Butterfield's Bill to Honor World War II Merchant Mariners Passes the House

May 22, 2014
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4435, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with provisions authored by Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01).  Butterfield successfully offered an amendment to the NDAA that expands the list of documents accepted by the Federal Government to prove service and  grant veterans status to a forgotten segment of the Merchant Marine that operated domestically during  World War II. 

Butterfield said, “For decades, brave men and women who served their country during World War II in the Merchant Marine have gone unrecognized for their valiant service.  Through no fault of their own, these individuals have been unable to prove their service because the documents needed to prove service have either not survived over time or never existed at all.  Today, the House of Representatives did the right thing and took the first step needed to honor these mariners while they are still with us.” 

Last year, Butterfield introduced H.R. 1288 to make deserving World War II U.S. Merchant Mariners eligible for veterans’ status and certain veterans’ benefits, and has championed the effort to recognize these mariners for the past three Congresses.

In October, H.R. 1288 was passed a part H. R. 2189, a bill to improve the processing of disability claims by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; however, the bill failed to pass the U.S. Senate.

The National Defense Authorization Act, with Butterfield’s Merchant Mariner provisions, now heads to the Senate where it will have to be passed and then signed by the President before it becomes law.