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116th Congress    }                                     {       Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session      }                                     {       116-69

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

 
   TO AMEND TITLE 38, UNITED STATES CODE, TO ESTABLISH THE VETERANS 
   ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY AND TRANSITION ADMINISTRATION AND THE UNDER 
   SECRETARY FOR VETERANS ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY AND TRANSITION OF THE 
         DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

                                _______
                                

  May 16, 2019.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

  Mr. Takano, from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 2045]

    The Committee on Veterans' Affairs, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 2045) to amend title 38, United States Code, to 
establish the Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition 
Administration and the Under Secretary for Veterans Economic 
Opportunity and Transition of the Department of Veterans 
Affairs, and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
report favorably thereon with amendments and recommend that the 
bill as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
 Purpose and Summary.............................................     4
 Background and Need for Legislation.............................     5
 Hearings........................................................     7
 Subcommittee Consideration......................................     8
 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............................     9
 Committee Cost Estimate.........................................     9
 Congressional Budget Office Estimate............................     9
 Federal Mandates Statement......................................     9
 Advisory Committee Statement....................................     9
 Constitutional Authority Statement..............................     9
 Applicability to Legislative Branch.............................     9
 Statement on Duplication of Federal Programs....................     9
 Disclosure of Directed Rulemaking...............................    10
 Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation..................    10
 Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill as Reported............    10
    The amendments are as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. ESTABLISHMENT OF VETERANS ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY AND 
                    TRANSITION ADMINISTRATION.

  (a) Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition Administration.--
          (1) In general.--Part V of title 38, United States Code, is 
        amended by adding at the end the following new chapter:

      ``CHAPTER 80--VETERANS ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY AND TRANSITION 
                             ADMINISTRATION

``Sec.
``8001. Organization of Administration.
``8002. Functions of Administration.
``8003. Annual report to Congress.

``Sec. 8001. Organization of Administration

  ``(a) Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition Administration.--
There is in the Department of Veterans Affairs a Veterans Economic 
Opportunity and Transition Administration. The primary function of the 
Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition Administration is the 
administration of the programs of the Department that provide 
assistance related to economic opportunity to veterans and their 
dependents and survivors.
  ``(b) Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity and Transition.--The 
Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition Administration is under 
the Under Secretary for Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition, 
who is directly responsible to the Secretary for the operations of the 
Administration.

``Sec. 8002. Functions of Administration

  ``The Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition Administration is 
responsible for the administration of the following programs of the 
Department:
          ``(1) Vocational rehabilitation and employment programs.
          ``(2) Educational assistance programs.
          ``(3) Veterans' housing loan and related programs.
          ``(4) The verification of small businesses owned and 
        controlled by veterans pursuant to subsection (f) of section 
        8127 of this title, including the administration of the 
        database of veteran-owned businesses described in such 
        subsection.
          ``(5) The Transition Assistance Program under section 1144 of 
        title 10.
          ``(6) Any other program of the Department that the Secretary 
        determines appropriate.

``Sec. 8003. Annual report to Congress

  ``The Secretary shall include in the annual report to the Congress 
required by section 529 of this title a report on the programs 
administered by the Under Secretary for Veterans Economic Opportunity 
and Transition. Each such report shall include the following with 
respect to each such program during the fiscal year covered by that 
report:
          ``(1) The number of claims received.
          ``(2) The number of claims decided.
          ``(3) The average processing time for a claim.
          ``(4) The number of successful outcomes (as determined by the 
        Secretary).
          ``(5) The number of full-time equivalent employees.
          ``(6) The amounts expended for information technology.''.
          (2) Clerical amendments.--The tables of chapters at the 
        beginning of title 38, United States Code, and of part V of 
        title 38, United States Code, are each amended by inserting 
        after the item relating to chapter 79 the following new item:

``80.  Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition             8001''.
                            Administration.

  (b) Effective Date.--Chapter 80 of title 38, United States Code, as 
added by subsection (a), shall take effect on October 1, 2020.
  (c) Authorization for Appropriations for Veterans Benefits 
Administrations.--There is authorized to be appropriated for fiscal 
year 2020 for the General Operating Expenses account of the Veterans 
Benefits Administration $3,025,000,000.
  (d) Labor Rights.--Any labor rights, inclusion in the bargaining 
unit, and collective bargaining agreement that affects an employee of 
the Department of Veterans Affairs who is transferred to the Veterans 
Economic Opportunity and Transition Administration, as established 
under chapter 80 of title 38, United States Code, as added by 
subsection (a), shall apply in the same manner to such employee after 
such transfer.

SEC. 2. UNDER SECRETARY FOR VETERANS ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY AND 
                    TRANSITION.

  (a) Under Secretary.--
          (1) In general.--Chapter 3 of title 38, United States Code, 
        is amended by inserting after section 306 the following new 
        section:

``Sec. 306A. Under Secretary for Veterans Economic Opportunity and 
                    Transition

  ``(a) Under Secretary.--There is in the Department an Under Secretary 
for Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition, who is appointed by 
the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The 
Under Secretary for Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition shall 
be appointed without regard to political affiliation or activity and 
solely on the basis of demonstrated ability in--
          ``(1) information technology; and
          ``(2) the administration of programs within the Veterans 
        Economic Opportunity and Transition Administration or programs 
        of similar content and scope.
  ``(b) Responsibilities.--The Under Secretary for Veterans Economic 
Opportunity and Transition is the head of, and is directly responsible 
to the Secretary for the operations of, the Veterans Economic 
Opportunity and Transition Administration.
  ``(c) Vacancies.--(1) Whenever a vacancy in the position of Under 
Secretary for Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition occurs or is 
anticipated, the Secretary shall establish a commission to recommend 
individuals to the President for appointment to the position.
  ``(2) A commission established under this subsection shall be 
composed of the following members appointed by the Secretary:
          ``(A) Three persons representing education and training, 
        vocational rehabilitation, employment, real estate, mortgage 
        finance and related industries, and survivor benefits 
        activities affected by the Veterans Economic Opportunity and 
        Transition Administration.
          ``(B) Two persons representing veterans served by the 
        Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition Administration.
          ``(C) Two persons who have experience in the management of 
        private sector benefits programs of similar content and scope 
        to the economic opportunity and transition programs of the 
        Department.
          ``(D) The Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
          ``(E) The chairman of the Veterans' Advisory Committee on 
        Education formed under section 3692 of this title.
          ``(F) One person who has held the position of Under Secretary 
        for Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition, if the 
        Secretary determines that it is desirable for such person to be 
        a member of the commission.
  ``(3) A commission established under this subsection shall recommend 
at least three individuals for appointment to the position of Under 
Secretary for Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition. The 
commission shall submit all recommendations to the Secretary. The 
Secretary shall forward the recommendations to the President and the 
Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and House of 
Representatives with any comments the Secretary considers appropriate. 
Thereafter, the President may request the commission to recommend 
additional individuals for appointment.
  ``(4) The Assistant Secretary or Deputy Assistant Secretary of 
Veterans Affairs who performs personnel management and labor relations 
functions shall serve as the executive secretary of a commission 
established under this subsection.''.
          (2) Clerical amendment.--The table of sections at the 
        beginning of such chapter is amended by inserting after the 
        item relating to section 306 the following new item:

``306A. Under Secretary for Veterans Economic Opportunity and 
Transition.''.

  (b) Conforming Amendments.--Title 38, United States Code, is further 
amended--
          (1) in section 306(c)(2), by striking subparagraphs (A) and 
        (E) and redesignating subparagraphs (B), (C), (D), and (F), as 
        subparagraphs (A) through (D), respectively;
          (2) in section 317(d)(2), by inserting after ``Under 
        Secretary for Benefits,'' the following: ``the Under Secretary 
        for Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition,'';
          (3) in section 318(d)(2), by inserting after ``Under 
        Secretary for Benefits,'' the following: ``the Under Secretary 
        for Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition,'';
          (4) in section 516(e)(2)(C), by striking ``Health and the 
        Under Secretary for Benefits'' and inserting ``Health, the 
        Under Secretary for Benefits, and the Under Secretary for 
        Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition'';
          (5) in section 541(a)(2)(B), by striking ``Health and the 
        Under Secretary for Benefits'' and inserting ``Health, the 
        Under Secretary for Benefits, and the Under Secretary for 
        Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition'';
          (6) in section 542(a)(2)(B)(iii), by striking ``Health and 
        the Under Secretary for Benefits'' and inserting ``Health, the 
        Under Secretary for Benefits, and the Under Secretary for 
        Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition'';
          (7) in section 544(a)(2)(B)(vi), by striking ``Health and the 
        Under Secretary for Benefits'' and inserting ``Health, the 
        Under Secretary for Benefits, and the Under Secretary for 
        Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition'';
          (8) in section 709(c)(2)(A), by inserting after ``Under 
        Secretary for Benefits,'' the following: ``the Under Secretary 
        for Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition,'';
          (9) in section 7701(a), by inserting after ``assistance'' the 
        following: ``, other than assistance related to Economic 
        Opportunity and Transition,''; and
          (10) in section 7703, by striking paragraphs (2) and (3) and 
        redesignating paragraphs (4) and (5) as paragraphs (2) and (3), 
        respectively.
  (c) Effective Date.--Section 306A of title 38, United States Code, as 
added by subsection (a), and the amendments made by this section, shall 
take effect on October 1, 2020.

SEC. 3. TRANSFER OF SERVICES.

  (a) Report to Congress.--Not later than 180 days after the date of 
the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall 
submit to the Committees' on Veterans Affairs of the Senate and House 
of Representatives a report on the progress toward establishing the 
Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition Administration, as 
established under section 8001 of title 38, United States Code, as 
added by section 4, and the transition of the provision of services to 
veterans by such Administration.
  (b) Certification.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs may not 
transfer the function of providing any services to veterans to the 
Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition Administration, as 
established under section 8001 of title 38, United States Code, as 
added by section 4 until the Secretary submits to the Committees' 
Veterans Affairs of the Senate and House of Representatives 
certification that--
          (1) the transition of the provision of services to such 
        Administration will not negatively affect the provision of such 
        services to veterans;
          (2) such services are ready to be transferred.
  (c) Deadline for Certification.--The Secretary shall submit to the 
Committees' on Veterans Affairs of the Senate and House of 
Representatives the certification required by subsection (b)--
          (1) no earlier than April 1, 2020; and
          (2) no later than September 1, 2020.
  (d) Failure to Certify.--If the Secretary fails to submit the 
certification required by subsection (b) by the date specified in 
subsection (c)(2), the Secretary shall submit to the Committees on 
Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and House of Representatives a report 
that includes--
          (1) the reason why the certification was not made by such 
        date; and
          (2) the estimated date when the certification will be made.

    Amend the title so as to read:
    A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to establish 
in the Department the Veterans Economic Opportunity and 
Transition Administration, and for other purposes.

                          Purpose and Summary

    With the expansion of services and duties of the Department 
of Veterans Affairs (VA) regarding care for veterans, VA has 
struggled to track programs for education and employment for 
effectiveness, and Congress has struggled to determine the 
Department's resource needs. H.R. 2045, as amended would create 
a new Administration within the Department to manage 
educational assistance, vocational rehabilitation and 
employment, education and career counseling programs, and 
broadly-defined shared transition assistance programs.
    This new administration would allow educational and 
employment programs to report directly to a new Under Secretary 
and better articulate and advocate for the needs of 
servicemembers. Similar text to that of H.R. 2045, as amended 
passed the House as part of H.R. 5693 in the 115th Congress but 
was not considered by the Senate.
    The legislation directs the newly created position of Under 
Secretary for Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition to 
report to Congress on the number of individual claims received 
and decided, claim processing time, successful outcomes, number 
of employees, and information technology expenditures. Claims 
records would be provided for each separate issue requested of 
the Administration, and the number of times a veteran submits a 
claim.
    H.R. 2045 sets a $3,025,000,000 cap on authorized funding 
levels for the Veterans Benefits Administration, general 
operating expenses account. This cap is intended to match the 
appropriated funding amount provided by fiscal year 2020 
appropriations for the Administration. Should appropriated 
amounts for fiscal year 2020 exceed the authorized levels in 
this legislation, the Committee recommends that the 
Administration provide justification to Congress for additional 
authorization of funding.
    For VA employees transferred to the Veteran Economic 
Opportunity and Transition Administration, any labor rights, 
inclusion in the bargaining unit, and collective bargaining 
agreements would be maintained for those employees after such 
transfer. The labor rights agreement made for a transferred 
employee would be maintained for the original agreement 
timeline.

                  Background and Need for Legislation


Section 1. Establishment of Veterans Economic Opportunity and 
        Transition Administration

    The Veterans Benefits Administration's (VBA) structure has 
not significantly changed since the creation of the Department 
of Veterans Affairs in 1930. During the last eighty-nine years, 
the services needed by veterans has drastically changed. The 
Committee believes VA, with the support of Congress and 
veterans service organizations (VSO), would function more 
effectively for our nation's veterans with the creation of a 
fourth administration within the department.
    Currently, title 38 U.S.C. establishes three separate 
administrations within VA. Chapter 73 of title 38 U.S.C. 
establishes the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), which is 
responsible for the administration of all health care related 
facilities and programs. Chapter 77 of title 38 U.S.C., 
establishes the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), which 
is responsible for the administration of all benefit programs, 
including compensation, pension, insurance, educational 
assistance and training programs, and loan guaranty programs. 
Chapter 24 of title 38 U.S.C. establishes the National Cemetery 
Administration (NCA), which is responsible for the 
administration of the more than 131 National Cemeteries and 
other burial-related facilities and programs.
    VA's disability compensation program is a highly complex 
program designed to provide monthly payments for disabilities 
incurred or aggravated in military service. Ongoing conflicts 
around the world and an aging veteran population have caused a 
continued increase in the number of compensation claims 
received by VA. As of March 2019, there were 369,709 disability 
compensation and pension claims at VA. 74,208 (20%) of those 
claims were pending more than 125 days. The claims backlog 
continues to draw considerable criticism from the veterans' 
community, Congress, and the press. Understandably, senior VBA 
leaders spend considerable time and resources focused on 
decreasing the inventory of disability compensation claims at 
the expense of time and focus needed for other benefit 
programs.
    Over time, this has led to less leadership attention to the 
non-compensation programs administered by VBA. For example, 
VBA's Fiscal Year 2020 (FY 2020) budget request includes funds 
to support 21,636 direct full time equivalent (FTE) employees 
for VBA. Of this number, 15,851 direct labor FTE were requested 
to administer disability compensation, pension, burial, and 
dependency indemnity compensation, which only leaves 5,785 
employees available to work on other benefits. The Committee 
believes the focus on disability compensation and pension 
results in a lack of attention on lengthy waits for benefits 
from the education, vocational rehabilitation, and loan 
guaranty programs, undermining the potential for veterans to 
improve their lives through programs that increase economic 
opportunities.
    Therefore, to ensure more effective oversight of those 
programs, the Committee believes that separating the 
compensation and pension programs from programs which lead to 
increased employability and economic success would be 
appropriate. Section 1 of the bill would create Chapter 80 in 
title 38 U.S.C. to establish the Veterans Economic Opportunity 
and Transition Administration (VEOTA), which would manage the 
G.I. Bill, Home Loan Guaranty, Vocational Rehabilitation and 
Employment (VR&E) programs, and VA's portion of the Transition 
Assistance Program that helps servicemembers transition to 
civilian life.
    Additionally, Section 8127 of title 38 U.S.C. established a 
program to assist VA in meeting the statutory goals for 
procurement of goods and services from service disabled 
veteran-owned small businesses. Because small business 
ownership can be a significant contributor to economic success 
and due to VA's continued difficulty in administering the 
service disabled veteran-owned small business program, section 
1 of the bill would place the program authorized by Section 
8127 under the auspices of VEOTA.
    Finally, section 1 of the bill would also require that VA 
include data on claims received, claims decided, processing 
times for claims administered by VEOTA, and long-term outcomes 
of participants in VEOTA's programs in the annual benefits 
report. The Committee believes this reporting requirement would 
be critical to analyze and track the performance of VEOTA's 
programs and benefits especially how these programs lead to 
positive economic outcomes for veterans.

Section 2. Under Secretary for Veterans Economic Opportunity and 
        Transition

    Section 2 of the bill would amend title 38 U.S.C. by adding 
a new section 306A to create the position of Under Secretary 
for Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition to oversee all 
VEOTA programs and operations. This section would complement 
section 1 of the bill by creating an Under Secretary position 
to put the new VEOTA on par with other administrations within 
VA.
    Under this section, the new Under Secretary would be 
appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the 
Senate. The section would also require that the Under Secretary 
have demonstrated ability in the use of information technology 
(IT) and administration of programs like those in the new 
VEOTA. The section would also require the VA Secretary to 
convene a commission when the position is vacant to recommend 
individuals to the President for appointment. The commission 
would consist of individuals who represent a cross section of 
the programs administered by the VEOTA. Although the President 
would not be bound to appoint any individuals recommended by 
the commission, the Committee would expect serious 
consideration of the commission's recommendations during the 
appointment process. Finally, the Committee would also expect 
the commission to recommend individuals who have private sector 
experience in running programs like those under VEOTA.
    The Committee and veterans service organizations strongly 
believe the creation of a 4th Administration within the 
Department of Veterans Affairs is necessary. The Committee on 
Veterans' Affairs division of jurisdiction, which includes the 
Economic Opportunity Subcommittee, is viewed by veterans 
service organizations as a model for dividing duties and 
responsibilities within the Department.
    The Transition Assistance Program (TAP) would also be well 
served by a VEOTA. Since the administration of TAP is shared 
among VA, Department of Labor, and the Department of Defense, 
an Undersecretary for VEOTA would be able to more effectively 
advocate for the needs of veterans in the other Departments.

                                Hearings

    For the purposes of section 103(i) of H. Res. 6 of the 
116th Congress--the following hearings and meetings were used 
to develop or consider H.R. 2045, as amended.
    On April 9, 2019, the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity 
conducted a legislative hearing on various bills introduced 
during the 116th Congress, including H.R. 2045.
    The following witnesses testified:
          Ms. Margarita Devlin, Principal Deputy Under 
        Secretary for Benefits, Veterans Benefits 
        Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. 
        Ms. Ashlynne Haycock, Deputy Policy Director, Education 
        Support Services, Tragedy Assistance Program for 
        Survivors (TAPS). Mr. Patrick Murray, Deputy Director, 
        National Legislative Service, The Veterans of Foreign 
        Wars. Mr. John Kamin, Credentialing and Education 
        Policy Associate, National Veterans Employment and 
        Education Division, The American Legion. Ms. Rebecca 
        Burgess, Program Manager Citizenship Project, American 
        Enterprise Institute.
    Statements for the record were submitted by:
          Disabled American Veterans.

                       Subcommittee Consideration

    On May 1, 2019, the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity 
met in an open markup session, a quorum being present, and 
reported favorably H.R. 2045, as amended to the Committee on 
Veterans' Affairs by voice vote.
    During the May 1, 2019 consideration, the Subcommittee 
considered H.R. 2045 as an amendment in the nature of a 
substitute to change the cap of from full time employees within 
the Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition Administration 
to cap of spending levels for the Administration. No other 
amendments were offered.

                        Committee Consideration

    On May 8, 2019, the Committee on Veterans' Affairs met in 
an open markup session, a quorum being present, and reported 
favorably H.R. 2045, as amended to the House of Representatives 
by voice vote.

                            Committee Votes

    Clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires the Committee to list the recorded 
votes on the motion to report the legislation and amendments 
thereto. There were no recorded votes taken on amendments or in 
connection with reporting H.R. 2045, as amended to the House. A 
motion by Ranking Member Phil Roe of Tennessee to report H.R. 
2045, as amended favorably to the House of Representatives was 
agreed to 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 improve the effectiveness of 
economic benefits administered by the VA by creating a new 
Economic Opportunity Administration to manage the G.I. Bill, 
Home Loan Guaranty, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment 
(VR&E) programs, and VA's portion of the Transition Assistance 
Program.

   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. 2045, 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. 
2045, 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

    With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 and with respect 
to requirements of clause (3)(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives and section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has requested 
but not received a cost estimate for this bill from the 
Director of Congressional Budget Office. The Committee has 
requested but not received from the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office a statement as to whether this bill 
contains any new budget authority, spending authority, credit 
authority, or an increase or decrease in revenues or tax 
expenditures.

                       Federal Mandates Statement

    The Committee adopts as its own the estimate of Federal 
mandates regarding H.R. 2045, 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. 
2045, as amended.

                   Constitutional Authority Statement

    Pursuant to Article I, section 8 of the United States 
Constitution, H.R. 2045, 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. 2045, as amended does not 
relate to the terms and conditions of employment or access to 
public services or accommodations within the legislative 
branch.

              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. 2045, 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 clause 3(c)(5) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee estimates that H.R. 
2045, as amended contains no directed rule making that would 
require the Secretary to prescribe regulations.

             Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation

    Sec 1: Establishes a 4th Administration within the 
Department of Veterans Affairs named the ``Veterans Economic 
Opportunity and Transition Administration. Sets functions of 
the administration, reporting standards and organizational 
structure. Includes protections for all existing collective 
bargaining agreements.
    Sec 2: Establishes position of Undersecretary for Veterans 
Economic Opportunity and Transition and sets responsibilities. 
Also establishes a commission to make recommendations for three 
individuals for the position.
    Sec 3: Sets reporting standards to submit to Congress on 
progress of establishing the 4th Administration and sets 
deadlines.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic, existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic, and existing law in which no 
change is proposed is shown in roman):

                      TITLE 38, UNITED STATES CODE




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

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


               CHAPTER 3--DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS


Sec.
301. Department.
     * * * * * * *
306. Under Secretary for Benefits.
306A. Under Secretary for Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 306. Under Secretary for Benefits

  (a) There is in the Department an Under Secretary for 
Benefits, who is appointed by the President, by and with the 
advice and consent of the Senate. The Under Secretary for 
Benefits shall be appointed without regard to political 
affiliation or activity and solely on the basis of demonstrated 
ability in--
          (1) fiscal management; and
          (2) the administration of programs within the 
        Veterans Benefits Administration or programs of similar 
        content and scope.
  (b) The Under Secretary for Benefits is the head of, and is 
directly responsible to the Secretary for the operations of, 
the Veterans Benefits Administration.
  (c)(1) Whenever a vacancy in the position of Under Secretary 
for Benefits occurs or is anticipated, the Secretary shall 
establish a commission to recommend individuals to the 
President for appointment to the position.
          (2) A commission established under this subsection 
        shall be composed of the following members appointed by 
        the Secretary:
          [(A) Three persons representing education and 
        training, real estate, mortgage finance, and related 
        industries, and survivor benefits activities affected 
        by the Veterans Benefits Administration.]
          [(B)] (A) Two persons representing veterans served by 
        the Veterans Benefits Administration.
          [(C)] (B) Two persons who have experience in the 
        management of veterans benefits programs or programs of 
        similar content and scope.
          [(D)] (C) The Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
          [(E) The chairman of the Veterans' Advisory Committee 
        on Education formed under section 3692 of this title.]
          [(F)] (D) One person who has held the position of 
        Under Secretary for Benefits (including service as 
        Chief Benefits Director of the Veterans' 
        Administration), if the Secretary determines that it is 
        desirable for such person to be a member of the 
        commission.
          (3) A commission established under this subsection 
        shall recommend at least three individuals for 
        appointment to the position of Under Secretary for 
        Benefits. The commission shall submit all 
        recommendations to the Secretary. The Secretary shall 
        forward the recommendations to the President with any 
        comments the Secretary considers appropriate. 
        Thereafter, the President may request the commission to 
        recommend additional individuals for appointment.
          (4) The Assistant Secretary or Deputy Assistant 
        Secretary of Veterans Affairs who performs personnel 
        management and labor relations functions shall serve as 
        the executive secretary of a commission established 
        under this subsection.

Sec. 306A. Under Secretary for Veterans Economic Opportunity and 
                    Transition

  (a) Under Secretary.--There is in the Department an Under 
Secretary for Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition, who 
is appointed by the President, by and with the advice and 
consent of the Senate. The Under Secretary for Veterans 
Economic Opportunity and Transition shall be appointed without 
regard to political affiliation or activity and solely on the 
basis of demonstrated ability in--
          (1) information technology; and
          (2) the administration of programs within the 
        Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition 
        Administration or programs of similar content and 
        scope.
  (b) Responsibilities.--The Under Secretary for Veterans 
Economic Opportunity and Transition is the head of, and is 
directly responsible to the Secretary for the operations of, 
the Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition 
Administration.
  (c) Vacancies.--(1) Whenever a vacancy in the position of 
Under Secretary for Veterans Economic Opportunity and 
Transition occurs or is anticipated, the Secretary shall 
establish a commission to recommend individuals to the 
President for appointment to the position.
  (2) A commission established under this subsection shall be 
composed of the following members appointed by the Secretary:
          (A) Three persons representing education and 
        training, vocational rehabilitation, employment, real 
        estate, mortgage finance and related industries, and 
        survivor benefits activities affected by the Veterans 
        Economic Opportunity and Transition Administration.
          (B) Two persons representing veterans served by the 
        Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition 
        Administration.
          (C) Two persons who have experience in the management 
        of private sector benefits programs of similar content 
        and scope to the economic opportunity and transition 
        programs of the Department.
          (D) The Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
          (E) The chairman of the Veterans' Advisory Committee 
        on Education formed under section 3692 of this title.
          (F) One person who has held the position of Under 
        Secretary for Veterans Economic Opportunity and 
        Transition, if the Secretary determines that it is 
        desirable for such person to be a member of the 
        commission.
  (3) A commission established under this subsection shall 
recommend at least three individuals for appointment to the 
position of Under Secretary for Veterans Economic Opportunity 
and Transition. The commission shall submit all recommendations 
to the Secretary. The Secretary shall forward the 
recommendations to the President and the Committees on 
Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and House of Representatives 
with any comments the Secretary considers appropriate. 
Thereafter, the President may request the commission to 
recommend additional individuals for appointment.
  (4) The Assistant Secretary or Deputy Assistant Secretary of 
Veterans Affairs who performs personnel management and labor 
relations functions shall serve as the executive secretary of a 
commission established under this subsection.

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Sec. 317. Center for Minority Veterans

  (a) There is in the Department a Center for Minority 
Veterans. There is at the head of the Center a Director.
  (b) The Director shall be a career or noncareer appointee in 
the Senior Executive Service. The Director shall be appointed 
for a term of six years.
  (c) The Director reports directly to the Secretary or the 
Deputy Secretary concerning the activities of the Center.
  (d) The Director shall perform the following functions with 
respect to veterans who are minorities:
          (1) Serve as principal adviser to the Secretary on 
        the adoption and implementation of policies and 
        programs affecting veterans who are minorities.
          (2) Make recommendations to the Secretary, the Under 
        Secretary for Health, the Under Secretary for Benefits, 
        the Under Secretary for Veterans Economic Opportunity 
        and Transition, and other Department officials for the 
        establishment or improvement of programs in the 
        Department for which veterans who are minorities are 
        eligible.
          (3) Promote the use of benefits authorized by this 
        title by veterans who are minorities and the conduct of 
        outreach activities to veterans who are minorities, in 
        conjunction with outreach activities carried out under 
        chapter 77 of this title.
          (4) Disseminate information and serve as a resource 
        center for the exchange of information regarding 
        innovative and successful programs which improve the 
        services available to veterans who are minorities.
          (5) Conduct and sponsor appropriate social and 
        demographic research on the needs of veterans who are 
        minorities and the extent to which programs authorized 
        under this title meet the needs of those veterans, 
        without regard to any law concerning the collection of 
        information from the public.
          (6) Analyze and evaluate complaints made by or on 
        behalf of veterans who are minorities about the 
        adequacy and timeliness of services provided by the 
        Department and advise the appropriate official of the 
        Department of the results of such analysis or 
        evaluation.
          (7) Consult with, and provide assistance and 
        information to, officials responsible for administering 
        Federal, State, local, and private programs that assist 
        veterans, to encourage those officials to adopt 
        policies which promote the use of those programs by 
        veterans who are minorities.
          (8) Advise the Secretary when laws or policies have 
        the effect of discouraging the use of benefits by 
        veterans who are minorities.
          (9) Publicize the results of medical research which 
        are of particular significance to veterans who are 
        minorities.
          (10) Advise the Secretary and other appropriate 
        officials on the effectiveness of the Department's 
        efforts to accomplish the goals of section 492B of the 
        Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 289a-2) with 
        respect to the inclusion of minorities in clinical 
        research and on particular health conditions affecting 
        the health of members of minority groups which should 
        be studied as part of the Department's medical research 
        program and promote cooperation between the Department 
        and other sponsors of medical research of potential 
        benefit to veterans who are minorities.
          (11) Provide support and administrative services to 
        the Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans provided 
        for under section 544 of this title.
          (12) Perform such other duties consistent with this 
        section as the Secretary shall prescribe.
  (e) The Secretary shall ensure that the Director is furnished 
sufficient resources to enable the Director to carry out the 
functions of the Center in a timely manner.
  (f) The Secretary shall include in documents submitted to 
Congress by the Secretary in support of the President's budget 
for each fiscal year--
          (1) detailed information on the budget for the 
        Center;
          (2) the Secretary's opinion as to whether the 
        resources (including the number of employees) proposed 
        in the budget for that fiscal year are adequate to 
        enable the Center to comply with its statutory and 
        regulatory duties; and
          (3) a report on the activities and significant 
        accomplishments of the Center during the preceding 
        fiscal year.
  (g) In this section--
          (1) The term ``veterans who are minorities'' means 
        veterans who are minority group members.
          (2) The term ``minority group member'' has the 
        meaning given such term in section 544(d) of this 
        title.

Sec. 318. Center for Women Veterans

  (a) There is in the Department a Center for Women Veterans. 
There is at the head of the Center a Director.
  (b) The Director shall be a career or noncareer appointee in 
the Senior Executive Service. The Director shall be appointed 
for a term of six years.
  (c) The Director reports directly to the Secretary or the 
Deputy Secretary concerning the activities of the Center.
  (d) The Director shall perform the following functions with 
respect to veterans who are women:
          (1) Serve as principal adviser to the Secretary on 
        the adoption and implementation of policies and 
        programs affecting veterans who are women.
          (2) Make recommendations to the Secretary, the Under 
        Secretary for Health, the Under Secretary for Benefits, 
        the Under Secretary for Veterans Economic Opportunity 
        and Transition, and other Department officials for the 
        establishment or improvement of programs in the 
        Department for which veterans who are women are 
        eligible.
          (3) Promote the use of benefits authorized by this 
        title by veterans who are women and the conduct of 
        outreach activities to veterans who are women, in 
        conjunction with outreach activities carried out under 
        chapter 77 of this title.
          (4) Disseminate information and serve as a resource 
        center for the exchange of information regarding 
        innovative and successful programs which improve the 
        services available to veterans who are women.
          (5) Conduct and sponsor appropriate social and 
        demographic research on the needs of veterans who are 
        women and the extent to which programs authorized under 
        this title meet the needs of those veterans, without 
        regard to any law concerning the collection of 
        information from the public.
          (6) Analyze and evaluate complaints made by or on 
        behalf of veterans who are women about the adequacy and 
        timeliness of services provided by the Department and 
        advise the appropriate official of the Department of 
        the results of such analysis or evaluation.
          (7) Consult with, and provide assistance and 
        information to, officials responsible for administering 
        Federal, State, local, and private programs that assist 
        veterans, to encourage those officials to adopt 
        policies which promote the use of those programs by 
        veterans who are women.
          (8) Advise the Secretary when laws or policies have 
        the effect of discouraging the use of benefits by 
        veterans who are women.
          (9) Publicize the results of medical research which 
        are of particular significance to veterans who are 
        women.
          (10) Advise the Secretary and other appropriate 
        officials on the effectiveness of the Department's 
        efforts to accomplish the goals of section 492B of the 
        Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 289a-2) with 
        respect to the inclusion of women in clinical research 
        and on particular health conditions affecting women's 
        health which should be studied as part of the 
        Department's medical research program and promote 
        cooperation between the Department and other sponsors 
        of medical research of potential benefit to veterans 
        who are women.
          (11) Provide support and administrative services to 
        the Advisory Committee on Women Veterans established 
        under section 542 of this title.
          (12) Perform such other duties consistent with this 
        section as the Secretary shall prescribe.
  (e) The Secretary shall ensure that the Director is furnished 
sufficient resources to enable the Director to carry out the 
functions of the Center in a timely manner.
  (f) The Secretary shall include in documents submitted to 
Congress by the Secretary in support of the President's budget 
for each fiscal year--
          (1) detailed information on the budget for the 
        Center;
          (2) the Secretary's opinion as to whether the 
        resources (including the number of employees) proposed 
        in the budget for that fiscal year are adequate to 
        enable the Center to comply with its statutory and 
        regulatory duties; and
          (3) a report on the activities and significant 
        accomplishments of the Center during the preceding 
        fiscal year.

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CHAPTER 5--AUTHORITY AND DUTIES OF THE SECRETARY

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SUBCHAPTER I--GENERAL AUTHORITIES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 516. Equal employment responsibilities

  (a) The Secretary shall provide that the employment 
discrimination complaint resolution system within the 
Department be established and administered so as to encourage 
timely and fair resolution of concerns and complaints. The 
Secretary shall take steps to ensure that the system is 
administered in an objective, fair, and effective manner and in 
a manner that is perceived by employees and other interested 
parties as being objective, fair, and effective.
  (b) The Secretary shall provide--
          (1) that employees responsible for counseling 
        functions associated with employment discrimination and 
        for receiving, investigating, and processing complaints 
        of employment discrimination shall be supervised in 
        those functions by, and report to, an Assistant 
        Secretary or a Deputy Assistant Secretary for complaint 
        resolution management; and
          (2) that employees performing employment 
        discrimination complaint resolution functions at a 
        facility of the Department shall not be subject to the 
        authority, direction, and control of the Director of 
        the facility with respect to those functions.
  (c) The Secretary shall ensure that all employees of the 
Department receive adequate education and training for the 
purposes of this section and section 319 of this title.
  (d) The Secretary shall, when appropriate, impose 
disciplinary measures, as authorized by law, in the case of 
employees of the Department who engage in unlawful employment 
discrimination, including retaliation against an employee 
asserting rights under an equal employment opportunity law.
  (e)(1)(A) Not later than 45 days after the end of each 
calendar quarter, the Assistant Secretary for Human Resources 
and Administration shall submit to the Committees on Veterans' 
Affairs of the Senate and House of Representatives a report 
summarizing the employment discrimination complaints filed 
against the individuals referred to in paragraph (2) during 
such quarter.
  (B) Subparagraph (A) shall apply in the case of complaints 
filed against individuals on the basis of such individuals' 
personal conduct and shall not apply in the case of complaints 
filed solely on the basis of such individuals' positions as 
officials of the Department.
  (2) Paragraph (1) applies to the following officers and 
employees of the Department:
          (A) The Secretary.
          (B) The Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
          (C) The Under Secretary for [Health and the Under 
        Secretary for Benefits] Health, the Under Secretary for 
        Benefits, and the Under Secretary for Veterans Economic 
        Opportunity and Transition.
          (D) Each Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs and 
        each Deputy Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
          (E) The Under Secretary of Veterans Affairs for 
        Memorial Affairs.
          (F) The General Counsel of the Department.
          (G) The Chairman of the Board of Veterans' Appeals.
          (H) The Chairman of the Board of Contract Appeals of 
        the Department.
          (I) The director and the chief of staff of each 
        medical center of the Department.
          (J) The director of each Veterans Integrated Services 
        Network.
          (K) The director of each regional office of the 
        Department.
          (L) Each program director of the Central Office of 
        the Department.
  (3) Each report under this subsection--
          (A) may not disclose information which identifies the 
        individuals filing, or the individuals who are the 
        subject of, the complaints concerned or the facilities 
        at which the discrimination identified in such 
        complaints is alleged to have occurred;
          (B) shall summarize such complaints by type and by 
        equal employment opportunity field office area in which 
        filed; and
          (C) shall include copies of such complaints, with the 
        information described in subparagraph (A) redacted.
  (4) Not later than April 1 each year, the Assistant Secretary 
shall submit to the committees referred to in paragraph (1)(A) 
a report on the complaints covered by paragraph (1) during the 
preceding year, including the number of such complaints filed 
during that year and the status and resolution of the 
investigation of such complaints.
  (f) The Secretary shall ensure that an employee of the 
Department who seeks counseling relating to employment 
discrimination may elect to receive such counseling from an 
employee of the Department who carries out equal employment 
opportunity counseling functions on a full-time basis rather 
than from an employee of the Department who carries out such 
functions on a part-time basis.
  (g) The number of employees of the Department whose duties 
include equal employment opportunity counseling functions as 
well as other, unrelated functions may not exceed 40 full-time 
equivalent employees. Any such employee may be assigned equal 
employment opportunity counseling functions only at Department 
facilities in remote geographic locations (as determined by the 
Secretary). The Secretary may waive the limitation in the 
preceding sentence in specific cases.
  (h) The provisions of this section shall be implemented in a 
manner consistent with procedures applicable under regulations 
prescribed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                  SUBCHAPTER III--ADVISORY COMMITTEES

Sec. 541. Advisory Committee on Former Prisoners of War

  (a)(1) The Secretary shall establish an advisory committee to 
be known as the Advisory Committee on Former Prisoners of War 
(hereinafter in this section referred to as the ``Committee'').
  (2)(A) The members of the Committee shall be appointed by the 
Secretary from the general public and shall include--
          (i) appropriate representatives of veterans who are 
        former prisoners of war;
          (ii) individuals who are recognized authorities in 
        fields pertinent to disabilities prevalent among former 
        prisoners of war, including authorities in 
        epidemiology, mental health, nutrition, geriatrics, and 
        internal medicine; and
          (iii) appropriate representatives of disabled 
        veterans.
  (B) The Committee shall also include, as ex officio members, 
the Under Secretary for [Health and the Under Secretary for 
Benefits] Health, the Under Secretary for Benefits, and the 
Under Secretary for Veterans Economic Opportunity and 
Transition, or their designees.
  (3) The Secretary shall determine the number, terms of 
service, and pay and allowances of members of the Committee 
appointed by the Secretary, except that the term of service of 
any such member may not exceed three years.
  (b) The Secretary shall, on a regular basis, consult with and 
seek the advice of the Committee with respect to the 
administration of benefits under this title for veterans who 
are former prisoners of war and the needs of such veterans with 
respect to compensation, health care, and rehabilitation.
  (c)(1) Not later than July 1 of each odd-numbered year 
through 2009, the Committee shall submit to the Secretary a 
report on the programs and activities of the Department that 
pertain to veterans who are former prisoners of war. Each such 
report shall include--
          (A) an assessment of the needs of such veterans with 
        respect to compensation, health care, and 
        rehabilitation;
          (B) a review of the programs and activities of the 
        Department designed to meet such needs; and
          (C) such recommendations (including recommendations 
        for administrative and legislative action) as the 
        Committee considers to be appropriate.
  (2) The Secretary shall, within 60 days after receiving each 
report under paragraph (1), submit to the Congress a copy of 
the report, together with any comments concerning the report 
that the Secretary considers appropriate.
  (3) The Committee may also submit to the Secretary such other 
reports and recommendations as the Committee considers 
appropriate.
  (4) The Secretary shall submit with each annual report 
submitted to the Congress pursuant to section 529 of this title 
a summary of all reports and recommendations of the Committee 
submitted to the Secretary since the previous annual report of 
the Secretary submitted to the Congress pursuant to that 
section.

Sec. 542. Advisory Committee on Women Veterans

  (a)(1) The Secretary shall establish an advisory committee to 
be known as the Advisory Committee on Women Veterans 
(hereinafter in this section referred to as ``the Committee'').
  (2)(A) The Committee shall consist of members appointed by 
the Secretary from the general public, including--
          (i) representatives of women veterans;
          (ii) individuals who are recognized authorities in 
        fields pertinent to the needs of women veterans, 
        including the gender-specific health-care needs of 
        women;
          (iii) representatives of both female and male 
        veterans with service-connected disabilities, including 
        at least one female veteran with a service-connected 
        disability and at least one male veteran with a 
        service-connected disability; and
          (iv) women veterans who are recently separated from 
        service in the Armed Forces.
  (B) The Committee shall include, as ex officio members--
          (i) the Secretary of Labor (or a representative of 
        the Secretary of Labor designated by the Secretary 
        after consultation with the Assistant Secretary of 
        Labor for Veterans' Employment);
          (ii) the Secretary of Defense (or a representative of 
        the Secretary of Defense designated by the Secretary of 
        Defense after consultation with the Defense Advisory 
        Committee on Women in the Services); and
          (iii) the Under Secretary for [Health and the Under 
        Secretary for Benefits] Health, the Under Secretary for 
        Benefits, and the Under Secretary for Veterans Economic 
        Opportunity and Transition, or their designees.
  (C) The Secretary may invite representatives of other 
departments and agencies of the United States to participate in 
the meetings and other activities of the Committee.
  (3) The Secretary shall determine the number, terms of 
service, and pay and allowances of members of the Committee 
appointed by the Secretary, except that a term of service of 
any such member may not exceed three years. The Secretary may 
reappoint any such member for additional terms of service.
  (b) The Secretary shall, on a regular basis, consult with and 
seek the advice of the Committee with respect to the 
administration of benefits by the Department for women 
veterans, reports and studies pertaining to women veterans and 
the needs of women veterans with respect to compensation, 
health care, rehabilitation, outreach, and other benefits and 
programs administered by the Department, including the Center 
for Women Veterans.
  (c)(1) Not later than July 1 of each even-numbered year, the 
Committee shall submit to the Secretary a report on the 
programs and activities of the Department that pertain to women 
veterans. Each such report shall include--
          (A) an assessment of the needs of women veterans with 
        respect to compensation, health care, rehabilitation, 
        outreach, and other benefits and programs administered 
        by the Department;
          (B) a review of the programs and activities of the 
        Department designed to meet such needs; and
          (C) such recommendations (including recommendations 
        for administrative and legislative action) as the 
        Committee considers appropriate.
  (2) The Secretary shall, within 60 days after receiving each 
report under paragraph (1), submit to the Congress a copy of 
the report, together with any comments concerning the report 
that the Secretary considers appropriate.
  (3) The Committee may also submit to the Secretary such other 
reports and recommendations as the Committee considers 
appropriate.
  (4) The Secretary shall submit with each annual report 
submitted to the Congress pursuant to section 529 of this title 
a summary of all reports and recommendations of the Committee 
submitted to the Secretary since the previous annual report of 
the Secretary submitted pursuant to such section.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 544. Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans

  (a)(1) The Secretary shall establish an advisory committee to 
be known as the Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans 
(hereinafter in this section referred to as ``the Committee'').
  (2)(A) The Committee shall consist of members appointed by 
the Secretary from the general public, including--
          (i) representatives of veterans who are minority 
        group members;
          (ii) individuals who are recognized authorities in 
        fields pertinent to the needs of veterans who are 
        minority group members;
          (iii) veterans who are minority group members and who 
        have experience in a military theater of operations;
          (iv) veterans who are minority group members and who 
        do not have such experience; and
          (v) women veterans who are minority group members and 
        are recently separated from service in the Armed 
        Forces.
  (B) The Committee shall include, as ex officio members, the 
following:
          (i) The Secretary of Labor (or a representative of 
        the Secretary of Labor designated by the Secretary 
        after consultation with the Assistant Secretary of 
        Labor for Veterans' Employment).
          (ii) The Secretary of Defense (or a representative of 
        the Secretary of Defense designated by the Secretary of 
        Defense).
          (iii) The Secretary of the Interior (or a 
        representative of the Secretary of the Interior 
        designated by the Secretary of the Interior).
          (iv) The Secretary of Commerce (or a representative 
        of the Secretary of Commerce designated by the 
        Secretary of Commerce).
          (v) The Secretary of Health and Human Services (or a 
        representative of the Secretary of Health and Human 
        Services designated by the Secretary of Health and 
        Human Services).
          (vi) The Under Secretary for [Health and the Under 
        Secretary for Benefits] Health, the Under Secretary for 
        Benefits, and the Under Secretary for Veterans Economic 
        Opportunity and Transition, or their designees.
  (C) The Secretary may invite representatives of other 
departments and agencies of the United States to participate in 
the meetings and other activities of the Committee.
  (3) The Secretary shall determine the number, terms of 
service, and pay and allowances of members of the Committee 
appointed by the Secretary, except that a term of service of 
any such member may not exceed three years. The Secretary may 
reappoint any such member for additional terms of service.
  (4) The Committee shall meet as often as the Secretary 
considers necessary or appropriate, but not less often than 
twice each fiscal year.
  (b) The Secretary shall, on a regular basis, consult with and 
seek the advice of the Committee with respect to the 
administration of benefits by the Department for veterans who 
are minority group members, reports and studies pertaining to 
such veterans and the needs of such veterans with respect to 
compensation, health care, rehabilitation, outreach, and other 
benefits and programs administered by the Department, including 
the Center for Minority Veterans.
  (c)(1) Not later than July 1 of every other year, the 
Committee shall submit to the Secretary a report on the 
programs and activities of the Department that pertain to 
veterans who are minority group members. Each such report shall 
include--
          (A) an assessment of the needs of veterans who are 
        minority group members with respect to compensation, 
        health care, rehabilitation, outreach, and other 
        benefits and programs administered by the Department;
          (B) a review of the programs and activities of the 
        Department designed to meet such needs; and
          (C) such recommendations (including recommendations 
        for administrative and legislative action) as the 
        Committee considers appropriate.
  (2) The Secretary shall, within 60 days after receiving each 
report under paragraph (1), submit to Congress a copy of the 
report, together with any comments concerning the report that 
the Secretary considers appropriate.
  (3) The Committee may also submit to the Secretary such other 
reports and recommendations as the Committee considers 
appropriate.
  (4) The Secretary shall submit with each annual report 
submitted to the Congress pursuant to section 529 of this title 
a summary of all reports and recommendations of the Committee 
submitted to the Secretary since the previous annual report of 
the Secretary submitted pursuant to such section.
  (d) In this section, the term ``minority group member'' means 
an individual who is--
          (1) Asian American;
          (2) Black;
          (3) Hispanic;
          (4) Native American (including American Indian, 
        Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian); or
          (5) Pacific-Islander American.
  (e) The Committee shall cease to exist September 30, 2022.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 7--EMPLOYEES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SUBCHAPTER I--GENERAL EMPLOYEE MATTERS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 709. Employment restrictions

  (a)(1) Notwithstanding section 3134(d) of title 5, the number 
of Senior Executive Service positions in the Department which 
are filled by noncareer appointees in any fiscal year may not 
at any time exceed 5 percent of the average number of senior 
executives employed in Senior Executive Service positions in 
the Department during the preceding fiscal year.
  (2) For purposes of this subsection, the average number of 
senior executives employed in Senior Executive Service 
positions in the Department during a fiscal year shall be equal 
to 25 percent of the sum of the total number of senior 
executives employed in Senior Executive Service positions in 
the Department on the last day of each quarter of such fiscal 
year.
  (b) The number of positions in the Department which may be 
excepted from the competitive service, on a temporary or 
permanent basis, because of their confidential or policy-
determining character may not at any time exceed the equivalent 
of 15 positions.
  (c)(1) Political affiliation or activity may not be taken 
into account in connection with the appointment of any person 
to any position in or to perform any service for the Department 
or in the assignment or advancement of any employee in the 
Department.
  (2) Paragraph (1) shall not apply--
          (A) to the appointment of any person by the President 
        under this title, other than the appointment of the 
        Under Secretary for Health, the Under Secretary for 
        Benefits, the Under Secretary for Veterans Economic 
        Opportunity and Transition, and the Inspector General; 
        or
          (B) to the appointment of any person to (i) a Senior 
        Executive Service position as a noncareer appointee, or 
        (ii) a position that is excepted from the competitive 
        service, on a temporary or permanent basis, because of 
        the confidential or policy-determining character of the 
        position.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


             PART V--BOARDS, ADMINISTRATIONS, AND SERVICES

Chap                                                                Sec.
      Board of Veterans' Appeals....................................7101
     * * * * * * *
8001Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition Administration.......

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CHAPTER 77--VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                  SUBCHAPTER I--ORGANIZATION; GENERAL

Sec. 7701. Organization of the Administration

  (a) There is in the Department of Veterans Affairs a Veterans 
Benefits Administration. The primary function of the Veterans 
Benefits Administration is the administration of nonmedical 
benefits programs of the Department which provide assistance, 
other than assistance related to Economic Opportunity and 
Transition, to veterans and their dependents and survivors.
  (b) The Veterans Benefits Administration is under the Under 
Secretary for Benefits, who is directly responsible to the 
Secretary for the operations of the Administration. The Under 
Secretary for Benefits may be referred to as the Chief Benefits 
Director.

Sec. 7703. Functions of the Administration

  The Veterans Benefits Administration is responsible for the 
administration of the following programs of the Department:
          (1) Compensation and pension programs.
          [(2) Vocational rehabilitation and educational 
        assistance programs.
          [(3) Veterans' housing loan programs.]
          [(4)] (2) Veterans' and servicemembers' life 
        insurance programs.
          [(5)] (3) Outreach programs and other veterans' 
        services programs.

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CHAPTER 80--VETERANS ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY AND TRANSITION ADMINISTRATION

Sec.
8001. Organization of Administration.
8002. Functions of Administration.
8003. Annual report to Congress.

Sec. 8001. Organization of Administration

  (a) Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition 
Administration.--There is in the Department of Veterans Affairs 
a Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition Administration. 
The primary function of the Veterans Economic Opportunity and 
Transition Administration is the administration of the programs 
of the Department that provide assistance related to economic 
opportunity to veterans and their dependents and survivors.
  (b) Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity and 
Transition.--The Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition 
Administration is under the Under Secretary for Veterans 
Economic Opportunity and Transition, who is directly 
responsible to the Secretary for the operations of the 
Administration.

Sec. 8002. Functions of Administration

  The Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition 
Administration is responsible for the administration of the 
following programs of the Department:
          (1) Vocational rehabilitation and employment 
        programs.
          (2) Educational assistance programs.
          (3) Veterans' housing loan and related programs.
          (4) The verification of small businesses owned and 
        controlled by veterans pursuant to subsection (f) of 
        section 8127 of this title, including the 
        administration of the database of veteran-owned 
        businesses described in such subsection.
          (5) The Transition Assistance Program under section 
        1144 of title 10.
          (6) Any other program of the Department that the 
        Secretary determines appropriate.

Sec. 8003. Annual report to Congress

  The Secretary shall include in the annual report to the 
Congress required by section 529 of this title a report on the 
programs administered by the Under Secretary for Veterans 
Economic Opportunity and Transition. Each such report shall 
include the following with respect to each such program during 
the fiscal year covered by that report:
          (1) The number of claims received.
          (2) The number of claims decided.
          (3) The average processing time for a claim.
          (4) The number of successful outcomes (as determined 
        by the Secretary).
          (5) The number of full-time equivalent employees.
          (6) The amounts expended for information technology.

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