The terrorist attack at Fort Hood, Texas executed by Nidal Malik Hasan, a former Army psychiatrist and Medical Corps officer, was carried out in 2009. Originally described by this President's White House as "workplace violence" it was later determined to be, in fact, a terrorist's attack on U.S. soldiers.
Senator Cornyn has been a champion for the families of the victims of this attack. One area in particular, awarding the Purple Heart medal to victims of the attack, is now a reality. Senator Cornyn wrote the legislation for the Senate bill which has now been voted into law. On the House side, Rep John Carter, (R-TX31) and Rep Roger Williams (R-TX25) ushered the bill through for passage.
Here is some background provided by Senator Cornyn's office which speaks to why the process took so long to move through Congress:
Existing criteria for the Purple Heart provide for the medal to be awarded to service members killed or wounded “as the result of an international terrorist attack against the United States.” The provision in the FY2015 Defense Authorization bill would update the definition of “international terrorist attack” to include a terrorist attack that was inspired or motivated by al Qaeda or another U.S. State Department-designated foreign terrorist organization, and one prior to which the attacker was in communication with the terrorist group. The provision would be retroactively effective as of September 11, 2001, and would require fresh reviews of the 2009 Ft. Hood attack and other attacks since 9/11. For the civilian equivalent of the Purple Heart—the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom—the measure would require a determination of whether it should be awarded to any civilians who were killed or wounded in the 2009 terrorist attack at Fort Hood. Sen. Cornyn and Reps. Carter and Williams previously introduced similar legislation, the Fort Hood Victims and Families Benefits Protection Act, in both 2009 and 2011, and the Honoring the Fort Hood Heroes Act, in 2013.
The bill now goes to the President's desk for signature. The Department of Defense will then be able to make the awards so long overdue.