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house Bill H.R. 1338

Studying the Feasibility of Interring the Unclaimed Remains of Veterans at National Cemeteries

Argument in favor

If it is practical for the VA to inter the unclaimed remains of veterans at national cemeteries, they should start providing those veterans with a dignified resting place that honors their service to the country.

operaman's Opinion
Unclaimed remains of veterans should have a home where love ones can go and a place I can pay homage. Funny how our government can ask us to sacrifice but finds it expensive completing a home for our brave sacrificing veterans.
Like (6)
SherryTX's Opinion
They shouldn't study it, they should do it! These veterans deserve nothing less.
Like (6)
Delmar's Opinion
All Veterans deserve to be buried with dignity
Like (4)

Argument opposed

The logistical challenges of dealing with the unclaimed remains of deceased veterans from around the country will likely prove to be too much for the VA to handle, so they shouldn’t bother studying if it is possible.

ark4162's Opinion
Nice thought but again, WE'RE $20 TRILLION IN DEBT. We need to shut the faucet off. No more spending a single nickel on anything that's not %100 necessary!!
Like (2)
Lee's Opinion
The VA can't take care of the living much less have time to spend on the dead.
Like (1)
Gerri's Opinion
I respect the sacrifices of those deceased but with military layoffs looming, the need to increase strategies for re-integration, and medical and mental health care I'd rather funding be redirected for the living and their families.

What is House Bill H.R. 1338?

This bill would require the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) to study and report to Congress on matters relating to the interring of veterans’ unclaimed remains in national cemeteries that are under the control of the National Cemetery Administration.

The report would include the following:

  • The scope of the issues relating to veterans’ unclaimed remains, including the estimated number of such remains;

  • The effectiveness of VA procedures for working with persons or entities having custody of unclaimed remains to facilitate their interment in such cemeteries;

  • State and local laws that affect the Secretary of the VA’s ability to inter unclaimed veterans’ remains in such cemeteries;

  • Recommendations for appropriate legislative or administrative action.

The Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 is amended to limit fiscal year 2016 awards and bonuses to $2 million for VA employees who are members of the Senior Executive Service.


Veterans who pass away and their remains go unclaimed, the National Cemetery Administration, and the VA.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1338

The CBO estimates that this bill would reduce costs by $1 million over the 2016-2020 period.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) introduced this legislation to ensure that deceased veterans are properly honored for their service to the country, even when their remains are claimed. In an introductory press release, Rep. Shuster said:

“The services and sacrifices of our veterans should never be forgotten. Each one of them should be treated with the proper respect they deserve, and Congress needs to act to address this clear problem.”

Recently, groups of volunteer veterans have been attending to the unclaimed remains of deceased veterans. They attempt to find a next of kin, and when that is not possible, getting them buried with military honors at the expense of the government — which are available to honorably discharged veterans. The Missing in America Project estimated that there are as many as 47,000 sets of unclaimed remains.

This bill currently has 98 cosponsors in the House, including 39 Democrats and 59 Republicans. It was unanimously reported by the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee via voice vote.


Sponsoring Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) Press Release

CBO Cost Estimate

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Ripon Advance

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user Elvert Barnes)


Dignified Interment of Our Veterans Act of 2015

Official Title

To require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to conduct a study on matters relating to the burial of unclaimed remains of veterans in national cemeteries, and for other purposes.

bill Progress

  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
  • The house Passed November 17th, 2015
    Roll Call Vote 409 Yea / 0 Nay
      house Committees
      Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
    IntroducedMarch 6th, 2015

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