New bill in Congress would pay for veterans' burials

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A new bill working its way through Congress would ensure all veterans receive a proper burial.

The legislation, introduced Friday by Rep. Gus Bilirakis, (R-Fla.), would require the Veterans Administration to provide caskets or urns for veterans with no next of kin or money to cover the cost of a funeral and burial.

“America’s veterans deserve to be laid to rest the same way they served this nation: with dignity and honor,” Bilirakis said. “This legislation recognizes their service and ensures that veterans who do not have immediate family are not forgotten and receive proper respect upon their passing,” Bilirakis said in a released statement.

Bilirakis drafted the legislation after learning about Lawrence Davis, a World War II vet who was buried in a cardboard box at Florida National Cemetery. The former soldier had no next of kin.

The bill is similar to a piece of legislation introduced in the Senate called “The Dignified Burial of Veterans Act of 2012.”