Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) sent a letter to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) urging them to support her legislation to create a National Veterans Cemetery in Elko, Nevada. In addition to authoring a bill this past March, Senator Cortez Masto recently filed identical legislation as an amendment to the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) advocating for the transfer of federal land to be used as a national cemetery.
“I believe every veteran deserves the opportunity to choose a cemetery near their home,” Senator Cortez Masto wrote. “In response to requests from my constituents, I introduced S. 3492, the Elko National Cemetery Act on March 12, 2020. My legislation would authorize an interagency transfer of Federal land from the BLM to the NCA for use as a national cemetery. Implementation of my bill builds upon the NCA’s efforts that began in 2011 when it established the Rural Initiative to improve burial access for veterans residing in rural areas…and specifically identified Elko, Nevada, as an area [that lacked a sufficient National cemetery presence]. To date, this area of my state remains in need of such services.”
Senator Cortez Masto continued, “Given these facts and the multi-year history of this important project to serve our rural veterans, I respectfully request that the NCA and BLM join me in prioritizing this matter, and to collaboratively work together to bring the creation of the proposed Elko National Cemetery to completion. I am confident that by working together, we can address any concerns and bring this project to fruition for my constituents and for our veterans and their families.”
The full text of the letter can be found here.
In order for the VA to acquire the land needed for the cemetery, Congress must approve a land transfer from the BLM to the VA. Senator Cortez Masto’s Elko National Cemetery Act would authorize this transfer of land and finally allow construction to begin on this crucial burial option for Nevada’s rural veterans.
On June 29, 2020, the Senator also introduced this legislation, along with Senator Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), as an amendment to the FY21 NDAA. The Senate’s consideration of the NDAA is still ongoing.