H.R. 5404, Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2014

H.R. 5404

Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2014

Date
September 16, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, September 15, 2014, the House will consider H.R. 5404, the Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2014, under a suspension of the rules.  H.R. 5404 was introduced on September 8, 2014 by Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) and referred to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, which ordered the bill reported by voice vote.

Bill Summary

H.R. 5404 extends a number of expiring authorities relating to health care, homelessness, and benefits for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The following section-by-section summary was provided by the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs:

TITLE I—EXTENSIONS OF AUTHORITY RELATING TO HEALTH CARE

Sec.  101.  Extension of requirement to provide nursing home care to certain veterans with service-connected disabilities.
Sec 101.  Extends to December 31, 2015, the requirement to provide nursing home care to any veteran in need of such care due to a service connected disability or who is need of such care and has disability rating of 70% or greater.   

Sec.  102.  Extension of authority for pilot program on counseling in retreat set- tings for women veterans newly separated from service in the Armed Forces.
Sec 102.  Extends to December 31, 2015, the pilot program that provides reintegration and readjustment services in group retreat settings to women veterans who are recently separated from service in the Armed Forces after a prolonged deployment.  Authorizes the appropriation of $2M for FY 2015

Sec.  103.  Extension of authority for pilot program on pilot program on assistance for childcare for certain veterans receiving health care.
Sec 103.  Extends to December 31, 2015, the pilot program that provides assistance to qualified veterans, who serve as the primary caretaker of a child or children, to obtain child care so that such veterans can receive regular or intensive mental health care or other intensive health care services that would not be possible without this assistance.  Authorizes appropriation for 2015. 

Sec.  104.  Extension of authority to make grants to veterans service organizations for transportation of highly rural veterans.
Sec 104.  Extends the authorization to appropriate $3M for fiscal year 2015 in order to provide grants to Veteran Service Organizations and state veteran service agencies who can provide innovative transportation options to veterans in highly rural areas.

Sec.  105.  Extension of requirement for report on activities of Department of Defense-Department of Veterans Affairs Interagency Program Office.
Sec 105.  Requires through 2015, a report on the activities of the interagency program office of the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs during the preceding calendar year. The report will include a detailed description of the amounts expended and the purposes for which expended, as well as an assessment of the progress made in the full implementation of electronic health record systems.

Sec.  106.  Extension of authority for the performance of medical disabilities examinations by contract physicians.
Sec.  106 extends the VA’s authority to contract physicians to perform medical disabilities examinations to December 31, 2015

Sec. 107.  Extension of authority for collection of copayments for hospital care and nursing home care.
Sec. 107 would extend the authority for VA to collect $10 copayments for every day a veteran receives hospital care and $5 copayments for every day a veteran receives nursing home care from September 30, 2014, to September 30, 2015.

Sec. 108.  Extension of authority for recovery from third parties of cost of care and services furnished to veterans with health-plan contractsfor non-service-connected disability.
Sec. 108 would extend the authority for VA to recover/collect from a third party reasonable charges for non-service-connected care or services for a veteran with a service-connected disability who is entitled to care (or payment of the expenses of care) under a health-plan contract from October 1, 2014, to October 1, 2015.

TITLE II—EXTENSIONS OF AUTHORITY RELATING TO HOMELESSNESS

Sec.  201.  Extension of current funding level for comprehensive service programs for homeless veterans.
Sec 201.  Changes the amount of appropriations authorized through FY2015 for comprehensive service programs for homeless veterans to $250M.

Sec.  202.  Extension of authority for homeless veterans reintegration programs.
Sec 202.  Extends the authorization to appropriate $50M through 2015; funds shall remain available until expended and may be expended in that fiscal year or the succeeding fiscal year.  These funds are available to the Secretary of Labor for training and services that expedite the reintegration of homeless veterans into the labor force. 

Sec.  203.  Extension of authority to provide referral and counseling services for certain veterans at risk of homelessness.
Sec 203.  Extends through FY2015 the authority of the Secretaries of Labor and Veterans Affairs to contract for referral and counseling services for veterans at risk of homelessness who are transitioning from certain institutions.  Authorizes the Secretary to make grants rather than enter into contracts to carry out the referrals and counselling services required.  

Sec.  204.  Extension of authority for treatment and rehabilitation services for seriously mentally ill and homeless veterans.
Sec 204.  Extends to September 30, 2015, the authority for the Secretary to provide to veterans suffering severe mental illness, to include those who are homeless, outreach services, rehabilitative services in VA or community treatment facilities, and to provide therapeutic transitional housing in conjunction with work therapy.  Also extends the program to provide comprehensive benefits services at sites in at least 20 metropolitan statistical areas. 

Sec.  205.  Extension of authority to provide housing assistance for homeless veterans.
Sec 205.  Extends to September 30, 2015, authority for the Secretary to enter into agreements with nonprofit organizations to provide housing assistance. 

Sec.  206.  Extension of authority to provide financial assistance for supportive services for very low-income veteran families in permanent housing.
Sec 206. Extends through FY2015 the availability of funds for financial assistance for supportive services for very low-income veteran families in permanent housing.

Sec.  207.  Extension of authority for grant program for homeless veterans with special needs.
Sec 207.  Extends through FY2105 the grant program for homeless veterans with special needs. Special needs include women (to include those with minor children), frail elderly, terminally ill, and chronically mentally ill. 

Sec.  208.  Extension of authority for the Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans.
Sec 208.  Extends the authority for the Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans to December 31, 2015. 

TITLE III—EXTENSIONS OF AUTHORITY RELATING TO BENEFITS

Sec.  301.  Extension of authority for the Veterans’ Advisory Commission on Education.
Section 301: Would extend the authority for the Veterans Advisory Committee on Education until December 31, 2015. This advisory committee provides recommendations to the Secretary regarding education benefits and processes.

Sec.  302.  Extension of authority for calculating net value of real property at time of foreclosure.
Section 302: Would extend the authority for the Secretary to calculate net value of real property at time of foreclosure until October 1, 2015.

Sec.  303.  Extension of authority relating to vendee loans.
Section 303: Would extend the authority for the Secretary to make VENDEE Loans until September 20, 2015

TITLE IV—OTHER EXTENSIONS OF AUTHORITY

Sec.  401.  Extension of authority to transport certain individuals to and from Department of Veterans Affairs facilities.
Sec. 401 extends the authority to transport any person to or from a Department facility or other place in connection with vocational rehabilitation, counseling required in conjunction with educational assistance, or for the purpose of examination, treatment, or care.

Sec.  402.  Extension of authority for operation of the Department of Veterans Affairs regional office in Manila, the Republic of the Philippines.
Sec.  402 extends the VA’s authority to operate the Regional Office in Manila, Philippines through September 30, 2015

Sec.  403.  Extension of requirement to provide reports to Congress regarding equitable relief in the case of administrative error.

Sec.  404.  Extension of authority for Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans

Sec.  405.  Extension of authority for temporary expansion of eligibility for specially adapted housing assistance for certain veterans with disabilities causing difficulty ambulating.
Section 405: Would extend the temporary expansion for specially adaptive housing assistance to Post 9/11 veterans who have lost or lost use of one or more of their legs. This authority is capped at 30 veterans per year.

Sec. 406. Restoration of Prior Reporting Fee Multipliers.
Section 406: Would decrease the amount of reporting fees paid by VA to GI Bill eligible schools for each trainee. This reduced fee will be in place for one year after enactment.

Sec.  407.  Extension of authority for agreement with National Academy of Sciences.
Sec. 407 extends the sunset to December 31, 2015 the agreement with the National Academy of Sciences, to review, evaluate, and report on the available scientific evidence regarding associations between diseases and exposure to dioxin and other chemical compounds in herbicides.

 Sec. 408.  Health Professionals education debt reduction.
Sec. 408 allows the VA to make loan payments directly to the holders of such loans resulting in efficiencies as well as purportedly increasing the recruiting effectiveness of the program.

 Sec. 409.  Amendments to Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014.
Sec 409 makes technical changes to the act.  Of note:  1) recognizing that some appointments may be created outside of the wait-time goal window and should be made not just reported on an electronic list; 2) clarifying language inserted to facilitate provider agreements; 3) waiver of General Printing Office requirements  in the creation of the Choice  Card;  4) supports joint implementation of performance metrics under the IHS/VA MOU; and 5) provides more explicit authority exempting VA from acquisition law in extending the ARCH pilot program.

Cost

A CBO cost estimate is currently unavailable.

Additional Views

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