New Arlington Burial Rules

The House rewrote the rules on who is eligible for burial at Arlington National Cemetery yesterday, limiting plots to members of the armed forces who die on active duty, military retirees, recipients of the Medal of Honor and other top awards, former prisoners of war and the president and former presidents.

The legislation, which passed 412 to 0, would end the practice of granting waivers to public officials and other citizens who do not meet the strict standards.

It also would eliminate the need for a waiver for a spouse and immediate family to be buried together with an eligible veteran.

The bill resulted from reports last year that the administration was granting burial plots at Arlington to political donors. A review by the General Accounting Office, the investigative wing of Congress, found no improper behavior but concluded that eligibility rules were unclear.

The bill would bar members of Congress, the vice president, Supreme Court justices, Cabinet secretaries and ranking diplomats from being buried at Arlington based solely on having served in the military.

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