Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Jim Banks introduced two pieces of legislation this week aimed at increasing oversight of reforms at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and at properly honoring unclaimed remains of deceased veterans.
One such bill, labeled H.R. 698, would require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to submit a report to Congress and the U.S. Comptroller General on the progress and action taken by the secretary in implementing the High Risk Action Plan of the VA to address areas of concern identified by the Comptroller General in the most recently published High Risk List.
A second proposed law, H.R. 697, would allow the VA Secretary to transport unclaimed veterans remains to specified state or tribal cemeteries in addition to national cemeteries. It changes the definition of “covered veteran’s cemeteries” to ones that have received a VA grant, and ensures that remains are transported to cemeteries that follow VA standards and requirements.
“Our nation’s veterans deserve the best from their government,” said Banks. “Whether it is the medical care and services they receive when they return to civilian life, or proper burial honors when they pass away, serving those who gave so much for our country is a duty that I take seriously as a member of Congress. That is why today, (Jan. 23) I introduced two bills aimed at making sure the federal government lives up to its obligations. Reform plans put in place at the VA to address high risk areas must be completed in a timely manner, and the VA secretary must keep Congress and the American people updated on its progress. Additionally, unclaimed veterans remains should be transferred to national or state-run veterans cemeteries so a grateful nation may honor them one more time. These common sense measures will help better serve veterans across Indiana and the Nation and I urge my colleagues to support their passage.”