Report text available as:

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

111th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                    111-323

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



 
                    VETERANS RETRAINING ACT OF 2009

                                _______
                                

November 2, 2009.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

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

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 1168]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Veterans' Affairs, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 1168) to amend chapter 42 of title 38, United 
States Code, to provide certain veterans with employment 
training assistance, having considered the same, report 
favorably thereon with an amendment and recommend that the bill 
as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Amendment........................................................     2
Purpose and Summary..............................................     2
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     2
Hearings.........................................................     3
Subcommittee Consideration.......................................     4
Committee Consideration..........................................     4
Committee Votes..................................................     4
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     4
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............     4
New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and Tax Expenditures     5
Earmarks and Tax and Tariff Benefits.............................     5
Committee Cost Estimate..........................................     5
Congressional Budget Office Estimate.............................     5
Federal Mandates Statement.......................................     6
Advisory Committee Statement.....................................     6
Constitutional Authority Statement...............................     6
Applicability to Legislative Branch..............................     7
Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation...................     7
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill as Reported.............     7

                               Amendment

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

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Veterans Retraining Act of 2009''.

SEC. 2. EMPLOYMENT TRAINING ASSISTANCE.

  (a) In General.--Chapter 42 of title 38, United States Code, is 
amended by adding at the end the following new section:

``Sec. 4216. Employment Training Assistance for Unemployed Veterans.

  ``(a) Monthly Training Assistance Allowance.--Subject to the 
availability of appropriations for such purpose, the Secretary of Labor 
may pay to each covered veteran a monthly training assistance allowance 
under this section for each month that a covered veteran is enrolled in 
an employment and training program that teaches a skill in demand, as 
determined by the Secretary.
  ``(b) Amount.--The amount of the training assistance allowance under 
this section is the amount equal to the monthly amount of the basic 
allowance for housing payable under section 403 of title 37 for a 
member of the Armed Forces with dependents in pay grade E-5 residing in 
the military housing area that encompasses all or the majority portion 
of the ZIP code area in which the veteran resides.
  ``(c) Duration.--A covered veteran may receive training assistance 
under this section for not more than six months during each 10-year 
period beginning on the date in which the covered veteran first 
receives training allowance under this section.
  ``(d) Moving Stipend.--Subject to the availability of appropriations 
for such purpose, in addition to the training assistance allowance 
payable under subsection (a), the Secretary may reimburse each covered 
veteran, in an amount not to exceed $5,000, for moving expenses related 
to the veteran's receipt of training for which an allowance is paid 
under this section.
  ``(e) Covered Veteran Defined.--In this section, the term `covered 
veteran' means a veteran who is--
          ``(1) unemployed for a period of not less than four 
        consecutive months at the time of applying for training 
        assistance under this section;
          ``(2) able to successfully complete the employment and 
        training program described in subsection (a), as determined by 
        the Secretary; and
          ``(3) except as provided under this section, ineligible for 
        education or training assistance under this title.
  ``(f) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized to be 
appropriated to carry out this section $100,000,000 for each fiscal 
year.''.
  (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the beginning of 
chapter 42 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding at the 
end the following new item:

``4216. Employment training assistance for unemployed veterans.''.

  (c) Effective Date.--Section 4216 of title 38, United States Code, as 
added by subsection (a), shall apply with respect to months beginning 
on or after the first day of fiscal year 2011.

                          Purpose and Summary

    H.R. 1168 was introduced by Representative John Boozman of 
Arkansas, the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Economic 
Opportunity, on February 25, 2009. H.R. 1168, as amended, would 
authorize the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, 
subject to the availability of appropriations, to provide a 
monthly training assistance allowance and a moving stipend to 
certain veterans.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    Federal, State, and local governments have long recognized 
the need to promote the employment of veterans through 
preferential hiring practices, education, and training 
programs. Such programs include the G.I. Bill, the Department 
of Veterans Affairs' (VA's) Vocational Rehabilitation and 
Employment (VR&E;) program, and placement programs such as those 
operated by State employment services. These State employment 
services are funded through the Department of Labor's (DOL) 
Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS). State and 
local governments also offer veterans preferential hiring as 
well as education and training programs such as tuition 
discounts at institutions of higher learning.
    Unemployment statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics 
for September 2009 show that 990,000 veterans are unemployed. 
Of that number, 596,000 are between 35 and 64 years old. 
Because veterans in this age range generally have no access to 
training programs through title 38 programs such as the G.I. 
Bill, the stipend and moving allowances of H.R. 1168 would make 
it easier for these veterans to participate in retraining 
programs.
    Until passage of the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill in June 2008 as 
part of the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2008 (Public Law 
110-252 (122 Stat. 2323)) most veterans had 10 years from 
honorable discharge to obtain their education and training 
through older programs such as the Montgomery G.I. Bill. As a 
result, most veterans between the ages of 35 and 65 have very 
limited access to programs dedicated to improving veterans' 
marketable skills because they have either used their benefits 
or now exceed the statutory delimiting dates. However, there 
are other Federal training programs that are available to 
veterans on a priority basis.
    H.R. 1168 is intended to facilitate an increased number of 
veterans in the DOL's Employment and Training Administration 
programs, especially those no longer eligible for education or 
training under title 38, United States Code. H.R. 1168 focuses 
on assisting veterans who are in their prime earning years and 
who are most likely to have significant financial obligations 
related to raising a family. By paying a monthly living stipend 
equal to that paid to an E-5 with dependents, a rate which 
varies by zip code and ranges from $785 to over $2,800 per 
month, unemployed veterans will find it easier to participate 
in training. Additionally, H.R. 1168 would pay up to $5,000 to 
defray moving expenses following training when a veteran needs 
to move to an area where the veteran's new skills are in 
demand. By limiting eligibility for the living stipend and 
relocation assistance, H.R. 1168 would apply scarce resources 
to the population of veterans with the most need and the fewest 
options. The DOL should implement these provisions as quickly 
as possible to begin paying such benefits as soon as funding is 
available.
    The Committee is aware that the DOL collects data related 
to job markets and for current and future skills. The Committee 
expects the DOL to use such data as a guide to determine 
whether certain skill training would be eligible for the 
assistance. However, such data shall not be used as the 
exclusive means to determine eligibility.

                                Hearings

    On May 21, 2009, the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity 
held a legislative hearing on a number of bills introduced in 
the 111th Congress, including H.R. 1168. The following 
witnesses testified: The Honorable Mike Coffman of Colorado; 
Richard Daley, Associate Legislation Director, Paralyzed 
Veterans of America; John L. Wilson, Associate National 
Legislative Director, Disabled American Veterans; Mark Seavey, 
Assistant Director, National Legislative Commission, The 
American Legion; Raymond C. Kelley, National Legislative 
Director, AMVETS; Cpl. Wade J. Spann, USMC, Alumni, Wounded 
Warrior Project; Keith M. Wilson, Director, Education Service, 
Veterans Benefits Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans 
Affairs, accompanied by John Brizzi, Deputy Assistant General 
Counsel, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; and John C. 
McWilliam, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Veterans' Employment and 
Training Service, U.S. Department of Labor. Submitting a 
statement for the record included: The Honorable Bob Filner of 
California.

                       Subcommittee Consideration

    On October 8, 2009, the Subcommittee on Economic 
Opportunity met in open markup session and ordered favorably 
forwarded to the full Committee H.R. 1168, as amended, by voice 
vote. During consideration of the bill the following amendment 
in the nature of a substitute was considered:
    An amendment in the nature of a substitute by Mr. Boozman 
of Arkansas to clarify that the monthly training assistance 
allowance and moving stipend were subject to the availability 
of appropriations and did not create a new entitlement 
resulting in mandatory spending was agreed to by voice vote.

                        Committee Consideration

    On October 28, 2009, the full Committee met in an open 
markup session, a quorum being present, and ordered H.R. 1168, 
as amended, reported favorably to the House of Representatives, 
by voice vote. During consideration of the bill the following 
amendment was considered:
    An amendment in the nature of a substitute by Mr. Boozman 
of Arkansas to add an effective date of fiscal year 2011 was 
agreed to 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 record votes 
on the motion to report the legislation and amendments thereto. 
There were no record votes taken on amendments or in connection 
with ordering H.R. 1168 reported to the House. A motion by Mr. 
Buyer of Indiana to order H.R. 1168, as amended, reported 
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 reflected in the descriptive portions 
of this report.

   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. 1168 does not contain any congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in 
clause 9(e), 9(f), or 9(g) 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. 
1168 prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office pursuant to section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act 
of 1974.

               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the following is the cost estimate 
for H.R. 1168 provided by the Congressional Budget Office 
pursuant to section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                  Washington, DC, October 29, 2009.
Hon. Bob Filner,
Chairman, Committee on Veterans' Affairs,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 1168, the Veterans 
Retraining Act of 2009.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Camille 
Woodland.
            Sincerely,
                                      Douglas W. Elmendorf,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 1168--Veterans Retraining Act of 2009

    Summary: H.R. 1168 would authorize the appropriation of 
$100 million a year for the Department of Labor, beginning in 
fiscal year 2011, to provide training assistance for unemployed 
veterans. Assuming appropriation of the authorized amounts, CBO 
estimates that implementing the legislation would cost $350 
million over the 2010-2014 period. Enacting the legislation 
would not affect direct spending or revenues.
    H.R. 1168 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) 
and would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary impact of H.R. 1168 is shown in the following table. 
The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 700 
(veterans benefits and services).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                    ------------------------------------------------------------
                                                       2010      2011      2012      2013      2014    2010-2014
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Authorization Level................................         0       100       100       100       100        400
Estimated Outlays..................................         0        50       100       100       100        350
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Basis of estimate: H.R. 1168 would authorize the Department 
of Labor to provide training assistance to veterans who have 
been unemployed for at least four months and are ineligible for 
education and training programs administered by the Department 
of Veterans Affairs. Veterans participating in training 
programs would receive a monthly assistance allowance of about 
$1,400 for up to six months and a moving stipend of up to 
$5,000, if applicable. The bill would authorize $100 million 
for this program each year. At that authorization level, CBO 
estimates that approximately 13,000 veterans would participate 
in this program each year and that they would receive 
assistance averaging around $7,500 per person. CBO estimates 
that implementing H.R. 1168 would cost $350 million over the 
2010-2014 period, assuming appropriation of the authorized 
amounts.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: H.R. 1168 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA and would not affect the budgets of state, 
local, or tribal governments.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal costs: Christina Hawley 
Anthony and Camille Woodland; Impact on state, local, and 
tribal governments: Lisa Ramirez-Branum; Impact on the private 
sector: Elizabeth Bass.
    Estimate approved by: Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                       Federal Mandates Statement

    The Committee adopts as its own the estimate of Federal 
mandates regarding H.R. 1168 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. 
1168.

                   Constitutional Authority Statement

    Pursuant to clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee finds that the 
Constitutional authority for H.R. 1168 is provided by Article 
I, section 8 of the Constitution of the United States.

                  Applicability to Legislative Branch

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

             Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation


Section 1. Short title

    This section would provide the short title of H.R. 1168, as 
amended, as the ``Veterans Retraining Act of 2009.''

Section 2. Employment Training Assistance

    This section amends title 38, United States Code, by adding 
a new section 4216 titled ``Employment Training Assistance for 
Unemployed Veterans.'' This new section would authorize, 
subject to the availability of appropriations for such purpose, 
the Secretary of Labor to pay a monthly training assistance 
allowance to covered veterans who are participating in 
employment and training programs that increase the veteran's 
skills that are in demand, as determined by the Secretary. The 
number of months of assistance in any 10-year period would be 
limited to six months.
    This new section would authorize the Secretary of Labor, 
subject to the availability of appropriations for such purpose, 
to reimburse a covered veteran for up to $5,000 for expenses 
related to the training. A covered veteran who is eligible for 
assistance is defined as a veteran who has been unemployed for 
not less than four months at the time of application, capable 
of completing the desired training, and not eligible for other 
training or education under title 38, United States Code.
    This new section would authorize an annual appropriation of 
$100,000,000. This new section would apply with respect to 
months beginning on or after the fist day of fiscal year 2011.

         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 (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 III--READJUSTMENT AND RELATED BENEFITS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


            CHAPTER 42--EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING OF VETERANS

Sec.
4211. Definitions.
     * * * * * * *
4216. Employment training assistance for unemployed veterans.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 4216. Employment Training Assistance for Unemployed Veterans.

  (a) Monthly Training Assistance Allowance.--Subject to the 
availability of appropriations for such purpose, the Secretary 
of Labor may pay to each covered veteran a monthly training 
assistance allowance under this section for each month that a 
covered veteran is enrolled in an employment and training 
program that teaches a skill in demand, as determined by the 
Secretary.
  (b) Amount.--The amount of the training assistance allowance 
under this section is the amount equal to the monthly amount of 
the basic allowance for housing payable under section 403 of 
title 37 for a member of the Armed Forces with dependents in 
pay grade E-5 residing in the military housing area that 
encompasses all or the majority portion of the ZIP code area in 
which the veteran resides.
  (c) Duration.--A covered veteran may receive training 
assistance under this section for not more than six months 
during each 10-year period beginning on the date in which the 
covered veteran first receives training allowance under this 
section.
  (d) Moving Stipend.--Subject to the availability of 
appropriations for such purpose, in addition to the training 
assistance allowance payable under subsection (a), the 
Secretary may reimburse each covered veteran, in an amount not 
to exceed $5,000, for moving expenses related to the veteran's 
receipt of training for which an allowance is paid under this 
section.
  (e) Covered Veteran Defined.--In this section, the term 
``covered veteran'' means a veteran who is--
          (1) unemployed for a period of not less than four 
        consecutive months at the time of applying for training 
        assistance under this section;
          (2) able to successfully complete the employment and 
        training program described in subsection (a), as 
        determined by the Secretary; and
          (3) except as provided under this section, ineligible 
        for education or training assistance under this title.
  (f) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized to 
be appropriated to carry out this section $100,000,000 for each 
fiscal year.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *