WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) and Lao- and Hmong-American veterans gathered together on Wednesday in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives for the introduction of key legislation spearheaded by U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mark Begich (D-AK), and a bipartisan coalition in the U.S. Congress, that seeks to provide burial benefits and honors to Laotian- and Hmong-American veterans of the Vietnam War. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Al Franken (D-MN), Carl Levin (D-MI), and Mark Pryor (D-AR) also joined in co-introducing the new bill, building further support for the House version of the legislation originally introduced by Congressmen Jim Costa (D-CA) and Paul Cook (R-CA).
“Lao- and Hmong-American veterans and their families from many communities across the United States are joining together and mobilizing in Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Congress, seeking the advancement and passage of legislation to grant burial honors and benefits at U.S. national veterans cemeteries for those who served in the ‘U.S. Secret Army’ in Laos during the Vietnam War,” said Colonel Wangyee Vang, President of the Lao Veterans of America Institute (LVAI).
“Many more Senators and Congressmen are cosponsoring the legislation that continues to gain support for passage, including over 40 in the House and eight Senators,” stated Philip Smith, Executive Director of the CPPA.
“We need the U.S. Congress, Senate and the American people to support this important new legislation introduced by Senators Lisa Murkowski, Mark Begich and others,” commented Pasert Lee, President of the Hmong Alaska Community, Inc. “The Lao-Hmong veterans lost 10-30 soldiers just to rescue and save one American pilot shot down .”
“This legislation is very important to the minority Laotian and Hmong veterans who fought for, and helped, America during the Vietnam War at the ‘U.S. Secret Army’ base at Long Tieng, Xieng Khouang Province and elsewhere in Laos,” said Bouakeo Chansombath of the LVAI in Oklahoma. “Over 1500 of my people died during the war to help the Americans, including many Laotian Khmu soldiers.”
The LVAI, CPPA, Lao Veterans of America, Inc., U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps, will hold a veterans’ memorial ceremony in Arlington National Cemetery on May 15 to honor the Lao and Hmong veterans, and their American advisors.