Congress is set to make victims of the 2009 Fort Hood shootings eligible for Purple Hearts and combat injury benefits after the Obama administration has denied them the status for the past five years.
House Republicans, working with the Democratic-controlled Senate Armed Services Committee, added a provision to the defense authorization bill that would give battlefield recognition for the victims of the deadliest attack on a domestic military installation in U.S. history. It passed on a voice vote with strong bipartisan support.
The measure, which is expected to pass Congress next week, also would end a five-year effort by Texas GOP Reps. John Carter, Michael Conaway and Roger Williams to give the victims the status, the Military Times first reported.
The victims have long asked the Pentagon to label the attack terrorism so they would be eligible for the Purple Hearts and added combat-related benefits. But Defense Secretaries Robert Gates, Leon Panetta and Chuck Hagel have stuck to the original assessment that the attack by Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hassan was an act of workplace violence.