Laos, Hmong Community, Veterans Reflect Upon Efforts in Washington, U.S. Congress

WASHINGTON--()--Greeting the New Year with optimism, and reflecting upon progress and historic events held in Washington, D.C. in 2015, Lao- and Hmong-American veterans and community leaders have joined with the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) in calling upon the U.S. Congress and President Obama to pass into law the Lao “Hmong Veterans' Service Recognition Act,” (S. 1358/H.R. 2327). Lao and Hmong New Year celebrations are being held across America, including Fresno, California, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

“Following historic 40th anniversary ceremonies on Capitol Hill, Arlington National Cemetery, and the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, mourning the fall of the Kingdom of Laos in 1975 to invading North Vietnamese Army forces of the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN), and communist Pathet Lao guerrillas, the U.S. Congress reintroduced the Lao 'Hmong Veterans' Service Recognition Act,' (S. 1358/H.R. 2327) on May 14-15, 2015,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the CPPA. “In the House, the bill was introduced and is currently supported by Representatives Jim Costa (D-CA), Paul Cook (R-CA), Don Young (R-AK), Jim Langevin (D-RI), Sean Duffy (R-WI), and others; In the Senate, the legislation was introduced and is currently supported by Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Al Franken (D-MN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and others.”

Smith continued: “Currently, major progress towards passage of the Lao Hmong veterans honors legislation has resulted in nearly 30 Members of Congress cosponsoring the bill, with more supporting it. In 2015, testimony was submitted to the Senate and House Veterans' Affairs Committee in support of the bill, which would permit Lao- and Hmong-American veterans to be buried, or cremated, with honors, at national veterans cemeteries administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.”

Richard Xiong, President of the Lao Veterans of America Institute in Fresno, California, stated: “With the growing support in the Congress for the passage of legislation to honor our veterans, we are seeking to educate more Congressmen about our military service in Laos during the Vietnam War. We believe that the increased support for the Lao Hmong veterans bill in Washington will further honor our veterans, and their families, and that our leadership and community efforts will help expedite the final passage of the bill in Congress.”

Pasert Lee, President of the Hmong Alaska Community, Inc., and a Hmong veteran, stated: “We want the Congress to pass the Lao Hmong veterans bill soon. Our elderly veterans are passing away and request to be buried, with honors, alongside the American advisors who they served with in Laos. On October 19-22, 2015, we met in Washington with U.S. Senators, Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan, and Jack Reed, to seek their support for passage of the legislation. We are asking them for their assistance, along with Congressman Don Young, and many others in Congress.”

Release Summary

Laos: Lao and Hmong-American veterans have joined with the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) calling upon the U.S. Congress to pass into law the Lao “Hmong Veterans' Service Recognition Act."

Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA)