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Shaheen, Crapo Introduce Bill to Help Bring Home Missing Service Members

(Washington, DC) — U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) re-introduced the Bring Our Heroes Home Act (BOHHA), which would eliminate obstacles preventing families and caseworkers from accessing the records needed for recovering America’s prisoners of war (POWs) and missing in action (MIA). According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, more than 81,500 Americans remain unaccounted for from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, the Gulf Wars and other conflicts.

“Families of service members who have been prisoners of war or missing in action bear an incredible emotional and psychological burden directly related to their loved ones’ service to our nation.  Far too many families have to wait for years, sometimes even decades, for information about their lost loved ones to become available,” said Shaheen. “That’s why I’m reintroducing the bipartisan Bring Our Heroes Home Act to ensure that the records of service members are properly collected, declassified when appropriate, and made public, helping honor their legacy and heal their families. I’ll continue working to pass this vital legislation to bring our heroes home.”

“This commonsense legislation tells every family and survivor that their loved ones are not forgotten,” said Crapo. “America’s servicemembers, past and present, have shown incredible sacrifice and dedication to defending our freedom. We owe it to our nation’s heroes and their families to cut the bureaucratic red tape and continue the effort to identify and recover those who have not yet made it home.”

The Senate bill, which has eight bipartisan co-sponsors, would consolidate all records related to missing personnel within a newly instituted Missing Armed Forces Personnel Records Collection at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and require all government agencies to transmit any missing service member records to NARA. The measure would also establish an independent government office, the Missing Armed Forces Personnel Records Review Board, to identify missing personnel records, facilitate the transmission and disclosure of these records, and review any decisions by federal agencies to postpone declassification.

Since she began serving in Congress in 2009, Shaheen has worked diligently on behalf of Granite State families to return the remains of their loved ones lost in war. In 2016, Shaheen successfully added an amendment to North Korea Sanctions legislation, which was signed into law, to protect efforts to recover the remains of American service members in North Korea. In fiscal year (FY)2019 government funding legislation that was signed into law, Senator Shaheen supported efforts to increase funding of an additional $30 million for the Defense Personnel Accounting Agency (DPAA), which is the agency responsible for identifying remains of POWs and MIAs from conflicts around the world.  

Full bill text can be found here.