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Department of Veterans Affairs Act

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Mr. Hughes, for himself, and Mr. King, Ms. Peterson, Ms. DuBois-Granger, Mr. Kahudu, Mr. Blackstone, Mr. Garvey, submits the following:

A Bill

To establish a Department of Veterans Affairs.

Section 1: Short Title:

A. This bill may be referred to as the ‘Department of Veterans Affairs Act.’

Section 2: Creation:

A. The Veterans Administration shall be re-designated as the ‘Department of Veterans Affairs,’ and established as a Cabinet-level position.

B. The newly designated Department of Veterans Affairs shall be led by the ‘Secretary of Veterans Affairs,’ who shall be appointed by the President of the United States of America and be confirmed in the office by the advice and consent of the United States Senate.

C. The office of ‘Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs’ is created, with appointment to the position following the same process as outlined in Section 2 (B). The Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall be tasked with assisting the Secretary of Veterans Affairs in the day-to-day administration of the department, as well as other roles proscribed either by the President of the United States or the United States Congress.

D. The office of ‘Chief Medical Director’ is created, with appointment to the position following the same process as outlined in Section 2 (B). The Chief Medical Director is to direct the Veterans Health Services and Research Administration.

E. The office of ‘Chief Business Director’ is created, with appointment to the position following the same process as outlined in Section 2 (B). The Chief Business Director is to direct the Veteran Benefits Administration.

F. The office of ‘Director of the National Cemetery System’ is created, with appointment to the position following the same process as outlined in Section 2 (B). The Director of the National Cemetery System is to direct the National Cemetery System.

G. Six Assistant Secretaries for the Department of Veterans Affairs shall be authorized, for the express purpose of administering the sub-bodies of the newly designated Department of Veterans Affairs, with their specific roles in the administration to be determined by the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, so long as at least one is designated as the Chief Financial Officer, one is designated as Chief Information Officer, and one is designated as Chief Legal Officer. Appointment to the position shall follow the same process as outlined in Section 2 (B), with their specific titles and roles to be established prior to nomination.

H. Eighteen Deputy Assistant Secretaries for the Department of Veterans Affairs shall be authorized, for the express purpose of assisting the Assistant Secretaries in the administration of departmental sub-bodies. Appointment to the position shall follow the same process as outlined in Section 2 (B), with their specific titles and roles to be established prior to nomination, and on the condition that at least 2/3 of those nominated have at least five years of service within the competitive civil service.

Section 3: Continuation:

A. Individuals currently employed by the Veterans Administration shall be retained in their positions.

B. The Inspector General of the Veterans Administration shall be carried into the Department of Veterans Affairs as Inspector General of the Department of Veterans Affairs, retaining the powers, authorities, and funding of that office through the transition process.

C. After the passage of this bill, all appropriations and regulations indicating the Veterans Administration shall be interpreted to mean ‘the Department of Veterans Affairs.’

D. All property and resources currently possessed by the Veterans Administration shall be transferred to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

E. All legal contracts, debts, and other legally binding agreements are rulings are to be continued by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Section 4: Transitional Efficiency:

A. Within six months of the passage of this bill, the newly appointed Secretary shall submit a report to the United States Congress informing them of the duties of the newly created Assistant and Deputy Assistant Secretaries, as well as any needed changes to federal law or regulation that would be necessary for the Department of Veterans Affairs to carry out its duties.

PES: Establishes a Department of Veterans Affairs.

 

 

48 Hours to Vote

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Passes by a vote of 353 Ayes, 81 Nays, 1 Not Voting

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Passes the Senate by a vote of 79-21.

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