4:34 PM EDT

Mark Walker, R-NC 6th

Mr. WALKER. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend their remarks and to include extraneous material on the bill under consideration.

4:34 PM EDT

Jeff Miller, R-FL 1st

Mr. MILLER of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 3715, as amended, the Final Farewell Act of 2016.

We know that it can sometimes be a challenge to take time away from work to attend a funeral or a memorial service for a loved one. This bill, which is sponsored by the ranking member of the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Congresswoman Corrine Brown of Florida, would lessen that challenge for those arranging to attend the funeral service of a veteran buried in a national cemetery.

This bill would require VA, upon the request of the family of the deceased, to permit weekend funerals and memorial services. In doing so, this bill would allow more family members and friends to pay final respects to their loved ones as they are laid to rest.

Our veterans--the men and women who sacrificed so much for us--have earned the right to be treated with honor and respect after they pass on. Although I support this bill, I understand that some of the State Directors of Veterans Affairs have raised concerns with the restriction it contains on grants to State and tribal cemeteries who receive Federal grants. I look forward to working with the ranking member to address these concerns during the upcoming negotiations with the Senate.

I want to thank Ms. Brown once again for sponsoring this legislation and bringing this very important issue to our attention. I urge all of my colleagues to support it.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

4:36 PM EDT

Corrine Brown, D-FL 5th

Ms. BROWN of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 3715, as amended, the Final Farewell Act. This bill is of great importance to many families who traditionally hold funerals on weekends.

While the VA has the authority to provide weekend services to veterans and their families, they rarely do. This has been a particular challenge for various religions and cultures who bury their loved ones on Saturday. Furthermore, these families are forced to bear the cost of storing their loved one's remains over the weekend. However, this bill, as amended, makes weekend burials available to all veterans, regardless of their reasoning and need for a weekend burial.

This benefit for our veterans is to honor their service to our country. Their loved ones should have the opportunity to mourn their loss at a time that works for them. I thank all Members for their consideration and support for this commonsense change.

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank Chairman Miller for his support of this important legislation, and I urge passage of this very important bill.

Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.