With 100 Cosponsors, Congresswoman Elaine Luria’s Gold Star Family Bill Gets Bipartisan Veterans Caucus Endorsement

May 16, 2019
Press Release
Momentum Behind Bipartisan Legislation to Help Heroic Families

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Elaine Luria’s (VA-02) Gold Star Family Tax Relief Act (H.R. 2481) has received the formal endorsement of the For Country Caucus and now has 100 cosponsors.

The Gold Star Family Tax Relief Act will fix a consequence of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that is causing Gold Star Families to see drastic tax increases.

“As a proud Navy veteran, it is an honor to be leading the charge to help our Gold Star Families,” Congresswoman Luria said. “I am humbled by the outpouring of bipartisan support for this bill, and our momentum shows exactly how necessary it is for heroic families who have given the ultimate sacrifice.”

Congresswoman Luria’s bill was formally endorsed by the For Country Caucus, a bipartisan group of veterans in the House of Representatives who are committed to working to support their fellow veterans and military families. Endorsement by the Caucus, of which Rep. Luria is a member, amounts to a recommendation for a House floor vote.

“Families of fallen servicemembers deserve the support and gratitude of the nation,” said Congressman Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), Co-Chair of the For Country Caucus. “This legislation ensures Gold Star spouses and children receive their earned benefits as previously constituted, and are not burdened with an egregious tax hike.”

“As a strong supporter of our Gold Star Families, I know how important these benefits are and how harmful the unintended consequences of recent changes in the tax code were,” said Congressman Don Bacon (NE-2), Co-Chair of the For Country Caucus. “This bipartisan teamwork is what America expects from Congress and I am proud of my colleagues for coming together to take care of our military families who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.”

“As a nation, we are forever indebted to our Gold Star Families, the families of the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms,” said Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan (PA-6), Co-Vice Chair of the For Country Caucus. “I’m honored to cosponsor this bipartisan legislation that would guarantee Gold Star Families receive their earned benefits and not be subjected to harmful tax hikes. What they gave for this country can never be repaid; we must do all we can to support them. “

“Children of those who have paid the highest measure of devotion to our country shouldn’t be burdened with the highest tax rate for their survivor benefits,” said Congressman Michael Waltz (FL-6), Co-Vice Chair of the For Country Caucus. “I’m proud that a bipartisan group of colleagues came together to fix this oversight in the tax code and urge the House to pass this bill quickly.”

“Our Gold Star Families deserve all of the support and honor that we can give,” said Congressman James Baird (IN-4). “The children of our fallen soldiers should never have to shoulder the burden of an added tax, and I’m proud to stand with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle as we fix this oversight.”

“As a Navy veteran and member of a military family, I am proud to join my colleagues in supporting this bipartisan effort to correct this injustice in our tax code towards our Gold Star Families,” said Congressman Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr. (CA-39). “Gold Star Families deserve our steadfast support and deepest gratitude and Congress should come together and act swiftly on this legislation.”

“Our Gold Star veterans and their families made the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” said Congressman Dan Crenshaw (TX-02). “We are indebted to these families. The least we can do is change this unintended consequence, so that their children aren’t taxed unfairly for a benefit they truly deserve.”

"Gold Star Families have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and as a country, we have a duty to be there for them,” said Congressman Jason Crow (CO-6). "I'm proud to see this Congress coming together to fix this oversight in our tax system and correct the record for the families of our fallen servicemembers. They deserve the best this country can give."

“Gold Star Families have made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Congressman Mike Gallagher (WI-08). “Congress must come together to do right by these families, and I’m proud to join my colleagues and the For Country Caucus in leading this bipartisan effort.”

“I think we all agree that our America should do everything within our means to take care of the children of Americans who have given their lives in defense of our nation,” said Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02). “This tax issue was an oversight of the last Congress, and I am thankful that we are acting in a bipartisan way to fix it. This is a bill that should pass into law swiftly with broad support.”

“As a Gold Star mother in my district recently said to me, the distinction of being a Gold Star family member is a respected and honored place in our society that nobody wants,” said Congressman Conor Lamb (PA-17).  “It is our obligation and duty to provide these families with the survivor benefits they deserve, and I will fight to ensure they are not burdened any further.”

“When a soldier deploys, all of their family and loved ones deploy with them,” said Congressman Max Rose (NY-11). “So when the ultimate sacrifice is paid, making sure Gold Star Families receive the care and benefits they deserve without egregious tax hikes and headaches isn’t only commonsense, it’s the right thing to do.”

“Gold Star Families should never have had a tax hike on benefits earned through service and sacrifice. We need to fix this error in the tax code immediately so that surviving children can focus on getting the support needed after their loss. Congress must act immediately to ensure no Gold Star Family has to face this undue burden,” Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) said.

“I’m proud to stand up for our Gold Star Families and guarantee that they are not burdened by unnecessary taxes. This bill would ensure that the families of those who have given their lives for our country are taken care of for generations to come,” said Congressman Greg Steube (FL-17).

“As a Marine, I know what military families give up every single day – and Gold Star Families have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation,” said Congressman Van Taylor (TX-03). “While nothing can make up for the incredible loss these heroic families have suffered, we can show a small token of our appreciation by ensuring Gold Star Families receive the benefits promised by our nation. We must protect those who protect our democracy.”

Background:

The Gold Star Family Tax Relief Act will fix a consequence of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that is causing Gold Star Families to see drastic tax increases.

Relatives of fallen service members receive two forms of compensation to help them cope in the aftermath of their loss. In order to ensure that the family receives all of the benefits they have earned, spouses of the fallen sometimes sign over one of the benefits to their children.

Because the new tax law brought changes to how children’s assets are taxed, Gold Star Families who formerly were obligated to pay 12 to 15 percent in taxes on such income saw their tax rate jump to 37 percent, according to the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.

Congresswoman Luria’s Gold Star Family Tax Relief Act would classify such survivor benefits as earned income, significantly reducing the tax burden.

Congresswoman Elaine Luria represents Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee, where she is the Vice Chair of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, where she serves as Chair of the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee.

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