Alaskan Congressman Don Young voted today in favor of H.R. 1775, the Stolen Valor Act of 2012 – a bill he co-sponsored. This legislation is crucially important to protecting the honor of award-winning servicemen and women, such as Medal of Honor recipients. The Stolen Valor Act will penalize individuals who lie about winning prestigious awards in order to receive benefits afforded to only veterans – such as veterans’ healthcare benefits, government contracts or jobs reserved for veterans. This bill passed the House with an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 410 to 3.
“It’s downright disturbing to hear of people lying about military honors in order to collect benefits reserved for veterans,” said Rep. Young. “One of the most rewarding experiences of being Congressman for All Alaska is getting to meet and visit with our military members and veterans. There is no finer group of individuals in the world and they make this country what it is. After the Supreme Court struck down the original Stolen Valor Act, Congress had a responsibility to act and protect the honor of our men and women in uniform."
The Supreme Court ruled on June 28, 2012 that the original Stolen Valor Act of 2005 was a violation of the First Amendment because it mandated jail time for people who made false claims about military service. H.R. 1775 differs because it narrows the scope of the original law by limiting the awards the law would apply to as well as the scope of the penalties.