Senators Seek Increased Oversight of Arlington National Cemetery

By Matt Fitzpatrick
|  Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010  |  Updated 2:00 PM EDT
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Senators Seek Increased Oversight of Arlington National Cemetery

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NBC News has learned a group of bipartisan senators introduced legislation Tuesday to increase congressional oversight of Arlington National Cemetery

The legislation -- introduced by Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Scott Brown (R-MA), Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), Susan Collins (R-ME), Richard Burr (R-NC) -- comes after public uproar over the mishandling of graves at the cemetery.

Under the proposed legislation, the Secretary of the Army would be required to report to Congress on steps taken to fix burial records and the cemetery’s ability to identify and locate every gravesite.

In June, Army investigators found dozens of unmarked graves at the cemetery. Superintendent John Metzler retired in July and his deputy Thurman Higginbotham retired the same month after being put on administrative leave.

During a Congressional hearing in July, Sen. McCaskill said between “4,900 to 6,600 graves may be unmarked, improperly marked or mislabeled on the cemetery’s maps.”

If passed, the bill would also require the Government Accountability Office to look into the possibility of transferring the control of Arlington National Cemetery to the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

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