Published March 8, 2022

U.S. Senate Passes Burial Equity for Guard and Reserves Act

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The Dakotan
| The Dakotan
[Photo: emilyatcabin from Pixabay]
[Photo: emilyatcabin from Pixabay]

Senator Worked to Secure Support for Legislation with VA Under Secretary During Recent ND Visit

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Committee, today issued the following statement after the U.S. Senate unanimously approved the Burial Equity for Guard and Reserves Act. Hoeven introduced the bipartisan, bicameral legislation with Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) to make members of the National Guard and Reserve Component eligible for burial in state veterans’ cemeteries.

“We’ve now secured unanimous Senate approval for our legislation enabling Guard and Reserve members to be laid to rest with honor in state veterans cemeteries,” said Hoeven. “This legislation is all about providing members of the National Guard and Reserve component with the option to be laid to rest with honor, closer to home, while ensuring that these cemeteries remain eligible for federal funding.”

[Video: submitted]

Currently, if a cemetery receives federal grant funding, then only certain servicemembers who meet national eligibility standards are allowed to be buried there. This requirement has led to uncertainty regarding whether the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery may be eligible for certain grants. The bill introduced by Hoeven, Shaheen, Cramer and Hassan would address this issue by prohibiting the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from conditioning grants on a cemetery’s compliance with existing eligibility criteria for burial. The legislation has been approved by the House VA Committee and is supported by the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States (EANGUS), the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).

In November, Senator Hoeven hosted VA Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs (USMA) Matthew Quinn in North Dakota, where the senator worked to secure support for the legislation. Hoeven, who serves as a member of the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Committee, invited Quinn to visit the state to meet with local veterans support groups and review both the national and state veteran cemeteries in Fargo and Mandan.

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