WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs will conduct a markup hearing tomorrow to press forward veterans’ legislation, and further examine and study the unique service of ethnic Laotian and Hmong veterans who served in covert operations in Laos with American special forces during the Vietnam War. Chairman Bernie Sanders, Vice Chairman Richard Burr, along with Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich, and others, have worked to bring the bill, S. 200, before the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee for hearings. The bill was introduced previously in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Jim Costa (D-California) and a bipartisan coalition of 32 Members of Congress.
“We are pleased that U.S. Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Sanders, and Vice Chairman Burr, are hosting a markup hearing regarding pending veterans legislation and will address a bill to provide long overdue burial honors to Lao and Hmong veterans who served in covert operations in support of the U.S. clandestine forces in Laos during the Vietnam War,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director for the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA). http://www.centerforpublicpolicyanalysis.org
“‘The Lao and Hmong Veterans Burial Honors Bill,’ S. 200, introduced by U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R- Alaska) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska), if enacted by Congress and signed into law by President Obama, would permit some 9,700 Laotian- and Hmong-America veterans of the U.S. ‘Secret Army’ in Laos to be buried in national Department of Veterans Affairs’ cemeteries,” Smith stated.
“From 1961-1975, the Hmong and Lao ethnic soldiers of the U.S. ‘Secret Army’ lost about 40,000 men and women for the accomplishment of covert missions, including some impossible and hopelessly dangerous missions, where the Lao-Hmong soldiers had to pay in blood with many, many, countless Lao-Hmong lives lost…,” said Colonel Wangyee Vang, President of the Lao Veterans of America Institute, in Senate testimony.
Mr. Vang stated: “Now it is 38 years after the war ended in 1975. Unfortunately, our veterans still have not received any kind of burial honors benefit, or other veterans’ benefits, from the U.S. government especially for our Hmong, Khmu, Lao, Mien and other ethnic veterans of the ‘U.S. Secret Army.’ We are, therefore, strongly urging the U.S. Congress, as soon as possible, to pass S. 200 for those veterans still surviving from the Vietnam War.”