BRAVE Act Passes Senate Under Unanimous Consent As Part of Larger Veteran’s Bill
Brookfield, WI — The U.S. Senate has taken a momentous step to improve burial services for veterans by passing bipartisan legislation that contains the Burial Rights for America’s Veterans’ Efforts (BRAVE) Act. Sponsored by Sens. Gary Peters (D-MI) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Cheri Bustos (D-IL), the BRAVE Act is part of a larger veteran’s bill that passed the Senate under unanimous consent. It will now go to the House floor and, if approved there, on to the President’s desk to become law.
When passed into law, the BRAVE Act will update the current burial benefit to treat all non-service-connected deaths equally, regardless of where the veteran passes away. Under current policy, survivors of certain veterans who die in a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facility are provided greater funds to cover the cost of a funeral than veterans who die in their home or another medical facility.
In addition to the BRAVE Act, this omnibus veteran’s bill includes several other funeral or burial benefits for deceased veterans, including:
- Expanding transportation of deceased veterans to veterans’ cemeteries.
- Extending the VA’s requirements for outer burial receptacles to cemeteries.
- Authorizing the VA to replace existing VA-furnished headstones to add inscriptions for deceased spouses and eligible dependent children, and allow for inscriptions on headstones furnished by the VA if the spouse or eligible dependent child predeceases the veteran.
- Making grants via the Veterans Cemetery Grants Program to counties for veterans’ cemeteries.
- Authorizing the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) to furnish an urn or a commemorative plaque, in lieu of a headstone or marker, to eligible individuals whose cremated remains are not interred in a cemetery.
“On behalf of the more than 20,000 members of the National Funeral Directors Association, I would like to thank the bill sponsors and Senate VA Committee Chairman Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Ranking Member Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT); and House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) and Ranking Member Rep. Phil Roe, M.D (R-TN), for their commitment to our nation’s veterans,” said National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) CEO Christine Pepper, CAE. “The BRAVE Act, and the rest of this bill, will ensure our nation’s veterans receive the respect they deserve when they die. NFDA will work with House leadership to ensure this important legislation is considered by the full House.”
“This is an enormous step towards assuring veterans will be laid to rest with dignity and honor,” said NFDA President R. Bryant Hightower Jr., CFSP. “Veterans and their families deserve our full support for the sacrifices they have made, and I encourage the House to follow the Senate’s lead and approve the bill so we can get it onto the President’s desk.”
NFDA is the world’s leading and largest funeral service association, serving more than 20,000 individual members who represent nearly 11,000 funeral homes in the United States and 49 countries around the world. NFDA is the trusted leader, beacon for ethics and the strongest advocate for the profession. NFDA is the association of choice because it offers funeral professionals comprehensive educational resources, tools to manage successful businesses, guidance to become pillars in their communities and the expertise to foster future generations of funeral professionals. NFDA is headquartered in Brookfield, Wis., and has an office in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.nfda.org.