Loan Guaranty-Specially Adapted Housing Assistive Technology Grant Program, 53146-53151 [2014-21138]

Download as PDF 53146 Proposed Rules Federal Register Vol. 79, No. 173 Monday, September 8, 2014 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE 28 CFR Part 36 [CRT Docket No. 126; AG Order No. 3462– 2014] RIN 1190–AA63 Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations—Movie Theaters; Movie Captioning and Audio Description Civil Rights Division, Department of Justice. ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking; extension of comment period. AGENCY: On August 1, 2014, the Department of Justice published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register in order to propose amendments to its Americans with Disabilities Act title III regulation to require the provision of closed movie captioning and audio description to give persons with hearing and vision disabilities access to movies. The comment period is scheduled to close on September 30, 2014. The Department of Justice is extending the comment period until December 1, 2014 in order to provide additional time for the public to prepare comments. DATES: For the proposed rule published on August 1, 2014 (79 FR 44976), the comment period is extended. All comments must be received by December 1, 2014. ADDRESSES: Submit electronic comments and other data identified by RIN 1190–AA63, by any one of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Web site at http://www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=DOJ-CRT-2014-0004. Follow the Web site’s instructions for submitting comments. • Regular U.S. mail: Disability Rights Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice, P.O. Box 2885, Fairfax, VA 22031–0885. • Overnight, courier, or hand delivery: Disability Rights Section, Civil rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:09 Sep 05, 2014 Jkt 232001 Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice, 1425 New York Avenue NW., Suite 4039, Washington, DC 20005. Dated: September 2, 2014. Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General. Zita Johnson-Betts, Deputy Section Chief, Disability Rights Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice, at (202) 307–0663 (voice or TTY). This is not a toll-free number. Information may also be obtained from the Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514–0301 (voice) or (800) 514–0383 (TTY). You may obtain copies of this document in alternative formats by calling the ADA Information Line at (800) 514–0301 (voice) and (800) 514– 0383 (TTY). This notice is also available on the Department’s Web site at http:// www.ada.gov. [FR Doc. 2014–21285 Filed 9–5–14; 8:45 am] FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Extension of Comment Period The Department of Justice published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register on August 1, 2014, proposing amendments to its Americans with Disabilities Act title III regulation to require the provision of closed movie captioning and audio description in order to give persons with hearing and vision disabilities access to movies. The NPRM asked 21 multi-part questions, seeking public comment on a wide range of issues related to the proposed requirements, as well as the Department’s analysis of the costs and benefits of the proposed rule. Following publication of the NPRM, the Department received a request to extend the deadline for public comment by an additional 60 days, citing the number and complexity of the data requests on a broad range of topics and the resulting need for additional time in order to provide an informed response to the Department’s questions. The Department has decided to grant an extension of the comment period until December 1, 2014. The Department believes this extension provides ample time to allow interested parties to provide comments on this proposed rule. Comments on the NPRM may be provided by December 1, 2014 online at http://www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=DOJ-CRT-2014-0004 or by mail at P.O. Box 2885, Fairfax, VA 22031–0885. PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 BILLING CODE 4410–13–P DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS 38 CFR Part 36 RIN 2900–AO70 Loan Guaranty—Specially Adapted Housing Assistive Technology Grant Program Department of Veterans Affairs. Proposed rule. AGENCY: ACTION: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is proposing to implement through regulation statutory authority to provide grants for the development of new assistive technologies for use in specially adapted housing for eligible veterans or servicemembers, as authorized by the Veterans’ Benefits Act of 2010 (the Act), enacted on October 13, 2010. The Act authorizes VA to provide grants of up to $200,000 per fiscal year to persons or entities to encourage the development of specially adapted housing assistive technologies. VA is amending its regulations to outline the process, the criteria, and the priorities relating to the award of these research and development grants. DATES: Comments must be received by VA on or before November 7, 2014. ADDRESSES: Written comments may be submitted through http:// www.Regulations.gov; by mail or handdelivery to: Director, Regulation Policy and Management (02REG), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue NW., Room 1068, Washington, DC 20420; or by fax to (202) 273–9026. Comments should indicate that they are submitted in response to ‘‘RIN 2900– AO70-Loan Guaranty—Specially Adapted Housing Assistive Technology Grant Program.’’ Copies of comments received will be available for public inspection in the Office of Regulation Policy and Management, Room 1068, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday (except holidays). Please call (202) 461–4923 for an appointment (this is not a toll-free number). In addition, during the comment period, comments may be SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\08SEP1.SGM 08SEP1 rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 173 / Monday, September 8, 2014 / Proposed Rules viewed online through the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) at http://www.Regulations.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John Bell III, Assistant Director for Loan Policy and Valuation (262), Veterans Benefits Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20420, (202) 632– 8786. (This is not a toll-free number.) SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Public Law 111–275, the Veterans’ Benefits Act of 2010 (the Act), was enacted on October 13, 2010. Section 203 of the Act amended chapter 21, title 38, United States Code, to establish the Specially Adapted Housing Assistive Technology Grant Program. Veterans’ Benefits Act of 2010, Public Law 111–275, § 203, 124 Stat. 2874 (2010). The Act authorizes VA to provide grants of up to $200,000 per fiscal year, through September 30, 2016, to a ‘‘person or entity’’ for the development of specially adapted housing assistive technologies and limits to $1 million the aggregate amount of such grants VA may award in any fiscal year. Id. VA is publishing these proposed regulations to outline the process, the criteria, and the priorities relating to the award of these research and development grants. The Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant Program is administered by the Loan Guaranty Service (LGY) of the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA). Through the SAH program, LGY provides grants to servicemembers and veterans with certain service-connected disabilities to help purchase or construct an adapted home, or modify an existing home to allow them to live more independently. Currently, most SAH adaptations involve structural modifications such as ramps, wider halls and doorways, and lower countertops. Pursuant to the authority established by the Act, VA is proposing to amend its regulations to implement a new grant program to encourage the development of specially adapted housing assistive technologies. As proposed, § 36.4412(a)(1) and (2) would state that the Secretary will make grants for the development of new assistive technologies for specially adapted housing and that a person or entity may apply for such grants. Proposed § 36.4412(a)(3) would also require that the new grant program be administered in a manner as consistent as possible with part 200 of title 2 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Part 200 is where the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued regulatory guidance to Federal agencies that provide grant awards to non-Federal VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:09 Sep 05, 2014 Jkt 232001 entities, that is, to States, local governments, Indian tribes, institutions of higher education, or non-profit organizations that carry out a Federal award as recipient or subrecipient. See 2 CFR 200.69. The part broadly outlines pre-award requirements on agencies and applicants, as well as post-award requirements related to financial and program management, property standards, procurement standards, reports and records, and standards on termination and enforcement. The part also sets forth after-the-award requirements related to closeout, subsequent adjustments, continuing responsibilities, and collections of amounts due. Since the new program would also be open to individuals and private entities, some of the applicants will not meet the definition of non-Federal entity or recipient, as defined under part 200, and certain provisions of part 200 may not be applicable to all applicants in this technology grant program. Where the Secretary determines a provision is not applicable or where the Secretary determines that additional requirements are necessary due to the uniqueness of a situation, the Secretary would apply the same standard applicable to exceptions under 2 CFR 200.102. Although part 200 does not define the term exception, § 200.102 is clear that an exception can relax an existing requirement or make additional, more restrictive requirements on a participant. Section 200.102 requires that if an exception is more restrictive on a certain class of participants than that which is otherwise provided in part 200, VA must receive approval from OMB. If an exception is less restrictive than what is provided in part 200, § 200.102 authorizes VA to grant the exception on a case-by-case basis. It is impossible to anticipate every way in which the Secretary can or should exercise oversight authority. The purpose of this provision is to ensure that a loophole in a regulation does not unduly hinder the Secretary’s ability to protect the public interest or prevent private individuals or organizations from participating because of technicalities related to oversight. The regulation would also include proposed paragraph (b) covering the definitions applicable to the SAH technology grant. The definitions found at 38 CFR 36.4401 would be incorporated by reference. New definitions for ‘‘technology grant applicant’’ and ‘‘new assistive technology’’ would be added, but they would not be relevant to the types of SAH grants that are provided directly to PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 53147 veterans. They would solely be limited to the SAH technology grant. The new definitions would provide who may apply for an SAH technology grant and the type of product that would have to be developed using SAH technology grant funds. House Report 111–109 stated that the ‘‘research and development community is diverse, ranging from single-person inventors to large corporations and academic institutions.’’ H.R. Rep. No. 111–109, at 3 (2009). Accordingly, for the purpose of determining who may apply to this grant program, VA would define ‘‘technology grant applicant’’ to include a person or entity that applies for a grant pursuant to 38 U.S.C. 2108 and 38 CFR 36.4412 to develop new assistive technology or technologies for specially adapted housing. House Report 111–109 also explained that there are many emerging technologies that could improve home adaptions or otherwise enhance a veteran or servicemember’s ability to live independently, such as voice-recognition and voice-command operations, living environment controls, and adaptive feeding equipment. Id. Therefore, VA is proposing to define ‘‘new assistive technology’’ as an advancement that the Secretary determines could aid or enhance the ability of an eligible individual, as defined in 38 CFR 36.4401, to live in an adapted home. Proposed paragraph (c) would provide that, as funds are made available for the program, VA would publish in the Federal Register a Notice of Funds Availability (NoFA), soliciting applications for the grant program and information on applications. Upon publication of a NoFA, a technology grant applicant seeking a grant under this section would submit an application to the Secretary via www.Grants.gov, as required under proposed paragraph (d). Applications would include: (1) Standard Form 424 (Application for Federal Assistance) with the box labeled ‘‘application’’ marked; (2) a certification that the applicant has not been debarred or suspended and is eligible to participate in the VA grant process and receive Federal funds; (3) statements addressing the scoring criteria; and (4) any additional information as deemed appropriate by VA. Under proposed paragraph (e), the NoFA would set forth the full and specific procedural requirements for assistive technology grant applicants, such as whether the grant cycle would be limited to applications submitted during a particular timeframe or if applications would be accepted on a rolling basis. E:\FR\FM\08SEP1.SGM 08SEP1 rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 53148 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 173 / Monday, September 8, 2014 / Proposed Rules Under proposed paragraph (f), the Secretary would establish the specific scoring criteria used to evaluate all technology grant applications received by VA. The scoring criteria and the maximum amount of points available are as follows: (i) A description of how the new assistive technology is innovative (up to 50 points); (ii) An explanation of how the new assistive technology will meet a specific, unmet need among eligible individuals (up to 50 points); (iii) An explanation of how the new assistive technology is specifically designed to promote the ability of eligible individuals to live more independently (up to 30 points); (iv) A description of the new assistive technology’s concept, size, and scope (up to 30 points); (v) An implementation plan with major milestones for bringing the new assistive technology into production and to the market. Such milestones must be meaningful and achievable within a specific timeframe (up to 30 points); and (vi) An explanation of what uniquely positions the technology grant applicant in the marketplace. This can include a focus on characteristics such as the economic reliability of the technology grant applicant, the technology grant applicant’s status as a minority or veteran-owned business, or other characteristics that the technology grant applicant wants to include to show how it will help protect the interests of, or further the mission of, VA and the program (up to 20 points). As provided, each scoring criterion would be capped at a maximum number of points. Although VA would not set a maximum aggregate score possible, an application would have to receive 70 points or more to be considered for an award. If an application does not score a minimum of 70 points, VA would not consider it for an award, even if it means an award cannot be made during a particular grant cycle. VA believes the scoring framework would allow the Secretary to make awards based on priorities of veterans and VA, while also ensuring that taxpayer funds are used responsibly. The actual number of points received would not be based solely on the technology grant applicant’s responses, but also on a number of variables such as specific needs of veterans and servicemembers, number of technology grant applicants, type of technology grant applicants, the availability of funds, and other factors related to VA’s mission of serving veterans. VA would explain scoring priorities in the VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:09 Sep 05, 2014 Jkt 232001 published NoFA so that technology grant applicants have the opportunity to tailor their responses accordingly. The change in priorities would not introduce new scoring criteria. It would merely help technology grant applicants understand how the scores will be weighted. To illustrate: VA might emphasize in one grant cycle the need for innovation, and as a result, explain in the NoFA that innovation will be a top priority. A technology grant applicant would then know to concentrate on how innovative its product would be. In reviewing the application, the Secretary might award all 50 allowable points to the technology grant applicant who best satisfies that criterion. In the next grant cycle, the Secretary might determine that a particular need has gone unmet among eligible individuals who are adapting their homes. The Secretary might choose to place more emphasis on meeting that need than on general innovation. As a result, the published NoFA for that grant cycle would explain the Secretary’s new priorities. A technology grant applicant would then know that its application would have more success if it were to focus on how the product would meet the need. When reviewing applications, the Secretary could choose to award all 50 points for that criterion, while only scoring the most innovative product 30 points. As shown, proposed paragraph (f) would provide technology grant applicants all the substantive information necessary for meeting VA requirements. Meanwhile, it would allow VA to adapt to veterans’ needs and to the marketplace without requiring a new regulatory change each time a new grant cycle is introduced. Proposed paragraph (g) would state that deadlines for program applications would be established in the NoFA. Proposed paragraph (h) would also note that decisions for awarding technology grants would be made in accordance with the guidelines (covering such issues as timing and method of notification) described in the NoFA. The Secretary would provide written approvals, denials, or requests for additional information. As part of the annual program report to Congress required by the Act, VA would conduct periodic audits of all approved grants under this program to ensure that the actual project size and scope are consistent with those outlined in the proposal and that established milestones are achieved. Such audits would be consistent with the requirements under 2 CFR part 200. Proposed paragraph (i) would also include a new delegation of authority PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 specific to the technology grant program. Currently, 38 CFR 36.4409 authorizes certain VA employees to act on behalf of the Secretary with respect to assisting eligible individuals in acquiring specially adapted housing. This delegation does not extend to the technology grant program. Therefore, VA proposes that the VA officials who would be authorized to exercise the powers and functions of the Secretary with respect to providing assistance under 38 U.S.C. 2108 would be as follows: (a) Under Secretary for Benefits, (b) Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Development, (c) Director, Loan Guaranty Service, and (d) Deputy Director, Loan Guaranty Service. Finally, we would note in proposed paragraph (j) that the technology grant is not a veterans’ benefit and, therefore, is not subject to the same rights of appeal as an adjudication of benefits. See 38 U.S.C. 7104(a). Moreover, although VA would provide technology grant applicants with as much information and assistance as possible, the Secretary does not have a duty to assist technology grant applicants in obtaining a grant. See 38 U.S.C. 5103A(a). Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, when regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, and other advantages; distributive impacts; and equity). Executive Order 13563 (Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review) emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, reducing costs, harmonizing rules, and promoting flexibility. Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review) defines a ‘‘significant regulatory action,’’ requiring review by OMB, as ‘‘any regulatory action that is likely to result in a rule that may: (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities; (2) Create a serious inconsistency or interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency; (3) Materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof; or (4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President’s priorities, or E:\FR\FM\08SEP1.SGM 08SEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 173 / Monday, September 8, 2014 / Proposed Rules the principles set forth in this Executive Order. The economic, interagency, budgetary, legal, and policy implications of this proposed rule have been examined, and it has been determined to be a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866 because it is likely to result in a rule that may raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President’s priorities, or the principles set forth in Executive Orders 12866 or 13563. VA’s impact analysis can be found as a supporting document at http://www.regulations.gov, usually within 48 hours after the rulemaking document is published. Additionally, a copy of the rulemaking and its impact analysis are available on VA’s Web site at http://www1.va.gov/orpm/, by following the link for ‘‘VA Regulations Published.’’ Regulatory Flexibility Act The Secretary hereby certifies that this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities as they are defined in the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601–612. There would be no significant economic impact on any small entities because grant applicants are not required to provide matching funds to receive the maximum grant amount of $200,000. The assistive technology grant program would not impact a substantial number of small entities because VA may only award a maximum of $1 million in aggregate grant funds per fiscal year, and VA’s authority to award these grants expires September 30, 2016. On this basis, the Secretary certifies that the adoption of this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities as they are defined in the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601–612. Therefore, under 5 U.S.C. 605(b), this rulemaking is exempt from the initial and final regulatory flexibility analysis requirements of sections 603 and 604. rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Unfunded Mandates The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 requires, at 2 U.S.C. 1532, that agencies prepare an assessment of anticipated costs and benefits before issuing any rule that may result in an expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more (adjusted annually for inflation) in any one year. This proposed rule would have no such effect on State, local, and tribal governments, or on the private sector. VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:09 Sep 05, 2014 Jkt 232001 Paperwork Reduction Act This proposed rule includes provisions constituting collections of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501– 3521) that require approval by OMB. Accordingly, under 44 U.S.C. 3507(d), VA has submitted a copy of this rulemaking action to OMB for review. OMB assigns control numbers to collections of information it approves. VA may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. Proposed 38 CFR 36.4412(d) contains a collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. If OMB does not approve the collection of information as requested, VA will immediately remove the provisions containing a collection of information or take such other action as is directed by OMB. Comments on the collections of information contained in this proposed rule should be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget, Attention: Desk Officer for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Washington, DC 20503, with copies sent by mail or hand delivery to the Director, Regulation Policy and Management (02REG), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue NW., Room 1068, Washington, DC 20420; fax to (202) 273–9026; email to www.Regulations.gov. Comments should indicate that they are submitted in response to ‘‘RIN 2900–AO70.’’ OMB is required to make a decision concerning the collections of information contained in this proposed rule between 30 and 60 days after publication of this document in the Federal Register. Therefore, a comment to OMB is best assured of having its full effect if OMB receives it within 30 days of publication. This does not affect the deadline for the public to comment on the proposed rule. The Department considers comments by the public on proposed collections of information in— • Evaluating whether the proposed collections of information are necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Department, including whether the information will have practical utility; • Evaluating the accuracy of the Department’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collections of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; • Enhancing the quality, usefulness, and clarity of the information to be collected; and PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 53149 • Minimizing the burden of the collections of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses. The new collection of information contained in 38 CFR 36.4412(d) is described immediately following this paragraph, under its title. Title: Applicant Scoring Criteria and Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion. • Summary of collection of information: The new collection of information in proposed 38 CFR 36.4412(d) would require applicants for an SAH Assistive Technology grant to submit VA Form 26–0967, ‘‘Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion,’’ and to provide statements addressing the scoring criteria for grant awards. VA Form 26–0967 is currently pending OMB approval. Additionally, 38 CFR 36.4412(d) contains an existing information collection that is currently approved by OMB and has been assigned OMB control number 4040– 0004. • Description of need for information and proposed use of information: Section 2108 of Title 38 of the United States Code states that a person or entity seeking an SAH technology grant shall submit an application for the grant in such form and manner as the Secretary shall specify. VA is specifying in regulation that the information provided under this collection of information is necessary for a complete SAH Assistive Technology grant application. The information will be used by Loan Guaranty personnel in deciding whether an applicant meets the requirements and satisfies the scoring criteria for award of an SAH Assistive Technology grant under 38 U.S.C. 2108. • Description of likely respondents: Respondents will likely include nonFederal entities, private entities, and individuals who choose to submit applications for an SAH Assistive Technology grant. • Estimated number of respondents: 20 in Fiscal Year (FY) 2015; 20 in FY 2016. • Estimated frequency of responses: This is a one-time collection. • Estimated average burden per response: 120 minutes. • Estimated total annual reporting and recordkeeping burden: 40 hours in FY 2015; 40 hours in FY 2016. E:\FR\FM\08SEP1.SGM 08SEP1 53150 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 173 / Monday, September 8, 2014 / Proposed Rules Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance program numbers and titles for the programs affected by this document are 64.106, Specially Adapted Housing for Disabled Veterans and 64.118, Veterans Housing—Direct Loans for Certain Disabled Veterans. Signing Authority The Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs, or designee, approved this document and authorized the undersigned to sign and submit the document to the Office of the Federal Register for publication electronically as an official document of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Jose D. Riojas, Chief of Staff, Department of Veterans Affairs, approved this document on August 15, 2014, for publication. List of Subjects in 38 CFR Part 36 Condominiums, Housing, Indians, Individuals with disabilities, Loan programs—housing and community development, Loan programs—Indians, Loan programs—veterans, Manufactured homes, Mortgage insurance, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Veterans. Dated: September 2, 2014. Robert C. McFetridge, Director, Regulation Policy and Management, Office of the General Counsel, Department of Veterans Affairs. For the reasons set out in the preamble, VA proposes to amend 38 CFR part 36, subpart C to read as follows: PART 36—LOAN GUARANTY Subpart C—Assistance to Eligible Individuals in Acquiring Specially Adapted Housing 1. The authority citation for part 36, subpart C continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501 and as otherwise noted. ■ 2. Add § 36.4412 to read as follows: rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS § 36.4412 Specially Adapted Housing Assistive Technology Grant Program. (a) General. (1) The Secretary will make grants for the development of new assistive technologies for specially adapted housing. (2) A person or entity may apply for, and receive, a grant pursuant to this section. (3)(i) All technology grant recipients, including individuals and entities formed as for-profit entities, will be subject to the rules on Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements With Institutions of VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:09 Sep 05, 2014 Jkt 232001 Higher Education, Hospitals, and other Non-profit Organizations, as found at 2 CFR Part 200. (ii) Where the Secretary determines that 2 CFR Part 200 is not applicable or where the Secretary determines that additional requirements are necessary due to the uniqueness of a situation, the Secretary will apply the same standard applicable to exceptions under 2 CFR 200.102. (b) Definitions. To supplement the definitions contained in § 36.4401, the following terms are herein defined for purposes of this section: (1) A technology grant applicant is a person or entity that applies for a grant pursuant to 38 U.S.C. 2108 and this section to develop new assistive technology or technologies for specially adapted housing. (2) A new assistive technology is an advancement that the Secretary determines could aid or enhance the ability of an eligible individual, as defined in 38 CFR 36.4401, to live in an adapted home. (c) Grant application solicitation. As funds are available for the program, VA will publish in the Federal Register a Notice of Funds Availability (NoFA), soliciting applications for the grant program and providing information on applications. (d) Application process and requirements. Upon publication of the NoFA, a technology grant applicant must submit an application to the Secretary via www.Grants.gov. Applications must consist of the following: (1) Standard Form 424 (Application for Federal Assistance) with the box labeled ‘‘application’’ marked; (2) VA Form 26–0967 (Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion) to ensure that the technology grant applicant has not been debarred or suspended and is eligible to participate in the VA grant process and receive Federal funds; (3) Statements addressing the scoring criteria in 38 CFR 36.4412(f); and (4) Any additional information as deemed appropriate by VA. (e) Threshold requirements. The NoFA will set out the full and specific procedural requirements for technology grant applicants. (f) Scoring criteria. (1) The Secretary will score technology grant applications based on the scoring criteria in paragraph (f)(2) of this section. Although there is not a cap on the maximum aggregate score possible, a technology grant application must receive a minimum aggregate score of 70 PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 points to be considered for a technology grant. (2) The scoring criteria and maximum points are as follows: (i) A description of how the new assistive technology is innovative (up to 50 points); (ii) An explanation of how the new assistive technology will meet a specific, unmet need among eligible individuals (up to 50 points); (iii) An explanation of how the new assistive technology is specifically designed to promote the ability of eligible individuals to live more independently (up to 30 points); (iv) A description of the new assistive technology’s concept, size, and scope (up to 30 points); (v) An implementation plan with major milestones for bringing the new assistive technology into production and to the market. Such milestones must be meaningful and achievable within a specific timeframe (up to 30 points); and (vi) An explanation of what uniquely positions the technology grant applicant in the marketplace. This can include a focus on characteristics such as the economic reliability of the technology grant applicant, the technology grant applicant’s status as a minority or veteran-owned business, or other characteristics that the technology grant applicant wants to include to show how it will help protect the interests of, or further the mission of, VA and the program (up to 20 points). (g) Application deadlines. Deadlines for technology grant applications will be established in the NoFA. (h) Awards process. Decisions for awarding technology grants under this section will be made in accordance with guidelines (covering such issues as timing and method of notification) described in the NoFA. The Secretary will provide written approvals, denials, or requests for additional information. The Secretary will conduct periodic audits of all approved grants under this program to ensure that the actual project size and scope are consistent with those outlined in the proposal and that established milestones are achieved. (i) Delegation of authority. (1) Each VA employee appointed to or lawfully fulfilling any of the following positions is hereby delegated authority, within the limitations and conditions prescribed by law, to exercise the powers and functions of the Secretary with respect to the grant program authorized by 38 U.S.C. 2108: (i) Under Secretary for Benefits. (ii) Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Development. (iii) Director, Loan Guaranty Service. E:\FR\FM\08SEP1.SGM 08SEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 173 / Monday, September 8, 2014 / Proposed Rules (iv) Deputy Director, Loan Guaranty Service. (2) [Reserved] (j) Miscellaneous. (1) The grant offered by this chapter is not a veterans’ benefit. As such, the decisions of the Secretary are final and not subject to the same appeal rights as decisions related to veterans’ benefits. (2) The Secretary does not have a duty to assist technology grant applicants in obtaining a grant. (Authority: 38 U.S.C. 2108) (The Office of Management and Budget has approved the information collection requirements in this section that are within the scope of control number 4040–0004. The additional information collection requirements have been submitted to OMB and are pending OMB approval.) [FR Doc. 2014–21138 Filed 9–5–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8320–01–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Chapters II, III, IV, V, and VI RIN 0648–XD411 Plan for Periodic Review of Regulations National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of regulatory review; request for comments. rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS AGENCY: • Mail: Submit written comments to Chris Wright, National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910 (mark outside of envelope ‘‘Comments on 610 Review’’). • Fax: 301–713–1193; Attn: Chris Wright. Instructions: Comments must be submitted by one of the above methods to ensure that the comments are received, documented, and considered by NMFS. Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.) submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word or Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Chris Wright, (301) 427–8504. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background The RFA, 5 U.S.C. 601, requires that Federal agencies take into account how their regulations affect ‘‘small entities,’’ SUMMARY: The Regulatory Flexibility Act including small businesses, small (RFA) requires that NMFS periodically Governmental jurisdictions and small review existing regulations that have a organizations. For regulations proposed significant economic impact on a after January 1, 1981, the agency must substantial number of small entities, either prepare a Regulatory Flexibility such as small businesses, small Analysis or certify that the regulation, if organizations, and small governmental promulgated, will not have a significant jurisdictions. This plan describes how economic impact on a substantial NMFS will perform this review and number of small entities. Section 602 describes the regulations that are being requires that NMFS issue an Agenda of proposed for review during the current Regulations identifying rules the review cycle. Agency is developing that are likely to DATES: Written comments must be have a significant economic impact on received by NMFS by October 8, 2014. a substantial number of small entities. Section 610 of the RFA requires ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA– Federal agencies to review existing regulations. It requires that NMFS NMFS–2014–0106, by any of the publish a plan in the Federal Register following methods: explaining how it will review its • Electronic Submission: Submit all existing regulations which have or will electronic public comments via the have a significant economic impact on Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to a substantial number of small entities. www.regulations.gov/ Regulations that become effective after #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2014January 1, 1981, must be reviewed 0106, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, within 10 years of the publication date complete the required fields, and enter of the final rule. Section 610(c) requires or attach your comments. VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:09 Sep 05, 2014 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 53151 that NMFS annually publish a list of final rules it will review during the succeeding 12 months in the Federal Register. The list must describe, explain the need for, and provide the legal basis for the rule, as well as invite public comment on the rule. Criteria for Review of Existing Regulations The purpose of the review is to determine whether existing rules should be left unchanged, or whether they should be revised or rescinded in order to minimize significant economic impacts on a substantial number of small entities, consistent with the objectives of other applicable statutes. In deciding whether change is necessary, the RFA establishes five factors that NMFS must consider: (1) Whether the rule is still needed; (2) What type of complaints or comments were received concerning the rule from the public; (3) The complexity of the rule; (4) How much the rule overlaps, duplicates or conflicts with other Federal rules, and, to the extent feasible, with State and local governmental rules; and (5) How long it has been since the rule has been evaluated or how much the technology, economic conditions, or other factors have changed in the area affected by the rule. Plan for Periodic Review of Rules NMFS will ensure that all rules for which a Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis was prepared are reviewed within 10 years of the year in which they were originally issued. By December 31, 2014, NMFS will review the following rules issued during 2007 and 2008: 1. Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fisheries; Specifications and Management Measures. RIN 0648– AT65 (72 FR 4211; January 30, 2007). NMFS issued a final rule implementing the 2007 specifications and management measures for Atlantic mackerel, squid, and butterfish, and modified existing management measures. Specifically, it implemented trimester quota allocations for the Loligo squid fishery and established the protocol for an inseason adjustment to increase the mackerel harvest, if landings approach harvest limits. Lastly, the final rule clarified, updated, and corrected existing regulatory language that was misleading or incorrect. The action promoted the utilization and conservation of the resource. 2. Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Commercial Shark Management E:\FR\FM\08SEP1.SGM 08SEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 173 (Monday, September 8, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 53146-53151]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-21138]


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DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

38 CFR Part 36

RIN 2900-AO70


Loan Guaranty--Specially Adapted Housing Assistive Technology 
Grant Program

AGENCY: Department of Veterans Affairs.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is proposing to 
implement through regulation statutory authority to provide grants for 
the development of new assistive technologies for use in specially 
adapted housing for eligible veterans or servicemembers, as authorized 
by the Veterans' Benefits Act of 2010 (the Act), enacted on October 13, 
2010. The Act authorizes VA to provide grants of up to $200,000 per 
fiscal year to persons or entities to encourage the development of 
specially adapted housing assistive technologies. VA is amending its 
regulations to outline the process, the criteria, and the priorities 
relating to the award of these research and development grants.

DATES: Comments must be received by VA on or before November 7, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Written comments may be submitted through http://www.Regulations.gov; by mail or hand-delivery to: Director, Regulation 
Policy and Management (02REG), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 
Vermont Avenue NW., Room 1068, Washington, DC 20420; or by fax to (202) 
273-9026. Comments should indicate that they are submitted in response 
to ``RIN 2900-AO70-Loan Guaranty--Specially Adapted Housing Assistive 
Technology Grant Program.'' Copies of comments received will be 
available for public inspection in the Office of Regulation Policy and 
Management, Room 1068, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., 
Monday through Friday (except holidays). Please call (202) 461-4923 for 
an appointment (this is not a toll-free number). In addition, during 
the comment period, comments may be

[[Page 53147]]

viewed online through the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) at 
http://www.Regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John Bell III, Assistant Director for 
Loan Policy and Valuation (262), Veterans Benefits Administration, 
Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue NW., Washington, DC 
20420, (202) 632-8786. (This is not a toll-free number.)

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Public Law 111-275, the Veterans' Benefits 
Act of 2010 (the Act), was enacted on October 13, 2010. Section 203 of 
the Act amended chapter 21, title 38, United States Code, to establish 
the Specially Adapted Housing Assistive Technology Grant Program. 
Veterans' Benefits Act of 2010, Public Law 111-275, Sec.  203, 124 
Stat. 2874 (2010). The Act authorizes VA to provide grants of up to 
$200,000 per fiscal year, through September 30, 2016, to a ``person or 
entity'' for the development of specially adapted housing assistive 
technologies and limits to $1 million the aggregate amount of such 
grants VA may award in any fiscal year. Id. VA is publishing these 
proposed regulations to outline the process, the criteria, and the 
priorities relating to the award of these research and development 
grants.
    The Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant Program is administered 
by the Loan Guaranty Service (LGY) of the Veterans Benefits 
Administration (VBA). Through the SAH program, LGY provides grants to 
servicemembers and veterans with certain service-connected disabilities 
to help purchase or construct an adapted home, or modify an existing 
home to allow them to live more independently. Currently, most SAH 
adaptations involve structural modifications such as ramps, wider halls 
and doorways, and lower countertops.
    Pursuant to the authority established by the Act, VA is proposing 
to amend its regulations to implement a new grant program to encourage 
the development of specially adapted housing assistive technologies. As 
proposed, Sec.  36.4412(a)(1) and (2) would state that the Secretary 
will make grants for the development of new assistive technologies for 
specially adapted housing and that a person or entity may apply for 
such grants. Proposed Sec.  36.4412(a)(3) would also require that the 
new grant program be administered in a manner as consistent as possible 
with part 200 of title 2 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Part 
200 is where the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued 
regulatory guidance to Federal agencies that provide grant awards to 
non-Federal entities, that is, to States, local governments, Indian 
tribes, institutions of higher education, or non-profit organizations 
that carry out a Federal award as recipient or subrecipient. See 2 CFR 
200.69. The part broadly outlines pre-award requirements on agencies 
and applicants, as well as post-award requirements related to financial 
and program management, property standards, procurement standards, 
reports and records, and standards on termination and enforcement. The 
part also sets forth after-the-award requirements related to closeout, 
subsequent adjustments, continuing responsibilities, and collections of 
amounts due.
    Since the new program would also be open to individuals and private 
entities, some of the applicants will not meet the definition of non-
Federal entity or recipient, as defined under part 200, and certain 
provisions of part 200 may not be applicable to all applicants in this 
technology grant program. Where the Secretary determines a provision is 
not applicable or where the Secretary determines that additional 
requirements are necessary due to the uniqueness of a situation, the 
Secretary would apply the same standard applicable to exceptions under 
2 CFR 200.102.
    Although part 200 does not define the term exception, Sec.  200.102 
is clear that an exception can relax an existing requirement or make 
additional, more restrictive requirements on a participant. Section 
200.102 requires that if an exception is more restrictive on a certain 
class of participants than that which is otherwise provided in part 
200, VA must receive approval from OMB. If an exception is less 
restrictive than what is provided in part 200, Sec.  200.102 authorizes 
VA to grant the exception on a case-by-case basis. It is impossible to 
anticipate every way in which the Secretary can or should exercise 
oversight authority. The purpose of this provision is to ensure that a 
loophole in a regulation does not unduly hinder the Secretary's ability 
to protect the public interest or prevent private individuals or 
organizations from participating because of technicalities related to 
oversight.
    The regulation would also include proposed paragraph (b) covering 
the definitions applicable to the SAH technology grant. The definitions 
found at 38 CFR 36.4401 would be incorporated by reference. New 
definitions for ``technology grant applicant'' and ``new assistive 
technology'' would be added, but they would not be relevant to the 
types of SAH grants that are provided directly to veterans. They would 
solely be limited to the SAH technology grant.
    The new definitions would provide who may apply for an SAH 
technology grant and the type of product that would have to be 
developed using SAH technology grant funds. House Report 111-109 stated 
that the ``research and development community is diverse, ranging from 
single-person inventors to large corporations and academic 
institutions.'' H.R. Rep. No. 111-109, at 3 (2009). Accordingly, for 
the purpose of determining who may apply to this grant program, VA 
would define ``technology grant applicant'' to include a person or 
entity that applies for a grant pursuant to 38 U.S.C. 2108 and 38 CFR 
36.4412 to develop new assistive technology or technologies for 
specially adapted housing. House Report 111-109 also explained that 
there are many emerging technologies that could improve home adaptions 
or otherwise enhance a veteran or servicemember's ability to live 
independently, such as voice-recognition and voice-command operations, 
living environment controls, and adaptive feeding equipment. Id. 
Therefore, VA is proposing to define ``new assistive technology'' as an 
advancement that the Secretary determines could aid or enhance the 
ability of an eligible individual, as defined in 38 CFR 36.4401, to 
live in an adapted home.
    Proposed paragraph (c) would provide that, as funds are made 
available for the program, VA would publish in the Federal Register a 
Notice of Funds Availability (NoFA), soliciting applications for the 
grant program and information on applications. Upon publication of a 
NoFA, a technology grant applicant seeking a grant under this section 
would submit an application to the Secretary via www.Grants.gov, as 
required under proposed paragraph (d). Applications would include: (1) 
Standard Form 424 (Application for Federal Assistance) with the box 
labeled ``application'' marked; (2) a certification that the applicant 
has not been debarred or suspended and is eligible to participate in 
the VA grant process and receive Federal funds; (3) statements 
addressing the scoring criteria; and (4) any additional information as 
deemed appropriate by VA.
    Under proposed paragraph (e), the NoFA would set forth the full and 
specific procedural requirements for assistive technology grant 
applicants, such as whether the grant cycle would be limited to 
applications submitted during a particular timeframe or if applications 
would be accepted on a rolling basis.

[[Page 53148]]

    Under proposed paragraph (f), the Secretary would establish the 
specific scoring criteria used to evaluate all technology grant 
applications received by VA. The scoring criteria and the maximum 
amount of points available are as follows:
    (i) A description of how the new assistive technology is innovative 
(up to 50 points);
    (ii) An explanation of how the new assistive technology will meet a 
specific, unmet need among eligible individuals (up to 50 points);
    (iii) An explanation of how the new assistive technology is 
specifically designed to promote the ability of eligible individuals to 
live more independently (up to 30 points);
    (iv) A description of the new assistive technology's concept, size, 
and scope (up to 30 points);
    (v) An implementation plan with major milestones for bringing the 
new assistive technology into production and to the market. Such 
milestones must be meaningful and achievable within a specific 
timeframe (up to 30 points); and
    (vi) An explanation of what uniquely positions the technology grant 
applicant in the marketplace. This can include a focus on 
characteristics such as the economic reliability of the technology 
grant applicant, the technology grant applicant's status as a minority 
or veteran-owned business, or other characteristics that the technology 
grant applicant wants to include to show how it will help protect the 
interests of, or further the mission of, VA and the program (up to 20 
points).
    As provided, each scoring criterion would be capped at a maximum 
number of points. Although VA would not set a maximum aggregate score 
possible, an application would have to receive 70 points or more to be 
considered for an award. If an application does not score a minimum of 
70 points, VA would not consider it for an award, even if it means an 
award cannot be made during a particular grant cycle. VA believes the 
scoring framework would allow the Secretary to make awards based on 
priorities of veterans and VA, while also ensuring that taxpayer funds 
are used responsibly.
    The actual number of points received would not be based solely on 
the technology grant applicant's responses, but also on a number of 
variables such as specific needs of veterans and servicemembers, number 
of technology grant applicants, type of technology grant applicants, 
the availability of funds, and other factors related to VA's mission of 
serving veterans. VA would explain scoring priorities in the published 
NoFA so that technology grant applicants have the opportunity to tailor 
their responses accordingly. The change in priorities would not 
introduce new scoring criteria. It would merely help technology grant 
applicants understand how the scores will be weighted.
    To illustrate: VA might emphasize in one grant cycle the need for 
innovation, and as a result, explain in the NoFA that innovation will 
be a top priority. A technology grant applicant would then know to 
concentrate on how innovative its product would be. In reviewing the 
application, the Secretary might award all 50 allowable points to the 
technology grant applicant who best satisfies that criterion. In the 
next grant cycle, the Secretary might determine that a particular need 
has gone unmet among eligible individuals who are adapting their homes. 
The Secretary might choose to place more emphasis on meeting that need 
than on general innovation. As a result, the published NoFA for that 
grant cycle would explain the Secretary's new priorities. A technology 
grant applicant would then know that its application would have more 
success if it were to focus on how the product would meet the need. 
When reviewing applications, the Secretary could choose to award all 50 
points for that criterion, while only scoring the most innovative 
product 30 points.
    As shown, proposed paragraph (f) would provide technology grant 
applicants all the substantive information necessary for meeting VA 
requirements. Meanwhile, it would allow VA to adapt to veterans' needs 
and to the marketplace without requiring a new regulatory change each 
time a new grant cycle is introduced.
    Proposed paragraph (g) would state that deadlines for program 
applications would be established in the NoFA. Proposed paragraph (h) 
would also note that decisions for awarding technology grants would be 
made in accordance with the guidelines (covering such issues as timing 
and method of notification) described in the NoFA. The Secretary would 
provide written approvals, denials, or requests for additional 
information. As part of the annual program report to Congress required 
by the Act, VA would conduct periodic audits of all approved grants 
under this program to ensure that the actual project size and scope are 
consistent with those outlined in the proposal and that established 
milestones are achieved. Such audits would be consistent with the 
requirements under 2 CFR part 200.
    Proposed paragraph (i) would also include a new delegation of 
authority specific to the technology grant program. Currently, 38 CFR 
36.4409 authorizes certain VA employees to act on behalf of the 
Secretary with respect to assisting eligible individuals in acquiring 
specially adapted housing. This delegation does not extend to the 
technology grant program. Therefore, VA proposes that the VA officials 
who would be authorized to exercise the powers and functions of the 
Secretary with respect to providing assistance under 38 U.S.C. 2108 
would be as follows: (a) Under Secretary for Benefits, (b) Deputy Under 
Secretary for Economic Development, (c) Director, Loan Guaranty 
Service, and (d) Deputy Director, Loan Guaranty Service.
    Finally, we would note in proposed paragraph (j) that the 
technology grant is not a veterans' benefit and, therefore, is not 
subject to the same rights of appeal as an adjudication of benefits. 
See 38 U.S.C. 7104(a). Moreover, although VA would provide technology 
grant applicants with as much information and assistance as possible, 
the Secretary does not have a duty to assist technology grant 
applicants in obtaining a grant. See 38 U.S.C. 5103A(a).

Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all 
costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, when 
regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize 
net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public 
health and safety effects, and other advantages; distributive impacts; 
and equity). Executive Order 13563 (Improving Regulation and Regulatory 
Review) emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and 
benefits, reducing costs, harmonizing rules, and promoting flexibility. 
Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review) defines a 
``significant regulatory action,'' requiring review by OMB, as ``any 
regulatory action that is likely to result in a rule that may: (1) Have 
an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely 
affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, 
productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or 
safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities; (2) 
Create a serious inconsistency or interfere with an action taken or 
planned by another agency; (3) Materially alter the budgetary impact of 
entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and 
obligations of recipients thereof; or (4) Raise novel legal or policy 
issues arising out of legal mandates, the President's priorities, or

[[Page 53149]]

the principles set forth in this Executive Order.
    The economic, interagency, budgetary, legal, and policy 
implications of this proposed rule have been examined, and it has been 
determined to be a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 
12866 because it is likely to result in a rule that may raise novel 
legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President's 
priorities, or the principles set forth in Executive Orders 12866 or 
13563. VA's impact analysis can be found as a supporting document at 
http://www.regulations.gov, usually within 48 hours after the 
rulemaking document is published. Additionally, a copy of the 
rulemaking and its impact analysis are available on VA's Web site at 
http://www1.va.gov/orpm/, by following the link for ``VA Regulations 
Published.''

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Secretary hereby certifies that this proposed rule would not 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities as they are defined in the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 
U.S.C. 601-612. There would be no significant economic impact on any 
small entities because grant applicants are not required to provide 
matching funds to receive the maximum grant amount of $200,000. The 
assistive technology grant program would not impact a substantial 
number of small entities because VA may only award a maximum of $1 
million in aggregate grant funds per fiscal year, and VA's authority to 
award these grants expires September 30, 2016. On this basis, the 
Secretary certifies that the adoption of this proposed rule would not 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities as they are defined in the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 
U.S.C. 601-612. Therefore, under 5 U.S.C. 605(b), this rulemaking is 
exempt from the initial and final regulatory flexibility analysis 
requirements of sections 603 and 604.

Unfunded Mandates

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 requires, at 2 U.S.C. 
1532, that agencies prepare an assessment of anticipated costs and 
benefits before issuing any rule that may result in an expenditure by 
State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the 
private sector, of $100 million or more (adjusted annually for 
inflation) in any one year. This proposed rule would have no such 
effect on State, local, and tribal governments, or on the private 
sector.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This proposed rule includes provisions constituting collections of 
information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-
3521) that require approval by OMB. Accordingly, under 44 U.S.C. 
3507(d), VA has submitted a copy of this rulemaking action to OMB for 
review.
    OMB assigns control numbers to collections of information it 
approves. VA may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required 
to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a 
currently valid OMB control number. Proposed 38 CFR 36.4412(d) contains 
a collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. 
If OMB does not approve the collection of information as requested, VA 
will immediately remove the provisions containing a collection of 
information or take such other action as is directed by OMB.
    Comments on the collections of information contained in this 
proposed rule should be submitted to the Office of Management and 
Budget, Attention: Desk Officer for the Department of Veterans Affairs, 
Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Washington, DC 20503, 
with copies sent by mail or hand delivery to the Director, Regulation 
Policy and Management (02REG), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 
Vermont Avenue NW., Room 1068, Washington, DC 20420; fax to (202) 273-
9026; email to www.Regulations.gov. Comments should indicate that they 
are submitted in response to ``RIN 2900-AO70.''
    OMB is required to make a decision concerning the collections of 
information contained in this proposed rule between 30 and 60 days 
after publication of this document in the Federal Register. Therefore, 
a comment to OMB is best assured of having its full effect if OMB 
receives it within 30 days of publication. This does not affect the 
deadline for the public to comment on the proposed rule.
    The Department considers comments by the public on proposed 
collections of information in--
     Evaluating whether the proposed collections of information 
are necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the 
Department, including whether the information will have practical 
utility;
     Evaluating the accuracy of the Department's estimate of 
the burden of the proposed collections of information, including the 
validity of the methodology and assumptions used;
     Enhancing the quality, usefulness, and clarity of the 
information to be collected; and
     Minimizing the burden of the collections of information on 
those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate 
automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection 
techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting 
electronic submission of responses.
    The new collection of information contained in 38 CFR 36.4412(d) is 
described immediately following this paragraph, under its title.
    Title: Applicant Scoring Criteria and Certification Regarding 
Debarment, Suspension, Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion.
     Summary of collection of information: The new collection 
of information in proposed 38 CFR 36.4412(d) would require applicants 
for an SAH Assistive Technology grant to submit VA Form 26-0967, 
``Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, Ineligibility and 
Voluntary Exclusion,'' and to provide statements addressing the scoring 
criteria for grant awards. VA Form 26-0967 is currently pending OMB 
approval. Additionally, 38 CFR 36.4412(d) contains an existing 
information collection that is currently approved by OMB and has been 
assigned OMB control number 4040-0004.
     Description of need for information and proposed use of 
information: Section 2108 of Title 38 of the United States Code states 
that a person or entity seeking an SAH technology grant shall submit an 
application for the grant in such form and manner as the Secretary 
shall specify. VA is specifying in regulation that the information 
provided under this collection of information is necessary for a 
complete SAH Assistive Technology grant application. The information 
will be used by Loan Guaranty personnel in deciding whether an 
applicant meets the requirements and satisfies the scoring criteria for 
award of an SAH Assistive Technology grant under 38 U.S.C. 2108.
     Description of likely respondents: Respondents will likely 
include non-Federal entities, private entities, and individuals who 
choose to submit applications for an SAH Assistive Technology grant.
     Estimated number of respondents: 20 in Fiscal Year (FY) 
2015; 20 in FY 2016.
     Estimated frequency of responses: This is a one-time 
collection.
     Estimated average burden per response: 120 minutes.
     Estimated total annual reporting and recordkeeping burden: 
40 hours in FY 2015; 40 hours in FY 2016.

[[Page 53150]]

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance

    The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance program numbers and 
titles for the programs affected by this document are 64.106, Specially 
Adapted Housing for Disabled Veterans and 64.118, Veterans Housing--
Direct Loans for Certain Disabled Veterans.

Signing Authority

    The Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs, or designee, approved 
this document and authorized the undersigned to sign and submit the 
document to the Office of the Federal Register for publication 
electronically as an official document of the Department of Veterans 
Affairs. Jose D. Riojas, Chief of Staff, Department of Veterans 
Affairs, approved this document on August 15, 2014, for publication.

List of Subjects in 38 CFR Part 36

    Condominiums, Housing, Indians, Individuals with disabilities, Loan 
programs--housing and community development, Loan programs--Indians, 
Loan programs--veterans, Manufactured homes, Mortgage insurance, 
Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Veterans.

    Dated: September 2, 2014.
Robert C. McFetridge,
Director, Regulation Policy and Management, Office of the General 
Counsel, Department of Veterans Affairs.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, VA proposes to amend 38 
CFR part 36, subpart C to read as follows:

PART 36--LOAN GUARANTY

Subpart C--Assistance to Eligible Individuals in Acquiring 
Specially Adapted Housing

0
1. The authority citation for part 36, subpart C continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority:  38 U.S.C. 501 and as otherwise noted.

0
2. Add Sec.  36.4412 to read as follows:


Sec.  36.4412  Specially Adapted Housing Assistive Technology Grant 
Program.

    (a) General. (1) The Secretary will make grants for the development 
of new assistive technologies for specially adapted housing.
    (2) A person or entity may apply for, and receive, a grant pursuant 
to this section.
    (3)(i) All technology grant recipients, including individuals and 
entities formed as for-profit entities, will be subject to the rules on 
Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements With 
Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and other Non-profit 
Organizations, as found at 2 CFR Part 200.
    (ii) Where the Secretary determines that 2 CFR Part 200 is not 
applicable or where the Secretary determines that additional 
requirements are necessary due to the uniqueness of a situation, the 
Secretary will apply the same standard applicable to exceptions under 2 
CFR 200.102.
    (b) Definitions. To supplement the definitions contained in Sec.  
36.4401, the following terms are herein defined for purposes of this 
section:
    (1) A technology grant applicant is a person or entity that applies 
for a grant pursuant to 38 U.S.C. 2108 and this section to develop new 
assistive technology or technologies for specially adapted housing.
    (2) A new assistive technology is an advancement that the Secretary 
determines could aid or enhance the ability of an eligible individual, 
as defined in 38 CFR 36.4401, to live in an adapted home.
    (c) Grant application solicitation. As funds are available for the 
program, VA will publish in the Federal Register a Notice of Funds 
Availability (NoFA), soliciting applications for the grant program and 
providing information on applications.
    (d) Application process and requirements. Upon publication of the 
NoFA, a technology grant applicant must submit an application to the 
Secretary via www.Grants.gov. Applications must consist of the 
following:
    (1) Standard Form 424 (Application for Federal Assistance) with the 
box labeled ``application'' marked;
    (2) VA Form 26-0967 (Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, 
Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion) to ensure that the technology 
grant applicant has not been debarred or suspended and is eligible to 
participate in the VA grant process and receive Federal funds;
    (3) Statements addressing the scoring criteria in 38 CFR 
36.4412(f); and
    (4) Any additional information as deemed appropriate by VA.
    (e) Threshold requirements. The NoFA will set out the full and 
specific procedural requirements for technology grant applicants.
    (f) Scoring criteria. (1) The Secretary will score technology grant 
applications based on the scoring criteria in paragraph (f)(2) of this 
section. Although there is not a cap on the maximum aggregate score 
possible, a technology grant application must receive a minimum 
aggregate score of 70 points to be considered for a technology grant.
    (2) The scoring criteria and maximum points are as follows:
    (i) A description of how the new assistive technology is innovative 
(up to 50 points);
    (ii) An explanation of how the new assistive technology will meet a 
specific, unmet need among eligible individuals (up to 50 points);
    (iii) An explanation of how the new assistive technology is 
specifically designed to promote the ability of eligible individuals to 
live more independently (up to 30 points);
    (iv) A description of the new assistive technology's concept, size, 
and scope (up to 30 points);
    (v) An implementation plan with major milestones for bringing the 
new assistive technology into production and to the market. Such 
milestones must be meaningful and achievable within a specific 
timeframe (up to 30 points); and
    (vi) An explanation of what uniquely positions the technology grant 
applicant in the marketplace. This can include a focus on 
characteristics such as the economic reliability of the technology 
grant applicant, the technology grant applicant's status as a minority 
or veteran-owned business, or other characteristics that the technology 
grant applicant wants to include to show how it will help protect the 
interests of, or further the mission of, VA and the program (up to 20 
points).
    (g) Application deadlines. Deadlines for technology grant 
applications will be established in the NoFA.
    (h) Awards process. Decisions for awarding technology grants under 
this section will be made in accordance with guidelines (covering such 
issues as timing and method of notification) described in the NoFA. The 
Secretary will provide written approvals, denials, or requests for 
additional information. The Secretary will conduct periodic audits of 
all approved grants under this program to ensure that the actual 
project size and scope are consistent with those outlined in the 
proposal and that established milestones are achieved.
    (i) Delegation of authority. (1) Each VA employee appointed to or 
lawfully fulfilling any of the following positions is hereby delegated 
authority, within the limitations and conditions prescribed by law, to 
exercise the powers and functions of the Secretary with respect to the 
grant program authorized by 38 U.S.C. 2108:
    (i) Under Secretary for Benefits.
    (ii) Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Development.
    (iii) Director, Loan Guaranty Service.

[[Page 53151]]

    (iv) Deputy Director, Loan Guaranty Service.
    (2) [Reserved]
    (j) Miscellaneous. (1) The grant offered by this chapter is not a 
veterans' benefit. As such, the decisions of the Secretary are final 
and not subject to the same appeal rights as decisions related to 
veterans' benefits.
    (2) The Secretary does not have a duty to assist technology grant 
applicants in obtaining a grant.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 2108)



(The Office of Management and Budget has approved the information 
collection requirements in this section that are within the scope of 
control number 4040-0004. The additional information collection 
requirements have been submitted to OMB and are pending OMB 
approval.)

[FR Doc. 2014-21138 Filed 9-5-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8320-01-P