Now that the court martial for Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan is over, there’s a renewed push to label the 2009 massacre as an act of terror rather than workplace violence.
Sen. John Cornyn was joined by Representatives John Carter and Roger Williams Monday to announce the new legislation. The bill is called the Honoring the Fort Hood Heroes Act, which aims to give victims and their families the same honors and benefits as the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.
"Nothing can bring my brother back or the others killed that day, but we must insist on taking care of the people who were affected," victim’s sister Leila Hun Willingham said.
Hasan killed 13 people and wounded dozens of others during his attack. He was sentenced to death by a military jury panel last week.
"It is very important that we not fall into this sense of political correctness that keeps us from calling this incident what it was,” Sen. Cornyn said. “Recognizing that the battlefield is not just in far off lands like Afghanistan and Iraq, the battleground is here at home as well."
Similar legislation was introduced last session, but was put on hold because the trial was ongoing.
"I know there's nothing that would make a judge more concerned than if some outside source could some way corrupt the trial or give a defendant more grounds for appeal, therefore we remained silent even though this is something we wanted to be very vocal about - it's now time to be vocal about it," Republican Rep. John Carter said.
Lawmakers say they expect there to be bi-partisan support on the legislation and hope to have it passed through Congress by the end of the year.
A memorial to honor the victims is still in the works. So far, they've raised $165,000. They need just over $400,000 to reach their goal.