With convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy J. McVeigh in mind, the House passed a measure Monday to deny a funeral with military honors to veterans who have committed serious crimes.
In a 416-0 vote, the House approved an amendment by Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) to deny military funeral benefits to anyone convicted of a state or federal crime in which death is a possible punishment or who has been sentenced to prison without parole.
Bachus said another high-profile case prompted his proposal: the 1981 slaying of a black Mobile, Ala., teenager by Ku Klux Klan members. Henry Francis Hays, who was executed earlier this month in connection with the murder, was buried in a Mobile cemetery with a military honor guard, a 12-gun salute and a flag-draped coffin.
The honor stemmed from Hays' brief stint in the Army in the early 1970s.
Members of Congress have been angered by speculation that McVeigh might use his status as a decorated veteran of the Persian Gulf War to obtain a burial with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery or some other military burial ground.
Last week, the Senate, in a 98-0 vote, passed a measure intended to prevent that.