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house Bill H.R. 4910

Should Veterans Buried in National Park Service Cemeteries Get the Same Benefits They Would at VA Cemeteries?

Argument in favor

Passing this bill would ensure veterans buried at national cemeteries under the National Park Service’s control are buried with the same grave liners they’d receive at Veterans Affairs cemeteries at no expense to the survivors. It’s a simple but meaningful gesture to show the nation’s respect for their service.

KansasTamale's Opinion
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05/06/2018
That should NOT even be a question. A veteran is a veteran, no matter where they are buried.
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SneakyPete's Opinion
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05/06/2018
YES YES YES..... All veterans deserve the same benefits and services.This bill would require the Secretary of the Interior to provide an outer burial receptacle (such as a standard grave liner) for any new grave in an open cemetery administered by the National Park Service (NPS). The bill would also reimburse a veteran’s survivors if they privately purchased an outer burial receptacle for use in a National Park Service cemetery. This would bring NPS into line with practices at Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) cemeteries. Outer burial receptacles provide meaningful protection against the elements, protecting the casket against the impacts of soil backfill and the regular wear of cemetery maintenance, and currently are provided at the survivors’ expense. 5*6*18.
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Robert 's Opinion
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05/06/2018
Treat these hero’s with the respect they deserve.
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Argument opposed

Currently, there is nothing to prevent families from paying for outer burial receptacles on their own. Additionally, there are no real externalities to the current lack of requirement that veterans interred at national cemeteries receive outer burial receptacles for their caskets.

W1LL14M's Opinion
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05/06/2018
So, I looked into what these things are and basically they are like a concrete box that the coffin goes inside. Each cemetery seems to be different as some soil types cause coffins to sink and grave liners help them not to (although it seems like the grave liner would sink as they are heavier than the coffin alone). I am all about supporting the troops but my feeling is when you die — the consciousness light switches off. So, I feel like it seems a bit unnecessary as we are just creating tombs.
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Kirsten's Opinion
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05/07/2018
People may disagree with me, but I would suggest this money would be better spent using it to support veterans while they are alive (mental healthcare, retraining, etc.). #mytwocents
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Daniel's Opinion
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05/07/2018
Use that money to care for them better when they are alive.
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bill Progress


  • EnactedJune 15th, 2018
    The President signed this bill into law
  • The senate Passed May 24th, 2018
    Passed by Voice Vote
  • The house Passed May 7th, 2018
    Roll Call Vote 388 Yea / 0 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Natural Resources
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
    IntroducedJanuary 30th, 2018

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What is House Bill H.R. 4910?

This bill would require the Secretary of the Interior to provide an outer burial receptacle (such as a standard grave liner) for any new grave in an open cemetery administered by the National Park Service (NPS). The bill would also reimburse a veteran’s survivors if they privately purchased an outer burial receptacle for use in a National Park Service cemetery. This would bring NPS into line with practices at Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) cemeteries. Outer burial receptacles provide meaningful protection against the elements, protecting the casket against the impacts of soil backfill and the regular wear of cemetery maintenance, and currently are provided at the survivors’ expense.

In addition to the standard grave liner, the bill would also allow the Secretary of the Interior to provide an outer burial receptacle other than a grave liner to eligible veterans at the time of their interment in a National Park. In such cases the survivors would pay the difference in cost between the grave liner and the alternative burial receptacle, plus the amount of administrative costs incurred by the Secretary.

Impact

Veterans; military families; the National Park Service; and national cemeteries.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 4910

A CBO estimate for this bill is unavailable. However, the CBO did estimated a similar bill at $315 (per the VA’s 2017 cost) per outer burial receptacle and 200 interments per year, making the bill cost about $630,000 over the 10-year budget window.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA) introduced this bill to ensure that veterans buried at National Park Service cemeteries and their survivors receive the same benefits as if they were buried at VA cemeteries:

“To honor the sacrifices and commitment of our veterans to our country, it is our duty as members of Congress to take care of our warfighters and their families… it is now more important than ever to close the gap in benefits for veterans who are buried in cemeteries managed by the National Park Service, and this bipartisan piece of legislation will ensure that all veterans and their families are receiving the benefits and respect they have rightly earned.”

This legislation has the support of 11 cosponsors, including 10 Republicans and one Democrat. The bill is also supported by the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Vietnam Veterans of America. Similar legislation sponsored by U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, passed the Senate on March 1, 2018.  


Of NoteWhile there are 14 national cemeteries under the National Park Service, it is worth noting that only two, Andersonville National Cemetery in Georgia and Andrew Johnson National Cemetery in Tennessee, are still active.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: wdj(0) via Flickr / Creative Commons)

AKA

Veterans Cemetery Benefit Correction Act

Official Title

To amend title 38, United States Code, to provide outer burial receptacles for remains buried in National Parks, and for other purposes.

    That should NOT even be a question. A veteran is a veteran, no matter where they are buried.
    Like (60)
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    So, I looked into what these things are and basically they are like a concrete box that the coffin goes inside. Each cemetery seems to be different as some soil types cause coffins to sink and grave liners help them not to (although it seems like the grave liner would sink as they are heavier than the coffin alone). I am all about supporting the troops but my feeling is when you die — the consciousness light switches off. So, I feel like it seems a bit unnecessary as we are just creating tombs.
    Like (40)
    Follow
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    People may disagree with me, but I would suggest this money would be better spent using it to support veterans while they are alive (mental healthcare, retraining, etc.). #mytwocents
    Like (28)
    Follow
    Share
    YES YES YES..... All veterans deserve the same benefits and services.This bill would require the Secretary of the Interior to provide an outer burial receptacle (such as a standard grave liner) for any new grave in an open cemetery administered by the National Park Service (NPS). The bill would also reimburse a veteran’s survivors if they privately purchased an outer burial receptacle for use in a National Park Service cemetery. This would bring NPS into line with practices at Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) cemeteries. Outer burial receptacles provide meaningful protection against the elements, protecting the casket against the impacts of soil backfill and the regular wear of cemetery maintenance, and currently are provided at the survivors’ expense. 5*6*18.
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    Treat these hero’s with the respect they deserve.
    Like (19)
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    Use that money to care for them better when they are alive.
    Like (18)
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    VA would seem to be the only at risk population deemed worthy of protections now days. Screw the kids, literally, and make them pay the tab would appear to be the battle cry of our 115th Corporate Congress.
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    I was at the Milwaukee V.A. Last night! In ICU where I saw my 1st Cuz pass! He is Army like myself! We are both disabled! He will be nurtured at Union Grove National Cemetery as myself one day! My father and uncle however both WWII Vets are burrowed side by side in a Roman Catholic cemetery and I’m fighting with the Arch Diocese as to why they don’t get flags on their graves on national holidays! Other issues too! I worked it out with the State but markers must be placed footside of there grave sites! Both were in the VFW but they offer not much help! Perhaps this bill will help me to get em places foot markers!
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    Looking at this bill from a veteran perspective, I feel that this is a good bill, but not necessarily the right bill. The veteran should have it in writing what they would like done when they pass away, and then work with VA and Dept of Interior to meeting the wish. Many veterans are not aware of this.
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    Maybe we should care for them properly while they are alive first. It’s a bitter pill that the VA healthcare system is barely functional and needs to be properly funded and staffed, and here we are talking about coffin liners. I get it. Dead veterans are cheaper than live ones. By all means, all honors due to them at the graveside once they are dead, but it’s a ugly hypocrisy that we rush them to the cemetery by treating their health as a expenditure to be minimized. As the daughter, daughter-in-law, and wife of veterans (and that just the living family) the bile that rises from this discussion is sour indeed. Care for the living first.
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    Why are we talking about coffin liners when living vets could use our help much more.
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    For me, bodies are empty receptacles of former people and putting concrete around a coffin is toxic, unnecessary, and useless. How many ways can money be squandered instead of used for the good of people, animals and the planet? No.
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    I am Active Duty and I really don't care. If this thing is so important for the family then get buried at a VA cemetery. It is a choice to get buried at a national park. I do not care about an outershell. I will be dead. I promise I will not come back to haunt you as a snowflake.
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    Respect won't benefit a veteran after he or she is dead. Use that money for veterans (and their families) while they're alive and in need of medical care or other services.
    Like (5)
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    Support our Veterans, even after they have passed.
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    Not sure why you were doing it differently.
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    My husband is one who will be buried at an NSP - is his service valued less than others? It is a gesture to demonstrate the nation's respect for every veteran. There's no group that should be more valued, except for the unborn child.
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    Personally I think some of the stated reasons are stupid. So what if dirt impinges on the casket? The resident is dead and doesn't care and it's not like he needs a beautiful casket anymore. There is not likely to be any expectation of removing it for another showing. That being said, this should be done in order to standardize care of veterans. As for people who are against this because you think the money should be spent on living veterans you are either naive or ignorant If you think that will happen. Money not earmarked and spent by the NPS will not somehow magically show up in the budget of the VA.
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    Great Park is for the living and not the dead.
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    Yes
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