Statement by Chairman Terry Everett (R-AL) Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations – November 18, 1997


Rep. Terry Everett (R-AL) today reaffirmed the interest of his Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations in burial criteria for Arlington National Cemetery and in the practice of making exceptions, or waivers, to current eligibility criteria. Eligibility for burial at Arlington is now determined by federal regulations.

“Following completion of the Subcommittee's ongoing investigation, I will consider making public the names of those individuals who have been buried at Arlington as a result of waivers. We expect our examination of the issue to culminate with an oversight hearing early in 1998, and with legislation, should a policy change be needed,” said Everett. “The Subcommittee staff has visited Arlington several times to review Department of the Army records and expects to continue its examination of waivers in the coming months.”

“Burial at Arlington National Cemetery is a special honor and space is limited,” noted Everett earlier this year. He further observed, “The number of waivers actually resulting in the displacement of a veteran appears relatively small. I have found that there is no set standard for waivers. That's not fair to veterans and their families. The Subcommittee has found some questionable waivers made in recent years. The waiver standard should be high and any waivers should be made a matter of public record.”

The Department of the Army administers Arlington National Cemetery, with the Secretary of the Army granting waivers as a matter of discretion. Some 60 waivers have already been approved during the Clinton Administration, compared to 33 during the Bush years, a two-term total of 53 during President Reagan's terms in office, and 17 during Carter's presidency. SOURCE House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

I will, of course, continue to follow this subject very closely and will publish updates as they become available. In my mind, Arlington National Cemetery is a national treasure and one which should not be abused. Accordingly, I will communicate with Congressman Everett in order to urge that he and the committee fully investigate these allegations. Why not take a minute or twoand do the same.

The Honorable Terry Everett
Member of Congress – Alabama
208 House Office Building
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

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