H.R. 2072, the Demanding Accountability for Veterans Act of 2014

H.R. 2072

Demanding Accountability for Veterans Act of 2014

Date
June 9, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Monday, June 9, 2014, the House will consider H.R. 2072, the Demanding Accountability for Veterans Act of 2014, under suspension of the rules.  H.R. 2072 was introduced on May 21, 2013 by Rep. Dan Benishek (R-MI) and was referred to the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.  The bill was marked up on August 1, 2013 and was ordered reported, as amended, by voice vote.[1]

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[1] Committee Report 113-245.

Bill Summary

H.R. 2072 amends federal law to increase the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) accountability to the VA Inspector General (IG).  Specifically, if the IG determines that the VA has not appropriately responded to an IG report, the IG must notify Congress and the Secretary of the failure to respond.  Within 15 days of the notification, the Secretary must submit to the IG a list of the managers responsible for the issues covered in the report, and their specific areas of responsibility.  The Secretary must notify each responsible manager, direct them to resolve such issues, and provide appropriate counseling to enable them to resolve the issues.  H.R. 2072 prohibits the Secretary from paying any bonus or award if the issues identified by the IG are not resolved.

H.R. 2072 authorizes the Secretary, for a three-year period beginning October 1, 2014, to transfer a veteran for whom the Secretary is required to provide nursing home care to a non-VA medical foster home at the veteran’s request.

H.R. 2072 requires recipients under VA’s Homeless Grant and Per Diem Program to annually certify compliance with all relevant fire, safety, and building codes.

H.R. 2072 extends through October 1, 2018 the current rates of funding fees required to be paid when a servicemember or veteran uses their VA loan guaranty benefit.  The fee varies, and is calculated based on the individual’s status, the size of the down payment provided, and the loan origination date.  The current rates have been in effect since 2009 and are set to be reduced on October 1, 2017.[1]

H.R. 2072 extends through May 31, 2017 the Secretary’s authority to continue obtaining income verification from the Secretary of the Treasury for veterans applying for VA benefits.  The authority is currently set to expire on September 30, 2016.

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[1] According to the Committee, “This section is designed as an offset for future costs of Section 4 of this bill, as scored by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).”

Background

The VA Office of the Inspector General (IG) “conducts independent oversight reviews and investigations designed to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of VA programs and monitor the health care provided to veterans.  The Office of Management and Budget requires the IG to follow up and report on the status of IG recommendations and requires VA to acknowledge that it is taking action to correct agency deficiencies as indicated by the IG investigatory recommendations.”[1]  As of March 2013, 194 reports and more than 1,000 recommendations remained open at the VA—42 of which had remained open for more than a year.  “The Veterans Health Administration has the largest number of open reports with 139 and the largest number of open recommendations with 823 which were not yet implemented by the Administration.”[2]  As patient safety concerns continue to emerge at VA medical facilities across the country, H.R. 2072 begins to address these issues by requiring increased accountability within the VA.

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[1] Committee Report 113-245 at 6.
[2] Id.

Cost

According to CBO estimates, implementing H.R. 2072 will result in a mandatory cost savings of $175 million over the 2015-2019 period and $182 million over the 2015-2024 period, and a discretionary cost of $312 million over the 2015-2019 period.

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.