Senator Barbara A. Mikulski today applauded the U.S. Senate's unanimous decision to accept her amendment, introduced with Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho), which eliminates burial benefits and funeral honors for any veteran convicted of a federal or state capital offense.
The amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill closes the loophole, which has allowed convicted murderers to receive full burial honors at national military cemeteries like Arlington National Cemetery.
"Thanks to the bipartisan efforts by Senators Craig, John Warner and Carl Levin, we have taken this important step to preserve our national cemeteries as places of honor for our veterans," said Senator Mikulski. "As Veteran's Day approaches, we honor the memories of the many brave service members who have fought, and died, for our great nation. Today, we have proven that together, America can do better."
Senator Mikulski initially brought this issue to the Veterans' Affairs Committee's attention in August 2005 following the controversial placement of convicted killer Russell Wagner's remains in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. Wagner killed Daniel and Wilda Davis, two elderly residents of Hagerstown, Md. Their son, Vernon Davis, joined Senator Mikulski in testifying before the committee in September 2005.
For more details on the Craig-Mikulski amendment, go to: http://mikulski.senate.gov/record.cfm?id=248395