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115th Congress }                                          { REPORT
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
  2d Session   }                                          { 115-682

======================================================================
 
            VETERANS TREATMENT COURT IMPROVEMENT ACT OF 2018

                                _______
                                

  May 18, 2018.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

    Mr. Roe of Tennessee, from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 2147]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Veterans' Affairs, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 2147) to require the Secretary of Veterans 
Affairs to hire additional Veterans Justice Outreach 
Specialists to provide treatment court services to justice-
involved veterans, and for other purposes, having considered 
the same, report favorably thereon with an amendment and 
recommend that the bill as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Purpose and Summary..............................................     6
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     6
Hearings.........................................................     7
Subcommittee Consideration.......................................     7
Committee Consideration..........................................     8
Committee Votes..................................................     8
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     8
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............     8
New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and Tax Expenditures     8
Earmarks and Tax and Tariff Benefits.............................     8
Committee Cost Estimate..........................................     8
Congressional Budget Office Estimate.............................     9
Federal Mandates Statement.......................................    10
Advisory Committee Statement.....................................    10
Constitutional Authority Statement...............................    10
Applicability to Legislative Branch..............................    10
Statement on Duplication of Federal Programs.....................    10
Disclosure of Directed Rulemaking................................    10
Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation...................    10
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill as Reported.............    11

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

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Veterans Treatment Court Improvement 
Act of 2018''.

SEC. 2. HIRING BY DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS OF ADDITIONAL VETERANS 
                    JUSTICE OUTREACH SPECIALISTS.

  (a) Hiring of Additional Veterans Justice Outreach Specialists.--
          (1) In general.--Not later than one year after the date of 
        the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs 
        shall hire not fewer than 50 Veterans Justice Outreach 
        Specialists and place each such Veterans Justice Outreach 
        Specialist at an eligible Department of Veterans Affairs 
        medical center in accordance with this section.
          (2) Requirements.--The Secretary shall ensure that each 
        Veterans Justice Outreach Specialist employed under paragraph 
        (1)--
                  (A) serves, either exclusively or in addition to 
                other duties, as part of a justice team in a veterans 
                treatment court or other veteran-focused court; and
                  (B) otherwise meets Department hiring guidelines for 
                Veterans Justice Outreach Specialists.
  (b) Eligible Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Centers.--For 
purposes of this section, an eligible Department of Veterans Affairs 
medical center is any Department of Veterans Affairs medical center 
that--
          (1) complies with all Department guidelines and regulations 
        for placement of a Veterans Justice Outreach Specialist;
          (2) works within a local criminal justice system with 
        justice-involved veterans;
          (3) maintains an affiliation with one or more veterans 
        treatment courts or other veteran-focused courts; and
          (4) either--
                  (A) routinely provides Veterans Justice Outreach 
                Specialists to serve as part of a justice team in a 
                veterans treatment court or other veteran-focused 
                court; or
                  (B) establishes a plan that is approved by the 
                Secretary to provide Veterans Justice Outreach 
                Specialists employed under subsection (a)(1) to serve 
                as part of a justice team in a veterans treatment court 
                or other veteran-focused court.
  (c) Placement Priority.--The Secretary shall prioritize the placement 
of Veterans Justice Outreach Specialists employed under subsection 
(a)(1) at eligible Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers that 
have or intend to establish an affiliation, for the purpose of carrying 
out the Veterans Justice Outreach Program, with a veterans treatment 
court, or other veteran-focused court, that--
          (1) was established on or after the date of the enactment of 
        this Act; or
          (2)(A) was established before the date of the enactment of 
        this Act; and
          (B) is not fully staffed with Veterans Justice Outreach 
        Specialists.
  (d) Reports.--
          (1) Report by secretary of veterans affairs.--
                  (A) In general.--Not later than one year after the 
                date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of 
                Veterans Affairs shall submit to Congress a report on 
                the implementation of this section and its effect on 
                the Veterans Justice Outreach Program.
                  (B) Contents.--The report submitted under paragraph 
                (1) shall include the following:
                          (i) The status of the efforts of the 
                        Secretary to hire Veterans Justice Outreach 
                        Specialists pursuant to subsection (a)(1), 
                        including the total number of Veterans Justice 
                        Outreach Specialists hired by the Secretary 
                        pursuant to such subsection and the number that 
                        the Secretary expects to hire pursuant to such 
                        subsection.
                          (ii) The total number of Veterans Justice 
                        Outreach Specialists assigned to each 
                        Department of Veterans Affairs medical center 
                        that participates in the Veterans Justice 
                        Outreach Program, including the number of 
                        Veterans Justice Outreach Specialists hired 
                        under subsection (a)(1) disaggregated by 
                        Department of Veterans Affairs medical center.
                          (iii) The total number of eligible Department 
                        of Veterans Affairs medical centers that sought 
                        placement of a Veterans Justice Outreach 
                        Specialist under subsection (a)(1), how many 
                        Veterans Justice Outreach Specialists each such 
                        center sought, and how many of such medical 
                        centers received no placement of a Veterans 
                        Justice Outreach Specialist under subsection 
                        (a)(1).
                          (iv) For each eligible Department of Veterans 
                        Affairs medical center--
                                  (I) the number of justice-involved 
                                veterans who were served or are 
                                expected to be served by a Veterans 
                                Justice Outreach Specialist hired under 
                                subsection (a)(1); and
                                  (II) the number of justice-involved 
                                veterans who do not have access to a 
                                Veterans Justice Outreach Specialist.
          (2) Report by comptroller general of the united states.--
                  (A) In general.--Not later than three years after the 
                date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller 
                General of the United States shall submit to Congress a 
                report on the implementation of this section and the 
                effectiveness of the Veterans Justice Outreach Program.
                  (B) Contents.--The report required by subparagraph 
                (A) shall include the following:
                          (i) An assessment of whether the Secretary 
                        has fulfilled the Secretary's obligations under 
                        this section.
                          (ii) The number of veterans who are served by 
                        Veterans Justice Outreach Specialists hired 
                        under subsection (a)(1), disaggregated by 
                        demographics (including discharge status).
                          (iii) An identification of any subgroups of 
                        veterans who underutilize services provided 
                        under laws administered by the Secretary, 
                        including an assessment of whether these 
                        veterans have access to Veterans Justice 
                        Outreach Specialists under the Veterans Justice 
                        Outreach Program.
                          (iv) Such recommendations as the Comptroller 
                        General may have for the Secretary to improve 
                        the effectiveness of the Veterans Justice 
                        Outreach Program.
  (e) Definitions.--In this section:
          (1) Justice team.--The term ``justice team'' means the group 
        of individuals, which may include a judge, court coordinator, 
        prosecutor, public defender, treatment provider, probation or 
        other law enforcement officer, program mentor, and Veterans 
        Justice Outreach Specialist, who assist justice-involved 
        veterans in a veterans treatment court or other veteran-focused 
        court.
          (2) Justice-involved veteran.--The term ``justice-involved 
        veteran'' means a veteran with active, ongoing, or recent 
        contact with some component of a local criminal justice system.
          (3) Local criminal justice system.--The term ``local criminal 
        justice system'' means law enforcement, jails, prisons, and 
        Federal, State, and local courts.
          (4) Veterans justice outreach program.--The term ``Veterans 
        Justice Outreach Program'' means the program through which the 
        Department of Veterans Affairs identifies justice-involved 
        veterans and provides such veterans with access to Department 
        services.
          (5) Veterans justice outreach specialist.--The term 
        ``Veterans Justice Outreach Specialist'' means an employee of 
        the Department of Veterans Affairs who serves as a liaison 
        between the Department and the local criminal justice system on 
        behalf of a justice-involved veteran.
          (6) Veterans treatment court.--The term ``veterans treatment 
        court'' means a State or local court that is participating in 
        the veterans treatment court program (as defined in section 
        2991(i)(1) of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 
        1968 (42 U.S.C. 3797aa(i)(1))).

  Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute to H.R. 2147 Offered by Mr. 
                          Coffman of Colorado


  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Veterans Treatment Court 
Improvement Act of 2018''.

SEC. 2. HIRING BY DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS OF ADDITIONAL VETERANS 
                    JUSTICE OUTREACH SPECIALISTS.

  (a) Hiring of Additional Veterans Justice Outreach 
Specialists.--
          (1) In general.--Not later than one year after the 
        date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of 
        Veterans Affairs shall hire not fewer than 50 Veterans 
        Justice Outreach Specialists and place each such 
        Veterans Justice Outreach Specialist at an eligible 
        Department of Veterans Affairs medical center in 
        accordance with this section.
          (2) Requirements.--The Secretary shall ensure that 
        each Veterans Justice Outreach Specialist employed 
        under paragraph (1)--
                  (A) serves, either exclusively or in addition 
                to other duties, as part of a justice team in a 
                veterans treatment court or other veteran-
                focused court; and
                  (B) otherwise meets Department hiring 
                guidelines for Veterans Justice Outreach 
                Specialists.
  (b) Eligible Department of Veterans Affairs Medical 
Centers.--For purposes of this section, an eligible Department 
of Veterans Affairs medical center is any Department of 
Veterans Affairs medical center that--
          (1) complies with all Department guidelines and 
        regulations for placement of a Veterans Justice 
        Outreach Specialist;
          (2) works within a local criminal justice system with 
        justice-involved veterans;
          (3) maintains an affiliation with one or more 
        veterans treatment courts or other veteran-focused 
        courts; and
          (4) either--
                  (A) routinely provides Veterans Justice 
                Outreach Specialists to serve as part of a 
                justice team in a veterans treatment court or 
                other veteran-focused court; or
                  (B) establishes a plan that is approved by 
                the Secretary to provide Veterans Justice 
                Outreach Specialists employed under subsection 
                (a)(1) to serve as part of a justice team in a 
                veterans treatment court or other veteran-
                focused court.
  (c) Placement Priority.--The Secretary shall prioritize the 
placement of Veterans Justice Outreach Specialists employed 
under subsection (a)(1) at eligible Department of Veterans 
Affairs medical centers that have or intend to establish an 
affiliation, for the purpose of carrying out the Veterans 
Justice Outreach Program, with a veterans treatment court, or 
other veteran-focused court, that--
          (1) was established on or after the date of the 
        enactment of this Act; or
          (2)(A) was established before the date of the 
        enactment of this Act; and
          (B) is not fully staffed with Veterans Justice 
        Outreach Specialists.
  (d) Reports.--
          (1) Report by secretary of veterans affairs.--
                  (A) In general.--Not later than one year 
                after the date of the enactment of this Act, 
                the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall submit 
                to Congress a report on the implementation of 
                this section and its effect on the Veterans 
                Justice Outreach Program.
                  (B) Contents.--The report submitted under 
                paragraph (1) shall include the following:
                          (i) The status of the efforts of the 
                        Secretary to hire Veterans Justice 
                        Outreach Specialists pursuant to 
                        subsection (a)(1), including the total 
                        number of Veterans Justice Outreach 
                        Specialists hired by the Secretary 
                        pursuant to such subsection and the 
                        number that the Secretary expects to 
                        hire pursuant to such subsection.
                          (ii) The total number of Veterans 
                        Justice Outreach Specialists assigned 
                        to each Department of Veterans Affairs 
                        medical center that participates in the 
                        Veterans Justice Outreach Program, 
                        including the number of Veterans 
                        Justice Outreach Specialists hired 
                        under subsection (a)(1) disaggregated 
                        by Department of Veterans Affairs 
                        medical center.
                          (iii) The total number of eligible 
                        Department of Veterans Affairs medical 
                        centers that sought placement of a 
                        Veterans Justice Outreach Specialist 
                        under subsection (a)(1), how many 
                        Veterans Justice Outreach Specialists 
                        each such center sought, and how many 
                        of such medical centers received no 
                        placement of a Veterans Justice 
                        Outreach Specialist under subsection 
                        (a)(1).
                          (iv) For each eligible Department of 
                        Veterans Affairs medical center--
                                  (I) the number of justice-
                                involved veterans who were 
                                served or are expected to be 
                                served by a Veterans Justice 
                                Outreach Specialist hired under 
                                subsection (a)(1); and
                                  (II) the number of justice-
                                involved veterans who do not 
                                have access to a Veterans 
                                Justice Outreach Specialist.
          (2) Report by comptroller general of the united 
        states.--
                  (A) In general.--Not later than three years 
                after the date of the enactment of this Act, 
                the Comptroller General of the United States 
                shall submit to Congress a report on the 
                implementation of this section and the 
                effectiveness of the Veterans Justice Outreach 
                Program.
                  (B) Contents.--The report required by 
                subparagraph (A) shall include the following:
                          (i) An assessment of whether the 
                        Secretary has fulfilled the Secretary's 
                        obligations under this section.
                          (ii) The number of veterans who are 
                        served by Veterans Justice Outreach 
                        Specialists hired under subsection 
                        (a)(1), disaggregated by demographics 
                        (including discharge status).
                          (iii) An identification of any 
                        subgroups of veterans who underutilize 
                        services provided under laws 
                        administered by the Secretary, 
                        including an assessment of whether 
                        these veterans have access to Veterans 
                        Justice Outreach Specialists under the 
                        Veterans Justice Outreach Program.
                          (iv) Such recommendations as the 
                        Comptroller General may have for the 
                        Secretary to improve the effectiveness 
                        of the Veterans Justice Outreach 
                        Program.
  (e) Definitions.--In this section:
          (1) Justice team.--The term ``justice team'' means 
        the group of individuals, which may include a judge, 
        court coordinator, prosecutor, public defender, 
        treatment provider, probation or other law enforcement 
        officer, program mentor, and Veterans Justice Outreach 
        Specialist, who assist justice-involved veterans in a 
        veterans treatment court or other veteran-focused 
        court.
          (2) Justice-involved veteran.--The term ``justice-
        involved veteran'' means a veteran with active, 
        ongoing, or recent contact with some component of a 
        local criminal justice system.
          (3) Local criminal justice system.--The term ``local 
        criminal justice system'' means law enforcement, jails, 
        prisons, and Federal, State, and local courts.
          (4) Veterans justice outreach program.--The term 
        ``Veterans Justice Outreach Program'' means the program 
        through which the Department of Veterans Affairs 
        identifies justice-involved veterans and provides such 
        veterans with access to Department services.
          (5) Veterans justice outreach specialist.--The term 
        ``Veterans Justice Outreach Specialist'' means an 
        employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs who 
        serves as a liaison between the Department and the 
        local criminal justice system on behalf of a justice-
        involved veteran.
          (6) Veterans treatment court.--The term ``veterans 
        treatment court'' means a State or local court that is 
        participating in the veterans treatment court program 
        (as defined in section 2991(i)(1) of the Omnibus Crime 
        Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 
        3797aa(i)(1))).

                          PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    H.R. 2147, as amended, the ``Veterans Treatment Court 
Improvement Act of 2018,'' would require the Department of 
Veterans Affairs (VA) hire at least 50 Veterans Justice 
Outreach (VJO) Specialists for placement at certain VAMCs with 
robust VJO Programs to serve as part of a VJO team in a 
veterans treatment (or other veteran-focused) court. 
Representative Mike Coffman of Colorado introduced H.R. 2147 on 
April 26, 2017.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    VA's Veteran Justice Outreach (VJO) program aims to help 
``. . . avoid the unnecessary criminalization of mental illness 
and extended incarceration among veterans by ensuring that 
eligible, justice-involved veterans have timely access to [VA] 
services, as clinically indicated.''\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\VHA Office of Mental Health. ``Homeless Veterans.'' Veterans 
Justice Outreach Program, Department of Veterans Affairs, 28 Jan. 2010, 
www.va.gov/HOMELESS/VJO.asp
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    To accomplish this, VAMCs employ VJO Specialists who 
provide direct outreach, assessment and case management for 
justice-involved veterans and serve as the link between 
veterans, VA, and the local justice system. In areas where a 
Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) exists, VJO Specialists also 
work with the VTC to inform officers of the court about whether 
a veteran is complying with VA treatment programs and relevant 
court orders.
    VTCs began in 2008 in Buffalo, New York. The VTC model is 
based on the Drug Courts and Mental Health Courts that began in 
the 1990s. VTCs often partner with local VAMCs and VSOs. While 
VTCs are voluntary, only veterans who have been charged with 
non-violent crimes and who are in need of mental health or 
substance abuse treatment may access a VTC.\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\``Keeping Veterans with PTSD out of the Justice System.'' PTSD: 
National Center for PTSD, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 17 Aug. 
2010, www.ptsd.va.gov/public/community/keeping-PTSD-vets-out-JS.asp.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Section 2 of the bill would require VA to hire an 
additional 50 Veterans Justice Outreach Specialists for 
placement into eligible VA Medical Centers. An eligible VA 
Medical Center is one that (1) complies with all VA guidelines 
and regulations for placement of a specialist; (2) works with a 
veteran with active, ongoing, or recent contact with some 
component of a local criminal justice system; (3) maintains an 
affiliation with one or more veterans treatment courts or other 
veteran-focused courts; and (4) either routinely provides 
specialists, or establishes a VA-approved plan to provide 
specialists, to serve as part of a justice team in such a 
court.

                                HEARINGS

    On September 26, 2017, the Subcommittee on Health conducted 
a legislative hearing on a number of bills including H.R. 2147.
    The following witnesses testified:
          The Honorable Debbie Dingell, U.S. House of 
        Representatives, 12th District, Michigan; The Honorable 
        Beto O'Rourke, U.S. House of Representatives, 16th 
        District, Texas; The Honorable Derek Kilmer, U.S. House 
        of Representatives, 6th District, Washington; The 
        Honorable Steve King, U.S. House of Representatives, 
        4th District, Iowa; The Honorable Lloyd Smucker, U.S. 
        House of Representatives, 16th District, Pennsylvania; 
        The Honorable Mike Coffman, U.S. House of 
        Representatives, 6th District, Colorado; The Honorable 
        Steve Stivers, U.S. House of Representatives, 15th 
        District, Ohio; The Honorable Ron DeSantis, U.S. House 
        of Representatives, 6th District, Florida; The 
        Honorable John Rutherford, U.S. House of 
        Representatives, 4th District, Florida; Keronica 
        Richardson, Assistant Director of Women and Minority 
        Veterans Outreach, National Security Division, The 
        American Legion; Rick Weidman, Executive Director for 
        Policy & Government Affairs, Vietnam Veterans of 
        America; Amy Webb, National Legislative Policy Advisor, 
        AMVETS; Harold Kudler, M.D., Acting Assistant Deputy 
        Under Secretary for Health for Patient Care Services, 
        Veterans Health Administration, U.S. Department of 
        Veterans Affairs.
    Statements for the record were submitted by:
          Blinded Veterans of America; Veterans of Foreign Wars 
        of the United States; Disabled American Veterans; 
        Paralyzed Veterans of America; Justice for Vets; Make a 
        Difference America

                       SUBCOMMITTEE CONSIDERATION

    There was no Subcommittee consideration of H.R. 2147.

                        COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION

    On May 8, 2018, the full Committee met in open markup 
session, a quorum being present, and ordered H.R. 2147, as 
amended, to be reported favorably to the House of 
Representatives by voice vote. During consideration of the 
bill, the following amendment was considered and agreed to by 
voice vote:
          An amendment in the nature of a substitute offered by 
        Representative Mike Coffman of Colorado.

                            COMMITTEE VOTES

    In compliance with clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, there were no recorded votes 
taken on amendments or in connection with ordering H.R. 2147, 
as amended, reported to the House. A motion by Representative 
Tim Walz of Minnesota, Ranking Member of the Committee on 
Veterans' Affairs, to report H.R. 2147, as amended, favorably 
to the House of Representatives was adopted by voice vote.

                      COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS

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

         STATEMENT OF GENERAL PERFORMANCE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

    In accordance with clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee's performance 
goals and objectives are to ensure that there is a sufficient 
number of Veterans Justice Outreach Specialists available 
across the VA healthcare system to provide case management 
services to the population of veterans with mental illness.

   NEW BUDGET AUTHORITY, ENTITLEMENT AUTHORITY, AND TAX EXPENDITURES

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

                  EARMARKS AND TAX AND TARIFF BENEFITS

    H.R. 2147, as amended, does not contain any Congressional 
earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as 
defined in clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives.

                        COMMITTEE COST ESTIMATE

    The Committee adopts as its own the cost estimate on H.R. 
2147, as amended, prepared by the Director of the Congressional 
Budget Office pursuant to section 402 of the Congressional 
Budget Act of 1974.

               CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE COST ESTIMATE

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the following is the cost estimate 
for H.R. 2147, as amended, provided by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office pursuant to section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                       Washington, DC, May 9, 2018.
Hon. Phil Roe, M.D.,
Chairman, Committee on Veterans' Affairs,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 2147, the Veterans 
Treatment Court Improvement Act of 2018.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Ann E. 
Futrell.
            Sincerely,
                                                Keith Hall,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 2147--Veterans Treatment Court Improvement Act of 2018

    Within one year of enactment, H.R. 2147 would require the 
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to hire 50 specialists for 
the Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) Program. The program--which 
operates through VA medical centers--provides support services 
to veterans involved in the criminal justice system. VA reports 
that currently it is working to hire at least 50 additional 
specialists for the VJO program. Because the hiring requirement 
would codify VA's current plan, CBO estimates that implementing 
those requirements would result in no additional costs.
    The bill also would require VA and the Government 
Accountability Office (GAO) to submit reports to the Congress 
on the VJO Program. On the basis of information from GAO 
regarding necessary resources to prepare reports of similar 
scope, CBO estimates that four full-time employees at an 
average compensation of $130,000 would work on the GAO report. 
CBO expects minimal costs to prepare VA's report. As a result, 
CBO estimates that implementing the bill's reporting 
requirements would cost $1 million over the 2019-2023 period, 
assuming availability of appropriated amounts.
    Enacting H.R. 2147 would not affect direct spending or 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 2147 would not increase 
net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2029.
    H.R. 2147 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Ann E. Futrell. 
The estimate was reviewed by Leo Lex, Deputy Assistant Director 
for Budget Analysis.

                       FEDERAL MANDATES STATEMENT

    The Committee adopts as its own the estimate of Federal 
mandates regarding H.R. 2147, as amended, prepared by the 
Director of the Congressional Budget Office pursuant to section 
423 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.

                      ADVISORY COMMITTEE STATEMENT

    No advisory committees within the meaning of section 5(b) 
of the Federal Advisory Committee Act would be created by H.R. 
2147, as amended.

                 STATEMENT OF CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY

    Pursuant to Article I, section 8 of the United States 
Constitution, H.R. 2147, as amended, is authorized by Congress' 
power to ``provide for the common Defense and general Welfare 
of the United States.''

                  APPLICABILITY TO LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

    The Committee finds that H.R. 2147, as amended, does not 
relate to the terms and conditions of employment or access to 
public services or accommodations within the meaning of section 
102(b)(3) of the Congressional Accountability Act.

              STATEMENT ON DUPLICATION OF FEDERAL PROGRAMS

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(5) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee finds that no provision 
of H.R. 2147, as amended, establishes or reauthorizes a program 
of the Federal Government known to be duplicative of another 
Federal program, a program that was included in any report from 
the Government Accountability Office to Congress pursuant to 
section 21 of Public Law 111-139, or a program related to a 
program identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal 
Domestic Assistance.

                   DISCLOSURE OF DIRECTED RULEMAKING

    Pursuant to section 3(i) of H. Res. 5, 115th Cong. (2017), 
the Committee estimates that H.R. 2147, as amended, contains no 
directed rulemaking that would require the Secretary to 
prescribe regulations.

             SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS OF THE LEGISLATION

Section 1. Short title

    Section 1 of the bill would provide the short title for 
H.R. 2147, as amended, as the ``Veterans Treatment Court 
Improvement Act of 2018''.

Section 2. Hiring by Department of Veterans Affairs of additional 
        Veterans Justice Outreach Specialists

    Section 2(a) of the bill would direct VA, by no later than 
one year after enactment, to hire at least 50 Veterans Justice 
Outreach (VJO) Specialists for placement into eligible VA 
Medical Centers (VAMCs). VJO Specialists employed under this 
section would be required to serve as part of a veterans 
treatment court or other veteran-focused court and adhere to VA 
hiring guidelines for VJO Specialists.
    Section 2(b) of the bill defines an eligible VA Medical 
Center is one that (1) complies with all VA guidelines and 
regulations for placement of a specialist; (2) works with a 
veteran with active, ongoing, or recent contact with some 
component of a local criminal justice system; (3) maintains an 
affiliation with one or more veterans treatment courts or other 
veteran-focused courts; and (4) either routinely provides 
specialists, or establishes a VA-approved plan to provide 
specialists, to serve as part of a justice team in such a 
court.
    Section 2(c) of the bill directs VA to prioritize the 
assignment of VJO Specialists hired under Section 2(a) to VAMCs 
which have, or intend to have, an affiliation with a veterans 
treatment court or other veteran-focused court not fully 
staffed by VJO Specialists.
    Section 2(d)(1) of the bill requires VA, one year after 
enactment, to submit a report to Congress on the implementation 
of section 2(a), and its effect on the VJO Program, to include: 
(1) the status of VJO Specialist hiring under the section 2(a); 
(2) the total number of VJO Specialists assigned to each VAMC 
participating in the VJO Program, to include a separate count 
of VJO Specialists hired under section 2(a); (3) the number of 
eligible VAMCs that requested a VJO Specialists authorized 
under section 2(a) and, of those, the number VJO Specialists 
requested by each eligible VAMC as well as how many eligible 
VAMCs received no VJO Specialist placement under ection 2(a); 
and (4) the number of veterans who were served or expected to 
be served by the VJO Specialists hired under section 2(a), as 
well as the number of justice-involved veterans who do not have 
access to a VJO Specialist.
    Section 2(d)(2) of the bill requires the Comptroller 
General of the United States, within three years of enactment, 
to submit a report to Congress on the implementation of H.R. 
2147, as amended, and the Veterans Justice Outreach Program, to 
include: (1) an assessment of whether the Secretary has 
fulfilled the requirements of the bill; (2) the number of 
veterans served by VJO Specialists hired under H.R. 2147, as 
amended, disaggregated by demographics (including discharge 
status); (3) an identification of any subgroups of veterans who 
underutilized the services provided by the Secretary's 
authorities, including access to VJO Specialists under the VJO 
Program; and (4) such recommendations as the Comptroller 
General may have for the VA Secretary to improve the 
effectiveness of the VJO Program.
    Section 2(e) of the bill defines the following terms: (1) 
``justice team,'' (2) ``justice-involved veteran,'' (3) ``local 
criminal justice system,'' (4) ``Veterans Justice Outreach 
Program,'' (5) ``Veterans Justice Outreach Specialist,'' (6) 
``Veterans Treatment Court.''

         CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW MADE BY THE BILL, AS REPORTED

    If enacted, this bill would make no changes in existing 
law.

                                  [all]