[USC02] 38 USC PART I, CHAPTER 5, SUBCHAPTER I: GENERAL AUTHORITIES
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38 USC PART I, CHAPTER 5, SUBCHAPTER I: GENERAL AUTHORITIES
From Title 38—VETERANS' BENEFITSPART I—GENERAL PROVISIONSCHAPTER 5—AUTHORITY AND DUTIES OF THE SECRETARY

SUBCHAPTER I—GENERAL AUTHORITIES

§501. Rules and regulations

(a) The Secretary has authority to prescribe all rules and regulations which are necessary or appropriate to carry out the laws administered by the Department and are consistent with those laws, including—

(1) regulations with respect to the nature and extent of proof and evidence and the method of taking and furnishing them in order to establish the right to benefits under such laws;

(2) the forms of application by claimants under such laws;

(3) the methods of making investigations and medical examinations; and

(4) the manner and form of adjudications and awards.


(b) Any rule, regulation, guideline, or other published interpretation or order (and any amendment thereto) issued pursuant to the authority granted by this section or any other provision of this title shall contain citations to the particular section or sections of statutory law or other legal authority upon which such issuance is based. The citation to the authority shall appear immediately following each substantive provision of the issuance.

(c) In applying section 552(a)(1) of title 5 to the Department, the Secretary shall ensure that subparagraphs (C), (D), and (E) of that section are complied with, particularly with respect to opinions and interpretations of the General Counsel.

(d) The provisions of section 553 of title 5 shall apply, without regard to subsection (a)(2) of that section, to matters relating to loans, grants, or benefits under a law administered by the Secretary.

(Added Pub. L. 102–83, §2(a), Aug. 6, 1991, 105 Stat. 386.)

Prior Provisions

Prior section 501 was renumbered section 1501 of this title.

Provisions similar to those in this section were contained in sections 210(c)(1) and 223(a), (b) of this title prior to repeal by Pub. L. 102–83, §2(a).

§502. Judicial review of rules and regulations

An action of the Secretary to which section 552(a)(1) or 553 of title 5 (or both) refers is subject to judicial review. Such review shall be in accordance with chapter 7 of title 5 and may be sought only in the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. However, if such review is sought in connection with an appeal brought under the provisions of chapter 72 of this title, the provisions of that chapter shall apply rather than the provisions of chapter 7 of title 5.

(Added Pub. L. 102–83, §2(a), Aug. 6, 1991, 105 Stat. 386; amended Pub. L. 110–389, title I, §102, Oct. 10, 2008, 122 Stat. 4148.)

Prior Provisions

Prior section 502 was renumbered section 1502 of this title.

Provisions similar to those in this section were contained in section 223(c) of this title prior to repeal by Pub. L. 102–83, §2(a).

Amendments

2008Pub. L. 110–389 struck out "(other than an action relating to the adoption or revision of the schedule of ratings for disabilities adopted under section 1155 of this title)" after "refers".

§503. Administrative error; equitable relief

(a) If the Secretary determines that benefits administered by the Department have not been provided by reason of administrative error on the part of the Federal Government or any of its employees, the Secretary may provide such relief on account of such error as the Secretary determines equitable, including the payment of moneys to any person whom the Secretary determines is equitably entitled to such moneys.

(b) If the Secretary determines that a veteran, surviving spouse, child of a veteran, or other person has suffered loss as a consequence of reliance upon a determination by the Department of eligibility or entitlement to benefits, without knowledge that it was erroneously made, the Secretary may provide such relief on account of such error as the Secretary determines is equitable, including the payment of moneys to any person whom the Secretary determines is equitably entitled to such moneys.

(c) Not later than April 1 of each year, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report containing a statement as to the disposition of each case recommended to the Secretary for equitable relief under this section during the preceding calendar year. No report shall be required under this subsection after December 31, 2022.

(Added Pub. L. 102–83, §2(a), Aug. 6, 1991, 105 Stat. 386; amended Pub. L. 106–419, title IV, §403(c)(1), Nov. 1, 2000, 114 Stat. 1864; Pub. L. 109–233, title IV, §403, June 15, 2006, 120 Stat. 411; Pub. L. 111–275, title VIII, §808, Oct. 13, 2010, 124 Stat. 2893; Pub. L. 113–175, title IV, §403, Sept. 26, 2014, 128 Stat. 1905; Pub. L. 114–58, title IV, §404, Sept. 30, 2015, 129 Stat. 535; Pub. L. 114–228, title IV, §404, Sept. 29, 2016, 130 Stat. 940; Pub. L. 115–62, title IV, §404, Sept. 29, 2017, 131 Stat. 1164; Pub. L. 115–251, title I, §164, Sept. 29, 2018, 132 Stat. 3171; Pub. L. 116–159, div. E, title IV, §5402, Oct. 1, 2020, 134 Stat. 751.)

Prior Provisions

Prior sections 503 and 504 were renumbered sections 1503 and 1504 of this title, respectively.

Provisions similar to those in this section were contained in section 210(c)(2), (3) of this title prior to repeal by Pub. L. 102–83, §2(a).

Amendments

2020—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 116–159 substituted "December 31, 2022" for "December 31, 2020".

2018—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 115–251 substituted "December 31, 2020" for "December 31, 2018".

2017—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 115–62 substituted "December 31, 2018" for "December 31, 2017".

2016—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 114–228 substituted "December 31, 2017" for "December 31, 2016".

2015—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 114–58 substituted "December 31, 2016" for "December 31, 2015".

2014—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 113–175 substituted "December 31, 2015" for "December 31, 2014".

2010—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 111–275 substituted "December 31, 2014" for "December 31, 2009".

2006—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 109–233 substituted "December 31, 2009" for "December 31, 2004".

2000—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 106–419 inserted at end "No report shall be required under this subsection after December 31, 2004."

§505. Opinions of Attorney General

The Secretary may require the opinion of the Attorney General on any question of law arising in the administration of the Department.

(Added Pub. L. 102–83, §2(a), Aug. 6, 1991, 105 Stat. 387.)

Prior Provisions

Prior sections 505 to 508 were renumbered sections 1505 to 1508 of this title, respectively.

Provisions similar to those in this section were contained in section 211(b) of this title prior to repeal by Pub. L. 102–83, §2(a).

§510. Authority to reorganize offices

(a) Except to the extent inconsistent with law, the Secretary may—

(1) consolidate, eliminate, abolish, or redistribute the functions of the Administrations, offices, facilities, or activities in the Department;

(2) create new Administrations, offices, facilities, or activities in the Department; and

(3) fix the functions of any such Administration, office, facility, or activity and the duties and powers of their respective executive heads.


(b) The Secretary may not in any fiscal year implement an administrative reorganization described in subsection (c) unless the Secretary first submits to the appropriate committees of the Congress a report containing a detailed plan and justification for the administrative reorganization. No action to carry out such reorganization may be taken after the submission of such report until the end of a 45-day period following the date of the submission of the report, not less than 30 days of which shall be days during which Congress shall have been in continuous session. For purposes of the preceding sentence, continuity of a session of Congress is broken only by adjournment sine die, and there shall be excluded from the computation of any period of continuity of session any day during which either House of Congress is not in session during an adjournment of more than three days to a day certain.

(c) An administrative reorganization described in this subsection is an administrative reorganization of a covered field office or facility that involves a reduction during any fiscal year in the number of full-time equivalent employees with permanent duty stations at such office or facility—

(1) by 15 percent or more; or

(2) by a percent which, when added to the percent reduction made in the number of such employees with permanent duty stations at such office or facility during the preceding fiscal year, is 25 percent or more.


(d)(1) Not less than 30 days before the date on which the implementation of any administrative reorganization described in paragraph (2) of a unit in the Central Office is to begin, the Secretary shall transmit to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the House of Representatives a notification regarding the reorganization.

(2) Paragraph (1) applies to an administrative reorganization of any unit of the Central Office that is the duty station for 30 or more employees if the reorganization involves a reduction in any fiscal year in the number of full-time equivalent employees with permanent duty station in such unit by 50 percent or more.

(e) For purposes of this section, the term "administrative reorganization" does not include a consolidation or redistribution of functions at a covered field office or facility, or between components of the Veterans Benefits Administration and the Veterans Health Administration at a Department medical and regional office center, if after the consolidation or redistribution the same number of full-time equivalent employees continues to perform the affected functions at that field office, facility, or center.

(f) For purposes of this section:

(1) The term "covered field office or facility" means a Department office or facility outside the Central Office that is the permanent duty station for 25 or more employees or that is a free-standing outpatient clinic.

(2) The term "detailed plan and justification" means, with respect to an administrative reorganization, a written report that, at a minimum, includes the following:

(A) Specification of the number of employees by which each covered office or facility affected is to be reduced, the responsibilities of those employees, and the means by which the reduction is to be accomplished.

(B) Identification of any existing or planned office or facility at which the number of employees is to be increased and specification of the number and responsibilities of the additional employees at each such office or facility.

(C) A description of the changes in the functions carried out at any existing office or facility and the functions to be assigned to an office or facility not in existence on the date that the plan and justification are submitted pursuant to subsection (b).

(D) An explanation of the reasons for the determination that the reorganization is appropriate and advisable in terms of the statutory missions and long-term goals of the Department.

(E) A description of the effects that the reorganization may have on the provision of benefits and services to veterans and dependents of veterans (including the provision of benefits and services through offices and facilities of the Department not directly affected by the reorganization).

(F) Estimates of the costs of the reorganization and of the cost impact of the reorganization, together with analyses supporting those estimates.

(Added Pub. L. 102–83, §2(a), Aug. 6, 1991, 105 Stat. 387; amended Pub. L. 104–262, title III, §304, Oct. 9, 1996, 110 Stat. 3194.)

Prior Provisions

Prior section 510, Pub. L. 85–857, Sept. 2, 1958, 72 Stat. 1135, provided monthly pension for persons who served in military or naval forces of Confederate States of America, prior to repeal by Pub. L. 94–169, title I, §101(2)(F), Dec. 23, 1975, 89 Stat. 1014, effective Jan. 1, 1976.

Provisions similar to those in this section were contained in section 210(b)(1), (2) of this title prior to repeal by Pub. L. 102–83, §2(a).

Amendments

1996—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 104–262 substituted "a 45-day period following the date of the submission of the report, not less than 30 days of which shall be days during which Congress shall have been in continuous session" for "a 90-day period of continuous session of Congress following the date of the submission of the report" in second sentence and "any period of continuity of session" for "such 90-day period" in third sentence.

Authority of Secretary of Veterans Affairs To Carry Out Specified Administrative Reorganization

Pub. L. 102–54, §12, June 13, 1991, 105 Stat. 273, provided that:

"(a) Authority for Administrative Reorganization.—The Secretary of Veterans Affairs may carry out the administrative reorganization described in subsection (b) without regard to section 210(b)(2) of title 38 [38 U.S.C. 510(b)–(f)], United States Code.

"(b) Specified Reorganization.—Subsection (a) applies to the organizational realignment of management responsibility for the Department of Veterans Affairs Data Processing Centers, together with the corresponding organizational realignment of associated Information Resources Management operational components and functions within the Department of Veterans Affairs central office, as such realignment was described in the detailed plan and justification submitted by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs in [sic] January 4, 1991, letters to the Chairmen of the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the House of Representatives."

Inapplicability of Restrictions

Pub. L. 101–312, June 25, 1990, 104 Stat. 271, provided: "That (a) the Secretary of Veterans Affairs may proceed with the administrative reorganization described in subsection (b) of this Act without regard to section 210(b) [see 303, 510, 711] of title 38, United States Code.

"(b) The administrative reorganization referred to in subsection (a) is the reorganization of the regional field offices of the Veterans Health Services and Research Administration of the Department of Veterans Affairs as that reorganization and related activity are described in (1) letters dated January 22, 1990, and the detailed plan and justification enclosed therewith, submitted by the Secretary to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the House of Representatives pursuant to such section 210(b) [see 303, 510, 711], and (2) letters dated April 17, 1990, submitted in supplementation thereof by the Secretary to such Committees."

Section 15(b) of Pub. L. 100–527 provided that: "Section 210(b) [see 303, 510, 711] of title 38, United States Code (as amended by subsection (a)), shall not apply to a reorganization of a unit of the Central Office of the Department of Veterans' Affairs if the reorganization—

"(1) is necessary in order to carry out the provisions of or amendments made by this Act [see Tables for classification]; and

"(2) is initiated within 6 months after the effective date of this Act [Mar. 15, 1989]."

§511. Decisions of the Secretary; finality

(a) The Secretary shall decide all questions of law and fact necessary to a decision by the Secretary under a law that affects the provision of benefits by the Secretary to veterans or the dependents or survivors of veterans. Subject to subsection (b), the decision of the Secretary as to any such question shall be final and conclusive and may not be reviewed by any other official or by any court, whether by an action in the nature of mandamus or otherwise.

(b) The second sentence of subsection (a) does not apply to—

(1) matters subject to section 502 of this title;

(2) matters covered by sections 1975 and 1984 of this title;

(3) matters arising under chapter 37 of this title; and

(4) matters covered by chapter 72 of this title.

(Added Pub. L. 102–83, §2(a), Aug. 6, 1991, 105 Stat. 388.)

Prior Provisions

Prior section 511 was renumbered section 1511 of this title.

Provisions similar to those in this section were contained in section 211(a) of this title prior to repeal by Pub. L. 102–83, §2(a).

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

Writ of mandamus abolished in United States district courts, but relief available by appropriate action or motion, see rule 81, Title 28, Appendix, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure.

§512. Delegation of authority; assignment of functions and duties

(a) Except as otherwise provided by law, the Secretary may assign functions and duties, and delegate, or authorize successive redelegation of, authority to act and to render decisions, with respect to all laws administered by the Department, to such officers and employees as the Secretary may find necessary. Within the limitations of such delegations, redelegations, or assignments, all official acts and decisions of such officers and employees shall have the same force and effect as though performed or rendered by the Secretary.

(b) There shall be included on the technical and administrative staff of the Secretary such staff officers, experts, inspectors, and assistants (including legal assistants) as the Secretary may prescribe.

(Added Pub. L. 102–83, §2(a), Aug. 6, 1991, 105 Stat. 389.)

Prior Provisions

Prior section 512 was renumbered section 1512 of this title.

Provisions similar to those in this section were contained in section 212 of this title prior to repeal by Pub. L. 102–83, §2(a).

§513. Contracts and personal services

The Secretary may, for purposes of all laws administered by the Department, accept uncompensated services, and enter into contracts or agreements with private or public agencies or persons (including contracts for services of translators without regard to any other law), for such necessary services (including personal services) as the Secretary may consider practicable. The Secretary may also enter into contracts or agreements with private concerns or public agencies for the hiring of passenger motor vehicles or aircraft for official travel whenever, in the Secretary's judgment, such arrangements are in the interest of efficiency or economy.

(Added Pub. L. 102–83, §2(a), Aug. 6, 1991, 105 Stat. 389.)

Prior Provisions

Provisions similar to those in this section were contained in section 213 of this title prior to repeal by Pub. L. 102–83, §2(a).

§515. Administrative settlement of tort claims

(a)(1) Notwithstanding the limitations contained in section 2672 of title 28, the Secretary may settle a claim for money damages against the United States cognizable under section 1346(b) or 2672 of title 28 or section 7316 of this title to the extent the authority to do so is delegated to the Secretary by the Attorney General. Such delegation may not exceed the authority delegated by the Attorney General to United States attorneys to settle claims for money damages against the United States.

(2) For purposes of this subsection, the term "settle", with respect to a claim, means consider, ascertain, adjust, determine, and dispose of the claim, whether by full or partial allowance or by disallowance.

(b) The Secretary may pay tort claims, in the manner authorized in the first paragraph of section 2672 of title 28, when such claims arise in foreign countries in connection with Department operations abroad. A claim may not be allowed under this subsection unless it is presented in writing to the Secretary within two years after the claim accrues.

(Added Pub. L. 102–83, §2(a), Aug. 6, 1991, 105 Stat. 389.)

Prior Provisions

Provisions similar to those in this section were contained in sections 224 and 236 of this title prior to repeal by Pub. L. 102–83, §2(a).

§516. Equal employment responsibilities

(a) The Secretary shall provide that the employment discrimination complaint resolution system within the Department be established and administered so as to encourage timely and fair resolution of concerns and complaints. The Secretary shall take steps to ensure that the system is administered in an objective, fair, and effective manner and in a manner that is perceived by employees and other interested parties as being objective, fair, and effective.

(b) The Secretary shall provide—

(1) that employees responsible for counseling functions associated with employment discrimination and for receiving, investigating, and processing complaints of employment discrimination shall be supervised in those functions by, and report to, an Assistant Secretary or a Deputy Assistant Secretary for complaint resolution management; and

(2) that employees performing employment discrimination complaint resolution functions at a facility of the Department shall not be subject to the authority, direction, and control of the Director of the facility with respect to those functions.


(c) The Secretary shall ensure that all employees of the Department receive adequate education and training for the purposes of this section and section 319 of this title.

(d) The Secretary shall, when appropriate, impose disciplinary measures, as authorized by law, in the case of employees of the Department who engage in unlawful employment discrimination, including retaliation against an employee asserting rights under an equal employment opportunity law.

(e)(1)(A) Not later than 45 days after the end of each calendar quarter, the Assistant Secretary for Human Resources and Administration shall submit to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and House of Representatives a report summarizing the employment discrimination complaints filed against the individuals referred to in paragraph (2) during such quarter.

(B) Subparagraph (A) shall apply in the case of complaints filed against individuals on the basis of such individuals' personal conduct and shall not apply in the case of complaints filed solely on the basis of such individuals' positions as officials of the Department.

(2) Paragraph (1) applies to the following officers and employees of the Department:

(A) The Secretary.

(B) The Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

(C) The Under Secretary for Health and the Under Secretary for Benefits.

(D) Each Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs and each Deputy Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

(E) The Under Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Memorial Affairs.

(F) The General Counsel of the Department.

(G) The Chairman of the Board of Veterans' Appeals.

(H) The Chairman of the Board of Contract Appeals of the Department.

(I) The director and the chief of staff of each medical center of the Department.

(J) The director of each Veterans Integrated Services Network.

(K) The director of each regional office of the Department.

(L) Each program director of the Central Office of the Department.


(3) Each report under this subsection—

(A) may not disclose information which identifies the individuals filing, or the individuals who are the subject of, the complaints concerned or the facilities at which the discrimination identified in such complaints is alleged to have occurred;

(B) shall summarize such complaints by type and by equal employment opportunity field office area in which filed; and

(C) shall include copies of such complaints, with the information described in subparagraph (A) redacted.


(4) Not later than April 1 each year, the Assistant Secretary shall submit to the committees referred to in paragraph (1)(A) a report on the complaints covered by paragraph (1) during the preceding year, including the number of such complaints filed during that year and the status and resolution of the investigation of such complaints.

(f) The Secretary shall ensure that an employee of the Department who seeks counseling relating to employment discrimination may elect to receive such counseling from an employee of the Department who carries out equal employment opportunity counseling functions on a full-time basis rather than from an employee of the Department who carries out such functions on a part-time basis.

(g) The number of employees of the Department whose duties include equal employment opportunity counseling functions as well as other, unrelated functions may not exceed 40 full-time equivalent employees. Any such employee may be assigned equal employment opportunity counseling functions only at Department facilities in remote geographic locations (as determined by the Secretary). The Secretary may waive the limitation in the preceding sentence in specific cases.

(h) The provisions of this section shall be implemented in a manner consistent with procedures applicable under regulations prescribed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

(Added Pub. L. 105–114, title I, §101(a)(1), Nov. 21, 1997, 111 Stat. 2278; amended Pub. L. 105–368, title IV, §403(d)(2), Nov. 11, 1998, 112 Stat. 3339; Pub. L. 108–170, title IV, §405(a), Dec. 6, 2003, 117 Stat. 2063.)

Amendments

2003—Subsec. (e)(1)(A). Pub. L. 108–170 substituted "45 days" for "30 days".

1998—Subsec. (e)(2)(E). Pub. L. 105–368 substituted "Under Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Memorial Affairs" for "Director of the National Cemetery System".

Effective Date

Pub. L. 105–114, title I, §101(c), Nov. 21, 1997, 111 Stat. 2280, provided that: "Section 516 of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), shall take effect 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act [Nov. 21, 1997]. Subsection (e) of that section shall take effect with respect to the first quarter of calendar year 1998."

Reports on Implementation and Operation of Equal Employment Opportunity System

Pub. L. 105–114, title I, §101(b), Nov. 21, 1997, 111 Stat. 2279, required the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to submit to Congress reports on the implementation and operation of the equal employment opportunity system within the Department of Veterans Affairs setting forth detailed information for each equal employment opportunity field office of the Department, with the first report due not later than Apr. 1, 1998, and subsequent reports due not later than Jan. 1, 1999, and Jan. 1, 2000.

Assessment and Review of Employment Discrimination Complaint Resolution System

Pub. L. 105–114, title I, §103, Nov. 21, 1997, 111 Stat. 2281, provided that:

"(a) Agreement for Assessment and Review.—(1) The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall seek to enter into an agreement with a qualified private entity under which agreement the entity shall carry out the assessment described in subsection (b) and the review described in subsection (c).

"(2) The Secretary shall include in the agreement provisions necessary to ensure that the entity carries out its responsibilities under the agreement (including the exercise of its judgments concerning the assessment and review) in a manner free of influence from any source, including the officials and employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"(3) The Secretary may not enter into the agreement until 15 days after the date on which the Secretary notifies the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and House of Representatives of the entity with which the Secretary proposes to enter into the agreement.

"(b) Initial Assessment of System.—(1) Under the agreement under subsection (a), the entity shall conduct an assessment of the employment discrimination complaint resolution system administered within the Department of Veterans Affairs, including the extent to which the system meets the objectives set forth in section 516(a) of title 38, United States Code, as added by section 101. The assessment shall include a comprehensive description of the system as of the time of the assessment.

"(2) Under the agreement, the entity shall submit the assessment to the committees referred to in subsection (a)(3) and to the Secretary not later than June 1, 1998.

"(c) Review of Administration of System.—(1) Under the agreement under subsection (a), the entity shall monitor and review the administration by the Secretary of the employment discrimination complaint resolution system administered within the Department.

"(2) Under the agreement, the entity shall submit to the committees referred to in subsection (a)(3) and to the Secretary a report on the results of the review under paragraph (1) not later than June 1, 1999. The report shall include an assessment of the administration of the system, including the extent to which the system meets the objectives referred to in subsection (b)(1), and the effectiveness of the following:

"(A) Programs to train and maintain a cadre of individuals who are competent to investigate claims relating to employment discrimination.

"(B) Programs to train and maintain a cadre of individuals who are competent to provide counseling to individuals who submit such claims.

"(C) Programs to provide education and training to Department employees regarding their rights and obligations under the equal employment opportunity laws.

"(D) Programs to oversee the administration of the system.

"(E) Programs to evaluate the effectiveness of the system in meeting its objectives.

"(F) Other programs, procedures, or activities of the Department relating to the equal employment opportunity laws, including any alternative dispute resolution procedures and informal dispute resolution and settlement procedures.

"(G) Any disciplinary measures imposed by the Secretary on employees determined to have violated the equal employment opportunity laws in preventing or deterring violations of such laws by other employees of the Department."

§517. Quarterly reports to Congress on conferences sponsored by the Department

(a) Quarterly Reports Required.—Not later than 30 days after the end of each fiscal quarter, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the House of Representatives a report on covered conferences.

(b) Matters Included.—Each report under subsection (a) shall include the following:

(1) An accounting of the final costs to the Department of each covered conference occurring during the fiscal quarter preceding the date on which the report is submitted, including the costs related to—

(A) transportation and parking;

(B) per diem payments;

(C) lodging;

(D) rental of halls, auditoriums, or other spaces;

(E) rental of equipment;

(F) refreshments;

(G) entertainment;

(H) contractors; and

(I) brochures or other printed media.


(2) The total estimated costs to the Department for covered conferences occurring during the fiscal quarter in which the report is submitted.


(c) Covered Conference Defined.—In this section, the term "covered conference" means a conference, meeting, or other similar forum that is sponsored or co-sponsored by the Department and is—

(1) attended by 50 or more individuals, including one or more employees of the Department; or

(2) estimated to cost the Department at least $20,000.

(Added Pub. L. 112–154, title VII, §707(a), Aug. 6, 2012, 126 Stat.1206.)

Effective Date

Pub. L. 112–154, title VII, §707(c), Aug. 6, 2012, 126 Stat. 1207, provided that: "Section 517 of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), shall take effect on October 1, 2012, and shall apply with respect to the first quarter of fiscal year 2013 and each quarter thereafter."