Tester’s Bipartisan Resolution Marking 50th Anniversary of VA’s National Cemetery Administration Passes Senate
The National Cemetery Administration provides final resting place to America’s veterans, servicemembers, and their families, including at Yellowstone National Cemetery
The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan resolution this week led by U.S. Senator Jon Tester to mark the 50th anniversary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Cemetery Administration (NCA).
“Making sure all veterans have a final resting place that honors their service and sacrifice to the nation is a critically important part of preserving their legacy,” said Tester, Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “The National Cemetery Administration does great work to ensure this, including at the Yellowstone National Cemetery, and I’ll keep working to see it has the necessary resources to continue carrying out its sacred mission of memorializing America’s bravest and their families.”
The National Cemetery Administration operates and ensures perpetual care of 155 national cemeteries, including the Yellowstone National Cemetery in Laurel, Montana, and 34 soldiers’ lots and monument sites that honor and serve as a final resting place for more than 4,000,000 veterans from every era of U.S history. It provides burial and memorial benefits for eligible veterans and their family members for not cost.
In 2021, Tester led the Senate to confirm Matthew T. Quinn, a Montanan and former Adjutant General of the Montana National Guard, as VA’s Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs, who in charge of directing the National Cemetery Administration. Under Quinn’s leadership, last year the National Cemetery Administration honored more than 352,000 veterans and their loved ones with headstones and markers in national, State, Tribal, and private cemeteries and issued more than 463,000 Presidential memorial certificates to the family members of veterans.
A staunch advocate of protecting and expanding veterans’ national cemeteries, Tester worked tirelessly with Montana veterans’ groups, Billings-area officials, and two VA Secretaries to allow the VA’s National Cemetery Administration to expand the national cemetery system to rural states. Following his efforts, the Department designated Yellowstone National Cemetery a VA national cemetery in 2014—ensuring Montana veterans a final resting place in a VA national cemetery in their home state. Previously, Montana was considered under the population threshold required for a VA national cemetery, despite having one of the largest veteran populations per capita in the nation.
Last year, Tester also championed a bipartisan effort to support tribal veterans’ cemeteries by closing the bureaucratic loophole preventing them from receiving plot allowances. Additionally he championed theNational Cemeteries Preservation and Protection Act of 2022 which allows for the National Cemetery Administration to retroactively pay plot allowances to tribal cemeteries, conduct green burials, prevents sexual predators from being interred in our national cemeteries, and cuts red tape on future land transfers to national cemeteries—ensuring further expansion of these shrines.
You can read Tester’s full bipartisan resolution HERE.