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Dependable Employment and Living Improvements for Veterans Economic Recovery Act

Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 16, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. SABLAN. Mr. Speaker, H.R. 7105, the Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act, includes my bill helping get more funding for operations and maintenance to locally-run, veterans cemeteries nationwide.

My legislation, H.R. 5487, increases the amount the VA can grant for this purpose each year from $5 million to $10 million. As more veterans choose to be buried close to their home, more states, territories, and tribal governments are applying for funding from the VA to help cover the costs of operating and maintaining local veterans cemeteries.

And, while the list of applications grows, the amount the Department can award has not. Under current law, no more than $5 million can be awarded per year to meet the needs of over 100 cemeteries.

H.R. 5487, the Veterans Cemetery Grants Improvement Act updates that authorization by a modest $5 million. The Act will help veteran cemeteries in every state, territory, and tribal nation, remain the dignified and well-maintained resting places our veterans deserve.

I know in my own district, the Northern Mariana Islands, the veterans cemetery, built with federal funds, faces challenges in this respect. Veterans' families have come to me for help and this bill responds.

I know my co-sponsor, Representative Steil, shares this concern for the Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery in his district, as do other Members for the cemeteries that serve their constituents.

And I know the members of this House are committed to honoring our nation's veterans and their families, who have sacrificed so much to ensure our country remains safe and free.

I thank Chairman Takano and Senator Tester for all their support to include into H.R. 7105 this important measure.

I ask my colleagues to support H.R. 7105.

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