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VETERANS' DISABILITY BENEFITS COMMISSION

Pub. L. 108-136, div. A, title XV, Nov. 24, 2003, 117 Stat. 1676,

provided that:

"SEC. 1501. ESTABLISHMENT OF COMMISSION.

"(a) Establishment of Commission. - There is hereby established a

commission to be known as the Veterans' Disability Benefits

Commission (hereinafter in this title referred to as the

'commission').

"(:mellow: Membership. - (1) The commission shall be composed of 13

members, appointed as follows:

"(A) Two members appointed by the Speaker of the House of

Representatives, at least one of whom shall be a veteran who was

awarded a decoration specified in paragraph (2).

"(B) Two members appointed by the minority leader of the House

of Representatives, at least one of whom shall be a veteran who

was awarded a decoration specified in paragraph (2).

"© Two members appointed by the majority leader of the

Senate, at least one of whom shall be a veteran who was awarded a

decoration specified in paragraph (2).

"(D) Two members appointed by the minority leader of the

Senate, at least one of whom shall be a veteran who was awarded a

decoration specified in paragraph (2).

"(E) Five members appointed by the President, at least three of

whom shall be veterans who were awarded a decoration specified in

paragraph (2).

"(2) A decoration specified in this paragraph is any of the

following:

"(A) The Medal of Honor.

"(:( The Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross, or the

Air Force Cross.

"© The Silver Star.

"(3) A vacancy in the Commission shall be filled in the manner in

which the original appointment was made.

"(4) The appointment of members of the commission under this

subsection shall be made not later than 60 days after the date of

the enactment of this Act [Nov. 24, 2003].

"© Period of Appointment. - Members of the commission shall be

appointed for the life of the commission. A vacancy in the

commission shall not affect its powers.

"(d) Initial Meeting. - The commission shall hold its first

meeting not later than 30 days after the date on which a majority

of the members of the commission have been appointed.

"(e) Meetings. - The commission shall meet at the call of the

chairman.

"(f) Quorum. - A majority of the members of the commission shall

constitute a quorum, but a lesser number may hold hearings.

"(g) Chairman. - The President shall designate a member of the

commission to be chairman of the commission.

"SEC. 1502. DUTIES OF THE COMMISSION.

"(a) Study. - The commission shall carry out a study of the

benefits under the laws of the United States that are provided to

compensate and assist veterans and their survivors for disabilities

and deaths attributable to military service.

"(B) Scope of Study. - In carrying out the study, the commission

shall examine and make recommendations concerning the following:

"(1) The appropriateness of such benefits under the laws in

effect on the date of the enactment of this Act [Nov. 24, 2003].

"(2) The appropriateness of the level of such benefits.

"(3) The appropriate standard or standards for determining

whether a disability or death of a veteran should be compensated.

"© Contents of Study. - The study to be carried out by the

commission under this section shall be a comprehensive evaluation

and assessment of the benefits provided under the laws of the

United States to compensate veterans and their survivors for

disability or death attributable to military service, together with

any related issues that the commission determines are relevant to

the purposes of the study. The study shall include an evaluation

and assessment of the following:

"(1) The laws and regulations which determine eligibility for

disability and death benefits, and other assistance for veterans

and their survivors.

"(2) The rates of such compensation, including the

appropriateness of a schedule for rating disabilities based on

average impairment of earning capacity.

"(3) Comparable disability benefits provided to individuals by

the Federal Government, State governments, and the private

sector.

"(d) Consultation With Institute of Medicine. - In carrying out

the study under this section, the commission shall consult with the

Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences with

respect to the medical aspects of contemporary disability

compensation policies.

"SEC. 1503. REPORT.

"Not later than 15 months after the date on which the commission

first meets, the commission shall submit to the President and

Congress a report on the study. The report shall include the

following:

"(1) The findings and conclusions of the commission, including

its findings and conclusions with respect to the matters referred

to in section 1502©.

"(2) The recommendations of the commission for revising the

benefits provided by the United States to veterans and their

survivors for disability and death attributable to military

service.

"(3) Other information and recommendations with respect to such

benefits as the commission considers appropriate.

"SEC. 1504. POWERS OF THE COMMISSION.

"(a) Hearings. - The commission may hold such hearings, sit and

act at such times and places, take such testimony, and receive such

evidence as the commission considers advisable to carry out the

purposes of this title.

"(B) Information From Federal Agencies. - In addition to the

information referred to in section 1502©, the commission may

secure directly from any Federal department or agency such

information as the commission considers necessary to carry out the

provisions of this title. Upon request of the chairman of the

commission, the head of such department or agency shall furnish

such information to the commission.

"© Postal Services. - The commission may use the United States

mails in the same manner and under the same conditions as other

departments and agencies of the Federal Government.

"(d) Gifts. - The commission may accept, use, and dispose of

gifts or donations of services or property.

"SEC. 1505. PERSONNEL MATTERS.

"(a) Compensation of Members. - Each member of the commission who

is not an officer or employee of the United States shall be

compensated at a rate equal to the daily equivalent of the annual

rate of basic pay prescribed for level IV of the Executive Schedule

under section 5315 of title 5, United States Code, for each day

(including travel time) during which the member is engaged in the

performance of the duties of the commission. All members of the

commission who are officers or employees of the United States shall

serve without compensation in addition to that received for their

services as officers or employees of the United States.

"(B) Travel Expenses. - The members of the commission shall be

allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence,

at rates authorized for employees of agencies under subchapter I of

chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code, while away from their

homes or regular places of business in the performance of services

for the commission.

"© Staff. - (1) The chairman of the commission may, without

regard to the civil service laws and regulations, appoint an

executive director and such other personnel as may be necessary to

enable the commission to perform its duties. The appointment of an

executive director shall be subject to approval by the commission.

"(2) The chairman of the commission may fix the compensation of

the executive director and other personnel without regard to the

provisions of chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of title

5, United States Code, relating to classification of positions and

General Schedule pay rates, except that the rate of pay for the

executive director and other personnel may not exceed the rate

payable for level V of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of

such title.

"(d) Detail of Government Employees. - Upon request of the

chairman of the commission, the head of any Federal department or

agency may detail, on a nonreimbursable basis, any personnel of

that department or agency to the commission to assist it in

carrying out its duties.

"(e) Procurement of Temporary and Intermittent Services. - The

chairman of the commission may procure temporary and intermittent

services under section 3109(B) of title 5, United States Code, at

rates for individuals which do not exceed the daily equivalent of

the annual rate of basic pay prescribed for level V of the

Executive Schedule under section 5316 of such title.

"SEC. 1506. TERMINATION OF COMMISSION.

"The commission shall terminate 60 days after the date on which

the commission submits its report under section 1503.

"SEC. 1507. FUNDING.

"(a) In General. - The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall, upon

the request of the chairman of the commission, make available to

the commission such amounts as the commission may require to carry

out its duties under this title.

"(B) Availability. - Any sums made available to the commission

under subsection (a) shall remain available, without fiscal year

limitation, until the termination of the commission."

mssoup1

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