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115th Congress    }                                  {        Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session       }                                  {        115-868

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



 
                   LONG-TERM CARE VETERANS CHOICE ACT

                                _______
                                

 July 24, 2018.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

    Mr. Roe of Tennessee, from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 5693]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Veterans' Affairs, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 5693) to amend title 38, United States Code, to 
authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to enter into 
contracts and agreements for the placement of veterans in non-
Department medical foster homes for certain veterans who are 
unable to live independently, having considered the same, 
report favorably thereon with amendments and recommend that the 
bill as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Purpose and Summary..............................................     5
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     5
Hearings.........................................................     9
Subcommittee Consideration.......................................    10
Committee Consideration..........................................    10
Committee Votes..................................................    10
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................    11
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............    11
New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and Tax Expenditures    11
Earmarks and Tax and Tariff Benefits.............................    11
Committee Cost Estimate..........................................    11
Congressional Budget Office Estimate.............................    11
Federal Mandates Statement.......................................    18
Advisory Committee Statement.....................................    18
Constitutional Authority Statement...............................    18
Applicability to Legislative Branch..............................    18
Statement on Duplication of Federal Programs.....................    18
Disclosure of Directed Rulemaking................................    18
Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation...................    19
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill as Reported.............    22
    The amendments are as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Long-Term Care Veterans Choice Act''.

SEC. 2. SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS CONTRACT AUTHORITY FOR PLACEMENT 
                    OF VETERANS IN NON-DEPARTMENT MEDICAL FOSTER HOMES.

  (a) Authority.--Section 1720 of title 38, United States Code, is 
amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
  ``(h)(1) During the three-year period beginning on October 1, 2019, 
and subject to paragraph (2), at the request of a veteran for whom the 
Secretary is required to provide nursing home care under section 1710A 
of this title, the Secretary may place the veteran in a medical foster 
home that meets Department standards, at the expense of the United 
States, pursuant to a contract, agreement, or other arrangement entered 
into between the Secretary and the medical foster home for such 
purpose. A veteran who is placed in a medical foster home under this 
subsection shall agree, as a condition of such placement, to accept 
home health services furnished by the Secretary under section 1717 of 
this title.
  ``(2) In any year, not more than a daily average of 900 veterans 
placed in a medical foster home, whether placed before or after the 
date of the enactment of this subsection, may have their care covered 
at the expense of the United States under subsection (a).
  ``(3) In this subsection, the term `medical foster home' means a home 
designed to provide non-institutional, long-term, supportive care for 
veterans who are unable to live independently and prefer a family 
setting.''.
  (b) Effective Date.--Subsection (h) of title 38, United States Code, 
as added by subsection (a), shall take effect on October 1, 2019.

SEC. 3. 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, 2019.
  (c) Full-Time Employees.--For fiscal years 2019 and 2020, the total 
number of full-time equivalent employees authorized for the Veterans 
Benefits Administration and the Veterans Economic Opportunity and 
Transition Administration, as established under chapter 80 of title 38, 
United States Code, as added by subsection (a), may not exceed 23,692.

SEC. 4. 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, 2019.

SEC. 5. LOANS GUARANTEED UNDER HOME LOAN PROGRAM OF DEPARTMENT OF 
                    VETERANS AFFAIRS.

  The table in section 3729(b)(2) of such title is amended by striking 
the item relating to subparagraph (E) and inserting the following new 
item:


------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
``(E)(i) Interest rate                 0.50          0.50            NA
 reduction refinancing loan
 (closed before January 1,
 2019)........................
(E)(ii) Interest rate                  0.75          0.75            NA
 reduction refinancing loan
 (closed on or after January
 1, 2019, but before October
 1, 2024).....................
(E)(iii) Interest rate                 0.50          0.50         NA''.
 reduction refinancing loan
 (closed on or after October
 1, 2024).....................
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Amend the title so as to read:
    A bill to to amend title 38, United States Code, to 
authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to enter into 
contracts and agreements for the placement of veterans in non-
Department medical foster homes for certain veterans who are 
unable to live independently, 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, to amend the 
interest rate for certain loans guaranteed under the home loan 
program of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other 
purpose.

                          Purpose and Summary

    H.R. 5693, as amended, the Long-Term Care Veterans Choice 
Act, would authorize the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to 
cover the cost of a medical foster home for certain veterans, 
create a Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition 
Administration, and authorize a temporary increase in the VA 
home loan funding free for interest rate reduction when 
refinancing homes. Representative Clay Higgins of Louisiana 
introduced H.R. 5693 on May 7, 2018. H.R. 5693, as amended, 
which incorporates the text of H.R. 5644, the Veterans' 
Education, Transition, and Opportunity Prioritization Plan (or 
VET OPP) Act of 2018. H.R. 5644 was introduced by 
Representative Brad Wenstrup of Ohio on April 26, 2018.

                  Background and Need for Legislation


Section 2. Secretary of Veterans Affairs contract authority for 
        placement of Veterans Affairs in non-department medical foster 
        homes

    Section 101 of the Veterans Millennium Health Care and 
Benefits Act (Public Law 106-117; 113 STAT. 1545) established a 
requirement for VA to provide nursing home care to enrolled 
veterans who are in need of nursing home care due to a service-
connected disability or who are in need of nursing home care 
and have a service-connected disability rated at 70 percent or 
more.
    This requirement is codified in section 1710A of title 38 
United States Code (U.S.C.). To fulfill this requirement, VA 
provides nursing home care through Community Living Centers 
located on VA medical center campuses; through Community 
Nursing Homes; and, through State Veterans Homes.\1\ VA 
currently provides nursing home care to over 17,000 veterans at 
an annual cost of more than $5 billion.\2\ VA's fiscal year 
2019 budget submission notes that, ``VA has the responsibility 
to reduce its mounting expenditures for nursing home care, 
especially where safe and proven home-based alternatives are 
available.''\3\ Medical foster homes (MFHs) are one such 
alternative.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Residential Settings and Nursing Homes. Geriatrics and Extended 
Care. https://www.va.gov/GERIATRICS/Guide/LongTermCare/
Nursing_Home_and_Residential_Services.asp. Accessed July 17, 2018.
    \2\VA Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Submission, Volume II--Medical 
Programs and Information Technology Programs, VHA-340-341.
    \3\Ibid.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    MFHs allow veterans in need of nursing home care to receive 
such care in a non-institutional, home-based setting.\4\ MFHs 
are private homes in which a trained caregiver provides round-
the-clock care--including room and board, assistance with 
activities of daily living, medication management, and 
recreational and social support--to a small group on 
individuals.\5\ Veterans residing in MFHs also receive care 
through VA's Home Based Primary Care program.\6\ MFHs 
originated as a VA pilot program in 2000.\7\ Since then, VA has 
successfully served over 4,000 veterans in MFHs, including more 
than 1,000 veterans who reside in MFHs today.\8\ MFH care costs 
approximately $1,500 to $3,000 per month while traditional 
nursing home care costs approximately $7,000 per month.\9\ 
However, VA currently lacks the authority to pay for care in a 
MFH, meaning that veterans--even those who VA is required by 
law to provide with needed nursing home care--must pay out-of-
pocket to reside in a MFH. As a result, ``VA pays more than 
twice as much for the long-term nursing home care for many 
veterans than it would if VA was granted . . . authority to pay 
for care in a MFH.''\10\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\Ibid.
    \5\Medical Foster Home Care and Elder Veterans. Geriatrics and 
Extended Care. https://www.va.gov/geriatrics/guide/longtermcare/
medical_foster_homes.asp. Accessed July 17, 2018.
    \6\Ibid.
    \7\VA Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Submission, Volume II--Medical 
Programs and Information Technology Programs, VHA-340-341.
    \8\Ibid.
    \9\United States Cong. House Committee on Veterans' Affairs 
Subcommittee on Health. ``Legislative Hearing.'' June 13, 2018. 115th 
Cong. 2nd sess. Washington: GPO, 2018 (testimony of the Honorable Clay 
Higgins, U.S. House of Representatives, 3rd District, Louisiana).
    \10\VA Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Submission, Volume II--Medical 
Programs and Information Technology Programs, VHA-340-341.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Committee concurs with VA that MFHs can offer safe, 
highly veteran-centric care at a lower cost than traditional 
nursing home care and can be used to increase access and 
promote choice.\11\ The Committee also concurs with VA that, 
``many more service-connected veterans referred to or residing 
in nursing homes would choose MFH [care] if VA paid the costs 
for [the] MFH,'' which would be beneficial because, 
``[a]ligning patient choice with optimal locus of care results 
in more veterans receiving long-term care in a preferred 
setting, with substantial reductions in costs to VA.''\12\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \11\United States Cong. House Committee on Veterans' Affairs 
Subcommittee on Health. ``Legislative Hearing.'' June 13, 2018. 115th 
Cong. 2nd sess. Washington: GPO, 2018 (testimony of Jessica Bonjorni, 
the Acting Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Workforce 
Services, Veterans Health Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans 
Affairs.)
    \12\VA Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Submission, Volume II--Medical 
Programs and Information Technology Programs, VHA-340-341.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Section 2 of the bill would authorize VA, during the three-
year period beginning on October 1, 2019, to cover the cost of 
care in a MFH for a daily average of up to 900 veterans for 
whom VA is required to provide nursing home care and who agree 
to receive VA home health care. MFH would be defined as a home 
designed to provide non-institutional, long-term, supportive 
care for veterans who are unable to live independently and 
prefer a family setting. According to correspondence the 
Committee received from VA, VA estimates that, if the 
Department were granted the authority to pay for MFH care 
pursuant to section 2 of the bill, cost savings of 
approximately $99 million over three years would be achieved.

Section 3. Establishment of Veterans Economic Opportunity and 
        Transition Administration

    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. With the wars in 
the Middle East and the aging of the veteran population in 
general, the number of compensation claims that have been 
received by VA has continued to increase. As of July 16, 2018, 
there were 347,404 pending disability claims at VA and 77,215 
(22%) of those were pending more than 125 days. Moreover, as of 
June 1, 2018, there were 441,133 appeals pending at both VBA 
and the Board of Veterans' Appeals, with many veterans waiting 
more than five years for a final decision on their claims. As 
the backlog continues to rise and fall over time, it continues 
to draw considerable criticism from the veterans' community as 
well as Congress and the media. Understandably, senior VBA 
leaders spend considerable time and resources focusing 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. As an example, 
the Administration's FY 2019 budget request includes funds to 
support 21,543 direct labor full time equivalent employees 
(FTEE) for VBA. Of this number, 15,851 direct labor FTEE were 
requested to administer disability compensation, pension, 
burial, dependency indemnity compensation, which leaves 5,692 
employees to work on other benefits. The Committee believes the 
focus on disability compensation and pension results in a lack 
of attention being given to the lengthy waits for benefits from 
the education, vocational rehabilitation, and loan guaranty 
programs and only undermines 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 3 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, and Vocational Rehabilitation 
and Employment (VR&E) programs along with VA's portion of the 
Transition Assistance Program that help 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 
3 of the bill would place the program authorized by Section 
8127 under the auspices of VEOTA.
    The Committee also believes that with the significant 
growth in VA employees it would be appropriate to staff the new 
VEOTA using existing personnel resources so section 3 of the 
bill would also cap the amount of combined FTEE at both VBA and 
VEOTA to no more than 23,692 FTEE for fiscal year 2019 and 
fiscal year 2020. In order for the organization of the VEOTA to 
take place in an orderly and efficient manner, the amendments 
made by this section would not go into effect until October 1, 
2019. The Committee believes this gives VA enough time to allow 
for a smooth transition in the realignment these programs 
within VEOTA.
    Finally, section 3 of the bill would also require that VA 
include data in the annual benefits report on claims received, 
claims decided, and processing times for claims administered by 
VEOTA as well as long term outcomes of participants in VEOTA's 
programs. 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 4. Under Secretary for Veterans Economic Opportunity and 
        Transition

    Section 4 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 3 of the bill by creating this 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 similar to those in the new 
VEOTA. The section would also require that, when there is a 
vacancy for this position, the Secretary would be required to 
convene a commission to recommend individuals to the President 
for appointment, and that the commission consists of 
individuals who represent a cross section of the programs 
administered by the VEOTA. While the President is not bound to 
appoint any individuals recommended by the commission, the 
Committee would expect that the commission's recommendations 
would be seriously considered during the appointment process. 
Finally, the Committee would also expect the commission to 
recommend individuals who have private sector experience in 
running programs similar to those under VEOTA.

Section 5. Loans guaranteed under home loan program of Department of 
        Veterans Affairs

    First authorized by the Servicemember's Readjustment Act of 
1944, the VA Home Loan Guaranty program helps hundreds of 
thousands of servicemembers and veterans, each year, purchase 
their part of the American dream. In fiscal year 2017, the VA 
Loan Guaranty Service guaranteed 740,389 loans totaling over 
$188 billion.\13\ Section 3729 of title 38 U.S.C. requires 
certain users of VA's loan guaranty benefit to pay a funding 
fee. The amount of the funding fee varies based on an 
individual's active duty or reserve status, the amount of down 
payment brought forward, and the date of loan origination. The 
costs of the funding fee can be rolled into the loan and can be 
waived if the servicemember has a service-connected disability. 
These fees reduce the subsidy cost associated with VA's 
guaranty of mortgage loans and have typically been viewed as a 
reasonable cost to the benefit gained by having VA guarantee a 
mortgage loan.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \13\Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Submission, U.S. Department of Veterans 
Affairs, Volume 3, ``Benefits and Burial Programs and Departmental 
Administration, page 234.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Section 5 of the bill would make adjustments to the home 
loan fee for refinanced loans that lead to an interest rate 
reduction and would be made on or after January 1, 2019 but 
before September 30, 2024. The funding fee rate would be 
changed from 0.50 from 0.75. After September 20, 2026, the rate 
will revert back to current rate. The Committee believes that 
these modest increases would have minimal impact on the home 
loan market and would not seriously limit a veteran's or a 
servicemember's ability to use their home loan benefit. It 
should also be noted that, according to VA data, out of the 
589,533 VA loans expected to close this year, approximately 42 
percent, or 247,603, will not require any loan fee due to the 
veteran borrower's disability rating.

                                Hearings

    On June 13, 2018, the Subcommittee on Health conducted a 
legislative hearing on a number of bills including H.R. 5693.
    The following witnesses testified:
          The Honorable Vicky Hartzler, U.S. House of 
        Representatives, 4th District, Missouri; The Honorable 
        Marcy Kaptur, U.S. House of Representatives, 9th 
        District, Ohio; The Honorable Matt Cartwright, U.S. 
        House of Representatives, 17th District, Pennsylvania; 
        The Honorable Clay Higgins, U.S. House of 
        Representatives, 3rd District, Louisiana; The Honorable 
        Mike Bost, U.S. House of Representatives, 12th 
        District, Illinois; The Honorable Jeff Denham, U.S. 
        House of Representatives, 10th District, California; 
        The Honorable Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon, U.S. House of 
        Representatives, Puerto Rico; The Honorable Brad 
        Wenstrup, U.S. House of Representatives, 2nd District, 
        Ohio; Roscoe Butler, Deputy Director for Health Care, 
        Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation, The American 
        Legion; Jeremy Villanueva, Associate National 
        Legislative Director, Disabled American Veterans; Kayda 
        Keleher, Associate Director, National Legislative 
        Service, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States; 
        and Jessica Bonjorni MBA, PMP, SPHR, Acting Assistant 
        Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Workforce 
        Services, Veterans Health Administration, U.S. 
        Department of Veterans Affairs, who was accompanied by 
        Dayna Cooper MSN, RN, Director, Home and Community-
        Based Programs, Veterans Health Administration, U.S. 
        Department of Veterans Affairs.
    Statements for the record were submitted by:
          American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association, 
        Paralyzed Veterans of America, and Military Officers 
        Association of America.
    On May 23, 2018, the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity 
held a legislative hearing on a number of bills including H.R. 
5644 which was incorporated in sections three and four of H.R. 
5693, as amended.
    The following witnesses testified:
          The Honorable Julia Brownley, U.S. House of 
        Representatives, 26th District, California; The 
        Honorable Scott Peters, U.S. House of Representatives, 
        52nd District, California; The Honorable Brad Wenstrup, 
        U.S. House of Representatives, 2nd District, Ohio; The 
        Honorable Cheri Bustos, U.S. House of 
        Representatives,17th District, Illinois; The Honorable 
        Ryan Costello, U.S. House of Representatives, 6th 
        District, Pennsylvania; Ms. Margarita Devlin, Principal 
        Deputy Under Secretary for Benefits, Veterans Benefits 
        Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; 
        Mr. John Kamin, Assistant Director, Veterans Employment 
        and Education Division, The American Legion; Ms. Lauren 
        Augustine, Vice President of Government Affairs, 
        Student Veterans of America; and Ms. Rebecca Burgess, 
        Program Manager, Program on American Citizenship, 
        American Enterprise Institute.
    Statements for the record were submitted by:
          U.S. Department of Defense; U.S. Department of 
        Justice; Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors; and 
        Paralyzed Veterans of America

                       Subcommittee Consideration

    On June 27, 2018, the Subcommittee on Health met in open 
markup session, a quorum being present and favorably forwarded 
H.R. 5693, as amended, to the Full Committee. During 
consideration of the bills, the following amendment was 
considered and agreed to by voice vote:

          An amendment in the nature of a substitute offered by 
        Representative Clay Higgins of Louisiana, which would 
        clarify that the pilot program would authorize VA to 
        cover the costs of medical foster home care for a daily 
        average of up to 900 veteran patients for whom VA would 
        otherwise be required to provide nursing home care.

                        Committee Consideration

    On July 12, 2018, the full Committee met in open markup 
session, a quorum being present, and ordered H.R. 5693, as 
amended, to be reported favorably to the House of 
Representatives by voice vote. During consideration of the 
bill, the following amendment was considered and agreed to by 
voice vote:

          An amendment in the nature of a substitute offered by 
        Representative David P. Roe of Tennessee--the Chairman 
        of the Committee on Veterans' Affairs--which would 
        combine the contents of H.R. 5693, as amended, H.R. 
        5644, and a provision that would authorize a temporary 
        nominal increase in the funding fee for refinanced VA 
        guaranteed loans.

                            Committee Votes

    In compliance with clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, there were no recorded votes 
taken on amendments or in connection with ordering H.R. 5693, 
as amended, reported to the House. A motion by Representative 
Tim Walz of Minnesota--the Ranking Member of the Committee on 
Veterans' Affairs--to report H.R. 5693, as amended, favorably 
to the House of Representatives was adopted by voice vote.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII and clause 
(2)(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives, the Committee's oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the descriptive portions of 
this report.

         Statement Of General Performance Goals and Objectives

    In accordance with clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee's performance 
goals and objectives are to authorize VA to cover the cost of 
care in a medical foster home for certain veterans, create a 
new fourth administration at VA, and make nominal changes to 
home loan funding fees.

   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. 5693, 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. 
5693, 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

    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. 5693, as amended, provided by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office pursuant to section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, July 19, 2018.
Hon. Phil Roe, M.D.,
Chairman, Committee on Veterans' Affairs,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 5693, the Long-
Term Care Veterans Choice Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Ann E. 
Futrell.
            Sincerely,
                                             Mark P. Hadley
                                        (For Keith Hall, Director).
    Enclosure.

H.R. 5693--Long-Term Care Veterans Choice Act

    Summary: H.R. 5693 would expand the authority of the 
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide long-term care 
for certain veterans and would reorganize the administration of 
several veterans benefit programs. CBO estimates that 
implementing the bill would cost $200 million over the 2019-
2023 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts.
    In addition, the bill would modify the program that 
provides mortgage loan guarantees for veterans. CBO estimates 
that enacting H.R. 5693 would decrease direct spending by $202 
million over the 2019-2028 period.
    Pay-as-you-go procedures apply because enacting the 
legislation would affect direct spending. Enacting the bill 
would not affect revenues.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 5693 would not increase 
net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2029.
    H.R. 5693 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfounded Mandates Reform Act 
(UMRA).
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary effects of H.R. 5693 are shown in Table 1. The costs 
of the legislation fall within budget function 700 (veterans 
benefits and services).

                                                   TABLE 1.--ESTIMATED BUDGETARY EFFECTS OF H.R. 5693, THE LONG-TERM CARE VETERANS CHOICE ACT
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                           By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                             -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                2018      2019      2020      2021      2022      2023      2024      2025      2026      2027      2028    2019-2023  2019-2028
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                         INCREASES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
 
Estimated Authorization Level...............................         0         1        47        48        57        56      n.a.      n.a.      n.a.      n.a.      n.a.        209       n.a.
Estimated Outlays...........................................         0         1        42        47        55        55      n.a.      n.a.      n.a.      n.a.      n.a.        200       n.a.
 
                                                                                  DECREASES IN DIRECT SPENDING
 
Estimated Budget Authority..................................         0       -35       -42       -37       -34       -29       -25         0         0         0         0       -177       -202
Estimated Outlays...........................................         0       -35       -42       -37       -34       -29       -25         0         0         0         0       -177      -202
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
n.a. = not applicable.

    Basis of Estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that H.R. 
5693 will be enacted near the beginning of fiscal year 2019 and 
that the estimated amounts will be appropriated each year. 
Estimated outlays are based on historical spending patterns for 
the affected programs.

Spending subject to appropriation

    H.R. 5693 would authorize VA to provide long-term care to 
veterans in medical foster homes (MFHs) and establish a new 
organization in VA to administer readjustment benefits, 
transition assistance, and several other benefit programs that 
are currently part of the Veterans Benefits Administration. In 
total, CBO estimates that implementing the bill would cost $200 
million over the 2019-2023 period, assuming appropriation of 
the necessary amounts (see Table 2).
    Medical Foster Homes. For the three-year period beginning 
on October 1, 2019, section 2 would authorize VA to place up to 
900 veterans (on an average daily basis) with severe service-
connected disabilities in MFHs and to pay the full cost of 
their stay in those establishments. A MFH is a private home in 
which a trained caregiver provides services to a few 
individuals. VA has an existing program to inspect and approve 
MFHs for veterans. Veterans currently living in such homes are 
eligible to receive VA's Home Based Primary Care services, 
which include case management and health care provided in the 
home. This bill would authorize VA to also pay for the cost of 
living (room and board) in MFHs. CBO expects that once veterans 
are placed in medical foster care under this new program, VA 
would continue to pay for their stays in those facilities 
indefinitely so that the costs for the program would continue 
after 2022.

TABLE 2.--ESTIMATE OF THE EFFECTS ON SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION OF H.R. 5693, THE LONG-TERM CARE VETERANS
                                                   CHOICE ACT
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                          By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                          ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                                             2018      2019      2020      2021      2022      2023    2019-2023
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Medical Foster Homes:
    Estimated Authorization Level........         0         0        34        41        50        49        174
    Estimated Outlays....................         0         0        30        39        48        48        165
Veterans Economic Opportunity and
 Transition Administration:
    Estimated Authorization Level........         0         1        13         7         7         7         35
    Estimated Outlays....................         0         1        12         8         7         7         35
    Total Changes in Spending Subject to
     Appropriation:
        Estimated Authorization Level....         0         1        47        48        57        56        209
        Estimated Outlays................         0         1        42        47        55        55        200
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Of the 900 veterans eligible for this program, CBO 
estimates that 600 would become residents of MFHs as a result 
of the bill's enactment. For those veterans, VA would pay for 
their living expenses, as well as the costs for Home Based 
Primary Care services. We estimate that those veterans would 
receive health care that would cost $16,000 per year more than 
they would receive under current law because providing care in 
individual homes is costlier than providing health care at VA 
medical facilities. Including the costs for living expenses at 
the MFHs of $42,000 per year, on average, we estimate total 
costs per new resident of $58,000 per year, on average. On that 
basis, CBO estimates that total costs for new MFH residents 
would be about $35 million a year.
    CBO estimates that the remaining 300 veterans would be 
those who are already living in MFHs. Because VA currently 
provides those veterans with in-home health care services, the 
estimated incremental cost would be $42,000 a year per veteran 
to cover the expense of living in the MFHs. Those costs would 
total about $10 million a year for those 300 veterans, CBO 
estimates.
    After accounting for inflation, the appropriate mortality 
rates, and a gradual implementation period to reflect the 
necessary time for VA to transition additional veterans into 
the MFH program, CBO estimates that implementing this bill 
would cost an additional $165 million over the 2019-2023 
period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts.
    Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition 
Administration. Sections 3 and 4 would create a new 
administration at VA to manage programs for readjustment 
benefits, home-loan guarantees, and small-business assistance. 
Beginning in fiscal year 2020, the bill would establish the 
Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition Administration 
(VEOTA). The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) currently 
manages the following benefit programs for veterans and other 
eligible individuals:
           Disability compensation;
           Pension, dependency and indemnity 
        compensation, burial, and fiduciary programs;
           Readjustment benefits (including education 
        and vocational rehabilitation benefits);
           Home-loan guarantees;
           Small business programs; and
           Insurance.
    This bill would transfer some programs that are currently 
administered by VBA to VEOTA. Under this new organizational 
structure, all readjustment benefit programs (including 
employment programs), the home-loan guarantee program, 
veterans' small business programs, and VA's responsibilities 
under the transition assistance program would be managed by 
VEOTA. VBA and VEOTA each would be led by an Undersecretary. 
Section 3 would limit the total number of full-time equivalent 
(FTE) positions serving in both administrations to 23,692 in 
fiscal years 2019 and 2020.
    VA reports that about 4,400 VA employees currently oversee 
and carry out the benefits programs that would transfer to 
VEOTA under this provision. CBO estimates that those personnel, 
and the records, property, and budgetary resources currently 
used by VBA to manage those programs also would be transferred. 
Using the current operating costs for VBA of $115 million, we 
estimate a 10 percent increase in 2020 to capture moving 
expenses, IT costs and other reorganization expenses, and about 
a 3 percent increase thereafter for ongoing operating expenses. 
Those estimated additional operating costs would total about 
$22 million over the 2019-2023 period. In addition, CBO 
estimates that VEOTA would require an additional 20 FTE 
positions at an average annual cost of $200,000 to manage the 
daily operations of the new administration. CBO estimates costs 
of $13 million for those additional staff.
    In total, CBO estimates that establishing VEOTA would cost 
$35 million over the 2019-2023 period.

Direct spending

    Section 5 would change the fee that VA charges veterans for 
providing loan guarantees under its home loan program. Under 
that program, VA provides lenders a payment of up to 25 percent 
of the outstanding mortgage balances (subject to some 
limitations on the original loan amounts) in the event that 
veterans default on guaranteed loans. The guarantees enable 
veterans to get better loan terms, such as lower interest rates 
or smaller down payments. The fee varies by several factors 
such as the type of the loan and the amount of the down 
payment. Increasing the fee would lower the subsidy cost of the 
guarantees by partially offsetting the costs of subsequent 
defaults.\1\ (Reducing the fee would have the opposite effect.) 
The subsidy cost of VA loan guarantees are paid from mandatory 
appropriations. Hence, changing the subsidy cost would affect 
direct spending.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Under the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990, the subsidy cost of 
a loan guarantee is the net present value of estimated payments by the 
government to cover defaults and delinquencies, interest subsidies, or 
other expenses, offset by any payments to the government, including 
origination fees, other fees, penalties, and recoveries on defaulted 
loans. Such subsidy costs are calculated by discounting those expected 
cash flows using the rate on Treasury securities of comparable 
maturity. The resulting estimated subsidy costs are recorded in the 
budget when the loans are disbursed.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Veterans can refinance VA-guaranteed loans with another 
loan that also would be guaranteed by VA. Those borrowers pay a 
fee of 0.50 percent of the new principal if the amount of the 
new loan is the same as the outstanding principal balance of 
the prior loan and the interest rate on the new loan is lower. 
Section 5 would increase that fee to 0.75 percent of the 
principal amount for loans that are refinanced after December 
31, 2018, and before October 1, 2024. After that latter date, 
the fee would revert to 0.50 percent.
    Using information from VA on the number and size of 
refinancing loans guaranteed in recent years, the default rate 
for those loans, and the amount of fees collected, CBO 
estimates that increasing the fees would decrease direct 
spending by $202 million over the 2019-2028 period.
    Pay-As-You-Go considerations: The Statutory Pay-As-You-Go 
Act of 2010 establishes budget-reporting and enforcement 
procedures for legislation affecting direct spending or 
revenues. The net changes in outlays that are subject to those 
pay-as-you-go procedures are shown in Table 3.

     TABLE 3.--CBO ESTIMATE OF PAY-AS-YOU-GO EFFECTS OF H.R. 5693, THE LONG-TERM CARE VETERANS CHOICE ACT, AS ORDERED REPORTED BY THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS ON JULY 12, 2018
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                           By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                             -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                2018      2019      2020      2021      2022      2023      2024      2025      2026      2027      2028    2019-2023  2019-2028
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                               DECREASES IN THE ON-BUDGET DEFICIT
 
Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Impact..............................         0       -35       -42       -37       -34       -29       -25         0         0         0         0       -177       -202
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Increase in long-term direct spending and deficits: CBO 
estimates that enacting H.R. 5693 would not increase net direct 
spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 
10-year periods beginning in 2029.
    Mandates: H.R. 5693 contains no intergovernmental or 
private-sector mandates as defined in UMRA.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Ann E. Futrell, David 
Newman, and Logan Smith; Mandates: Andrew Laughlin.
    Estimate reviewed by: Sarah Jennings Chief, Defense, 
International Affairs, and Veterans' Affairs Cost Estimates 
Unit; Leo Lex, Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                       Federal Mandates Statement

    The Committee adopts as its own the estimate of Federal 
mandates regarding H.R. 5693, 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. 
5693, as amended.

                 Statement of Constitutional Authority

    Pursuant to Article I, section 8 of the United States 
Constitution, H.R. 5693, 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. 5693, as amended, 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 clause 3(c)(5) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee finds that no provision 
of H.R. 5693, 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 section 3(i) of H. Res. 5, 115th Cong. (2017), 
the Committee estimates that H.R. 5693, as amended, contains no 
directed rulemaking that would require the Secretary to 
prescribe regulations.

             Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation


Section 1. Short title

    Section 1 of the bill would provide a short title of the 
bill as the ``Long-Term Care Veterans Choice Act.''

Section 2. Secretary of Veterans Affairs contract authority for 
        placement of Veterans Affairs in non-department medical foster 
        homes

    Section 2(a) of the bill would amend section 1720 of title 
38 U.S.C. by adding at the new the following new subsection: 
``(h)(1) During the three year period beginning on October 1, 
2019, and subject to paragraph (2), at the request of a veteran 
for whom the Secretary is required to provide nursing home care 
under section 1710A of this title, the Secretary may place the 
veteran in a medical foster home that meets Department 
standards, at the expense of the United States, pursuant to a 
contract, agreement, or other arrangement entered into between 
the Secretary and the medical foster home for such purpose. A 
veteran who is placed in a medical foster home under this 
subsection shall agree, as a condition of such placement, to 
accept home health services furnished by the Secretary under 
section 1717 of this tile. (2) In any year, not more than a 
daily average of 900 veterans placed in a medical foster home, 
whether placed before or after the date of enactment of this 
subsection, may have their care covered at the expense of the 
United States under subsection (a). (3) In this subsection, the 
term medical foster home' means a home designed to provide non-
institutional, long-term, supportive care for veterans who are 
unable to live independently and prefer a family setting.''.
    Section 2(b) of the bill would provide an effective date 
for subsection (h) of title 38 U.S.C. as October 1, 2019.

Section 3. Establishment of Veterans Economic Opportunity and 
        Transition Administration

    Section 3(a) of the bill would amend Part V of title 38 
U.S.C. by adding at the end the following new chapter: 
``Chapter 80--Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition 
Administration.''
    The new section 8001 would establish within VA the VEOTA 
with a primary function of administering VA programs that 
provide assistance related to economic opportunity to veterans 
and their dependents and survivors. The new section 8001 would 
also establish within VA the Under Secretary for Veterans 
Economic Opportunity and Transition to be directly responsible 
to the VA Secretary for the operations of the VEOTA.
    The new section 8002 would establish that the VEOTA is 
responsible for the administration of the following VA 
programs: vocational rehabilitation and employment programs; 
educational programs; veterans' housing loan and related 
programs; the verification of small businesses owned and 
controlled by veterans pursuant to subsection (f) of section 
8127 of title 38 U.S.C., including the administration of the 
database of veteran-owned businesses described in such 
subsection; VA's portion of TAP under section 1144 of title 10 
U.S.C.; and any other VA program that the VA Secretary 
determines appropriate.
    The new section 8003 would require VA to include in the 
annual report to Congress required by section 529 of title 38 
U.S.C. a report on the programs administered by the Under 
Secretary for Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition and 
require each such report to include the following with respect 
to each such program during the fiscal year covered by that 
report: the number of claims received; the number of claims 
decided; the average processing time for a claim; the number of 
successful outcomes (as described by VA); the number of full-
time equivalent employees; and the amounts expended for 
information technology.
    Section 3(a) of the bill would also amend the table of 
chapters at the beginning of title 38 U.S.C. and of part V of 
title 38 U.S.C. by inserting after the item relating to chapter 
79 a new item relating to the Veterans Economic Opportunity and 
Transition Administration.
    Section 3(b) of the bill would require an effective date 
for the new chapter 80 of title 38 U.S.C. as added by 
subsection (a) of October 1, 2019.
    Section 3(c) of the bill would require that, for fiscal 
years 2019 and 2020, the title number of the full-time 
equivalent employees authorized for the Veterans Benefits 
Administration and the Veterans Economic Opportunity and 
Transition Administration, as established under the new chapter 
80 of title 38 U.S.C. as added by subsection (a) of the bill, 
may not exceed 23,692.

Section 4. Under Secretary for Veterans Economic Opportunity and 
        Transition

    Section 4(a) of the bill would amend chapter 3 of title 38 
U.S.C. by inserting after section 306 the following new 
section: ``306A. Under Secretary for Veterans Economic 
Opportunity and Transition''.
    The new subsection 306A(a) would establish within VA 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 new subsection 306A(a) 
would also require that the Under Secretary for Veterans 
Economic Opportunity and Transition be appointed without regard 
to political affiliation or activity and solely on the basis of 
demonstrated ability in information technology and the 
administration of programs within the VEOTA or programs of 
similar content and scope.
    The new subsection 306A(b) would require that the Under 
Secretary for Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition is 
the head of, and directly responsible to the VA Secretary for 
the operations of, the VEOTA.
    The new subsection 306A(c) would require that, whenever a 
vacancy in the position of Under Secretary for Veterans 
Economic Opportunity and Transition occurs or is anticipated, 
the VA Secretary shall establish a commission to recommend 
individuals to the President for appointment to the position. 
The new subsection 306A(c) would also require that such 
commission be composed of the following members appointed by 
the VA Secretary: three persons representing education and 
training, vocational rehabilitation, employment, real estate, 
mortgage finance and related industries, and survivor benefits 
activities affected by the VEOTA; two persons representing 
veterans served by the VEOTA; two persons who have experience 
in the management of private sector benefits programs of 
similar content and scope to the VA economic opportunity and 
transition programs; the VA Deputy Secretary; the chairman of 
the Veterans' Advisory Committee on Education formed under 
section 3692 of title 38 U.S.C.; one person who has held the 
position of Under Secretary for Veterans Economic Opportunity 
and Transition if the VA Secretary determines that it is 
desirable for such person to be a member of the commission. The 
new subsection 306A(c) would further require that the 
commission established under this subsection recommend at least 
three individuals for appointment to the position of Under 
Secretary for Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition and 
to submit all recommendations to the VA Secretary and the VA 
Secretary to forward the recommendations to the President and 
the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and U.S. 
House of Representatives with any comments as the VA Secretary 
considers appropriate. It would also authorize the President to 
request the commission to recommend additional individuals for 
appointment. The new subsection 306A(c) would finally require 
the VA Assistant Secretary or Deputy Secretary who performs 
personnel management and labor relations functions to serve as 
the executive secretary of a commission established under this 
subsection and amend the table of sections at the beginning of 
chapter 3 of title 38 U.S.C. by inserting after the item 
relating to section 306 the following new item: ``306A. Under 
Secretary for Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition.''.
    Section 4(b) of the bill would amend section 306(c)(2) of 
title 38 U.S.C.: by striking subparagraphs (A) and (E) and 
redesignating subparagraphs (B), (C), (D), and (F), as 
subparagraphs (A) through (D), respectively; in section 
317(d)(2) by inserting after ``Under Secretary for Benefits,'' 
the following: ``Under Secretary for Veterans Economic 
Opportunity and Transition,''; in section 318(d)(2), by 
inserting after ``Under Secretary for Benefits, the following: 
``Under Secretary for Veterans Economic Opportunity and 
Transition,''; 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''; 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''; 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; in section 544(a)(2)(B)(vi), by striking ``Health 
and Under Secretary for Benefits'' and inserting ``Health, the 
Under Secretary for Benefits, and the Under Secretary for 
Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition''; in section 
709(c)(2)(A), by inserting after ``Under Secretary for 
Benefits,'' the following: ``the Under Secretary for Veterans 
Economic Opportunity and Transition,''; in section 7701(a), by 
inserting after ``assistance'' the following: ``, other than 
assistance related to Economic Opportunity and Transition,''; 
and in section 7703, by striking paragraphs (2) and (3) and 
redesignating paragraphs (4) and (5) as paragraphs (2) and (3), 
respectively.
    Section 4(c) of the bill would provide an effective date of 
October 1, 2019, for section 306A of title 38 U.S.C. as added 
by subsection (a) and the amendments made by this section.

Section 5. Loans guaranteed under home loan program of Department of 
        Veterans Affairs

    Section 5 of the bill would amend section 3729(b)(2)(E) of 
title 38 U.S.C. to increase the funding fees for interest rate 
reduction refinanced loans from 0.50 to 0.75 for loans made on 
or after January 1, 2019, but before October 1, 2024.

         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):

         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                                                             Sec.
      General........................................................101
     * * * * * * *

              PART V. BOARDS, ADMINISTRATIONS, AND SERVICES

     * * * * * * *
8001Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition Administration.......

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


PART I--GENERAL PROVISIONS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


               CHAPTER 3--DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

Sec.
301. Department.
     * * * * * * *
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

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SUBCHAPTER I--GENERAL AUTHORITIES

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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.

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                  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.

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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 each 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, 2018.

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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.

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PART II--GENERAL BENEFITS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 17--HOSPITAL, NURSING HOME, DOMICILIARY, AND MEDICAL CARE

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SUBCHAPTER II--HOSPITAL, NURSING HOME, OR DOMICILIARY CARE AND MEDICAL 
TREATMENT

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 1720. Transfers for nursing home care; adult day health care

  (a)(1) Subject to subsection (b) of this section, the 
Secretary may transfer to a non-Department nursing home, for 
care at the expense of the United States--
          (A) a veteran--
                  (i) who has been furnished care by the 
                Secretary in a facility under the direct 
                jurisdiction of the Secretary; and
                  (ii) who the Secretary determines--
                          (I) requires a protracted period of 
                        nursing home care which can be 
                        furnished in the non-Department nursing 
                        home; and
                          (II) in the case of a veteran who has 
                        been furnished hospital care in a 
                        facility under the direct jurisdiction 
                        of the Secretary, has received maximum 
                        benefits from such care; and
          (B) a member of the Armed Forces--
                  (i) who has been furnished care in a hospital 
                of the Armed Forces;
                  (ii) who the Secretary concerned determines 
                has received maximum benefits from such care 
                but requires a protracted period of nursing 
                home care; and
                  (iii) who upon discharge from the Armed 
                Forces will become a veteran.
  (2) The Secretary may transfer a person to a nursing home 
under this subsection only if the Secretary determines that the 
cost to the United States of the care of such person in the 
nursing home will not exceed--
          (A) the amount equal to 45 percent of the cost of 
        care furnished by the Department in a general hospital 
        under the direct jurisdiction of the Secretary (as such 
        cost may be determined annually by the Secretary); or
          (B) the amount equal to 50 percent of such cost, if 
        such higher amount is determined to be necessary by the 
        Secretary (upon the recommendation of the Under 
        Secretary for Health) to provide adequate care.
  (3) Nursing home care may not be furnished under this 
subsection at the expense of the United States for more than 
six months in the aggregate in connection with any one transfer 
except--
          (A) in the case of a veteran--
                  (i) who is transferred to a non-Department 
                nursing home from a hospital under the direct 
                jurisdiction of the Secretary; and
                  (ii) whose hospitalization was primarily for 
                a service-connected disability;
          (B) in a case in which the nursing home care is 
        required for a service-connected disability; or
          (C) in a case in which, in the judgment of the 
        Secretary, a longer period of nursing home care is 
        warranted.
  (4) A veteran who is furnished care by the Secretary in a 
hospital or domiciliary facility in Alaska or Hawaii may be 
furnished nursing home care at the expense of the United States 
under this subsection even if such hospital or domiciliary 
facility is not under the direct jurisdiction of the Secretary.
  (b) No veteran may be transferred or admitted to any 
institution for nursing home care under this section, unless 
such institution is determined by the Secretary to meet such 
standards as the Secretary may prescribe. The standards 
prescribed and any report of inspection of institutions 
furnishing care to veterans under this section made by or for 
the Secretary shall, to the extent possible, be made available 
to all Federal, State, and local agencies charged with the 
responsibility of licensing or otherwise regulating or 
inspecting such institutions.
  (c)(1)(A) In furnishing nursing home care, adult day health 
care, or other extended care services under this section, the 
Secretary may enter into agreements for furnishing such care or 
services with--
          (i) in the case of the medicare program, a provider 
        of services that has entered into a provider agreement 
        under section 1866(a) of the Social Security Act (42 
        U.S.C. 1395cc(a));
          (ii) in the case of the medicaid program, a provider 
        participating under a State plan under title XIX of 
        such Act (42 U.S.C. 1396 et seq.); and
          (iii) a provider of services eligible to enter into a 
        contract pursuant to section 1745(a) of this title that 
        is not otherwise described in clause (i) or (ii).
  (B) In entering into an agreement under subparagraph (A) with 
a provider of services described in clause (i) of that 
subparagraph or a provider described in clause (ii) of that 
subparagraph, the Secretary may use the procedures available 
for entering into provider agreements under section 1866(a) of 
the Social Security Act.
  (2) In applying the provisions of section 6704(a) of title 41 
with respect to any contract entered into under this section to 
provide nursing home care of veterans, the payment of wages not 
less than those specified in section 6(b) of the Fair Labor 
Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 206(b)) shall be deemed to 
constitute compliance with such provisions.
  (d)(1) Subject to subsection (b) of this section, the 
Secretary may authorize for any veteran requiring nursing home 
care for a service-connected disability direct admission for 
such care at the expense of the United States to any non-
Department nursing home. The Secretary may also authorize a 
direct admission to such a nursing home for nursing home care 
for any veteran who has been discharged from a hospital under 
the direct jurisdiction of the Secretary and who is currently 
receiving medical services as part of home health services from 
the Department.
  (2) Direct admission authorized by paragraph (1) of this 
subsection may be authorized upon determination of need 
therefor--
          (A) by a physician employed by the Department; or
          (B) in areas where no such physician is available, by 
        a physician carrying out such function under contract 
        or fee arrangement,
based on an examination by such physician.
  (3) The amount which may be paid for such care and the length 
of care available under this subsection shall be the same as 
authorized under subsection (a) of this section.
  (e)(1) The cost of intermediate care for purposes of payment 
by the United States pursuant to subsection (a)(2)(B) of this 
section shall be determined by the Secretary except that the 
rate of reimbursement shall be commensurately less than that 
provided for nursing home care.
  (2) For the purposes of this section, the term ``non-
Department nursing home'' means a public or private institution 
not under the direct jurisdiction of the Secretary which 
furnishes nursing home care.
  (f)(1)(A) The Secretary may furnish adult day health care 
services to a veteran enrolled under section 1705(a) of this 
title who would otherwise require nursing home care.
  (B) The Secretary may provide in-kind assistance (through the 
services of Department employees and the sharing of other 
Department resources) to a facility furnishing care to veterans 
under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph. Any such in-kind 
assistance shall be provided under a contract or agreement 
between the Secretary and the facility concerned. The Secretary 
may provide such assistance only for use solely in the 
furnishing of adult day health care and only if, under such 
contract or agreement, the Department receives reimbursement 
for the full cost of such assistance, including the cost of 
services and supplies and normal depreciation and amortization 
of equipment. Such reimbursement may be made by reduction in 
the charges to the United States or by payment to the United 
States. Any funds received through such reimbursement shall be 
credited to funds allotted to the Department facility that 
provided the assistance.
  (2) The Secretary may conduct, at facilities over which the 
Secretary has direct jurisdiction, programs for the furnishing 
of adult day health care to veterans who are eligible for such 
care under paragraph (1) of this subsection, except that 
necessary travel and incidental expenses (or transportation in 
lieu thereof) may be furnished under such a program only under 
the terms and conditions set forth in section 111 of this 
title. The furnishing of care under any such program shall be 
subject to the limitations that are applicable to the duration 
of adult day health care furnished under paragraph (1) of this 
subsection.
  (g) The Secretary may contract with appropriate entities to 
provide specialized residential care and rehabilitation 
services to a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom or 
Operation Iraqi Freedom who the Secretary determines suffers 
from a traumatic brain injury, has an accumulation of deficits 
in activities of daily living and instrumental activities of 
daily living, and because of these deficits, would otherwise 
require admission to a nursing home even though such care would 
generally exceed the veteran's nursing needs.
  (h)(1) During the three-year period beginning on October 1, 
2019, and subject to paragraph (2), at the request of a veteran 
for whom the Secretary is required to provide nursing home care 
under section 1710A of this title, the Secretary may place the 
veteran in a medical foster home that meets Department 
standards, at the expense of the United States, pursuant to a 
contract, agreement, or other arrangement entered into between 
the Secretary and the medical foster home for such purpose. A 
veteran who is placed in a medical foster home under this 
subsection shall agree, as a condition of such placement, to 
accept home health services furnished by the Secretary under 
section 1717 of this title.
  (2) In any year, not more than a daily average of 900 
veterans placed in a medical foster home, whether placed before 
or after the date of the enactment of this subsection, may have 
their care covered at the expense of the United States under 
subsection (a).
  (3) In this subsection, the term ``medical foster home'' 
means a home designed to provide non-institutional, long-term, 
supportive care for veterans who are unable to live 
independently and prefer a family setting.

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PART III--READJUSTMENT AND RELATED BENEFITS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


              CHAPTER 37--HOUSING AND SMALL BUSINESS LOANS

SUBCHAPTER III--ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 3729. Loan fee

  (a) Requirement of Fee.--(1) Except as provided in subsection 
(c), a fee shall be collected from each person obtaining a 
housing loan guaranteed, insured, or made under this chapter, 
and each person assuming a loan to which section 3714 of this 
title applies. No such loan may be guaranteed, insured, made, 
or assumed until the fee payable under this section has been 
remitted to the Secretary.
  (2) The fee may be included in the loan and paid from the 
proceeds thereof.
  (b) Determination of Fee.--(1) The amount of the fee shall be 
determined from the loan fee table in paragraph (2). The fee is 
expressed as a percentage of the total amount of the loan 
guaranteed, insured, or made, or, in the case of a loan 
assumption, the unpaid principal balance of the loan on the 
date of the transfer of the property.
  (2) The loan fee table referred to in paragraph (1) is as 
follows:


                             LOAN FEE TABLE
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                   Active duty
 Type of loan        veteran            Reservist         Other obligor
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(A)(i) Initial  2.00               2.75                 NA
 loan
 described in
 section 3710
 (a) to
 purchase or
 construct a
 dwelling with
 0-down, or
 any other
 initial loan
 described in
 section 3710
 (a) other
 than with 5-
 down or 10-
 down (closed
 before
 January 1,
 2004)
(A)(ii)         2.20               2.40                 NA
 Initial loan
 described in
 section 3710
 (a) to
 purchase or
 construct a
 dwelling with
 0-down, or
 any other
 initial loan
 described in
 section 3710
 (a) other
 than with 5-
 down or 10-
 down (closed
 on or after
 January 1,
 2004, and
 before
 October 1,
 2004)
(A)(iii)        2.15               2.40                 NA
 Initial loan
 described in
 section 3710
 (a) to
 purchase or
 construct a
 dwelling with
 0-down, or
 any other
 initial loan
 described in
 section 3710
 (a) other
 than with 5-
 down or 10-
 down (closed
 on or after
 October 1,
 2004, and
 before
 September 30,
 2027)
(A)(iv)         1.40               1.65                 NA
 Initial loan
 described in
 section 3710
 (a) to
 purchase or
 construct a
 dwelling with
 0-down, or
 any other
 initial loan
 described in
 section 3710
 (a) other
 than with 5-
 down or 10-
 down (closed
 on or after
 September 30,
 2027)
(B)(i)          3.30               3.30                 NA
 Subsequent
 loan
 described in
 section 3710
 (a) to
 purchase or
 construct a
 dwelling with
 0-down, or
 any other
 subsequent
 loan
 described in
 section 3710
 (a) (closed
 before
 September 30,
 2027)
(B)(ii)         1.25               1.25                 NA
 Subsequent
 loan
 described in
 section 3710
 (a) to
 purchase or
 construct a
 dwelling with
 0-down, or
 any other
 subsequent
 loan
 described in
 section 3710
 (a) (closed
 on or after
 September 30,
 2027)
(C)(i) Loan     1.50               1.75                 NA
 described in
 section 3710
 (a) to
 purchase or
 construct a
 dwelling with
 5-down
 (closed
 before
 September 30,
 2027)
(C)(ii) Loan    0.75               1.00                 NA
 described in
 section 3710
 (a) to
 purchase or
 construct a
 dwelling with
 5-down
 (closed on or
 after
 September 30,
 2027)
(D)(i) Initial  1.25               1.50                 NA
 loan
 described in
 section 3710
 (a) to
 purchase or
 construct a
 dwelling with
 10-down
 (closed
 before
 September 30,
 2027)
(D)(ii)         0.50               0.75                 NA
 Initial loan
 described in
 section 3710
 (a) to
 purchase or
 construct a
 dwelling with
 10-down
 (closed on or
 after
 September 30,
 2027)
[(E) Interest   0.50               0.50                 NA]
 rate
 reduction
 refinancing
 loan
(E)(i)          0.50               0.50                 NA
 Interest rate
 reduction
 refinancing
 loan (closed
 before
 January 1,
 2019)
(E)(ii)         0.75               0.75                 NA
 Interest rate
 reduction
 refinancing
 loan (closed
 on or after
 January 1,
 2019, but
 before
 October 1,
 2024)
(E)(iii)        0.50               0.50                 NA
 Interest rate
 reduction
 refinancing
 loan (closed
 on or after
 October 1,
 2024)
(F) Direct      1.00               1.00                 NA
 loan under
 section 3711
(G)             1.00               1.00                 NA
 Manufactured
 home loan
 under section
 3712 (other
 than an
 interest rate
 reduction
 refinancing
 loan)
(H) Loan to     1.25               1.25                 NA
 Native
 American
 veteran under
 section 3762
 (other than
 an interest
 rate
 reduction
 refinancing
 loan)
(I) Loan        0.50               0.50                 0.50
 assumption
 under section
 3714
(J) Loan under  2.25               2.25                 2.25
 section 3733
 (a)
------------------------------------------------------------------------

  (3) Any reference to a section in the ``Type of loan'' column 
in the loan fee table in paragraph (2) refers to a section of 
this title.
  (4) For the purposes of paragraph (2):
          (A) The term ``active duty veteran'' means any 
        veteran eligible for the benefits of this chapter other 
        than a Reservist.
          (B) The term ``Reservist'' means a veteran described 
        in section 3701 (b)(5)(A) of this title who is eligible 
        under section 3702(a)(2)(E) of this title.
          (C) The term ``other obligor'' means a person who is 
        not a veteran, as defined in section 101 of this title 
        or other provision of this chapter.
          (D) The term ``initial loan'' means a loan to a 
        veteran guaranteed under section 3710 or made under 
        section 3711 of this title if the veteran has never 
        obtained a loan guaranteed under section 3710 or made 
        under section 3711 of this title.
          (E) The term ``subsequent loan'' means a loan to a 
        veteran, other than an interest rate reduction 
        refinancing loan, guaranteed under section 3710 or made 
        under section 3711 of this title if the veteran has 
        previously obtained a loan guaranteed under section 
        3710 or made under section 3711 of this title.
          (F) The term ``interest rate reduction refinancing 
        loan'' means a loan described in section 3710(a)(8), 
        3710(a)(9)(B)(i), 3710(a)(11), 3712(a)(1)(F), or 
        3762(h) of this title.
          (G) The term ``0-down'' means a downpayment, if any, 
        of less than 5 percent of the total purchase price or 
        construction cost of the dwelling.
          (H) The term ``5-down'' means a downpayment of at 
        least 5 percent or more, but less than 10 percent, of 
        the total purchase price or construction cost of the 
        dwelling.
          (I) The term ``10-down'' means a downpayment of 10 
        percent or more of the total purchase price or 
        construction cost of the dwelling.
  (c) Waiver of Fee.--(1) A fee may not be collected under this 
section from a veteran who is receiving compensation (or who, 
but for the receipt of retirement pay or active service pay, 
would be entitled to receive compensation) or from a surviving 
spouse of any veteran (including a person who died in the 
active military, naval, or air service) who died from a 
service-connected disability.
  (2)(A) A veteran described in subparagraph (B) shall be 
treated as receiving compensation for purposes of this 
subsection as of the date of the rating described in such 
subparagraph without regard to whether an effective date of the 
award of compensation is established as of that date.
  (B) A veteran described in this subparagraph is a veteran who 
is rated eligible to receive compensation--
          (i) as the result of a pre-discharge disability 
        examination and rating; or
          (ii) based on a pre-discharge review of existing 
        medical evidence (including service medical and 
        treatment records) that results in the issuance of a 
        memorandum rating.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


             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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