House Restricts Arlington Burials
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Burial at Arlington National Cemetery would be restricted to those who die on active military duty, and just a few others, under House-passed legislation.
The measure, passed 428-2 on Tuesday, also won House approval in the last Congress but was not taken up by the Senate.
Burial at Arlington would be limited under the bill 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.
It would eliminate the need for a waiver for a spouse and immediate family to be buried together with an eligible veteran.
The bill would also end presidential waivers, but would allow Congress to grant individual waivers on a case-by-case basis.
Members of Congress, the vice president, Supreme Court justices, Cabinet secretaries and ranking diplomats would no longer be eligible simply on the basis of having served in the military.
The Army has estimated that the 612-acre cemetery overlooking the Potomac River could be full by 2025 at current burial rates.
Burial at Arlington became an issue two years ago when it was revealed that Larry Lawrence, a big donor to the Democratic Party and ambassador to Switzerland, had received a waiver to be interred at the cemetery, in part because he claimed to have been wounded while serving in the Merchant Marine in 1945.
After it was found that Lawrence had not served in the war as he had stated, his widow had his body exhumed and buried in San Diego.
The bill is H.R. 70.