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[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]


113th Congress                                                Report
                }      HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES    {
 2d Session     }                                  {          113-586
======================================================================
 
               THE VA CONSTRUCTION ASSISTANCE ACT OF 2013

                                _______
                                

 September 15, 2014.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

    Mr. Miller of Florida, from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 3593]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Veterans' Affairs, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 3593) to amend title 38, United States Code, to 
improve the construction of major medical facilities, and for 
other purposes, having considered the same, report favorably 
thereon without amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.

                                CONTENTS

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

                          Purpose and Summary

    H.R. 3593, the VA Construction Assistance Act of 2013, was 
introduced by Representative Coffman of Colorado and 
Representative Kirkpatrick of Arizona on November 21, 2013. 
H.R. 3593 would improve management of several major medical 
center construction projects in Denver, Colorado; Orlando, 
Florida, and New Orleans, Louisiana through implementation of 
construction reforms and the use of an independent special 
project manager from the Army Corps of Engineers.

                  Background and Need for Legislation


Section 2--Findings; Sense of Congress

    Finding construction delays and cost overruns, the section 
would express the Sense of Congress that management of major 
medical center construction projects by the Department of 
Veterans Affairs has been an abysmal failure and the Department 
of Veterans Affairs should use a special project manager from 
the Army Corps of Engineers and should fully implement all 
recommendations of the Comptroller General in an April 2013 
report which found that schedule delays have averaged 35 months 
with average cost overruns of $336,000,000 per project.

Section 3--Implementation of Major Medical Facility Construction 
        Reforms

    The United States Government Accountability Office, in a 
report from April, 2013\1\ recommended a number of construction 
reforms, including the use of a medical equipment planner, a 
project management plan, construction peer review, and a 
metrics program for the change-order process. This section 
would implement these reforms to reduce construction delays and 
minimize cost overruns.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Report of the General Accountability Office, ``VA Construction: 
Additional Actions Needed to Decrease Delays and Lower Costs of Major 
Medical-Facility Projects,'' April, 2013, GAO 13-302.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Section 4--Special Project Manager for Certain Medical Center 
        Construction Projects

    The recurring delays and cost overruns in major medical 
facility construction projects of the Department of Veterans 
Affairs have been well established through GAO reports and 
House Committee on Veterans' Affairs oversight hearings. In 
light of repeated project management failures by the 
Department, an outside entity with experience managing major 
construction projects for the Federal government would be able 
to assist the Department of Veterans Affairs by offering its 
technical expertise and advice. This section would require that 
the Department of Veterans Affairs procure, on a reimbursable 
basis, the services of an experienced special project manager 
from the Army Corps of Engineers to oversee major medical 
center construction projects in Denver, Colorado; Orlando, 
Florida, and New Orleans, Louisiana. The duties of the special 
project manager would be to conduct oversight with respect to 
the performance of prime contractors and compliance with 
acquisition regulations and to advise and assist the Department 
about construction best practices to improve operations, 
including the approval of the change-order requests. The duties 
would also include the production of completion plans and 
progress reports for the House and Senate Veterans Affairs 
committees.

                                Hearings

    On March 25, 2014, the Subcommittee on Oversight and 
Investigations conducted a legislative hearing on various bills 
introduced during the 113th Congress including H.R. 3593. The 
following witnesses testified:
    Ms. Stella S. Foites, Executive Director, Office of 
Construction and Facilities Management, Office of Acquisition, 
Logistics, and Construction, U.S. Department of Veterans 
Affairs; Mr. Raymond C. Kelley, Director National Legislative 
Service, Veterans of Foreign Wars; Mr. Davy Leghorn, Assistant 
Director of the Veteran Education and Employment Commission of 
the American Legion.

                        Committee Consideration

    On September 10, 2014, the full Committee met in an open 
markup session, a quorum being present, and ordered H.R. 3593 
reported favorably 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 ordering H.R. 3593 reported to the House. A 
motion by Ranking Member Mike Michaud of Maine to order H.R. 
3593 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. 3593 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. 
3593 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. 602 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, September 12, 2014.
Hon. Jeff Miller,
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. 3593, the VA 
Construction Assistance Act of 2013.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. the CBO staff contact is Ann E. 
Futrell.
            Sincerely,
                                              Douglas W. Elmendorf.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 3593--The VA Construction Assistance Act of 2013

    H.R. 3593 would require the Department of Veterans Affairs 
(VA) to employ special project managers from the U.S. Army 
Corps of Engineers to oversee three existing construction 
projects in Colorado, Florida, and Louisiana. Because 
construction on the facility in Florida is nearing completion, 
CBO expects that implementing this provision would require 
project managers and support teams at the Colorado and 
Louisiana sites only, at a cost of $3 million over the 2015-
2019 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts.
    The bill also would codify in law certain practices 
designed to ensure that construction of major VA medical 
facilities is completed on time and within the planned budget. 
Such practices include developing and using project management 
plans, conducting peer reviews of projects, using medical 
equipment planners, and developing a metrics program to monitor 
the change-order process. Because VA has recently adopted these 
practices, CBO estimates that implementing this provision would 
have no budgetary impact.
    Pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply to this legislation 
because it would not affect direct spending or revenues.
    H.R. 3593 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Ann E. Futrell. 
The estimate was 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. 3593 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. 
3593.

                 Statement of Constitutional Authority

    Pursuant to Article I, section 8 of the United States 
Constitution, the reported bill 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 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.

              Statement on Duplication of Federal Programs

    Pursuant to section 3(j) of H. Res. 5, 113th Cong. (2013), 
the Committee finds that no provision of H.R. 3593 establishes 
or reauthorizes a program of the Federal Government known to be 
duplicative of another Federal program, a program that was 
included in any report from the Government Accountability 
Office to Congress pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-
139, or a program related to a program identified in the most 
recent Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance.

                   Disclosure of Directed Rulemaking

    Pursuant to section 3(k) of H. Res. 5, 113th Cong. (2013), 
the Committee estimates that H.R. 3593 contains no directed 
rule making requiring the Secretary to prescribe regulations.

             Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation


Section 2--Findings; Sense of Congress

    Subsection 2(a) contains the following Findings:
    (1) The Director of Physical Infrastructure of the General 
Accountability Office testified that schedule delays of major 
medical center construction projects of the Department of 
Veterans Affairs have averaged 35 months, with delays ranging 
from 14 months to 74 months and (2) The average cost increase 
attributed to such delays has been $336,000,000.
    Subsection 2(b) would express the Sense of Congress that 
(1) the management of the major medical center construction 
projects of the Department of Veterans Affairs has been an 
abysmal failure (2) the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should 
fully implement all recommendations made by the Comptroller 
General in an April 2013 report to improve construction 
procedures and practices of the Department and (3) Projects in 
Denver, Colorado; Orlando, Florida; and New Orleans, Louisiana 
should be subject to oversight of a special project manager of 
the Army Corps of Engineers because of delays and overruns.

Section 3--Implementation of Major Medical Facility Construction 
        Reforms

    Section 3 would amend section 8104 of title 38, United 
States Code, by adding a new subsection (i) that would require 
the use of a medical equipment planner, a project management 
plan, and construction peer excellence review. The section 
would also require development of a metrics program to enable 
monitoring of the change-order process, the use of a change 
order process consistent with best practices, and the use of 
design-build processes to minimize multiple change orders.

Section 4--Special Project Manager for Certain Medical Center 
        Construction Projects

    Subsection 4(a) would require that the Department of 
Veterans Affairs procure, on a reimbursable basis, the services 
of an experienced special project manager from the Army Corps 
of Engineers to oversee until completion major medical center 
construction projects in Denver, Colorado; Orlando, Florida, 
and New Orleans, Louisiana.
    Subsection 4(b) would require the special project manager 
to oversee all construction-related operations including the 
performance of the Department of Veterans Affairs with the 
prime contractor, the compliance of the Department with the 
Federal Acquisition Regulation, including VA Acquisition 
Regulations. The subsection would also require that the special 
project manager advise and assist the Department in any 
construction-related activity including the approval of change-
order requests for purposes of achieving timely completion of 
the project. In addition, the subsection would require that the 
special project manager recommend to the Department best 
construction practices to improve operations of the project.
    Subsection 4(c) would require that within 90 days of 
appointment, the special project manager submit detailed plans 
for the completion of the project to the House and Senate 
committees on Veteran Affairs. The subsection would also 
require submission of progress reports to the committees not 
later than 180 days of the appointment of a special project 
manager and each 180 day period thereafter. The progress 
reports would include an analysis of all advice and assistance 
provided to the Department and an analysis of all changes 
ordered by the Department or claimed to have been made by 
contract between the Department and prime contractor, including 
the extent to which such changes comply with the Federal 
Acquisition Regulation, including the VA Acquisition 
Regulations. The progress reports would also include an 
analysis of the communication and working relationship between 
the Department and prime contractor, including any 
recommendations made by the prime contractor to aid in 
completion of the project.
    In addition, the progress reports would include 
identification of opportunities and recommendations with 
respect to improving the operations of any construction-related 
activity to reduce costs or complete the project in a more 
timely manner.
    Subsection 4(d) would require that the Secretary of 
Veterans Affairs provide the special project manager with any 
document or information necessary to carry out the duties of 
the special project manager including the submission of 
required reports. The subsection would also require the 
Secretary to provide the special project manager with 
administrative assistance necessary to carry out the duties of 
the special project manager including the submission of 
required reports.
    Subsection 4(e) defines the ``covered projects'' as a 
construction project that is a major medical facility project 
(as defined in section 8104(a)(3)(A) of Title 38, United States 
Code) being carried out as of the date of enactment of this Act 
at the following locations:
    (1) Denver, Colorado;
    (2) Orlando, Florida;
    (3) New Orleans, Louisiana.

         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 VI--ACQUISITION AND DISPOSITION OF PROPERTY

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


   CHAPTER 81--ACQUISITION AND OPERATION OF HOSPITAL AND DOMICILIARY 
    FACILITIES; PROCUREMENT AND SUPPLY; ENHANCED-USE LEASES OF REAL 
                                PROPERTY

SUBCHAPTER I--ACQUISITION AND OPERATION OF MEDICAL FACILITIES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 8104. Congressional approval of certain medical facility 
                    acquisitions

  (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (i)(1) With respect to each project described in paragraph 
(2), the Secretary shall--
          (A) use the services of a medical equipment planner 
        as part of the architectural and engineering firm for 
        the project;
          (B) develop and use a project management plan to 
        ensure clear and consistent communication among all 
        parties;
          (C) subject the project to construction peer 
        excellence review;
          (D) develop--
                  (i) a metrics program to enable the 
                monitoring of change-order processing time; and
                  (ii) goals for the change-order process 
                consistent with the best practices of other 
                departments and agencies of the Federal 
                Government; and
          (E) to the extent practicable, use design-build 
        processes to minimize multiple change orders.
  (2) A project described in this paragraph is a construction 
or alteration project that is a major medical facility project.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *