On Monday, October 28, 2013, the House will consider H.R. 2481, the Veterans Economic Opportunity Act of 2013,under a suspension of the rules. The bill was introduced on June 25, 2013 by Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) and referred to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, which ordered the bill reported by voice vote.
H.R. 2481 directs the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to establish the Veterans Economic Opportunity Administration, which would be responsible for the administration of programs that provide assistance related to economic opportunity to Veterans. This includes activities such as administering vocational rehabilitation and employment programs, educational assistance programs, Veterans’ housing loan programs, and the Veterans Small Business Program. Additionally, this legislation creates an Undersecretary of Veterans Economic Opportunity, who would be appointed by the President and approved by the Senate, and would be responsible for carrying out the functions of the Veterans Economic Opportunity Administration.
Moreover, this legislation extends homeless Veterans reintegration programs through FY 2018. This legislation further entitles children of Veterans who died within 31 days of discharge due to a service-connected disability to educational assistance under the Post-9/11 Educational Assistance Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and makes improvements to the election process for the Post-9/11 Education Assistance Program.
In addition, H.R. 2481 would simplify the processing of GI bill claims for students as well as educational institutions. Moreover, it would extend mortgage-related protections for service members under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) to spouses, service members serving in a contingency operation, Veterans who are medically discharged, and service members placed on convalescent stats. This legislation would also double the penalties for violators of the new protection, and would allow a service member who, due to military orders, no longer occupies a home, to refinance a home prior to military service.
Finally, the bill would require lending institutions with assets over $10 billion to have an SCRA compliance officer, and have a toll-free number published electronically. The bill would also provide further protections to the child custody rights of deployed service members.
For further information, please see the full bill report for H.R. 2481 here.
CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 2481 would decrease direct spending by $149 million over the 2014-2018 period and by $120 over the 2014-2023 period. Enacting this legislation would have a discretionary cost of $218 million over the 2014-2018 period, subject to the availability of appropriations.
For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.