Washington, D.C. - Congressman Russ Fulcher (ID-01) and Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01), Ranking Member of the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs (DAMA) Subcommittee of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee (HVAC), have re-introduced the Bring Our Heroes Home Act. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation would expedite and coordinate the process of collecting, declassifying, and making public records of Prisoners of War (POW) and Missing in Action (MIA) service members. Senators Shaheen and Crapo will introduce the companion legislation in the Senate.
The Bring Our Heroes Home Act would provide for the creation of the Missing Armed Forces Personnel Records Collection within the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), and require the expeditious transmission and public disclosure of Missing Armed Forces Personnel records to this newly created office.
“For too long, families of service members taken prisoner or missing in action have been met with bureaucratic red tape when trying to access more information about their loved ones,” said Congressman Fulcher. “The Bring Our Heroes Home Act brings transparency to the process, allowing families to honor the legacy of our nation’s heroes. I am proud to join this bipartisan, bicameral legislation to address the POW-MIA issue.”
“Loved ones of service members who are missing in action or unaccounted for have been forced to wait for far too long for the closure they deserve,” said Congressman Pappas. “In many cases, families wait years to decades long to learn any information about their loved ones due to the current failure to prioritize declassifying and making the necessary information public. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation will take necessary steps to expedite the process of identification and repatriation, providing information that could bring peace to these families in a timely manner and bringing our service members home once and for all.”
“Service members who never made it home, whether prisoners of war or missing in action, are never forgotten by their loved ones and must never be forgotten by the nation they gave their freedom to defend. That’s why I’m proud to once again partner with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers of Congress to reintroduce this legislation that will help bring closure and peace of mind to their families,” said Senator Shaheen. “This legislation can help lessen the emotional burden by ensuring that records are properly collected, declassified when appropriate and made public. This is a commonsense step we can take to remember and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the American people.”
“America’s servicemembers, past and present, have shown extraordinary sacrifice and dedication to defending our freedom,” said Senator Crapo. “More than 81,500 Americans--including 361 Idahoans--remain unaccounted for from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, the Gulf Wars and other conflicts. We owe it to our nation’s heroes and their families to cut the bureaucratic red tape and continue the effort to identify and recover those who have yet to come home.”
A great number of records relating to Missing Armed Forces Personnel have not been identified, located, or transferred to the National Archives following review and declassification, and there has been insufficient priority placed on identifying, locating, reviewing, or declassifying records relating to Missing Armed Forces Personnel.
This legislation addresses that backlog and streamlines the process to allow for records to be made public in a timely manner, collected in a centralized location, and make it possible to finally bring our service members home once and for all.
The bill is endorsed by the Coalition of Families of Korean and Cold War POW/MIAs.