WASHINGTON - Today, House Appropriations Committee Lead Republican Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) released the following statement after joining Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA) and Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR), Lead Republican on the House Committee on Natural Resources, in introducing the Support the Veterans in Parks (VIP) Act.
The Veterans in Parks (VIP) Act would provide current service members, veterans, and Gold Star Families free access to over 2,000 federal recreation areas, including our national parks, national forests, and wildlife refuges, These natural treasures range from the majestic Big Bend National Park to the awe-inspiring Palo Alto Battlefield in Texas.
"I am committed to honoring the men and woman who have served in our armed forces,” said Congresswoman Kay Granger. “Allowing past and present service members, as well as Gold Star Families, free access to our most iconic and treasured lands is the least we can do to honor the sacrifice they have made for our great country.”
“As a 24-year Army veteran, I understand the sacrifices made by our military and their loved ones,” said Miller-Meeks. “We owe so much to our amazing servicemembers, veterans, and their families; the Veterans In Parks Act is the least we can do. Our legislation would give servicemembers, veterans, and our Gold Star families free passes to all of our beautiful national parks and federal lands for life. I am proud to work with such a great bipartisan group of members on this commonsense issue to support those who sacrifice so much for our freedoms.”
Supporters of the Veterans in Parks (VIP) Act include: Paralyzed Veterans of America, Vista Outdoor, National Marine Manufacturers Association, National Parks Hospitality Association, the National Association of Counties, Outdoor Industry Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Evangelical Environmental Network, Wildlife Mississippi/Mississippi River Trust, American Sportfishing Association, American Cultural Resources Association, VoteVets, The Mission Continues, American Battlefield Trust, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC), Delaware North, Trout Unlimited, National RV Dealers Association (RVDA), American Trails, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, Boone and Crockett Club, Rugged Range, Bell Helmets, Blackburn, Blackhawk, Bushnell, CamelBak, Camp Chef, CCI, Eagle Industries, Federal Ammunition, Giro, HEVI-Shot, Primos, Remington, and BPC Action.
Last year, Representative Granger successfully urged the Trump Administration to grant Gold Star Families and military veterans free entrance to national parks, refuges, and other public lands as of Veterans Day 2020.
Also with Rep. Granger’s support, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act which allowed free access to America’s national parks and federal recreation sites for Gold Star Families. However, this change for veterans has never been codified and could be undone in future years.
The VIP Act protects these passes by codifying them and making them lifetime passes instead of annual passes. The VIP Act also codifies no-cost annual passes for current service members, which can be converted into lifetime passes once they leave the military.
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