CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Monday, June 17, 2013, the House will consider H.Res. ___, a resolution to amend the Senate Amendment to H.R. 588, the Vietnam Veterans Donor Acknowledgement Act of 2013,under a suspension of the rules. H.R. 588 passed the House on May 6, 2013 by a recorded vote of 398-2 (Roll no. 129). The Senate passed the bill with an amendment on June 3, 2013 by Unanimous Consent. H.Res. ___ amends the Senate Amendment to H.R. 588.
The Senate-passed bill expanded the bill’s authority to apply to all monuments and memorials, under the Commemorative Works Act, dedicated after January 1, 2010 and provided an extension for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund to raise funds. This new House text removes the broad applicability provision, but keeps the extension.
Public Law 108-Â126 authorized the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund to establish a visitor center underground, but near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The facility will be 35,000 square feet and cost an estimated $95 million, all of which is required to be non-Âfederal.
However, the Commemorative Works Act, which governs the placement of monuments and memorials on land administered by the National Park Service in Washington, D.C., prohibits donor recognition at monuments and memorials authorized under the Act. Consequently, proponents of the visitor center have explained that this has put an undue burden on the fund, making it extremely challenging to collect large donations that will provide the necessary funds to commence with construction.
H.R. 588 would grant an exemption to the Commemorative Works Act to facilitate the completion of fundraising efforts by allowing donor recognition. Any recognition program would have to be approved by the Secretary of the Interior and the legislation allows only “short, discrete, and unobtrusive acknowledgments or credits” and will not “permit any advertising slogans or company logos.” The Legislative Digest on H.R. 588 can be found here.
CBO estimates that H.R. 588 would “have no significant impact on the federal budget.”