Dec 04 2020
Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Mike Thompson (both D-Calif.) today announced that their legislation to restore the historic Mare Island Naval Cemetery has been included in the National Defense Authorization Act, which is expected to be voted on by the House and Senate next week.
Feinstein’s provision would transfer control of the cemetery, which has fallen into disrepair, from the City of Vallejo to the Department of Veterans Affairs in order to faciliate much-needed repairs and provide ongoing maintaince.
“The 860 veterans and their families buried in the Mare Island Naval Cemetery deserve a more fitting tribute to their service than the cemetery in its current state can provide,” said Senator Feinstein. “Our bill not only restores the cemetery but, importantly, transfers ownership to the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure it never again falls into a state of disrepair. I’m proud to have worked with Represenative Thompson to get this included in the NDAA and to the president’s desk.”
“The Mare Island Cemetery is a crucial part of our nation’s military history, a burial ground for more than 800 of our bravest military members and a sanctuary for our veterans. It must be restored and maintained and that’s why I am proud to announce that my legislation has been included in the final NDAA conference report. This reflects the hard work of so many in our community who have championed the cause of the cemetery and I will work nonstop in the coming days to see that this bill becomes law,” said Representative Mike Thompson
The Mare Island Naval Cemetery is the final resting place for 860 veterans, including three Medal of Honor recipients, and Anna Arnold Key, the daughter of Francis Scott Key. It was part of the Mare Island Naval Shipyard that closed in 1993. Since then, the cemetery has fallen into deep disrepair—gravestones are toppled over, broken, or sunken into the ground, serious drainage issues persist, and plants and weeds are overgrown.
This legislation would transfer control of the cemetery from the City of Vallejo to the VA and place it specifically under the purview of the National Cemetery Administration. The VA would pay no fee to acquire the land but would assume the obligation of maintaining the cemetery in the future.
The bill has been previously endorsed by AMVETS, the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, the Navy League, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and thousands of veterans across the country.
In addition to Feinstein, the Senate bill was cosponsored by Senators Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.).
In addition to Thompson, the House bill was cosponsored by Representatives Susan Davis (D-Calif.), Scott Peters (D-Calif.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D-D.C.), Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.), John Garamendi (D-Calif.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Donald Payne Jr. (D-N.J.), Paul Cook (R-Calif.), Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), Albio Sires (D-N.J.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), Juan Vargas (D-Calif.), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.), Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), Duncan Hunter (D-Calif.), James McGovern (D-Mass.), Nanette Barragan (D-Calif.), Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.), Bill Keating (D-Mass.), Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), Ro Khanna (D-Calif.),Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), Peter King (R-N.Y.), Anne Kuster (D-N.H.) and Tom McClintock (R-Calif.).