Republican proposes select panel on prisoners of war

Freshman Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) has introduced a measure to create a select committee for investigating unresolved cases of missing soldiers and prisoners of war.

Walker this week unveiled a resolution that would create a panel like the committees established to probe Planned Parenthood and the 2012 Benghazi attack. 

For the North Carolina lawmaker, the issue of prisoners of war and troops missing in action is personal.

Walker, a former Baptist minister, said he was struck by the stories from four World War II veterans at an event he organized three years ago. One veteran in particular recalled a harrowing story of being captured by the Germans as a prisoner of war after he was injured in a bombing mission.

"I was moved by his emotion that still exists in sharing his story seven decades later. I think about it often and it has impacted me to take action in making sure that we are doing everything possible for our POWs and MIAs as well as their families," Walker said in a statement.

The proposed panel, which would be known as the Select Committee on POW and MIA Affairs, would investigate "all unresolved matters" regarding any unaccounted U.S. military personnel from World War II onward. That would include cases from the Cold War era, as well as the Persian Gulf War and the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The committee, comprised of ten lawmakers, would be required to produce a report on its investigation "as soon as practicable during the present Congress." It would then cease its operations within 30 days after submitting the report to the House.

Walker's resolution does not yet have any cosponsors. 

House Democrats have proposed other select committees similar in structure. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) last year called for a select panel on gun violence prevention, while members of the Congressional Black Caucus signed onto a resolution this month that would establish a committee on police shootings.