H.R. 4511, Gold Star Families Voices Act

H.R. 4511

Gold Star Families Voices Act

September 6, 2016 (114th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, September 6, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 4511, the Gold Star Families Voices Act, under suspension of the rules. The bill was introduced on February 9, 2016, by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and was referred to the Committee on House Administration, which ordered the bill to be reported on May 17, 2016 by voice vote.

Bill Summary

H.R. 4511 amends the Veterans’ Oral History Project to allow the immediate family members of veterans who were killed in action or are missing in action to provide video and audio recordings of those members.


In 2000, Congress created the Veterans History Project (VHP) at the Library of Congress to collect and catalog the stories of American war veterans. The purpose of the VHP is “to preserve the memories of this Nation’s war veterans so that Americans of all current and future generations may hear directly from veterans and better appreciate the realities of way and the sacrifices made by those who served in uniform during wartime.”[1]

To date, the VHP has collected the oral history records of over 100,000 veterans who have served in military engagements since World War I. The project now requires first hand narratives only, blocking the collection if information of veterans who did not return from the battlefields.[2]

According to the bill’s sponsor, “The Veterans History Project is designed to turn memories into history, to memorialize the lives of the heroes whose selfless sacrifice has contributed – and continues to contribute – to our collective understanding of who we are as a nation. Yet one voice is missing from the archives: the servicemembers who made the ultimate sacrifice – they gave their lives for our freedom.”[3]

[1] See Public Law 106-380
[2] See House Report 114-663 at 2.
[3] See. Rep. Smith’s Press Release, “Smith Introduces Gold Star Families Voices Act to Expand Library of Congress History Project” February 10, 2016.


The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that enacting H.R. 4511 would result in approximately 1,000 new collections to the Veterans Oral History Project and cost $0.6 million, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts. Enacting the legislation would not affect direct spending or revenues, and so pay-as-you-go procedures to not apply.  Further, CBO estimates implementing H.R. 4511 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2027.

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact Jake Vreeburg with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 5-0190.