H.R. 5985, Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2016

H.R. 5985

Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2016

Date
September 13, 2016 (114th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
John Huston

Floor Situation

On­­­­ Tuesday, September 13, 2016, the House will consider H.R.5985, Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2016, under suspension of the rules. H.R. 5985 was introduced on September 6, 2016, by Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) and was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and in addition, to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

Bill Summary

H.R. 5985 extends the expiring authority for several programs within the VA System. Specifically, the bill includes:

  • one-year extension of authority for nursing home care for veterans with service-connected disabilities;
  • authorization of appropriation of $734 million for fiscal year 2017 for assistance and support services for caregivers (an increase of $109 million from fiscal year 2016)
  • one-year extension of authority for a pilot program providing child care to certain veterans,
  • one-year extension of authority for various VA pilot programs;
  • one-year extension of authority for the Veterans Advisory Committee on Education
  • one-year extension of authority for several Homeless Veterans programs, including a one-year extension for supportive services for very low income veteran families in permanent housing for $320 million for each of the fiscal years 2015 through 2017 (a $20 million increase);
  • one-year extension of authority for other various VA programs.
  • provisions that allow certain state licensed nurse anesthetists to practice without the supervision of a physician; and
  • provisions that allow the VA Secretary to continue to provide educational benefits to veterans who are enrolled in institutions that are no longer recognized by the Secretary of Education for up to 18 months after the institution loses its accreditation.

Background

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides a range of benefits and services to veterans who meet certain eligibility rules; these benefits include medical care, disability compensation and pensions, education, vocational rehabilitation and employment services, assistance to homeless veterans, home loan guarantees, administration of life insurance as well as traumatic injury protection insurance for servicemembers, and death benefits that cover burial expenses.[1]

The VA carries out its programs nationwide through three administrations and the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA). The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) is responsible for, among other things, providing compensation, pensions, and education assistance. The National Cemetery Administration (NCA) is responsible for maintaining national veterans’ cemeteries; providing grants to states for establishing, expanding, or improving state veterans’ cemeteries; and providing headstones and markers for the graves of eligible persons, among other things. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is responsible for health care services and medical and prosthetic research programs. The VHA is primarily a direct service provider of primary care, specialized care, and related medical and social support services to veterans through the nation’s largest integrated health care system. Inpatient and outpatient care are also provided in the private sector to eligible dependents of veterans under the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA).[2] H.R. 5985 provides for a one-year extension for a number of expiring programs within the VA that provide healthcare services to veterans.

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[1] See CRS Report, “Department of Veterans Affairs FY2016 Appropriations: In Brief,” February 24, 2016.
[2] Id.

Cost

A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimate is currently not available.

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact John Huston with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 6-5539.