House Committee Proposes New Arlington 
National Cemetery Burial Eligibility Process
February 1998
The Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Rep. Bob Stump (R-AZ), and Ranking Democratic Member, Rep. Lane Evans (D-IL), yesterday introduced legislation to codify the Arlington National Cemetery eligibility process and virtually eliminate the discretionary authority that has led to controversy in recent months.

"This responsible proposal removes discretion from the waiver process at Arlington, and clarifies what it takes to be worthy of the high honor of burial at Arlington. Being well-connected will no longer be an acceptable criteria for burial consideration," said Chairman Stump. "I salute the leaders of this Committee on both sides of the aisle for their interest in this issue, and I look forward to quick and responsible Committee action on this bill." 

Evans joined Stump in lauding fellow Committee members for their work on the bill. "True to our Committee’s long-standing traditions," said Evans, "we have placed the interests of our veterans above everything else. I am pleased we have been able to agree on an even-handed and sensible proposal that will bring continued honor to our nation’s most hallowed military cemetery," said Evans

H.R. 3211 tightens existing burial eligibility requirements, and codifies into law much of the existing Army regulations on burial at Arlington. The bill also eliminates current provisions that allow automatic burial of some veterans who have also served as Members of Congress or in other high-level government positions. This provision effectively denies Reps. Evans and Stump, both military veterans, the right to be buried at Arlington.

Additionally, the legislation allows certain close family members of eligible veterans to be buried in the same grave without the need for a waiver; codifies existing regulations that allow the cremated remains of any veteran with an honorable discharge to be interred in the Arlington Cemetery Columbarium and clarifies that only memorials honoring military service may be placed at Arlington in the future. Other than those specifically covered by the new proposal, no other person may be buried at Arlington. 

Stump noted that the absence of strict statutes regulating the burial process at Arlington led directly to the investigation of the burial of otherwise ineligible individuals by the VA’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

HR 3211 IH
105th CONGRESS
2d Session
H. R. 3211

To amend title 38, United States Code, to enact into law eligibility requirements for burial in Arlington National Cemetery, and for other purposes. 

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

February 12, 1998

Mr. STUMP (for himself, Mr. EVANS, Mr. EVERETT, Mr. CLYBURN, Mr. QUINN, Mr. FILNER, Mr. BILIRAKIS, Mr. GUTIERREZ, Mr. COOKSEY, Ms. BROWN of Florida, Mr. HUTCHINSON, Mr. DOYLE, Mr. HAYWORTH, Mr. MASCARA, Mr. LAHOOD, Mr. PETERSON of Minnesota, Ms. CARSON, Mr. REYES, Mr. RODRIGUEZ, Mr. SOLOMON, Mr. BAKER, and Mrs. CHENOWETH) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs 

A BILL

To amend title 38, United States Code, to enact into law eligibility requirements for burial in Arlington National Cemetery, and for other purposes. 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. PERSONS ELIGIBLE FOR BURIAL IN ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY.

(a) IN GENERAL- Chapter 24 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

`Sec. 2412. Arlington National Cemetery: person eligible for burial; authorized headstones and markers

`(a) ELIGIBILITY- The remains of the following individuals may be buried in Arlington National Cemetery:

`(1) Any member of the Armed Forces who dies while on active duty (other than active duty for training).

`(2) Any retired member of the Armed Forces.

`(3) Any former member of the Armed Forces separated for physical disability before October 1, 1949, who--

`(A) served on active duty (other than for training); and

`(B) would have been eligible for retirement under the provisions of section 1201 of title 10 (relating to retirement for disability) had that section been in effect on the date of separation of the member.

`(4) Any former member of the Armed Forces whose last active duty military service (other than for training) terminated honorably and who has been awarded one of the following decorations:

`(A) Medal of Honor.

`(B) Distinguished Service Cross (Air Force Cross or Navy Cross).

`(C) Distinguished Service Medal.

`(D) Silver Star.

`(E) Purple Heart.

`(5) Any former prisoner of war--

`(A) who, while a prisoner of war, served honorably in the active military, naval, or air service;

`(B) whose last period of active military, naval, or air service terminated honorably; and

`(C) who died on or after November 30, 1993.

`(6) The President or any former President.

`(7) Subject to subsection (b), the spouse, surviving spouse, minor child and, at the discretion of the Superintendent of Arlington National Cemetery, unmarried adult child of a person listed in paragraphs (1) through (6), but only if buried in the same gravesite as that person.

`(8) Subject to subsection (b), the spouse, surviving spouse, minor child, and, at the discretion of the Superintendent of Arlington National Cemetery, unmarried adult child of a member of the Armed Forces who is buried in Arlington National Cemetery as part of a group burial, but the spouse, surviving spouse, minor child, or unmarried adult child may not be buried in the group gravesite.

`(9) Subject to subsection (b), the spouse, surviving spouse, minor child, and, at the discretion of the Superintendent of Arlington National Cemetery, unmarried adult child of any person already buried in Arlington National Cemetery.