[House Report 112-156]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]


112th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                    112-156

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                      WAR MEMORIAL PROTECTION ACT

                                _______
                                

 July 20, 2011.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Hastings of Washington, from the Committee on Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 290]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 290) to amend title 36, United States Code, to 
ensure that memorials commemorating the service of the United 
States Armed Forces may contain religious symbols, and for 
other purposes, having considered the same, report favorably 
thereon without amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

    The purpose of H.R. 290 is to amend title 36, United States 
Code, to ensure that memorials commemorating the service of the 
United States Armed Forces may contain religious symbols.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    H.R. 290 would allow the inclusion of religious symbols as 
part of military monuments. This bill was introduced shortly 
after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found the Mt. Soledad 
Cross in La Jolla, California, violated the Constitution 
because it displayed a religious preference and was not solely 
a war memorial.
    In 1913, a 43-foot cross was placed on Mt. Soledad in La 
Jolla, California. Starting in 1989, the City of San Diego was 
sued over the cross. The plaintiffs claimed a violation of the 
First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the California 
Constitution which bars the State or local government from 
using funds to assist religious sects or churches, or from 
showing preference to one religion over another.
    Several remedies were attempted over the years to avoid 
having the cross removed by order of the courts. These included 
transferring the property to a non-profit, for which San Diego 
was sued for showing a preference; and the federal government 
taking the land by eminent domain (the Department of Defense 
took possession of the property in 2006). Subsequently, the 
federal government was sued and the Ninth Circuit Court of 
Appeals ruled the cross unconstitutional in January 2011.
    While the legislation does not specifically address the Mt. 
Soledad situation, its purpose is to statutorily protect 
religious symbols in all war memorials.
    Section 2 of the legislation states that inclusion of 
religious symbols is authorized to recognize the religious 
background of members of the United States Armed Forces. These 
symbols may be included as part of a military memorial that is 
established or acquired by the United States Government; or a 
military memorial that is not established by the United States 
Government, but for which the American Battle Monuments 
Commission cooperated in the establishment of the memorial.

                            Committee Action

    H.R. 290, the War Memorial Protection Act, was introduced 
on January 12, 2011, by Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA). The 
bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, and 
within the Committee to the Subcommittee on National Parks, 
Forests and Public Lands. On May 4, 2011, the Subcommittee held 
a hearing on the bill. On May 25, 2011, the Full Natural 
Resources Committee met to consider the bill. The Subcommittee 
on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands was discharged by 
unanimous consent. No amendments were offered, and the bill was 
favorably reported to the House of Representatives by unanimous 
consent.

            Committee Oversight Findings and Recommendations

    Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee on Natural Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.

                    Compliance With House Rule XIII

    1. Cost of Legislation. Clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives requires an estimate and 
a comparison by the Committee of the costs which would be 
incurred in carrying out this bill. However, clause 3(d)(2)(B) 
of that rule provides that this requirement does not apply when 
the Committee has included in its report a timely submitted 
cost estimate of the bill prepared by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office under section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974. Under clause 3(c)(3) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
403 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has 
received the following cost estimate for this bill from the 
Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

H.R. 290--War Memorial Protection Act

    H.R. 290 would allow religious symbols to be included as 
part of any military monument established or acquired by the 
U.S. government or military memorials established in 
cooperation with the American Battle Monuments Commission 
(ABMC).
    Under current law, religious symbols are not barred from 
being used in any military memorials; thus, H.R. 290 would 
codify current practice. According to the Department of 
Defense, the National Park Service, and the ABMC, implementing 
H.R. 290 would not require any new memorials to be built or 
current memorials to be changed. On that basis, CBO estimates 
that there would be no costs associated with implementing H.R. 
290.
    Enacting H.R. 290 would not affect direct spending or 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    H.R. 290 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Dwayne M. 
Wright. The estimate was approved by Theresa A. Gullo, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.
    2. Section 308(a) of Congressional Budget Act. As required 
by clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives and section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget 
Act of 1974, this bill does not contain any new budget 
authority, credit authority, or an increase or decrease in 
revenues or tax expenditures. CBO estimates that there would be 
no costs associated with implementing H.R. 290. Enacting H.R. 
290 would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, 
pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    3. General Performance Goals and Objectives. This bill does 
not authorize funding and therefore, clause 3(c)(4) of rule 
XIII of the rules of the House of Representatives does not 
apply.

                           Earmark Statement

    This bill does not contain any Congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined 
under clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives.

                    Compliance With Public Law 104-4

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                Preemption of State, Local or Tribal Law

    This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or 
tribal law.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (new matter is 
printed in italic and existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

TITLE 36, UNITED STATES CODE

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SUBTITLE I--PATRIOTIC AND NATIONAL OBSERVANCES AND CEREMONIES

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     PART B--UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED WITH 
OBSERVANCES AND CEREMONIES

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            CHAPTER 21--AMERICAN BATTLE MONUMENTS COMMISSION

Sec.
2101. Membership.
     * * * * * * *
2115. Inclusion of religious symbols as part of military memorials.
     * * * * * * *

Sec. 2115. Inclusion of religious symbols as part of military memorials

  (a) Inclusion of Religious Symbols Authorized.--To recognize 
the religious background of members of the United States Armed 
Forces, religious symbols may be included as part of--
          (1) a military memorial that is established or 
        acquired by the United States Government; or
          (2) a military memorial that is not established by 
        the United States Government, but for which the 
        American Battle Monuments Commission cooperated in the 
        establishment of the memorial.
  (b) Military Memorial Defined.--In this section, the term 
``military memorial'' means a memorial or monument 
commemorating the service of the United States Armed Forces. 
The term includes works of architecture and art described in 
section 2105(b) of this title.

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