Congresswoman Elaine Luria’s Bill Providing Financial Relief to Virginia Beach Mass Shooting Victims Passes House

December 9, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON – The House today passed Congresswoman Elaine Luria’s Virginia Beach Strong Act. This bipartisan bill would make it easier for families of victims of the May 31 Virginia Beach mass shooting to receive urgently-needed financial support.

“May 31, 2019 was a day that has forever changed Virginia Beach, and we will always remember the 12 wonderful people we lost that day,” Congresswoman Luria said. “In the immediate aftermath of our community’s darkest hour, we experienced a selfless outpouring of financial support for grieving families. I am thankful the House has advanced my effort to help families of victims receive the financial assistance they need.”

Following the May 31 mass shooting, the City of Virginia Beach established a fund to help victims, survivors, and their families. Due to a technicality in the definition of charitable beneficiaries in the tax code, donations to this fund will likely not be considered tax-deductible without congressional action.

The Virginia Beach Strong Act is a bipartisan and bicameral bill that would ensure that donations to immediate family members of victims of the Virginia Beach mass shooting are tax-deductible. It would apply retroactively, making any contribution on or after May 31, 2019 tax-deductible.

Ahead of the vote, Congresswoman Luria spoke on the House Floor. See below for transcribed remarks and click here for the video of Congresswoman Luria’s remarks.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Today, I rise in support of my bipartisan and bicameral bill, H.R. 4566, the Virginia Beach Strong Act.

Just over six months ago, our Virginia Beach community suffered a devastating tragedy. On May 31, 12 wonderful people lost their lives in a mass shooting at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center.

During our great city’s darkest hour, we showed the world the strength and resolve that makes us Virginia Beach Strong. We saw first responders heroically running into Building 2 - sacrificing their safety to save others, doctors working long hours to provide victims with expert care, and many other displays of courage.

May 31, 2019 was a day that will change Virginia Beach forever. We will always remember the 12 individuals we lost that day and their irreplaceable contributions to our Virginia Beach Strong community. My heart continues to grieve for those who lost their lives, their families, and everyone who loved them.

Today, many families of the victims are still facing financial hardships related to the shooting, in addition to the unfathomable loss of a loved one. In the aftermath of May 31, the City of Virginia Beach established a fund to help victims, survivors, and their families. Unfortunately, a technicality in the tax code means that these donations will likely not be considered tax-deductible. That’s why I introduced the bipartisan Virginia Beach Strong Act.

The Virginia Beach Strong Act would make it easier to help bring urgently-needed support to our community’s grieving families. This bipartisan bill would ensure that all donations made to immediate family members of the victims on or after May 31 will be considered tax-deductible. It is narrowly written so it does not make any broader changes to the tax code or the qualifications for 501(c) status.

Today, we all have the opportunity to make a profound difference for families that have been through unimaginable pain following the Virginia Beach mass shooting. I want to thank my colleagues within the Virginia delegation for their support and I urge all my colleagues in to vote for H.R. 4566, the Virginia Beach Strong Act, and yield back. Thank you.

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.