WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate is closer to taking up legislation to honor Lao- and Hmong-American veterans following passage last Wednesday in the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of a bill that includes language to recognize those who served in the U.S. ‘Secret Army’ in Laos during the Vietnam War. The bill would advance, and study, granting burial honors and benefits to the Lao-Hmong at national cemeteries administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“The Senate omnibus veterans bill, and the effort to further honor, and review, the Lao- and Hmong-American veterans’ service, is being spearheaded by Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Vice Chairman Richard Burr (R-North Carolina), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Senator Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) and others,” said Philip Smith, Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) in Washington. “Congressman Jim Costa (D-California) previously introduced the bill in the House.”
Smith continued: “Shortly, we expect the full Senate to consider, and pass, in bipartisan fashion, this crucial and historic veterans legislation, in the form of an omnibus veterans bill, that includes important language to recognize and study the unique role of Lao and Hmong veterans who served in the U.S. ‘Secret Army’ in Laos during the Vietnam War.”
“This progress is the result of the passage last week, in the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, of key legislation, including S. 944, an omnibus veterans bill that incorporates language regarding Lao and Hmong-American veterans–especially as advanced in the ‘Lao Hmong Veterans Burial Honors Bill,’ S. 200, introduced by Senators Murkowski, Begich and Whitehouse,” stated Smith. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1307/S00429/us-senate-laos-hmong-veterans-burial-honor-effort.htm
“The anticipated passage of this legislation in the full Senate will be historic for the ethnic Laotian- and Hmong-American veterans who seek to be honored and buried at U.S. national veterans cemeteries administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs,” Smith concluded. http://www.centerforpublicpolicyanalysis.org
“We are pleased that the U.S. Senate has advanced critical legislation that recognizes and honors our Laotian- and Hmong-American veterans who served, sacrificed and died during the Vietnam War in Laos,” said Colonel Wangyee Vang, President of the Lao Veterans of America Institute, in Fresno, California. “We welcome this important progress in the Senate as well as the continued advancement of the ‘Lao Hmong Veterans Burial Honors Bill’ in Congress.”