Report text available as:

  • TXT
  • PDF   (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip ?

115th Congress      }                           {              REPORT
                                  SENATE                         
 1st Session        }                           {              115-161
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     





                        JOBS FOR OUR HEROES ACT

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

           COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION

                                   on

                                S. 1393

[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]


               September 19, 2017.--Ordered to be printed
                               ______
      
                     U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE 
      
 69-010                      WASHINGTON : 2017 

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
                     one hundred fifteenth congress
                             first session

                   JOHN THUNE, South Dakota, Chairman
 ROGER F. WICKER, Mississippi         BILL NELSON, Florida
 ROY BLUNT, Missouri                  MARIA CANTWELL, Washington
 TED CRUZ, Texas                      AMY KLOBUCHAR, Minnesota
 DEB FISCHER, Nebraska                RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, Connecticut
 JERRY MORAN, Kansas                  BRIAN SCHATZ, Hawaii
 DAN SULLIVAN, Alaska                 EDWARD J. MARKEY, Massachusetts
 DEAN HELLER, Nevada                  CORY A. BOOKER, New Jersey
 JAMES M. INHOFE, Oklahoma            TOM UDALL, New Mexico
 MIKE LEE, Utah                       GARY C. PETERS, Michigan
 RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin               TAMMY BALDWIN, Wisconsin
 SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO, West           TAMMY DUCKWORTH, Illinois
    Virginia
 CORY GARDNER, Colorado               MARGARETWOODHASSAN,NewHampshire
 TODD C. YOUNG, Indiana               CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO, Nevada
                       Nick Rossi, Staff Director
                 Adrian Arnakis, Deputy Staff Director
                    Jason Van Beek, General Counsel
                 Kim Lipsky, Democratic Staff Director
           Christopher Day, Democratic Deputy Staff Director

 
 






115th Congress      }                           {              REPORT
                                  SENATE                         
 1st Session        }                           {              115-161
======================================================================



 
                        JOBS FOR OUR HEROES ACT

                                _______
                                

               September 19, 2017.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Thune, from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 1393]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to 
which was referred the bill (S. 1393) to streamline the process 
by which active duty military, reservists, and veterans receive 
commercial driver's licenses, having considered the same, 
reports favorably thereon without amendment and recommends that 
the bill do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

    The purpose of S. 1393, the Jobs for Our Heroes Act, is to 
streamline the process by which active duty military, 
reservists, and veterans receive commercial driver's licenses 
in order to ease their transition into the civilian driving 
force.

                          Background and Needs

    The Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) 
(Public Law 114-94; 129 Stat. 1312) created a process by which 
a qualified Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) physician can 
perform a medical examination on an eligible veteran operator 
of a commercial motor vehicle and provide the medical 
certificate necessary for an individual to operate a commercial 
motor vehicle. S. 1393 would expand the list to include other 
VA medical professionals, such as physician assistants, 
chiropractors, and certain nurses, who could qualify to conduct 
the necessary medical examinations. These medical professionals 
are consistent with the medical professionals who are eligible 
to perform Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) 
medical examinations through the standard National Registry of 
Certified Medical Examiners procedures.
    Additionally, the FAST Act authorizes the FMCSA to exempt a 
veteran from taking all or part of a skills test in order to 
obtain a commercial driver's license if the veteran had 
qualifying experience while serving in the armed services or 
reserve components. However, section 5401 of the FAST Act 
limits the definition of ``covered individual'' to former 
members of the armed forces or of the reserve components. This 
limitation to former members of the reserve components excludes 
large numbers of current reservist drivers who received the 
same military commercial motor vehicle training as active duty 
personnel but perform military service only part-time while 
holding full-time civilian jobs. S. 1393 would ensure current 
armed forces members, including reservists, are covered under 
this provision, making it easier for trained military drivers 
to obtain commercial driver's licenses and move into civilian 
driving careers.

                         Summary of Provisions

    S. 1393 would enable VA medical professionals, including 
advanced practice nurses, doctors of chiropractic, and 
physician assistants, who are eligible to receive a medical 
examiner certification under the traditional FMCSA process, to 
qualify to be certified under a VA-specific alternative 
process. The VA process was established under the FAST Act and 
currently can only be used by doctors of medicine and doctors 
of osteopathy at the VA to become qualified to perform medical 
examinations on eligible veterans and issue the medical 
certificates required for such veterans to operate commercial 
motor vehicles.
    Additionally, S. 1393 would exempt current members of the 
armed services or reserve components from certain testing 
requirements to obtain commercial driver's licenses if they had 
qualifying experience while serving in the armed services or 
reserve components.

                          Legislative History

    S. 1393 was introduced by Senators Cornyn, Tillis, and 
Warren on June 21, 2017. Current cosponsors include Senators 
Nelson, Duckworth, Thune, Hassan, Inhofe, Shaheen, Sullivan, 
and Blumenthal. The Committee, by voice vote, ordered S. 1393 
reported without amendment on June 29, 2017.
    This bill is substantially similar to two bills, H.R. 2258 
and H.R. 2547, introduced in the House of Representatives on 
May 1, 2017, and May 18, 2017, respectively. Both of those 
bills were reported as amended, by voice vote, by the Committee 
on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of 
Representatives on May 24, 2017. Both of those bills passed 
(409-0) in the House of Representatives on motion to suspend 
the rules.

                            Estimated Costs

    In accordance with paragraph 11(a) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate and section 403 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee provides the 
following cost estimate, prepared by the Congressional Budget 
Office:

S. 1393--Jobs For Our Heroes Act

    S. 1393 would exempt active-duty members or reservists of 
the armed forces from certain tests required to obtain a state 
commercial driver's license (CDL) if they have qualifying 
military experience. The bill also would expand the types of 
medical professionals at the Department of Veterans Affairs 
(VA) who could certify that veterans meet the physical 
standards required to operate commercial motor vehicles.
    Under current law, veterans are exempt from requirements to 
take certain tests for CDLs if they have qualifying military 
experience. Furthermore, until October 27, 2018, all states are 
permitted to waive testing requirements, if they choose, for 
qualified veterans, reservists, National Guard, and active-duty 
personnel. Under regulations proposed by the Federal Motor 
Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), states could continue to 
waive CDL testing requirements for current and former members 
of the military who have qualifying military experience. 
Therefore, CBO expects that implementing provisions related to 
testing requirements would not have a significant cost.
    CBO also expects that expanding the number of staff at VA 
who could issue the medical certificates would not lead to 
significant additional costs related to exams. (Currently at VA 
facilities, only physicians may perform the physical 
examinations and issue the medical certificates required for 
CDLs. According to the Department of Transportation, physicians 
at VA have provided roughly 13,000 medical exams related to 
CDLs over the past two years.)
    Enacting S. 1393 would not affect direct spending or 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply. CBO 
estimates that enacting S. 1393 would not increase net direct 
spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 
10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    S. 1393 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    CBO transmitted an estimate for H.R. 2258, the ADVANCE Act 
on June 14, 2017, and one estimate for H.R. 2547, the Veterans 
Expanded Trucking Opportunities Act of 2017 on June 21, 2017. 
Both bills were ordered reported by the House Committee on 
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on May 24, 2017. 
Those bills have provisions similar to S. 1393 and CBO's 
estimates of the cost to implement them are the same.
    The CBO staff contacts for this estimate are Ann E. Futrell 
and Sarah Puro. The estimate was approved by H Samuel 
Papenfuss, Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                      Regulatory Impact Statement

    In accordance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides the 
following evaluation of the regulatory impact of the 
legislation, as reported:

                       number of persons covered

    S. 1393 is intended to improve the process by which active 
duty military, reservists, and veterans receive commercial 
driver's licenses by amending the FAST Act. The bill is 
consistent with established processes within the FMCSA and the 
VA, therefore the number of persons covered would not change.

                            economic impact

    The legislation is not expected to have a negative impact 
on the Nation's economy. On the contrary, it is expected to 
lead to job creation for active duty military, reservists, and 
veterans entering into the commercial vehicle career.

                                privacy

    The reported bill is not expected to impact the personal 
privacy of individuals.

                               paperwork

    This legislation is not expected to result in additional 
paperwork. S. 1393 would not create any new programs; rather, 
it would modify and clarify existing processes within the FMCSA 
and the VA.

                   Congressionally Directed Spending

    In compliance with paragraph 4(b) of rule XLIV of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides that no 
provisions contained in the bill, as reported, meet the 
definition of congressionally directed spending items under the 
rule.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short title

    This Act's short title would be cited as the ``Jobs for Our 
Heroes Act''.

Section 2. Medical certificate for veterans operating commercial motor 
        vehicles

    This section would expand the list of eligible medical 
professionals for the process established by the FAST Act to 
include all VA medical professionals, including certain nurses, 
doctors of chiropractic, physician assistants, and other 
medical professionals, provided that they are authorized by the 
State in which they are licensed, certified, or registered to 
perform physical examinations and they meet other requirements.
    Additionally, this section would make the list of eligible 
medical professionals within the VA consistent with the list of 
eligible medical professionals that can become certified under 
the traditional FMCSA process.

Section 3. Commercial driver's license standards for current and former 
        members of the armed forces

    This section would exempt current members of the armed 
services or reserve components from certain testing 
requirements for commercial driver's licenses if they had 
qualifying experience while serving in the armed services or 
reserve components.

                        Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
material is printed in italic, existing law in which no change 
is proposed is shown in roman):

                        TITLE 49. TRANSPORTATION


             SUBTITLE VI. MOTOR VEHICLE AND DRIVER PROGRAMS

                           PART B. COMMERCIAL

            CHAPTER 313. COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLE OPERATORS

Sec. 31305. General driver fitness, testing, and training

  (a) * * *
  (d) Standards for Training and Testing of [Veteran Operators] 
Operators Who Are Members of the Armed Forces, Reservists, or 
Veterans.--
          (1) In general.--Not later than December 31, 2016, 
        the Secretary shall modify the regulations prescribed 
        under subsections (a) and (c) to--
                  (A) exempt a covered individual from all or a 
                portion of a driving test if the covered 
                individual had experience in the armed forces 
                or reserve components driving vehicles similar 
                to a commercial motor vehicle;
                  (B) ensure that a covered individual may 
                apply for an exemption under [subparagraph (A) 
                during, at least,] subparagraph (A)--
                          (i) while serving in the armed forces 
                        or reserve components; and
                          (ii) during the 1-year period 
                        beginning on the date on which such 
                        individual separates from service in 
                        the armed forces or reserve components; 
                        and
                  (C) credit the training and knowledge a 
                covered individual received in the armed forces 
                or reserve components driving vehicles similar 
                to a commercial motor vehicle for purposes of 
                satisfying minimum standards for training and 
                knowledge.
          (2) Definitions.--In this subsection, the following 
        definitions apply:
                  (A) Armed forces.--The term ``armed forces'' 
                has the meaning given that term in section 
                101(a) of title 10.
                  (B) Covered individual.--The term ``covered 
                individual'' means an individual over the age 
                of 21 years who is--
                          (i) a current or former member of the 
                        armed forces; or
                          (ii) a current or former member of 
                        one of the reserve components.
                  (C) Reserve components.--The term ``reserve 
                components'' means--
                          (i) the Army National Guard of the 
                        United States;
                          (ii) the Army Reserve;
                          (iii) the Navy Reserve;
                          (iv) the Marine Corps Reserve;
                          (v) the Air National Guard of the 
                        United States;
                          (vi) the Air Force Reserve; and
                          (vii) the Coast Guard Reserve.

               FIXING AMERICAS SURFACE TRANSPORTATION ACT


                  [Public Law 114-94; 129 Stat. 1312]

SEC. 5403. MEDICAL CERTIFICATION OF VETERANS FOR COMMERCIAL DRIVER'S 
                    LICENSES.

  (a) In General.--In the case of a [physician-approved veteran 
operator, the qualified physician] veteran operator approved by 
a qualified examiner, the qualified examiner of such operator 
may, subject to the requirements of subsection (b), perform a 
medical examination and provide a medical certificate for 
purposes of compliance with the requirements of section 31149 
of title 49, United States Code.
  (b) Certification.--The certification described under 
subsection (a) shall include--
          (1) assurances that the [physician] examiner 
        performing the medical examination meets the 
        requirements of a [qualified physician] qualified 
        examiner under this section; and
          (2) certification that the physical condition of the 
        operator is adequate to enable such operator to operate 
        a commercial motor vehicle safely.
  (c) National Registry of Medical Examiners.--The Secretary, 
in consultation with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, shall 
develop a process for [qualified physicians] qualified 
examiners to perform a medical examination and provide a 
medical certificate under subsection (a) and include [such 
physicians] such examiners on the national registry of medical 
examiners established under section 31149(d) of title 49, 
United States Code.
  (d) Definitions.--In this section, the following definitions 
apply:
          [(2) Qualified physician.--The term ``qualified 
        physician'' means a physician who--
                  [(A) is employed in the Department of 
                Veterans Affairs;
                  [(B) is familiar with the standards for, and 
                physical requirements of, an operator certified 
                pursuant to section 31149 of title 49, United 
                States Code; and
                  [(C) has never, with respect to such section, 
                been found to have acted fraudulently, 
                including by fraudulently awarding a medical 
                certificate.]
          [(2)](1) Qualified examiner.--The term ``qualified 
        examiner'' means an individual who--
                  (A) is employed by the Department of Veterans 
                Affairs as an advanced practice nurse, doctor 
                of chiropractic, doctor of medicine, doctor of 
                osteopathy, physician assistant, or other 
                medical professional;
                  (B) is licensed, certified, or registered in 
                a State to perform physical examinations;
                  (C) is familiar with the standards for, and 
                physical requirements of, an operator required 
                to be medically certified under section 31149 
                of title 49, United States Code; and
                  (D) has never, with respect to such section, 
                been found to have acted fraudulently, 
                including by fraudulently awarding a medical 
                certificate.
          [(3)](2) Veteran.--The term ``veteran'' has the 
        meaning given the term in section 101 of title 38, 
        United States Code.
          [(1)](3) [Physician-approved veteran operator] 
        veteran operator approved by a qualified examiner.--The 
        term ``[physician-approved veteran operator] veteran 
        operator approved by a qualified examiner'' means an 
        operator of a commercial motor vehicle who--
                  (A) is a veteran who is enrolled in the 
                health care system established under section 
                1705(a) of title 38, United States Code; and
                  (B) is required to have a current valid 
                medical certificate pursuant to section 31149 
                of title 49, United States Code.
  (e) Statutory Construction.--Nothing in this section shall be 
construed to change any statutory penalty associated with fraud 
or abuse.

                                  [all]