Last week, U.S. Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., was able to get his “Free Veterans from Fees Act,” which he first introduced in March 2019 and brought back in February, through the U.S. House.
The bill cleared on a 421-3 vote with three Democrats–U.S. Reps. Sean Casten of Illinois and Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia of Texas–voting against the proposal. Seven members of the House, including U.S. Reps. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., and Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, did not vote.
“This legislation waives special-use permit fees for veterans’ demonstrations and special events at war memorials administered by the National Park Service in the District of Columbia,” the congressman’s office noted. “Throughout the year, veterans’ groups and Gold Star Families visit national war memorials arranged through various veterans’ organizations. To obtain a permit for their visit, oftentimes these veterans’ groups must pay burdensome administrative fees and other processing costs related to visiting memorials.”
“This legislation would properly thank our nation’s heroes by giving them the opportunity to travel to our nation’s capital on national honor buses and flights without the unnecessary paperwork and financial costs,” Steube said when he brought back the proposal. “The last thing veterans and their families should worry about are burdensome administrative fees when visiting memorials and monuments erected in their honor.”
Steube rounded up more than 20 sponsors including U.S. Reps. Kat Cammack, R-Fla., Maria Elvira Salazar, R-Fla., and Michael Waltz, R-Fla. U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wisc., is the main co-sponsor.
“Our veterans served with dignity and honor, and deserve the very best our nation has to offer,” said Kind back in February “Although we can never repay the debt of gratitude we owe these heroic men and women, waiving application fees for the facilitation of honor flights and honor buses is one simple way to show our appreciation for their service and sacrifice.”
“Our veterans have made the greatest sacrifice to defend our freedom,” said Salazar. “I’m proud to be an original cosponsor of the Free Veterans from Fees Act so that our men and women in uniform never have to assume burdensome costs to honor our fallen.”
There is no companion measure over in the U.S. Senate. Steube was able to get his bill through the House back in September 2020 but it has not gained much traction over in the Senate.
Steube weighed in on the bill after it cleared the House last week.
“Our nation’s veterans paid more than their fair share through their service to our nation and should no longer be subject to the burdensome administrative fees to visit military memorials or go on their own Honor Flights,” Steube said. “Though we will never be able to fully repay these heroes, this legislation is a small step to properly honor their sacrifice, patriotism and bravery.”