Press Release: Congress Presses Laos, Hmong Veterans Bill Forward

Twenty-six Members of the U.S. Congress are moving forward with legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives to grant burial honors to Lao and Hmong veterans of the U.S. ‘Secret War’ in Laos. The historic legislation is gathering more momentum, and bipartisan support, on Capitol Hill and Washington, D.C.

April 21, 2012
Washington, D.C. and Fresno, California

Additional Members of the U.S. Congress are rallying in bipartisan support of historic legislation that seeks to grant burial honors to Lao and Hmong-American veterans of the Vietnam War in Laos, according to the Washington, DC-based Center for Public Policy Analysis and Laotian and Hmong veterans’ groups.

“U.S. Congressmen Jim Costa, Frank Wolf, and twenty-six Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, are moving forward to advance H.R. 3192 in Congress to seek to authorize the U.S. Secretary of Veterans of Affairs to allow Lao and Hmong veterans to be buried, or cremated, with honor, at national veterans’ cemeteries,” said Colonel Wangyee Vang, National President and founder of the Fresno, California-based Lao Veterans of America Institute (LVAI).

“In the last several weeks, three additional Members of Congress have signed on to the bill to help the Lao and Hmong veterans, and we continue to work, and make progress, on this important effort in Washington, D.C., and on Capitol Hill,” Wangyee Vang stated.

“Now, at this important time, more and more Members of the U.S. Congress are signing on as cosponsors and supporters of this bill to help honor our Lao and Hmong veterans and their families,” Colonel Vang observed.

“Currently, a total of 26 Members of Congress from both political parties are officially signed on to the H.R. 3192 and more are likely to support in as it moves forward in the U.S. Congress over the coming months,” Colonel Wangyee Vang commented. “With the further help of our colleagues and friends in the Laotian and Hmong-American community across the United States, we expect more Members of Congress to support and sign on to this historic legislation that helps to honor our community and our people.”

“At present, H.R. 3192, if passed in the U.S. Congress and signed by President Obama, would amend title 38 of U.S. law, and authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to allow Laotian and Hmong veterans of the Vietnam war in Laos, to be buried or cremated in U.S. veterans’ cemeteries across the United States,” commented Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA). http://www.cppa-dc.org

“Clearly, it is important for the U.S. government to proactively recognize the legacy of the Lao and Hmong veterans, especially their critical contribution to U.S. national security during the Vietnam War, and grant them this special burial honor at U.S. national veterans’ cemeteries as well as Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.,” Smith stated.

“The Lao and Hmong veterans’ extraordinary partnership with Arlington National Cemetery, the U.S. Congress, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, to host veterans’ ceremonies and seek burial honors continues to be a unique and important effort that has rightly gained recognition and further support on Capitol Hill,” Smith commented.

“It is hoped that the pending Lao and Hmong veterans’ legislation will become law in a timely fashion, before more of these Vietnam War veterans pass away as they grow older,” concluded Smith.

The LVAI and the CPPA have worked to spearhead efforts in Washington, D.C., and across the United States, in support of the initiative to grant burial benefits to Lao and Hmong veterans. Delegations from the LVAI traveled to Washington, D.C., in October of 2011, to host special events and meetings in the U.S. Congress, and Capitol Hill, in partnership with the CPPA, to help educate Members of Congress about the importance of granting veterans’ burial benefits to the former Lao and Hmong soldiers.

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Contact:   Lilly Her, Yer Vang, or Philip Smith

info@centerforpublicpolicyanalysis.org

Tele. (202) 543-1444

Center for Public Policy Analysis ( CPPA )

2020 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

Washington, D.C.  20006

http://www.centerforpublicpolicyanalysis.org

http://www.cppa-dc.org

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