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Begich, Portman Introduce Legislation to Ensure Veterans Receive Proper Burial

Missing in America Bill Helps Identify Remains, Determine Eligibility for a National Cemetery Burial

U.S. Senators Mark Begich (D-AK) and Rob Portman (R-OH) today introduced the Veterans Missing in America Act, a bill that 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 who are eligible for burial at a National Cemetery.

“Veterans are defenders of democracy and the protectors of our freedoms,” said Portman. “Those who gave their life in service to our country deserve an honorable burial. This bill is a step toward ensuring that eligible veterans receive a proper burial in a National Cemetery and are given the respect they rightly deserve.”

“When our military men and women give the ultimate sacrifice defending our freedom and democracy, we owe it to every single veteran to make sure they get the proper burial,” Begich said. “This legislation will help honor our commitment to our veterans and ensure those who are eligible for burial at a national cemetery, get the final respect and gratitude they so deserve.”

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 in determining 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, and there are no available resources to cover burial and funeral expenses. In addition, the bill calls on the VA to establish a public database of the veterans identified in this project.

A companion bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representative by Congressmen Pat Tiberi (R-OH) and Steve Stivers (R-OH).

To read more about the Veterans Missing in America Project, click here.

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