Home > 106th Congressional Bills > S. 1402 (es) To amend title 38, United States Code, to enhance programs providing education benefits for veterans, and for other purposes. [Engrossed in Senate] ...

S. 1402 (es) To amend title 38, United States Code, to enhance programs providing education benefits for veterans, and for other purposes. [Engrossed in Senate] ...


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        S.1402

                       One Hundred Sixth Congress

                                 of the

                        United States of America


                          AT THE SECOND SESSION

           Begun and held at the City of Washington on Monday,
             the twenty-fourth day of January, two thousand


                                 An Act


 
    To amend title 38, United States Code, to increase the rates of 
    educational assistance under the Montgomery GI Bill, to improve 
procedures for the adjustment of rates of pay for nurses employed by the 
 Department of Veterans Affairs, to make other improvements in veterans 
  educational assistance, health care, and benefits programs, and for 
                             other purposes.

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

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

    (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Veterans Benefits 
and Health Care Improvement Act of 2000''.
    (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act is as 
follows:
Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. References to title 38, United States Code.

               TITLE I--EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE PROVISIONS

          Subtitle A--Montgomery GI Bill Educational Assistance

Sec. 101. Increase in rates of basic educational assistance under 
          Montgomery GI Bill.
Sec. 102. Uniform requirement for high school diploma or equivalency 
          before application for Montgomery GI Bill benefits.
Sec. 103. Repeal of requirement for initial obligated period of active 
          duty as condition of eligibility for Montgomery GI Bill 
          benefits.
Sec. 104. Additional opportunity for certain VEAP participants to enroll 
          in basic educational assistance under Montgomery GI Bill.
Sec. 105. Increased active duty educational assistance benefit for 
          contributing members.

      Subtitle B--Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance

Sec. 111. Increase in rates of survivors' and dependents' educational 
          assistance.
Sec. 112. Election of certain recipients of commencement of period of 
          eligibility for survivors' and dependents' educational 
          assistance.
Sec. 113. Adjusted effective date for award of survivors' and 
          dependents' educational assistance.
Sec. 114. Availability under survivors' and dependents' educational 
          assistance of preparatory courses for college and graduate 
          school entrance exams.

               Subtitle C--General Educational Assistance

Sec. 121. Revision of educational assistance interval payment 
          requirements.
Sec. 122. Availability of education benefits for payment for licensing 
          or certification tests.
Sec. 123. Increase for fiscal years 2001 and 2002 in aggregate annual 
          amount available for State approving agencies for 
          administrative expenses.

                       TITLE II--HEALTH PROVISIONS

                      Subtitle A--Personnel Matters

Sec. 201. Annual national pay comparability adjustment for nurses 
          employed by Department of Veterans Affairs.
Sec. 202. Special pay for dentists.
Sec. 203. Exemption for pharmacists from ceiling on special salary 
          rates.
Sec. 204. Temporary full-time appointments of certain medical personnel.
Sec. 205. Qualifications of social workers.
Sec. 206. Physician assistant adviser to Under Secretary for Health.
Sec. 207. Extension of voluntary separation incentive payments.

                   Subtitle B--Military Service Issues

Sec. 211. Findings and sense of Congress concerning use of military 
          histories of veterans in Department of Veterans Affairs health 
          care.
Sec. 212. Study of post-traumatic stress disorder in Vietnam veterans.

                   Subtitle C--Medical Administration

Sec. 221. Department of Veterans Affairs Fisher Houses.
Sec. 222. Exception to recapture rule.
Sec. 223. Sense of Congress concerning cooperation between the 
          Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense 
          in the procurement of medical items.
Sec. 224. Technical and conforming changes.

                 Subtitle D--Construction Authorization

Sec. 231. Authorization of major medical facility projects.
Sec. 232. Authorization of appropriations.

                    Subtitle E--Real Property Matters

Sec. 241. Change to enhanced use lease congressional notification 
          period.
Sec. 242. Release of reversionary interest of the United States in 
          certain real property previously conveyed to the State of 
          Tennessee.
Sec. 243. Demolition, environmental cleanup, and reversion of Department 
          of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Allen Park, Michigan.
Sec. 244. Conveyance of certain property at the Carl Vinson Department 
          of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Dublin, Georgia.
Sec. 245. Land conveyance, Miles City Department of Veterans Affairs 
          Medical Center complex, Miles City, Montana.
Sec. 246. Conveyance of Fort Lyon Department of Veterans Affairs Medical 
          Center, Colorado, to the State of Colorado.
Sec. 247. Effect of closure of Fort Lyon Department of Veterans Affairs 
          Medical Center on administration of health care for veterans.

 TITLE III--COMPENSATION, INSURANCE, HOUSING, EMPLOYMENT, AND MEMORIAL 
                           AFFAIRS PROVISIONS

                Subtitle A--Compensation Program Changes

Sec. 301. Strokes and heart attacks incurred or aggravated by members of 
          reserve components in the performance of duty while performing 
          inactive duty training to be considered to be service-
          connected.
Sec. 302. Special monthly compensation for women veterans who lose a 
          breast as a result of a service-connected disability.
Sec. 303. Benefits for persons disabled by participation in compensated 
          work therapy program.
Sec. 304. Revision to limitation on payments of benefits to incompetent 
          institutionalized veterans.
Sec. 305. Review of dose reconstruction program of the Defense Threat 
          Reduction Agency.

                   Subtitle B--Life Insurance Matters

Sec. 311. Premiums for term Service Disabled Veterans' Insurance for 
          veterans older than age 70.
Sec. 312. Increase in automatic maximum coverage under Servicemembers' 
          Group Life Insurance and Veterans' Group Life Insurance.
Sec. 313. Eligibility of certain members of the Individual Ready Reserve 
          for Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance.

               Subtitle C--Housing and Employment Programs

Sec. 321. Elimination of reduction in assistance for specially adapted 
          housing for disabled veterans for veterans having joint 
          ownership of housing units.
Sec. 322. Veterans employment emphasis under Federal contracts for 
          recently separated veterans.
Sec. 323. Employers required to grant leave of absence for employees to 
          participate in honor guards for funerals of veterans.

               Subtitle D--Cemeteries and Memorial Affairs

Sec. 331. Eligibility for interment of certain Filipino veterans of 
          World War II in national cemeteries.
Sec. 332. Payment rate of certain burial benefits for certain Filipino 
          veterans of World War II.
Sec. 333. Plot allowance for burial in State veterans cemeteries.

                         TITLE IV--OTHER MATTERS

Sec. 401. Benefits for the children of women Vietnam veterans who suffer 
          from certain birth defects.
Sec. 402. Extension of certain expiring authorities.
Sec. 403. Preservation of certain reporting requirements.
Sec. 404. Technical amendments.

SEC. 2. REFERENCES TO TITLE 38, UNITED STATES CODE.

    Except as otherwise expressly provided, whenever in this Act an 
amendment or repeal is expressed in terms of an amendment to, or repeal 
of, a section or other provision, the reference shall be considered to 
be made to a section or other provision of title 38, United States 
Code.

               TITLE I--EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE PROVISIONS
         Subtitle A--Montgomery GI Bill Educational Assistance

    SEC. 101. INCREASE IN RATES OF BASIC EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE UNDER 
      MONTGOMERY GI BILL.
    (a) Active Duty Educational Assistance.--Section 3015 is amended--
        (1) in subsection (a)(1), by striking ``$528'' and inserting 
    ``$650''; and
        (2) in subsection (b)(1), by striking ``$429'' and inserting 
    ``$528''.
    (b) Effective Date.--The amendments made by subsection (a) shall 
take effect on November 1, 2000, and shall apply with respect to 
educational assistance allowances paid under chapter 30 of title 38, 
United States Code, for months after October 2000.
    SEC. 102. UNIFORM REQUIREMENT FOR HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA OR 
      EQUIVALENCY BEFORE APPLICATION FOR MONTGOMERY GI BILL BENEFITS.
    (a) Active Duty Program.--(1) Section 3011 is amended--
        (A) in subsection (a), by striking paragraph (2) and inserting 
    the following new paragraph (2):
        ``(2) who completes the requirements of a secondary school 
    diploma (or equivalency certificate), or successfully completes (or 
    otherwise receives academic credit for) the equivalent of 12 
    semester hours in a program of education leading to a standard 
    college degree, before applying for benefits under this section; 
    and''; and
        (B) by striking subsection (e).
    (2) Section 3017(a)(1)(A)(ii) is amended by striking ``clause 
(2)(A)'' and inserting ``clause (2)''.
    (b) Selected Reserve Program.--Section 3012 is amended--
        (1) in subsection (a), by striking paragraph (2) and inserting 
    the following new paragraph (2):
        ``(2) who completes the requirements of a secondary school 
    diploma (or equivalency certificate), or successfully completes (or 
    otherwise receives academic credit for) the equivalent of 12 
    semester hours in a program of education leading to a standard 
    college degree, before applying for benefits under this section; 
    and''; and
        (2) by striking subsection (f).
    (c) Withdrawal of Election Not To Enroll.--Paragraph (4) of section 
3018(b) is amended to read as follows:
        ``(4) before applying for benefits under this section--
            ``(A) completes the requirements of a secondary school 
        diploma (or equivalency certificate); or
            ``(B) successfully completes (or otherwise receives 
        academic credit for) the equivalent of 12 semester hours in a 
        program of education leading to a standard college degree; 
        and''.
    (d) Educational Assistance Program for Members of Selected 
Reserve.--Paragraph (2) of section 16132(a) of title 10, United States 
Code, is amended to read as follows:
        ``(2) before applying for benefits under this section, has 
    completed the requirements of a secondary school diploma (or an 
    equivalency certificate);''.
    (e) Delimiting Period.--(1) In the case of an individual described 
in paragraph (2), with respect to the time limitation under section 
3031 of title 38, United States Code, for use of eligibility and 
entitlement of basic educational assistance under chapter 30 of such 
title, the 10-year period applicable under such section shall begin on 
the later of--
        (A) the date of the enactment of this Act; or
        (B) the date of the individual's last discharge or release from 
    active duty.
    (2) An individual referred to in paragraph (1) is an individual 
who--
        (A) before the date of the enactment of this Act, was not 
    eligible for such basic educational assistance by reason of the 
    requirement of a secondary school diploma (or equivalency 
    certificate) as a condition of eligibility for such assistance as 
    in effect on the date preceding the date of the enactment of this 
    Act; and
        (B) becomes entitled to basic educational assistance under 
    section 3011(a)(2), 3012(a)(2), or 3018(b)(4) of title 38, United 
    States Code, by reason of the amendments made by this section.
    SEC. 103. REPEAL OF REQUIREMENT FOR INITIAL OBLIGATED PERIOD OF 
      ACTIVE DUTY AS CONDITION OF ELIGIBILITY FOR MONTGOMERY GI BILL 
      BENEFITS.
    (a) Active Duty Program.--Section 3011 is amended--
        (1) in subsection (a)(1)(A)--
            (A) by striking clause (i) and inserting the following new 
        clause (i):
                ``(i) who serves an obligated period of active duty of 
            at least two years of continuous active duty in the Armed 
            Forces; or''; and
            (B) in clause (ii)(II), by striking ``in the case of an 
        individual who completed not less than 20 months'' and all that 
        follows through ``was at least three years'' and inserting 
        ``if, in the case of an individual with an obligated period of 
        service of two years, the individual completes not less than 20 
        months of continuous active duty under that period of obligated 
        service, or, in the case of an individual with an obligated 
        period of service of at least three years, the individual 
        completes not less than 30 months of continuous active duty 
        under that period of obligated service'';
        (2) in subsection (d)(1), by striking ``individual's initial 
    obligated period of active duty'' and inserting ``obligated period 
    of active duty on which an individual's entitlement to assistance 
    under this section is based'';
        (3) in subsection (h)(2)(A), by striking ``during an initial 
    period of active duty,'' and inserting ``during the obligated 
    period of active duty on which entitlement to assistance under this 
    section is based,''; and
        (4) in subsection (i), by striking ``initial''.
    (b) Selected Reserve Program.--Section 3012 is amended--
        (1) in subsection (a)(1)(A)(i), by striking ``, as the 
    individual's'' and all that follows through ``Armed Forces'' and 
    inserting ``an obligated period of active duty of at least two 
    years of continuous active duty in the Armed Forces''; and
        (2) in subsection (e)(1), by striking ``initial''.

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