Alicia Dawn Koehl Respect for National Cemeteries Actby Former Representative Michael H. Michaud
Posted on 2013-12-11
MICHAUD. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
I support this legislation to allow the VA or the Secretary of the Army to reconsider their decisions to inter individuals at our Veterans National Cemeteries, to include Arlington National Cemetery. With this legislation, individuals who may have committed a Federal or State capital crime, but were not convicted by reason of unavailability for trial due to death or flight to avoid prosecution, may be considered for disinterment.
Being buried in our national cemeteries is one of the highest honors our Nation bestows upon veterans and their dependents for their service and sacrifice.
This legislation also closes a loophole in the current law. Currently, veterans and their dependents who have been convicted of capital crimes may not be buried in Arlington National Cemetery or any national cemetery. If there is a mistake and they are inappropriately buried in one of these cemeteries, the Army and/or VA cannot correct the mistake. This legislation would correct this issue and allow the Secretaries of the Army and the VA to reconsider the original interment and exhume the body for interment elsewhere.
Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this legislation, and I reserve the balance of my time.