December 31, 2012
Portman, Begich Legislation to Ensure Veterans Receive Proper Burial Passes House of Representatives
Bill Now Goes to President's Desk for Signature
Washington, D.C. - The Veterans Missing in America Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives last night as part of the Dignified Burial and Other Veterans' Benefits Improvement Act (S. 3202). This legislation, led by U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Mark Begich (D-AK) in the Senate and Congressmen Pat Tiberi (R-OH-12) and Steve Stivers (R-OH-15) in the House of Representatives, would enable the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to work with veterans groups to help determine whether unidentified or abandoned remains are those of veterans eligible for burial at a National Cemetery. The bill passed the Senate earlier this month and will now head to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
“After working closely with Senator Begich and Congressmen Tiberi and Stivers for the past year, I am happy that this bill to show eligible veterans our respect and gratitude by honoring them with a burial in a National Cemetery will become law,” Portman said. “Veterans have put country above self to defend our nation, and the least we can do is ensure that those who were willing to risk their lives to protect the freedoms we hold so dear receive a proper burial."
“I'm pleased that this bipartisan bill has passed the House. During a time of extreme gridlock, it is heartening to see that both sides have come together to honor our nation's veterans and ensure that every serviceman and woman will receive a proper, dignified burial. Thanks to Sen. Portman and Reps. Tiberi and Stivers for their hard work on this commonsense bill,” stated Senator Begich.
The Veterans Missing in America Act directs the VA to work with veterans service organizations and other groups, like the Missing in America Project, in assisting entities in possession of unidentified or abandoned remains to determine if the remains are that of a veteran eligible for burial at a National Cemetery. The VA will cover the burial cost if the remains are determined to be that of an eligible veteran who doesn’t have a next of kin.
To read more about the Veterans Missing in America Project, click here.