee 
fully supports and applauds the efforts of the Marine Corps to 
establish the appropriate training ranges on Guam in support of 
the movement of Marines from Okinawa. The budget request for 
the live-fire training range is $125,677,000. The Committee is 
concerned that the projected cost of the live-fire training 
range itself is $32,310,000 while the supporting facilities 
cost is $76,500,000, or double of the cost of the actual range. 
The Committee therefore has reduced project P715 by $25,000,000 
and directs the Secretary of the Navy to certify in writing to 
the congressional defense committees 60 days after enactment of 
this Act that the supporting facilities costs of any future 
training ranges for the Marine Corps will not exceed the actual 
cost of the range itself.
    Shipboard and Base Lighting Systems.--The Committee 
commends the Navy for its increasing use of tubular light-
emitting diode (T-LED) lighting and encourages it to continue 
these activities. The Committee directs the Navy to consider 
updating lighting specifications for ships and bases so T-LED 
use is an option, developing an approved products list for T-
LEDs that is broadly available for use in all vessels, as well 
as bases, using total lifecycle costs to determine the value of 
T-LEDs, and making the installation of T-LEDs in vessels a 
priority when appropriate, such as during ship retrofits and 
new builds. T-LED usage on bases would help the Navy in 
reaching the goals it has set forth in its Shore Energy Program 
which seeks to reduce shore energy intensity by 30% (energy 
consumption per square foot) by 2015 and by 50% in 2020.

                    Military Construction, Air Force


 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................      $811,774,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................     1,389,185,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................     1,237,055,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................       425,281,000
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................     (152,130,000)
 

    The Committee recommendation includes a rescission of 
$52,600,000 from bid savings under Administrative Provisions. 
The bid savings are available based on the first quarter bid 
savings and unobligated balances update from DOD in which the 
Air Force listed two projects as ``known bills'' but also 
requested funding for the projects in the fiscal year 2016 
President's budget submission. Therefore, the Committee has 
provided funding for Guardian Angel Operations Facility and Low 
Observation/Corrosion Control/Composite Repair Shop within 
Military Construction, Air Force within its appropriations 
therefore making the funds available for rescission.
    The Committee recommendation includes a new title IV, 
Overseas Contingency Operations which includes $75,000,000 of 
``Military Construction, Air Force'' projects that were 
requested in title I for which funding is provided in title IV.
    Long Range Strike Bomber.--The Committee is concerned about 
the procurement of the new Long Range Strike Bomber. The fiscal 
year 2016 budget submission included funding for the Long Range 
Strike Bomber Hangar and supporting facilities. The Committee 
believes that the fiscal year 2016 request is early to need 
since a decision on the type of aircraft will not occur until 
June 2015; therefore the recommendation reduces ``Military 
Construction, Air Force'' by $77,130,000.
    Space launch infrastructure.--The Committee recognizes the 
national importance of having a safe, secure, reliable, and 
modern space launch range infrastructure to support the 
national security space mission. The Committee is aware that 
there are a number of aging facilities, with structural and 
technological deficiencies, that are indispensable hubs for 
commands, telemetry, and radar support for U.S. space launch 
capabilities as well as warfighters down-range. The Committee 
is concerned that the current condition of the aging 
facilities, such as the Range Communications Facility at Cape 
Canaveral Air Force Station, which is the Air Force Space 
Command's number one current mission MILCON project for fiscal 
years 2013-2017 and the impact such conditions may have on the 
ability of U.S. Air Force Space Command to meet its mission and 
operational requirements until such facilities are 
recapitalized. The Committee urges the Air Force to prioritize 
resources and future requests to Congress, as appropriate, to 
ensure that U.S. space launch range capabilities are in safe, 
secure, and reliable condition.
    Air Traffic Control Towers.--The Committee is concerned 
that the Department of the Air Force's Air Traffic Control 
Towers have been neglected over the years and funding for 
military construction has been deferred to the out years of 
budget submissions. Many of the air towers are deteriorating 
and antiquated, creating significant life, safety, and health 
concerns. In some cases, towers have developed extensive mold 
issues and contain health risks related to the use of asbestos 
and lead-based paint. Additionally, obstructed views in some 
cases prevent 100% positive visual control of aircraft landing 
and taxiing on the airfield. Given the safety issues, the 
Committee urges the Department of the Air Force to prioritize 
funding for these towers in a much timelier manner. The 
Committee believes that these towers are valuable national 
security assets that the Department of the Air Force should 
maintain in a manner that will ensure their vital role in 
protecting U.S. national security interests.
    Construction of airfield and base camp.--Funds requested 
for the construction of airfield infrastructure to enable 
beddown of aircraft to support operations by AFRICOM for the 
purpose of conducting intelligence gathering on extremist 
groups in the Sahel Region represents an expansion of the U.S. 
military footprint on the African continent. The Committee 
requests quarterly notifications until the facility is 
operational on the status of construction of infrastructure 
elements, number of U.S. uniformed, civilian, and contracted 
personnel on site, and timeline for completion of construction.

                  Military Construction, Defense-Wide


                     (INCLUDING TRANSFER OF FUNDS)

 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................    $1,991,690,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................     2,300,767,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................     1,931,456,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................      (60,234,000)
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................     (369,311,000)
 

    The Committee recommendation includes a rescission of 
$134,000,000 from bid savings under Administrative Provisions.
    The Committee recommendation includes a new title IV, 
Overseas Contingency Operations which includes $212,996,000 of 
``Military Construction, Defense-Wide'' projects that were 
requested in title I for which funding is provided in title IV.
    Transfer of funds.--The accompanying bill provides transfer 
authority to the Secretary of Defense to allow the transfer of 
funds to such appropriations of the Department of Defense 
available for military construction or family housing as the 
Secretary may designate.
    DODEA school construction.--The Committee fully supports 
the fiscal year 2016 request for the construction of ten 
schools in the United States and overseas. The Committee 
however, is concerned that the changes that are occurring 
across the Department of Defense associated with force 
structure reductions may impact whether funding is needed at an 
installation or if it is determined not to be an enduring 
installation. The Committee therefore directs the Director of 
the Department of Defense Education Activity (DODEA) to report 
on the status of DODEA funding and provide by location any 
funding that has been placed on hold for any reason to the 
congressional defense committees 90 days after enactment of 
this Act.
    Behavioral Health/Dental Clinic Add, Project 80412.--The 
Committee fully supports the two clinic additions contained in 
this request. However, the Committee is concerned about the 
parking plan for this project as requested in the budget 
submission. The fiscal year 2016 budget submission includes 
$16,275,000 for one-third of the required parking for this two-
phased project with no definitive plan for the additional 
parking requirements. Therefore, the Committee includes a 
reduction of $16,275,000. Parking at Schofield Barracks writ 
large is at a premium and with phase II of this project not 
being requested until fiscal year 2018, the Committee is 
concerned that there is not a clear path forward and directs 
the Director of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of 
Defense for Health Affairs to provide to the Committee a full 
parking master plan for project 80412 no later than 90 days 
after enactment of this Act.
    Special Operations Command resiliency and human performance 
centers.--The Committee's recommendation does not include 
funding for the Human Performance Center at Pendleton and the 
embedded facility at Fort Bragg. The Committee is concerned 
that these facilities are redundant in nature to existing 
medical facilities, clinics and gymnasiums located at the 
installations.
    SOCOM POTFF military construction requirements.--The 
Committee remains concerned about the lack of transparency in 
SOCOM's process of evaluating the military construction 
requirements for POTFF facilities overall, including the out-
years. The Committee is further concerned about the lack of 
response from the Command on prior fiscal year reporting 
requirements that were both in enacted law and required in the 
accompanying reports. Therefore, the Committee directs the 
SOCOM Commander to report to the congressional defense 
committees no later than 90 days after enactment of this Act on 
the following:
          1. The population to be supported to include a 
        breakout of combat operators, combat support operators, 
        combat non-operators and combat service support to 
        include a priority for Service SOF component and 
        USSOCOM.
          2. Identify all POTFF physical training requirements 
        and facility square footage by labor category, function 
        and equipment, including outdoor space if needed.
          3. What is the current status of all facilities or 
        facility groups by location and installation; the 
        degree to which POTFF requirements are being met; the 
        way ahead if requirements are not being met; and what 
        existing MWR athletic facilities can provide, or not 
        provide to meet POTFF physical performance and embedded 
        staffing requirement.
          4. What is the preferred support concept by 
        installation, and unit or regional unit group.
          5. Specify the priority of all requested POTFF 
        facility military construction requirements with 
        respect to all SOCOM military priorities to include 
        unfunded requirements.
    Concord Naval Weapons Station.--The Committee is pleased by 
the progress made by the Navy to transfer land at the Concord 
Naval Weapons Station Inland Area closed under the 2005 Base 
Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Authority. The Committee 
encourages the Navy to continue to work with the United States 
Fish and Wildlife Services to complete an Environmental Impact 
Statement as quickly as possible.

                   Guard and Reserve Item of Interest

    Enforcement of Border Security.--Recognizing the need to 
bolster resources for the enforcement of border security, the 
Committee instructs the Army National Guard and the Air 
National Guard to explore public-private partnerships with 
state and local governments, to design, and construct 
facilities adjacent to our southwestern border that will 
support National Guard activities and house and support assets 
used by Customs and Border Protection and other law enforcement 
agencies for the terrestrial, maritime, and aerial surveillance 
of those borders, to include aircraft hangars suitable for 
unmanned aerial systems and report back to the Committee 180 
days after the enactment of the this Act.

               Military Construction, Army National Guard


 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................      $128,920,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................       197,237,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................       167,437,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................        38,517,000
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................      (29,800,000)
 

               Military Construction, Air National Guard


 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................       $92,663,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................       138,738,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................       138,738,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................        46,075,000
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................             - - -
 

                  Military Construction, Army Reserve


 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................      $103,946,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................       113,595,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................       104,295,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................           349,000
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................       (9,300,000)
 

                  Military Construction, Navy Reserve


 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................       $51,528,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................        36,078,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................        36,078,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................      (15,450,000)
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................             - - -
 

                Military Construction, Air Force Reserve


 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................       $49,492,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................        65,021,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................        65,021,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................        15,529,000
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................             - - -
 

     North Atlantic Treaty Organization Security Investment Program


 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................      $199,700,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................       120,000,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................       150,000,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................     (-49,700,000)
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................        30,000,000
 

    The North Atlantic Treaty Organization Security Investment 
Program (NSIP) consists of annual contributions by NATO member 
countries. The program finances the costs of construction 
needed to support the roles of the major NATO commands. The 
investments cover facilities such as airfields, fuel pipelines 
and storage, harbors, communications and information systems, 
radar and navigational aids, and military headquarters, both 
within NATO nations and for ``out of area'' operations such as 
Afghanistan.
    The U.S. occasionally has been forced to temporarily delay 
the authorization of projects due to shortfalls in U.S. 
obligation authority. The Committee directs the Secretary of 
Defense to notify the Committee within 14 days of the U.S. 
taking action to temporarily delay the authorization of 
projects, or to temporarily withhold funds from previously 
authorized projects, due to shortfalls in U.S. obligation 
authority.
    Finally, the bill provides an additional $30,000,000 for 
NSIP to support fixed and mobile infrastructure necessary for 
NATO wartime, crisis, peace support and deterrence operations 
and NATO-unique training requirements as prioritized by the 
NATO Strategic Commanders. The additional funds will support 
responses to the challenges posed by Russia and to the risks 
and threats emanating from the Middle East and North Africa.

                        Family Housing Overview


 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................    $1,190,535,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................     1,413,181,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................     1,413,181,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................       222,646,000
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................             - - -
 

    Family housing construction accounts provide funds for new 
construction, construction improvements, the Federal government 
costs for family housing privatization projects, and planning 
and design. The operation and maintenance accounts provide 
funds to pay for maintenance and repair, furnishings, 
management, services, utilities, leasing, interest, mortgage 
insurance, and miscellaneous expenses.
    Family housing privatization progress reports.--The 
Committee directs the Department of Defense to continue 
submitting semi-annual progress reports on the family housing 
privatization program, including a breakout of military tenant 
satisfaction rates by project.
    Foreign currency savings and sub-account transfers.--The 
Committee directs that savings in family housing operation and 
maintenance accounts from foreign currency re-estimates be used 
to maintain and repair existing family housing units. The 
Comptroller is directed to report to the Committees on 
Appropriations of both Houses of Congress on how these savings 
are allocated 90 days after enactment of this Act. In addition, 
the Committee directs the services and Defense agencies to 
notify the Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of 
Congress within 30 days of a transfer of funds between sub-
accounts within the family housing construction and family 
housing operation and maintenance accounts, if such transfer is 
in excess of 10 percent of the funds appropriated to the sub-
account to which the funds are being transferred. Notifications 
to the Committees shall indicate the sub-accounts and amounts 
that are being used to source the transfer.
    Leasing reporting requirements.--The Secretary of Defense 
is directed to report to the Committees on Appropriations of 
both Houses of Congress quarterly on the details of all new or 
renewed domestic leases entered into during the previous 
quarter that exceed the cost threshold set by 10 U.S.C. 
2828(b)(2), including certification that less expensive housing 
was not available for lease. For foreign leases, the Department 
is directed to: (1) perform an economic analysis on all new 
leases or lease/contract agreements where more than 25 units 
are involved; (2) report the details of new or renewed lease 
agreements that exceed the cost threshold set by 10 U.S.C. 
2828(e)(1) 21 days prior to entering into such an agreement; 
and (3) base leasing decisions on the economic analysis.
    Camp Humphreys housing.--The Committee is concerned that 
the Department of Defense (DOD) has not yet provided the report 
on its strategy and associated funding requirements necessary 
to provide adequate family housing for service members assigned 
to United States Army Garrison (USAG) Humphreys, Korea. The 
Committee strongly urges DOD to expeditiously complete and 
submit its report to the Committee including the resources DOD 
needs to meet the on-base housing requirements and to improve 
living conditions for service members and their families in 
desperate need of a suitable, long-term housing solution at 
USAG Humphreys.

                   Family Housing Construction, Army


 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................       $78,609,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................        99,695,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................        99,695,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................        21,086,000
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................             - - -
 

             Family Housing Operation and Maintenance, Army


 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................      $350,976,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................       393,511,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................       393,511,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................        42,535,000
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................             - - -
 

           Family Housing Construction, Navy and Marine Corps


 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................       $16,412,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................        16,541,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................        16,541,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................           129,000
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................             - - -
 

    Family Housing Operation and Maintenance, Navy and Marine Corps


 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................      $354,029,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................       353,036,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................       353,036,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................         (993,000)
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................             - - -
 

                 Family Housing Construction, Air Force


 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................            $- - -
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................       160,498,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................       160,498,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................       160,498,000
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................             - - -
 

          Family Housing Operation and Maintenance, Air Force


 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................      $327,747,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................       331,232,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................       331,232,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................         3,485,000
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................             - - -
 

         Family Housing Operation and Maintenance, Defense-Wide


 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................       $61,100,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................        58,668,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................        58,668,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................       (2,432,000)
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................             - - -
 

         Department of Defense Family Housing Improvement Fund


 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................        $1,662,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................             - - -
Committee recommendation in the bill..................             - - -
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................       (1,662,000)
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................             - - -
 

          Chemical Demilitarization Construction, Defense-Wide


 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................       $38,715,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................             - - -
Committee recommendation in the bill..................             - - -
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................      (38,715,000)
    Fiscal year 2015 budget request...................             - - -
 

             The Department of Defense Base Closure Account


 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................      $315,085,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................       251,334,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................       251,334,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................      (63,751,000)
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................             - - -
 

    Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove.--The 
Committee understands that the Navy has completed its Final 
Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the disposal and 
reuse of the former Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base (NAS 
JRB) Willow Grove Horsham, PA. The Committee further 
understands that the Navy is in the process of drafting the 
Findings of Suitability to Transfer as well as environmental 
remediation for site cleanup. The Committee is concerned by the 
slow pace of progress in remediating these properties. The 
Committee directs the Secretary of Defense to provide a report 
to the Committee identifying the remediation requirements as 
required by the BRAC process and an estimated timeline for 
completion for making NAS JRB Willow Grove suitable for 
redevelopment no later than 60 days after enactment of this 
Act.
    Accountability for BRAC clean up funds.--As the Committee 
has previously noted in H. Rept. 112-94, and again in H. Rept. 
113-416, the Committee remains concerned regarding the current 
pace of Legacy BRAC site clean-up. Consequently, the committee 
will ask for and the DOD is instructed to cooperate in and 
collaborate on a new GAO study updating the study GAO-07-166 on 
environmental cleanup progress.
    Infrastructure Inventory and Assessment of Infrastructure 
Necessary to Support On-going Defense Activities.--The 
Committee is concerned about the Department and the Services' 
frequent reference to the need for another full round of base 
closures. Though the committee is not endorsing or precluding 
another BRAC round, it is interested in more detailed 
information that would help lead Congress to make an informed 
decision on that question. By no later than December 31, 2015, 
the Secretary of Defense is directed to provide the following 
infrastructure and military construction information to the 
Committee as it might relate to a future BRAC round.
    The Secretary of Defense shall provide a comprehensive 
inventory of military installations, including those overseas, 
for each military department, with specifications of the number 
and types of facilities in the active and reserve forces of 
each military department.
    Using this infrastructure inventory the Secretary of 
Defense shall prepare the following:
           A description of the infrastructure 
        necessary to support on-going defense activities.
           A discussion of categories of excess 
        infrastructure and infrastructure capacity, and the 
        Secretary's targets for the reduction of such excess 
        capacity.
           An assessment of the excess infrastructure 
        and the value of retaining certain excess 
        infrastructure to support surge or reversibility 
        requirements.
           An economic analysis of the effect of the 
        closure or realignment of military installations to 
        reduce excess infrastructure.
    In determining the level of necessary versus excess 
infrastructure, the Secretary of Defense shall consider the 
following:
           The anticipated continuing need for and 
        availability of military installations outside the 
        United States and the potential for future prohibitions 
        or restrictions on the use of such military 
        installations.
           Any efficiencies that may be gained from 
        joint tenancy by more than one branch of the Armed 
        Forces at a military installation or the reorganization 
        or association of two or more military installations as 
        a single military installation.
    On the basis of this infrastructure inventory report and 
its descriptions and economic analysis, the Secretary of 
Defense shall include a certification regarding whether the 
need exists for closure or realignment of military 
installations.
    As a condition on the certification above, the Secretary 
shall include an additional certification that every 
recommendation for closure or realignment of military 
installations in a round of closures and realignments will 
result in annual net savings for each of the military 
departments within six years after the initiation of a round of 
closures and realignments.

                       Administrative Provisions

    The bill includes 31 provisions of which 26 were in effect 
in fiscal year 2015 and 5 are new or revised provisions. The 
administrative provisions included in the bill are as follows:
    The bill includes section 101 prohibiting the use of funds 
for payments under a cost-plus-a-fixed-fee contract for 
construction where cost estimates exceed $25,000. An exception 
for Alaska is provided.
    The bill includes section 102 permitting the use of 
construction funds for the hire of passenger motor vehicles.
    The bill includes section 103 permitting funds to be 
expended on the construction of defense access roads under 
certain circumstances.
    The bill includes section 104 prohibiting construction of 
new bases in the United States without a specific 
appropriation.
    The bill includes section 105 limiting the use of funds for 
the purchase of land or land easements that exceed 100 percent 
of value except under certain conditions.
    The bill includes section 106 prohibiting the use of funds 
to acquire land, prepare sites, or install utilities for family 
housing except housing for which funds have been appropriated.
    The bill includes section 107 limiting the use of minor 
construction funds to relocate any activity from one 
installation to another without prior notification.
    The bill includes section 108 prohibiting the procurement 
of steel unless American producers, fabricators, and 
manufacturers have been allowed to compete.
    The bill includes section 109 prohibiting the use of funds 
to pay real property taxes in foreign nations.
    The bill includes section 110 prohibiting the use of funds 
to initiate a new installation overseas without prior 
notification.
    The bill includes section 111 establishing a preference for 
United States architectural and engineering services where the 
services are in Japan, NATO member countries, or countries 
bordering the Arabian Sea.
    The bill includes section 112 establishing a preference for 
United States contractors for military construction in the 
United States territories and possessions in the Pacific and on 
Kwajalein Atoll, or countries within the Central Command area 
of responsibility, except bids by Marshallese contractors for 
military construction on Kwajalein Atoll.
    The bill includes section 113 requiring the Secretary of 
Defense to give prior notice to Congress of military exercises 
where construction costs exceed $100,000.
    The bill includes section 114 allowing funds appropriated 
in prior years to be used for new projects authorized during 
the current session of Congress.
    The bill includes section 115 allowing the use of expired 
or lapsed funds to pay the cost of supervision for any project 
being completed with lapsed funds.
    The bill includes section 116 providing that funds for 
military construction projects are available until the end of 
the fourth fiscal year following the fiscal year in which funds 
are appropriated, subject to certain conditions.

                     (INCLUDING TRANSFER OF FUNDS)

    The bill includes section 117 allowing for the transfer of 
funds from Family Housing Construction accounts to the 
Department of Defense Family Housing Improvement Fund and funds 
from Military Construction accounts to the Department of 
Defense Military Unaccompanied Housing Improvement Fund.

                     (INCLUDING TRANSFER OF FUNDS)

    The bill includes section 118, as amended, providing 
transfer authority to the Homeowners Assistance Program.
    The bill includes section 119, as amended, requiring that 
funds in this title be the sole source of all operation and 
maintenance for flag and general officer quarter houses, and 
limits the repair on these quarters to $15,000 per year without 
notification.
    The bill includes section 120 making funds in the Ford 
Island Improvement Fund available until expended.

                     (INCLUDING TRANSFER OF FUNDS)

    The bill includes section 121 allowing the transfer of 
expired funds to the ``Foreign Currency Fluctuations, 
Construction, Defense'' account.
    The bill includes section 122 prohibiting the use of funds 
to relocate a unit of the Army that would impact more than 200 
personnel.
    The bill includes section 123 allowing the transfer of 
funds among projects and activities in accordance with the 
reprogramming guidelines.
    The bill includes section 124 prohibiting the use of funds 
for projects at Arlington National Cemetery.

                    (INCLUDING RESCISSION OF FUNDS)

    The bill includes section 125 rescinding funds from prior 
appropriations Acts.

                    (INCLUDING RESCISSION OF FUNDS)

    The bill includes section 126 rescinding funds from prior 
appropriations Acts.

                    (INCLUDING RESCISSION OF FUNDS)

    The bill includes section 127 rescinding funds from prior 
appropriations Acts.

                    (INCLUDING RESCISSION OF FUNDS)

    The bill includes section 128 rescinding funds from 10 
U.S.C. 3374.
    The bill includes section 129 defining the congressional 
defense committees.
    The bill includes section 130 prohibiting funds to close or 
realign Lajes Air Force Base, and prohibits funds to construct 
an intelligence facility at a separate location, unless DoD 
certifies that Lajes does not meet operations requirements for 
certain intelligence activities.
    The bill includes section 131 providing additional funding 
for Defense Access Roads.
    The bill does not include section 121 as requested to 
provide authority under a continuing resolution when an 
authorization bill has been enacted to obligate funds that have 
not been appropriated.

                                TITLE II


                     DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS


 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level\1\...................    $159,144,807,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request\1\..................     164,649,778,000
Committee recommendation in the bill\1\.............     163,208,416,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level..................       4,063,609,000
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request.................     (1,441,362,000)
Fiscal year 2017 advance budget request\1\..........     167,253,585,000
Fiscal year 2017 Committee recommendation in the         167,253,585,000
 bill\1\............................................
 

    The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) serves 
approximately 48,300,000 people or 15 percent of the total 
estimated resident population of the U.S. and Puerto Rico: 
22,000,000 veterans and 26,300,000 family members of living 
veterans or survivors of deceased veterans. To serve adequately 
the nation's veterans, VA employs 342,000 people, making it one 
of the largest Federal agencies in terms of employment.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\All funding cited excludes amounts in the Medical Care 
Collections Fund.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                 Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA)


                       COMPENSATION AND PENSIONS

                     (INCLUDING TRANSFER OF FUNDS)

 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level......................     $79,071,000,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.....................      79,124,675,000
Committee recommendation in the bill................      79,124,675,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level..................          53,675,000
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request.................               - - -
Fiscal year 2017 advance budget request.............      87,146,761,000
Fiscal year 2017 Committee recommendation in the          87,146,761,000
 bill...............................................
 

    This appropriation will provide funds for service-connected 
compensation payments to an estimated 4,701,000 veterans, 
survivors, and dependents in 2016. In addition, pension 
payments will be funded for 522,000 veterans and their 
survivors. The average cost per compensation case for veterans 
in 2016 is estimated at $16,182 and pension payments are 
projected at $12,600.
    For the first time, the bill provides $87,146,761,000 in 
fiscal year 2017 advance funding, as authorized in P.L. 113-
235.
    The appropriation includes authority to transfer funding 
not to exceed $15,562,000 in 2016 and $16,021,000 in 2017 to 
the General Operating Expenses, Veterans Benefits 
Administration, and Information Technology Systems accounts. 
These funds are for the administrative expenses of implementing 
cost-saving provisions required by the Omnibus Budget 
Reconciliation Act of 1990, P.L. 101-508, the Veterans' 
Benefits Act of 1992, P.L. 102-568, and the Veterans' Benefits 
Improvements Act of 1994, P.L. 103-446. These cost-saving 
provisions include verifying pension income against Internal 
Revenue Service (IRS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) 
data; establishing a match with the SSA to obtain verification 
of Social Security numbers; and applying VA pension cap for 
Medicaid-eligible single veterans and surviving spouses alone 
in Medicaid-covered nursing homes. The bill also continues to 
include language permitting this appropriation to reimburse 
such sums as may be earned to the Medical Care Collections Fund 
to help defray the operating expenses of individual medical 
facilities for nursing home care provided to pensioners.

                         READJUSTMENT BENEFITS

 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................   $14,997,136,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................    15,344,922,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................    15,344,922,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................       347,786,000
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................             - - -
Fiscal year 2017 advance budget request...............    16,743,904,000
Fiscal year 2017 Committee recommendation in the bill.    16,743,904,000
 

    This appropriation finances the education and training of 
veterans and servicemembers through the Post 9-11 GI Bill and 
the All-Volunteer Force Educational Assistance Program. 
Supplemental education benefits are also provided to certain 
veteran members of the Selected Reserve and are funded through 
transfers from the Department of Defense (DOD). In addition, 
certain disabled veterans are provided with vocational 
rehabilitation, specially adapted housing grants, and grants 
for automobiles with approved adaptive equipment. This account 
also finances educational assistance allowances for eligible 
dependents of veterans who died from service-connected causes 
or have a total and permanent service-connected disability, as 
well as dependents of servicemembers who were captured or are 
missing in action. More than 80 percent of the funds in the 
account support the Post 9-11 GI Bill.
    For the first time, the bill provides $16,743,904,000 in 
fiscal year 2017 advance funding, as authorized in P.L. 113-
235.

                   VETERANS INSURANCE AND INDEMNITIES

 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................       $63,257,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................        77,160,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................        77,160,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................        13,903,000
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................             - - -
Fiscal year 2017 advance budget request...............        91,920,000
Fiscal year 2017 Committee recommendation in the bill.        91,920,000
 

    The Veterans Insurance and Indemnities appropriation is 
made up of the former appropriations for military and naval 
insurance, applicable to World War I veterans; national service 
life insurance (NSLI), applicable to certain World War II 
veterans; servicemen's indemnities, applicable to Korean 
conflict veterans; and veterans mortgage life insurance, 
applicable to individuals who have received a grant for 
specially adapted housing.
    For the first time, the bill provides $91,920,000 in fiscal 
year 2017 advance funding, as authorized in P.L. 113-235.
    The amount provided will enable the Department to transfer 
funding to the service-disabled veterans insurance fund and 
transfer additional amounts for payments for policies under the 
veterans mortgage life insurance program. These policies are 
identified under the Veterans Insurance and Indemnity 
appropriation since they provide insurance to service-disabled 
veterans unable to qualify under basic NSLI.

         VETERANS HOUSING BENEFIT PROGRAM FUND PROGRAM ACCOUNT

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                 Limitation on
                                                                                  direct loans
                                                              Program account    for specially    Administrative
                                                                                adapted housing      expenses
                                                                                     loans
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level.............................              - - -       ($500,000)     $160,881,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request est........................              - - -        (500,000)      164,558,000
Committee recommendation est. in the bill..................              - - -        (500,000)      164,558,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level.........................              - - -            - - -        3,677,000
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request........................              - - -            - - -            - - -
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The purpose of the home loan guaranty program is to 
facilitate the extension of mortgage credit on favorable terms 
by private lenders to eligible veterans. This appropriation 
provides for all costs, with the exception of the Native 
American veterans housing loan program, of the Department's 
direct and guaranteed loans programs. The Federal Credit Reform 
Act of 1990 requires budgetary resources to be available prior 
to incurring a direct loan obligation or a loan guaranty 
commitment. In addition, the bill requires all administrative 
expenses of a direct or guaranteed loan program to be funded 
through a program account. Loan guaranties are made to 
servicemembers, veterans, reservists, and single surviving 
spouses for the purchase of homes, condominiums, and 
manufactured homes and for refinancing loans. The Department 
guarantees part of the total loan, permitting the purchaser to 
obtain a mortgage with a competitive interest rate, even 
without a down payment if the lender agrees. The Department 
requires that a down payment be made for a manufactured home. 
With a Department guaranty, the lender is protected against 
loss, up to the amount of the guaranty, if the borrower fails 
to repay the loan.

            VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION LOANS PROGRAM ACCOUNT

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                 Limitation on    Administrative
                                                              Program account     direct loans       expenses
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level.............................            $10,000     ($2,877,000)         $361,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request............................             31,000      (2,952,000)          367,000
Committee recommendation in the bill                                    31,000      (2,952,000)          367,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level.........................             21,000           75,000            6,000
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request........................              - - -            - - -            - - -
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This appropriation covers the subsidy cost of direct loans 
for vocational rehabilitation of eligible veterans and includes 
administrative expenses necessary to carry out the direct loan 
program. Loans of up to $1,108 (based on indexed chapter 31 
subsistence allowance rate) are available to service-connected 
disabled veterans enrolled in vocational rehabilitation 
programs when the veteran is temporarily in need of additional 
assistance. Repayment is made in monthly installments, without 
interest, through deductions from future payments of 
compensation, pension, subsistence allowance, educational 
assistance allowance, or retirement pay. Most loans are repaid 
in full in less than one year. The Federal Credit Reform Act of 
1990 requires budgetary resources to be available prior to 
incurring a direct loan obligation.
    It is estimated that the Department will make 3,129 loans 
in fiscal year 2016, with an average amount of $943.

              NATIVE AMERICAN VETERAN HOUSING LOAN PROGRAM

 
 
 
Administrative expenses:
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................        $1,130,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................         1,134,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................         1,134,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................             4,000
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................             - - -
 

    The Native American Veteran Housing Loan Program, as 
authorized by title 38 United States Code, chapter 37, 
subchapter V, provides the Secretary with authority to make 
direct housing loans to Native American veterans for the 
purpose of purchasing, constructing, or improving dwellings on 
trust lands.

                  Veterans Health Administration (VHA)

    The Department operates the largest Federal medical care 
delivery system in the country, with 150 hospitals, 107 
domiciliary residential rehabilitation treatment programs, 136 
nursing homes, 300 Vet Centers, 80 mobile Vet Centers, and 830 
outpatient clinics which include independent, satellite, 
community-based, and rural outreach clinics. Approximately 
6,895,000 patients will be treated in 2016.
    The VHA is comprised of four accounts: Medical Services, 
Medical Support and Compliance, Medical Facilities, and Medical 
and Prosthetic Research. For the first three accounts, the 
Administration has requested total resources for fiscal year 
2017 of $63,271,000,000 in direct appropriations to fund the 
three advance appropriations of VHA. In addition, VA will 
receive an estimated $2,445,000,000 in Medical Care Collections 
Fund in fiscal year 2016. The Committee also provides 
$606,813,000 for medical and prosthetic research.

                            MEDICAL SERVICES

 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................   $45,224,716,000
Fiscal year 2016 enacted level........................    47,603,202,000
Fiscal year 2016 additional request...................     1,124,197,000
Committee 2016 additional recommendation..............       969,554,000
Fiscal year 2017 advance budget request...............    51,673,000,000
Committee 2017 recommendation in the bill.............    51,673,000,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2016 enacted level....................     4,069,798,000
    Fiscal year 2017 budget request...................             - - -
 

    This appropriation provides for medical services of 
eligible veterans and beneficiaries in Department medical 
centers, outpatient clinic facilities, contract hospitals, 
State homes, and outpatient programs on a fee basis. Hospital 
and outpatient care is also provided by the private sector for 
certain dependents and survivors of veterans under the civilian 
health and medical programs for VA.
    The bill includes $969,554,000 of the $1,124,197,000 
current year budget request, which is in addition to the 
advance appropriation that has already been provided. The 
Committee notes that the current year budget request is 
unusually large and has worked to provide more than 85 percent 
of the request. Within the funds provided, the Committee 
expects the resources to be used for unbudgeted costs of 
Hepatitis C treatment, higher than anticipated usage of 
Caregivers program stipends, and projected utilization of 
homelessness programs. With the recent announcement by the 
Department of a new interpretation of the 40-mile distance rule 
and the Department's prediction that the policy change would 
double the number of veterans using the Choice Act option for 
their health care, the demands on the traditional VA health 
care program will drop and the need for the current year budget 
request is likely to decrease.
    The Committee has not included requested bill language to 
make available through September 30, 2018, $1,400,000,000 of 
the Medical Services appropriation for fiscal year 2017, 
instead maintaining current policy of providing extended 
availability on a current year rather than advance funding 
basis.
    Funding identified in the bill is in addition to the 
anticipated $4,829,807,000 for medical services from the 
Veterans Choice Act in fiscal year 2016 or the estimated 
$2,831,456,000 from the Act in fiscal year 2017.
    Changes in funding requirements due to modeling.--The 
Committee expects VA to continue to include in the sufficiency 
letter required by section 117(d) of title 38, United States 
Code, that is due to the Congress on July 31 of each year, a 
description of any changes exceeding $250,000,000 in funding 
requirements for the Medical Services account resulting from 
the spring recalculation of the Enrollee Healthcare Projection 
Model.
    Allocation of health funding.--The Committee continues to 
be concerned that the process VA uses to allocate the health 
services appropriation through the Veterans Integrated Services 
Networks (VISNs) and from them to the medical centers may 
shortchange the ultimate users because of excessive funding 
retained at headquarters or at the VISNs. The Committee 
continues to request a report each year no later than thirty 
days after VA allocates the medical services appropriation to 
the VISNs that identifies: (1) the amount of general purpose 
funding that is allocated to each VISN; (2) the amount of 
funding that is retained by central headquarters for specific 
purposes, with amounts identified for each purpose; and (3) the 
amount of funding that is retained by each VISN before 
allocating it to the medical centers, identifying separately 
the amounts retained for purposes such as network operations, 
network initiatives, and emergencies.

Homeless assistance

    The Committee provides the full fiscal year 2017 budget 
request of $1,393,000,000 for VA homeless assistance programs, 
in addition to $5,496,909,000 for homeless veterans treatment 
costs. These programs include the Homeless Providers Grant and 
Per Diem, the Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans, the 
Supportive Services for Low Income Veterans and Families, and 
the Department of Housing and Urban Development--Department of 
Veterans Affairs Supported Housing (HUD-VASH) programs.
    Female homeless veterans.--The Committee remains committed 
to helping homeless veterans and commends VA for its efforts in 
reducing homelessness among the veteran population. However, 
the Committee is concerned about VA's efforts to reduce 
homelessness among female veterans and female veterans with 
minor children. To that end, the Committee directs VA to 
compile statistics on the number of homeless female veterans 
and the number of female Veterans with minor children. This 
report should detail what actions VA is taking to deal with 
this particular population and what transition services are 
being utilized. This report shall be submitted to the Committee 
within 120 days of enactment of this Act.
    HUD-VASH program.--The Committee recognizes the important 
contributions the HUD-VASH program has made in reducing the 
number of homeless veterans and commends VA for implementing a 
case management system that keeps veterans housed longer by 
providing the supportive care many of them require. The 
Committee encourages VA to more creatively and collaboratively 
work with local social service agencies to ensure that HUD-VASH 
voucher recipients are receiving the most comprehensive 
services available to them. Many jurisdictions around the 
country are implementing their own coordinated care initiatives 
alongside public housing programs, and in the interest of 
maximizing public investment and providing the best, most 
comprehensive care available, VA should seek to partner with 
local and State governments when possible and in the best 
interest of veterans.

Mental health issues

    The Committee provides the full fiscal year 2017 budget 
request of $7,715,357,000 for mental health programs. Of the 
amounts provided for mental health programs in fiscal year 
2016, $143,680,000 shall be used for suicide prevention 
outreach. In fiscal year 2017, the Committee expects 
$159,246,000 to be used for this purpose. The Department is 
directed to provide a report to the Committee no later than 30 
days after enactment of this Act identifying a detailed 
expenditure plan for all suicide prevention outreach programs.
    Public-private partnership.--The Committee is concerned by 
the alarming number of suicides committed by veterans each day. 
While the Committee appreciates the important work being done 
by the Department to combat suicide and improve mental health 
among veterans, more can and must be done. The Committee 
recommends the Department actively seek out public-private 
partnerships, in particular with research universities, 
teaching hospitals, and other partners, to expand upon its 
existing efforts related to suicide prevention, post-traumatic 
stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and 
substance use disorders. The Secretary shall report to the 
Committee within 60 days of enactment of this Act on the status 
of creating public-private partnerships related to suicide 
prevention, PTSD, TBI, and substance use disorders.
    Mental health provider training.--The Committee is 
concerned about the impact of VA's accreditation process which 
excludes marriage and family therapists (MFTs) graduating from 
regionally accredited schools from employment at VA. This 
limitation causes unnecessary vacancies in mental health 
provider positions within the VHA system at a time when these 
services are in critical need. Therefore, the Committee urges 
VHA to develop a pilot program focusing on hiring MFTs who (1) 
hold at least a master's degree in marriage and family therapy, 
or a related field, from a regionally accredited program; (2) 
are licensed as a MFT in a U.S. jurisdiction and possess the 
highest level of licensure offered by the State in which they 
are licensed; and (3) have passed the Association of Marital 
and Family Therapy Regulatory Board Examination in Marital and 
Family Therapy.
    Clinical psychology training.--The Committee understands 
that VHA is in the process of modifying its regulations to 
permit the training and employment of psychologists who are 
graduates of the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation 
System (PCSAS), which now accredits 25 university-based Ph.D. 
clinical psychology programs. The Committee urges VHA to 
complete this regulatory process to help increase the number of 
mental health clinicians available to the VA health care 
system.
    Clay Hunt SAV Act.--The Committee encourages VA to 
implement the community-oriented veteran peer support network 
pilot program established by the Clay Hunt SAV Act. The pilot 
program requires no less than five (VISNs) that have a large 
population of veterans to include in their pilot: a community-
oriented veteran peer support network carried out in 
partnership with an entity that has experience in peer support 
programs, and a community outreach team for each medical center 
in each selected VISN. The Committee requests a report on these 
efforts no later than 60 days of enactment of this Act.
    Law enforcement partnerships.--The Committee recommends 
that VA initiate a pilot program that would offer targeted 
training to local law enforcement officials in effective 
methods to assist veterans who are considered an immediate 
threat to themselves and others. The Committee also directs VA 
to implement a program that would designate a VA liaison to 
work with local law enforcement to ensure that the subsequent 
needs of these veterans are immediately addressed.
    Relationships with outside voluntary organizations.--The 
Committee urges VA to establish and bolster existing 
relationships with Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) that 
are working closely with veterans suffering mental health 
issues. In particular, the Committee encourages VA to partner 
with organizations that work with both male and female 
survivors of sexual assault.
    Magnetic resonance therapy pilot study.--The Committee 
understands that outside studies indicate that magnetic 
resonance therapy (MRT) has successfully treated veterans with 
PTSD and TBI. The Committee understands that VA is currently 
conducting a large multi-site trial of MRT for the treatment of 
depression, and encourages VA to use this study to review the 
effectiveness of MRT on PTSD since the study includes veterans 
with PTSD as well as depression.
    Insomnia.--Insomnia is a common health issue that veterans 
face and is associated with PTSD. The Committee understands 
that new technologies using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) 
have produced promising results in the treatment of insomnia in 
recent clinical trials. The Committee requests VA to report to 
the Committee within 60 days of enactment of this Act about 
whether it uses internet-delivered CBT to treat insomnia, and 
if not, whether it would be appropriate to conduct a study on 
the use of this technology.

Access issues

    Veterans Choice Program.--The Committee appreciates VA's 
expedited processing of regulations to implement the Veterans 
Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014, P.L. 113-146, 
and the establishment of the Veterans Choice Program, which 
provides a new non-VA care option for eligible veterans. 
Further, the Committee welcomed the recent decision by VA to 
expand the eligibility criteria for the Veterans Choice Program 
by changing the calculation used to determine the distance 
between a veteran's residence and the nearest VA medical 
facility from a straight line distance to driving distance. The 
Committee encourages VA to continue exploring options to open 
the aperture for the Veterans Choice Program so that more 
veterans can utilize non-VA care options. Specifically, the 
Committee requests the Department to consider including travel 
time and total distance to a VA medical facility that can 
address the veteran's specific healthcare needs when 
determining eligibility for the Veterans Choice Program.
    Patient-Centered Community Care Program (PC3).--The 
Committee believes that the PC3 initiative can provide an 
effective method for improving convenience of care and 
decreasing costs when patients require services not readily 
available at local VA medical centers. However, the Committee 
is concerned that PC3 has been bypassed as a possible source of 
non-VA care, as most VA attention has focused on non-VA care 
being provided through the Choice program. A concerted effort 
is needed to educate veterans and to fully train VA medical 
center staff, including clinicians, non-VA care staff, and 
appointment schedulers on PC3. The Committee urges a single, 
clear set of guidance for all medical centers to follow, 
including mandatory use of the hierarchy of care provided in 
non-VA settings in the following order: other federal 
facilities, if available; affiliates; PC3; and finally direct 
agreements, but only if they offer services that PC3 agreements 
do not. Many medical centers are still sending most of their 
non-VA care out through local agreements or individual 
authorizations, instead of using PC3. In most of those cases, 
the standards and requirements are much different--no 
credentialing; often no requirement for return of medical 
documentation, and if they do require medical documentation, no 
timeliness standard. In many of these cases VA is paying rates 
higher than PC3 and, in many cases, more than Medicare. When 
PC3 began, the intent was for medical centers to be required to 
use PC3 before local agreements or individual authorizations. 
Because of the low utilization of the PC3 program, the 
Committee has continuing concern over VA's ability to 
effectively manage the cost of non-VA care. To better 
understand the fiscal impact of continued reliance on local 
contracts and fee basis authorizations, the Committee requests 
a report within 60 days of enactment of this Act outlining the 
general rate structure associated with health care claims for 
PC3, local contracts, and fee basis authorizations, as well as 
the usage of PC3 in fiscal year 2015.
    PC3 data reporting.--The Committee understands that the 
initial usage data VA has collected on the PC3 program 
indicates some disappointing results. In calendar year 2014, 
PC3 authorizations for PC3 care totaled 193,000, while non-PC3 
contract care authorizations were more than 2,400,000. Several 
medical centers had no PC3 care authorizations at all. In 
addition, more than 30 percent of the PC3 authorizations were 
returned to VA without care being provided. The reasons for 
return are not clear--whether the contractor was not able to 
provide a physician or the veteran declined the offered 
provider. The Committee urges VA to strengthen its data 
collection efforts so that Congress and the agency will have 
information to judge how the PC3 program is working and what 
changes may need to be made, both in VA headquarters policy and 
in contractor capacity, to make PC3 a viable source of non-VA 
care. In addition, the Committee urges VA to develop a publicly 
available reporting system comparable to the VBA Monday Morning 
Workload reports that displays program outcome data on a VISN- 
or medical center-specific basis.
    Specialty care provider shortages.--The Committee is 
concerned that, in some areas, veterans are being sent to 
specialists at other VA facilities that are long distances from 
their home, despite the presence of the PC3 and Choice programs 
and the availability of local non-VA specialty providers. The 
Committee requests a report not later than 60 days after 
enactment of this Act describing the hierarchy of type of 
provider that VA uses and any fiscal, programmatic or other 
factors that influence the type of provider the veteran is 
directed to use by the local VISN and medical center.
    Care through multi-specialty clinics.--The Committee 
remains concerned about VA's ability to provide high quality, 
reliable, accessible, timely and efficient health care to 
veterans in rural States. The Committee strongly encourages VA 
to pursue multi-specialty clinics (MSC), giving special 
consideration to future MSCs that have the possibility of 
partnering with private medical institutions or medical 
teaching facilities. These partnerships could provide benefits 
to current and future veteran patients by significantly 
increasing the services delivered to veterans. Furthermore, 
these affiliations can significantly enhance VHA research and 
education missions. The Committee requests a report within 60 
days of enactment of this Act identifying whether VA presently 
operates any multi-specialty clinics and any future plans to 
establish such clinics.
    Office of Rural Health.--The Committee provides the full 
fiscal year 2017 budget request of $250,000,000 to improve 
access and quality of care for the more than 3,000,000 veterans 
residing in rural and highly rural areas. The Committee directs 
the Office of Rural Health to submit to the Committee within 30 
days of enactment of this Act an operating plan for this 
funding, as well as any changes to that operating plan at the 
start of the fiscal year for which the funds are provided.
    Rural transportation.--The Committee encourages VA to 
propose authorizing legislation to permit including 
considerations of a veteran's distance from a VA facility as a 
criterion in addition to the number of veterans in a given area 
in implementing recent statutory changes providing 
transportation grants to veterans service agencies and VSOs.
    Mobile health technologies.--The Committee is encouraged by 
VA's utilization of mobile, interim and fixed-site medical 
solutions that can reach veterans in both urban and rural 
areas. The Committee encourages VA to consider incorporating 
leasing options for mobile and telemedicine enabling solutions 
to support hard-to-reach veteran populations and to offset the 
burden on large VA facilities with long wait times.
    Impact of personnel shortages.--The Committee is concerned 
about the negative effects that personnel shortages and 
recruitment issues at some VA medical facilities are having on 
patient care. The VA's inability to hire and maintain required 
staffing have led to delays in opening certain treatment 
centers at clinics, which has in turn forced veterans to go 
long distances to receive care they could be getting locally. 
To address the inefficiencies and wasted resources associated 
with staff shortages, the Committee urges VA to promptly 
address hiring and recruitment issues to ensure that funds are 
used more effectively. The Committee expects VA to report 
within 60 days of enactment of this Act whether it collects 
periodic data on the reasons that providers choose to leave the 
VA system, and to establish such a data collection if it does 
not currently exist. The Committee expects that the report will 
also describe how VA plans to address and mitigate the 
principal reasons providers leave. The Committee requests an 
update every six months on the number of medical staff who have 
left the VA system and a summary of the principal reasons 
explaining their departure.

Other health issues

    Prescription drug abuse.--The Committee is pleased with the 
VA Opioid Safety Initiative and the results it is producing in 
reducing the dependence of veterans on prescription opioids. 
The Committee notes the development of the Opioid Safety 
Initiative Toolkit as a useful tool to disseminate across the 
VA medical system national taskforce findings on issues such as 
drug dosages, interactions and adverse events; pain management 
strategies; and patient counseling. The Committee notes, 
however, that the opioid prescription abuses discovered at the 
Tomah, Wisconsin VA hospital indicate that work remains to be 
done within VA to ensure that physicians are not ignoring 
guidance on appropriate opioid prescribing practices. The 
Committee urges VA to increase its efforts in opioid 
prescription control and directs VA to submit a report no later 
than 90 days after enactment of this Act on VA's ongoing 
reviews of prescription practices in specific VISNs.
    Hepatitis C virus.--The Committee supports VA's efforts to 
control Hepatitis C in the veteran population and understands 
that VA is allocating substantial resources to provide the 
newly improved Hepatitis C drugs to veterans. The Committee 
requests a report 90 days after enactment of this Act detailing 
the number of veterans currently in the VA medical system who 
have Hepatitis C and are eligible to receive the new 
medications, the number of veterans currently receiving the new 
medications, the length of time this cohort will be taking the 
drug before being cured of the infection, and future year 
projections for VA hepatitis C caseload and treatment cost.
    Locum tenens physicians.--The Committee recognizes that VA 
facilities across the nation often rely upon assistance from 
temporarily assigned locum tenens physicians. Further, the 
Committee understands that VA locum tenens professionals enable 
a flexible staffing structure among VA facilities, responsive 
to the changing demands of the VA patient population, and that 
VA's locum tenens system, in which a physician with a current 
license in at least one state may work in any VA facility, has 
been a normal and necessary staffing practice of VA for 
decades. The Committee understands the importance of locum 
tenens professionals within VA and urges VA and the Drug 
Enforcement Administration to resolve regulatory issues 
concerning prescription privileges for VA locum tenens 
physicians so that veterans have access to high quality local 
VA health care.
    Hyperbaric oxygen therapy.--The Committee recognizes that 
one of the most important aspects of improving VA is to ensure 
that our nation's veterans have access to the treatments they 
need in order to stem the unacceptable tide of veteran 
suicides. The Committee is aware that some private clinical 
studies have demonstrated that hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) 
has provided significant improvement to patients suffering from 
PTSD and TBI. The Committee takes note that the Israeli Defense 
Forces have recently approved HBOT in treating PTSD and a 
variety of other brain conditions for its personnel. The 
Committee urges the Secretary to take steps to approve HBOT as 
a treatment option if the Secretary determines that such an 
approval would benefit veterans with PTSD and TBI.
    Medical school affiliations with VA health care 
facilities.--The Committee continues to prioritize 
collaboration between VA and medical schools. The Committee 
acknowledges the improved collaboration, particularly with 
smaller community-based sites. However, the Committee continues 
to be concerned by the lack of historically black colleges and 
universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) 
medical school participation and collaboration with the local 
VA hospitals in areas where HBCU and HSI medical schools are 
located. The Committee directs the Secretary to provide a 
report on VA's plan for expansion of HBCU and HSI medical 
school participation with local VA medical facilities. The 
report should be submitted to the Committee no later than 90 
days after the enactment of this Act.
    Pharmacy dispensing process for specialized medicines.--In 
circumstances where VA is unable to use commercially packaged 
or pre-mixed volumes that can be administered directly to the 
patient without further preparation, the Committee encourages 
VA to enhance its use of specialized automated pharmacy 
workflow systems that manage the entire intravenous and oral 
liquid dose preparation and dispensing process. These systems 
promote safety, reduce waste, and improve health system 
pharmacy productivity.
    Nursing handbook.--The Committee understands that the VHA 
Nursing Handbook is currently under review. The Committee 
encourages VHA to seek input from internal VA program offices 
and external professional stakeholders, prior to possible 
regulatory action and submission to the Under Secretary for 
Health for final approval. The Committee believes all possible 
outreach efforts should be used to communicate the proposed 
changes, to gather public comment, and to collaborate with 
Congress, stakeholders, VA nursing staff, and external 
organizations. Finally, the Committee requests that VHA ensure 
that any changes to handbooks within VHA do not conflict with 
other handbooks already in place within VHA.
    Hepatitis B virus (HBV).--The Committee is aware that HBV, 
if left untreated, may lead to advanced liver disease, liver 
cancer and the need for liver transplants, placing a greater 
financial burden on the veterans health care system. The 
Committee is also aware that the rates of viral hepatitis 
infections among Vietnam era veterans and the baby boomer birth 
cohort is disproportionately high, and the testing rate among 
U.S. veterans is very low, with only 15 percent of veterans 
having been tested for HBV infection. Among those who tested 
positive, just one-quarter have received antiviral treatment. 
Therefore, the Committee urges an aggressive and targeted 
outreach program, consistent with CDC's viral hepatitis testing 
and treatment recommendations, to identify veterans with 
Hepatitis B and to facilitate and encourage treatment for those 
identified with the disease.
    Medical waste.--At the request of Congress, VA has 
previously provided information that compared cost estimates 
between handling the treatment of infectious medical waste on-
site versus off-site. VA studies indicated that there are cost 
savings as well as beneficial environment impacts and utility 
savings associated with on-site medical waste treatment. Last 
year, VA completed a blanket purchase agreement (BPA) that was 
intended to streamline the future purchasing of medical waste 
sterilization equipment by VA hospitals. The Committee requests 
VA to provide a report no later than 90 days after enactment of 
this Act describing what steps VA has taken or intends to take 
to use this new BPA to achieve overall cost savings at VA 
hospitals through on-site medical waste treatment equipment. 
The report should also indicate whether there are certain types 
of facilities that are more likely to achieve cost savings than 
others from on-site medical waste treatment.
    Alternative treatments.--The Committee urges the Department 
to more strongly consider proven healthcare industry strategies 
that improve the underlying health of the veteran populations 
and provide alternative treatment options--strategies such as 
individual wellness and prevention programs and non-opiate 
complementary therapies. These healthcare strategies have been 
widely adopted by private healthcare coverage providers to 
improve the health and quality of life of patient populations 
while reducing short and long-term costs to healthcare systems.
    Wound therapies.--The Committee seeks to ensure that our 
veterans have access to the most cutting-edge wound therapies 
in the world. As such, the Committee asks VA to report to the 
Committee no later than 60 days after enactment of this Act on 
the types of alternative therapies for wound treatment that are 
available to veterans through the VA system.
    Non-healing pressure ulcers.--Veterans with spinal cord 
injuries (SCI) often suffer from non-healing, chronic wounds 
such as pressure ulcers, which are the second most frequent and 
significant complication of SCI. According to a 2011 study 
published by the Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine, researchers 
found that the use of autologous platelet-rich plasma (PRP) 
therapy appeared to stimulate acceleration of wound healing 
with SCI. The Committee encourages VA to explore the use of PRP 
therapy/treatment for veterans who suffer from chronic wounds.
    Exoskeleton technologies.--VA is encouraged to enhance its 
use of exoskeleton technology for the rehabilitation of 
individuals with weakness or paralysis of the lower limbs, such 
as from spinal cord injury, stroke, and TBI, especially those 
technologies specifically designed to provide overground 
ambulation.
    Interactive patient care.--The Committee understands that a 
number of VA medical centers have employed an interactive 
patient care model to help empower patients and educate them on 
the care they receive. This system uses in-room televisions, 
iPads or the myHealtheVet patient portal to educate veterans on 
services, medications, patient safety and pain management. The 
system has been shown to increase patient satisfaction and to 
improve quality and safety outcomes. The Committee encourages 
the expanded use of interactive patient care in VA medical 
centers.
    Sleep disorders.--Sleep disturbances are often a warning 
sign of many physiological ailments commonly faced by military 
veterans. They are strongly linked to PTSD, anxiety, and 
depression, which can prohibit military veterans from 
readjusting to civilian life. The Committee supports efforts to 
improve the health and well-being of military veterans, and 
encourages the Department to issue a report to the Committee no 
later than 60 days after enactment of this Act detailing the 
state of sleep health among military veterans. The report 
should indicate current sleep trends among veterans, their 
connection with any health concern, and treatments to provide 
adequate sleep.
    Hospital-acquired infections.--The Committee recognizes 
that hospital-acquired infections result in up to $4.5 billion 
in additional healthcare expenses annually and that healthcare 
workers have the highest rates of exposure and infection. 
Healthcare worker and patient safety and infection prevention 
are a growing problem in healthcare facilities, as evidenced by 
the recent CRE superbug outbreak in hospitals throughout the 
United States. The Committee encourages the Department to 
incorporate for use by healthcare workers and patients current 
commercially available active barrier technologies that have 
been proven to be effective in a patient care setting.
    Antibiotic resistance.--The Committee recognizes the 
importance of antibiotic resistance as a public health priority 
and appreciates the work of the Department to implement 
antimicrobial stewardship programs per VHA Directive 1031. 
Therefore, within the funds provided, the Committee directs VA 
to fully carry out these stewardship efforts, and to conduct a 
comprehensive assessment of efforts to implement the Directive, 
including coordination between facilities and progress in 
standardizing stewardship approaches across the Department. 
This assessment shall be shared with the Committee no later 
than 180 days after enactment of this Act.
    Infectious diseases screening.--The Committee applauds VHA 
for developing electronic clinical reminders for recommended 
HIV/AIDs and viral hepatitis screening and urges VHA to 
implement these reminders in all appropriate settings. To 
further improve screening rates, the Committee urges VHA to 
offer support to VISNs to implement recommended screening, 
including innovative strategies like point-of-care testing.
    Blast injury treatment.--The nature of the current military 
conflict and increasing use of improvised explosive devices has 
left some servicemembers with blast injuries that include 
spinal cord injury and trauma to the reproductive and urinary 
tracts. The Committee is concerned about the care of these 
injured servicemembers after they return home, and notes that 
there is not parity between the DOD and VA treatment of 
servicemembers with these injuries. The Committee directs VA to 
provide a report to the Committee that details the scope and 
the extent of veterans facing infertility issues due to 
military service during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and 
Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). This report shall be 
submitted no later 180 days after enactment of this Act.
    Chapel regulations.--The Committee understands that 
national guidelines from the VA National Chaplain Service 
regarding the display of religious symbols in VA medical center 
chapels have resulted in disruptive changes at some VA 
facilities with chapels that were constructed decades ago. VA 
chapels provide important spiritual and contemplative space for 
veterans and their families. As such, the Committee urges the 
National Chaplain Service to work with local communities when 
issues on display of religious symbols arise to ensure that any 
changes are minimally disruptive to the spiritual needs of 
veterans.
    Religious tolerance.--The Committee notes that there have 
been several instances in the past few years where VA staff 
have misinterpreted VA guidance that ensures appropriate 
sensitivity to different religious faiths. Those cases have 
been resolved through court action or mediation. The Committee 
requests the VA Inspector General to review VA guidance with 
respect to funeral services, chaplain ministries in VA 
hospitals, and religious holiday celebrations at VA hospitals 
to determine whether current guidance appropriately protects 
the religious beliefs of VA employees as well as veterans and 
their family members. The IG should submit its findings to the 
Committee no later than 180 days after enactment of this Act.
    Inpatient rehabilitation programs.--In anticipation of the 
findings of the Inspector General report due to the Committee 
in August 2015 about VA's actions integrating mental health and 
substance abuse inpatient treatment for patients with co-
morbidities, the Secretary is directed to report to the 
Committee by April 1, 2016 how the Department is working to 
integrate these services and what changes it has made and plans 
to make to its inpatient rehabilitation programs.
    Air cleaning technology.--The Committee requests VA to 
submit a report to the Committee no later than 180 days after 
enactment of this Act detailing the rates of readmission to VA 
hospitals due to surgically related infections during the past 
10 years, VA's current use of air filtration systems in its 
facilities' operating rooms, and the potential cost and safety 
benefits of utilizing advanced air cleaning technology with an 
air change rate of at least 500 times per hour in its operating 
rooms.
    Poorly performing medical centers.--The Committee remains 
concerned that an unacceptable number of VA medical centers 
continue to perform far below minimally accepted standards for 
wait times and quality of care, and that these problems are 
often the result of chronic mismanagement and a failed 
organizational culture at the system level. Further, the 
Committee believes that, in the most severe cases, the 
Department, using its normal operating procedures, has 
demonstrated an inability to rapidly correct the systemic 
problems that are driving poor performance. The Committee is 
concerned that the Secretary lacks the tools necessary to 
effectively turn around failing medical centers. The Committee 
requests that within 60 days of filing of this report, the 
Secretary report to the Committee what crisis management plans, 
policies, organizational procedures, legal authorities, and 
resources at the Secretary's disposal are being utilized in 
this regard, and identify any additional resources or 
authorities believed necessary to effectively renew poorly 
performing medical centers.

                     Medical Support and Compliance


 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................    $5,879,700,000
Fiscal year 2016 enacted level........................     6,144,000,000
Fiscal year 2016 additional request...................        69,961,000
Committee 2016 additional recommendation..............             - - -
Fiscal year 2017 advance budget request...............     6,524,000,000
Committee 2017 recommendation in the bill.............     6,524,000,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2016 enacted level....................       380,000,000
    Fiscal year 2017 advance budget request...........             - - -
 

    The Medical Support and Compliance appropriation funds the 
expenses of management and administration of the Department's 
health care system, including financial management, public 
health and environmental hazard, quality and performance 
management, medical inspection, human research oversight, 
training programs and continuing education, security, volunteer 
operations, and human resources.
    The bill does not include the current year budget request 
of $69,961,000, which would be in addition to the advance 
appropriation that has already been provided. If additional 
current funding is required, it can be transferred from Medical 
Services under the authority of section 202.
    The Committee has not included requested bill language to 
make available through September 30, 2018, $100,000,000 of the 
Medical Support and Compliance appropriation for fiscal year 
2017, instead maintaining current policy of providing extended 
availability on a current year rather than advance funding 
basis.
    Funding identified in the bill is in addition to the 
anticipated $201,854,000 for medical support and compliance 
from the Veterans Choice Act in fiscal year 2016.
    Employee ratios.--The Committee directs the Secretary to 
provide an annual report on the ratio of administrator-to-
frontline workers at each VA medical center throughout the 
country. This report shall include an assessment of the most 
effective ratio as well as an explanation of those facilities 
that fall outside of that assessment.
    Grow Our Own Initiative (GOO).--House Report 113-416 
included language urging VA to create a pilot program to 
pipeline veteran medics into positions as physician assistants, 
which VA endorsed. However, the Committee is concerned that the 
GOO initiative lacks adequate coordination with HBCUs. In its 
work to expand the GOO initiative, the Committee directs VA to 
collaborate closely with HBCUs to channel a diverse group of 
Armed Forces medics and Navy Corpsmen, particularly veteran 
medics who already have met the qualifications for health 
provider admissions, into physician assistant training 
programs. The Committee directs VA to report to the Committee 
within 180 days of enactment on the progress of expanding GOO 
and its coordination with HBCUs.

                           Medical Facilities


 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................    $4,739,000,000
Fiscal year 2016 enacted level........................     4,915,000,000
Fiscal year 2016 additional request...................       105,132,000
Committee 2016 additional recommendation..............             - - -
Fiscal year 2017 advance budget request...............     5,074,000,000
Committee 2017 recommendation in the bill.............     5,074,000,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2016 enacted level....................       159,000,000
    Fiscal year 2017 advance budget request...........             - - -
 

    The Medical Facilities appropriation provides funds for the 
operation and maintenance of the VA health care system's 
capital infrastructure. Included under this heading are 
provisions for costs associated with utilities, engineering, 
capital planning, leases, laundry, groundskeeping, garbage, 
housekeeping, facility repair, and property disposition and 
acquisition.
    The bill does not include the current year budget request 
of $105,132,000, which would be in addition to the advance 
appropriation that has already been provided. If additional 
current funding is required, it can be transferred from Medical 
Services under the authority of section 202.
    The Committee has not included requested bill language to 
make available through September 30, 2018, $250,000,000 of the 
advance Medical Facilities appropriation for fiscal year 2017, 
instead maintaining current policy of providing extended 
availability on a current year rather than advance funding 
basis.
    Funding identified in the bill is in addition to the 
anticipated $755,000,000 for medical facilities from the 
Veterans Choice Act in fiscal year 2016.
    Scope change process.--The Committee requests clarification 
regarding the process used by the VA to make scope changes to 
planned projects with respect to evaluating costs and benefits. 
The Committee is concerned that recent scope changes to the 
Rochester, NY Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) to not 
include the Ambulatory Surgery Suite may lead to the eventual 
construction of two separate facilities at a substantially 
higher cost while inconveniencing local veterans. The Committee 
believes that VA must improve its long term planning for 
facility construction to avoid costly mistakes and 
unnecessarily increasing travel times for patients. The 
Committee is concerned that this is another example of VA's 
lack of control over design, cost, and ability to deliver 
planned projects on time. The Committee requests a report on 
the status of the Rochester, NY CBOC no later than 60 days 
after enactment of this Act.

                    Medical and Prosthetic Research


 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................      $588,922,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................       621,813,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................       621,813,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................        32,891,000
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................             - - -
 

    This appropriation provides for medical, rehabilitative, 
and health services research. The bill makes this account 
funding available through September 30, 2017. Medical research 
is an important aspect of the Department's programs, providing 
complete medical and hospital services for veterans. The 
prosthetic research program is also essential in the 
development and testing of prosthetic, orthopedic, and sensory 
aids for the purpose of improving the care and rehabilitation 
of eligible disabled veterans, including amputees, paraplegics, 
and the blind. The health services research program provides 
unique opportunities to improve the effectiveness and 
efficiency of the health care delivery system. Budgetary 
resources from a number of areas, including appropriations from 
the medical care accounts, reimbursements from DOD, grants from 
the National Institutes of Health, private proprietary sources, 
and voluntary organizations, provide support for the 
Department's researchers. Estimated 2016 research resources 
beyond the research account are $1,210,000,000.
    Advanced prosthetics.--The Committee encourages VA to fund 
research at the intersection of bioengineering, neuroscience, 
and rehabilitation to support neural interfaces to peripheral 
nerves and advanced prosthetics that deliver more functionality 
to amputees.
    Prosthetics for females.--The Committee feels that a 
proportionate amount of prosthetics research should be focused 
on prosthetics meant for females. The Committee is disappointed 
in reports of VA providers sanding down prosthetics that were 
made for men in order to fit female patients, and requests that 
VA ensure the availability of prosthetic equipment 
proportionate to the amount of female veterans in need.
    Service dogs.--The Committee is aware that canine therapy 
for treatment of PTSD and TBI symptoms is an emerging 
alternative therapy to pharmaceutical treatments. While still 
experimental, canine therapy has demonstrated effectiveness in 
treating PTSD and other psychological disorders, from 
hospitalized psychiatric patients to children with 
developmental disorders, patients with substance abuse 
problems, and victims of trauma. The Committee notes that 
canine therapy is a promising area for further research as a 
complementary or alternative treatment for the signature wounds 
of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Committee continues to 
encourage VA to expand its research on canine therapy to 
validate its therapeutic effectiveness in the treatment of PTSD 
and TBI.
    Respiratory disease.--The Committee notes studies 
documenting an unexpected number of OEF and OIF veterans 
exhibiting unexplained respiratory diseases. The Committee 
encourages VA to partner with VSOs and concerned medical 
organizations to develop a research plan to address these 
conditions. Noting the growing burden of chronic obstructive 
lung disease and lung cancer among veteran populations, the 
Committee also encourages VA to expand its research portfolio 
to address these conditions.
    Assistive technology.--The Committee encourages VA to 
develop a comprehensive user-oriented methodology to assess, 
design, build, and test assistive technology with a focus on 
tailored solutions rather than a one-size fits all approach to 
product development. In this work, the Committee encourages VA 
to work with research institutions with a multi-disciplinary 
approach that includes rehabilitation specialists, industrial 
designers, computer engineers, clinical specialists, and 
disability-specific support organizations.
    Applied research in emerging technology.--The Committee 
recognizes VA medical centers' efforts in implementing 
continuum of care concepts focused on quality patient outcomes. 
As such, the Committee believes VA medical centers have the 
unique ability to serve as a site for rehabilitation and 
training supporting integration of wounded veterans into the 
community. The Committee encourages VA medical centers to 
continue to conduct applied research in emerging prosthetics, 
physical performance, biomechanics, sports medicine, and 
transcranial direct current stimulation research for patient 
populations. The applied research should leverage emerging 
technology simulation environments providing the opportunity 
for tele-rehabilitation and training.
    Colorectal cancer.--Colorectal cancer is treatable if 
detected early, yet it is the second leading cause of cancer 
death in America. VA has made screening patients for colorectal 
cancer a priority. The National Cancer Institute estimates the 
annual cost of colorectal cancer will be almost $20 billion by 
2020. Medicare and VA will be responsible for much of that 
cost. The Committee encourages VA to support additional 
research and development in the field, including investigation 
of a less costly blood test for colorectal cancer.
    Long-term effects of exposure to toxic chemicals.--The 
Committee understands that wounds from exposure to toxic 
chemicals can have lifelong and generational effects, the 
impacts of which are still being determined. The Committee 
recognizes that the generational effects of toxic exposure have 
not been studied enough to determine what conditions children 
and grandchildren of exposed veterans face on a daily basis. 
The Committee urges VA to explore options for addressing this 
problem.
    Access to research findings.--The Committee is pleased that 
VA has developed a public access policy to make publicly 
available the research findings that are financed through VA 
and that its research is now being posted on the National 
Institutes of Health PubMed Central site. The Committee 
requests a report 90 days after enactment of this Act 
describing articles that were posted in fiscal year 2015 and an 
estimate of how many will be posted in fiscal year 2016.
    Alzheimer's disease.--The Committee is aware of recent 
research that suggests TBI and PTSD may increase the chances of 
Alzheimer's disease or related dementias. Furthermore, the 
Committee is concerned by VA estimates that the number of 
veterans with dementia will reach 218,000 by fiscal year 2017, 
a more than five-fold increase in the last decade. Therefore, 
the Committee encourages VA to conduct additional, peer-
reviewed research on Alzheimer's disease. The Committee urges 
VA, to the maximum extent possible, to target its research 
activities to the milestones issued in the National Plan to 
Address Alzheimer's Disease and coordinate its efforts with the 
National Institutes of Health.
    Diabetes.--The Committee recognizes the growth of diabetes 
as an epidemic in our country and the burden it places on our 
nation's veterans. The Committee is pleased with the efforts of 
VA in securing 300,000 veterans to participate in the Million 
Veteran Program. The program is one of the largest databases of 
genetic, military exposure, lifestyle, and health information, 
and the research findings provide ways of preventing and 
treating a number of diseases impacting veterans, including 
diabetes. The Committee urges VA to continue its efforts to 
reach the goal of one million participants. Also, the Committee 
urges the VA Office of Research and Development to provide more 
information about the diabetes-specific research projects 
currently being funded.

                     Medical Care Collections Fund

    The Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Care Collections 
Fund (MCCF) was established by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 
(Public Law 105-33). The Department deposits first-party and 
pharmacy co-payments, third-party insurance payments and 
enhanced-use collections, long-term care co-payments, 
Compensated Work Therapy Program collections, Compensation and 
Pension Living Expenses Program collections, and Parking 
Program fees into the MCCF. The Department uses these funds for 
medical care and services to veterans. The estimate of fees 
that will be collected in fiscal year 2016 is $2,445,000,000.
    Third party billing.--Congress remains concerned over 
potential discrepancies in the VA's billing process. Procedures 
to provide for correct billing and prompt collection must 
improve at the VA. Therefore, the Department shall submit to 
Congress no later than 180 days after the end of any fiscal 
year a report identifying the amount of third party health 
billings that were owed to the VA in the previous fiscal year 
and the amount collected. The report shall include billings and 
collections data for both large claims (greater than $1,000) 
and small claims (equal to or less than $1,000). In addition, 
the report shall include current efforts underway to increase 
VA's efficiency, accuracy and collection process, as well as 
what management practices are in place to provide proper 
oversight of the billing process so as to eliminate unnecessary 
and duplicative functions.

                 National Cemetery Administration (NCA)


 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................      $256,800,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................       266,220,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................       266,220,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................         9,420,000
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................             - - -
 

    The NCA was established in accordance with Public Law 93-
43, the National Cemeteries Act of 1973. It has a fourfold 
mission: to provide for the interment of, in any national 
cemetery with available grave space, the remains of eligible 
deceased servicemembers and discharged veterans, together with 
their spouses and certain dependents, and to permanently 
maintain their graves; to provide headstones for, and to mark 
graves of eligible persons in national, State, tribal, and 
private cemeteries; to administer the grant program for aid to 
States and tribal governments in establishing, expanding, or 
improving State and tribal government veterans' cemeteries; and 
to administer the Presidential Memorial Certificate Program. 
This appropriation will provide for the operation and 
maintenance of 134 operational national cemeteries, two rural 
National Veterans Burial Grounds, and 33 other cemeterial 
installations.
    The bill includes language making up to $26,600,000 of the 
total available until September 30, 2017.
    Rural areas.--The Committee continues to be concerned by 
the NCA's response to Committee direction to develop a 
strategic plan for access to national cemeteries in rural 
areas. The conference report for the fiscal year 2015 
appropriation instructed the Department to report why its 
strategic plan lacked all eight elements mandated by Congress 
and why it has ignored the recommendation of the Government 
Accountability Office on using census tract data to calculate 
veteran population served. The Committee expects the Department 
to respond to these issues within 30 days of this report being 
filed.

                      Departmental Administration


                         GENERAL ADMINISTRATION

                     (INCLUDING TRANSFER OF FUNDS)

 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................      $321,591,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................       346,659,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................       336,659,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................        15,068,000
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................      (10,000,000)
 

    The General Administration account provides funds for the 
Office of the Secretary, six Assistant Secretaries, and three 
independent staff offices. The Committee has included bill 
language to make available through September 30, 2017, up to 
$10,100,000 of these funds and to permit the transfer of funds 
in this account to the General Operating Expenses, Veterans 
Benefits Administration account.
    MyVA program.--The Committee realizes that the Secretary is 
dedicated to his initiative called ``MyVA'' that focuses on 
customer service from the veteran's perspective. The Committee 
has some concerns with the funding of the new program. The 
budget includes $3,500,000 to establish the MyVA program 
office. But, in addition, the budget request taps the operating 
divisions of VA for $76,300,000 and 204 FTE for activities to 
support planned customer data integration and Department-wide 
reorganization. This ``tap'' on ongoing VA activities seems 
excessive, especially given the paucity of information about 
what the MyVA office will do. The Committee expects a quarterly 
report detailing the activities of the MyVA office and its 
detailed employees, specifically addressing the possible 
reconfiguration of offices at the regional and State levels and 
the cost of such reconfiguration.
    Leadership at the Board of Veterans Appeals.--The Committee 
fails to understand why the Board of Veterans Appeals has not 
had a chairman for the past four years and why no candidate has 
been identified. The Committee urges the Secretary to work with 
the White House and identify a candidate for the vacant 
chairman of the Board position without delay. With the coming 
surge in appeals of disability claims, the Board needs full 
strength in its leadership positions to guide development of 
the Board's master plan to handle the influx.
    VA budget office communication.--The Committee has 
traditionally channeled most of its inquiries and requests for 
information and assistance through VA budget office. The 
Committee reiterates its longstanding position that, while the 
Committee reserves the right to call upon all VA offices, the 
primary communication between the Committee and VA should 
normally be through the budget office. Responses to Committee 
inquiries, regardless of whether they concern funding or 
policy, are to be transmitted without delay by other offices 
within VA, unless otherwise requested by the Committee. In 
addition, to facilitate the work of the Committee, it expects 
that the Department will make available to all personal and 
committee staff of Members of the Committee the same direct 
contact with the budget office. The Committee also expects that 
a staff member of VA budget office will be present at every 
meeting held between the chairman and ranking member of the 
Full Committee and Subcommittee and the Secretary or other 
senior VA officials.
    Quarterly full-time equivalents (FTE) reports.--The 
Committee continues to request that VA provide, on a quarterly 
basis, the total current FTE by appropriation account and, in 
the case of General Operating Expenses, Veterans Benefits 
Administration, by program. The Committee feels it needs to 
have current staffing information throughout the year in order 
to monitor the use of salaries and expenses resources.
    Additional budgetary information.--The Committee continues 
its request that items described in the fiscal year 2015 House 
report 113-416 continue to be included in the budget 
justifications submitted each year. These items include: 
displaying a current year estimate for all accounts and for the 
budget year and the advance year; providing a reimbursable FTE 
summary chart for the General Administration account; providing 
an FTE by grade and regional/central office totals chart for 
the Information Technology Systems account; and providing the 
appeals caseload information requested for the Board of 
Veterans Appeals. The Committee would also like a quarterly 
report identifying the total amount the Department obligates 
for outreach and awareness marketing campaigns, with a 
description of each campaign supported.
    Staff relocations within VA.--The bill continues the 
administrative provision requiring written notification 15 days 
prior to organizational changes which result in the transfer of 
25 or more full-time equivalent staff from one organizational 
unit of the Department to another.
    Small business outreach efforts.--The Committee encourages 
VA to provide increased outreach efforts to small businesses 
located in parts of the country that have experienced severe 
job losses and, in particular, those areas of the country that 
have been designated as Promise Zones.
    Equitable relief.--The Committee understands that VA is 
working to implement new systems and protocols to eliminate 
instances of administrative error. However, the Committee 
recognizes that as VA enacts system-wide reforms, ending 
equitable relief for veterans who were deemed eligible for 
benefits in error would place an unfair burden on veterans and 
their families. The Committee urges the Secretary to continue 
to grant or extend equitable relief to veterans initially 
deemed eligible in instances of administrative error. No later 
than April 1 of each year, the Secretary shall submit to the 
Committee a report containing a statement as to the disposition 
of each case recommended to the Secretary for equitable relief 
under 38 U.S.C 503 during the preceding calendar year.
    Tribal nation representation.--Despite VA efforts to 
address the burdens across Indian Country to access earned care 
and benefits, challenges continue to exist. The Committee is 
concerned that the current framework for recognizing 
organizations and appointed VSO representatives has required 
tribal communities to rely on non-tribal third parties to 
advocate on behalf of tribal veterans. The Committee encourages 
the Secretary to consider utilizing existing authority to 
recognize Tribal Nations and their representatives to directly 
prepare, present, and prosecute claims under the laws 
administered by the Secretary.
    Strike force response.--The Committee is aware that the 
Secretary occasionally transfers leaders from other VA 
facilities to temporarily take charge to address acute problems 
in certain failing facilities. These leaders observe problem 
areas, develop corrective actions, and reorganize personnel and 
institutional assets to achieve them. The Committee urges the 
Secretary to regularize this process by having a cadre of 
experienced, high-performing managers designated for short-
notice assignment to VA institutions that the Secretary or 
Inspector General identifies as low-performing. These managers 
should be used before a facility has long-term performance 
problems or an established record of failing to provide veteran 
services. The Committee requests a report within 60 days of the 
filing of this report outlining the number of senior managers 
who have been identified for future strike teams for both VHA 
and VBA facilities/offices.

                    Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA)


 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................       $99,294,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................       107,884,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................       107,884,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................         8,590,000
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................             - - -
 

    The bill makes up to $10,788,000 of this funding available 
through September 30, 2017.
    The BVA is the component of VA responsible for making final 
decisions on behalf of the Secretary for the thousands of 
claims for veterans benefits that are presented to BVA for 
appellate review. The majority of the BVA's workload derives 
from the benefit claims initiated at the VBA regional offices. 
The appellate process has multiple steps, most of which occur 
at the local regional office level. If a veteran is not 
satisfied with a regional office determination, he or she may 
appeal to BVA for a final agency decision. BVA adjudicates 
appeals covering all areas of veterans benefits, but most of 
the workload concerns appeals for veterans' disability 
compensation or pension benefits. Appeals received by BVA are 
projected to increase from 49,611 in 2012 to 81,640 cases in 
2016.
    Reporting on the appeals backlog.--The Committee directs 
the Board to report on the status of the appeals backlog, on a 
quarterly basis, starting within 120 days of enactment of this 
Act. The report should include a definition of the backlog, the 
total number of appeals pending, and the total number of 
appeals in backlog, and should identify time-specific metrics 
related to reduction of the backlog.
    In addition, the Board should provide a report within 90 
days of enactment of this Act identifying what policy, 
organizational and structural changes are necessary to 
eliminate the backlog and outlining the resources necessary to 
accomplish that task.

      GENERAL OPERATING EXPENSES, VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION

 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................    $2,534,254,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................     2,697,734,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................     2,697,734,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................       163,480,000
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................             - - -
 

    The General Operating Expenses, Veterans Benefits 
Administration (VBA) account provides funding for VBA to 
administer entitlement programs such as service-connected 
disability compensation, education benefits, and vocational 
rehabilitation services.
    The bill makes available through September 30, 2017, up to 
$134,800,000 of these funds.
    The Committee provides the full request for the General 
Operating Expenses, VBA account. Despite the funding 
constraints faced by the Committee, the Committee believes that 
one of its top priorities must be to support the activities in 
this request--hiring 770 additional FTE to increase the 
workforce for appeals claims processors, fiduciary field 
examiners, and non-rating claims processors. These staff are 
needed to handle the increasing workloads in appeals, non-
rating claims, and fiduciary field examinations that result 
from VBA's increase in processed claims, as it further reduces 
the disability claims backlog. The bill also supports the full 
request of $26,300,000 for the centralized mail initiative to 
consolidate inbound paper mail from the regional offices to a 
centralized intake site and the $140,800,000 request for the 
Veterans Claim Intake Program (VCIP) to scan paper claims and 
convert them into digital format. The Committee provides the 
full request ($36,800,000 from VBA and $253,000,000 from IT) 
for the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS), the 
paperless claims processing system. VBMS allows VBA to 
centrally manage the claims workload at the national level and 
direct cases electronically across its network of regional 
offices to match claims demand with available processing 
capacity. The Committee urges VA to allocate the maximum 
funding available for VCIP because of its importance in 
speeding the claims decision process.
    Claims backlog.--The Committee believes VA should have no 
higher priority than to reach its goal by the end of 2015 of no 
pending disability claim being more than 125 days old, while 
continuing to process all other claims to avoid recurrence of 
any backlog. While the Committee supports VBA's use of 
technology to improve performance, the Committee is somewhat 
skeptical that the new VBMS procedures will ensure timely 
processing of the backlog by the end of 2015. For the last five 
years, the Committee has fully funded the President's budget 
request for additional FTEs and increased IT funding, yet the 
claims backlog remains. The Committee is concerned that VBA is 
not planning to mitigate a predictable influx of new claims 
from DOD downsizing. Therefore, in addition to maintaining the 
current reporting requirements as listed in House Report 113-
416, the Department is instructed to provide a report no later 
than 6 months after enactment of this Act outlining future 
staffing requests based on anticipated separation numbers as 
provided by DOD. While this report is for the use of the 
Appropriations Committee, it may be made available by the VA 
Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs to any Member 
of the House of Representatives upon request. In addition, VA 
is requested to display in the annual budget justification 
documents for each year the amount of funding allocated for 
staff overtime for claims processing, both voluntary and 
mandatory.
    Claims processing deficiencies.--Because the backlog at the 
Oakland VA regional office was among the worst in the nation, 
the VBA is requested to submit no later than 30 days after 
enactment of this Act a report outlining for calendar years 
2014 and 2015 the number of claims received and processed at 
the Oakland regional office and the accuracy scores for those 
claims; the average time to complete a claim; the employee 
scores on speed and quality of rating; the amount of employee 
training that was conducted; the amount of overtime that was 
used; and the number of claims that were brokered to another 
regional office. Lastly, the report should outline the lessons 
learned and new protocols used from working with higher 
efficiency regional offices where Oakland's claims were 
brokered.
    Appeals claims processing.--The Committee has provided the 
full request to hire 200 additional FTE for processing appeals 
claims in the regional offices. It is essential that the 
growing backlog in veteran appeals claims be addressed by VA. 
VA has neglected the appeals of veteran claims in its effort to 
reduce the disability claims backlog and has lost sight of the 
appeals process. VA should produce an annual report on its 
actions to lower the backlog in appeals.
    Appeals decision team.--The Appeals Decision Team was 
created in 2011 to improve processing times for appeals in the 
VBA regional offices. One recommendation of the team was the 
pilot in the Houston, Texas regional office, which decreased 
processing time from 1,445 days to 293 days. Despite 
congressional encouragement, VBA has not disseminated the best 
practices identified in the Houston pilot to other regional 
offices or expanded the pilot project. The Committee directs 
VBA to report to the Committee no later than 30 days after 
filing of this report the reason why the Houston pilot best 
practices, which resulted in such a dramatic decrease in 
processing time, have not been put in place in other regional 
offices. In addition, the report should include a description 
of other activities and recommendations of the Appeals Decision 
Team in the last two years and the actions taken in response to 
those recommendations by VBA.
    Military sexual assault claims.--The Committee understands 
VBA is developing and implementing new training initiatives and 
procedures for PTSD claims related to military sexual trauma 
(MST). The Committee is pleased with the increased focus on 
this area and encourages VA to continue to build on strides 
that have been made, to include intensive training and 
identifying specialized claims employees for MST-related 
claims. VA should continue tracking key data sets including: a) 
the number of MST-related claims submitted in the previous 
fiscal year; b) of the submitted claims, the number and 
percentage of claims submitted by each sex; c) the number of 
the approved claims, and the number and percentage, listed by 
sex, of claims assigned to each rating percentage; d) of the 
denied claims, the three most common reasons given by the 
Secretary under section 5104(b)(1) of this title for such 
denials; e) the number of denials that were based on the 
failure of the veterans to report for a medical examination; f) 
the number of claims that are pending at the end of the fiscal 
year (including claims on appeal); g) the average days to 
complete MST claims; and h) a description of the training the 
Secretary provides to employees of VBA specifically with 
respect to covered claims, including the frequency, length, and 
content of such training. The Committee also directs VA to 
conduct veteran outreach initiatives and publicize benefits 
veterans may be entitled to as a result of MST. The Committee 
looks forward to receiving a report describing this data no 
later than 90 days after enactment of this Act.
    Transitioning from the Armed Services.--The Committee is 
concerned about the difficulties men and women face 
transitioning from the Armed Services to the civilian sector. 
The transition can be difficult, even though a recent survey 
revealed that nearly 90 percent of transitioning personnel 
believe they possess marketable general skills such as problem 
solving, leadership, ethics, and time management and most 
believe they possess specific marketable skills, such as 
information technology, health care, mechanical, and aviation. 
One of the major challenges transitioning veterans face in 
securing suitable employment in the civilian sector is the 
difficulty in translating to employers the value of the skills 
they learned in the military. In particular, the Committee 
urges VA to refine and upgrade its Military Skills Translator 
tool to better reflect the transferable skills of transitioning 
military veterans. Additionally, the Committee instructs VA to 
increase public awareness of and ensure access to the Military 
Skills Translator tool for civilian employers.
    National security concerns and benefits.--The Committee 
appreciates the need to safeguard information concerning 
classified military activities. However, it has come to the 
Committee's attention that some veterans have been challenged 
to access the benefits that they have earned through service 
because of national security concerns. The Committee encourages 
the Secretary to work collaboratively with the Secretary of 
Defense to identify a process to ease the procedure for 
veterans to obtain benefits and care from the Department 
without compromising national security.
    Enhancing state and local partnerships.--The Committee 
strongly supports VBA's collaboration with accredited VSOs, 
County VSOs, and State Veterans Affairs agencies. The Committee 
directs VBA to continue to prioritize flexible partnerships 
designed to expand the number of fully developed benefit claims 
submitted electronically through the eBenefits portal, and 
supports VBA's implementation of the Digits-2-Digits direct 
data exchange initiative. As VA continues its efforts to 
streamline, standardize and modernize the claims process, the 
Committee encourages VBA to support similar partnerships that 
leverage VSOs' capacity to assist claimants in preparing and 
submitting the newly-prescribed standard forms for initiating 
and filing claims and appeals. Additionally, in order to help 
improve the quality of VBA's disability compensation claim 
decisions, the Committee urges VBA to take steps to enable 
Quality Review Teams (QRTs) to partner with accredited VSOs to 
assist in processing reviews before claims are finalized and in 
identifying specific types of common errors to better track 
error trends. Finally, the Committee encourages VBA to ensure 
that any future upgrades to local data systems allow QRTs to 
pause the claims process when such errors are detected.
    Filipino veterans.--The American Recovery and Reinvestment 
Act (P.L. 111-5) established a benefit for Filipino veterans 
who aided American troops in World War II. In the fiscal year 
2014 appropriations act, the Committee directed VA to consider 
all forms of evidence of service and not just those originally 
considered. The Committee looks forward to VA execution of this 
directive and requests a report no later than 90 days after 
enactment of this Act detailing the total number of claims, the 
number adjudicated, and the number appealed or awaiting appeal.
    Independent living program.--The Independent Living program 
provides services to maximize independence in daily living for 
veterans who are too severely disabled to pursue employment. It 
allows eligible veterans to live independently and participate 
in family and community life. The program has been highly 
successful. It began as a pilot program for 500 disabled 
veterans in 1980. In 2010, the program was extended and the cap 
increased to allow up to 2,700 veterans to enroll in the 
program. The Committee urges the Department of Veterans Affairs 
to propose legislation eliminating the cap on the Independent 
Living Program.

                  INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SYSTEMS (IT)

                     (INCLUDING TRANSFER OF FUNDS)

 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................    $3,903,344,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................     4,133,363,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................     4,038,363,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................       135,019,000
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................      (95,000,000)
 

    The IT account supports information technology services 
such as systems development and performance, operations and 
maintenance, information protection, and customer support. The 
program permits the effective and efficient delivery of 
veterans' healthcare services and benefits programs.
    Within the account total, the Committee allocates in bill 
language $1,115,757,000 for pay and associated costs, which is 
the same as the budget request; $2,417,863,000 for operations 
and maintenance, which is $95,000,000 below the request but 
$101,854,000 above fiscal year 2015; and $504,743,000 for 
development, modernization, and enhancement, which is the same 
as the request. The bill makes available up to $34,800,000 of 
pay and associated costs and up to $167,900,000 of operations 
and maintenance funds until September 30, 2017. All 
development, modernization, and enhancement funds are available 
until September 30, 2017.
    Funding identified in the bill is in addition to the 
anticipated $173,400,000 for information technology from the 
Veterans Choice Act in fiscal year 2016.
    Although funding constraints require the Committee to 
provide a funding level below the request, the level provided 
includes a $135,019,000, or a 3.5 percent, increase over fiscal 
year 2015, which will permit investment in high priority areas. 
The Committee identifies in particular as high priorities: 
$253,000,000 for the Veterans Benefits Management System; 
$19,100,000 for the appeals modernization effort; $15,000,000 
for Section 508 compliance efforts; $182,600,000 for VistA 
Evolution, the modernization of the electronic health record 
(EHR); and $50,000,000 for interoperability and Virtual 
Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) health.
    An administrative provision limits the funding for the 
electronic health record provided by the Veterans Health 
Administration to $159,596,000--$5,000,000 from the Medical 
Services account and $154,596,000 from the Medical Support and 
Compliance account.
    The Committee continues to feel it is critical to closely 
track VA's development of its electronic health record. In the 
aftermath of the DOD and VA decision not to pursue a single 
integrated health record, it becomes doubly important to ensure 
that the two health records are designed in a way that permits 
interoperability between the two in order that computable data 
from one record can be viewed and used by clinicians with a 
different electronic record system. In the fiscal year 2013, 
2014 and 2015 bills, Congress included bill language requiring 
VA to provide information on the cost, timeline, performance 
benchmarks, and interoperability capacity of the VistA 
Evolution system before release of 75 percent of the funding 
provided. The Committee believes it remains important to track 
the implementation of the VA system, particularly as the 
Department of Defense finalizes its choice of contractor to 
develop a new system. Accordingly, the Committee includes 
fiscal year 2016 bill language limiting expenditure of IT 
development funds for VistA Evolution to 25 percent of funds 
provided until the Secretary submits to the Committees on 
Appropriations of both Houses of Congress, and such Committees 
approve, a report that describes: (1) the status of and any 
changes to the VistA Evolution program plan (Plan), the revised 
VistA 4 product roadmap (Roadmap), and the VistA 4 Incremental 
Life Cycle Cost Estimate; (2) any changes to the scope or 
functionality of projects within the VistA Evolution program as 
established in the Plan; (3) actual program costs incurred to 
date; (4) progress in meeting the schedule milestones that have 
been established in the Plan; (5) a Project Management 
Accountability System (PMAS) Dashboard Progress report that 
identifies each VistA Evolution project being tracked through 
PMAS, what functionality it is intended to provide, and what 
evaluation scores it has received throughout development; (6) 
the definition being used for interoperability between the 
electronic health record systems of the Department of Defense 
and the Department of Veterans Affairs, the metrics to measure 
the extent of interoperability, the milestones and timeline 
associated with achieving interoperability, and the baseline 
measurements associated with interoperability; (7) progress 
toward developing and implementing all components and levels of 
interoperability, including semantic interoperability; (8) the 
change management tools in place to facilitate the 
implementation of VistA Evolution and interoperability; and (9) 
any changes in the governance structure for the VistA Evolution 
program and its chain of decisionmaking authority.
    The Committee wishes to emphasize that the Joint Legacy 
Viewer, which permits DOD and VA users to see the electronic 
health record of the other Department, does not constitute 
interoperability, except as an intermediate stage to achieve 
semantic interoperability.
    The Committee does not intend to delay the progress of 
developing the health record, but believes continuing oversight 
is necessary to ensure that the health record will have the 
capabilities and interoperability that the Committee believes 
are critical to patient care, as promised by VA leadership and 
in VA documents.
    The Committee notes that oversight entities have registered 
concern about the VA electronic health record. The Government 
Accountability Office has listed the VA electronic health 
record in its 2015 High Risk Report, saying that ``the quality 
of care may be adversely affected if important clinical 
information is not promptly communicated'' and that the ``lack 
of interoperability limits VA clinicians' ability to readily 
access information from DOD records, potentially impeding their 
ability to make the most informed decision on treatment 
options''.
    The Committee continues to include bill language 
prohibiting obligation or expenditure of funds for information 
technology systems development, modernization and enhancement 
until VA submits to the Committees a certification of the 
amounts. In addition, the Committee continues bill language 
permitting the transfer of funding among the three subaccounts 
upon approval of the Committees. The bill contains language 
which allows for the reprogramming of funds among development, 
modernization and enhancement projects upon prior notification 
to, and approval by, the Committees. The bill continues to 
include language indicating that funds for development, 
modernization and enhancement are available only for the 
projects and in the amounts specified in the report 
accompanying the bill.
    The chart below reflects the Administration's budget 
request for development projects and includes the Committee 
recommendation for each. This chart will serve as the 
Department's approved list of development projects, and all 
requested changes are subject to the reprogramming guidelines 
as outlined in the accompanying Act.


    The Committee expects the Office of Information Technology 
to continue to provide an IT expenditure report to the 
Committees on a monthly basis. This report shall include a 
comparison to the project costs included in the development, 
modernization, and enhancement project funding chart included 
in the House report, and provide an explanation for any 
differences in excess of $1,000,000.
    Technology to modernize processing of appeals.--The 
Committee is very concerned about the lack of capacity at the 
Board of Veterans Appeals to handle the incoming surge of 
claims appeals resulting from progress in reducing the 
disability claims backlog. The Committee is very supportive of 
information technology solutions that would help the Board to 
manage the surge in claims appeals, but is concerned that the 
$19,100,000 requested for the IT solution is not well 
supported. The Committee requests that VA provide an integrated 
master plan no later than 90 days after enactment of this Act 
for the appeals systems modernization, including the plan to 
replace the Veterans Appeals Control and Locator System and to 
ensure interoperability with the Veterans Benefits Management 
System.
    Common DOD-VA data standards.--When the Secretaries of the 
Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs announced in 
February 2013 that the two Departments would move forward in 
modernizing their respective electronic health records (EHR) 
instead of developing a single, integrated system, they 
provided assurances that the systems would be interoperable. In 
order for interoperability between the Departments to be 
successful there must be a common standard, and while the 
Committee is aware that the Office of the National Coordinator 
for Health Information Technology (ONC) is making progress 
towards developing national standards, such standards currently 
do not exist for certain health domains. In light of this lack 
of standards, the fiscal year 2014 National Defense 
Authorization Act (NDAA) directed the Departments to use the 
Health Data Dictionary (HDD), a tool that promotes 
interoperability by aiding interpretation of disparate 
terminologies across EHR systems when no national standard 
exists. The Committee understands that if an ONC-approved data 
standard exists, that is used by both departments. The default 
is the DOD HDD for VA and DOD if no other source is available. 
Accordingly, the Committee encourages VA to continue its 
efforts to use the same standard as DOD as it expands the 
number of common domains and looks forward to the ONC 
completing national data standards for health IT.
    Support of cloud computing.--The Committee supports the 
Administration's initiative to transform the government IT 
portfolio through cloud computing, giving agencies the ability 
to purchase IT services in a utility-based model, paying for 
only the IT services consumed. The expedited transition to 
cloud computing could offer significant savings and more 
agility for Federal agencies. The Committee requests VA to 
provide a report to the Committee not later than 90 days after 
the enactment of this Act on the status of expanding the 
adoption of cloud computing within VA. The report should 
include an update on the use of commercial cloud computing 
services, current plans for the expansion of cloud computing to 
leverage the utility-based model, security impacts of 
transitioning to cloud computing, any factors delaying or 
inhibiting the expansion of cloud computing usage, and the cost 
savings achieved in fiscal year 2015 by the utilization of 
commercial cloud computing services.
    Wireless technology.--In recognizing the importance of 
advancing technology and the role it plays in patient care, the 
Committee is cognizant of the technologies that have the 
potential to wirelessly transmit patient vitals from the point 
of care directly to a patient's electronic medical record. The 
Committee is pleased that VA already uses secure cloud 
technology in transmitting data to and from its electronic 
health record and is expanding existing interfaces for 
continuous and routine vital signs monitoring.

                   OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL (OIG)

 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................      $126,411,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................       126,766,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................       131,766,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................         5,355,000
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................         5,000,000
 

    The OIG was established by the Inspector General Act of 
1978 and is responsible for the audit, investigation, and 
inspection of all VA programs and operations. The overall 
operational objective is to focus available resources on areas 
which would help improve services to veterans and their 
beneficiaries, assist managers of Department programs to 
operate economically in accomplishing program goals, and to 
prevent and deter recurring and potential fraud, waste, and 
inefficiencies.
    The bill makes up to $12,600,000 of this funding available 
until September 30, 2017.
    Transparency.--The Committee is concerned by recent 
accounts alleging a lack of independence displayed by the OIG. 
Even the appearance of hiding evidence or shielding VA from 
public criticism undermines OIG credibility and brings its 
independence into question. The Committee acknowledges the 
recent policy change announced by the OIG to shift decision-
making authority for closing reports to senior staff. While 
this is a positive change, the OIG must demonstrate that this 
policy shift will result in a fully transparent accounting of 
OIG investigations. The Committee directs the OIG to develop a 
standard for closing reports that is consistent with the OIG's 
legal responsibility to keep Congress fully and timely 
informed.

                      CONSTRUCTION, MAJOR PROJECTS

 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................      $561,800,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................     1,143,800,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................       561,800,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................             - - -
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................     (582,000,000)
 

    The Construction, Major Projects appropriation provides for 
constructing, altering, extending, and improving any of the 
facilities under the jurisdiction or for the use of the 
Department of Veterans Affairs, including planning, 
architectural and engineering services, assessments, and site 
acquisition where the estimated cost of a project is 
$10,000,000 or more.
    The Committee recommendation makes all but $34,000,000 of 
these funds available for a five-year period.
    Recognizing that the funding amount provided by the 
Committee is different than the administration request, the 
Committee makes clear its intention that the funding provided 
be used for the projects requested in the budget for new 
hospital construction and seismic corrections. The Department 
is directed to provide for approval of the Appropriations 
Committees of both Houses of Congress a proposed spending plan 
for the Major Construction account within 30 days of enactment 
of this Act.
    The Committee is seriously disturbed by recent findings of 
gross facility construction mismanagement with the VA Aurora, 
Colorado hospital project, in particular, the cost overruns 
that are now estimated at $930,000,000. The Committee expects a 
detailed explanation from the administration within 30 days 
from the filing of this appropriations report about: (1) 
whether there is justification to continue the project, as 
opposed to re-scoping the project, renovating the existing 
hospital, or pausing to recompete the project; (2) how the 
administration proposes to finance further costs for the 
hospital in a deficit-neutral way; (3) what personnel actions 
have been taken against those responsible for the project's 
mismanagement; and (4) what program oversight and management 
controls have been installed for current and future VA 
construction projects.
    To enhance the Committee's capacity to conduct oversight on 
VA's facility construction efforts, several administrative 
provisions are added or strengthened in the bill: (1) no 
funding greater than $5,000,000 may be reprogrammed between 
construction projects unless approved by the Committees on 
Appropriations of both House of Congress; (2) any change to the 
scope of a construction project is not permitted without the 
approval of the Committees; and (3) VA must report any bid 
savings of $5,000,000 or more on projects as soon as they are 
identified.
    Alternative financing.--The Committee is concerned about 
meeting the need for access to high quality veterans health 
care facilities, including in rural areas where access to 
clinics and hospitals is more limited. The Committee directs VA 
to work collaboratively with the Office of Management and 
Budget, the United States General Services Administration, and 
the Government Accountability Office, together with the 
appropriate Congressional committees, to explore the 
feasibility of employing new funding mechanisms to meet the 
need for such facilities, including but not limited to private 
development lease-back arrangements and VA-certified private 
hospitals, and to provide a report on their conclusions to the 
Committee within 30 days of enactment of this Act. The report 
will include any additional legislative authorities needed for 
a new VA hospital funding paradigm.

                      CONSTRUCTION, MINOR PROJECTS

 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................      $495,200,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................       406,200,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................       406,200,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................      (89,000,000)
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................             - - -
 

    The Construction, Minor Projects appropriation provides for 
constructing, altering, extending, and improving any of the 
facilities under the jurisdiction or for the use of the 
Department, including planning, assessment of needs, 
architectural and engineering services, and site acquisition, 
where the estimated cost of a project is less than $10,000,000.
    As with the Major Construction account, the Committee 
recommendation makes these funds available for a five-year 
period.
    Funding identified in the bill is in addition to the 
anticipated $128,000,000 for minor construction from the 
Veterans Choice Act in fiscal year 2016.

       GRANTS FOR CONSTRUCTION OF STATE EXTENDED CARE FACILITIES

 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................       $90,000,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................        80,000,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................        80,000,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................      (10,000,000)
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................             - - -
 

    This appropriation provides grants to assist States to 
construct State home facilities, for furnishing domiciliary or 
nursing home care to veterans, and to expand, remodel, or alter 
existing buildings for furnishing domiciliary, nursing home, or 
hospital care to veterans in State homes. A grant may not 
exceed 65 percent of the total cost of the project. The bill 
makes this funding available until expended.

             GRANTS FOR CONSTRUCTION OF VETERANS CEMETERIES

 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................       $46,000,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................        45,000,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................        45,000,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................       (1,000,000)
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................             - - -
 

    This program provides grants to assist States and tribal 
governments with the establishment, expansion, and improvement 
of veterans cemeteries which are operated and permanently 
maintained by the States and tribal governments. Grants under 
this program fund up to 100 percent of construction costs and 
the initial equipment expenses when the cemetery is 
established. The States and tribal governments remain 
responsible for providing the land and for paying all costs 
related to the operation and maintenance of the State 
cemeteries, including the costs for subsequent equipment 
purchases. The bill makes this funding available until 
expended.
    Public-private partnerships.--In order to provide a burial 
option to those veterans who may not have reasonable access to 
a national cemetery or State cemetery, the Committee encourages 
VA to prioritize funding under the State veterans cemetery 
grant program for the establishment of veterans cemeteries in 
rural and highly rural areas. Additionally, States and local 
governments are encouraged to utilize public-private 
partnerships that are currently available to help defray the 
cost of operation and maintenance of a State veterans' 
cemetery.
    Construction of State extended care facilities.--The 
Committee urges VA to calculate the maximum bed numbers per 
state and county necessary to support the peak veteran 
population and to develop contingency plans that can be 
implemented to address additional spikes and declines over the 
next ten years.

                       Administrative Provisions

    The bill includes 41 administrative provisions, 33 of which 
were included in the fiscal year 2015 bill and eight of which 
are new or revised.

                     (INCLUDING TRANSFER OF FUNDS)

    The bill includes section 201 allowing for the transfer of 
funds among three mandatory appropriations. The Administration 
proposal to modify this provision is not adopted.

                     (INCLUDING TRANSFER OF FUNDS)

    The bill includes section 202 allowing the Department to 
transfer funding among the three medical appropriations 
accounts in fiscal year 2016. The Administration proposal to 
modify this provision is not adopted.
    The bill includes section 203 allowing for salaries and 
expenses funds to be used for hire of passenger vehicles, lease 
of facilities or land, and purchase of uniforms.
    The bill includes section 204 providing that only funding 
in ``Construction, Major Projects'' and ``Construction, Minor 
Projects'' can be used for the purchase of any site for any new 
hospital or home or to construct any new hospital or home.
    The bill includes section 205 requiring the Department to 
be reimbursed for medical services it provides to any person 
not defined as a beneficiary to ensure the Department is 
receiving payment for all medical services provided.
    The bill includes section 206 allowing for the use of funds 
appropriated in fiscal year 2016 for ``Compensation and 
Pensions'', ``Readjustment Benefits'', and ``Veterans Insurance 
and Indemnities'' for payment of accrued obligations recorded 
in the last quarter of fiscal year 2015.
    The bill includes section 207 allowing for the use of 
fiscal year 2016 funds to pay prior year obligations resulting 
from implementation of sections 3328(a), 3334, and 3712(a) of 
title 31, United States Code.

                     (INCLUDING TRANSFER OF FUNDS)

    The bill includes section 208 allowing the Department to 
use surplus earnings from the national service life insurance, 
U.S. Government life insurance, and veterans special life 
insurance program to administer these programs.
    The bill includes section 209 allowing the Department to 
obligate enhanced-use lease proceeds for administrative 
expenses that were incurred in a prior fiscal year during the 
year funds are received.

                     (INCLUDING TRANSFER OF FUNDS)

    The bill includes section 210 limiting the amount of 
reimbursement the Office of Resolution Management and the 
Office of Employment Discrimination Complaint Adjudication can 
charge other offices and accounts of the Department for 
services provided.
    The bill includes section 211 prohibiting the Secretary 
from approving new leases of real property with estimated 
annual rental cost of more than $1,000,000 unless the 
Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of Congress approve 
the lease within 15 days of receipt. The Administration 
proposal to modify this provision is not adopted.
    The bill includes section 212 requiring the Department to 
collect current and accurate third-party reimbursement 
information for the purposes of third-party insurance 
collections. If persons receiving care or medical services do 
not disclose this information, the Department is allowed to 
bill them reasonable charges for services provided.

                     (INCLUDING TRANSFER OF FUNDS)

    The bill includes section 213 allowing the Department to 
use enhanced-use lease funds for construction and alteration of 
medical facilities.
    The bill includes section 214 allowing the Department to 
use the Medical Services appropriation for expenses related to 
the broader mission of medical care to veterans.

                     (INCLUDING TRANSFER OF FUNDS)

    The bill includes section 215 allowing the Department to 
transfer Medical Care Collections to the ``Medical Services'' 
appropriation to be used for veterans medical care and makes 
those funds available until expended.
    The bill includes section 216 allowing veterans who reside 
in Alaska to obtain medical services from medical facilities 
supported by the Indian Health Service or tribal organizations, 
and provides for reimbursement for those services from VA.

                     (INCLUDING TRANSFER OF FUNDS)

    The bill includes section 217 allowing the Department to 
transfer the proceeds received from the transfer of real 
property deposited into the Department of Veterans Affairs 
Capital Asset Fund to the major and minor construction 
appropriations accounts and makes those funds available until 
expended.
    The bill includes section 218 providing that no funds may 
be used to prohibit Directors of the VISNs from conducting 
outreach or marketing programs. The Administration proposed to 
delete this provision.
    The bill includes section 219 requiring the Secretary to 
submit quarterly reports to the Committees on Appropriations of 
both Houses of Congress on the financial status of the Veterans 
Health Administration. The Administration proposed to delete 
this provision.

                     (INCLUDING TRANSFER OF FUNDS)

    The bill includes section 220 permitting the Secretary to 
transfer amounts made available in certain accounts to or from 
the Information Technology Systems account, provided that such 
transfer do not result in a more than 10 percent aggregate 
increase for the Information Technology Systems account and 
that both Committees approve such transfer.
    The bill includes section 221 limiting the amount of 
funding made available under the Medical Facilities account for 
non-recurring maintenance that may be obligated during the last 
two months of the fiscal year. The Administration proposal to 
delete this provision is not adopted.

                     (INCLUDING TRANSFER OF FUNDS)

    The bill includes section 222 permitting the transfer of 
$266,303,000 appropriated for medical accounts, minor 
construction, and information technology systems to the Joint 
Department of Defense-Department of Veterans Affairs Medical 
Facility Demonstration Fund for the operation of facilities 
designated as combined Federal medical facilities.

                     (INCLUDING TRANSFER OF FUNDS)

    The bill includes section 223 permitting the transfer of 
$265,675,000 of fiscal year 2017 advance funding appropriated 
for medical accounts to the Joint Department of Defense-
Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Facility Demonstration 
Fund for the operation of facilities designated as combined 
Federal medical facilities.

                     (INCLUDING TRANSFER OF FUNDS)

    The bill includes section 224 permitting the transfer of 
funds deposited in the Medical Care Collections Fund to the 
Joint Medical Facility Demonstration Fund for facilities 
designated as combined Federal medical facilities.

                     (INCLUDING TRANSFER OF FUNDS)

    The bill includes section 225 directing that a minimum of 
$15,000,000 shall be transferred from the three medical care 
appropriations to the Department of Defense/Department of 
Veterans Affairs Health Care Sharing Incentive Fund, to be 
available until expended.

                    (INCLUDING RESCISSIONS OF FUNDS)

    The bill includes section 226 rescinding and 
reappropriating fiscal year 2016 funding--$1,400,000,000 from 
``Medical Services'', $100,000,000 from ``Medical Support and 
Compliance'', and $250,000,000 from ``Medical Facilities''.
    The bill includes section 227 requiring the Secretary to 
notify the Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of 
Congress of all bid savings when identified in Major 
Construction projects that total at least $5,000,000 or 5 
percent of the programmed amount of the project. The 
Administration proposal to delete this provision is not 
adopted.
    The bill includes section 228 prohibiting the original 
scope of work for a Major Construction project from being 
increased above the scope specified for that project in the 
original justification data provided to the Congress unless 
approved by the Committees. The budget request proposed to 
delete this provision.
    The bill includes section 229 requiring quarterly reports 
on VA regional office performance on disability claims 
processing. The budget request proposed to delete this 
provision.
    The bill includes section 230 requiring VA to submit a 
reprogramming request if the funding allocation for a program 
that is not calculated through the actuarial model changes by 
more than $25,000,000. The budget request proposed to delete 
this provision.
    The bill includes section 231 identifying the maximum 
funding that may be obligated for VHA VistA Evolution and 
electronic health record interoperability activities. The 
budget request proposed to delete this provision.
    The bill includes section 232 requiring advance written 
notification to the Committees on Appropriations of both Houses 
of Congress 15 days prior to organizational changes which 
result in the transfer of 25 or more full-time equivalent staff 
from one organizational unit to another. The budget request 
proposed to delete this provision.

                         (RESCISSION OF FUNDS)

    The bill includes section 233 reducing $101,000,000 from VA 
discretionary accounts to implement the limit on performance 
bonuses that was passed by the House of Representatives in H.R. 
294.
    The bill includes section 234 requiring the Secretary to 
provide on a quarterly basis to the Committees on 
Appropriations of both Houses of Congress notification of any 
single national outreach and awareness marketing campaign in 
which obligations exceed $2,000,000. The budget request 
proposed to delete this provision.
    The bill includes section 235 that prohibits funding to be 
used to replace the current system by which the VISNs select 
and contract for diabetes monitoring supplies and equipment. 
The budget request proposed to delete this provision.

                     (INCLUDING TRANSFER OF FUNDS)

    The bill includes section 236 permitting the transfer to 
``Medical Services'' from any discretionary program except 
``General Operating Expenses, Veterans Benefits 
Administration'' upon approval of both Appropriations 
Committees. This provision is intended to give VA flexibility 
as it administers the changes to its traditional health care 
program and the new Choice Act. The budget request to modify 
this provision is not adopted.
    The bill includes section 237 permitting the transfer of 
funds between the ``Board of Veterans Appeals'' and ``General 
Operating Expenses, Veterans Benefits Administration'' upon 
approval of both Appropriations Committees. The budget request 
to modify this provision is not adopted.

                         (RESCISSION OF FUNDS)

    The bill includes section 238 rescinding $15,000,000 of 
unobligated balances within the ``DOD-VA Health Care Sharing 
Incentive Fund''.
    The bill includes section 239 prohibiting the reprogramming 
of funds exceeding $5,000,000 among major construction projects 
unless both Appropriations Committees approve the request.

                    (INCLUDING RESCISSIONS OF FUNDS)

    The bill includes sections 240 and 241 which rescind 
Medical Care advance funding and reduce funding in current 
year-funded accounts to incorporate assumed absorption of the 
proposed 1.3 percent payraise. The Department has authority to 
use whatever appropriated funds are available to support the 
payraise if it chooses to do so.

                               TITLE III


                            RELATED AGENCIES


                  American Battle Monuments Commission


                         SALARIES AND EXPENSES

 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................       $74,100,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................        75,100,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................        75,100,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................         1,000,000
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................             - - -
 

    The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) is 
responsible for the administration, operation and maintenance 
of cemetery and war memorials to commemorate the achievements 
and sacrifices of the American Armed Forces where they have 
served since April 6, 1917. In performing these functions, the 
Commission maintains 25 permanent American military cemetery 
memorials and 26 monuments, memorials, and markers.
    The Committee includes additional funds to support the 
interpretive program and nonrecurring maintenance needs. 
Language is included allowing up to $7,500 to be used for 
official reception and representation expenses.
    The Committee is concerned that ABMC has significant needs 
for nonrecurring maintenance, as it also pursues developing 
necessary interpretive programs and building visitors' centers 
to ``tell the story'' of our heroes to a new generation. The 
Committee is highly supportive of ABMC's goals and interested 
in ABMC's multi-year plan for meeting its requirements. 
However, ABMC's estimates for construction and major 
maintenance have been grossly inadequate for past projects, and 
cost overruns have made management of ABMC's priorities 
challenging. Therefore, the Committee directs that ABMC's 
budget justification materials include a multi-year plan for 
construction, development, and operation and maintenance. The 
submitted plan should be current, and should include a 
description of multi-year facilities and infrastructure 
projects and the expected costs and timeline for such projects, 
prioritization of the projects, and an estimate of sustainment 
and operating costs once construction is complete.

                 FOREIGN CURRENCY FLUCTUATIONS ACCOUNT

 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................        $1,900,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request est...................         2,000,000
Committee recommendation in the bill est..............         2,000,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................           100,000
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................             - - -
 

    The Commission's Foreign Currency Fluctuations Account is 
authorized pursuant to 36 U.S.C. 2109 to pay the costs of 
salaries and expenses that exceed the amount appropriated 
because of fluctuations in currency exchange rates of foreign 
countries occurring after a budget request for the Commission 
is submitted to Congress. The account may not be used for any 
other purpose.
    The Committee recommendation includes bill language as 
proposed which makes ``such sums as may be necessary'' 
available to the Commission to cover unanticipated foreign 
currency fluctuations, currently estimated at $2,000,000.

           United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims


                         SALARIES AND EXPENSES

 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................       $31,386,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................        32,141,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................        32,141,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................           755,000
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................             - - -
 

    The Veterans' Judicial Review Act established the U.S. 
Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. The Court reviews appeals 
from claimants seeking review of a benefit denial. The Court 
has the authority to overturn findings of fact, regulations, 
and interpretations of law.
    The recommended funding level for the Court includes 
funding for nine judges, although the Court is permanently 
authorized to have only seven. The authority for two of the 
nine judges is temporary and does not allow for replacement. 
The Committee recommendation includes funding for all nine 
judges and their staff in the event that the authority is 
extended, with the understanding that if the authority is not 
extended, the funding associated with the two unauthorized 
judge positions, including staff, will be eliminated.
    The Committee notes that the Court has historically 
experienced an increase in appeals a year after the Board of 
Veterans' Appeals (BVA) has an increase in claims, which has 
been the case in fiscal year 2015. This expectation of an 
increase in claims is part of the rationale for funding the 
full slate of nine judges, and fully funding the Court's other 
information technology and staffing requests as presented in 
the budget request. The Committee directs the Court to continue 
to monitor BVA's claims workload and to anticipate the 
resulting requirements on the Court so that future Court budget 
requests can accommodate caseloads in order to avoid a backlog.

         Department of Defense--Civil Cemeterial Expenses, Army


                         SALARIES AND EXPENSES

 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................       $65,800,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................        70,800,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................        70,800,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................         5,000,000
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................             - - -
 

    The Secretary of the Army is responsible for the 
administration, operation and maintenance of Arlington National 
Cemetery (ANC) and the Soldiers' and Airmen's Home National 
Cemetery. In addition to its principal function as a national 
cemetery, ANC is one of the most visited sites in the 
Washington, D.C. area. ANC hosts approximately 3,000 non-
funeral ceremonies and up to 4,000,000 visitors annually.
    The Committee appreciates that this year the budget 
proposal for ANC is properly requested within the Cemeterial 
Expenses, Army account. The Committee directs that future 
budget requests for all ANC requirements be included in this 
account. Further, the Committee directs that budget 
justification materials include an updated Capital Investment 
Strategy for ANC and the Soldiers' and Airmen's Home National 
Cemetery. The submitted plan should be current, and should 
include a description of multi-year facilities and 
infrastructure projects and the expected costs and timeline for 
such projects, prioritization of the projects, and an estimate 
of sustainment and operating costs after completion.
    Arlington National Cemetery--The bill provides an 
additional $30,000,000 within title I to enable relocation of 
roads and utilities to improve traffic flow, access to Joint 
Base Myer-Henderson Hall, and increase the amount of land 
available for burials and interments at ANC. The project uses 
the Defense Access Roads (DAR) authority granted to the 
Secretary of Defense, which allows for transfers of funds to 
the Federal Highway Administration. The Army requested this 
project as part of the Army unfunded requirements list for 
fiscal year 2016. The Committee notes that this DAR project at 
the requested funding level is a one-time exception to the 
prohibition on using any title I funding for ANC. Further, the 
Committee directs that all funding associated with ANC 
expansion be requested in this account and not in military 
construction accounts. If the necessary land exchange for road 
relocation does not occur, the funds will be rescinded. 
Additionally, the Committee requires, at a minimum, quarterly 
reports on the status of the project. The Committee notes that 
providing the DAR funding so that roads can be properly 
realigned is a necessary precursor to the southern expansion of 
Arlington National Cemetery that is slated to begin in 2017 and 
the construction of the Pentagon Memorial 9/11 Visitors 
Education Center.
    New National Cemetery.--The Committee continues to support 
the efforts of the ANC Advisory Commission on their effort to 
identify solutions for the time when ANC reaches capacity, 
presently projected for the mid-2050s. With the influx of 
veterans returned from conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan alone, 
it is clear a new national cemetery of the same stature as ANC 
will be necessary. The Committee recommends the ANC Advisory 
Commission develop metrics to determine whether the Department 
of the Army should establish a new national cemetery, giving 
full consideration to West Coast sites, comparable to that of 
ANC. The Committee requests that the ANC Advisory Commission 
develop those metrics in consultation with the Committee.

                Armed Forces Retirement Home Trust Fund


                       OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE

 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................       $62,400,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................        63,300,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................        63,300,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................           900,000
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................             - - -
 

    The Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH) consists of two 
retirement communities: one in Washington, D.C. and the other 
in Gulfport, Mississippi. The Washington, D.C. facility was 
established in 1851 as a soldiers' home for elderly and 
disabled veterans. The original home for Navy officers, 
sailors, and Marines was established in Philadelphia, 
Pennsylvania in 1811, and was relocated to Gulfport, 
Mississippi almost a century and a half later.
    The Committee provides authority for the AFRH to use funds 
from a Trust Fund. The Trust Fund, which is replenished from a 
variety of sources, including fines and forfeitures and Active 
Duty Withholding, is diminishing. Annual outlays have exceeded 
revenue since 2011, and revenue continues to decline, due 
primarily to a large drop in fines and forfeitures. The 
Committee appreciates the proactive approach that the AFRH is 
taking to keep the Trust Fund solvent so that the AFRH can 
continue to properly care for its residents into perpetuity. 
The Committee expects the AFRH to regularly report on the 
status of efforts to stabilize the Trust Fund, including 
efforts to lease property for redevelopment at the Washington, 
D.C. facility.

                            CAPITAL PROGRAM

 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level........................        $1,000,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request.......................         1,000,000
Committee recommendation in the bill..................         1,000,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level....................             - - -
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request...................             - - -
 

    The Committee recommendation provides authority to expend 
$1,000,000 from the Armed Forces Retirement Home Trust Fund for 
construction and renovations.

                       Administrative Provisions

    The bill includes one provision that was in effect in 
fiscal year 2015 and one new provision. The administrative 
provisions included in the bill are as follows:
    The bill includes section 301 permitting Arlington National 
Cemetery to provide funds to Arlington County to relocate a 
water main.
    The bill includes section 302 permitting funds from 
concessions at Army National Military Cemeteries to be used to 
support activities at the Cemeteries.

                                TITLE IV


                    OVERSEAS CONTINGENCY OPERATIONS


                         Department of Defense


 
 
 
Fiscal year 2015 enacted level (title IV).............      $221,000,000
Fiscal year 2016 budget request (title IV)............             - - -
Committee recommendation in the bill (title IV).......       532,000,000
Comparison with:
    Fiscal year 2015 enacted level (title IV).........       311,000,000
    Fiscal year 2016 budget request (title IV)........       532,000,000
 

              Military Construction, Navy and Marine Corps

    The Committee recommendation includes a new title IV, 
Overseas Contingency Operations. Title IV provides $244,004,000 
for Navy and Marine Corps military construction projects in the 
Central Command and European Command Areas of Responsibility 
that were requested in title I, Military Construction, in the 
budget submission for fiscal year 2016. The Committee agrees 
that the projects transferred to title IV are necessary to 
support the war on terrorism and should be designated as 
overseas contingency operations functions.

                    Military Construction, Air Force

    The Committee recommendation includes a new title IV, 
Overseas Contingency Operations. Title IV provides $75,000,000 
for Air Force military construction projects in the Central 
Command and Africa Command Areas of Responsibility that were 
requested in title I, Military Construction, in the budget 
submission for fiscal year 2016. The Committee agrees that the 
projects transferred to title IV are necessary to support the 
war on terrorism and should be designated as overseas 
contingency operations functions.

                  Military Construction, Defense-Wide

    The Committee recommendation includes a new title IV, 
Overseas Contingency Operations. Title IV provides $212,996,000 
for one Missile Defense Agency project and one Defense 
Logistics project in the European Command and Africa Command 
Areas of Responsibility that was requested in title I, Military 
Construction, in the budget submission for fiscal year 2016. 
The Committee agrees that the projects transferred to title IV 
are necessary to support the war on terrorism and should be 
designated as overseas contingency operations functions.

                                TITLE V


                           GENERAL PROVISIONS

    The bill includes 12 provisions that are effective in 
fiscal year 2015 and a new provision as follows:
    The bill includes section 501 prohibiting the obligation of 
funds beyond the current fiscal year unless expressly so 
provided.
    The bill includes section 502 prohibiting the use of funds 
for programs, projects or activities not in compliance with 
Federal law relating to risk assessment, the protection of 
private property rights, or unfunded mandates.
    The bill includes section 503 encouraging all departments 
and agencies funded in this Act to expand the use of ``E-
Commerce'' technologies and procedures.
    The bill includes section 504 specifying the Congressional 
committees that are to receive all reports and notifications.
    The bill includes section 505 prohibiting the transfer of 
funds to any instrumentality of the United States Government 
without authority from an appropriations Act.
    The bill includes section 506 prohibiting any funds in this 
Act to be used for a project or program named for an individual 
serving as a Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner of the 
United States House of Representatives.
    The bill includes section 507 requiring all reports 
submitted to the Congress to be posted on official websites of 
the submitting agency.
    The bill includes section 508 prohibiting the use of funds 
to establish or maintain a computer network unless such network 
blocks the viewing, downloading, and exchanging of pornography, 
except for law enforcement investigation, prosecution or 
adjudication activities.
    The bill includes section 509 prohibiting the use of funds 
for payment of first-class travel by an employee of the 
executive branch.
    The bill includes section 510 prohibiting the use of funds 
in this Act for any contract where the contractor has not 
complied with E-Verify requirements.
    The bill includes section 511 prohibiting the use of funds 
in this Act by the Department of Defense or the Department of 
Veterans Affairs for the purchase or lease of a new vehicle 
except in accordance with Presidential Memorandum--Federal 
Fleet Performance, dated May 24, 2011.
    The bill includes section 512 prohibiting the use of funds 
in this Act for the renovation, expansion, or construction of 
any facility in the continental United States for the purpose 
of housing any individual who has been detained at the United 
States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
    The bill includes a new provision, section 513, 
establishing a ``Spending Reduction Account'' in the bill.

              House of Representatives Report Requirements

    The following items are included in accordance with various 
requirements of the Rules of the House of Representatives.

         Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the following is a statement of 
general performance goals and objectives for which this measure 
authorizes funding:
    The Committee on Appropriations considers program 
performance, including a program's success in developing and 
attaining outcome-related goals and objectives, in developing 
funding recommendations.

                              RESCISSIONS

    Pursuant to clause 3(f)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the following table lists the 
rescissions in the accompanying bill:

                          Department/Activity


                   AMOUNTS RECOMMENDED FOR RESCISSION

 
 
 
Department of Defense, Military Construction, Army            96,000,000
 (Sec. 125)...........................................
Department of Defense, Military Construction, Air             52,600,000
 Force (Sec. 126).....................................
Department of Defense, Defense-Wide (Sec. 127)........       134,000,000
42 USC 3374 (Sec. 128)................................       103,918,000
Department of Veterans Affairs, Medical Services (Sec.     1,400,000,000
 226)*................................................
Department of Veterans Affairs, Medical Support and          100,000,000
 Compliance (Sec. 226)*...............................
Department of Veterans Affairs, Medical Facilities           250,000,000
 (Sec. 226)*..........................................
Department of Veterans Affairs, all FY 2016                  101,000,000
 discretionary funding (Sec. 233).....................
Department of Veterans Affairs, Medical Services (Sec.       197,923,000
 240).................................................
Department of Veterans Affairs, Medical Support and           42,272,000
 Compliance (Sec. 240)................................
Department of Veterans Affairs, Medical Facilities            15,353,000
 (Sec. 240)...........................................
DOD-VA Health Care Sharing Incentive Fund (Sec. 238)..        15,000,000
 
*Reappropriated in the bill.

                           Transfer of Funds

    Pursuant to clause 3(f)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the following statements are 
submitted describing the transfer of funds provided in the 
accompanying bill.
    Language is included to allow for the transfer of funds 
from Family Housing, Construction accounts to the Department of 
Defense Family Housing Improvement Fund and funds from Military 
Construction accounts to the Department of Defense Military 
Unaccompanied Housing Improvement Fund.
    Language is included to provide transfer authority from the 
BRAC account to the Homeowners Assistance Program.
    Language is included to allow the transfer of expired funds 
to the ``Foreign Currency Fluctuations, Construction, Defense'' 
account.
    Language is included to transfer not to exceed $15,562,000 
in fiscal year 2016 and $16,021,000 in fiscal year 2017 from 
Compensation and Pensions to General Operating Expenses, 
Veterans Benefits Administration and Information Technology 
Systems. These funds are for the administrative costs of 
implementing cost-savings proposals required by the Omnibus 
Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 and the Veterans' Benefits 
Act of 1992. Language is also included transferring funds to 
the medical care collections fund to augment funding of medical 
facilities for nursing home care provided to pensioners.
    Language is included to permit the transfer of funds from 
General Administration to General Operating Expenses, Veterans 
Benefits Administration.
    Language is included to permit the transfer of funds 
between Information Technology Systems development projects and 
among the three sub-accounts identified in bill language 
subject to the approval of the Committee.
    Language is included to provide authority for the 
Department of Veterans Affairs for any funds appropriated in 
2016 for Compensation and Pensions, Readjustment Benefits, and 
Veterans Insurance and Indemnities to be transferred among 
those three accounts.
    Language is included to transfer funds among the Medical 
Services, Medical Support and Compliance, and Medical 
Facilities accounts.
    Language is included to permit the funds from three life 
insurance funds to be transferred to General Operating 
Expenses, Veterans Benefits Administration and Information 
Technology Systems for the costs of administering such 
programs.
    Language is included to permit up to $47,100,000 to be 
transferred to General Administration and Information 
Technology Systems from any funds appropriated in fiscal year 
2016 to reimburse the Office of Resolution Management and the 
Office of Employment Discrimination Complaint Adjudication for 
services provided.
    Language is included to transfer certain funds derived from 
enhanced-use leasing activities to the Construction, Major 
Projects and Construction, Minor Projects accounts.
    Language is included to transfer funds from the Medical 
Care Collections Fund to the Medical Services account.
    Language is included to allow the transfer of funds from 
the Capital Asset Fund to the Construction, Major Projects and 
Construction, Minor Projects accounts.
    Language is included to allow the transfer of funds from 
various accounts to the Information Technology Systems account 
in an aggregate amount not to exceed ten percent of the account 
appropriation, subject to approval by the Committee.
    Language is included to allow the transfer of funds in 
fiscal years 2016 and 2017 provided for the Department of 
Veterans Affairs to the Joint Department of Defense-Department 
of Veterans Affairs Medical Facility Demonstration Fund.
    Language is included permitting funds deposited to the 
Medical Care Collections Fund for health care provided at a 
combined Federal medical facility to be transferred to the 
Joint Department of Defense-Department of Veterans Affairs 
Medical Facility Demonstration Fund.
    Language is included under the Department of Veterans 
Affairs that would transfer no less than $15,000,000 for the 
DOD/VA Health Care Sharing Incentive Fund as authorized by 
section 8111(d) of title 38, United States Code.
    Language is included that permits the transfer from all 
discretionary accounts except General Operating Expenses, 
Veterans Benefits Administration, to Medical Services, subject 
to approval by the Committee.
    Language is included that permits transfer of funds between 
General Operating Expenses, Veterans Benefits Administration 
and the Board of Veterans Appeals, subject to approval by the 
Committee.

   Disclosure of Earmarks and Congressionally Directed Spending Items

    Neither the bill nor the report contains any Congressional 
earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as 
defined in clause 9 of rule XXI.

                 Changes in Application of Existing Law

    Pursuant to clause 3(f)(1)(A) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, the following statements are 
submitted describing the effect of provisions in the 
accompanying bill that directly or indirectly change the 
application of existing law.
    Language is included in various parts of the bill to 
continue on-going activities that require annual authorization 
or additional legislation, which to date have not been enacted.
    Language is included in various parts of the bill to place 
limitations on the use of funds in the bill or change existing 
limitations and which might, under some circumstances, be 
construed as changing the application of existing law.
    Language is included in various parts of the bill to allow 
the Secretary of Defense to exceed certain limitations upon 
notification to the Committee.
    Language is included in various parts of the bill to allow 
funding to be used for official reception and representation 
expenses.
    Language is included in various parts of the bill to enable 
various appropriations to remain available for more than one 
year for some programs for which the basic authority 
legislation does not presently authorize such extended 
availability.
    Language is included in various parts of the bill to permit 
the transfer of funds to other accounts.
    Language is included under Title I to prohibit payments for 
cost-plus-a-fixed-fee contracts under certain circumstances.
    Language is included in various parts of the bill to allow 
funds to be used for the hire of passenger motor vehicles.
    Language is included under Title I to allow advances to the 
Federal Highway Administration, Department of Transportation 
under certain circumstances.
    Language is included under Title I to prohibit the use of 
funds to begin construction of new bases without specific 
appropriations.
    Language is included under Title I to prohibit the use of 
funds for purchase of land or land easements under certain 
circumstances.
    Language is included under Title I to prohibit the use of 
funds for land acquisition, site preparation, and utility 
installation for family housing unless funds have been made 
available in annual appropriations Acts.
    Language is included under Title I to prohibit the use of 
minor construction funds to transfer an activity between 
installations without prior notification.
    Language is included under Title I to prohibit the use of 
funds for the procurement of steel for any activity if American 
steel producers have been denied the opportunity to compete for 
such steel procurements.
    Language is included under Title I to prohibit the use of 
funds to pay real property taxes in any foreign nation.
    Language is included under Title I to prohibit the use of 
funds to initiate a new installation overseas without prior 
notification.
    Language is included under Title I to limit the use of 
funds for architect and engineer contracts under certain 
circumstances.
    Language is included under Title I to limit the use of 
funds for awarding contracts to foreign contractors under 
certain circumstances.
    Language is included under Title I to require the 
Department of Defense to notify the appropriate committees of 
Congress of any proposed military exercises under certain 
circumstances.
    Language is included under Title I to allow prior year 
construction funding to be available for currently authorized 
projects.
    Language is included under Title I to allow payment for the 
cost associated with supervision, inspection, overhead, 
engineering and design on family housing or military 
construction projects that are being completed with expired or 
lapsed funds.
    Language is included under Title I to allow funds to be 
expended on military construction projects for four fiscal 
years after enactment under certain circumstances.
    Language is included under Title I to allow construction 
funds to be transferred to Housing Improvement Funds.
    Language is included under Title I to allow for the 
transfer of BRAC funds to the Homeowners Assistance Program.
    Language is included under Title I to limit funds for the 
operation and maintenance of family housing to those provided 
in this appropriation and to limit amounts expended on repairs 
of general and flag officer quarters under certain 
circumstances.
    Language is included under Title I to allow funds in the 
Ford Island Improvement Account to be available until expended 
for certain purposes.
    Language is included under Title I to allow for the 
transfer of expired funding to the Foreign Currency Fluctuation 
Account under certain circumstances.
    Language is included under Title I limiting movement of an 
Army unit with a testing mission.
    Language is included under Title I to prohibit funds to be 
used for projects at Arlington Cemetery.
    Language is included under Title I that rescinds funds from 
prior year appropriations Acts.
    Language is included under Title I defining the 
congressional defense committees.
    Language is included in Title I prohibiting funds to close 
or realign Lajes Air Force Base, and prohibits funds to 
construct an intelligence facility at a separate location, 
unless DoD certifies that Lajes does not meet operations 
requirements for certain intelligence activities.
    Language is included under Title I providing additional 
funds for Defense Access Roads.
    Language is included under Title II to require that the 
Secretary of Veterans Affairs establish a priority for 
treatment of veterans who are service-connected disabled, lower 
income, or have special needs.
    Language is included under Title II to require that the 
Secretary of Veterans Affairs give priority funding of basic 
medical benefits to priority groups 1 through 6.
    Language is included under Title II to allow the Secretary 
of Veterans Affairs to dispense prescription drugs from VHA 
facilities to enrolled veterans with privately written 
prescriptions.
    Language is included under Title II providing for the 
reimbursement to the Department of Defense for the costs of 
overseas employee mail.
    Language is included under Title II to require approval of 
a transfer between development, modernization, and enhancement 
projects in the Information Technology Systems account.
    Language is included under Title II establishing time 
limitations and reporting requirements concerning the 
obligation of Major Construction funds, limiting the use of 
funds, and allowing the use of funds for program costs.
    Language is included under Title II to allow Minor 
Construction funds to be used to repair non-medical facilities 
damaged by natural disaster or catastrophe.
    Language is included under Title II permitting transfers 
between mandatory and discretionary accounts, limiting and 
providing for the use of certain funds, funding administrative 
expenses associated with life insurance programs from excess 
program revenues, allowing reimbursement from enhanced-use 
leases and for certain services, requiring approval of new 
lease agreements, requiring notification of construction bid 
savings, limiting reprogramming amount major construction 
projects, restricting changes in the scope of major 
construction projects, requiring disclosure of insurance and 
income information, allowing a recovery audit collection 
program, allowing veterans in the State of Alaska to use Indian 
Health Service facilities under certain conditions, allowing 
medical services funds for recreational and funeral expenses, 
limiting the obligation of non-recurring maintenance funds 
during the last two months of the fiscal year, requiring 
notification of organizational changes that transfer 25 or more 
employees from one VA organizational unit to another, and 
requiring approval of a reprogramming prior to any major 
reallocation of medical services initiatives funding.
    Language is included under the Court of Appeals for 
Veterans Claims, Salaries and Expenses, to permit the use of 
funds for a pro bono program.
    Language is included under Cemeterial Expenses, Army, 
Salaries and Expenses, to permit the use of funds for parking 
maintenance and repairs.
    Language is included under Title III to permit the use of 
funds to relocate a water main.
    Language is included under Title III to allow for the use 
of concession fees.
    Language is included under Title V to limit the use of 
funds for Federal entities when they are not in compliance with 
Federal law relating to risk assessment, the protection of 
private property rights, or unfunded mandates.
    Language is included under Title V to limit the use of 
funds for publicity or propaganda designed to support or defeat 
legislation pending before Congress.
    Language is included under Title V to prohibit the use of 
funds for a project or program named for a serving Member of 
the United States Congress.
    Language is included under Title V prohibiting funds from 
being used to maintain or establish a computer network unless 
such network blocks the viewing, downloading, and exchanging of 
pornography.
    Language is included under Title V prohibiting funds from 
being used to pay for first class travel in violation of 
federal regulations.
    Language is included under Title V prohibiting funds from 
being used to execute a contract for goods or services where a 
contractor has not complied with Executive Order 12989.
    Language is included under Title V prohibiting funds from 
being used by the Department of Defense or the Department of 
Veterans Affairs for the purchase or lease of a new vehicle 
except in accordance with Presidential Memorandum--Federal 
Fleet Performance, dated May 24, 2011.

                  Appropriations Not Authorized by Law

    Pursuant to clause 3(f)(1)(B) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, the following table lists the 
appropriations in the accompanying bill which are not 
authorized by law for the period concerned:


                          Program Duplication

    No provision of this bill 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.

                          Directed Rule Making

    The bill does not direct any rule making.
    
    
          Compliance With Rule XIII, Cl. 3(e) (Ramseyer Rule)

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

 SECTION 223 OF THE CONSOLIDATED AND FURTHER CONTINUING APPROPRIATIONS 
                               ACT, 2015


              (Public Law 113-235, title II of division I)

                     [(including transfer of funds)

  [Sec. 223.  Of the amounts appropriated to the Department of 
Veterans Affairs which become available on October 1, 2015, for 
``Medical Services'', ``Medical Support and Compliance'', and 
``Medical Facilities'', up to $245,398,000, plus 
reimbursements, may be transferred to the Joint Department of 
Defense-Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Facility 
Demonstration Fund, established by section 1704 of the National 
Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (Public Law 111-
84; 123 Stat. 3571) and may be used for operation of the 
facilities designated as combined Federal medical facilities as 
described by section 706 of the Duncan Hunter National Defense 
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009 (Public Law 110-417; 122 
Stat. 4500): Provided, That additional funds may be transferred 
from accounts designated in this section to the Joint 
Department of Defense-Department of Veterans Affairs Medical 
Facility Demonstration Fund upon written notification by the 
Secretary of Veterans Affairs to the Committees on 
Appropriations of both Houses of Congress.]

                 Comparison With the Budget Resolution

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives and section 308(a)(1)(A) of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the following table compares 
the levels of new budget authority provided in the bill with 
the appropriate allocation under section 302(b) of the Budget 
Act.

                                            [In millions of dollars]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                      302(b) Allocation         This Bill
                                                                   --------------------------------------------
                                                                      Budget                Budget
                                                                    authority   Outlays   authority   Outlays
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mandatory.........................................................     94,766     94,521     94,537  \1\94,292
Discretionary.....................................................     76,589     78,246     76,589     78,245
    General Purpose...............................................     76,057     78,244     76,057     78,243
    Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO)/Global War on Terrorism         532          2        532          2
     (GWOT).......................................................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\Includes outlays from prior-year authority.
n.a.: not applicable

                    Five-Year Projection of Outlays

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives and section 308(a)(1)(B) of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the following table contains 
five-year projections prepared by the Congressional Budget 
Office of outlays associated with the budget authority provided 
in the accompanying bill:

                        [In millions of dollars]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                  non-OCO      OCO/GWOT
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Projection of outlays associated with the
 recommendation:
    2016......................................   \2\102,794            2
    2017......................................        5,179          101
    2018......................................        3,217          203
    2019......................................        1,847          163
    2020 and future years.....................        1,185           47
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\2\Excludes outlays from prior-year budget authority.

               Assistance to State and Local Governments

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives and section 308(a)(1)(C) of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the amount of financial 
assistance to State and local governments is as follows:
                                                                Millions
Budget Authority........................................             161
Fiscal Year 2016 outlays resulting therefrom............              11

                               State List

    The following is a complete listing, by title, State and 
country, of the Committee's recommendations for military 
construction and family housing projects:



                             MINORITY VIEWS

    The Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related 
Agencies appropriations bill has a long history of finding 
bipartisan common ground as members work together to fund the 
construction of military facilities and strive to improve the 
quality of life and care afforded to our veterans and military 
families.
    The Majority's FY 2016 Budget Resolution locks in sequester 
levels, uses gimmicks to boost defense funding, and forces an 
allocation that results in slashing $1.2 billion below the 
budget request for military construction and $1.4 billion below 
the request for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
    The VA's major construction account faces a cut of $582 
million--a 51% reduction. Furthermore, the bill directs that 
the remaining funding may be used only for replacement, safety, 
and security projects. This language eliminates all National 
Cemetery Projects for FY 2016 and puts several other projects 
in jeopardy.
    The Majority claims they reduced the construction account 
because the half-built Veterans' Affairs Denver Hospital 
project is drastically over-budget and riddled with mistakes. 
We certainly agree that the VA needs to be held accountable for 
the poor job in managing the Denver Hospital project; however, 
no funds for the Denver Hospital were allocated in the MilCon/
VA bill. Additionally, we are not aware of any similar issues 
with the projects funded in this bill, including replacement, 
clinic construction, seismic improvements, or cemetery 
construction. And so, we believe the Majority's budget caps and 
resulting inadequate allocation--not the problems in Denver--
led to cutting construction in half. We are concerned that if 
this reduction stands, it will further contribute to the gaps 
in access, utilization, and safety that were already identified 
in the VA's annual Strategic Capital Investment Program (SCIP) 
process.
    The bill provides $7.2 billion for Military Construction, 
an increase of $593 million above 2015, but still $1.2 billion 
below the President's request. In an effort to find a way 
around the overall Defense budget cap, the bill shifts $532 
million to the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding 
stream, where the funding will not count against the cap. The 
President's FY 2016 budget request did not call for additional 
funds in the OCO account, making the Majority's funding shift 
purely a gimmick to boost defense spending.
    We are pleased with several aspects of the bill. For 
example, the bill maintains tough but fair reporting 
requirements for VISTA Modernization, which closely tracks the 
VA's development of its electronic health record. The bill 
continues to prioritize the elimination of the veterans' claims 
backlog by fully funding the FY 2016 requests--$18.3 million 
for the centralized mail initiative which consolidates inbound 
paper mail from regional offices to a centralized intake site 
as well as $140.8 million for the Veterans Claim Intake Program 
(VCIP) to scan paper claims and convert them into digital 
format. In addition, the bill includes steps to keep the Board 
of Veterans Appeals ahead of the curve by requiring enhanced 
reporting on the appeals backlog. We believe that these are all 
positive steps to making the VA function better. Furthermore, 
Chairman Dent has avoided including contentious legislative 
riders.
    While the House bill is only the first step in a long 
process, we are concerned about the severe impact of reductions 
and one-time OCO budget gimmicks. As we pointed out during full 
committee markup, FY 2017 VA advance funding is going to 
consume $4.6 billion of the nondefense discretionary cap; 
budget problems will only get worse until we find a bipartisan 
agreement to undo sequestration levels. The problems in MilCon/
VA funding must be addressed as we move through the process.
                                   Nita M. Lowey.
                                   Sanford D. Bishop, Jr.