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house Bill H.R. 4335

Should the Spouses or Children of Soldiers be Buried in National Cemeteries?

Argument in favor

This bill would make consistent the standards that should be afforded to all people posthumously, and in particular those that are or have served this country and their families that in many ways are also serving.

Tom's Opinion
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05/07/2018
I served 28 years in the Military and did not retire. My wife was at my side the whole time. She served just like I did now there are people that have never served making judgments in my spouse saying we can’t afford it or space is limited. Not allowing my spouse to be buried with me. As far as room folks the spouse and service member are buried in top of each other so it take no extra room and there is no extra headstone only one so no extra money there. Yet you attack my spouse saying she did not serve? Shame
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OlderNWiser's Opinion
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05/07/2018
Families sacrifice so much when they have a servicemember that any benefit for those who have lived in near poverty in order to Serve, with a capital S, Deserve it honey and the whole benefits we are able to provide. Burial is an entire waste in my mind, but very important to some others, so I would not want to impose my own religious views on them. Let’s honor families for once.
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Ollie32's Opinion
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05/07/2018
If they were together in life why not in death?
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Argument opposed

While spouses and children are no doubt important members of a veteran’s family, they themselves did not serve in the Armed Forces. There is only a finite amount of space in national cemeteries and this would mean less room for actual veterans.

Donna 's Opinion
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05/07/2018
I’m sorry but I don’t feel that the current restrictions should be changed for the following reasons: 1-space in National Cemeteries is limited, and 2- the amount of federal funds that would have to be funneled into this would be staggering and should be invested in improving the health, education, and well being of living veterans.
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Adam's Opinion
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05/07/2018
If they’re not in the military they shouldn’t be buried in a national cemetery.
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Martha's Opinion
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05/07/2018
Providing headstones for the veteran is something we should do, but for their dependents and spouses, I'm afraid I don't agree that the taxpayers should foot that bill. I understand that the family of the veteran are impacted by the veteran's service, but they are not the ones who were in active service, nor the ones who were killed or disabled due to that service. Some limits need to be placed on the taxpayers responsibilities in the spending of taxpayers money. I hate sounding like a miser, but if I were a family member of a veteran I would not expect the public to pay for my headstone.
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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 May 7th, 2018
    Roll Call Vote 389 Yea / 0 Nay
      house Committees
      Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
    IntroducedNovember 9th, 2017

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What is House Bill H.R. 4335?

This bill would revise eligibility rules for burials in national cemeteries to allow the interment of the spouse or children of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces who was serving on active duty (or any other condition other than dishonorable condition) at the time of the spouse's or child's death. . The spouse, minor child, and unmarried adult child (at the discretion of the VA) could be buried in any open national cemetery currently overseen by the National Cemetery Administration. Under current law such burials in national cemeteries are only available to a servicemember’s family if the soldier dies before the spouse or child.

Impact

Military servicemembers; veterans; servicemember families; and the VA.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 4335

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA) introduced this bill to ensure that the VA has the authority to bury a servicemember’s spouse or children in a national cemetery if they die before the servicemember:

“My legislation would allow active duty servicemembers to bury their spouse or eligible dependent child in a VA cemetery. The bill would authorize VA to inter in a VA national cemetery the spouse and eligible dependent child of an active duty servicemember at the time of the spouse’s or child’s death. This would eliminate the need for review by the Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs for each burial request of a deceased spouse and dependent child of active duty servicemembers.”

This bill was reported favorably from the House Veterans Affairs’ subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs and has the support of one cosponsor, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO).


Media:

Summary by Lucas McConnell

(Photo Credit: JPecha / iStock)

AKA

Servicemember Family Burial Act

Official Title

To amend title 38, United States Code, to provide for headstones and markers for, and interment in national cemeteries of, deceased spouses and dependent children of members of the Armed Forces serving on active duty, and for other purposes.

    I served 28 years in the Military and did not retire. My wife was at my side the whole time. She served just like I did now there are people that have never served making judgments in my spouse saying we can’t afford it or space is limited. Not allowing my spouse to be buried with me. As far as room folks the spouse and service member are buried in top of each other so it take no extra room and there is no extra headstone only one so no extra money there. Yet you attack my spouse saying she did not serve? Shame
    Like (106)
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    I’m sorry but I don’t feel that the current restrictions should be changed for the following reasons: 1-space in National Cemeteries is limited, and 2- the amount of federal funds that would have to be funneled into this would be staggering and should be invested in improving the health, education, and well being of living veterans.
    Like (93)
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    Families sacrifice so much when they have a servicemember that any benefit for those who have lived in near poverty in order to Serve, with a capital S, Deserve it honey and the whole benefits we are able to provide. Burial is an entire waste in my mind, but very important to some others, so I would not want to impose my own religious views on them. Let’s honor families for once.
    Like (50)
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    If they’re not in the military they shouldn’t be buried in a national cemetery.
    Like (46)
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    Providing headstones for the veteran is something we should do, but for their dependents and spouses, I'm afraid I don't agree that the taxpayers should foot that bill. I understand that the family of the veteran are impacted by the veteran's service, but they are not the ones who were in active service, nor the ones who were killed or disabled due to that service. Some limits need to be placed on the taxpayers responsibilities in the spending of taxpayers money. I hate sounding like a miser, but if I were a family member of a veteran I would not expect the public to pay for my headstone.
    Like (41)
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    There's only a finite amount of space in National Cemeteries. While it's understandable that families wish to be buried together, having them side by side in a national plot takes space from others that have served our country. Perhaps something like a plaque with a note where other members of family are wouldn't be out of order near headstones, or if people were okay with being buried vertically (They do this in Europe when space is a premium); but not side by side.
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    If they were together in life why not in death?
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    No non-military family members unless they can be stacked like firewood. Creeping socialism trying to take over grave sites. A new wrinkle in Government expansion.
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    If I understand this correctly, spouses and children who die after the service member already have this benefit. This is just allowing them to have the benefit if they die before the service member. Let’s fix that loophole.
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    I think it’s appropriate to allow spouses or children of service members to be buried at VA cemeteries if they die before the soldier. I don’t think space is an issue because you can bury family members on top of each other. We already allow spouses and children to be buried at VA cemeteries if they die after the service member so this is a very small step.
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    If you start there, where do you stop?
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    But spouses only!
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    I say no only because of space. We’re always at war all the time, and it’s only a matter of time before the current cemeteries fill up.
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    Spouses should be able to be buried together. The coffins stack so it doesn't take up more space.
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    No. Simple enough, these cemeteries should be reserved for if you served only.
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    As the daughter of a career officer, I saw my Dad for the first time the day before my third birthday. He was in combat and MIA when I was born. That should be worth something. My mother was left alone to do everything as are all military wives. Career military should have the right if they choose. My Dad donated his body to University of Texas for medical research as did my Mom. I have their ashes here with me on my farm. Not all people buried in National cemeteries have been anywhere near a combat zone. Military families indeed do serve this country. I was in 20 Elementsry schools by the time I finished 8 the grade. Two High Schools but I graduated early. Try being the new kid your whole life. Wives do all the stuff a spouse does and expected to like it. I'm proud of my family and who I am, but as adventurous as it is, it's still hard. I'm proud of what Ive given to.my country. I'm also mother and grandmother of service members. A simple thank you from our government would be nice.
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    I fully understand that being in the military affects the spouse and children as well however, I feel that should be saved for the person who physically served their country. I am a veteran and I would not expect that my husband or child would be buried in the cemetery of special honors.
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    Although I am sympathetic, I have to say no. Choosing to bury a veteran in a National Cemetery versus a family plot is a family choice. If it is that important to keep the family together, the family would choose a family plot.
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    Being buried in a National Cemetery or VA Cemetery is an Honor and Tribute to the Fallen or at the end of their natural life. To my knowledge this has never been done and should not be started now. Women that marry Military Men or vice versa know that their spouse has the choice of being buried with family or with their Brothers in Arms.
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    Space issue
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