Murkowski, Costa introduce Lao and Hmong veterans bill

Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Jim Costa are advancing legislation that would grant burial honors to Lao and Hmong veterans.Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Jim Costa are advancing legislation that would grant burial honors to Lao and Hmong veterans.Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Rep. Jim Costa and a bipartisan coalition in Congress are advancing legislation that would grant burial honors to Lao and Hmong veterans of the Vietnam War in Laos.

According to the Center for Public Policy Analysis, the Lao Veterans of America Institute has led a nationwide effort to grant burial honors to Lao and Hmong veterans. The Lao Hmong Veterans Burial Honors Act would recognize Lao and Hmong men who fought alongside American servicemen.

“We are grateful that Senator Lisa Murkowski has introduced new legislation in the U.S. Senate to grant burial honors to the Laotian and Hmong veterans who served in the ‘U.S. Secret Army’ in Laos during the Vietnam War,” said Col. Wangyee Vang, national president of the Fresno-based Lao Veterans of America Institute. “Senator Murkowski’s bill is crucial companion legislation to a counterpart bill in the House of Representatives authored by Congressman Jim Costa.”

The bill would authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to permit Laotian and Hmong veterans of the Vietnam War in Laos to be buried or cremated at national veterans cemeteries.

“Clearly, it is long overdue and important for the U.S. government to proactively recognize and honor the sacrifices of the Lao and Hmong veterans and their contribution to U.S. national security interests during the Vietnam War,” said Philip Smith, executive director of the CPPA. “America should grant the surviving Lao and Hmong veterans burial rights and honors at U.S. national veterans’ cemeteries.”