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H.R. 2594 (ih) To provide grants to establish 25 demonstration mental health diversion courts. [Introduced in House] ...


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108th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 2593

 To provide veterans benefits to certain individuals who serve in the 
         United States merchant marine during a period of war.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                             June 24, 2003

    Mr. Radanovich (for himself, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen, and Ms. Harman) 
 introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on 
                           Veterans' Affairs

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
 To provide veterans benefits to certain individuals who serve in the 
         United States merchant marine during a period of war.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

     This Act may be cited as the ``Combat Merchant Mariners Veterans 
Benefits Act of 2003''.

SEC. 2. ELIGIBILITY FOR VETERANS BENEFITS.

    (a) In General.--Subject to subsection (b), the qualifying service 
of an individual in the United States merchant marine during a period 
of war for a total period equal to at least 12 months shall be 
considered to be active duty in determining the individual's 
eligibility for veterans benefits under all laws administered by the 
Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
    (b) Qualifying Service.--For purposes of this section, qualifying 
service is any of the following:
            (1) Ocean, coastal, or intercoastal voyages.--Service on a 
        vessel of the United States on ocean, coastwise, or 
        intercoastal voyages during a period of war in a combat zone of 
        such war if such service is rendered to the Armed Forces in a 
        capacity considered civilian employment or contractual service 
        at the time the service is performed.
            (2) Forcible detention or internment.--Any period of 
        forcible detention or internment by an enemy government or 
        hostile force as a result of hostile action against a vessel of 
        the United States while the individual was performing service 
        referred to in paragraph (1) on that vessel.
            (3) Other service.--Any period of service in the War 
        Shipping Administration, the United States Maritime Service, or 
        a maritime training program conducted or recognized by the 
        Armed Forces, except that not more than six months of such 
        service may be included in calculating the period of service 
        referred to in subsection (a).
    (c) Applicability of Minimum Active-Duty Service Requirements.--The 
minimum active-duty service requirement of any law administered by the 
Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall apply in determining an 
individual's eligibility for veterans benefits under this Act.

SEC. 3. WAIVER OF PERIOD OF SERVICE.

     The requirement of section 2(a) that the period of service 
referred to in that section be equal to at least 12 months shall not 
apply to an individual who is permanently disabled in the performance 
of the service referred to in such section while the vessel of the 
United States on which the individual is performing the service is 
subjected to hostile action.

SEC. 4. VERIFICATION OF SERVICE.

     The service referred to in section 2(a) may be verified by--
            (1) entries in a continuous discharge book;
            (2) a certificate of discharge to merchant seamen;
            (3) a certificate of substantially continuous service; or
            (4) any other documentation available from the Secretary of 
        Transportation or the head of any other Federal agency.

SEC. 5. DEFINITIONS.

     For purposes of this Act:
            (1) The term ``individual in the United States merchant 
        marine'' means any citizen or resident alien of the United 
        States serving as a civilian or civil service member of the 
        United States merchant marine.
            (2) The terms ``period of war'' and ``Armed Forces'' have 
        the meanings given those terms in section 101 of title 38, 
        United States Code.
            (3) The term ``combat zone'' means an area in which the 
        Armed Forces are engaged in combat, as determined by the 
        Secretary of Defense.
            (4) The term ``vessel of the United States'' has the 
        meaning given that term in section 2101(46) of title 46, United 
        States Code.

SEC. 6. APPLICABILITY AND PROHIBITION OF RETROACTIVE BENEFITS.

     Service referred to in section 2(a) that was performed before the 
date of the enactment of this Act shall be counted for purposes of this 
Act. An individual who performs such service before the date of the 
enactment of this Act may not be provided veterans benefits that accrue 
as a result of the enactment of this Act for any period before the date 
of the enactment of this Act.
                                 <all>

Pages: 1

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