The House of Representative on March 22 unanimously passed a bill to allow Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) introduced the bill to overturn a 2015 decision by the Secretary of the Army to rescind the eligibility of WASPs—women who flew military planes in stateside missions during World War II—to be buried at Arlington. “We found out about this issue in early January and sprang into action,” McSally said, according to a release. “Less than 11 weeks later, we got a unanimous vote on the House floor to right this injustice.” WASPs were the first women to be trained to fly American military aircraft, but were not granted veteran status until 1977. Acting Secretary of the Army Patrick Murphy voiced support for McSally’s efforts earlier in March, but told lawmakers he could not overturn the 2015 ruling for the entire group. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) introduced similar legislation in the? Senate. “I’m thrilled that the House passed this legislation, and moved us one step closer toward achieving that goal,” Ernst said in a release. “It is my hope that the Senate will act quickly, followed by the President, so we can restore this right.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.