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Covington Leads Pro Bono Effort to Enact Veterans’ Legislation

September 27, 2016

WASHINGTON—Covington represented the Bendetson family pro bono in their successful effort to persuade Congress to enact a national moment of silence on Veterans Day each year in honor of all U.S. veterans.  

The House of Representatives today unanimously passed the Veterans Day Moment of Silence Act (S. 1004), capping a three-year effort by Covington on behalf of the Bendetson family. The bill originated in the Senate, where it also passed unanimously in November 2015. The legislation directs the President to issue an annual proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe two minutes of silence on Veterans Day in honor of all Americans who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.  

In 2010, the Bendetsons experienced Israel’s Day of Remembrance, when that nation pauses for two minutes in remembrance of its veterans and others. Moved by this experience, the family sought to establish a similar tradition in the United States to honor all U.S. veterans. In 2013, when the proposal became stalled in the Senate, the family approached the firm for assistance. Covington’s representation was led by Brian D. Smith.

“It was a privileged to assist the Bendetsons in this fitting tribute to veterans,” said Smith. “The effort also highlighted the challenges of legislating in Congress today. Although the same legislation passed the House four times and the Senate unanimously, it passed in different bills. We had wide bipartisan support and great champions, but procedural and political challenges abounded. With relentless determination, the Bendetsons and their supporters in Congress continued. The family made dozens of trips to Washington where we were privileged to assist them with scores of meetings with Members and staff.”

The lead sponsors in the House were Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) and Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.). Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) led the Senate effort. Covington also worked with veterans’ organizations that supported the bill, including the American Legion, the National Guard Association of the United States, the Reserve Officers Association, and the Nurses Organization of Veterans Affairs.

Covington’s Public Policy and Government Affairs practice helps clients worldwide achieve critical business objectives by combining legal, political, and policy expertise to provide strategic advice and advocacy. With more than 120 former government officials, diplomats, and regulators backed by global corporate and litigation practices, Covington helps clients turn government-related insight into practical advice for doing business. The firm is recognized among the best public policy and government affairs firms in the U.S. and Europe by Chambers, Legal 500, and The National Law Journal.

Covington maintains a Veterans Affinity Group as a part of a larger diversity initiative that allows the firm’s diverse lawyers to connect with one another and provide mentoring, learning, and development opportunities. The Veterans Affinity Group connects veterans and those interested in veteran’s issues, allowing them to discuss professional development and to provide a resource for recruiting efforts. 

 

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