October 24, 2012
As ordered reported by the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs on September 12, 2012
S. 3322 would delay foreclosures on mortgages of certain military servicemembers, retirees, and surviving spouses of servicemembers who die on active duty. Because some of those mortgages are guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), implementing the bill would increase both direct spending and spending subject to appropriation. CBO estimates that enacting the bill would increase direct spending by $16 million over the 2013-2022 period, and that implementing the bill would increase discretionary costs by $1 million over the 2013-2017 period, assuming availability of the necessary amounts. The bill would increase revenues by an insignificant amount as a result of civil penalties that would be imposed for violating certain mortgage protections.
Pay-as-you-go procedures apply because enacting the legislation would affect direct spending and revenues.
The bill would impose intergovernmental and private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) by adding and expanding protections for servicemembers under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). CBO estimates that the cost to comply with most of the mandates would be small. However, one mandate would invalidate standing agreements that require employees and employers to participate in mandatory arbitration to resolve USERRA disputes. Because little information exists about the number of USERRA claims settled under binding arbitration and the amount of compensation awarded under those agreements, CBO cannot determine the aggregate cost to public and private entities to comply with that mandate. Consequently, we cannot determine whether the aggregate costs of mandates in the bill would exceed the annual thresholds for intergovernmental or private-sector mandates ($73 million and
$146 million, respectively, adjusted annually for inflation).