H.R. 5620 - VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act of 2016

Bill Text

    Text of H.R. 5620 PDF XML

    VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act of 2016 (as introduced)
            ::  Section-by-Section of H.R. 5620, as provided by the Committee on Veterans' Affairs  PDF

Rule Information

REPORTED BY RECORD VOTE of 7-3 on Monday, September 12, 2016.

Agreed by record vote of 241-169, after agreeing to the previous question by record vote of 237-170, on Tuesday, September 13, 2016. 


1. Structured rule.

2. Provides one hour of general debate equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

3. Waives all points of order against consideration of the bill.

4. Provides that the bill shall be considered as read.

5. Waives all points of order against provisions in the bill.

6. Makes in order only those amendments printed in the Rules Committee report. Each such amendment may be offered only in the order printed in the report, may be offered only by a Member designated in the report, shall be considered as read, shall be debatable for the time specified in the report equally divided and controlled by the proponent and an opponent, shall not be subject to amendment, and shall not be subject to a demand for division of the question.

7. Waives all points of order against the amendments printed in the report.

8. Provides one motion to recommit with or without instructions.

Amendments (click headers to sort)

#Version #Sponsor(s)PartySummaryStatus
78Version 1Adams (NC)DemocratLate Establishes a small business start-up tax credit for veterans.Submitted
42Version 1Aguilar (CA)DemocratLate Requires that the VA furnish a requested record within 30 days of the request being received. If the VA is not capable of furnishing the request within the 30 day timeframe, the VA is required to inform the individual, explain the reason for the delay, and provide an estimate for when the record request will be fulfilled.Submitted
20Version 1Beatty, (OH)DemocratLate Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to conduct a three-year pilot program to assess the feasibility and advisability of awarding grants to veterans service agencies, veterans service organizations, and nongovernmental tax-exempt organizations with experience assisting veterans or the homeless to provide veterans who are receiving specified VA homeless benefits with furniture, household items, and other assistance to facilitate their settlement into permanent housing.Submitted
26Version 1Beatty, (OH)DemocratLate Allows the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to enter into partnerships with public and private entities to provide legal services to homeless veterans and veterans at risk of homelessness.Submitted
59Version 2Butterfield (NC), Jones (NC)Bi-PartisanLate Revised Expands the types of documentation accepted by the federal government when a very small group of mariners that operated tugboats and barges domestically during World War II apply for veterans’ status. Qualifying Merchant Mariners, who can prove service through expanded acceptable documentation, would receive only burial benefits and the honor of being recognized by their country for their sacrifice and service. The amendment does not provide for health coverage, disability payments, or payouts of any kind to Merchant Mariners who served during World War II. Submitted
70Version 1C?rdenas , Tony (CA)DemocratLate Creates a non-monetary award for businesses that have demonstrated exemplary practices in hiring Veterans. Submitted
43Version 1Cartwright (PA)DemocratLate Authorizes the Department of Veterans Affairs to appoint a psychiatrist who completes a residency at a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) facility to a VHA health care position immediately after such residency, without regard to civil service or classification laws, if the psychiatrist meets the qualifications established in regulations prescribed for the position, and the position has been unfilled for at least 35 days.Made In Order
44Version 1Cartwright (PA)DemocratLate Directs the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to carry out a joint program under which an eligible person who has lawfully obtained a covered controlled substance may deliver it for disposal at a facility to be specified by DOD and DOJ.Submitted
45Version 1Cartwright (PA)DemocratLate Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to award grants to eligible institutions to establish a master's or doctoral degree program in orthotics and prosthetics, or expand upon an existing master's degree program in such area. Submitted
46Version 1Cartwright (PA)DemocratLate Makes any veteran who served on active duty in a theater of combat operations during specified conflicts eligible for hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care for any mental illness through the Department of Veterans Affairs, notwithstanding insufficient medical evidence to conclude that the mental illness is attributable to such service.Submitted
35Version 1Cicilline (RI)DemocratLate Ensures that servicemembers are not forced into arbitration by an employer if their job is eliminated due to active duty service, and ensures their right to appeal in court.Submitted
38Version 1Cohen (TN)DemocratLate Reauthorizes the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program, extends the authority of the VA Sec. to provide rehabilitation and vocational benefits, reauthorizes veterans’ training/mentoring/placement programs, creates a unified web-based employment portal for veterans, directs the Sec. of Homeland Security and the Attorney General to award grants to hire veterans as first responders, gives favorable consideration for federal contracts at or above $25 million to contractors w/ a workforce consisting of least 5 percent veterans, and strengthens the Attorney General’s and the Office of Special Counsel’s abilities to protect and enforce USERRA rights.Submitted
64Version 1Connolly (VA)DemocratLate Authorizes the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) to reissue benefits to veterans who are victims of fiduciary misuse.Submitted
48Version 1Delaney (MD), Gibson (NY), Jones (NC), Connolly (VA)Bi-PartisanLate Expedites FMLA medical leave eligibility for veterans who need treatment for service-connected disabilitieSubmitted
24Version 1DeLauro (CT)DemocratLate Withdrawn Authorizes the VA to cover costs for a veteran who demonstrates need and has at least a 70 percent service-connected disability to stay in a residential care facility and require that facility and VA enter into an agreement in order to make sure the facilities are adequate to serve the needs of veterans.Withdrawn
19Version 1DelBene (WA)DemocratLate Modernizes membership of the Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans (ACMV) to ensure it addresses the needs of all minority veterans.Submitted
80Version 2Duffy (WI)RepublicanLate Revised Allows the VA to also use hearing aid specialists, who are more available, and are qualified to fit, program, adjust, and repair hearing aids. Made In Order
27Version 1Esty (CT)DemocratLate Expands the Department of Veterans Affairs Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers to veterans of all service eras. The program currently limits eligibility to post-9/11 veterans only.Submitted
37Version 1Foster (IL)DemocratLate Makes wards and foster children eligible to receive their parent’s GI Education benefits.Submitted
3Version 1Frankel (FL)DemocratLate Provides the sense of the Congress honoring American veterans disabled for life and encouraging Americans to do so each years.Made In Order
41Version 1Frankel (FL), Bilirakis (FL)Bi-PartisanLate Reauthorizes and improves a grant program to assist institutions of higher education in establishing, maintaining, improving, and operating Veteran Student Centers.Submitted
75Version 1Gallego (AZ)DemocratLate Establishes positions of Directors of Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISN) in the VA’s Office of Undersecretary for Health Made In Order
28Version 1Grayson (FL)DemocratLate Extends the Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance for five years.Submitted
79Version 1Hahn (CA), Duncan (TN), Stefanik (NY)Bi-PartisanLate Authorizes a one-time payment of approximately $5,000 to the eligible remaining World War II Merchant Mariners. The WWII Merchant Mariners, who risked their lives for the service of this nation, did not achieve full veteran status until 1988, meaning they did not receive medical care through the VA and other G.I. benefits for decades.Submitted
58Version 1Hastings, Alcee (FL)DemocratLate Excludes reimbursements for medical expenses from the VA’s calculation of annual income when determining pension eligibility for veterans.Submitted
56Version 1Higgins (NY)DemocratLate Withdrawn Authorizes continued funding for critical child care for veterans seeking medical treatment at VA hospitals. Withdrawn
29Version 1Hinojosa (TX)DemocratLate Ensures the South Texas Veterans Affairs Health Care Center in Harlingen, Texas includes a full-service inpatient facility.Submitted
40Version 1Israel (NY), Rooney (FL)Bi-PartisanLate Establishes a pilot program to provide grants to VSO’s to purchase and renovate abandoned homes in order to provide housing for homeless veterans. Submitted
55Version 1Keating (MA), Rothfus (PA)Bi-PartisanLate Directs healthcare providers with VA affiliation to take continuing education courses specific to pain management, opioids, and substance abuse.Made In Order
31Version 1Kennedy (MA)DemocratLate Increases monthly rates for veterans' dependency and indemnity compensation payable to surviving spouses through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).Submitted
66Version 1Kildee (MI), Moulton (MA)DemocratLate Mandates that the DoD and VA work together to develop a methodology to better prevent service member and veteran suicide based on deployment and specific unit history.Submitted
77Version 1Kildee (MI)DemocratLate Allows for a veteran attending a post-secondary school that closes before the completion of their degree to maintain their GI Bill housing allowance for the greater of the end of a semester or 120 days.Submitted
62Version 1Kilmer (WA)DemocratLate Revised Establishes the Office of Management and Accountability Ombudsman within the Veterans Health Administration to investigate and report on problems of management, administration, and the delivery of care. Submitted
63Version 1Kilmer (WA)DemocratLate Establishes the Veterans’ Bill of Rights that outlines the minimum rights of those eligible to receive or currently receiving healthcare services from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Submitted
9Version 1Kirkpatrick (AZ)DemocratLate Replaces Section 8 with Sections 101-104 from S. 2921 to create the VA Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection. Made In Order
10Version 1Kuster, Ann (NH)DemocratLate Replaces Section 7 with S. 2921 Section 113, which contains an improved process to expedite the removal or demotion of a member of the Senior Executive Service. Made In Order
21Version 2Kuster, Ann (NH), Heck (NV), O'Rourke (TX)Bi-PartisanLate Revised Establishes a VA pilot program that provides educational assistance for Physician Assistants who agree to be employed by the VHA in a region designated as a medically underserved population.Submitted
22Version 1Kuster, Ann (NH)DemocratLate Establishes a VA pilot program that improves pain management to Veterans suffering from opioid addiction and chronic pain; requires the VA to assess its ability to treat opioid dependency; and, requires increased access to opioid overdose reversal medication at VA facilities. Submitted
81Version 1Lance (NJ)RepublicanLate Requires a V.A. Regional Office carry out claim adjudication within 125 days with 98% accuracy. Regional Offices must submit a three step report every time it fails to meet its 125 day goal with explanation, reasoning and solutions for improvement. It will also contain a description of additional resources necessary for the office to reach its goals, from staffing to policy changes, and an action plan to enable the office to meet its goal. Made In Order
72Version 1Langevin (RI)DemocratLate Expands the eligibility for, participation in, and services provided under the VA Family Caregiver Program.Submitted
73Version 1Langevin (RI)DemocratLate Provides an $8,000 tax credit for veterans to purchase their first home, and an additional $8,000 tax credit for adaptive housing modifications.Submitted
39Version 1Lieu (CA)DemocratLate Authorizes the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to carry out enhanced-use leases at the VA's West Los Angeles Campus in Los Angeles, California, to principally benefit Veterans. The VA shall ensure that each lease carried is consistent with the draft master plan approved by the VA on January 28, 2016, or successor master plans.Submitted
30Version 1Lowenthal (CA)DemocratLate Requires the Secretary of Veterans Affairs or a designee to review covered whistleblower complaints quarterly.Made In Order
74Version 1Lujan (NM)DemocratLate Directs the VA to produce a report on the number of part-time active duty military physicians in VA health facilities, the hiring process for part-time active duty military physicians, the hiring process for part-time civilian physicians in, and the steps the VA is taking to recruit active duty military physicians for part-time employment in VA health facilities. Made In Order
1Version 1Lujan Grisham (NM)DemocratAdds Members of Congress to the reporting requirements. Made In Order
2Version 1Lujan Grisham (NM)DemocratEstablishes the Office of the Ombudsman within the Department of Veterans Affairs. Submitted
25Version 1Lujan Grisham (NM)DemocratLate Removes the arbitrary cap on the number of veterans eligible to participate in the Independent Living Program.Submitted
60Version 1Maloney, Sean (NY)DemocratLate Extends the Department of Veterans Affairs authority for the performance of medical disability evaluations by contract physicians by one year.Made In Order
61Version 2Maloney, Sean (NY), Hanna (NY)Bi-PartisanLate Revised Allows memorial headstone or grave markers to be made available for purchase by Guard or Reserve members who served for at least six years, at no cost to the government. Clarifies that this does not allow for any new veteran benefits, and does not authorize any new burial benefit or create any new authority for an individual to be buried in a national cemetery.Submitted
57Version 1Meng (NY)DemocratLate Allows the VA to treat veterans who participated in the cleanup of Enewetak Atoll as radiation exposed for the purpose of presuming a service-connected disability. Submitted
33Version 1Miller, Jeff (FL)RepublicanMANAGER’S AMENDMENT Late Makes technical and conforming changes to the bill and aligns the due process procedures for the recoupment provisions of the bill.Made In Order
36Version 1Newhouse (WA)RepublicanLate Applies the statutory requirements of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) to emergency care furnished by the VA to enrolled veterans. Requires every enrolled veteran who arrives at the emergency department of a VA medical facility, and indicates an emergency condition exists, be assessed and treated in an effort to prevent further injury or death.Made In Order
4Version 1O'Rourke (TX)DemocratLate Requires that the VA provide DoD with a monthly report of average appointment wait times and disability claims processing timelines, and requires DoD to post the report in all career counselor offices.Submitted
5Version 1O'Rourke (TX), Stefanik (NY)Bi-PartisanLate Provides the VA with the authority to offer physicians conditional job offers two years earlier and increases the VA’s recruiting outreach efforts to academic affiliate institutions.Made In Order
6Version 1O'Rourke (TX)DemocratLate Provides the VA with the authority to share a patient’s electronic health record with VA community-based providers, while maintaining HIPPA protections.Made In Order
7Version 1O'Rourke (TX)DemocratLate Expands the eligibility criteria of the Choice Program to include Veterans whose VA primary care physician has departed their VA medical center without immediate backfill.Submitted
8Version 1O'Rourke (TX)DemocratLate Withdrawn Expands the Choice Program to include providers that have opted out of Medicare, given that they meet the Medicare quality standards.Withdrawn
13Version 1O'Rourke (TX)DemocratLate Allows newly separated veterans to retain medications prescribed while receiving treatment furnished by the Department of Defense, even if those medications are not included in the joint uniform formulary.Submitted
14Version 1O'Rourke (TX)DemocratLate Allows newly separated veterans to retain mental health care providers furnished by the Department of Defense if treated for mental health conditions while on active duty. Submitted
16Version 1O'Rourke (TX)DemocratLate Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to conduct annual surveys of veterans on experiences obtaining hospital care and medical services from medical facilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs.Made In Order
34Version 1Pingree (ME)DemocratLate Adds a section to the bill that would allow individuals with service-connected disabilities who transfer to reserve components before discharge from the Armed Forces to be eligible for full post 9/11 educational assistance.Submitted
17Version 1Rice, Kathleen (NY)DemocratLate Allows the VA to give preference to companies that hire veterans when awarding contracts.Submitted
76Version 1Rice (SC)RepublicanLate Withdrawn Requires the top VA officials to receive their health care from VA. Withdrawn
18Version 1Schrader (OR)DemocratLate Provides for the care of those exposed to environmental hazards at the Atsugi Naval Air Facility.Submitted
71Version 1Schweikert (AZ)RepublicanLate Requires that the VA use distributive ledger technology when scheduling healthcare appointments to ensure transparency and accountability 1 year after enactment.Made In Order
15Version 1Speier (CA)DemocratLate Prohibits for-profit universities from counting GI Bill and Department of Defense educational program funds towards their required 10-percent non-federal sources of revenue.Submitted
32Version 1Speier (CA)DemocratLate Enables veterans waiting for a VA determination to apply for SNAP benefits as “disabled.”Submitted
11Version 1Takano (CA), Larson, John (CT)DemocratLate Replaces Section 3 of H.R. 5620 with Section 121 from S. 2921, the Veterans First Act, which contains improved due process protections for VA employees fired or demoted under the new expedited authority. Submitted
12Version 1Takano (CA)DemocratLate Replaces Section 3 with a new provision allowing the Secretary to suspend without pay any VA employee whose performance or misconduct threatens public health or safety, including the health and safety of veterans; and may remove a suspended employee after such investigation and review as the Secretary considers necessary, if the Secretary determines removal is in the interests of public health and safety. Made In Order
47Version 1Takano (CA), Brooks, Susan (IN)Bi-PartisanLate Restores GI Bill entitlement upon the sudden closure of a GI Bill-eligible school for the semester of the closure, and continues housing allowance payments through the semester to keep student veterans from becoming homeless while they decide on their next steps.Submitted
65Version 1Takano (CA)DemocratSUBSTITUTE Late Strikes the bill and replaces it with a provisions to create real and sustainable accountability at the VA, provide more veterans with timely access to high-quality care, modernize the disability claims appeals process, and address veteran homelessness by strengthening employment, education, training, and housing resources.Submitted
23Version 2Tonko (NY)DemocratLate Revised Requires the Secretary of the Army to send notification to individuals who were stationed at Fort McClellan, Alabama that they may have been exposed to toxic contaminants. This notification would include a survey developed by the ATSDR to voluntarily request health data that may be useful in further scientific studies to determine the potentially adverse health impacts of exposure to toxic contaminants at Fort McClellan.Submitted
49Version 1Walz (MN)DemocratLate Requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to accept, for purposes of establishing a claim for veterans disability benefits, a report of a medical examination administered by a private physician without requiring confirmation by a Veterans Health Administration physician if the report is sufficiently complete.Submitted
50Version 1Walz (MN)DemocratLate Enables any person who is entitled to retired pay for nonregular (reserve) service or who, but for age, would be so entitled to be honored as a veteran. A person shall not be entitled to any benefit by reason of such recognition.Made In Order
51Version 1Walz (MN)DemocratLate Extends for two years the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) presumption of service connection for diseases associated with exposure to certain herbicides, including Agent Orange, with respect to veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975.Submitted
52Version 2Walz (MN)DemocratLate Revised Allows the Secretary of the VA to furnish rehabilitative equipment to Veterans entitled to prosthetic appliances, and modify non-rehabilitative equipment owned by the Veteran to meet that purpose, if the Veteran elects. Rehabilitative equipment includes recreational sports equipment that provides an adaption or accommodation for the Veteran.Made In Order
53Version 1Walz (MN), Titus (NV)DemocratLate Strikes sections 2 through 8 and section 10.Made In Order
54Version 1Walz (MN), Gibson (NY), Stefanik (NY), Valadao (CA)Bi-PartisanLate Includes as part of the Republic of Vietnam its territorial seas for purposes of the presumption of service connection for diseases associated with exposure by veterans to certain herbicide agents while in Vietnam.Submitted
67Version 1Walz (MN), Takano (CA)DemocratLate Allows the Department of Veterans Affairs to continue to pay educational and subsistence allowances if a veteran is forced to discontinue a course as a result of a permanent school closure or changes to Title 38 that make courses of study ineligible to continue receiving funds for educational benefits. It also gives the Secretary the authority to allow veterans in these situations to continue their course of study if it is determined on a case-by-case basis that it is in the best interest of the individual.Submitted
68Version 1Walz (MN)DemocratLate Adjusts benefits that National Guard and Reserve component Service Members receive when activated under Section 12304b of Title 10 to bring those benefits in line with those received under other federal authorities. This includes TRICARE, transitional health, retirement, and Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits.Submitted
69Version 1Walz (MN)DemocratLate Adjusts Post 9/11 GI Bill educational assistance benefits that National Guard and Reserve component Service Members receive when activated under Section 12304b of Title 10 to bring those benefits in line with those received under other federal authorities. Also, this amendment allows veterans who have eligibility remaining under the Reserve Educational Assistance Program, which was sun-setted in last year’s National Defense Authorization Act, to transition eligibility to chapter 33 of Title 38 (Post 9/11 educational assistance.)Submitted