Republicans offer bipartisan bill to honor families of military veterans

Bipartisan legislation unveiled on March 19 by U.S. Reps. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA), John Joyce (R-PA), Mike Kelly (R-PA), and Glenn “G.T.” Thompson (R-PA) would provide a memorial headstone or marker through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to an eligible spouse or dependent child of a veteran who is buried in a national cemetery or state or tribal VA cemetery, regardless of the date of death. 

Under current law, eligible spouses and dependent children who passed before Nov. 11, 1998, or after Oct. 1, 2024, are ineligible to be added to a memorial headstone or marker. 

The Dennis and Lois Krisfalusy Act, H.R. 7729, would expand eligibility for headstones, markers, and burial receptacles under VA-administered laws to certain individuals who died before Nov. 11, 1998, and would update federal law to extend the benefit beyond 2024 for an additional 10 years.

“Our veterans and their families dedicate their lives to our country. As a veteran myself, I understand the important role our loved ones play in the lives of our nation’s heroes,” said Rep. Reschenthaler, who sponsored H.R. 7729. “I am honored to introduce this common-sense legislation that cuts bureaucratic red tape for families like the Krisfalusys and ensures we provide the utmost support for those who have sacrificed so much for our nation.”

Reps. Joyce, Kelly, and Thompson signed on as original cosponsors of H.R. 7729 with lead original cosponsor U.S. Rep. Chris Deluzio (D-PA). The bill is named in honor of Dennis and Lois Krisfalusy, a veteran and his spouse who were killed in a Mexico earthquake in 1985.

In 2023, Dennis Krisfalusy received a memorial marker at the Cemetery of the Alleghenies in Washington County, Pa., though Lois Krisfaulusy is currently ineligible, according to information provided by the lawmakers.

“As an Army dad, I am proud to support bipartisan legislation that will correct an outdated law and allow all members of military families to receive the honors they deserve,” Rep. Thompson said.

“Ensuring that military spouses can be buried with their loved ones is a vital part of honoring our commitment to the men and women who served our nation in uniform,” added Rep. Joyce.

“This is a significant step toward honoring military families,” Rep. Kelly said.

“I am proud to introduce this bipartisan bill and make sure that eligible spouses and children can be included on veterans’ memorial headstones or markers,” Rep. Deluzio said. “This bill is a powerful way to honor how important family is to our nation’s veterans, and to offer comfort to the family members they leave behind.”