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115th Congress }                                          { REPORT
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
  2d Session   }                                          { 115-688

======================================================================
 
      VETERANS' COMPENSATION COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENT 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. 4958]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Veterans' Affairs, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 4958) to increase, effective as of December 1, 
2018, the rates of compensation for veterans with service-
connected disabilities and the rates of dependency and 
indemnity compensation for the survivors of certain disabled 
veterans, and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
report favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that 
the bill do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Purpose and Summary..............................................     2
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     2
Hearings.........................................................     3
Subcommittee Consideration.......................................     3
Committee Consideration..........................................     3
Committee Votes..................................................     3
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     3
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............     3
New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and Tax Expenditures     4
Earmarks and Tax and Tariff Benefits.............................     4
Committee Cost Estimate..........................................     4
Congressional Budget Office Estimate.............................     4
Federal Mandates Statement.......................................     5
Advisory Committee Statement.....................................     5
Constitutional Authority Statement...............................     5
Applicability to Legislative Branch..............................     5
Statement on Duplication of Federal Programs.....................     5
Disclosure of Directed Rulemaking................................     5
Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation...................     6
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill as Reported.............     6

                          PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    H.R. 4958 the ``Veterans Compensation Cost of Living 
Adjustment Act of 2018,'' would, effective December 1, 2018, 
increase the rates of Wartime Disability Compensation, 
Compensation for Dependents, Clothing Allowance, Dependency and 
Indemnity Compensation to Surviving Spouse, and Dependency and 
Indemnity Compensation to Children by the same percentage as 
the increase in benefits provided under title II (Old Age, 
Survivors, and Disability Insurance) of the Social Security 
Act. Rep. Mike Bost of Illinois introduced H.R. 4958 on 
February 7, 2018.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    Veterans who are disabled as a result of their military 
service may be eligible to receive disability compensation. The 
purpose of disability compensation is to provide relief to the 
veteran for the loss of earning capacity due to his or her 
service-connected disability. The amount of compensation a 
veteran receives varies according to the veteran's degree of 
disability.
    To be eligible to receive disability compensation, a 
veteran must have a disability incurred or aggravated during 
military service, which is not the result of willful 
misconduct. Additionally, the veteran must have been discharged 
under other than dishonorable conditions. The Department of 
Veterans Affairs (VA) is responsible for determining if a 
veteran is entitled to service-connection for a disability.
    Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) are monthly 
benefits paid to a surviving spouse and dependent children of a 
veteran who died while on active duty; or as a result of 
disabilities determined by VA to be serviced-connected, or had 
a service-connected disability rated at 100 percent for a 
certain period of time prior to death. Survivors who are 
housebound, require aid and attendance, or who have minor 
children may be paid additional amounts. The purpose of DIC 
benefits authorized under chapter 13 of title 38, U.S.C, is to 
provide partial compensation to the disabled veteran's 
surviving dependents for the loss in financial support due to 
the veteran's service-connected death. The dependent's income 
and need are not considered when VA determines a surviving 
spouse's or child's entitlement because the nation, in part, 
assumes the legal and moral obligation of the deceased veteran 
to support his or her spouse and children.
    Section 2 of H.R. 4958 would increase the rates of Wartime 
Disability Compensation, Additional Compensation for 
Dependents, Clothing Allowance, Dependency and Indemnity 
Compensation to Surviving Spouse, and Dependency and Indemnity 
Compensation to Children. Such increase in benefits would 
increase to be the same percentage as the increase in benefits 
provided under title II (Old Age, Survivors, and Disability 
Insurance) of the Social Security Act.
    Section 3 of H.R. 4958 would require the Secretary to 
publish in the Federal Register the cost-of-living as increased 
under section 2, not later than the date on which the matters 
specified by 42 U.S.C. Sec. 415(i)(2)(D) of the Social Security 
Act are required to be published during fiscal year 2018.

                                HEARINGS

    On March 20, 2018, the Subcommittee on Disability 
Assistance and Memorial Affairs conducted a legislative hearing 
on various bills introduced during the 115th Congress, 
including H.R. 4958.
    The following witnesses testified:
    The Honorable Mike Bost, U.S. House of Representatives; 
12th Congressional District of Illinois, The Honorable J. Luis 
Correa, U.S. House of Representatives, 46th Congressional 
District of California; The Honorable Austin Scott, U.S. House 
of Representatives, 8th Congressional District of Georgia; Ms. 
Cheryl Rawls, Director, Pension and Fiduciary Service, Veterans 
Benefits Administration, U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 
accompanied by Ms. Lisa J. Pozzebon, Executive Director, Office 
of Cemetery Operations, National Cemetery Administration, U. S. 
Department of Veterans Affairs; Mr. Larry L. Lohmann, Assistant 
Director, National Legislative Division, The American Legion; 
and, Mr. Carlos Fuentes, Director National Legislative Service, 
Veterans of Foreign Wars.
    Statements for the record were submitted by:
    The Honorable Walter B. Jones, Jr., U.S. House of 
Representatives; and the National Park Service, U.S. Department 
of the Interior.

                       SUBCOMMITTEE CONSIDERATION

    There was no Subcommittee consideration of H.R. 4958.

                        COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION

    On May 8, 2018, the Full Committee met in an open markup 
session, a quorum being present, and ordered H.R. 4958, 
reported favorably to the House of Representatives by voice 
vote.

                            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. 4958 
reported to the House. A motion by Ranking Member Timothy Walz 
of Minnesota to report H.R. 4958 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, as of December 1, 2018, increase 
the rates of Wartime Disability Compensation, Compensation for 
Dependents, Clothing Allowance, Dependency and Indemnity 
Compensation to Surviving Spouse, and Dependency and Indemnity 
Compensation to Children by the same percentage as the increase 
in benefits provided under title II (Old Age, Survivors, and 
Disability Insurance) of the Social Security Act.

   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. 4958 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. 
4958 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. 4958 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. 4958, the 
Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2018.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Logan Smith.
            Sincerely,
                                                Keith Hall,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 4958--Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2018

    H.R. 4958 would increase the amounts paid to veterans for 
disability compensation and to their survivors for dependency 
and indemnity compensation by the same cost-of-living 
adjustment (COLA) that recipients of Social Security receive in 
2019. The increase would take effect on December 1, 2018.
    The COLA that would be authorized by this bill is assumed 
in CBO's baseline, consistent with section 257 of the Balanced 
Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act. Because the COLA is 
assumed in CBO's baseline, authorizing its use would have no 
budgetary effect relative to the baseline. Relative to current 
law, CBO estimates that enacting this bill would increase 
spending for those programs by $1.5 billion in fiscal year 
2019. CBO estimates that the COLA effective on December 1, 
2018, will be 2.3 percent. (The annualized cost would be about 
$2.0 billion in subsequent years.)
    Pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply because enacting H.R. 
4958 would not affect direct spending relative to the baseline 
and would not affect revenues.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 4958 would not increase 
net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2029.
    H.R. 4958 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Logan Smith. 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. 4958 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. 
4958.

                   CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY STATEMENT

    Pursuant to Article I, section 8 of the United States 
Constitution, H.R. 4958 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. 4958 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 of 1995.

              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. 4958 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. 4958 contains no directed 
rule making that would require the Secretary to prescribe 
regulations.

             SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS OF THE LEGISLATION

Section 1--Short title

    Section 1 would establish the short title of the Act.

Section 2--Increase in rates of disability compensation and dependency 
        and indemnity compensation

    Section 2 would authorize VA to increase, effective 
December 1, 2018, the dollar amounts in effect for the payment 
of disability compensation and dependency and indemnity 
compensation.
    Section 2(b) would specify the amounts that would be 
increased regarding the Wartime Disability Compensation, under 
section 1114 of title 38, U.S.C.; the Additional Compensation 
for Dependents, under section 1115(1) of title 38, U.S.C.; the 
Clothing Allowance, under section 1162 of title 38, U.S.C.; the 
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation to Surviving Spouses, 
under section 1311 of title 38, U.S.C.; and the Dependency and 
Indemnity Compensation to Children, under sections 1313(a) and 
1314 of title 38, U.S.C.
    Section 2(c) would specify that each amount shall be 
increased by the same percentage by which benefits are 
increased under title II of the Social Security Act.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\42 U.S.C. Sec. 415(i).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Section 2(d) would provide a special rule authorizing VA to 
adjust administratively, consistent with the increases made 
under subsection (a), the rates of disability compensation 
payable to persons within the purview of section 10 of Public 
Law 85-857, who are not in receipt of compensation payable 
pursuant to chapter 11 of title 38, U.S.C.

Section 3--Publication of adjusted rates

    Section 3 would require the Secretary of VA to publish in 
the Federal Register the amounts specified in subsection 2(b), 
as increased pursuant to 41 U.S.C. Sec. 415(i)(2)(D).

         CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW MADE BY THE BILL, AS REPORTED

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

                                  [all]