H.R. 4757, To amend title 38, United States Code, to expand the eligibility for headstones, markers, and medallions furnished by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for deceased individuals who were awarded the Medal of Honor and are buried in private cemeteries, as amended

H.R. 4757

To amend title 38, United States Code, to expand the eligibility for headstones, markers, and medallions furnished by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for deceased individuals who were awarded the Medal of Honor and are buried in private cemeteries, as amended

Date
November 29, 2016 (114th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
John Huston

Floor Situation

On­­­­ Tuesday, November 29, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 4757, to amend title 38, United States Code, to expand the eligibility for headstones, markers, and medallions furnished by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for deceased individuals who were awarded the Medal of Honor and are buried in private cemeteries, as amended, under suspension of the rules. H.R. 4757 was introduced by Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) on March 16, 2016, and was referred to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, which ordered the bill reported by voice vote on September 21, 2016.

Bill Summary

H.R. 4757 would allow the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide special markers for the graves of those who have received the Medal of Honor and who are buried in private cemeteries. Under current law, the VA is prohibited from furnishing a distinctive headstone, marker, or medallion for Medal of Honor recipients who are buried in private cemeteries, if the grave is marked with a private headstone.

The bill also allows the VA to send a Presidential Memorial Certificate, which is a certificate that expresses the nation’s recognition and gratitude of military service to the families of deceased veterans, and to the families of deceased members of certain Reserve components of the Armed Forces.[1] Current law limits Presidential Memorial Certificates to the families of those who served in the regular armed services, or National Guard and Reserve members who were called to active duty.  H.R. 4757, as amended, would expand eligibility for a Presidential Memorial Certificate to members of the Reserve component of the Armed Forces, and the Army National Guard or the Air National Guard.

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[1] See House Report 114-812 at 3.

Background

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides a range of benefits and services to veterans who meet certain eligibility rules. VA benefits include death benefits that cover burial expenses and certain other benefits that honor deceased veterans. Veterans whose deaths occurred before November 1, 1990, are furnished government headstones only if their graves are not marked with private headstones. [1]

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[1] See CRS Report, “Veterans’ Benefits: Burial Benefits and National Cemeteries,” March 11, 2016.

Cost

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that implementing the bill would have discretionary costs totaling less than $500,000 over the 2017-2021 period; that spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds.

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact John Huston with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 6-5539.