It is good to see that the 111th Congress is focused not only on the debacle at Arlington National Cemetery, but on the proper respect due to all deceased veterans. Dozens of bills have been introduced that would affect burial benefits and national cemeteries. They include:
H.R. 731, which would prohibit any person classified as a tier III sex offender from interment or memorialization in a national or state cemetery;
H.R. 3949, which would let parents of individuals who died in combat be buried in a national cemetery if they have no other eligible survivors and gravesites are available;
H.R. 1037, which would increase from $300 to $745 the VA payment for burial and funeral expenses of a veteran who dies in a VA hospital, nursing home, or domiciliary care facility;
H.R. 4044, which would make the plot allowance available to any veteran of war and restore the pre-1990 headstone allowance;
H.R. 6042, which would permit the Secretary of VA under certain circumstances to pay the funeral expenses of certain homeless veterans who did not serve during a period of war;
S. 728, which would provide (to the extent funds are available) a $900 supplemental payment for burial and funeral expenses for non-service-connected deaths and $2,000 for service-connected deaths;
H.R. 5879, which would expand eligibility for interment in national cemeteries to individuals who supported the United States in Laos during the Vietnam War era.