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Desert Storm/Desert Shield memorial plan readied for House vote

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Authorization of a memorial to honor those who served in the First Gulf War has been readied for a House vote. On Tuesday, May 6, 2014, the House Committee on Natural Resources officially reported the National Desert Storm & Desert Shield War Memorial Act (H.R. 503). The bill would allow the National Desert Storm Memorial Association to construct a memorial to commemorate those who served in the conflict and events leading up to it.

The memorial would be placed in the District of Columbia. No site has been selected. The legislation also would require the association to raise all funds from non-federal sources.

The House placed the measure on the Union Calender as Calender No. 325 on the evening of May 6. The House can vote on it now, though no vote has been scheduled. The bill picked up 108 House sponsors.

The committee also filed the report, Rept. 113-437. The report has not been published yet. It will be available online any day. But we obtained an advance copy.

The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources approved a similar measure last November. The Senate has not yet scheduled a vote. Only two Senators have sponsored the bill.

The Department of Defense and the National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission both endorsed the concept but not any particular design or location. The memorial could go near the National Mall because of its historic significance. But it is not eligible for “the reserve” boundaried by the Jefferson Memorial, the Capitol, the White House and the Lincoln Memorial.

Since the foundation is paying for construction, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) determined that the memorial would not significantly impact federal spending. The work would be subject to the Commemorative Works Act, so the foundation would have to donate at least 10 percent of the construction costs to the non-profit National Parks Foundation for maintenance of the structure.

Any leftover funds the foundation may raise would also have to go for maintenance. But based on previous experience with similar memorials, CBO says such money wouldn’t become available for several years after construction.

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